Posts tagged with "exercise"

Health image by Nicole Salazar for use by 360 Magazine

HOW TO START 2021 STRONGER, HEALTHIER AND FITTER

Kent Bradley, MD, Herbalife Nutrition Chief Health and Nutrition Officer

2020 was a year like no other. Driven by a global pandemic, many of us experienced more time at home sheltering with family. Baking became a hobby and working out at the gym was limited. Because of this, many of us gained weight and fell off our health goals as we shifted priorities and gave ourselves forgiveness in a challenging year. Good health is a combination of physical and mental health, which is greatly strengthened by nutrition and exercise, sleep, and connections with others. By making a few small adjustments to your life, you can be more vigorous in 2021 and ready for any future challenges.

Fuel with food

Most people know that healthy eating helps us maintain a healthy weight. But what Is often overlooked are the additional benefits of eating a well-balanced diet. A diet that provides good nutrition means getting the necessary nutrients, the vitamins and minerals along with the macronutrients, to help your body work its best. From improving your emotional wellbeing to maintaining the body’s systems to reducing food sources of heart-threatening bad cholesterol, the advantages of eating healthy are manifold. Most of us start the new year with goals, including eating better, but we often fall off our plans as the year progresses. As a health professional, I have found that many people benefit from eating healthy and losing weight when they are part of a community, all working, collaborating, and supporting one another. While many of these groups are unable to meet in person, they have blossomed online, and the camaraderie has been shown to help healthy weight loss and meet nutritional goals.

Focus on overall wellbeing

Eating healthy is a must – but so is having a balanced lifestyle. To keep stress at bay, look at all aspects to improve your wellness. If you are not eating a nutrient rich diet, be sure to supplement – and remember that hydration is an important aspect of balanced nutrition. Exercise will also improve your overall health; and may improve your sleep quality.

Mental health also plays into our wellbeing – with stress being a contributing factor in conditions from heart disease to obesity. According to WebMD, 75% to 90% of all doctor’s office visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints, including headaches, high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes, skin conditions, asthma, arthritis, depression, and anxiety. There are wonderful new apps like Headspace and Calm that can help you navigate several stress-inducing scenarios.  Remember that if you are already suffering these or other medical conditions, reducing stress remains important, but you should seek medical treatment.

For overall wellbeing set a daily routine that includes nutrition, exercise, sleep and mental breaks.

Stay connected

One of the insights that 2020 taught us was how much we crave connection. Isolation has led to higher rates of depression. Multiple studies have shown that social connection “can lower anxiety and depression, help us regulate our emotions, lead to higher self-esteem and empathy, and improve our immune systems.” While the beginning of 2021 will still have its challenges in this department, try picking up the phone more often, try write good old-fashioned letters and cards, and plan for late-year meetups and vacations. There is light at the end of the isolation tunnel.

Reinvest time in things you enjoy – or find new things

Participating in activities we enjoy gives our brain a boost – and learning new things impacts our overall brain health. It can be hard to find time to do something we want, but it benefits us to prioritize it. So, get out and garden, volunteer for a meaningful cause, take a dance class this summer or learn a new language to prepare for a future trip you have always wanted to take.  I have personally undertaken all of these in my own personal quest to tap into a source of joy of new experiences.  Keeping your mind busy and finding hobbies may protect you from that dreaded stress.

While 2020 brought many challenges, there is hope as we take control of our choices and stay connected with a healthy supportive community.   So, let us embrace the future and our opportunity to go into it strong and healthy. Here’s to a happier, healthier and better new year.

How to Feel Beautiful in Old Age

Alongside all the wonders that old age brings, including wisdom, freedom, and an extended family, there are also some setbacks. You might look at a picture from when you were young and wish you had the same radiance of adolescence, or you might wish you could dance the way you used to. Aging happens to everyone, and while people are taught that youth is more beautiful, that isn’t the case. After all, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and confidence is prettier than any facial feature. 

If you are struggling with confidence as you get older, here are some ways to help you feel beautiful once more:

Wear that Outfit 

If you find yourself looking at an outfit you would have snapped up ten years ago but now tell yourself that you’re too old for it, then shut out that voice! There is no age limit on clothing, so buy that outfit and wear it with pride. It might be scary at first, especially if it’s different from your usual wardrobe, but after a while, wearing it will fill you with confidence. 

Find the Right Lipstick 

Lipstick is timeless; it looks great on twenty-somethings right up to the oldest seniors. Nothing gives a face a glow up like a pop of color on the lips, so find the right shade for your complexion and wear it with pride. 

Makeup sometimes becomes more difficult as you grow older, as many brands cater to youthful skin more often than mature skin, but lipstick isn’t this way. Talk to beauty consultants to match you up with the perfect color. 

Treat Your Vision 

One of the most disheartening symptoms of aging is the deterioration of vision. It can make you feel lost as well as affect your confidence, so it’s important to treat it as soon as possible. If you are affected by cataracts, which is extremely common in old age, then have a look at a cataract lens implant for a life-changing treatment that gives you clear vision. 

Exercise 

Your body weakens with age, and one of the ways to prevent this is to keep moving. You don’t have to work out five days a week to reap the benefits – a gentle swim a few times a week or simply walking more is enough! Not only will it improve your body, but it will bring you tons of positivity, making you feel confident in yourself once more. 

Up Your Skincare Regime

What your skin needs varies from person to person, so figure out your skin type and match your routine to that. Mature skin tends to need plenty of moisturizing products to bring out that glow and prevent the deepening of wrinkles and fine lines, so avoid any product that says ‘oil-free’. 

Grow the Gray 

Many people obsessively attempt to cover up their gray as they get older, but this often results in dry, damaged hair. Gray is a beautiful color and there’s no reason to cover it up! Grow it out and embrace your hair’s natural beauty. Without all the chemicals that come with hair dye, you’ll find your strands will thank you with extra thickness and health!

Popcorn illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Entertainment at Home: How to Spend Lockdown with Benefits?

The lockdown has ended up becoming a blessing in disguise. It is the perfect opportunity for you to be able to pick up a new skill. However, that is just the tip of the iceberg. If you are able to use the lockdown wisely, then you can surely benefit from it a lot. Use this to your advantage and spend a little more time with yourself. Who knows? By the end of this lockdown, you might evolve into an even better version of who you are now. Read on to find out all the various ways to spend your time productively during the lockdown.

Spending Time Productively in Lockdown

Learn to Cook

This is the time when you find yourself in close proximity to the kitchen the whole day. Ordering in might be a risky bet considering that it might provoke the spread of COVID. So, instead of ordering food from a delivery app, cook it yourself. Start with the simpler things at first like making tea, boiling eggs, etc. As you learn more every day, you can eventually take up cooking initiatives that you never imagined before.

Try New Things

This lockdown, try something that you normally wouldn’t. Spend your time picking up a new skill. There is an endless world out there. Take online gambling for instance. You can get 100 free spins no deposit in UK if you visit online casinos. In this pandemic, as people spend more time at homes, the popularity of online casinos has skyrocketed. More and more people are exploring the world of online gambling because it is thrilling and fun. So, go ahead and explore.

Read More Books

This is the ideal time to read a book. If you are not an avid reader, you might be depriving yourself of one of the most beautiful experiences in life. We all receive books as gifts on our birthdays. On most occasions, those books end up getting dragged to one corner of our shelf and keep collecting dust. Now is the time to get those books out and experience the beautiful stories they tell.

Bond with Family

We live in an age of preoccupations. Everyone is preoccupied with something or the other. Children are busy studying; parents are busy working. We are hardly able to make time for each other. However, the lockdown has changed it, even though temporarily. In the lockdown, a unique phenomenon has taken place. Every member of the family is under one roof. Children are getting to attend online classes and parents are getting to work from home. So, start spending more time with each other. Begin with the simpler things like eating at the dinner table together or watching a movie.

Exercise

You don’t necessarily have to go to a gym to work on your fitness. A free hand workout is the best form of fitness routine. The best thing about it is that it can simply be done at home. So, this lockdown, use the opportunity to work, on your fitness, from home. Go to the terrace, do some stretching. Do some crunches and push-ups. Use the extra time you get at home to improve your health because it will not only help you physically, but also mentally.

Meditate

A lot of people turn out to be rather skeptical when it comes to meditation. However, experts certify meditation to be a genuinely helpful habit. It can result in profound improvement of your mental health and stability. Even more so, in the stressful situation of the global pandemic, you need to calm yourself down. So, practice meditating. It can do wonders.

Watch TV

In the age of Netflix and Amazon Prime, we have gained access to a seemingly endless plethora of interesting shows on TV or computers. Some of the shows have thousands of episodes, each having a running time of at least an hour. Normally, you don’t get the scope to fully watch your favorite shows in the middle of work. Also, by the time you return home, you get too tired. Nevertheless, this is your chance. Switch on the television and watch something with your family.

Do Chores

Use the free time in your hand to perform household chores. Usually, we see the mothers and daughters of the house taking up this crucial responsibility, but why should the men be left out? Pick up the mop and duster. Go ahead and clean your place up. Get into all those remote corners of the room that you have never even looked at before. Reorganize the furniture. Give your humble abode a refreshing new look.

Make a Garden

Gardening can be an extraordinarily soothing way of passing the time. Plants take time to grow and flourish, but when they do, they teach you so much about how delicate life is. Gardening has proven to have hugely positive effects on mental health. An added benefit of doing this is not having to shop for fruits and vegetables outside. After all, you are locked down. You can’t visit the marketplace for buying your cooking ingredients. So, rather grow them at home.

Plan for Future

Since you have more time in your hand, you can concentrate on drafting a course of action for your future. Our lives revolve around various aspects. We have a family to take care of. We have careers to build. We have our own dreams to fulfil. This is the perfect chance of working them all out through meticulous planning.

Try Art

Have you ever explored the artistic side of your personality before? This is the ideal occasion for that. Pick up a paint brush and go ahead. It is also a highly beneficial mental exercise because it helps you work on your precision and focus. There are so many things to take inspiration from. Maybe, try your hand at some glass painting too while you’re at it.

Detox

Enough of indulging in vices, let this lockdown be a detox phase. Rid your body of all the toxins. No smoking and no drinking because, after all, you can’t even if you want to. All the stores are closed. So, might as well use this as a way of benefiting yourself. Use this lockdown to quit your bad habits.

Conclusion

So, we told you about many different ways of using your time productively in the lockdown. However, we saved the best for last. Here it is. As we said earlier, this lockdown offers you the chance to spend some time with yourself. That is very important. So, use this time to write a letter to your future self. When you spend time with yourself, there are thoughts and ideas that you stumble upon which you would normally never even comprehend. Before you end up forgetting them, write them down as a letter for reminding yourself in the future. Make yourself promises. Make your memories immortal. Get a pen and a piece of paper. Then, write your heart out. You will cherish it when the time comes.

Tips for Getting More Activity into Your Life

Are you interested in changing your lifestyle to make it more active? If you’ve always been more of a couch potato than a weekend warrior, it can be hard to get motivated to move more. However, there are plenty of ways to ease into a more active lifestyle, and some of them even allow you to keep doing the same favorite activities you’d do from your couch.

Indoor Machines

If you have a lot of sporty friends, they’re probably always touting the benefits of the outdoors to you, but let’s face it: the drawbacks include things like heat, cold and bugs. If you don’t love the outdoors and you aren’t a fan of exercise classes and really all you want to do is keep watching your favorite streaming comedy or drama, you can have your cake and eat it too. Stationary exercise bikes and treadmills allow you to watch whatever you like or even read while you move. You might be surprised at how easily the miles slip away when you’re distracted.

Starting Small

Maybe you actually love the idea of being the kind of person who heads out happily for a 10-mile run or a 50-mile bike ride but you’re intimidated by the idea of getting started. Those first steps can be the hardest, but starting small doesn’t just make it easier for you. It’s actually the key to success. If you try to do too much, you’ll quickly get discouraged, but taking a short walk on your lunch break or making an effort to get more active with your kids are easy ways to slowly make activity a more regular part of your life. 

You might also look at ways to ensure that physical activity is enjoyable and comfortable for you. If you want to get into hiking, you don’t have to sleep in a tent every night. You can take day hikes and still sleep in your own bed every night. If the thought of cycling up big hills or on hot days intimidates you, you may want to consider an eBike. These battery-operated bikes essentially let you put in the amount of effort you feel comfortable with. If you do choose cycling, make safety a priority and wear a helmet. This can save your life if you are in accident.

An Active Desk

If you spend a lot of time working at a desk, this is actually a prime opportunity to get some movement in throughout the day. Sitting on an exercise ball instead of in a chair can help you strengthen your core while a treadmill desk lets you pedal while you work. You can even try out a standing desk.

Join a Group

A great way to get motivated to make a change in your lifestyle is by joining a group, either virtually or in person. On social media, you’ll find many different options based on activity, age or other factors. This can be especially helpful if you don’t have friends or family members who have particularly active lifestyles.

Medical illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Top 5 YouTube Doctors

Since YouTube was founded in 2005, it has become something we take for granted as a source of information. If you want a taste of other ways of life, search YouTube. If you need to know how to do something, watch a YouTube video. If you need advice, find an expert on YouTube.

When it comes to the medical profession, however, YouTube experts need to walk a delicate line. Giving general advice regarding medical treatments can put undiscerning viewers at risk. At the very least, it can cause the doctor tremendous legal and career issues.

The best YouTube doctors have found that balance and give information and tips without crossing over into medical guidance. Here are the 5 doctors who do it best.

1. Doctor Mike

Dr. Mikhail Varshavski is a Russian-born American medical expert. He became popular online when he was named People Magazine’s Sexiest Doctor Alive. However, he is far more than a pretty face (with an adorable dog). Doctor Mike has millions of followers, to whom he provides health tips (but not medical advice). He explains different medical conditions and terms as well, along with lifestyle changes for improved health.

During the early days of the COVID-19 crisis, he used his channel to debunk false information, providing a clear vision of the real risks of the virus.

2. Dr. Joseph J. Allen

In the realm of eye care, there is no one better than Joseph J Allen OD. Dr Allen dispenses information via his YouTube channel, Doctor Eye Health. He is also the CEO of Vision Excellence Eye Consulting LLC.

In his videos, Dr. Allen shares interesting facts about the eye, important eye health tips, and insight into both common and rare eye conditions. He also recommends some of the best eye care products available. With over 250,000 subscribers to his channel, he is extremely influential and uses his platform carefully and responsibly.

Go to GlassesUSA.com to read some of the latest health articles, with whom Dr. Allen collaborates.

3. Dr. Dray

There is one type of health care that is a basic responsibility of each and every person. Skincare. Not everyone takes skincare as seriously, but proper care is not only important for aesthetic reasons but for general health as well. Skin issues may be a sign of illness, and overexposure to sun can contribute to skin cancer.

Dr. Dray is a dermatologist who uses her channel to dispense tips and review various skincare products. Considering that the variety of skincare products is huge, it is great to get a professional opinion on which actually work.

4. Dr. Robert Morsand

Dr. Morsand differentiates himself from the other doctors on this list because he doesn’t just provide general tips. He posts extensive Q&A sessions in which he answers people’s questions about a myriad health issues in depth.

There is a lot to learn from Dr. Morsand’s decades of experience, and you’ll find more specific information on his channel than on most others.

5. The Junior Doctor

Dr Ezgi Ozcan is a junior doctor in the UK who records vlogs about her life. Rather than providing medical advice, she shows what the daily life of a junior doctor is like. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, junior doctors are essentially the British equivalent of American residents.

Having recently given birth, she is portraying what it is like to be a mother in this line of work as well. Her channel is entertaining, informative, and she is incredibly personable.

Mosquito illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Mosquito Season

How to Prepare for Mosquito Season

Mosquito season is right around the corner. If you happen to live in warmer regions of the country, you might already be seeing some mosquito activity around your home. Even if it will be a couple of months until the warm weather reaches your part of the country, it is very important to prepare for mosquito season early.

Here is why you should begin to prepare for mosquito season early and some ways to do that:

Why should I prepare for mosquito season early?

  • Mosquitoes may already be in your yard: While they seem to disappear in the colder months of the year, some mosquitoes can in fact survive the winter. How? Through a process called overwintering. Overwintering is when female mosquitoes lay their eggs before winter, and the eggs survive and eventually hatch when temperatures rise again.
  • Being prepared means avoiding unnecessary hassle: Why wait until your yard is filled with mosquitoes to do something about them? By preparing early, you can lessen the stress of mosquito season and focus on enjoying your outdoor space.

How should I prepare for mosquito season?

There are a number of ways you can get ready for the beginning of mosquito season and help prevent bites around your home. Below are a few:

  • Hire your local mosquito control company: The best way to beat mosquitoes is to enlist the help of a professional. Our specialists at Mosquito Authority are committed to doing everything possible to ensure your home and yard are mosquito-free zones. Our treatments are even designed to break up the 21-day lifecycle of mosquitoes, which means you won’t be bothered in between treatments.
  • Be aware of the best mosquito repellents and how to use them: Although your home will be mosquito-free after your Mosquito Authority treatments, other outdoor areas might not be. If you are planning on hiking, going to the park, or participating in any other outdoor activities in the spring and summer, make sure to apply insect repellent. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend using products that contain DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or other EPA-registered products.
  • Make sure your yard isn’t a breeding ground for mosquitoes: Mosquitoes need water to lay eggs, which is why any areas of standing water make for popular mosquito breeding grounds. As the snow begins to melt (or you start to experience more rainfall), standing water will start building up around your yard. A big part of DIY mosquito control is getting rid of standing water near your home; this includes tipping over items like trash can lids, tire swings, and children’s toys to empty the water out.

Joe Malinowski is the director of pest management for Mosquito Authority and Pest Authority. He has worked on the operational and corporate side of top companies in the pest control industry. Malinowski served as vice president of technical services at Orkin and vice president of sales for B&G Equipment Company. He also helped launch new and innovative products in the industry for ForeFront Product Design and SenesTech. Operational roles at the branch, regional, and divisional levels have given him an understanding of profit and loss, customer and employee retention, correct product and equipment selection, and precise training to ensure exceptional service.

Gym Illustration by Rita Azar for 360 Magazine

UVA on Battling Diseases by Exercise

A top exercise researcher and colleagues at the University of Virginia School of Medicine have launched an ambitious effort to understand the whole-body benefits of exercise so that doctors can use that information to prevent and treat disease.

Zhen Yan, PhD, and his collaborators aim to identify the sources, functions and targets of the molecules that provide exercise’s well-documented health benefits. By understanding this, doctors will better understand how exercise helps fend off disease, and they may be able to design drugs to mimic those benefits for people who cannot exercise, such as those with limited mobility. The cutting-edge research could open new doors both for preventing and treating many common illnesses, the researchers hope.

“No one would dispute that physical activity or regular exercise is the best measures for health promotion and disease prevention,” said Yan, director of the Center for Skeletal Muscle Research at UVA’s Robert M. Berne Cardiovascular Research Center. “In fact, the health benefits of exercise are way beyond our imagination. The underlying reasons for the superb health benefits of exercise are being uncovered by many talented and passionate scientists around the world.”

Understanding How Exercise Improves Health

The UVA researchers have recently joined a national consortium seeking to create a “molecular map” of exercise benefits. Known as the Molecular Transducers of Physical Activity Consortium, or MoTrPAC, the group includes researchers at top institutions across the country, including Harvard, Duke, Stanford and Mayo Clinic.

The consortium came about after the National Institutes of Health invited Yan and a dozen other prominent scientists to a roundtable discussion in 2010 about the future of exercise research and the obstacles that stood in its way. The NIH then set aside almost $170 million for MoTrPAC’s research – believed to be the agency’s largest-ever investment into the mechanisms of how physical activity improves health and prevents disease.

“The program’s goal,” Yan explained, “is to study the molecular changes that occur during and after exercise and ultimately to advance the understanding of how physical activity improves and preserves health.”

The consortium is looking at exercise benefits in both humans and animal models. Initial animal research was conducted at Harvard, the University of Iowa and the University of Florida. In the latest round, UVA is joined by the University of Missouri, the University of Kansas Medical Center and the University of California, Los Angeles.

The vast amount of information collected as part of the project so far has poised the UVA team to make “unprecedented” advances, Yan reports. He and his multi-disciplinary team will employ advanced computer algorithms to sift through the heaps of data to identify specific molecules to study. They will then conduct state-of-the-art research in lab mice using gene editing, combined with a wide range of functional assessment, including muscle, cardiac, metabolic and cognitive/mental functions. This will let them determine the effects the molecules have and lay a foundation for doctors to harness the molecules to benefit human health in the future.

Yan’s team will work closely with colleagues at Stanford, who will conduct advanced “multiomics” analyses, meaning they will bring together data on genes, cellular proteins and much more to obtain a more holistic understanding of exercise’s benefits to the body.

UVA’s research team includes Yan, of the Robert M. Berne Cardiovascular Research Center and the Departments of Medicine, Pharmacology and Molecular Physiology and Biological Physics; Wenhao Xu, PhD, of the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Cancer Biology; Chongzhi Zang, PhD, of UVA’s Center for Public Health Genomics, the Department of Public Health Sciences and the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics; Matthew Wolf, MD, PhD, of the Department of Medicine’s Division of Cardiovascular Medicine and the Robert M. Berne Cardiovascular Research Center; Thurl Harris, PhD, of the Department of Pharmacology; and Alban Gaultier, PhD, and John Lukens, PhD, both part of UVA’s Department of Neuroscience and the Center for Brain Immunology and Glia (BIG).

“It is well known that exercise is one of the best treatments for mood disorders,” Gaultier said. “We are excited to test the group discoveries using animal models of anxiety and depression.”

“This is an exciting opportunity for team science,” Zang said. “I am happy to work with colleagues at UVA and across the country and use data-science approaches to unravel the complex molecular effects of exercise.”

UVA’s effort has received almost a half-million dollars in backing from the NIH’s fund for MoTrPAC’s research.

“Our research team encompasses exceptional talents. The collective wisdom and expertise of the team at UVA and MoTrPAC will allow us to reach a level that we would not be able to reach by an individual,” Yan said. “It is an unprecedented opportunity in our lifetime to tackle this incredibly important question to mankind.”

To keep up with the latest medical research news from UVA, subscribe to the Making of Medicine blog at http://makingofmedicine.virginia.edu.

MORE: Exercise may help prevent deadly COVID-19 complication.

GirlTrek Photo Curtsey of Jewel Bush

GirlTrek Virtual Celebration

GirlTrek, the largest health movement and nonprofit for Black women in the United States, is officially now a sisterhood of 1 MILLION Black women – and counting!

To celebrate mobilizing 1 million Black women to use radical self-care and walking as the first practical step to leading healthier, more fulfilled lives, GirlTrek is hosting the biggest party for Black women 2020 has seen on Sunday, November 29th at 7 p.m. EST on GirlTrek’s Facebook LIVE

It will be a moment of gratitude and reflection centered in a celebration of our stories — the brilliant displays of uprising, change-making, freedom-claiming Black women. Women that have one by one, neighborhood by neighborhood, powered and propelled this movement to a literal unleashing of 1 million Black women! Together, we have been walking and building this movement for a decade. There’s no way in the world that we’d let this landmark moment pass without rejoicing.

The one-and-only D-Nice is set to spin. Performances include India Arie, Baby Rose, poet Aja Monet, and Tawiah.  

GirlTrek is the most effective public health solution in the country. GirlTrek was co-founded by two friends, T. Morgan Dixon and Vanessa Garrison. Over the years, the organization, which originally began as an email walking challenge among friends, expanded to a nationwide movement inspiring radical healing and health transformation among Black women. 

Based on membership data collection, in 2019, 26% of GirlTrek members reported taking less medication after committing to a daily walking practice; 61% of women lost weight since the previous year; 40% of women continued to see improvement in symptoms from a previous health condition and 98% of those who have been diagnosed with depression said walking has improved their symptoms. 

Join a sisterhood of 1 million — and growing —  by taking the pledge at GirlTrek.org. GirlTrek is free to join. Check out GirlTrek on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Gym Illustration by Rita Azar for 360 Magazine

The Beach Body

Kupah James has the raw and positive energy it takes to be motivational. Although he grew up in Boston, he now resides in LA as a Celebrity Group Fitness Instructor. With over 15 years of experience, Kupah is also a Private Party Dj (Global). With best friend and business partner, JENI Lin they created the very popular #BodyWeightBootKAMP – a 45min total body circuit for all fitness levels.

If you don’t find him amongst small groups of people motivating and coaching you can catch sneaking in afternoon naps and binging streaming services…before/after napping (LOL). His long term goal is to travel the world bringing #BodyWeightBootKAMP to each and every shore!

Health During the Holidays

With the 2020 holidays approaching, here are some activities you can #MakeMoves with first thing in the morning to get your mind right for the ensuing “craze that is the holidays.” Let’s agree, we are searching for a quick “win,” nothing super complicated and “thinking” should not be in the cards. Load up your “GoTo” workout, the one where you kill it and always feel your best every time.

If you’re feeling a more chill holiday workout, something meditative like a yoga practice, a long walk, a light jog or meditating can be helpful. One of these exercises can calm your nerves and allow you a moment of calmness. You can take this peaceful time to celebrate making it to another festive season. 

If you’re looking for help with the holiday feast, we all know we don’t want to ruin our appetites. By making sure we get a “healthier” breakfast in the morning, hopefully, we can avoid extra guilt come dessert time. Drink lots of water and if your a coffee person grab one to help suppress your hunger until “DINNAH,” lol. If you really want to balance out the equation, ease up on the carbs 24-48 hours before it’s time to dig in. Bon appétit!

Keeping a Daily Routine

With so many people working from home, parks and other creative spaces, how does one maintain a good routine if your living space becomes your workspace as well?

A couple of ways to maintain a good routine are using your smartphones/devices, friends/roommates/spouses, or an accountability coach. All devices come with apps, timers and reminders to help keep you on task. For me, I’m always on the go so I use food reminders to help me with my routine. Sometimes I’m so busy interacting with clients I forget to eat, so I created a reminder just to chug a protein shake every couple of hours. ICONIC makes a perfect pre-made protein shake, so it’s even easier, no excuses.

Do you have people around you that you can lean on for “check-ins” and support? Asking a friend, relative or spouse could be a great way to “stay the course” and build on an existing relationship. 

Accountability Coaches do just that, hold you accountable with calls, texts, meets and quality time invested into the things you SAY you want to do but allow distractions to get in the way. Sometimes a person you’re close to might not be the best for this job, rather finding an objective, trained professional to work with your motivations might be best. 

A Critical Muscle to Tone

It is critical to develop a strong healthy back simply because your back is essentially the most important part of your skeleton next to your skull. It bears the weight of your upper body while stabilizing your balance and “kindly” houses your Central Nervous System (CNS). Your CNS allows signals from the brain to travel throughout your body. If that isn’t reason enough it’s also a major component to posture, and everyday activities like walking, running, sitting and lifting. 

Some of the primary benefits of a back workout are the strengthening of the shoulder and increasing stability. Many shoulder injuries can be treated simply by strengthening your back. Another benefit to back workouts is the positive effect on your posture and balance. Not to mention, a well developed back will aid in your quest for that Super Hero Body that many of us dreamed of as little boys. 

The best exercises depend on someone’s personal goals. With that said, some essential exercises would be – in no particular order – Back Loaded Squat, Deadlifts both (Sumo and Romanian are common), Back Rows, Rear Flys, Single Arm Row, Pull-Ups and Chin-Ups and Lat Pull Down. These are all great exercises, just to name a few. 

A common mistake of back exercises is having a “poor” form. I could never express how important form is to the overall development of any muscle group and the back is no exception. Especially in the Back Squat, Deadlift and Pull Up. Those are three that I often see performed incorrectly and I can’t help myself but to speak up and try to help the best way I can. An injury is nothing to shake a stick at, so when performing these exercises, and others, please “respect the rep” and choose form over everything.

Something to consider which I believe gets overlooked is a post-workout routine. A good stretch of the muscle group you just worked on can be vital in your recovery. A protein shake that feeds the muscles with proper nutrition and the tools it needs to maximize your workout can also be necessary. My personal favorite post-workout shake is by ICONIC, it comes in a variety of flavors, a powder or pre-made, and is grass-fed. 

How often a person should add back exercises to their routine depends on the individual goals, injuries, limitations, etc. However, once someone wants to add back exercises, they can add them immediately. If someone is “newer” to fitness it might not be a bad idea to try some workouts using strictly bodyweight before adding a load, just to perfect form and technique. A great source of BodyWeight workouts can be found on my YouTube Channel, and are streaming for FREE. As far are frequency, 2x or 3x a week seems pretty reasonable unless there are specific goals in which case it would be situational. For the common fitness person, this number would be adequate. 

Social Distancing: The Silent Heartbreaking Pandemic

By Dr. Stephen Sinatra, cardiologist, Healthy Directions

If the COVID-19 pandemic has made you stressed, you’re not alone. There’s no shortage of things to worry about—from the fear of catching the virus to activities and milestones missed, not to mention the economic toll it’s taken on us individually and collectively. All you have to do is turn on the news to see this play out in real-time.

But beneath these obvious stressors churning in your mind and blowing up your social media newsfeed, there’s also a silent stressor in our midst – one that concerns me greatly as both a cardiologist and trained psychotherapist. It’s the impact that quarantining and social distancing has had on both our emotional health and our physical health. 

In many ways, social distancing is the “silent pandemic”—and, if left unchecked, can lead to serious health issues.

We are “Hardwired” to Need Social Connections

Human connection is vital to reducing stress levels. When you spend time with others—whether it’s grabbing a beverage with a close friend or hugging a family member—your body releases dopamine. This feel-good hormone, sometimes referred to as natural morphine, boosts your mood and calms your sympathetic nervous system.

So, while social distancing is necessary for curbing the spread of the COVID-19, it has limited our ability to spend time with friends and family, which has led to an uptick in anxiety, depression and overall emotional stress.

Emotional Stress Can Directly Impact Your Health

You can’t separate your body and mind – your emotions have a very strong impact on your physical health. That’s why when I became a cardiologist, near the end of the Vietnam War, I studied to be a psychotherapist as well because I realized that many of the serious heart issues I would see in returning soldiers were related to emotional stress.

When you’re stressed, the hypothalamus (the tiny control center in your brain) stimulates your body to release cortisol, which is often referred to as the “stress hormone.” Cortisol puts your body into fight-or-flight mode by raising your blood sugar levels, heart rate, blood pressure and breathing. 

If there’s an immediate threat – like if you would need to run away from a lion – your body is ready. But when the threat is gone, your body quickly returns to normal. While this type of occasional stress response doesn’t concern me at all, the persistent stress we’re all experiencing during the pandemic is a different story. It’s as if we’re being chased by a lion continuously!

When you’re in a heightened state of stress, your cortisol levels stay elevated which can have a far-reaching effect on your health, impacting your sleep, blood pressure, heart rate and more.

Good News – You Can Protect Your Health

While there’s no magic pill that can remove all of the stress and heartache we’re experiencing during this pandemic, there are many things you can do to manage stress while safely regaining some of the human interactions we’re all craving.

1. Allow yourself to cry. We’re all living under a massive umbrella of fear right now —whether it’s fear of the virus itself, getting sick or transmitting it to others. There’s also fear of losing a job, losing a home or of not having enough food. On top of that, many of us are angry and upset by what we’ve lost and the ability to control our own lives.

Emotions like anger and sadness are the Achilles’ heel of the cardiovascular system. When you hold your emotions in, it affects you physically, leading to everything from headaches to high blood pressure. 

The solution is to permit yourself to release that stress and anger by crying. I know that for many people that can be difficult to do. I came from the generation when parents often said, “If you don’t stop crying, I’ll give you something to cry about.” So, we used to shut off our emotions. It’s important to realize that crying is not a sign of weakness, but rather the opportunity to release all of that negative energy, stress and tension you’ve been holding in.

2. Breathe. Did you know breathing is related to laughing and laughing is related to crying? All three — whether you laugh deeply, cry deeply or breathe deeply — free up an overcharged sympathetic nervous system and support heart rate variability, which has a calming affect on your mood.

One of my favorite techniques is alternate nostril breathing. Begin by taking a deep breath in and out through your nose. Next, use your right thumb to close your right nostril and inhale slowly through your left nostril. Then, close both nostrils and hold your breath for a moment. Now, open your right nostril and breathe out slowly. Repeat the same exercise with your left nostril. Then, alternate back and forth between nostrils to destress.

3. Reach out to others. It’s important to remember that even when we can’t connect with others in-person, we can connect with them virtually. I refer to it as connecting at the “heart level.” Zoom, Skype, Facetime, WhatsApp and other similar applications have made it easy to not only hear from family and friends but to see them as well. One of the positive reframes we can take from the coronavirus is that in many ways, technology has brought us closer together.

Our family has been connecting quite a bit on Zoom during this pandemic. My son, Drew, has been doing Zoom exercise classes with his brother-in-law — he leads the whole family through a circuit-training workout. Plus, my wife and I have had regular virtual visits with the grandchildren. During one call, my grandson Luca showed me his new cowboy boots, so I went to get mine to show to him as well!

I also encourage you to think creatively. Many people are having virtual book club meetings, playing games with others online and having socially distanced dinners with friends. I know one family that cooks together once a week. The “head chef” sends out a recipe in advance so everyone can buy the ingredients, then they all cook together online.

4. Harness the mood-boosting power of exercise. Exercise is one of the most powerful mood boosters there is. When you exercise, it releases stress from your muscles, reduces your levels of the “stress hormone” cortisol and boosts your body’s level of feel-good endorphins. Some studies have shown that aerobic exercise is a quicker mood elevator than an antidepressant.

What type of exercise should you do? My answer to that question is always the same — the type you’ll enjoy and keep doing day-in and day-out. Even just a 20-minute walk or dancing to your favorite songs can make a powerful difference in your stress levels and improve how you feel!

5. Spend time in nature. One positive aspect of COVID-19 is that people are spending more time outdoors. Not only is it safer from the perspective of spreading the virus but being outside has many healing benefits in and of itself. Getting outside; soaking in the fresh air; and gazing at the trees, birds and other wilderness reminds us that there’s a bigger world out there. This all helps us to reframe our perspective.

Another powerful benefit of getting outside is that if you leave technology behind and put your phone away, it allows you to relax and regroup away from the news, social media and other persistent reminders about the stress in our world. If you can, take a family member with you when you go outdoors or meet a friend for a socially distanced walk. 

If you can’t get outside, you can also “get back to nature” within yourself. You can do that with deep breathing, meditation, yoga, Qigong or Tai Chi. My son, Drew, a practicing naturopathic physician, has started each day of the pandemic by meditating for 20-minutes each morning and has found it to be a real game-changer in getting through this difficult and challenging time. Meditation not only releases stress but allows you to cope more easily with the stressors you encounter throughout the day.

6. Practice grounding. One of my cardinal principles of health is grounding, also known as earthing. It’s an amazingly simple concept that involves nothing more than reconnecting the human body with the natural energy that’s present in the ground we walk on.

The Earths’ surface contains free electrons that are continually replenished through solar radiation and lightning strikes, and your body naturally absorbs those particles when you make physical contact with the ground. These electrons help to keep your body’s innate electrical circuitry properly balanced, which lowers stress and increases calmness in the body by moderating heart rate variability, nervous system activity and stress hormone secretion. Plus, it helps to promote normal blood pressure.

If conditions allow, just go barefoot outside. Grass, sand, dirt and concrete are all conductive surfaces from which your body can draw the Earth’s electrons. If going barefoot outside isn’t realistic, a warm basement with a concrete floor will also work. Sit there, read or just relax with your bare feet resting on the ground.

7. Take ashwagandha. This powerful herb is part of a group of herbs called adaptogens that help your body adapt to stress. It works by helping to stabilize your body’s stress feedback loop, so it releases less cortisol. I’ve been taking it myself for more than 20 years, and it has made an enormous difference.

The best form of ashwagandha I’ve found is called, Sensoril. In studies, it has been shown to help people manage anxiousness due to stress, while also balancing healthy cortisol levels.

Participants in a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study saw a reduction in serum cortisol levels, anxiousness, fatigue and irritability brought on by stress within two months of using Sensoril Ashwagandha. Additionally, participants experienced an improvement in sleep quality, physical mobility, mood and concentration, all of which can positively impact emotional well-being and heart health. It’s so impressive that I added it to my Omega Q Plus ULTRA supplement formula, in addition toother top-recommended nutrients to support your heart and overall health.

8. Make your health a priority. It’s much easier to cope with stress when you’re rested and eating well. Strive to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night. Go to bed early rather than staying up late to watch the news or peruse social media feeds – all of which can rev up your stress levels. Keep your room cool and dark and remove all electronics from your sleeping space. If you have trouble calming down, try drinking a cup of valerian tea.

It’s also important to avoid the urge to stress eat – something people have been doing a lot of during the pandemic. And there’s a real physical reason driving that urge. When your cortisol levels are high, it increases your appetite and makes you more likely to reach for sugary treats and simple carbohydrates to lift your mood. But the boost is only temporary and can leave you feeling even worse once the “sugar high” wears off.

Instead, eat foods that protect your health and boost your mood. DHA omega-3 fatty acids are a powerful mood-booster, helping to build receptors for the “feel-good hormone” serotonin. It can be found in foods like wild-caught salmon, flaxseed, nuts and seeds and DHA-fortified eggs.

Dark chocolate also contains a mood-boosting biochemical called phenylethylamine, which is the same chemical that causes the euphoric feeling we equate with love. For maximum health benefits, you want to look for organic dark chocolate that contains at least 70% cacao. Plus, remember that a little goes a long way. I allow myself to have a small piece every few days as a heart-healthy treat.

Finally, remember that no matter how difficult this stretch of time has been, there will come a time when things adapt and get better. We’ll reconnect with our loved ones, get back to the activities we enjoy and have more freedom to plan for the future. And if we can all take this time to practice some extra self-care habits, we’ll come out the other side even better off than before.

Bio: Dr. Stephen Sinatra is one of the most highly respected and sought-after cardiologists whose integrative approach to treating cardiovascular disease has revitalized patients with even the most advanced forms of illness. He has more than 40 years of clinical practice, research and study, starting his career as an attending physician at Manchester Memorial Hospital in Connecticut. Here, he then went on to serve as chief of cardiology, director of medical education, director of echocardiography, director of cardiac rehabilitation and director of the weight-reducing program. He is known as one of America’s top integrative cardiologists, combining conventional medical treatments for heart disease with complementary nutritional, anti-aging and psychological therapies. He is an author, speaker and adviser for the research and development of nutritional supplements with Healthy Directions. Sinatra is a best-selling author of more than a dozen books, including, “Heartbreak and Heart Disease,” “The Great Cholesterol Myth,” “Reversing Heart Disease Now,” “The CoQ10 Phenomenon,” “Heart Sense for Women,” “The Sinatra Solution,” and “Metabolic Cardiology.”