Great Ways to Exercise Outdoors

Summertime is just around the corner, and what better way to celebrate than getting outside. In fact, June is National Great Outdoors Month! This is a great time to explore our nation’s beautiful and numerous parks, trails, and natural wonders. Here are five ways to get moving in the great outdoors. Go for a Walk or Run Whether you are on a quick lunch break or training for a race, a walk or run around the block is a great way to be active this summer. Very minimal equipment is needed for this kind of exercise, making it easier to squeeze into your day. All you will need is a supportive pair of gym shoes, extra water for hydration, and sunscreen. If you’re on the go, consider a small running belt to bring along any additional items like your phone, [...]

Nutrition and Mental Health

  Eating healthy can help us to look and feel our best physically. But little is discussed about how the food we eat can affect our mental health. Eating a diet rich in nutritious foods can help us to feel more alert and think clearly. Well-balanced meals and snacks can also help us to concentrate and improve attention span. On the other hand, eating a diet high in unhealthy foods can affect our brain in a negative way. An inadequate diet can lead to fatigue, impair decision making skills, and slow down reaction time. A poor diet can aggravate or lead to stress and depression. Stress and Depression It has been shown that sugar and processed foods can cause inflammation throughout our bodies. Chronic inflammation can contribute to mood disorders such as anxiety and depression. According to the Academy of [...]

Mental Health Awareness Month

May is Mental Health Awareness Month Mental Health Awareness Month has been observed in the U.S. since 1949. Mental health refers to our emotional or psychological wellbeing, and many argue it is the most valuable aspect of health. Mental Health Month was instituted to raise awareness about mental health and signs and symptoms of imbalance that require help from a professional. Mental illness can affect people of any age, including children and adolescents. Our physical and emotional health has been increasingly challenged by the pandemic and other recent events, so maintaining psychological balance is as difficult as it has ever been. Mental illnesses, such as depressive and anxiety disorders, are among the most common conditions in the United States today, affecting one in five Americans at any given time. Despite the huge numbers, many people with emotional illnesses often feel [...]

Sleep Awareness Month

  Had to finish the book, lost down the social media rabbit hole, or “I just can’t sleep”. Any of these sound familiar? People have so many things that occupy their time now, that sleep might be an afterthought for many.  But activity at the cost of sleep is a mistake.  Many people fail to realize that the 25-35% of each day we spend sleeping is productive, and crucial to living an energetic and successful life. Like our diet and exercise habits, it can be difficult to make sleep a priority. Sleep gives our body and mind the chance to repair, rebuild and recover from the events of our daily life. While you sleep, your body repairs itself from the stress of the day. A productive night’s sleep helps our body in several ways: Renews energy. Boosts the immune system [...]

Don’t Stress Out Your Heart

  When we think about heart health, we typically think about habits involving exercise and nutrition. While these both have a huge impact, the effects of stress on the heart often get overlooked. Stress is something that most of us deal with daily. Taking time to manage our stress can greatly improve heart health and lower the risk of adverse effects. When it comes to stress, it is necessary to explore types of stress, how it affects the body, and how to better manage it. Acute vs. Chronic Stress Acute stress stems from a short-term, immediate stressor. It sparks our body’s “flight or fight” response and produces stress hormones (adrenaline and cortisol) which cause elevated heart rate, increased breathing, and contracted muscles that are ready for action. It's natural for our bodies to have this acute response to stress because [...]

2022 Food Trends

  Just as fashion trends come and go throughout the years, food trends are no different! 2022 is here and experts have narrowed down the food trends to watch out for.  Trend-watchers and foodies alike are predicting a focus on sustainability, more spice, and entertaining galore.  While you are probably tired of hearing social media trends like 2021's baked feta pasta and nature's cereal, rest assured 2022 food trends will extend far beyond the corners of your phone. Almost 2 years into the coronavirus pandemic, you'll notice many of the trends pivoting to meet the needs of our "new normal". While other trends are just fun! Think: life with fewer boundaries and tables filled with loved ones.  More Nostalgia  Food that reminds us of good childhood memories like grandma's pasta sauce or the apple pie after school snack can also [...]

Top Fitness Gifts for Every Exerciser

Are you looking for the perfect gift for the fitness fanatic in your life? We have got you covered! Keep your workout buddy on track with these trendy ideas for every type of exerciser. The Gym Goer A Functional Gym Bag Keeping up with a workout routine in a busy schedule usually means packing a change of clothes and gym shoes so you can be ready to go in a flash. A functional bag like Focus Gear’s Ultimate Gym Bag has a compartment for all the necessities, including water-resistant pouches and a specific compartment for shoes. It can keep all your gear in one spot for those quick on-the-go workouts. The Gift of Fitness Classes Know someone who loves fitness classes and is always eager to try out a new one? The ClassPass Gift Card is a great way to give [...]

Stress and Heart Disease

Stress and Heart Disease Read Time: 1 minute 6 seconds Stress can cause our heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure to rise. This is a normal response and can be necessary at certain times. However, when stress sticks around for long periods of time, it can start to take a toll on the body. This includes many of our internal organs, including the heart.   How Stress Affects the Heart When stress is prolonged and poorly managed, a higher level of the hormone cortisol lingers in the body. According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, “Studies suggest that the high levels of cortisol from long-term stress can increase blood cholesterol, triglycerides, blood sugar, and blood pressure.” An elevation in these factors leads to a higher risk of heart disease. Chronic stress has also been shown to increase the rate [...]

Exercise your HEART

Exercise Your HEART Read Time: 2 minutes 46 seconds You may be familiar with the benefits that consistent exercise has on managing weight, blood pressure, stress, strength, and endurance.  But did you know that consistent exercise can also help keep your heart healthy and lower your risk of heart disease? Just like the muscles of the body need regular exercise, so does our heart muscle. Exercise can keep our heart pumping efficiently, so it does not have to work too hard. Consistent physical activity can also help our arteries and blood vessels stay more flexible, which promotes proper circulation and more managed blood pressure. The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise along with 2 or more days of strength training per week. While aerobic exercise is great for cardiovascular health, it is also important [...]

Gratitude: Random Acts of Kindness

Random Acts of Kindness Read Time: 1 min 35 seconds According to research, perpetually kind people have 23% less cortisol (the stress hormone), and age slower than the average population. Performing acts of kindness not only enhances others’ lives but is rewarding to our bodies and minds through feel-good hormones that are released. However, the effects of kindness aren't long-lasting, which means cultivating a daily practice of kindness for ourselves and others, is key. Each year, Random Acts of Kindness week is recognized from February 14th to February 20th. There is no better time to cultivate kindness than now!   Benefits of Kindness Have you ever felt that warm feeling when you’ve done something kind? When we perform acts of kindness, hormones like oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin are released in the brain. These hormones can give you feelings of satisfaction, [...]