Category: Health and Wellness

Blog posts about your health and wellness. Improve your overall health and become more fit.

How To Fit Well-Being Into A Busy Lifestyle

How to Fit Well-Being into a Busy Lifestyle

By Brad Krause of SelfCaring.info/

Health is on your mind, no doubt. How could it not be with all the demands from the internet, magazines, and newspapers that you eat right, exercise and be blissfully happy?

But it seems like the purveyors of those news clips and articles live in a bubble. They haven’t seen what it’s like in the real world, with all the barriers it throws up against physical and mental well-being. The stores are so packed with junk food you can barely find the healthy options. Getting to the gym is a pipe dream with all that work piled on your desk. And then there’s the stress of all that … so much stress.

You can’t change the world, but you can learn to navigate it and make some lifestyle changes that incorporate health into your daily and weekly routine. Wondering how? Here are a few little tricks that make a huge difference for the better.

Purifying Your Home

If you’re feeling under the weather, the very air around you could be to blame if it’s filled with dust, contaminants, and toxins, which is common in many homes. That’s especially troublesome for those who suffer from asthma or allergies. There’s an easy fix, though: an air-purifier. Do some research and check out reviews before you buy, and look for one with a high MERV rating, as it will do a better job of protecting your home and family from noxious particles than a low-rated model.

Shopping the Perimeter of the Grocery Store

This is where you’ll find the good stuff, meaning fresh fruits and veggies as well as lean meats and low-fat dairy. You may have to make a few strategic forays into the aisles to pick up some herbs, spices, and oils, but stick to your shopping list, and resist temptation from all the sweet and salty snacks.

Cooking in Batches

It saves time when transforming those whole foods into wholesome meals. Pick a recipe, make enough for a week’s worth of lunches, and store it in the refrigerator. That way, all you have to do in the morning is scoop out a portion into a container and head to work.

Breaking a Quick Sweat

Don’t cancel your gym membership, but learn a few routines you can do at home in under half an hour on those days when you can’t make it to your free-weight session or Spin class. Fitness magazine has literally dozens for you to try.

If you’re looking or a simple, fast and effective workout you can do anywhere, anytime, check out the Daily 30: A Quick Everyday Bodyweight Workout!

Hitting the Pedals

If your fitness routine doesn’t burn enough calories, this would finish the job. However, the number 1 reason to bike to work or the grocery store is the sheer fun of it, according to Momentum Mag, adding that it serves as a form of therapy, as opposed to sitting in traffic, which only invokes frustration.

Getting Mindful

Meditation and yoga are two ways to do this, as these ancient practices encourage you to simply exist in the present and feel the sensations that run through your body as thoughts pass unimpeded through your mind. There are other ways to achieve mindfulness, but they all share one thing in common: They’re excellent for relieving stress and relaxing.

Writing It All Down

Keeping a journal is another way to find tranquility in your daily life. It’s a noted activity for relieving stress, much like meditation and yoga, while also helping you to organize your thoughts and “declutter your brain.” It could even serve as a useful tool in your self-improvement efforts.

Reading in Bed

You’ll fall asleep faster, and you need your 40 winks if you want to wake up the next morning with energy to make it through the day. What’s more, it’s an excellent workout for your brain, expanding your vocabulary and encouraging your ability to concentrate.

Check out Motivated Mindset for a great daily read!

Taking a Hike

Unless you live out in the woods, you may have to save this for the weekend. It’s worth it, though, as the health benefits far outweigh those of shopping or watching a sports game. Besides an excellent form of exercise, hiking is great for stress relief.

Now comes the hard part: making those changes. Pick one item off the list, put it to work, and then choose another, and then another. You’ll feel better soon and wonder why you didn’t start a long time ago.

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Vitamins, Minerals and You!

Vitamins, Minerals and You!

Take your vitamins and eat your food!

Vitamins and minerals are key nutrients that our bodies need to survive. These vital nutrients are supplied by our diet to help our body function properly.

If any one nutrient is deficient or consumed in extreme excess it can have tremendous negative effects on your health and performance.

Taking a multi-vitamin supplement can help make sure that you do not become deficient, but most of your vitamins and minerals should come from food.

Vitamins and minerals help your body to function properly. If anyone nutrient is deficient it can have tremendous negative effects on your health and performance.

Also, if any nutrient is consumed in excess it can be harmful and even deadly.

To avoid becoming deficient or even over consuming any one nutrient, consume a variety of foods including:

  • Fruits and Vegetables
  • Meats and Fish
  • Dairy
  • Nuts and Seeds
  • Beans and Legumes

Each category of food listed above provides vital nutrients our bodies need to survive. If eating a variety of foods is not permitted due to your diet, or you have some food allergies preventing certain food groups, you will need to take a multivitamin or supplement to get these vital nutrients.

To make it simpler, just eat a variety of natural foods, regularly. Even if you choose just one item from each group to include in your diet, it can make a big difference.

Add a handful of spinach to your breakfast eggs, have some fish once a week, eat more cheese, snack on some nuts and join in a chili eating contest! Find what works for you and stick to it, for your health!

Some nutrients are more important than others for men and women. For example, women need a lot more calcium, vitamin D and iron, to account for blood loss and because they lose the ability to absorb calcium after age 30. It is vital for women to get a lot of these key nutrients during puberty and especially as they age. Men, on the other hand, need more magnesium and zinc to help with testosterone production throughout their lives.

Though it is important to get all of our vital nutrients in, more does not mean better. If you take too much of any one nutrient it can have harmful, and even deadly effects.

Though it is difficult, if you eat too much of one thing or add in a lot of supplements, you can start to feel negative symptoms. So be conscious of how you feel on a normal basis, and if anything starts to change, you may want to look at your diet.

When choosing a multivitamin look for one that supplies only about 50% or less of the daily value for each nutrient. This will ensure that you are not greatly deficient in any nutrient and leaves room for an abundance of nutrients to come from food, as they should.

Note: Generally men should have little to no iron in their multivitamin but women need to have some.

Now ask yourself…do you have an incomplete diet that lacks a variety of foods? Do you often feel fatigued, weak or have any skin or eye discoloration? If so, you may need to rethink your diet and start making changes to improve your health and well being.


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What You Need To Know About Electrolytes!

What You Need To Know About Electrolytes!

Electrolytes are an important part of our diets, but if you think that drinking some Coconut water or eating a banana helps cure or prevent cramping, then you need to think again. Here is what you need to know about electrolytes…

There are 4 main electrolytes we will focus on:

  1. Sodium (Na+),
  2. Potassium (K+),
  3. Calcium (Ca++), and
  4. Magnesium (Mg++).

Each electrolyte has a distinct function but they work in unison to create optimal cell performance. If our electrolytes get too far out of balance they can counteract each other and hinder performance.

It is important to keep adequate amounts of electrolytes in the diet, but it is more important to keep them in balance.

Electrolytes are charged particles within the body that maintain proper cell function. One common mistake is that those who regularly exercise believe that they need to constantly replenish their electrolytes due to the loss in sweat.

It is true that these electrolytes are lost through sweat, among other things, but we should keep in mind that our body is smart. Our body wants to hold onto these valuable nutrients as long as it can. With this in mind, our body attempts to retain the electrolytes which are low in the system and releases the ones which are in excess.

Sodium (Na+) is always present in sweat while the other electrolytes are in much lesser amounts. Due to this, water is the only necessary nutrient that needs to be replenished if exercise lasts less than one hour.

Don’t go around thinking that you need a calorie filled sports drink or Coconut Water just because you did some light activity for 30 minutes.

For events lasting longer than one hour, some electrolytes need to be restored. Just avoid overindulging on added sugars while replenishing your electrolytes, unless needed due to your daily energy expenditure. Remember, you don’t need it unless you have been continuously sweating for at least 60 minutes, not including breaks.

Electrolyte Breakdown:

Sodium (Na+)

Sodium (Na+) is an electrolyte that commonly works with potassium (K+).

Its main functions are to:

  • maintain our body’s fluid balance,
  • send nerve impulses and
  • allow for muscle contraction.

These functions are actually what stop cramping! Sodium (Na+) helps our cells to maintain hydration, but, more importantly, it prevents cramping through sending signals to our muscle to turn on and off. When we do not have enough Sodium (Na+), then our muscles cramp as our body turns a muscle on and saves Sodium (Na+) by not sending the signal to turn it off. This creates cramping.

While these are important functions, too much Sodium (Na+) causes high blood pressure, filtering systems dysfunction and potassium (K+) deficiency.

Sodium (Na+) works with potassium (K+) but has the opposite effect. If one gets too high in balance, it will prevent the other nutrient from performing its job.

Sodium (Na+) is a hard nutrient to avoid, being found in salt along with most everything processed. For those that exercise regularly, this is not commonly a concern due to sweat rates and the amount used for muscle contraction. However, those that are sedentary, or who have known heart problems, should avoid excess sodium (Na+) intake due to the increased stress it places on your heart.

Though it should not be banned entirely, sedentary individuals should avoid large amounts by limiting the number of processed foods consumed. Generally, anything edible within a package has some amount of salt, so be smart about your consumption.

Overall, to improve overall performance and health, a greater concern should be placed upon the intake of potassium (K+) relative to sodium (Na+).

Potassium (K+)

Potassium (K+) works with Sodium (Na+) in our cells to maintain an equal charge balance.

Other functions include:

  • maintaining osmotic pressure within the cell,
  • blood pressure regulation and
  • it is necessary for muscle strength and contraction.

Due to the large amounts of sodium (Na+) commonly consumed, and the lack of a proper diet, potassium (K+) is commonly overrun.

To keep your muscles in an optimal state of performance, try to get a good amount of potassium (K+) through your regular diet. Good food sources are avocados, tomatoes, coconut water, dark green vegetables and, of course, bananas.

If you have a low Sodium (Na+) Diet due to health-related issues, then avoid having an excess of Potassium (K+) which will actually cause more issues by throwing off your  Sodium-Potassium Electrolyte balance.

Also, avoid an excessive amount of sugars that generally come along with potassium sources unless intense exercise proceeds.

Calcium (Ca++)

Calcium (Ca++) is one of the most important nutrients and electrolytes in the body; especially for active individuals.

Calcium’s (Ca++) main function is initiating muscle contraction. Without calcium (Ca++), our muscles cannot contract.

Though this is important for our skeletal muscles, it is most important for our heart or cardiac muscles.

Without calcium (Ca++) in the blood being brought to our cardiac muscle cells, they will no longer be able to contract and our heart will stop. This is not very common due to our large calcium (Ca++) stores we call bones but can happen with too much exercise within a short period.

Our body would much rather break down our bone tissue so our heart can work rather than let our heart stop beating even once.

Remember, our bodies are smart. The only thing our bodies care about is survival. With this backup system in place, we do not have to worry much about our heart-stopping. However, if we want to keep our bones strong and increase our muscle contraction ability to become stronger, then we need a good amount of Calcium (Ca++) in our diet.

Good sources include dairy products, dark green vegetables, and bony fish.

Note: Calcium (Ca++) intake is most important for women, especially during puberty. This is because women’s ability to absorb Calcium (Ca++) greatly slows post-puberty and nearly stops around age 30. Therefore, women have to consume an entire lifetime worth of Calcium (Ca++) before the age of 30.

*Be careful not to over-consume large amounts all at once.

Magnesium (Mg++)

Magnesium (Mg++) is an electrolyte that is commonly overlooked.

Its common functions are:

  • as a structural component in our muscle cells,
  • to help lower blood pressure and
  • prevent heart arrhythmias or irregular heartbeats.

Also, Magnesium (Mg++) levels help to control the functions of Calcium (Ca++) in the body. If Magnesium (Mg++) is too low, then our Calcium (Ca++) metabolism will not be optimized.

To maintain a healthy heart and be able to gain new muscle cells keep an adequate amount of Magnesium (Mg++) in your diet. Just don’t take Magnesium (Mg++) and Calcium (Ca++) supplements together, as they compete for absorption within the body.

Some good sources are green vegetables, potatoes, nuts, and seeds.

The Bottom Line

Electrolytes are vital for our health but do not believe the new fad drinks that have you loading up on one nutrient without considering the effects it has on the rest of your body.

Know your nutrients, and know your body. Get what you need and not too much of one electrolyte versus another. 

Now go salt your bananas, and have some nuts in your milk!


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How much Sleep do you actually need to reach your Goals?

How Much Sleep Do You Actually Need?

The more you do, the more you need to sleep!

Keeping a consistent sleep schedule is vital for both your strength and health!

Sleep is the most important and valuable recovery tool for our mind and body. Without proper sleep, our bodies cannot function optimally, or even at a normal rate.

Studies have shown that losing even one hour of sleep from your normal sleep schedule, greatly decreases your mental and physical performance, and taking an extra hour of sleep the next day will not bring you back to normal function.

This means that you cannot catch up on sleep!

Sleep is important and must be maintained regularly during your daily schedule for optimal benefits. If you are constantly changing the amount of sleep you get or time of day that you sleep it will interfere with your Arcadian rhythm, or natural time clock.

Your Arcadian Rhythm:

Our body does not know or care what the clock says, or if it is daylight savings time. Before clocks, our body still had a natural rhythm that was based on light.

Studies have shown that when it becomes dark at night and then light in the morning, our bodies go through chemical changes that say it is either time for rest or to wake up.

As the sun sets our bodies begin to slow down functions and want to be in a restful state to recover from the day’s activities. Then as the sun comes up it begins to activate systems, such as releasing insulin to put glucose into cells for energy, in order to get ready for daily activities.

For most people, it is recommended that you sleep for at least 7 hours a night, but this is only a minimum that does not provide the most recovery.

Everyone has a different amount of sleep that is required for their body, but there is a general amount of time that provides optimal recovery for most active individuals.

For most optimal recovery, be in a restful state as the sun goes down and sleep from at least 10 p.m. until 6 a.m. each day.

This is best for your Arcadian Rhythm, which means that as the natural light from outside dims down, so should your activities for the day, and the light you use around you. This will help to start the recovery process and get your body prepared for sleep so that you are not up all night staring at the ceiling. Also, to avoid interfering with your Arcadian rhythm, which is regulated by light, avoid being around a lot of light at night such as T.V. or computer lights.

How much Sleep do you actually need?

Sleeping with the sun is best for our recovery, but not always adaptable to our life’s activities. Again, we go back to the minimum requirement of getting at least 7 hours of sleep each day, with closer to 8 or 9 hours being better for those that are active.

However, as we know, we are all different and our bodies all recover at different rates.

If you want to know how much sleep you require, then simply go to sleep at a normal time (9-10 p.m.) after a standard day for you, and see when you wake up using no alarm. If you get less than 6 hours of sleep before waking up naturally, then go back to sleep to see if you can add on some hours.

Then count the hours you were asleep, making sure that you feel rested, and this is your normal sleep requirement. All you have to do now is account for your additional requirements after activity.

The more activity you do, and the more stress you place on yourself, the more sleep you need to recover from it.

  • If you exercise for at least one hour per day, then try to add 30 minutes to 1 hour of extra sleep to your normal schedule.
  • If you train intensely or are trying to build muscle, then you should add at least 1 hour of sleep for every hour of intense training that you do.

This will ensure the most amount of recovery to help decrease stress, build muscle, and make you stronger!

Now GO TO SLEEP!!!


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Do You Even Daily 30?

Do You Even Daily 30?

 

Strength starts with YOU and The Daily 30 is the start of your

strength journey logo

 

Consistency is key to reaching your Goals!

Without consistency, our goals can soon be replaced by other desires and easily slip away from us. Too often do we neglect our own health and fitness goals by putting others ahead of ourselves, or just by getting caught up in our busy lives. We forget that we are the most important part in helping others because without your own health you cannot help anyone. 

That is why I created the Daily 30! It teaches you to be consistent by keeping your goals and health in mind every day. No matter how busy we get, we all have 2 minutes, and that’s all it takes to do this simple bodyweight exercise routine. It will teach you the Basics of Human Movement Patterns while giving you tremendous benefits if done consistently. Consistency is key, and it will lead you to achieve your goals!

Go Lead by Example! (Read More Below)

daily 30 on top of the world morning sunrise
Performing the Daily 30 on top of the Haleakala Volcano in Maui Hawaii

What is the Daily 30?

The Daily 30 is a short and simple bodyweight exercise routine consisting of 3 exercises done for 10 repetitions each. These exercises are to be done at least once each and every day to teach your body to move safely using proper movement patterns. It takes less than 2 minutes to complete when done properly and will have an invaluable amount of benefits when done consistently over time.

Realize that the Daily 30 is NOT a Weight Loss or Strength Training Program when performed only once daily. It is meant to teach consistency and proper movements patterns. Check out our Programs Page for more!


What are the Benefits of the Daily 30?

The main benefit of doing the Daily 30 properly on a regular basis is increased neuromuscular proprioception, also known as the “mind-muscle” connection. This teaches your body to move properly by stimulating the correct muscles while going through normal and compromised ranges of motion. By gaining this increased muscle activation your body will better be able to protect itself from injury caused by both improper repetitive motion and quick reflexive action.

Other valuable benefits of the Daily 30 are:

  • Increased Mobility
  • Spinal Decompression
  • Joint Stabilization
  • Increased Body Control
  • Improved Gastrointestinal Health
  • Improved Blood Flow Circulation
  • Base Level Muscular Strength
  • Joint Health
  • Improved Posture and
  • Builds Core Stabilization.

We Challenge you to put these claims to the test with the Daily 30 Challenge!

To learn more and how to perform the Daily 30 click below.

The Daily 30

Strength to You,

Your Strength Journey Leader

Ryan J. Mathias

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