Doctor taking blood pressure

Foods That Help Regulate Blood Pressure

Fitness guru Jack Lalanne once said, “High blood pressure is from all this high-fat eating. Would you get your dog up in the morning of a cup of coffee and a donut? Probably millions of Americans got up this morning with a cup of coffee and a donut. No wonder they are sick and fouled up.” Lalanne really knew a thing or two about keeping healthy and regulating high blood pressure. The link between diet and high blood pressure is very real. If you’re dealing with hypertension, you may know that the DASH diet, which consists of foods low in sodium and high in calcium, magnesium, and potassium, is recommended to normalize and prevent high blood pressure, but there are also some specific foods have a healthy effect.

Dairy
Studies published in the Journal of Human Hypertension reported that Australian researchers found a connection between reduced risk of high blood pressure and low fat dairy foods with low fat yogurt and milk as the strongest players in the field. Although calcium content may contribute, it is more likely that other components, such as peptides, real eased in the digestion process, are responsible. It is uncertain why high fat dairy does not have the same effect, but the saturated fat may have something to do with it, or it is possible that low fat dairy eaters simply have a healthier lifestyle overall.

Flaxseed
A 2013 study published in the journal “Hypertension” found that flaxseed was among a variety of foods capable of reducing both diastolic (relaxation of the heart) and systolic (contraction of the heart) blood pressure. Why the flaxseed causes the blood pressure reduction is unclear, but it may be due to food’s levels of the compounds alpha linolenic acid, lignans, peptides. and fiber.

Olive Oil
A 2012 study which ran in the American Journal of Hypertension showed that young women with slightly high blood pressure levels might benefit from olive oil. Spanish researchers found a connection between the polyphenol rich oil and drops in diastolic and systolic blood pressure.

Woman eating chocolate

Chocolate
If you must consume those breakfast donuts, at least try to make sure it is of the devil’s food variety. A 2010 BMC meta-analysis showed that dark chocolate and cocoa products with flavanols were linked to lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure among hypertension patients. Other research shows that the polyphenols in chocolate can help to form nitric oxide which widens blood pressure and eases blood flow.

Beets
Have you got the beets? According to a 2013 study published in Nutrition Journal, Australian researchers found that healthy men and women who drank beet juice plus apple juice had lower systolic blood pressure that those who drank plain apple juice. The reason? Beets contain nitrates, which naturally ease blood pressure.

Pistachios
A 2013 “Hypertension” journals study found that participants who ate one serving of pistachios for four weeks saw a reduction in systolic blood pressure. However, those who ate 2 servings did not see as much of a reduction. The reason for the difference in results was not clear, but it may be due to an increase in the amount of blood pumped from the heart caused by the higher nut dosage.

So, there’s the lineup. We hope that you found something on the list that gets your blood unpumping. Let us know what works for your hypertension and if any do the above did the trick, we love to hear from you.

Woman doing chair yoga

Ease Into Exercise With Chair Yoga

Dr. James Levine, director of the Mayo Clinic Arizona State University Obesity Solutions has been credited with coining the expression, “Sitting is the new smoking,” adding that, “Sitting is more dangerous than smoking, kills more people that HIV, and is more treacherous than parachuting. We are sitting ourselves to death.” Pretty scary stuff! While this may sound a bit dramatic to some, Levine’s words do seem to hold some water. Researchers have found, and are still finding evidence proving that sitting can increase the risk of heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes. However, there is a healthy activity that you can engage in without leaving your chair. Welcome to the world of chair yoga.

Benefits of Chair Yoga

Greater Strength and Flexibility
If mobility is an issue, chair yoga can increase body strength and help withstand falls while sustaining fewer injuries. This means you can better continue daily activities and hobbies. Also greater flexibility will mean greater ease when it comes to tying shoes and bending to pick things up.

Improved Bodily Control
Proprioception is the ability to know where your body is in relation to space and accurately coordinating movement. By improving bodily control, chair yoga can help people with disabilities such as MS which interfere with this skill.

Improved Mental Clarity and Reduction of Stress
Chair yoga can relieve the impact of pain and chronic illness and can help replace stress caused by feelings of helplessness and isolation with feelings of relaxation and tranquility.

Chair Yoga Poses

Chair Cat Cow Stretch
Sit on the chair with your spine long and feet flat on the floor. Put hands on the top of your thighs or knees. Inhale, arching your spine and rolling your shoulders back and down, bringing your shoulder blades into your back, You are now in cow position. Exhale, rounding your spine and dropping you chin to your chest, allowing the shoulder and head to come forward. You are now in cat position. Continue to move from cow to cat positions for five breaths.

Chair Raised Hands Pose
Inhale, raising your arms upward. Let your shoulder blades slide down your back as you reach toward the ceiling with your finger tips. Push your sit bones into the seat of your chair and lift from there.

Chair Forward Bend
Exhale, coming into a forward bend over your legs. Rest your hands on the floor, letting your head hang heavily, Inhale, raising your arms back up over your head. Continue to switch between the raised arm position and forward fold, moving with each breath.

Chair Extended Side Angle
Bend forward and bring your left hand’s fingertips to the floor outside your left foot. Opening your chest, inhale and twist to the right, bringing your right arm and lifting your face upward. Hold for several breaths and exhale bringing the right arm down.

Chair Eagle
You can achieve the eagle pose by crossing your right thigh over your left. If you are able, try to wrap your right foot around your left calf. Cross you left arm over your right at the elbow. Bend your elbows and bring your palms together. Lift your elbows while dropping your shoulders. Hold for three to five breaths and repeat on other side.

If you tried chair yoga and liked it, we would love to hear all about it! Please send us your comments and suggestions. We love to hear from you.

Woman eating healthy

You Should Be Thinking About Your Liver

If you ever Google the words, “Dear Liver,” you will find a lot of sad sacks apologizing for the havoc they have visited or are about to visit on their liver this or this past weekend. Poor livers! What have our livers done to deserve such shameful treatment? The liver is one of the hardest working organs in your body, processing everything you eat and drink and dutifully repackaging it for use or eliminating it. Why, we shouldn’t be taking these precious organs for granted, but rather we should be doing everything in our powers to protect them and treat them with the respect that they have surely earned! So how can you keep your liver healthy?

Eat Well
According to Timothy T. Nostrant, MD, one of the most important things you can do for your liver is to eat healthy. “Because the liver stores most of out nutrients… anything bad you consume will be associated with potential for damage.” The best diet for your liver consists of protein from plant based sources, and natural foods that are low in fat. Some of the most liver friendly foods include beans, lentil and legumes. Try not to eat too much meat and load up on fruits, veggies and whole grains instead. Aim for mono saturated and polyunsaturated fats as opposed to trans fats. Good sources of healthy fats include fatty fish, avocados, nuts, and pumpkin seeds. Limit your fat intake to 20% of your diet.

Exercise
Nostrant says, ” Obesity is linked to fatty liver disease,” which can cause scarring or cirrhosis of the liver, as well as liver cancer and liver failure. Exercise is an important part of keeping your weight under control. Nostrant advises those with weight problems to set a goal to lose 20% of their weight. Your liver will thank you.

Drinking too much
Limit Alcohol
Don’t give yourself a reason to apologize tomorrow. Even former drinkers are susceptible to liver damage showing up years after eliminating alcohol. G. Anton Decker, MD, advises cutting down to one drink a day for women and two for men. Also, beware of the over the counter pain reliever acetaminophen which can cause damage if taken in large quantities over a small amount of time. Avoid using IV drugs, having multiple sexual partners, abusing IV drugs and getting a tattoo or body piercing with unsterilized needles which have all been associated with hepatitis C.

Warning Signs
If your liver is not working correctly, fatigue is the most common symptom. Other signs include vomiting, loss of appetite, jaundice, nausea and decreased appetite.

Treatment Options
The most common liver diseases are fatty liver, viral hepatitis and genetic disease. If managed properly, however, they can be handled with a minimum of negative outcomes. Viral hepatitis is especially responsive to treatment and some people may be able to eliminate it entirely from their bodies.

If you are hurting your liver, you know who you are! Send in your confessions and New Year’s resolutions! We love to hear from you.

Woman at the gym

Stay Safe At The Gym

If you are like most children, you have grown up being taught that sharing is a beautiful thing. We share our toys, we share our food, we share our houses. However, as time has gone on and science has gotten more advanced, we have learned that with sharing comes a not so pretty consequence. It turns out that when we share our things, we share our germs as well. Sure, Suzy was nice enough to give Jimmy her extra Twinkie, but she gave it to him with her bare hands. Did Suzy wash her hands after she went to the bathroom?

As we grow up, we are still expected to share, only our toys have gotten a little more adult. Our jungle gyms have been replaced by gym equipment, but, unfortunately, the threat of germs is just as real. According to a December 2014 study found in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 25 different types of bacteria were found on handrails, toilet handles and equipment at four gyms in Memphis. The most common category of bacteria found were Staphylococcus or staph, a species known to be a cause of skin infection.

Why are Gyms a Breeding Ground for Skin infection?
Although it is easy to see how a virus may spread from one treadmill to another, it may be more difficult to imagine how skin infections are transferred. Fungi, bacteria and viruses that lead to skin infections thrive in warm, moist areas. Therefore, the sweat left on towels and exercise equipment provides the ideal tropical location for bacteria. The germs are also quite comfortable in a nice warm shower, sauna, or swimming pool deck. Not only that, but because staph infections are resistant to a variety of antibiotics, they can live on mats exercise machines and locker room benches for days.

Amber Marie Vasquez, MD and spokesperson for the CDC says, ” Skin infections…are most commonly reported in athletes engaged in sports that involve skin to skin contact, such as football or wrestling, but transmission can also occur…before and after participation-in locker rooms, for example. Open wounds, poor hygiene, and the sharing of towels and equipment all increase your risk.”

Sizing Up a Gym for Cleanliness
If you are checking out a new gym, it may be a good idea to check with the management about the cleaning routine. Make sure that the locker rooms and gyms are cleaned at least once a day with disinfectants and detergents registered by the EPA. Make sure disinfectant sprays and wipes are easily accessible and that equipment is well maintained with no damaged surfaces that make equipment more difficult to clean. “Also, bathrooms and locker rooms should be stocked with liquid soap or alcohol based hand sanitizer,” says Vasquez.

Lowering Your Risk

  • Protect Your Skin. Make sure cuts and scrapes are kept clean and covered with a bandage. Keep a towel or item of clothing between exercise equipment and your skin and always wear flip flops or jellies in the shower.
  • BYO Exercise Mat. Since yoga and gym mats may not be cleaned between classes, it is safest to bring your own.
  • Partake in Good Hygiene. Always wash your hands before and after using equipment and playing sports. Although a wash in good old soap and water is your best bet, the CDC advises utilizing a sanitizer that has an alcohol content of at least 60% if soap is not available. Disinfect fitness equipment with sprays and wipes before and after use and shower after you exercise, or use a swimming pool or hot tub.
  • Wash Your Stuff. Vasquez says, “Evidence shows that the numbers of skin bacteria build up each time we wear a piece of clothes without washing it.” Sweaty clothes, used towels and swimsuits should be stashed in a plastic bag separate from the rest of your stuff and washed after each use. Since heat kills bacteria, wash and dry items at the warmest temperature level possible.
  • Be Stingy. It all comes back to no sharing, especially when it comes to items that touch you, like razors.

So the next time you forget your towel and no one is eager to lend you one, don’t take it personally! Let us know about your experiences sharing (or not sharing) at the gym. We love to hear from you!

Woman eating healthy food

Earning Your Way To A Flat Belly

Anyone who has seen “Crazy Stupid Love” will remember the scene in which Emma Stone first sees Ryan Gosling shirtless. She takes one look at his washboard abs and says, “Seriously? It’s like your’e photoshopped!” Well, while we can’t all walk around looking like we’re photoshopped, we can take certain measures to tighten up our bellies. If you’re serious about losing the muffin top, read on!

Live Well

Focus On Your Whole Body
Many people believe they can crunch their way to a flat belly, but contrary to popular belief, crunches and sit-ups do not guarantee a svelte middle. That’s because belly bulge is not about lack of muscle, it’s about extra body fat. If you’re hoping to rival Beyonce’s midriff, you need to burn calories, not build muscle. The best way to do this is by developing a workout that impacts several muscle groups so you strengthen your entire body while burning those excess calories.

Woman planking
Work Your Core
In exercise lingo, planking is a term that refers to a move that practices balance, targets abdominal muscles, and strengthens your back and chest. To execute a plank, begin in a push- up position, but with your hands directly under your shoulders as opposed to outside your chest. Bring your feet together and balance on the balls of your feet and the palms. of your hands. Hold the position for as long as you can. If you like this one, you can move on to side plank, reverse plank, and even work your way up to plank-ups and plank twists!

Side Bend Stretch
This exercise won’t make the fat disappear, but it will bring blood and oxygen to this area which may help break down fat. Try to do this three times a day to stretch the upper back, triceps and abs. Bend to one side stretching your opposite arm over your head and then quickly stretch sides, bending the other way and raising the other arm. This should be done continuously for a total of 10 stretches on each side.

Eat Well

Woman eating berries
Beans

Not only do beans contain the best types of carbs, they are also full of resistant starch to help you burn fat after meals. Plus, they keep you feeling full.

Berries
These natural beauties are proven to stop fat cells from increasing in size and also help the cells release a hormone, called adiponectin, which lowers blood sugar and reduces inflammation.

Nuts
Research finds that eating nuts twice a week makes a person less likely to gain weight than their non-nut eating buddies.

Avoid Alcohol
If you drink, even occasionally, you know that alcohol is the ultimate nemesis of weight loss. The demon alcohol releases estrogen into the blood and excess estrogen means you’re more likely to hold on your excess weight. Plus, it lowers your inhibitions and hinders judgement, which means a late night feast may suddenly look more appealing.

Cut Down On Sodium and Drink More Water
If you’re looking to get rid of the bloat, you should keep your sodium intake down to 1,500 mgs a day and increase the amount of water you drink. Be sure to read food labels. Most processed foods contain alarming amounts of sodium. Cut down your levels to lower your water retention.

Now go out and flatten that belly and wait for those jaws to start droppin’! Let us know how it works for you; we love to hear it!

Woman spreading cheese on bread

Signs and Symptoms Of Wheat Allergies

There is an old saying, “He who will have a cake out of the wheat must tarry the grinding.” A truer proverb may never have been said, but what of those who must have the wheat out of the cake?

To say wheat allergies are no fun may be an understatement. Wheat is a main ingredient in some of the most beloved foods in America including donuts, cookies, cakes, muffins, crackers, waffles and pretzels, hot dogs, and ice cream. That sure limits the menu at baseball games. I guess this is what was meant by “tarrying the grinding.” Here are some of the things that can help to recognize, diagnose, and treat this troubling condition.

Symptoms of A Wheat Allergy
A wheat allergy is the result of a response that causes the immune system to attack wheat proteins because it falsely recognizes them as harmful substances. Symptoms include nasal congestion, eczema, hives, asthma, swelling of the mouth or throat, watery, itchy eyes, diarrhea, vomiting and bloating of the stomach. Anaphylaxis also may occur causing tightness of the throat, chest pain and difficulty breathing, a weak pulse, bluish flesh, and a possibly fatal drop in blood pressure. Although some adults have wheat allergies, they are more common in children and are usually resolved by the age of 5.

Diagnosis
There are various tests to diagnose wheat allergy. In many cases, patients are asked to keep a diary of the foods they eat, noting the symptoms. Those experiencing symptoms of wheat allergies will be asked to eliminate wheat and wheat products from their diet, then slowly reintroduce them at intervals. This, along with the food diary, will help to pinpoint the problem-causing foods, which can then be replaced.

Another way of revealing a wheat allergy is food challenge testing, which usually takes place at a hospital or clinic. The patient ingests capsules containing suspected allergens. The doses are gradually increased while symptoms are monitored to determine whether an allergic reaction takes place.

The skin prick test consists of diluted food drops placed on an individual’s back or arm. If itching or redness occurs, the test is considered positive. Blood tests can also be used to detect antibodies indicating food allergies.

Treatment
Although the recent amount of attention to gluten sensitivity has increased the emergence of wheat-free products, wheat proteins may still be difficult to avoid. Antihistimines can eliminate or lower allergy symptoms by lowering the immune system and should be taken after being exposed to wheat. This medication should be used only under professional guidance.

Adrenaline, or epinephrine is often used in an anaphylactic emergency. Patients who are at high risk of anaphylaxis are instructed to have two injectable doses of the treatment on hand. Auto-injector pens open airways, helping the patient to breathe more easily and restoring low blood pressure.

Risk Factors
If there is hay fever, asthma and allergy in the family history, the risk of developing a wheat allergy increases. Young children and infants are more likely targets because their digestive and immune systems are not fully developed. Exercise has been known to trigger responses to wheat product and may lead to anaphylaxis.

If you have, or have had wheat allergies, we would love to hear how you “tarry the grinding.” Let us know how you deal with them. We’d love to hear it.

Woman with the flu

Prepping For Cold and Flu Season

During her highly anticipated Diamond Tour, Rihanna contracted laryngitis and a cold after a Buffalo, New York appearance and was forced to cancel her upcoming shows. And little wonder! How can a girl from the tropical Barbados possibly be prepared for the unforgiving climate of Buffalo, New York?

And, while most people would agree that colds are inconvenient, uncomfortable, and unnerving when Rihanna contracts laryngitis, it is nothing short of a national disaster; after all, what is Rhi-Rhi without her voice? Not to mention all these gorgeous outfits hanging unworn in the closet. How sad! If only Rhi-Rhi had been prepped for cold and flu season!

Now, maybe your cold or flu is not likely to garner the attention on social media, but it is still distressing and does not come without costs. Here are some things you can do to avoid getting sick this year.

Load Up the Medicine Cabinet
The next time you’re at the market make sure to add a few extra items to your list. You’ll want to stock up on decongestants, cough medicines, antihistamines, pain relief meds, and vitamins. You may not need them now, but better safe than sorry.

Make Sure you Have the Right Equipment
Besides medicine, it’s always a food idea to have a thermometer with fresh batteries, a humidifier, hand sanitizer, tissues, and anti bacterial soap. Remember, you won’t feel like going out and getting them when your sick.

Bring On the Chicken Soup
Make sure your kitchen is ready to handle your cold. Make sure you have lots of fluids, including water and herbal tea, and Vitamin C loaded fruit juices. Also, be prepared with heat and serve comfort foods that can soothe sore throats and keep away chills.

Get a Flu Shot
Flus are extremely contagious and, unlike colds, can spread a day before its symptoms how up. The flu vaccine is the best way to protect yourself from the common flu strains and is updated each year according to predictions about the coming season.

Wash Your Hands Properly
Begin with anti-bacterial soap and warm water. Spend about 20 seconds lathering up, concentration on jewelry and fingernails. To track the time, you can sing “Happy Birthday” twice, but, be warned, the woman next to you may turn around and say,”How did you know?” Rinse and dry hands and use a disposable towel when touching the faucet.

Keep Household Surfaces Clean
Yes, even your house is not a safe haven. Cold and flu viruses can thrive on surfaces outside the body form between a few seconds to a few days. Clean surfaces with products containing alcohol, sodium hypochlorite, hydrogen peroxide, citric acid or bleach. There should be an EPA number on the label informing you whether or not the products meets the guidelines for disinfectants.

Have you done enough this season to fight off the cold and flu? What do you think? Did you get your flu shot this year? Let us know and tell us what you do to keep the germs away. Inquiring minds want to know.

Woman with strawberries in the grass

Avoid Dehydration With These Foods

Italian Tenor Enrico Caruso once said,” Watermelon- It’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.” Any of us that has stuck his or her face into a huge hunk of watermelon will realize the truth of this statement. Indeed, watermelon is a very versatile fruit and, while it is up for debate how well watermelon functions as a facial wash, it definitely provides quenches our thirst and satiates our hunger at the same time.

The importance of hydration is undeniable. Water keeps our bodies functioning properly, and aids in digestion, elimination and physical performance and we are often reminded of the daily goal of eight glasses a day. But while drinking water is not without its benefits, eating it may be even better. Says Dr. Howard Murad, associate clinic professor of medicine at the University of California, “There’s nothing wrong with drinking water, but if we don’t improve the capacity to get it into our cells and keep it there, it goes straight down the toilet without doing us any good.” He argues that the water you eat is different because it is attached to other molecules which help it to enter cells more easily and stay there for a long enough amount of time to be of use. So, what foods can we eat and drink?

Woman with watermelon

1.Watermelon
Caruso didn’t pick this one for no good reason. Although watermelon contains 92% water, it’s the salt, magnesium, and calcium content of this fruit that make it perfect for rehydrating. It’s also a great source of vitamins A and C.

2.Celery
Not just for dipping! Celery sticks are comprised of about 95% water and are high in fiber, vitamin K and potassium. Says Dr. Rachel Berman, registered dietitian, “they’re no packed with nutrients, but that’s also because they’re not calorie dense.” So, you can keep your mouth busy all day for a low calorie fix!

3. Strawberries
Always a beautiful addition to a salad or dessert, strawberries are the wateriest of all berries weighing in at a whopping 92% water and are also packed with Vitamin C and water.

4. Cucumbers
Fans of the movie “Spinal Tap” will remember this vegetable as responsible for setting off the metal detector at an airport when bassist, Derek Smalls, stuffed a foil wrapped one in his pants. Indeed, cucumbers have a plethora of uses. But whether, you eat them, use them on your skin, or shove them down your trousers, they are made up of 96% water, have no cholesterol or fat and are high in iron, vitamin K and vitamin B6.

Woman with spinach
5. Lettuce

Although ice berg lettuce claims a 96% water content, it is not the nutritional champ of the green and leafy veggies. Spinach, butter head and romaine lettuces are a little more heavy weight when it comes to packing a nutritional punch.

In closing, according to Berman, eight glasses is only part of the picture, She recommends 11 cups for women and 15 for men, but, keep in mind, 20% of that should come from food. So start eating your water and let us know how you get your daily water allowance every day. We love to get your input!

Woman working out while looking at wrist watch

Tips For Meeting Your Body Goals

If you are a follower of the latest celebrity news, you’ll have seen a lot of pretty incredible body transformations. You’ve probably seen Jennifer Hudson shrink a few sizes and Al Roker lose a good percentage of himself. You’ve seen Oprah go down, then up, then down, and Jessica Simpson go from a Renaissance painter’s dream to a biker’s fantasy. You bore witness to Cristina Aguilera’s triumphant return to hot pants. And of course, you’ve seen the “Revenge Body” of Khloe Khardashian whose astonishing slim down left her sisters wondering who was really ‘ the fairest one of all.’

Okay, so these are celebrities, and they do have access to personal trainers, dietitians, and Photoshop, but hey, you don’t get results without hard work and commitment. If they can achieve their body goals, so can you, and here are some pretty good tips on how you can do it.

1. Muscle Up
There are more ways to build muscle than weight-lifting. Resistance training can sculpt your body with lean muscle using your own body weight, resistance bands, and medicine balls. Begin with resistance training three times a week and try downing a protein shake or hard boiled egg within 45 minutes after your workout. Protein will help to keep the muscle on. Boot camp classes offer a variety of exercises and tools to help members reshape their bodies into lean muscle.

2. Stick to The Plan
Having a plan could make all the difference in actually achieving your goal. No one gets anywhere without a solid blueprint of how to get there. Arrange meetings with your friends for workout sessions or pencil visits to the gym on your daily planner. You’ll be more likely to commit if you have a realistic arrangement that will fit into your lifestyle.

3. Consider the Benefits
Of course losing weight and looking good are always motivating factors in pursuing a healthier lifestyle; however, it is also a good idea to think about other perks, such as increased flexibility and coordination, better health and a higher level of fitness. The more reasons you have to exercise, the more likely you are to stick to your plan.

4. Hydrate
A good workout equals a good sweat, and while a good sweat is a great accomplishment, it can also be responsible for the loss of fluids, nutrients, and minerals. Coconut water mixed with regular water is a great way to replace lost electrolytes and keep the body hydrated. A good way to determine the amount of water you should be getting daily is to take for weight and divide it in half. The number you get will be the number of ounces of water you should be getting every day.

5. Be Prepared When Cravings Hit
Cravings can be caused by thirst, exhaustion or lack of nutrients. Try to get a nap or drink some water rather than reaching for a bag of chips. Recognize that cravings may really be symptoms of something other than lack of food.

6. Pick Something You Enjoy Doing
Nothing is surer to dissuade you from sticking to your fitness goals than a boring exercise routine. If you like dancing, Zumba is a great way to get that calorie burn. If you love the outdoors, consider running or hiking. Sports and swimming are also valid options.

If you’ve got any tips for sticking to exercise goals, let us know how you did it, We welcome comments and suggestions.

Group of people working out in gym

Exercise Can Make You Happy

If you have ever watched “Legally Blonde,” you will definitely appreciate the wisdom of Elle Woods. You may remember this little gem from the trial scene, “I just don’t think Brooke could have done this. Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands. They just don’t!” Can’t doubt the wisdom of that.

Anyway, if you need another reason to exercise, keeping happy is a proven result and, if the life of your significant other is at risk, maybe you should seriously consider starting an exercise routine. And, if you need more convincing, here are some ways exercise really does keep you happy.

1. Happy Chemicals
Never doubt a character played by Reese Witherspoon! Dopamine is the neurotransmitter in your brain responsible for feelings of pleasure. Studies show that as we age, our stores of dopamine decrease and, as a result, we tend to seek out dopamine releasing experiences. And what’s the best way to do that? Exercise. Dance, run, whatever it is that gets your dopamine buzz going, get moving!

2. It Relieves Stress
Regular exercise actually subjects your body to low level stress by increasing your heart rate setting off a series of hormonal changes. In response, your body becomes more adept at handling stress in general, leading to better mental and physical health and quality of life.

3. It Give You Energy
Of course there are days when working out seems like the least appealing option in the world, However, if you are a regular exerciser, you will attest to the fact that you will feel better after some invigorating physical activity. Try and make that extra effort to get yourself moving by focusing on how the results.

4. It Gives Your Confidence A Boost
Let’s face it; looking great equals feeling great and feeling great equals looking great. If you don’t like how you look, it can effect your career, your relationships and you self esteem. Transforming your body through exercise makes you feel more powerful and look beautiful; not only will you lose weight, but your posture will improve and your skin will glow.

5. It Helps Fight Insomnia
Sleeping pills have their benefits, but they can lose effectiveness over time and can hamper your a.m. activity. Exercise can help relieve insomnia and provide relief for people with sleeping disorders, while giving you the energy boost to leave your bed in the morning.

6. It Reduces Anxiety
Studies show that exercises offers relief from anxiety similar to the effects of therapy and meditation. Maybe old Elle was on to something!

We would love to hear your comments on how happy exercise has made you. Feel free to weigh in (pun intended).