Is Missing a Day of Exercise Bad?

Is Missing a Day of Exercise Bad?

A busy schedule, waning motivation and tough workouts can all make you think twice before heading to the gym. While missing one day of exercise won’t completely derail your process, making it a habit can. Before you skip a workout, consider your motives. When in the name of rest and recovery, skipping a day can be beneficial. When the result of a lack of motivation, missing exercise can hinder your progress.

Regular Exercise

Whether you’re trying to lose weight, build muscle or simply live a healthy lifestyle, exercise is an integral part of your health. Exercise helps to keep your heart strong, burn calories and increase your energy level, so it’s important to create an exercise routine that you’re comfortable with and that you can commit to on a daily basis. Missing one day here and there won’t negatively affect your overall health and wellness, but it could be the start to a dangerous habit of skipping exercise on a more regular basis.

Rest and Recovery

When you’ve participated in a strenuous workout, such as endurance running or weightlifting, giving your body a day to recover can help you come back stronger. Continuing strenuous exercise when your muscles and joints are sore could result in injury. Still, just because you engaged in high-impact exercise doesn’t mean you should automatically skip your next workout. Interspersing days of high-impact training with days of lower-impact exercise methods can help you stay healthy, on track and injury-free.

Staying Motivated

When you’ve worked out recently, it can be tempting to allow yourself to take a day or two to avoid the gym and participate in other hobbies. But getting off track can make it difficult to get back on once again. Making exercise part of your daily routine is what turns it from a daily annoyance into a daily habit. Stay motivated by setting easy-to-achieve goals and offering yourself incentives. For instance, if you go to the gym every day for a week, you get a pedicure or a new top. This helps you get your foot in the door even when you don’t necessarily feel like working out.

Exercise Alternatives

Even if you don’t feel like going to the gym, it doesn’t mean you have to do without exercise altogether. On days where you’re tempted to skip a workout, plan another physical activity instead. Whether it’s a pickup game of volleyball at the beach, a hike or even parking far away from you building, it doesn’t have to be formal to be exercise. By making a conscious effort to move your body more, you’ll be able to squeeze in exercise on days where your motivation is lacking.

How to Get in Shape After a Long Period of Inactvity.

How to Get in Shape After a Long Period of Inactvity

Inactivity breeds complacency. Dropping onto your couch after a long day at work has become a comfortable habit. And, even though you know you should get in shape, it’s tough to overcome the mental resistance. Exercise takes work and discipline. Getting in shape after being sedentary means making a physical and mental commitment to improving your health and becoming physically fit. There’s satisfaction to getting in shape after a long period of inactivity, not only from looking better than you have in years, but from participating in activities that challenge and inspire you.

Step 1

Visualize yourself where you want to be.

Stop making excuses. Rid your mind of all the negative chatter that’s been holding you back from getting in shape. No more, “I can’t” or “I’m too tired.” Replace those kinds of statements with positive affirmations that speak to your goals — whether those are to have better health, a toned body or improved self-esteem. Declare your intent to get back in shape on a daily basis and visualize what you want your body and your life to look like once you’re in shape. Pictures of what you want to look like, or what you used to look like, may be the simple motivators you need to become re-inspired every day, so put them where you’re bound to see them, at work and at home.

Step 2

Buy yourself some high quality running shoes.

Get your gear together. Buy yourself the best running shoes you can afford. If your feet hurt from ill-fitting sneakers, you won’t look forward to putting them on. The same goes for your workout clothes. If they’re dingy or have holes, you won’t want to be seen in them and that can be a de-motivator. Purchase, rent or borrow anything you might need to kick-start your fitness plan – that means everything from a yoga mat, workout DVDs, water bottle or gym bag. Having all your tools at the ready will give you less time to ponder and more incentive to road test your gear.

Step 3

Put on some of your favorite tunes.

Start slow. Even though the Centers for Disease Control advocates 150 to 300 minutes every week, or 20 to 30 minutes a day of moderate aerobic activity, you can start getting back in shape by working out for 10 minutes at a time. Set the countdown timer on your phone and take a brisk walk around your neighborhood. Put on your favorite dance tunes and let your spirit move you around the living room. As long as your chosen activity gets your heart rate up, you can be as creative as you like. When your fitness level improves, then exercise for 20 to 30 minutes a day doing an activity you enjoy.

Step 4

Buy fresh produce and eat healthy!

Change your diet to reflect your commitment to getting in shape. Swap out the prepackaged, overly sweet or salty foods for healthier ones. Buy fresh, luscious fruits and vegetables, leaner cuts of meat and whole-grain products. Use low-fat dairy products and fill jars with a variety of nuts and seeds that you can snack on when your energy stores need a boost. Pour over recipes that you’ve never tried. Experiment with exotic spice blends — anything to change what you have been doing into something new and exciting. Getting in shape never has to be boring.

How to Get the Discipline to Lose Weight.

How to Get the Discipline to Lose Weight

If losing weight were easy, no one would be overweight. Many people try and fail every year to shed extra pounds; according to the International Food Information Council Foundation, a whopping 69 percent of American citizens are attempting to lose weight or keep it off. If you’re one of them, you might find that you start off motivated, only to see your willpower fade when you become hungry or tired. Finding the discipline to lose weight requires concentrated, ongoing effort, but it is possible.

Step 1

Visit your physician for a check-up, including blood work. Discuss your weight-related concerns and ask how your weight is affecting your health. Learning you’re prediabetic or that you have high cholesterol or blood pressure can be the reality check you need to start your weight-loss regime. Ask for a referral to a dietitian or nutritionist if you need help making a healthy eating plan.

Step 2

Set a goal and place reminders of that goal in visible places. For example, if you want to lose 20 pounds, write that goal — and the steps you will take to achieve it — on a piece of paper and tape it to your refrigerator. Tape another to the bathroom mirror. Make an image file of your goals and use it as your computer desktop or smartphone screen. The more visual reminders you give yourself throughout the day, the harder they are to ignore.

Step 3

Make a concrete exercise plan instead of just telling yourself you need to work out. Schedule a regular exercise date with a friend, family member or personal trainer. Sign up for an exercise class; if you’ve paid for sessions, that’s extra motivation to attend.

Step 4

Declare your intentions publicly on a social media page or blog. Friends on social media or blog commenters can be powerful motivators when you don’t want to work out or when you want to binge on junk food. Post your workout plan for the day to your social media page as soon as you wake up, and tell your friends to comment on your status throughout the day asking if you’ve followed through.

Step 5

Compete with someone. Make a bet with a family member or friend and set the stakes high enough that you don’t want to lose. For example, if you don’t exercise for 30 minutes per day, five days per week, you have to do the dishes for a month, take your competitor on a weekend vacation or — the best motivator of all — give him money.

Step 6

Commit to at least five minutes of exercise each day. Don’t want to go to the gym? Fine. Jog in place for five minutes in your living room, go for a five-minute walk, or put on your favorite song and dance vigorously until it’s over. Build a daily exercise habit, even if the time you put in seems negligible. By forcing yourself to do what’s good for you, even for just a few minutes, you build a sense of mastery over bad habits and inertia.

Step 7

Sit in a quiet spot and meditate. Breathe deeply and calm your mind while visualizing your goals. Schedule a short meditation session every day to check in with yourself, calm your racing mind, and refocus your attention on what you really want.

Step 8

Consult a therapist. If you’re having trouble sticking to your weight-loss goals, you may have deeper psychological issues holding you back. Counseling, especially behavioral therapy, can help you learn new and better ways to approach your goals.

Health- pay now, or pay later.

Have you ever wondered whether those extra chocolate bars and a lack of vegetables in your diet really make a difference? Yes they do, they can have a massive impact on your health.

A healthy lifestyle has both short and long term health benefits. Long term, eating a balanced diet, taking regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight can add years to your life and reduce the risk of certain diseases including cancerdiabetescardiovascular diseaseosteoporosis and obesity. In the short-term it can also make you feel and look your best, give you more energy and help you maintain a healthy weight.

The key to reducing the risk of these diseases is making small changes to your daily lives – eating healthier food, getting your 5-a-day, having treats occasionally, and taking more exercise. Improving your lifestyle with small steps in the right direction will have a big impact on your well-being.

Importance of Good Nutrition

Your food choices each day affect your health — how you feel today, tomorrow, and in the future.

Good nutrition is an important part of leading a healthy lifestyle. Combined with physical activity, your diet can help you to reach and maintain a healthy weight, reduce your risk of chronic diseases (like heart disease and cancer), and promote your overall health.

The Impact of Nutrition on Your Health

Unhealthy eating habits have contributed to the obesity epidemic in the United States: about one-third of U.S. adults (33.8%) are obese and approximately 17% (or 12.5 million) of children and adolescents aged 2—19 years are obese.1 Even for people at a healthy weight, a poor diet is associated with major health risks that can cause illness and even death. These include heart disease, hypertension (high blood pressure), type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and certain types of cancer. By making smart food choices, you can help protect yourself from these health problems.

The risk factors for adult chronic diseases, like hypertension and type 2 diabetes, are increasingly seen in younger ages, often a result of unhealthy eating habits and increased weight gain. Dietary habits established in childhood often carry into adulthood, so teaching children how to eat healthy at a young age will help them stay healthy throughout their life.

The link between good nutrition and healthy weight, reduced chronic disease risk, and overall health is too important to ignore. By taking steps to eat healthy, you’ll be on your way to getting the nutrients your body needs to stay healthy, active, and strong. As with physical activity, making small changes in your diet can go a long way, and it’s easier than you think!

Maintain Your Healthy
Lifestyle With These 7 Tips

Whether you’ve already reached your target weight or you’re eagerly anticipating the moment that you do, understanding how to maintain a healthy status is essential. From staying on top of maintenance calories to knowing how to handle setbacks, use these seven tips to maintain your healthy lifestyle.

1. Maintain Healthy Habits Every Day

When it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, one of the most important things you can do is simply striving for consistency. No matter how busy life gets or how much your schedule changes on a daily basis, try to eat the same balance of whole foods, consume a similar number of calories, and work in a consistent amount of physical activity.

You might be tempted to maintain your healthy habits during the week and give yourself a break on the weekend, but it’s important to keep things consistent every day of the week. By sticking to your healthy habits seven days a week, you’ll be less tempted to binge and more likely to sustain your weight loss for the long term.

2. Stay On Top of Your Maintenance Calories

After reaching your weight loss goal, you might be tempted to ease up on your diet plan or change your eating patterns altogether. While it might be a good idea to incorporate a different range of nutritious foods in your diet, it’s important to keep an eye on your caloric intake. After all, the number of calories you need at your target weight probably won’t be the same as what you needed when you began your weight loss journey.

To determine how many maintenance calories you need, calculate your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) regularly to ensure that you’re helping your body achieve the ideal energy balance. To do this, multiply your weight in pounds by 1.2 if you’re relatively sedentary, by 1.5 if you get moderate exercise, or by 1.75 if you’re training for a marathon. Then, use a Calories Per Day calculator app to track your caloric intake and make sure you’re getting what you need to maintain your current weight.

3. Stick to an Exercise Routine You Love

You already know that regular exercise and good physical fitness is essential for helping you reach your ideal weight. But you might not realize how important exercise is for feeling good and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

If you’re already used to getting your cardio and strength training in during your daily visit to the gym, keep it up. If you’re ready for a change of your routine, however, try not to take a break. Instead, squeeze in at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day, whether you’re jogging on the treadmill, going for a swim, or going for a hike around your local park.

4. Increase Your Water Consumption

When your primary goal is getting in shape and eating right, you might not give water the attention it deserves. As you strive to keep up your healthy habits, however, it’s important to increase your water consumption.

Not only will drinking water keep you hydrated and improve how your body functions, but keeping the water flowing can also help with weight maintenance. Try drinking a large glass of water before a meal, and the feeling of fullness you’ll experience could help to reduce your calorie intake.

5. Get a Full Night’s Sleep

Life has a habit of getting busy, but if you never make time for sleep, your healthy lifestyle goals could suffer. After all, sleep debt and weight gain are more closely connected than you might think. When you don’t get enough sleep, you’re more likely to skip the exercise that helps you burn fat and build muscle, and you’re prone to making unhealthy eating decisions. In fact, sleep deprivation encourages unhealthy decisions, as it reduces activity in the part of your brain that oversees impulse control.

So how can you make sure that being tired doesn’t prompt you to make bad choices? Aim to get between seven and nine hours of sleep per night, and try to find the ideal amount of sleep for your body.

6. Track Your Progress

After tracking your weight loss progress carefully for months or years, you might be looking forward to setting aside the scale or putting down the calorie tracking apps. Reaching your target weight doesn’t mean you should stop assessing your progress, though. Instead, it’s important to continue to track your progress so you can make sure you’re maintaining your healthy lifestyle.

Use an app to continue to track your food intake and exercise routines, and make a point of hopping on the scale once a week. Since your new goal is maintaining your current weight, you’ll want to keep an eye out for weight gain or loss. When you use an app to keep a digital diary, you can easily look back on your patterns and identify unhealthy habits before they cause you to get too far off track.

7. Forgive Yourself For a Bad Day

Even when you try your hardest to stick to your healthy habits, you have to expect the occasional setback. Whether you feel under the weather and have to skip your spin class or you accidentally overindulged at a birthday party, you’re bound to have a bad day every once in awhile.

When this happens, don’t assume the worst or convince yourself that you’ve ruined your diet for good. Instead, do your best to power through the day, forgive yourself for a minor slip up, and get back to your healthy habits right away. Try drinking extra water, making sure that you get enough sleep, and restocking your fridge with healthy options. Understand that one off day won’t compromise all your hard work and that a small setback doesn’t have to derail everything you want to achieve.

As you adopt these seven strategies and strive to keep your energy balance consistent, keep in mind that maintaining optimal health isn’t merely a short-term goal. Consider a healthy lifestyle to be the key for your long-term health, and set far-reaching goals that will help you stay healthy no matter what life may bring.

How to Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle

How to Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle

Being healthy should be part of your overall lifestyle, not just a New Year’s resolution. Living a healthy lifestyle can help prevent chronic diseases and long-term illnesses. Feeling good about yourself and taking care of your health are important for your self-esteem and self-image. Maintain a healthy lifestyle by doing what is right for your body.

Step 1

Maintain a healthy weight. Determine whether you are overweight by checking your body mass index. If you are overweight, it can lead to a higher risk of chronic disease such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke and certain cancers.

Step 2

Stick with healthy food from each food group. This means staying away from food high in saturated fats, sodium and added sugars. Eat more whole grains, lean proteins such as chicken or legumes and beans, low-fat or non-fat dairy, and increase your fruits and vegetables.

Step 3

Visit your doctor for an annual physical exam. Depending on your age, certain lab tests and screenings, such as mammograms, colonoscopies and heart tests, are necessary. Stay up to date on your health screenings to identify whether there are medical problems to address.

Step 4

Make sure your relationships are positive and healthy ones. Surround yourself with people who support you and who you feel good around. Your partner in life, friends and others who are in your life should respect you. If you find yourself in an unhealthy relationship, take steps to improve it or move on.

Step 5

Engage in physical activity for at least 30 minutes every day. Take an exercise class, join the gym or just take a brisk walk outside. Making the time for physical activity is a necessity and not a luxury.

Step 6

Know when and how to de-stress. Taking care of your mental health is just as important as taking care of your physical health. Make sure that you have positive ways of dealing with stressors in your life. This might be exercising, meditating, yoga or just doing deep-breathing exercises. If stress becomes so severe that it is interfering with your sleep or ability to cope, talk to your doctor or a counselor.

Step 7

Do not smoke. Smoking can cause preventable diseases such as lung cancer and other cancers. Stay away from secondhand smoke, since this can also be hazardous to your health.

Gut Feelings–the “Second Brain” in Our Gastrointestinal Systems.

 

 

A primal connection exists between our brain and our gut. We often talk about a “gut feeling” when we meet someone for the first time. We’re told to “trust our gut instinct” when making a difficult decision or that it’s “gut check time” when faced with a situation that tests our nerve and determination. This mind-gut connection is not just metaphorical. Our brain and gut are connected by an extensive network of neurons and a highway of chemicals and hormones that constantly provide feedback about how hungry we are, whether or not we’re experiencing stress, or if we’ve ingested a disease-causing microbe. This information superhighway is called the brain-gut axis and it provides constant updates on the state of affairs at your two ends. That sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach after looking at your postholiday credit card bill is a vivid example of the brain-gut connection at work. You’re stressed and your gut knows it—immediately.

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The enteric nervous system is often referred to as our body’s second brain. There are hundreds of million of neurons connecting the brain to the enteric nervous system, the part of the nervous system that is tasked with controlling the gastrointestinal system. This vast web of connections monitors the entire digestive tract from the esophagus to the anus. The enteric nervous system is so extensive that it can operate as an independent entity without input from our central nervous system, although they are in regular communication. While our “second” brain cannot compose a symphony or paint a masterpiece the way the brain in our skull can, it does perform an important role in managing the workings of our inner tube. The network of neurons in the gut is as plentiful and complex as the network of neurons in our spinal cord, which may seem overly complex just to keep track of digestion. Why is our gut the only organ in our body that needs its own “brain”? Is it just to manage the process of digestion? Or could it be that one job of our second brain is to listen in on the trillions of microbes residing in the gut?

 

gut & brain

 

Operations of the enteric nervous system are overseen by the brain and central nervous system. The central nervous system is in communication with the gut via the sympathetic and parasympathetic branches of the autonomic nervous system, the involuntary arm of the nervous system that controls heart rate, breathing, and digestion. The autonomic nervous system is tasked with the job of regulating the speed at which food transits through the gut, the secretion of acid in our stomach, and the production of mucus on the intestinal lining. The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, or HPA axis, is another mechanism by which the brain can communicate with the gut to help control digestion through the action of hormones.

This circuitry of neurons, hormones, and chemical neurotransmitters not only sends messages to the brain about the status of our gut, it allows for the brain to directly impact the gut environment. The rate at which food is being moved and how much mucus is lining the gut—both of which can be controlled by the central nervous system—have a direct impact on the environmental conditions the microbiota experiences.

cropped-bad-and-good-bacteria

Like any ecosystem inhabited by competing species, the environment within the gut dictates which inhabitants thrive. Just as creatures adapted to a moist rain forest would struggle in the desert, microbes relying on the mucus layer will struggle in a gut where mucus is exceedingly sparse and thin. Bulk up the mucus, and the mucus-adapted microbes can stage a comeback. The nervous system, through its ability to affect gut transit time and mucus secretion, can help dictate which microbes inhabit the gut. In this case, even if the decisions are not conscious, it’s mind over microbes.

What about the microbial side? When the microbiota adjusts to a change in diet or to a stress-induced decrease in gut transit time, is the brain made aware of this modification? Does the brain-gut axis run in one direction only, with all signals going from brain to gut, or are some signals going the other way? Is that voice in your head that is asking for a snack coming from your mind or is it emanating from the insatiable masses in your bowels? Recent evidence indicates that not only is our brain “aware” of our gut microbes, but these bacteria can influence our perception of the world and alter our behavior. It is becoming clear that the influence of our microbiota reaches far beyond the gut to affect an aspect of our biology few would have predicted—our mind.

For example, the gut microbiota influences the body’s level of the potent neurotransmitter serotonin, which regulates feelings of happiness. Some of the most prescribed drugs in the U.S. for treating anxiety and depression, like Prozac, Zoloft, and Paxil, work by modulating levels of serotonin. And serotonin is likely just one of a numerous biochemical messengers dictating our mood and behavior that the microbiota impacts.

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Are You About to Have an Asthma Attack?

Asthma Early Warning Signs

Asthma attacks rarely happen without warning. Before one begins, you might:

  • Not feel hungry
  • Feel tired or have trouble sleeping
  • Cough often
  • Have a headache
  • Get dark circles under your eyes
  • Wheeze and feel very weak or tired when you exercise

Recognize the signs, and you could keep yourself from having an asthma emergency.

 

A Cough That Doesn’t Go Away

Signs of an asthma attack can change from one attack to the next. One time you might have little or no coughing beforehand. The next time, you might have a cough that you just can’t get rid of, especially at night.

An asthma cough is usually dry and hacking. If you have one that doesn’t go away after other cold symptoms are gone, that could point to asthma.

Avoid taking cough medicine to feel better. It won’t help the asthma.

 

Measureable Changes in Your Breathing

A peak flow meter can let you know if an attack is about to happen. Be sure you always know the number that reflects your best breathing.

  • If your peak flow meter shows numbers between 50% and 80% of your personal best, an asthma attack has probably started.
  • A number below 50% means an emergency. Use your rescue inhaler, and call for help right away.
  • Call 911 if you have trouble walking or talking because you’re short of breath, or if your lips are blue or gray. Use your rescue inhaler while you wait for help.

Follow Your Asthma Action Plan

An action plan tells you how to deal with the symptoms of an asthma attack.

  • Based on your peak flow numbers, it shows you what medicines to take and when. It’s important to follow the steps and take your medications exactly as your doctor tells you to.
  • If your symptoms still get worse after you’ve followed your plan, call your asthma doctor. Your plan should have instructions for emergencies, too.

 

Trouble Breathing

During an asthma attack, muscles around the airways tighten, and the airway linings swell.

  • The airways make too much mucus, which can block the air tubes in the lungs.
  • Air gets trapped in the lungs, and it gets hard to breathe.

Wheezing might be the first symptom you notice. But as the attack gets worse, you’ll feel more chest tightness and shortness of breath. Eventually, you might feel like you can’t get enough air.

Posture Changes

When someone is having trouble breathing, he might lean forward, speak in single words instead of sentences, and get very agitated.

As the problem gets worse, he might hunch over with his hands supporting his upper body. This is called the tripod position.

Chest and Neck Retractions

When it’s hard to breathe, the tissue in the chest and neck may sink in with each breath. This is called retraction.

Retractions mean not enough air is getting into the lungs. They’re a sign of a medical emergency. Call 911 or see a doctor right away.

In children, other signs that breathing is getting worse are:

  • Poor appetite
  • Feeling tired
  • Not as active as usual

Blue Lips or Fingernails

Blue or gray lips or fingernails are a sign that there’s not enough oxygen in your blood. The condition is called cyanosis.

If it happens, you need medical help right away. Call 911 as soon as possible

Other Signs of Asthma Emergencies

Get emergency help at once if you have any of these symptoms:

  • Trouble talking
  • Can’t exhale or inhale
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feelings of anxiety or panic
  • Coughing that won’t stop
  • Pale, sweaty face

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Foods That May Help With Muscle Cramps.

Surprising Things That Raise Your Blood Pressure.