stress

You NEED This Head-to-Toe Healthy Overhaul!

We’ve got some simple tips, revelations and suggestions to share with you this week so take a quick read, and give yourself the tools to live your healthiest life!

Let’s Start At The Beginning!

With your feet! The first things to hit the floor every morning (if all goes according to plan…) There are 26 bones, 30 joints, and 100 muscles in your feet. We should probably take care of our feet as much as possible with that much going on in there.

Take your shoes off and try squatting while pretending you have a ladybug under the arch of your foot. Don’t squish it! Your range of motion is limited. That is exactly what happens when wear shoes with arch support! Even .5mm off in an arch support, from what you may need, can throw off your whole skeleton.

Try massaging your feet each day to increase circulation and mobility. Tip: Sit cross legged and put one leg on top. If you are mobile enough, use your elbow to massage the arch of your foot. If not mobile enough, use your knuckle. You might be surprised and find that your knee, hip, or neck may even start to feel better! It’s all connected!

Healthy Feet: Part II

Because they are that important! When you go to the gym, you wear loose clothing to be able to move and bend, right?

So why do we cram our feet into rigid shoes? When we break an arm, you put your arm in a cast and the muscles atrophy because the joint is stiff. The same thing happens with your feet when they are bound and unable to move naturally. Your ankle is meant to be mobile. When we hold it in place with a shoe, it will take mobility from the next joint, the knee – which is not built for lateral mobility especially. Certain shoes can be appropriate of course but maybe not for all day long.

Healthy Muscles

Muscles make up close to 40% of our body, give or take. We stop growing NEW muscle cells as a baby, so our only option to get stronger is to increase the SIZE of the muscle cells we have. When we strength train, we create tiny tears in our muscles and when we recover those tears are rebuilt stronger and/or longer (depending on the type of training that was utilized).

Sometimes we shy away from strength training because of soreness, BUT the best way to reduce soreness is active stretching and more exercise – light exercise – which allows the body to move out lactic acid, smooth out knots and bumps, get blood flowing, etc.

Our bodies can become stressed from the food we eat, work, family…even exercise! You heard that correct, exercise. Exercise is great, but we also need to recover properly! Listen to your body. Maybe after 4 days in a row it is saying it needs a day off, or recovery exercise like a leisurely walk, yoga, or shooting some hoops with the kids. If your muscles are screaming or you’re excessively tired, listen up and recover so you can get back to the grind sooner than later.

Healthy Heart

Our heart is a MUSCLE that we need to strengthen just like our other muscles. We often hear “I hate cardio” or a certain exercise is the ONE that works best for me. Sometimes we forget about the benefits we don’t directly see.

Cardiovascular exercise (aka relating to the HEART) like brisk walking, kickboxing, cycling, jump rope, and more are the heart-pumping/aerobic exercises needed to strengthen our hearts. Cardiovascular exercise reduces the risk of plaque build up which can reduce blood flow to the heart and cause damage. Ultimately this can cause a heart attack. A balance of strength and cardio is important for overall health!

Healthy Mindset

Exercise has a natural benefit on mindset by reducing stress. Still stressed afterward? Try reducing your sugar consumption and increasing the consumption of vegetables and fruit. Sounds simple? That’s because sometimes, it is!

Other outlets for a healthy mindset include meeting up with a close friend and/or finding friends that have similar challenges that you can talk with. Finally, find your happy place to recharge: read a book, take a walk, hang out with your dog/cat, meditate, head to the lake…what is YOUR happy place?

Healthy Environment

Finally, your environment plays a big role in your health. This could be from looking at the chemicals you use in your home and trying to give them a makeover (swap out that bleach based cleaner for vinegar and baking soda!), to opening the windows and allowing the outdoors in, to organizing, to having some plants inside that naturally filter the air. What is one way YOU create a healthier environment in your home?

The New-Agers were Right?? It’s All in Your Head?

Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.

~ Henry Ford

Well not-so-new-age thinker Mr. Ford, it turns out, was more correct than he knew! We’ve gathered up several studies alongside our personal, experiential knowledge to draw a picture for you that truly puts YOU in the driver seat (pun definitely intended).

Mindset

“Mindset” is the established set of attitudes held by someone, whether it is either negative or positive. You cannot have a positive life with a negative mindset. Your mindset not only determines your entire outlook on life and how you handle situations, but it also carries heavy impact for your health and the type of people you attract in your life.

Do you have a positive or negative mindset? Want to know what you can do to change it?

• How Old is “Old”?

A 2003 study concluded that people who thought old age started at 60 or less actually had a higher risk of serious heart problems later in life! Avoid the negative self-talk, and surround yourself with positive people and environments.

• Do you THINK you exercise enough??

According to a 2017 Stanford study which looked at mortality rates of 61,000 people over 21 years, those that THOUGHT they did less exercise than their peers tended to have a shorter lifespan – even if they got plenty of exercise. Of course exercise is still very important, but it’s interesting to note that your perceptions of it and yourself may be just as important!

• Do you talk yourself into failing?

Negative self-talk can creep up easily and is often hard to notice. You might think, “I’m so bad at this” or “I shouldn’t have tried that.” But these thoughts turn into internalized feelings and can cement your conceptions of yourself; they can become reality. When you catch yourself doing this, stop and replace those negative messages with positive ones. For example, “I’m so bad at this” becomes “Once I get more practice, I’ll be way better at this.” Or “I shouldn’t have tried” becomes “That didn’t work out as planned — maybe next time I will try it differently.”

Why Work to Change My Mindset?

Did you know that a negative mentality literally brings harm to your body? When you think negatively, dread about the future, or otherwise distress about things outside of your control, signals from your brain are sent out and initiate the “fight-or-flight” stress response. When you enter this state, many of the body’s self-repair mechanisms don’t function properly, and the immune system is suppressed. This means you are predisposed to illness!

Your attitude largely determines your direction. More Positive Thinking = More Positive Outcome; Smile more, be optimistic, and remember you are in charge! Be thankful, let go of regrets, and be kind to yourself!

“Every day may not be good, but there is good in everyday”

Surround Yourself with the Right People

When you surround yourself with positive people, you’ll hear positive outlooks, positive stories and positive experiences. Their positive words will sink in and affect your own line of thinking, which then affects your words and similarly contributes back into to the group!

Eliminate negativity in your life; positive thinking offers compounding returns, so the more often you practice it, the greater benefits you’ll realize!

Busy-ness vs. Wellness: You’re working too hard!

You can’t stop what you are doing to smell the roses, plan a healthy dinner, cook, exercise, etc. You are “way too busy for that.” Who will get the kids where they need to be, pay bills, cut the grass, put away the laundry. No one else is going to do it. Right? Of course they are not going to do it. You are absolutely correct. There are two key elements, or secrets even, to getting others to do more work so you don’t have to do it all. No one will do any work to help you unless YOU ASK THEM to do it. Want to know the other secret to getting those around you to work harder? Shhh…don’t tell anyone…ready? YOU HAVE TO STOP DOING IT! If you always do it, why would anyone else EVER do it? They don’t care how much you gripe and moan so long as it gets done.
Chances are you are doing work that is not yours to do. You are probably running yourself ragged so that your kids can play video games or watch tv “until it’s time to go.” You are most likely getting everything ready for everything so all anyone else has to do is pick up their fork or their car keys. What is that doing to your nutrition, fitness, stress levels, marriage, and overall wellness?  What is it doing to those around you?  You’re not really helping anyone.
A good business owner knows that training your staff must happen on a regular basis. It increases productivity, morale, and personal satisfaction. A good fitness instructor/trainer knows that training your body must happen on a regular basis as well. Working particular groups of muscles while others rest, repair, and gain strength. Don’t these traits apply to all individuals no matter their line of work, birth order, or marital status?
If you didn’t know it before, you know it now. Practice it. Train others. Set that example. We are all required to teach and share what we learn. It will increase your productivity, morale, personal satisfaction, and wellness.

Apply as Needed

“It’s supposed to be hard! If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard… is what makes it great!” Tom Hanks ~ A League of Their Own.

Research shows that stress levels are at an all time high. The economy, health insurance, job security, and family life are challenged each day. Depending on your attitude, point of view, or fate it may well be challenged each waking moment. It can be invigorating, aggravating, and at times infuriating. Each of these emotions are powerful, energetic, and necessary. Life is difficult. Pressing the “easy button” would only take away from the greatness.

Take the rush from you receive from love, happiness, frustration, and anger. Channel it into your daily activities. Food is not your only source of fuel.
Harness your emotions into your exercise routine. Energize every jab, cross, and elbow in your kickboxing class or every swing of the kettlebell with the rage you keep inside. Give it an outlet. Focus. Dive into your projects at work with a vigor that only comes from sheer frustration. Love your family. Embrace your family and enjoy every precious moment you have them.
You are not a blank slate going through the motions of life. Channel it. Express it. Wear your heart on your sleeve, it is beautiful!