Move

Stretching: Focus on Flexibility

Stretching can help improve flexibility, and increase the range of motion in your joints. Better flexibility will improve your performance of physical activities and decrease your risk of injuries by helping your joints move through their full range of motion and enabling your muscles to work more effectively.

Use these tips to keep stretching safe:

Don’t consider stretching a warm-up. You may hurt yourself if you stretch cold muscles. So before stretching, warm up with light walking, jogging, or biking at low intensity for 5-10 minutes. Or better yet, stretch after you exercise when your muscles are warmed up.

Strive for symmetry. Everyone’s genetics for flexibility are a bit different, so rather than striving for that gymnast or ballet dancer degree of motion, focus on having equal flexibility side to side (especially if you have a history of a previous injury). Don’t bounce. Stretch in a smooth movement, without bouncing. Bouncing as you stretch can cause injury to your muscle.

Hold your stretch. Hold each stretch for about 30 seconds; in problem areas, you may need to hold for around 60 seconds. Breathe normally as you stretch.

Don’t aim for pain. Expect to feel tension while you’re stretching, not pain. If it hurts, you’ve pushed too far.

Bring movement into your stretching. Gentle movement can help you be more flexible in specific movements. The gentle movements of tai chi or yoga, for instance, are a great way to stretch.

Keep up with it. Stretching can be time-consuming. But you can achieve the most benefits by stretching regularly, at least two to three times a week. Finally, don’t think that because you stretch you can’t get injured. Stretching, for instance, won’t prevent an overuse injury. Talk to your doctor or physical therapist about the most appropriate way to stretch if you have any health concerns.

(Article courtesy of the Mayo Clinic)

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Stop Procrastinating for a Healthier You

Every day we have choices we make, whether conscious or unconscious.

Sometimes the most impactful choices we make, for better or worse, are the ones in which we choose to do nothing at all.

Many health problems we deal with in our lives, whether they be from unhealthy diets, lack of exercise, start with simple procrastination,

Most of us put off the hard things or things we don’t want to do until tomorrow, then tomorrow never comes because we grow accustomed to the idea that things should be easier than they are.

Today, any progress is made by yesterday’s efforts – no matter how big or small. The way we make continuous, positive, healthy changes, comes down to creating new habits and practicing self-discipline and taking action in the moment, even when it feels challenging.

We can choose to live a healthy lifestyle or we can choose to live a sedentary one.  When we wait or make excuses to get up and move, we essentially making a choice to embrace sedentary habits that are truly destructive to our health.

Your body and mind both need to be exercised to gain strength, flexibility, and balance. They both need to be worked consistently to grow, become healthier, and stronger over time. But the secret to creating a healthier lifestyle is to stop procrastinating and have a “do now” mindset.

You can accomplish many great things today, that don’t need to wait until tomorrow.  Getting started requires doing the smallest things.  Jump up and do 25 squats. Run up and down the stairs three times.  When you take positive action in these small ways you are plantings those seeds of discipline, exercise, and healthy eating that will continue to take root and blossom. What you plant today will harvest tomorrow.

Changing habits and learning to do things today that you typically put off is going to be challenging When you’re struggling to make progress, try not to overthink things..  That’s why Nike’s “Just do it” slogan is truly brilliant.  Making a deliberate decision to love yourself enough to make your health a priority can empower you in a way that builds strength and conviction you’ve never had before.

It’s not realistic to think you can change your entire lifestyle and eating habits all at once.  But if you take small but significant steps – one at a time, every day suddenly you realize you’ve become a new version of you. Push yourself out of your comfort zone and decide on one thing you need to improve on. Do you have a soda habit? Tell yourself you can have one a week, then over time, cut that to every other week, then monthly, and so on.  You will find that eventually, you don’t even crave it anymore.  Do you need to move your body more? Start with moderate or light exercise. Maybe you will walk around the block this week, then next week you will walk 2 blocks. Every small positive change will add up to significant changes.

I challenge you each day to take action in the moment before you talk yourself out of it. Over time you’ll be looking in the mirror at a whole new you!

 

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The Importance of Cardiorespiratory Fitness for Heart Health

Being mindful throughout the day and consuming the right diet are vital pillars to having a healthy, beautiful body, but ‘movement is life’ and without it, it is impossible to achieve a true state of health. Numerous studies have long shown that regular exercise is vital to keep Type 2 diabetes, obesity, and heart disease at bay, but two new studies indicate that cardiorespiratory fitness in particular, is key if we wish to lower our risk of coronary heart disease. Read on to find out more.

What is Cardiorespiratory Fitness?

Cardiorespiratory fitness is the level at which one’s heart, lungs, and muscles work together during exercise for an extended period of time. Rather than being a fixed state, it is one that can be worked upon; indeed, by building this type of fitness, the lungs and heart use oxygen more optimally, which in turn enables one to last longer during workouts.

What do the New Findings Say?

Two new studies, published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings in November, 2017, highlight the importance of measuring and boosting aerobic fitness, both in adults and in children.

In the first study, researchers found that moderate-to-high fitness levels counteracted the effects of having a high Triglyceride/HDL cholesterol ratio (a high ratio indicates an increased risk of heart attack and stroke). For the study, researchers followed the progress of over 40,000 men for over 16 years, finding that those who were fit, had a lower protection from death owing to coronary heart disease, even when they had poor Triglyceride/HDL ratios.

The second study measured fitness in six- to ten-year-olds, and later in 8- to 12-year-olds, finding that cardiovascular disease actually has its origins in childhood. The scientists noted that the early detection of risk factors for heart disease in children could contribute to the development of effective prevention programs and changes in public health policy.They also stressed the importance of exercise to improve fitness levels.

Important Lifestyle Changes Include Exercises

Researchers stressed the importance of avoiding harmful habits like smoking, of following a healthy diet comprising plenty of seasonal fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and healthy fats, and of exercising regularly. Specifically, they stated that seven to 14 miles per week of moderate exercise such as running or brisk walking, can lower the risk posed by poor cholesterol levels.

The Importance of Injury Prevention

Those who are taking up exercise after a long time, or who have not generally been active before, need to be aware of the importance of stretching as a form of injury prevention. Before running or cycling, for instance, hip flexor exercises should be completed, since these muscles help us do everything from twist to reach, bend forward, stand, walk, etc. Without proper stretching, it is possible to feel stiffness in the hips, a general feeling of unwellness and even aching joints.

http://crystalvisionlife.mybigcommerce.com/Those who have a health condition, meanwhile, should obtain approval from their doctor before embarking on a new fitness routine.

There is no time like today to get active; if research has shown anything, it is that ‘movement is life’; to promote strength, flexibility, happiness and youth, we should ensure that fitness is part and parcel of our daily routine, backing up our workouts with sound nutrition and a positive mindset for success.

There are many powerful tools available to help you stop smoking.  http://crystalvisionlife.mybigcommerce.com

Guest Post by Jane Sandwood

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Focus on Becoming a Happier, Healthier You in 2018

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one third of adults in the USA are obese and experience weight-related conditions such as cardiac disease, diabetes, and cancer increasing annually. Obesity is such a big problem in the US that it costs the country in excess of $147 billion in medical costs every year. Luckily it is a new year which means countless of people around the USA are embarking on health and fitness regimes as part of their 2018 New Year’s resolutions.

One of the most fatal flaws of New Year’s resolutions and goal-setting in general, is that we tend to bite off more than we can chew. By not setting realistic goals we end up disappointed and demotivated and generally forget about our good intentions by the time January ends. Realistic goals that are easily achievable within a year will eventually become second-nature and will leave you feeling happier, healthier and possibly even shed some unwanted weight by the time the festive season comes around again.

Make more time for you

Most of people tend to give a little too much of themselves to others and not enough to themselves. It is very easy to stretch yourself too thin and overextend yourself. While it may have been acceptable last year, you need to make more time for yourself in 2018. You can do so by doing a solo workout or enjoying a relaxing day at the spa. By making yourself a priority you will be able to focus on your health and well-being without a struggle which, in turn, will make you feeling happier and healthier throughout the year. Take the gym class you always wanted to attend, follow an individual training plan or buy the new weight set that you have had your eye on for a while. It is important to realize that you are important and deserving of a good life.

Stop doing the workouts that you hate

Make 2018 your year and focus on what makes you happy. You are not forced to run to lose weight nor do you have to eat lettuce daily to become healthier. Find alternatives that will better suit your lifestyle and will make you happier in the long-run.  Use the new year to find something that you do love that will have the same kind of healthy effects on your body and mind as the activities that you really do not enjoy.

Add 1 low-impact workout to your exercise routine

While running and HIIT are great for your health it is important to give your knees a break as well. You don’t have to stop engaging in these workouts altogether but aim to supplement your high-impact training with some low-impact strengthening exercises such as Pilates or yoga.  Mixing things up will benefit your weight-loss endeavors greatly and will also prevent you from becoming bored with your workouts. Boredom is one of the biggest reasons people give up on their good intentions to stick to a healthy lifestyle.

While it may seem empowering to aim high with your New Year’s resolutions it is imperative to keep them realistic. You did not pick up all the excess weight in a day nor can you expect to lose it overnight. Whatever your health goals are for 2018, make sure they are doable and don’t give up at the first sign of a roadblock. Your perseverance will pay off and 2018 will become your best year yet.

Written by our contributing writer: Jane Sandwood

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New Awareness for 2018!

Goals that stick. Weight loss that stays off. A healthier you. Sometimes we fall short of our best intentions and resolutions. Unfortunately, there is not a magic pill, one food you can consume, or one exercise machine, that will create optimal health. Your daily routines are what are most important if you are striving to get healthy and stay healthy. To create a routine that serves your best health and to stay with it requires a higher level of awareness in all aspects of your life.

Here are 7 tips for a healthier you:

  1. Gratitude Awareness. Gratitude has been shown to lower stress, which prevents many other physical and mental consequences. Instead of focusing on how you wish you looked or what your body can and cannot do, express and feel gratitude for all you can do and all that you already have. We all have things about ourselves that we would like to improve.
  2. Movement Awareness.  Make a valiant effort to move more. Try to get in 30 minutes of exercise daily and find new ways to move your body. Drop down in a plank when you have a minute. Take the stairs. Walk to the market. Add those up and you’ll have a day of good exercise without taking a lot of time away from other things.
  3. Food Quality Awareness. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be complicated. Forget the fad diets and focus on the highest quality foods possible. High quality means nutrient dense for the calories that you eat.  include a variety of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and low-fat dairy. When you grocery shop, shop on the outside aisles. The inner aisles usually have most of the processed food, junk food, and other food your body would be happier without.
  4. Relationship Awareness. Building a community of people who can help you through life’s ups and downs is a vital step towards happiness and good health. Create and build relationships that provide encouragement and accountability to both parties. Find a new walking or workout partner. Attend a cooking class in your area for healthy cooking and meet other like-minded people with the same goals and lifestyle.
  5. Goal Awareness. General goals such as “exercise more” are not effective. A SMART goal is Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic, and Timely. “I will walk 20 minutes over my lunch break on Tuesdays and Thursdays” is a SMART goal. Why? Because you have made a definitive goal that is measurable and doable. What SMART goals will you make?
  6. Health Care Awareness  Many medical conditions can be stopped or slowed down if detected in the early stages by getting preventative screenings and yearly doctor checkups! Ask your physician what screenings you should be getting depending on your age group.
  7. Self Talk Awareness. Health goals don’t always go as planned. If you are overweight, chances are, you didn’t gain it overnight – so don’t expect to lose it that fast. When you run into obstacles, don’t degrade yourself with negative self-talk.  Focus on all of the positive changes you have made, no matter how small they seem. Treat yourself with kindness, like you would a good friend.

I hope these tips help you live longer, live happier, and reach the goals you desire.

Have a great Skinny Life day!

New Year, New You

Are you excited for a new year and new you?

New Years resolutions don’t have to be about losing weight.|

You can also incorporate other healthy resolutions into your 2018 plans.  Researchers have found that people who deliberately balance all areas of their lives also have better health!

Of course, if losing weight is important to your health, you should incorporate weight loss goals into your 2018 plan of action. But make sure you round out your physical fitness goals with some life-balancing commitments that will make you feel more wholeness and happiness.

Here is a list of healthy resolutions for you to vow to do this year.

  • Prioritize sleep. If you have trouble sleeping seven to eight hours, look into non-drug therapies. There are fabulous mind-rebooting technologies, like NuCalm that can help train your brain for better sleep.
  • Reduce your sugar intake. Cut back on sodas and high sugar fruit juices. Start reading labels and if you see the ingredient “high fructcose corn syrup” try to find an alternative product. Eat whole fruits and fruit smoothies with the entire fruit to get the benefit of the sugar balancing fibers.
  • Go on a trip. Planning a vacation increases happiness and who doesn’t want to adventure around a new city, sandy white beach, or explore a new destination? Exploring the world also can help you appreciate what you have at home!
  • Read more. Give your brain some mental exercise and escape into a good book. It’s another great way to explore the world without leaving home.
  • Give up soda and diet soda. Yes, your diet soda may have “zero calories” however, the ingredients in diet sodas can hurt your health and they don’t aid in losing weight. Opt for sparkling water with flavored stevia. Try root beer flavored stevia!
  • Practice gratitude. Find things throughout your day that you are grateful for. When you appreciate the things you have and the things around you, it will improve your mental well-being.
  • Volunteer and donate your time to people in need. Not only does it feel good to be kind and help others, it also benefits receiver by putting your own problems into perspective.
  • Forgive someone. Holding onto anger and resentment is poison to your soul. Life’s too short to live in the past. Move on. Everyone is doing the best they can from their own state of consciousness.
  • Wear sunscreen. Your skin will thank you as you age.
  • Love yourself. If there is one person who is guaranteed to be in your life from your date of birth to the end . . . it is you. Learn to forgive, love, and be yourself.

I hope these resolutions will help you in 2018!

To your healthiest year yet!

Have a Skinny Life year!

Crystal

Quick Workouts to do at Home During the Holidays

Need to burn some extra calories and don’t want to leave the house?

These quick workouts will help you burn calories and stay fit! No gym required!

Do as many reps of each exercise as you can in one minute, moving from one to the next without stopping. Rest 90 seconds, then repeat the circuit a total of three or four times.

1. Jumping Jacks
2. Squat Jumps
3. Burpees: Squat and place your hands on the floor. Jump back into a plank position and do a pushup. Reverse the motion to return to standing, jumping off of the ground to finish eat repetition.
4. Side-to-Side Hops: Keeping your knees slightly bent and feet together, imagine you’re jumping back and forth over a line on the floor.

Write down on your calendar how many you were doing at the beginning of the month, then every Sunday night, track your progress on your calendar. Let me know how many reps you were able to do after 30 days!

 

Your Child’s Fitness Determines Their Health Future

While it can seem that the digital age has taken over and there’s nothing we can do about it, parents play a key role in helping their children learn to integrate healthy activity into everyday life.

Did you know only 1 in 3 children are physically active every day and less than 50% of the time spent in PE, sports, and outdoor activities involves enough movement to be considered physically active? With the technology boom has come more time for children and teens spending more time on phones, computers, and other electronic devices, leaving about 1 in 3 children overweight or obese.

So what can we as parents and grandparents do to help children become more physically active?

  • Be a sport- Even if your child doesn’t seem drawn to a specific sport The more they enjoy the activity, the more likely they will continue playing it. Get the entire family involved! Not only will it increase your child’s physical activity, it’s a great way to spend time together as a family. Soccer may be thumbs down but skating might get a big smile.
  • Focus on Joy- One at a time begin to find a fun activity that the child enjoys! It doesn’t have to be structured. Adventure walks where you collect fun things in a bag can keep kids happy for hours. Time your kids when they run across the lawn and back. Challenge them to beat their own time! See how many times they can throw a ball in the air and catch it. Testing themselves against their siblings or friends can create a bit of healthy competition that increases their motivation to do well.
  • Plan a time where you can exercise or engage in physical activities with your child. The more you are involved, the more your child will enjoy it.
  • Provide toys that promote physical fitness. Have toys that around that make it easy to be active; balls, jump ropes, bicycles, and other active toys.
  • Limit television. Limit both TV and computer use. No more than 1 to 2 hours of total screen time per day will give your child plenty of time for physical activities.
  • Don’t push too hard. Gently find ways to increase your child’s physical activity and make it fun rather than a chore. Your attitude will reflect and make an impression on their attitude when it comes to fitness and health.
  •  Engage in a discussion with your child’s physician during a check-up. Your child’s doctor may help him or her understand why physical activity and fitness can keep them strong and healthy.

Remember to incorporate a balanced diet into your child’s new healthy lifestyle. One of the most important things we can do as parents is encourage healthy habits early in life. The time you invest in creating a happy program of healthy activity and eating now will pay dividends for a lifetime!

Improve Your Walking Technique for Maximum Benefits!

Are you looking for ways to make certain you get the most out of your walk? Walking is a fabulous way to clear your head.  Cruising along briskly in the fresh air can double as meditation time during which you can reflect on the positive things as well as getting in some good movement and exercise.  Just so you get maximum benefit with minimal issues with your walking routines, we’ve  created a walking awareness checklist to help you get started!

No one wants to add unnecessary strain to body parts that don’t need it. Besides, a sloppy posture increases your risk of injuring yourself. By delegating some of the work to your abdominal and hip muscles, you can walk faster and more efficiently, reduce your risk of injury, and eliminate much of walking’s joint-jarring impact. With fewer pains and strains, you might even walk farther. And that means you’ll burn more calories – and who doesn’t love that idea?

Here are some simple reminders of items to be aware of during your next walk and every walk:

Intentionally engage your butt and thigh muscles:  
As you prepare to take a step, focus on your trailing leg, creating a crease where your butt and thigh meet by lifting your cheek and tightening your hamstring. Continue to use those muscles as you bring that leg forward. Notice how your inner thigh muscles keep your knee pointed forward and stabilize your leg.

Toes Forward:  
When you walk, allow your heel to strike first, then push off from the big toe, flexing at the ankle. Walking with your toes pointed our causes stress on your knees, so keep them pointed forward for a safer stride.

Pull your navel toward your spine:  
Your abdominal muscles will form additional stability when holding your stomach in, and your movements will be more controlled too (it also helps create great abs). As you walk, let your arms swing, but try not to swivel your torso, because your torsos job is to support movement.

Be proud and hold your head high:  
Walking forward headfirst creates unnecessary stress in your neck and throws off your balance. Walk as if you are a puppet and imagine there is a string attached to the top of your head keeping your head up – or – pretend as though you have a stack of books on your head that you are attempting to balance. This distributes the force of gravity along the natural curve of your spine.

Relax your shoulders:  
Position your shoulders back and down. Concentrate on not shrugging or hunching them as this is also bad for your back and spine.

Make your walking time a top priority not to be compromised even if it’s on lunch breaks or walking home from work.  Your body and brain will enjoy the extra oxygen you take in and afterward you’ll feel happier and more calm.  Be conscientious of your form, your movements, and your walking posture. The awareness will help you move your body in a healthier way and create long lasting, skinny life results!

Happy walking!

How to Successfully Lose Weight

How to Successfully Lose Weight

Throughout many successful weight loss journeys, there are similar factors that contribute to lasting and successful weight loss.  Here we share a few, and, if you have tips to share with others, please comment below or head over to our Facebook page to share your weight loss tips!

  1. Mindset is everything.

Weight loss is difficult. It is hard to break old habits and implement new ones. Our bodies have memory (you’ve probably heard of muscle memory, well, our entire bodies have physical memory) and losing weight is rewiring the memory. You will hit plateaus and there will be weigh-ins where you lose nothing, you may even gain a few pounds. But don’t despair, stay positive and remember that even when things are frustrating and you’re feeling defeated, that the journey will be worth it once you hit your weight loss goals.

  1. Burn more calories than you consume.

Yes, the goal is to eat healthier and to nourish your body with the right nutrients and vitamins. With that being said, it is still possible to lose weight eating the foods you currently love, IF, you can eat them in moderation. Slowly replace unhealthy foods with healthy, vibrant, unprocessed foods. Log your meals and track your calories, this will help you burn more calories than you are eating.

  1. Move your body.

Each person burns calories each day on a normal day, some more than others based on muscle mass, their movement throughout the day and overall lifestyle. To permanently lose weight and keep it off, you need to make lifestyle changes. You will need to find an exercise that you love doing, such as swimming, yoga, cardio, lifting weights, or taking walks. Make your workouts fun and move, move, move.

  1. Eat clean and organic.

Weight loss rules are simple. Eat organic and clean, eat in moderation, eat lots of green leafy vegetables, limit sugar (bread, soft drinks, pastries, etc), eat plenty of protein, and drink tea or unsweetened coffee, and lots of hydrating water.

  1. Stay busy.

Keep busy at home (even housework burns calories), and park further away when you go out so you can benefit from extra walking to and from your car (make sure your car is in a well-lit area and close to others when parking at night). There are several small changes we can make that will increase our calorie burn.

  1. Celebrate successes.

Make small goals. Don’t wait to reward yourself until you have lost all of your weight. You will become frustrated and feel unmotivated. Instead, find ways to celebrate your small wins throughout your weight loss journey! Maybe a fun night out with friends, or buying something new to show off your changing figure, or going to a movie, can be rewards you implement. Just remember to celebrate YOU!