There are hundreds of reasons our bodies seem to always be craving sugar.
1.) Exercise Doesn’t Have to Feel Like Work
If you’re not a gym person and running around your neighborhood isn’t your thing, don’t worry about it. Exercise shouldn’t feel like work or something that you have to force yourself to do. Not everyone likes staring at a monitor on a treadmill – – it might be more fun to take a dance class, garden in your backyard, go for a swim or a bike ride at the beach.
Make exercise fun and enjoyable! If you look forward to an activity, you are more likely to do it consistently. Team up with a friend and make plans to attend a yoga class together, meet every day after work for a walk or blast music in your basement and have a dance party!
However you choose to move around, make it fun!
2.) Keep Those Bones Strong!
According to an article in Woman’s Day Magazine, exercise can decrease the risk of osteoporosis. To prevent bone loss and protect yourself from falling, strengthening exercises like weight-lifting, climbing stairs, dancing and jogging are best. If you are new to strength-building exercise, make sure to work with a trainer to learn technique and prevent injury.
Go ahead and grab those running shoes and weights – – your bones will thank you in a few years!
3.) Brain Fog? Unproductive at Work? Get out and Move!
We’ve all been there. Sitting at your computer about to fall asleep and unmotivated to make that phone call or write that report. The good news is there are many ways to increase energy and productivity throughout the work day. Instead of eating lunch at your desk, go for a brisk walk outside or pack gym clothes and hop on a cardio machine. Whatever you do, get your heart pumping, even if it’s only for a short time.
A study released by the American College of Sports Medicine found that 65 percent of employees surveyed reported an increased ability to manage their time and produce more, as well as an overall improved mental and interpersonal performance when they worked out in the middle of the day.
If you can’t get out, do some leg exercises under your desk, go up and down the stairs a few times or do a few plans in your office.
4.) Create Workout Goals!
Setting goals will keep you motivated during your workouts, plus if you have something to work towards, you will most likely push yourself a bit harder during each workout. When you have a clear idea of what you would like to accomplish, you will stay focused during workouts and will make sure to fit them into your schedule.
A goal doesn’t have to be big. It can be anything from doing one more sit-up every day, trying to do a pull-up, challenging yourself to make it to a certain number of classes at the gym per week or running a better time on the treadmill.
Write your goal in your calendar so when it’s time to work out, you can clearly see what your goal is for the day. Good luck!
5.) Fuel for Your Workout!
Before your next workout, make sure to grab a meal or snack with a mixture of protein to help your muscles recover and carbohydrates for a quick energy boost.
Try some of the following ideas and you’ll be sure to race through your workout!
– an apple or banana with all-natural peanut butter
– a couple slices of low-fat swiss cheese and turkey with whole-grain crackers
– mix of sunflower seeds, natural popcorn and dried cranberries
– berries or melon with low-fat cottage cheese or plain greek yogurt
6.) Post Workout Fuel!
Make sure to eat something substantial within an hour after working out, as your body craves food to replenish what you lost during exercise. Look for a lot of protein – about 20 grams or so- to repair your muscle tissue and complex-carbohydrates that will fuel you post-workout.
Try the following after your next trip to the gym:
– a quinoa bowl with chicken breast
– high protein smoothie like Terra’s Organic Whey or Nutiva Naturals Hemp Protein mixed with fruit and nut butter
– omelet loaded with veggies and whole-grain toast
7.) Working Off the Calories!
A Bombay Chicken Salad with a tall cafe blend coffee from Cosi sounds harmless, but this meal holds 481 calories. If you want to work this off with moderate intensity sit-ups, you’d need to go non-stop for 93 minutes. To decrease the caloric load, always ask for dressing on the side and opt for an unsweetened caffeinated beverage.
8.) Exercise and Be Happy!
When we exercise, the neurotransmitter dopamine, a chemical that plays a role in happiness, is released. Many studies suggest that as we age, we’re constantly losing our stores of dopamine, which is why we need to constantly seek out experiences that release dopamine.
So, what’s the easiest and most cost-effective way to increase dopamine production? Run outside, grab a jump rope, play hop-scotch with your kids – – just move and that smile will reappear!
9.) Does Exercise Keep the Doctor Away?
Exercise, along with a healthy diet, are the pillars of healthy living. Exercise improves cardiovascular health, lowers blood pressure, helps control body weight, and protects against a variety of diseases. Researchers are presently searching for links between exercise and an increased immune system. Just like a healthy diet, exercise can contribute to general good health and therefore to a healthy immune system.
Harvard Medical School’s Health Publication cites that exercise may contribute even more directly by promoting good circulation, which allows the cells and substances of the immune system to move through the body freely and do their job efficiently. Grab those spinning shoes and cycle your way to better health!
10.) Chocolate Milk Isn’t Just for Kids!
After sprinting or exerting quick-spurts of energy, refuel with…. that’s right, your favorite childhood drink, chocolate milk. According to a University of Texas at Austin study, chocolate milk rehydrates, provides protein to aid in the repair of exercise-indiced muscle damage and offers sugar, a fast-digesting carb that is beneficial in providing glycogen post-workout. Our favorite brand: Horizon Organic Reduced Fat Chocolate Milk.
11.) Sweating by the Numbers!
The International Journal of Clinical Practice outlined how your sweat sessions will help you prevent disease down the road. Researchers looked at more than 40 studies of the benefits of exercise and found that by moving regularly now, you can prevent over 25 diseases later on including cutting heart disease by 50%, decreasing colon cancer by 40%, reducing breast cancer by 30% and preventing hip fractures by 41%. Job well done to all of you sweating it out now!
12.) Soothing Frazzled Nerves
Stressed out from work or the kids? Apparently, just 15 minutes of heart-pounding exercise will help you to feel less stressed. University of California San Francisco researchers found that vigorous exercise keeps your telomeres – parts of DNA that protect chromosomes – long. The longer they are, the better you can deal with tension.
13.) Zumba For All Ages!
The great thing about Zumba – aerobic dance moves to Latin music – is that there is no age limit. If your 4-year-old daughter or son wants to learn to dance or your 90-year-old mother wants to shake it, zumba classes are open to all ages and levels. Try to watch the instructor so that you can mimic the dance he/she is teaching, but if that is too difficult, just move around to the music at your own pace. Remember, it’s your workout!
Visit www.zumba.com to find a class near you!
14.) Move On Over to the Ballet Barre!
Barre classes are becoming so popular –they are offered at gyms and celebrities can’t stop talking about how beneficial they are for toning purposes.
A ballet-inspired fitness class, barre uses high repetitions of small movements to tone muscle, build strength and improve posture. Depending on your level, you can also take quicker-paced classes which include cardio moves.
Check out a class at your local gym or use your counter-top or the edge of your sofa as your makeshift barre and buy some easy to follow DVD’s from Pure Barre Technique. Come bathing suit season, you’ll be one happy camper!
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