Archive Monthly Archives: February 2018

3 Tips to Max Out Your Daily Step Count

Walk more to increase your daily step count.

Don’t underestimate the power of walking. Adding some extra walking minutes to your day can have a positive impact on your health and fitness goals, and your step count.

Want a fun, effective and sociable activity that will help you add exercise to your daily routine? Aim to complete 10,000 steps each day. Read on to find out how you can add more steps to your day.

Fall in love with walking

Walking is fun, especially if you do it with a friend. And it’s cardiovascular in nature, so starting a walking program during the month of February is perfect because it’s officially American Heart Month. While love is in the air around Valentine’s Day, my advice is to love someone enough to take them on a walk this month.

Why walking can help you feel good

Many people see walking as an activity that’s too low in intensity to get them any noticeable fitness results. The truth is that the effects of adding extra walking to your day goes far beyond the physical, because walking can make you feel good, too. If you’re someone who dismisses the idea of walking as exercise, then think again. While walking isn’t a high intensity exercise, it has marvelous benefits that could help add extra pep to your stride.

How 10,000 steps can take you from inactive to active

Putting one foot in front of the other as you walk is a type of activity that is very achievable for many people. Walking is a great first step that inactive people can take to get them onto what I call the fitness ladder. Once you get up and moving with a simple activity such as walking, your body will naturally release feel good brain chemicals like serotonin and dopamine, giving you an emotional boost that may help to get you even more active.

How to increase your step count and add more walking to your day

100-1,000 steps

Change simple habits such as parking further from the store, getting off the bus one stop sooner, taking the stairs, avoiding escalators and moving walkways or a brisk 5 minute coffee-break walk to help you to accumulate this number of steps.

1,000-5,000 steps

To reach this number of steps you will need to start adding in walking on the spot while you are on the phone and a 20 minutes coffee-break walk. Make a conscious effort to get up from your desk a few times a day and walk for 5 minutes and get active around your home.

5,000-10,000 steps

10,000 steps per day takes commitment. Aim to use stairs as exercise by taking them 5-6 times, walking 5km, taking a 40-minute dog walk, and taking two 20-minute coffee-break walks.

This is a significant number of steps because anything less than 5,000 means you’re quite inactive (according to ASCM guidelines, less than 5,000 steps daily is sedentary). Reaching 10,000 steps every day will help you feel like you’re really exercising.

The best way to track your 10,000 steps per day

Invest in a simple pedometer or phone app to help you to keep track. There are lots of fancy gadgets but I suggest finding something that you can clip to clothing, wear or keep in a pocket so that every step counts.

Lots of wearable gadgets have indicators that monitor your daily walking steps. In fact, many of the mobile apps and bracelets even congratulate you when you have reached your goal for the day.

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Hydrating Face Mask: Make Your Own in Three Easy Steps

February 13, 2018

Oatmeal and honey are known for
their hydrating properties

The key to avoiding skin dehydration is to moisturize the body inside and out. 

Skin dehydration occurs when the body lacks moisture both inside and out. The average person needs from eight to 12 cups of water per day.

Sometimes we have hectic days that don’t allow us to consume what is required to stay hydrated. Your body has mechanisms which trigger thirst, so it knows when to get you to drink more. Your skin will also let you know when you’re dehydrated by making it look dull, tired, irritated, flaky and rough.

Dehydrated skin can happen anytime during the year, and it can be aggravated by hot or cold temperatures, air conditioning, saunas, travel and other lifestyle choices.

It’s easy to start alleviating the signs of dehydration on your skin and body. You can start by consuming more water and getting the proper nutrients to stay hydrated, which include fruits and vegetables. Your skin is a reflection of what you consume, so if you’re not getting the proper nutrients, the negative signs will show up on your skin. You also need to be vigilant about your skin care regimen; using skincare products that contain harsh and irritating ingredients can affect your skin. Look for products with gentle ingredients like aloe vera and antioxidants. Also, an extra step you can take at home is to create a hydrating mask.

All you need are three simple ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons of oatmeal
  • 2 tablespoons of aloe gel
  • 1 tablespoon of honey

Mix all the ingredients well in a bowl. Then, apply the mix to your face with a facial brush. Let it sit for 20 minutes. Oatmeal and honey are known for their hydrating properties, and aloe gel has skin conditioning ingredients.

To finish, wash thoroughly using warm water and a gentle cleanser. Pat your face dry with a clean towel and make sure you have removed all traces of the mask before applying a hydrating moisturizer. It’s an easy, quick way to treat your skin. After a long day or even a long week, your skin deserves to be pampered.

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Recipe: Quick Fried Rice With Beef

A complete one-dish meal.

This quick beef fried rice is a complete one-dish meal that can also be served as a side dish.

It’s a delicious way to use leftover rice, and a healthy way to satisfy your Chinese food craving. It’s an Asian-inspired recipe that that will bring Zen to your hectic life.

 


Ingredients:

2 TBSP chicken broth
2 TBSP rice wine or other sherry (or 2 TBSP more broth)
2 TBSP soy sauce
½ tsp white pepper
1 tsp sesame oil
1 TBSP canola oil, divided
1 cup finely chopped broccoli
½ cup finely chopped carrots
½ cup finely chopped red bell pepper
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups cooked brown rice, cold
12 oz. cooked lean steak, diced
3 green onions, finely chopped
(4 scoops Simply Probiotic)

For sauce, combine broth, wine, soy sauce, pepper and sesame oil in a small bowl and set aside.
In a large nonstick skillet or wok, heat 1 teaspoon of the oil over high heat. Add asparagus, carrots and bell pepper, and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes until tender-crisp. Remove vegetables from skillet and set aside.
Pour remaining 2 teaspoons of oil into skillet and pour in beaten eggs. When the eggs are set on the bottom, add the rice and steak to the skillet. Cook and stir, breaking up egg, until egg is cooked and mixture is hot.
Add vegetables to the skillet and then add sauce mixture (and Probiotic). Stir until well combined. Top with chopped green onions.

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10 Heart-Healthy Foods Your Body Will Love

Eat to your heart’s content.

Most people don’t need an excuse to party, but in case you need an official reason to celebrate, February doesn’t disappoint. Sure, there’s the Super Bowl and Valentine’s Day, but we also have Groundhog Day and Presidents’ Day.

And in case you didn’t mark your calendars, February is also National Heart Health Month. You probably don’t want to celebrate this holiday with pizza and buffalo wings. So, instead, why not show everyone that you’ve got a heart of gold by preparing a delicious heart-healthy meal?

First, if you intend to drink alcohol, make a toast to your good health with a glass of champagne. Not only is champagne festive, but a glass of bubbly contains polyphenols—naturally occurring compounds found in grapes that affect the body’s regulation of blood flow and blood pressure. We don’t recommend you drink alcohol to get polyphenols for this purpose, but maybe thinking about them this way will remind you that you should find healthful sources of polyphenols in your diet.

Next, start your meal with a colorful salad. Bright orange carrots, red tomatoes and deep green spinach owe their colors to carotenoids. These are a group of antioxidant pigments that help the heart by inhibiting the oxidation of the ‘bad” LDL cholesterol in the blood, a key step in the development of atherosclerosis.

Don’t stop there, though. Toss some avocado into your salad for a bonus. Carotenoids are also fat-soluble, so avocado’s healthy fat helps your body absorb these beneficial compounds. Even better, add some beans to your salad. Their water-soluble fiber helps to keep cholesterol levels in check.

For your entrée, grill up some fresh fish. Fish is one of the best sources of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which help to keep certain fats in the blood within normal range (like triglycerides and cholesterol). And that can reduce the risk of heart disease.

Let yourself go “a little nuts.” Tree nuts like almonds, walnuts and pistachios are rich in substances called phytosterols, which help to lower cholesterol. Toast nuts lightly to bring out their natural flavor and then sprinkle them over salads or veggies.

There’s no better finish to a great meal than a bit of chocolate. Naturally occurring compounds in cocoa called flavonoids are powerful antioxidants that fight free radical damage and help protect the heart. The darker and more bittersweet the chocolate, the better it is for you. So, enjoy a bit of dark chocolate, or drizzle some melted bittersweet chocolate over fresh berries for a doubly healthy dessert. Berries get their beautiful red-purple colors from anthocyanins, natural pigments that act as antioxidants, too. We don’t recommend sweets as a regular part of your diet because of the sugar they contain, but as with polyphenols, thinking about antioxidants in your desserts might help you remember to pay attention to them as part of your diet.

I’ll admit that National Heart Health Month isn’t exactly a “cards and flowers” occasion, but why not celebrate anyway? It’s a perfect time to feature heart-healthy foods in a delicious, healthy meal that you and your loved ones can literally “eat to your heart’s content.”

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Four Facts on Why Exercising is Important to Your Health

Cardio exercise benefits the heart.

You can improve your heart health by working out. Here are some of the specific benefits of exercising your heart and cardiorespiratory system.

It’s common to think about what being fit looks like on the outside of your body. The external changes that result from increased physical activity are often the greatest motivational factor that gets people moving. People want to see the results of their hard work on the scale and in the mirror. The thought of a slimmer waist or leaner legs will often get people off the couch and into the gym. However, what if I told you that the true beauty and benefits that fitness provides lie beneath the surface?

I have shared before that external changes resulting from living a healthy, active lifestyle happen slowly. Yet many changes that happen inside the body actually start to happen as soon as you begin an exercise routine. I believe that positive internal changes in the body far outweigh the changes that we see on the outside.

Cardio 101

Cardiorespiratory exercise (also known as “cardio”) is the term used to describe exercise that works your heart and circulatory system. This system has to work all day, every day in order to keep us alive. I describe cardio exercise simply as movement that makes this system work harder. Exercises like running, cycling and swimming are all great examples of cardio exercises. In my opinion cardio should be renamed ‘heart strength training,’ because your heart is a muscle and exercise helps to improve your heart’s blood pumping capabilities.

Let me share with you a few of the great internal benefits that cardio exercise provides.

Lower Resting Heart Rate

Your heart has to work harder during exercise by pumping blood at a faster rate. As a result, it becomes increasingly efficient at pumping blood in general. This can make your everyday activities seem easier over time, because your heart has to work less to sustain them. You can often see this change in a reduced resting heart rate.

Weight Loss

When you increase your activity level with cardio exercise, your body has to burn extra fuel in order to meet this increased need for energy. Stored fat is the primary fuel source for prolonged cardio exercise. This increased energy expenditure, combined with a reduced calorie intake, can lead to significant weight loss.

Reduced Stress

Cardio exercise promotes the production of your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters called endorphins. This function is often referred to as a ‘runner’s high,’ but playing tennis or even walking can contribute to this same feeling. Cardio exercise can often feel like meditation in motion. As you start to exercise and focus on what you are doing, your stress level may decrease. As a result, once you’re finished, although you may feel physically tired, you can feel mentally rejuvenated.

There are so many good reasons to add cardio into your current routine. The most important one is that it’s good for your heart.

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