Tag Archives | exercise

10 Easy Ways to Start Exercising and Sticking to It in 2017

Image by JOHN TOWNER, unsplash.com

Everybody who’s ever tried exercising knows that it’s hard to stick to a daily routine, no matter if it includes running, lifting weights or yoga. The solution to this problem is to change the way you think about sport. Once you make it a part of your day, just like brushing your teeth, things will fit into place.

Until you’re good at it, chances are you’ll find a number of excuses to avoid working out. So here are some tips to help you get started and keep going.

1. Be Realistic about Your Goals
First of all, don’t mistake resolutions with goals. For example, your resolution could be to lose 10 pounds, but your goal is to exercise half an hour a day.

Don’t come up with higher goals than you can accomplish. This will only set you up for disappointment when you realize that you can’t handle them. Start slow and keep things real. If you only have 15 minutes, start with that.

2. Put Yourself First
Keep in mind that although we may be tempted to help out a friend that has a paper coming up, skipping on your workout is not the way to go.

If your school schedule allows you to fit all you want to do, that’s perfect; if not, always prioritize your own needs before everyone else’s.

3. Find What You Like
If you’re not used to working out, begin by doing something that you either love or you’re good at. If playing football is a hobby, make it a part of your day; if it’s swimming, check out the campus pool.

Step by step, you’ll start incorporating more and more types of exercises, but for now, do what you like.

4. Establish a Dedicated Workout Area
Although living in a dorm doesn’t offer too much spare space, see if you can’t place a yoga mat and some weights somewhere. As long as your brain perceives the space as a sport-friendly environment, it will be easier to stick to exercising.

A cardio machine in your home won’t take up as much space as you think and the health benefits are definitely worth it!

5. Take Your Friends With You
The same colleagues you go for a drink with could soon become your workout buddies as well. Exercising with a friend will be more exciting. Besides, you’ll support each other as you try to meet your goals.

Surely you have a friend who’s trying to lose some weight or get in shape, so make a team!

6. Don’t Stress Your Body
If a certain activity is too much for your muscles, take a step back. It’s possible that your body isn’t in the best shape, so if you lift heavy weights, you might hurt yourself.

Begin with simple exercises, and once your body gets in shape, switch things up a little. Just remember to adjust gradually to the intensity of the workout.

7. Include More Movement
Getting in shape doesn’t happen only in the gym; it can also be done between classes or during breaks. Instead of taking the bus, walk. Walking will help your muscles develop and have a more defined shape, especially your calves.

Another option is to have an afternoon at a pool instead of going for a movie. You’ll burn calories and have a blast with your friends.

8. Download an App
Nowadays, there’s an app for everything, and some of them are so much fun that you’ll grow addicted to them. Running will get your blood pumping, and your lungs will get more oxygen; still, running from an army of zombies will certainly boost things up.

If you’d like to keep track of how much time you’ve exercised today, or how many calories you’ve lost, there’s an app for that as well.

9. Keep a Journal
We’re not saying that you should start obsessing over how much time you’ve spent in the gym, or if you’ve eaten the exact number of calories today, but a journal will help you out.

Writing down your daily activities will make it easier for you to realize how far you’ve come and thus, you’ll feel better about it.

10. Find a Group
Sports groups are the way to go if you lack the motivation to stick to an exercise routine. Knowing that there’s always someone waiting for you will make it harder to skip training.

Plus, you’ll make new friends, and surely some of their energy will give you that extra strength to run another mile.

Like I’ve said, take things slow and see how much free time you can “steal” from your busy schedule to work out. Meanwhile, don’t forget to eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables! These will keep you energized.

This article was contributed by guest author Evelyn Kail.

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Health Tips To Know Before Heading To College

Image by Christopher Campbell, Unsplash.com

Image by Christopher Campbell, Unsplash.com

College is an exciting time in a student’s life — a movement toward adulthood and its unique freedoms. Along with the privilege of greater freedom, however, comes greater responsibility, including caring for your own health for what may be the first time. Do you know how to stay healthy while away at school? What steps should you take to stay well?

To help answer these questions, here’s a look at some of the top tips to know in order to care for your body while in college:

1. Watch what you eat. Your diet plays a major role in how you feel day to day, but when you’re busy with a heavy class load, a hectic social calendar and other new activities, you might be tempted to grab whatever is fastest and easiest — even if it’s a candy bar. That’s why you need to decide now to prioritize a balanced diet. One great way to do this is by choosing to make more of your own food. When you shop for your own groceries and make simple, healthy meals at home, you can better control what you eat.

2. Drink lots of water. When you lead a busy lifestyle, it’s easy to get dehydrated. Keep a re-usable water bottle with you, drink often and fill it up at drinking fountains on campus in order to keep refreshing your body’s water supply.

3. Stay active. Exercise is about much more than losing weight. The truth is, getting your body moving is important for everything from mental clarity to emotional stability. Whether you participate in pickup sports, join a gym or spend a big chunk of time each day walking all over campus, stay active.

4. Locate your nearest health clinic. Maybe you have an awful migraine from studying all night, or think you may have the flu. It’s important to know where the closest urgent care center or health clinic is in order to maintain optimal health. Your college will likely have this information on hand.

5. Get your sleep. When you’re facing high-pressure deadlines, upcoming tests or the opportunity to party all night, it’s all too easy to miss out on sleep in college — but don’t make this mistake! Missing sleep can mess with your brain function and increase headaches or even weight gain. Instead, try to get between seven and nine hours of sleep each night.

6. Skip the drugs, drinks and smoking. When you want to stay healthy, choose to avoid drinking, drugs and smoking, all of which can damage your body over time. Skipping these substances helps reduce your risks for various diseases — both now and in the future.

7. Limit sugar and caffeine. Think chugging energy drinks or soda will give you the extra boost you need? Think again. As much as possible, skip these stimulants that typically make you crash a few hours after your temporary high.

8. Protect yourself in the sun. Heading to the beach with friends on spring break may be a college cliché, but it’s a fun one. Whenever you’re soaking in sunshine, however, make sure you take protective measures. Wear sunscreen, and re-apply it regularly. Likewise, skip the tanning beds completely as they can increase your skin cancer risks.

9. Have fun. There’s no denying stress is bad for your body, so do yourself a favor and find things to enjoy in college. Just as important as studying for tests and sticking to a budget is making time to unwind and relax. Whether it’s getting out with your friends for coffee or going for a walk, make time to de-stress. It’s one of the best things you can do for your health.

When you’re young, you might not always feel the urgency for taking care of your health — but your college years are the perfect time to implement healthy habits that continue for the rest of your life! Set good patterns today so you can enjoy maximum energy and mental clarity well into the future.

This article was contributed by guest author Dr. Abhijit Shinde.

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5 Daily Exercise Activities for Busy Students

Image by UrbaneWomenMag, Flickr

Image by UrbaneWomenMag, Flickr

Everyone has exactly 24 hours in a day – how do you spend yours? Studying, eating, sleeping, daydreaming, talking, texting, Facebooking and networking are all frequented activities, but it’s often exercising that gets pushed to the backburner. You’re aware of this, and you keep telling yourself, “I need to find time to go to the gym.” But with a busy schedule, this isn’t always easy. The good news is you can turn everyday activities into quick and easy exercise routines – ones that you can do daily to make sure you don’t let those late-night snacks get the best of you.

  1. Take the stairs

  2. Yes. Put one leg in front of the other and off you go. While you clutch a steaming hot Starbucks beverage with your left hand, reach for the stair railing with your right. Climbing a few flights of stairs is not much, but it certainly counts as exercise if you do it on a regular basis. It doesn’t need to be for 10 flights at a time either; it makes sense to take the stairs for short trips in either direction, rather than waiting for the elevator.

  3. Take over the tap

  4. Sitting for three hours straight while studying in the library can be tiring both physically and mentally. Take five minute breaks every 45 minutes. Brief walks to the nearest water fountain or tap give you time to stretch, hydrate, and clear your mind. Short breaks keep you alert and help you concentrate – you’re also able to retain more information. Take advantage of the breaks your professors give you in class as well – leaving the room for a few minutes does wonders for your energy level.

  5. Get off the bus at the wrong stop

  6. It sounds counter-intuitive, right? You’ve only imagined getting off at the wrong stop after falling asleep or being deep in thought or conversation. It’s good for you! Getting off the bus or train one stop earlier gives you a longer distance to walk, and can be a very enjoyable form of exercise when the weather is nice. When the sun is shining, it can improve your mental health as well.

  7. You are what you absorb

  8. Exercise without proper diet is like a Ferrari without an engine – it looks good on the outside, but won’t get you anywhere. You’ve heard it before – you’re not just what you eat, you’re what you absorb. Oats, vegetables, nuts, fish and all the other healthy food you tend to avoid are vital. Pizza, fries and burgers may be pocket-friendly meals, but they mostly contain empty calories, meaning they keep hunger away but fail to adequately nourish your body. For more insights on your diet, check out 5 ways to stay healthy at school, or the top 10 food items you should have in your kitchen. Remember that eating healthy does not need to be an expensive or time-consuming activity.

  9. Turn your house into a gym

  10. With a little improvisation, you can create your own – inexpensive – home gym. Conduct a quick tour of your kitchen, and chances are you’ll find one or two cans of baked beans or chick peas. With your imagination, you can turn those into dumb bells. They won’t help you build remarkable biceps, but it’s a good starting point. You can eventually graduate to using real weights at the gym or purchasing your own set when you have more time. In your bedroom, challenge yourself to 10 push-ups and sit-ups every morning before stepping out.

5 Ways to Stay Healthy at University

Image by epSos.de, Flickr

Image by epSos.de, Flickr

Do you know what really causes the “freshman fifteen?” Hint: it’s not just about what you eat! What you drink has a lot to do with unhealthy weight gain, and being sedentary and sleep-deprived just pack on the extra pounds. Due to the myriad of social and academic obligations of university life, the variable schedule of the average student can wreak havoc on one’s diet, sleep pattern, and exercise regimen. Staying healthy, however, will boost your mood and energy levels, which will bolster your academic performance and help you to maintain a positive mindset. Here are some basic ways to stay healthy at university:

1. Sleep well

Good sleep is essential for your physical and mental wellbeing – it will help maintain your metabolism, improve your memory, and heighten mental clarity. Poor sleep, on the other hand, reduces your energy level and ability to concentrate, and results in higher levels of irritability, anxiety, and depression. Moreover, sleep deprivation causes an increase in appetite, which may result in weight gain. Try to establish a regular sleeping pattern of eight hours each night, going to bed and getting up at the same time.

2. Exercise frequently … and sneakily
It’s easy to lead a sedentary lifestyle at school. What do you do in a lecture hall? You sit. What do you do in the library? You sit. What do you do in the cafeteria? You sit. While university seems to require a lot of sitting, it is important to be active in order to stay healthy. Establish a routine of regular exercise – treat your gym time like an extra class in your schedule, or split your workouts into shorter and more frequent increments that will fit into a busy schedule. If you don’t think you can muster the self-discipline to make it to the gym alone, sign up for an exercise class with a friend. Try something interesting and new – kickboxing, squash, yoga, tennis, or Pilates are all great ways to get moving. Don’t forget the little things that you can do in between workouts to maximize your level of activity – walk to class, take the stairs, and stand up to stretch your legs for every hour you find yourself sitting in the library.

3. Watch your beverages
There are four types of beverages that can have an impact on your health: alcohol, soda and soft drinks, caffeinated drinks, and water.

Alcoholic drinks contain empty calories and no nutritional value whatsoever. The excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages can have serious physical effects – if it isn’t enough that a single shot of vodka contains a whopping 100 calories, studies show that regular consumption of alcohol impairs your ability to absorb nutrients and burn fat over time.

Soft drinks, sodas, and sweetened fruit juices also cause unhealthy weight gain and slow your digestion. They contain high levels of sugar, and their diet equivalents simply substitute the sugar content with chemicals that are just as toxic for your system. Soda should be a treat, not a habit. Substitute your sugary fix with a refreshing cup of tea (chamomile and mint tea promote relaxation and digestion, and sweeter flavours such as strawberry, peach, ginseng, or lemon keep it interesting). You can also switch your soda for a sparkling water.

Keep an eye on your caffeine consumption, too. Caffeinated drinks are often dehydrating – remember to drink two glasses of water for every coffee or energy drink you consume. Also, drinking coffee too late in the day might disturb your quality of sleep at night. Most importantly, watch out for the unhealthy additives in calorie-laden lattes or specialty drinks at your favourite coffee shop – one chai tea latte from Starbucks sounds innocent enough, but even its smallest size packs an incredible 240 calories (not to mention 41 grams of sugar).

Make sure you drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated is essential to maintaining general health and energy levels, and helps to control your weight and appetite, improve your skin, flush your system, and improve your quality of sleep. Try to drink a glass of water every hour and before each meal.

4. Everything in moderation
Don’t be afraid of bread, pasta, and cereals – in moderation, they can be part of a healthy diet. Avoiding them completely can have a negative impact on your metabolism, which is essential to fighting that freshman fifteen. Just keep in mind that dessert should be a treat, not a habit. Make sure you fuel up on nutrient-rich foods with plenty of fibre – whole grains, lentils, spinach, broccoli, beans, and zucchini, among others. Add avocado, lettuce, and tomato to your sandwiches. In the cafeteria, avoid fried or breaded items, and choose the grilled option instead. Add chicken to your salad for a protein boost. Substitute brown rice for white rice, mustard for mayonnaise, whole grain for white bread, and olive oil and vinegar for creamy salad dressing. For motivation and inspiration, look to food blogs and Pinterest recipes to get you excited about eating healthy.

5. What you eat is just as important as when you eat it.
Between classes, assignment deadlines, exams, parties, and going out with friends, it can be difficult to plan a regular meal schedule. Remember to eat breakfast (it starts your metabolism and gives you a boost of energy, which will help control your appetite and prevent overeating throughout the day) and pack healthy snacks to bring to campus (baby carrots, pretzels, apples, and almonds are all great ideas) to tide you over until lunch (a sandwich with a soup or salad is always a healthy option). Avoid midnight snacking, ordering pizza at two in the morning, or grabbing a greasy bite after a night out with your friends – studies show that eating late at night can cause unhealthy weight gain. Stress can also have an effect on how you eat, so try to avoid unhealthy and excessive snacking when you are bored or worried about something, and do not skip meals – a diet of regular meals and nutritious snacks is important to the maintenance of your overall health.