Is All Exercise Created Equal?

rope jumping ropes human training
Photo by Scott Webb on Pexels.com

I am a huge advocate for physical activity, and believe that moving our bodies daily has a tremendous impact on our minds, our bodies, and our spirits. But, as with diets, there are many different theories around exercise and the types we should be doing. From yoga to running, CrossFit to spinning, there are many opportunities, so which is best?

I approach exercise just as I approach eating. Everyone is different so individual preference, age, personality, and many other factors need to be considered. Ultimately, find something that you enjoy doing, that way you will be far more likely to make it a habit.

There are four categories of exercise. Try to find something from each category that feels right for you. Here are some examples:

  • aerobic/endurance – increases your heart rate, works cardiovascular system
    • running, walking, swimming, dancing, cycling, hiking, rowing
  • strength – increases lean muscle mass
    •  weight lifting, push ups, pull-ups, crunches, squats, lunges, tricep dips, yoga
  • balance – improves ability to control your body’s position, find center of gravity
    • yoga, tai chi
  • flexibility – improves range of motion, stretches muscles
    • yoga, tai chi, stretching
woman exercising bear body of water
Photo by Nathan Cowley on Pexels.com

Aside from promoting heart health, losing weight, and toning up, exercise has many other great benefits. It can calm the mind, reduce stress and anxiety, create feelings of happiness, boost energy, and improve memory and thinking skills.

When considering what exercise will be best for you, think about your personality and your typical day to day activities. Are you always go, go, go, with a busy schedule and a restless mind? Perhaps yoga or tai chi would be a great option to help eliminate physical stress and promote relaxation. On the other hand, if you are often sedentary and have low energy throughout your day, something more energetic may be good for you, such as spin class, zumba, or brisk walking. The key is to find balance.  Too much energy in our days will eventually burn us out, and too little energy will facilitate the growth of disease in our bodies.

If you are a person living a sedentary lifestyle looking for ways to increase your mobility, there are ways to encourage yourself to keep on track. Many watches and fitness trackers are a great tool to track steps, count calories burned, and allow you to compete with friends/family if you are a driven competitor. It is recommended that people take around 10,000 steps per day, and trackers are a great way to give you an estimate of your progress. If you respond well to group training rather than going at it alone, perhaps you could get together with friends, family, neighbors, or members of the community for group walks and activities. Trying out state forests, parks, and local trails may be a fun way to start.

Be easy on yourself when adopting any new lifestyle. Moving even a little bit is better than not moving at all – and keep in mind that you don’t have to be pouring sweat and out of breath to have done wonders for your health and wellbeing.

 

With love,

Brittany

 

 

 

Finding Balance to Promote the Most Vitality

gray pile of stones near trees
Photo by Fabian Reitmeier on Pexels.com

I believe that life is meant to be a journey of growth and evolution for everyone who walks this earth. We are all students throughout the entire course of our lifetime, and even the greatest teachers are never done learning. We will never have all of the answers, but by seeking out truths within ourselves, and striving for balance in our lives, our time here in our physical bodies can be lived with the most vibrance possible.

I am currently a student at IIN (The Institute for Integrative Nutrition). I went back to school to become a health coach because deep in my soul I believe that helping others to achieve health and happiness is my calling. My passion and desire comes from wanting to achieve these things in my own life, and we teach what we’re meant to learn. Few people have a perfectly balanced life, but by being a guide to help others take a look at the big picture and uncover the origins of their symptoms, together we are getting closer to harmony.

At IIN, we are taught about The Circle of Life. This consists of 12 areas that effect your vitality. These areas include:

  1. joy
  2. spirituality
  3. creativity
  4. finances
  5. career
  6. education
  7. health
  8. physical activity
  9. home cooking
  10. home environment
  11. relationships
  12. social life

By looking closely at these aspects and rating them on a scale from unsatisfied to satisfied, you will be able to see where you need to focus a little more of your time and energy.

To live your best life, we must strive for balance within all of these areas, so I highly encourage everyone to check in with yourself often. It is important to make note of any symptoms you are currently feeling. After you’ve completed your scale, consider your symptoms and your areas of least satisfaction. Could they be related? Do you notice any patterns?

For example, a client of mine is often tired, has troubling focusing, has an irritable bowel, and frequent headaches. Looking at her circle of life diagram, I see she ranks joy, social life, relationships, and home environment the lowest. Is it possible that there is trouble within one or more of her relationships causing these symptoms? This exercise requires honesty with yourself. Listen to what your body is telling you. Sometimes we don’t notice our underlying causes until they’re written down and spelled out for us.

Once you’ve completed this exercise. take action on the areas that need to be addressed. Like anything, this will take time, dedication, and love for yourself. But remember, you are worth it. Love yourself first and everything else will fall into place.

Wishing you only love and happiness,

Brittany

Is Sleep Deprivation Effecting Your Ability to Thrive?

For most people today, life is very fast paced and overloaded. We have packed schedules, pressures to perform at work, pressures to perform at home, relationships to care for, and an overwhelming amount of information to process. How do we keep our heads from spinning off?

Society is moving at an unnatural rate, and to help manage this, we over consume in every possible way. We over consume food, drinks, alcohol, caffeine, artificial light, information, and life experiences. This may work in the short term, but if we constantly rely on outer sources to keep up going, we will eventually crash.

Lack of sleep has the potential to lead to weight gain, loss of mental clarity, depression, and an overall decline of general health. Many people are effected by sleep deprivation and aren’t even aware of it. Often times this is because what we interpret as “rest” really is not rest at all. Leisure activities, recreation, drinking, smoking, and watching television are not forms of true rest. We are in such a constant state of hyperarousal that our bodies and brains have forgotten how to do nothing. This hyperarousal has led to a dramatic incline in the use of sleep drugs, and millions of people suffering from insomnia, sleep apnea, and depression.

The best way to get better sleep is to be mindful of the choices you make throughout the day. You can limit your caffeine and sugar intake, eat a well balanced diet, exercise regularly, and avoid late night snacking. It’s also been shown that creating a peaceful environment does wonders to promote restful sleep. Some ideas are to paint your bedroom a calm color, diffuse soothing essential oils, replace your mattress, clean out clutter, remove electronics, reduce light with black out curtains or an eye mask. and reduce sound with a barrier under your door, such as a towel or white noise machine.

Another key factor in getting efficient rest is to decide on a regular bed time and stick to it. Having a bed time will reduce time spent doing things that can hinder sleep like binge watching tv, eating, or doing busy work, such as checking email and keeping active around the house. As bedtime approaches, try calm activities instead, like yoga, meditation, deep breathing, and, for some, reading works well too. These will all help relax your mind. Although there are people who claim they can function on 4-5 hours per night, 7-9 hours are highly recommended for optimal health and wellbeing. Knowing this, decide your bed time based on the time you have to wake up in the morning.

As you experiment with different methods of sleep and relaxation, I suggest you keep a journal of your results. Record the evening practices performed, the number of hours slept, the quality of sleep, your energy levels the next day, your overall mood, and any other information that may be relevant. Once you learn what works best for your body, you can align your habits to better suit your needs.

Getting on track to better sleep will take time and practice, but the positive effects will ripple across all areas of your life and you will love the results. Never underestimate the power of a good night sleep.

 

pexels-photo-416160.jpeg

 

Wishing you Health & Happiness!

Brittany

 

 

 

Clean Eating 101

pexels-photo-533360.jpeg

Clean eating is one of the simplest ways you can improve your health. But what is “clean eating” exactly? With so many theories on health these days, that is a very good question.

To eat clean is to consume foods that are closest their natural state. This may look different for each individual, but the goal for everyone should be to load up on fresh, whole, unprocessed foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and limit sugar, highly processed/refined foods, alcohol, and sodium. Some people may choose to include animal products, but overall it is suggested to cut back on meat and dairy.

Here is an example of a clean eating shopping list:

  • apples
  • bananas
  • blueberries
  • strawberries
  • raspberries
  • pears
  • spinach
  • broccoli
  • tomatoes
  • avocado
  • romaine lettuce
  • arugula
  • kale
  • celery
  • cucumbers
  • peppers: red, yellow, orange, green
  • sweet potatoes
  • butternut squash
  • onions
  • cauliflower
  • quinoa
  • rice: brown, wild, jasmine, basmati
  • oats (steel cut or old fashioned)
  • Plant-based milk: almond, coconut, flax, etc.
  • nuts/nut butters: almonds, walnuts, cashews, brazil nuts, pine nuts, etc.
  • seeds/seed butters: pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, chia, flax, etc.
  • oil: olive, coconut, avocado, sesame, flax
  • pasture raised egg
  • pasture raised chicken
  • grass fed beef

I encourage you to buy organic when possible, but definitely focus on the “dirty dozen”. This includes:

  1. strawberries
  2. spinach
  3. nectarines
  4. apples
  5. grapes
  6. peaches
  7. cherries
  8. pears
  9. tomatoes
  10. celery
  11. potatoes
  12. sweet/hot peppers

 

pexels-photo-811101.jpeg

I recommend mainly shopping the perimeter of the grocery store. There is where you will find mostly everything you need, except maybe your oils, grains, nuts, and seeds. The isles can be dangerous because that is where much of the processed, packaged, sugar laden junk foods hang out.

If you are used to eating the Standard American Diet (SAD), this way of shopping may be an adjustment. Once you’ve taken your clean foods home, you may think to yourself, “what do I do with all of this?” Well, I am here to help.

Here are some meal ideas to inspire you on your clean and healthful journey:

Breakfast:

  • steel cut oats with nuts and blueberries
  • green smoothie with almond milk, spinach, cucumber, pear, apple, and banana
  • sprouted whole grain toast with almond butter and sliced banana
  • pasture raised eggs with sautéed spinach and tomatoes

 

pexels-photo-196668.jpeg

Lunch:

  • arugula salad with apple, walnuts, red onion, and avocado
  • quinoa with sliced almonds, shaved carrots, chopped kale, and olive oil
  • rice bowl with roasted butternut squash, brussel sprouts, and dried cranberries

 

food-salad-healthy-lunch.jpg

Dinner:

  • grass fed steak with sautéed peppers and onions
  • baked sweet potato, roasted broccoli, and baked chicken thighs
  • grilled tofu, brown rice, and sautéed spinach

 

pexels-photo-769289.jpeg

Cooking at home will definitely help promote a cleaner way of living. Knowing how your food is prepared in what is in it is crucial for staying on track with your health goals. You may even find you enjoy your food even more when you prepare it yourself! Take your time, enjoy the process, and don’t forget to infuse everything with the most important nutrient – vitamin L, love.

pexels-photo-302081.jpeg

With love and gratitude,

Brittany

 

The Mind Body Connection

pexels-photo-325520.jpeg

Self-worth, as defined in the English dictionary, is the sense of one’s own value, or worth as a person; self-esteem; self respect.

Recently, I have come to realize that I have relied on other people to determine my self-worth throughout my entire life. In order to feel confident, happy, and content, I have needed family, friends, and even strangers to affirm all of my accomplishments, big or small, and justify all of the things that do not go as planned. It has been my security blanket and protection from any form of discomfort.

I also have a history of people pleasing. I put the preferences of others ahead of my own and disregard my feelings entirely to avoid upsetting anyone else. Since my self-worth depends on everyone thinking highly of me, I avoid confrontation like the plague.

I never fully felt the effects of this until I became a mom. Suddenly, the attention shifted away from me and onto my children, and it also became harder and harder to please everyone since I was no longer the only person in the equation. I often felt alone, isolated, and that I had lost my identity. I slowly felt my anxiety increasing as time went on, and then I was introduced to the true meaning of depression.

This experience led me to discover that health is not only about the foods that we eat and whether or not we exercise. I eat a very nourishing diet and move my body every day, but while I was feeling mentally defeated, stressed out, and just sub par, it took a toll on my physical health as well.

As a person who suffers from food sensitivities, I noticed that when I was feeling my worst, my symptoms also worsened and new ones developed. My feelings on the inside were directly reflected on the outside. I was having break outs, digestive problems, facial flushing, fatigue, joint pain, weakness, and much more.

Depression effects many people and it can display itself in a variety of ways. Aside from extreme sadness and withdrawal, a person may also experience chronic pain, weight gain, a short temper, skin issues, a loss of focus, feelings of apathy, and may be more inclined to rely on drugs and alcohol.

If you are starting on a path to live a happy and healthier life, I encourage you to take a look at all factors that contribute to your well-being. This may include your job, your relationships, your sleep habits, and physical activity just to name a few. We need to treat our mind, body, and soul as one if we truly want to live abundantly healthful lives.