When most people think of exercise, it is usually in the context of bodybuilding or as a way to lose weight. However, daily exercise is essential to help you live a better quality of life.
It has been shown that developing a daily 30-minute exercise routine reduces stress, counteract depression and anxiety, and prevent certain illnesses, such as heart disease.
In most cases, exercising daily are as effective as anti-depressants, and healthier for you, too, because of the many side effects that come with many medications.
When you work out, hormones such as endorphins, serotonin, dopamine, and testosterone are released, which naturally make you feel better.
Endorphins are known as “feel-good” hormones, because it acts as your body’s natural painkillers. Endorphins reduce discomfort, enhance pleasure, and improve self-esteem.
Serotonin controls your appetite, helps you sleep sounder, and regulates your mood. These factors all go hand-in-hand to make us feel happier, calmer, and more stable.
Dopamine is that pleasurable habit-forming hormone that keeps you coming back for more. It signals the reward and pleasure centers in our brain’s, which help motivate us to take action and work towards things that make us feel good.
Regular exercise, especially endurance and resistance training, raises testosterone levels. Testosterone, crucial for both men and women, is important for metabolism and muscle growth. Low levels can lead to depression and obesity.
Chronic stress is a major factor in many modern-day mental ailments such as depression and anxiety. The pressures of life can release too much cortisol and adrenaline. Regular exercise releases the previously listed “happy” hormones and counterbalances the overproduction of cortisol and adrenaline.
Lowering stress levels can also improve your immunity. Exercising daily boosts your immune system by circulating white blood cells faster throughout your system and fighting disease quicker.
Health professionals recommend that the average person exercise at least 30 minutes each day. However, if you feel this is just too difficult for you to manage, walking the dog, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, doing yard work, or anything that makes you more active, can certainly help maintain a better quality of life.
We all know water is essential for life, and most of us stay hydrated, for the most part; but what happens when we don’t drink enough water?
Our bodies should let us know when we become dehydrated, but not always. The most obvious sign is extreme thirst. Sipping on water usually eliminates the threat, but we may not always realize we are in danger, and before we know it, it is too late to treat it ourselves.
Knowing the signs of dehydration can keep a minor problem from becoming a major one.
• Less frequent urination
• Dark-colored urine
If you experience any (or all) of these symptoms, especially if you are ill to begin with, you should contact your physician.
University Health News recommend that the average adult drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day, more for athletes, or if you are trying to lose weight.
Though fluids can be obtain in several ways, including foods and beverages (although coffee and soda are not recommended), water is still the number one choice among experts to hydrate your body.
Water helps maintain blood volume and allows proper circulation. It helps regulate our body’s temperature and acts as a shock absorber for our joints. It also helps lubricate the linings of our inner organs
There are several other benefits to stay hydrated, too. Water can protect you against getting kidney stones, urinary tract infections, coronary heart disease, and some cancers. It can help your skin stay hydrated, too, especially during the winter months when the weather can dry it out.
Drinking enough water every day can assist in losing weight, helps elevate your mood, helps to prevent disease, and improve overall physical performance, according to healthline.com. Staying hydrated can reduce fatigue and prevent headaches, too.
Many complain that the more they drink, the more they have to run to the bathroom; but it’s a small price to pay for maintaining a healthy habit, which can help you live a better quality of life.
Most adults have experienced some type of leg cramps in the middle of the night. Sometimes called “Charley horse,” leg cramps can be painful and keep you up at night.
The following article from the Farmer’s Almanac tells what you can do when you experience these painful nocturnal annoyances.
I was told by a friend that drinking apple cider vinegar would ease the pain, but it gave me such heartburn, even though I diluted it, that I didn’t dare drink it again. Someone else suggested drinking pickle juice. This was still a bit sour, but since I like pickles, it wasn’t nearly as bad as the vinegar.
My doctor suggested stretching my calfs and feet before I go to bed, and between that and the pickle juice, they seem to have subsided. However, it might not work for everyone. Read on, and find out what might work best for you!
WHAT CAUSES LEG CRAMPS AT NIGHT?
Sixty percent of adults say they’ve experienced nocturnal leg or foot cramps at some time in their lives.
Pregnant women and older people tend to suffer nighttime leg cramps more often than other groups, but medical experts say there’s often no clear explanation of why these nighttime leg cramps occur, listing many conditions that might bring one on, including:
• Hard exercise during the day
• Electrolyte imbalance
• Neurological, neuromuscular, or endocrine disorders
• Lumbar stenosis
• Standing for long periods on concrete floors
• Sitting all day in a cramped position
• A side effect of some drugs
LEG CRAMP REMEDIES
When a cramp startles you from sleep, here are 5 tips to manage the problem:
1. Take a few breaths and try to stay calm. Panicking may cause you to tighten the affected muscles even further and prolong or intensify the cramp.
2. If the cramp is in your arch or calf muscles, forcefully extend your toes toward your head and hold the stretch until the cramp subsides. This will release the tension so that the muscles can relax. You may need to sit up, bend over, and pull your toes forward with your hands.
3. If the cramp is in the back of your thigh, roll out of bed, bend at the waist, supporting yourself on your forearms, and keep bending forward until you feel the cramped muscles stretching out. Hold the stretch until the cramp abates.
4. I’ve had good luck using a towel or a woven stretching strap to help straighten out especially vicious hamstring cramps.
5. When the acute pain subsides, get up and walk around a bit to bring oxygen to the cramped muscles. A cold pack or hot pack may help. I like the long, rectangular “beanbags” (cloth sheaths filled with beans or other seeds) heated for a couple of minutes in the microwave and wrapped around sore muscles.
HOW TO PREVENT LEG CRAMPS
If you’re prone to leg cramps at night, these 6 tips may help cramps from happening again:
1. A lot of uphill walking/running or stair-climbing shortens the back muscles and the muscles and tendons at the back of the legs, making them more likely to cramp later. Focus attention on stretching these muscle groups after a hilly workout.
2. Go for a deep-tissue therapeutic massage with an experienced practitioner. Ask her/him to teach you the techniques for the muscle groups in the legs and feet, so that you can work the knots out before they become disabling cramps.
3. Loosen the bedcovers so that they don’t press your feet down and shorten the muscles of your arches, encouraging them to cramp.
4. Drink when you feel thirsty, especially after exercise. Don’t overdo it. Tea, coffee, smoothies, fruit, and vegetables all contribute to your daily fluid needs.
5. Eat a variety of potassium- and magnesium-rich foods every day. Good choices: black beans, kidney beans, nuts and seeds, potatoes, sweet potatoes, leafy greens (especially beet greens), bananas, and other fruit.
6. Stay flexible with a regular stretching.
Here are two common stretches:
Basic calf stretch
Here’s how to do it:
• Stand with your palms placed against a wall, with arms stretched out
• Step back with leg of affected calf
• Lean forward on the other leg and push against the wall
• You should feel a stretch in your calf muscle and the back of the leg.
Do this stretch while you sit:
• Keep legs outstretched in front of you
• Point the toes of your affected foot at the ceiling so that the leg is engaged
• Take a towel or necktie and wrap it around your foot, holding it with both hands
• Lift the leg slightly until you feel a good stretch
• Just stretching the affected muscles three times a week will help immensely. Hold stretch for at least 10 seconds, working up to 30 seconds. And perform each stretch 3 to 5 times.
Managing your time isn’t something that comes naturally to most people. If it seems like you are always running late or don’t have enough time to do all the things you need in the course of a day, you might want to think about taking steps to learn how to manage your time more effectively.
The first thing you might want to do is make a list of areas that you believe are problematic. For example, not long ago, I would wake up in plenty of time to get showered and ready for work, but then I would start work on a project and lose track of time. The result? I was late leaving for work and inevitably get stuck in traffic, and I was late. It was just a few minutes late every day, but my boss saw a pattern and asked me why I was late all the time.
It was embarrassing to admit I couldn't manage my time very well, but it did make me take a look at my habits. I decided that I wanted to be a more responsible person and decided to take the steps to make a few corrections in my life.
Below are a few tips that helped me reach my goal, which have also helped me change other habits that were affecting me.
Make a plan, set a goal
Make a list of those things you want to manage. For each item listed, set a plan of action. Include what it is, how long it will take to complete it, and the process you will go through to accomplish it.
Deadlines are huge in my life, and for someone who is easily distracted, I can’t afford to let anything distract me. But life isn’t perfect, and things happen that demand my attention. Scheduling time, letting people know I will be busy, turning off my phone, playing soothing music; these are all ways to minimize distractions.
Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today
Don’t let procrastination steal your time. Push yourself to get the important things done first, that way you have more time to relax and rejuvenate.
Take breaks when you need them
Time management doesn’t mean you try to do the most amount of work in the least amount of time. It means being able to complete your tasks without feeling burdened and overwhelmed, giving each task the necessary time to complete. It means taking a proactive approach to your work load, as well as the discipline to stay on task, and on time.
Finally, give yourself room to make mistakes, because when we make mistakes, we learn. Knowing we will become better as we practice, just might be the motivation we need to keep trying.
Life isn't always easy, but it wasn't meant to be. Many believe the reason we are here is so we can learn and grow to be the best human being we possibly can. Others believe we are souls having a human experience, living this life to enhance our existence on another plane.
But life was also meant to be enjoyed. We seem to forget that when we experience some of life's more challenging circumstances. Maybe all we need are a few reminders about how to get the most out of our lives:
1. Take responsibility for your life. Stop blaming people for where you are in life. You made the choices that led you to where you are. If you want to change something, change it. You have the power.
2. Find Balance. Balance means something different to everyone. A good rule of thumb is to let your intuition be your guide. if you feel a little "off," take a few minutes to check in with yourself to figure out why.
3. Open your mind. Just because we don't see the world in the same way as someone else doesn't mean they are wrong. Listen to what they have to say. You just might learn something.
4. Be Grateful. When we are grateful, it is because we appreciate what we have. And when we appreciate what we have, you can't possibly be sad.
5. Remember that happiness is always within your control. Happiness is a state of mind. Though it can be difficult to see it, or understand how to get there sometimes, we really do have the power to change our thoughts. Changing our thoughts can change our attitude and lead us to where we want to be.
6. Take Care of Yourself. Many people don't take care of themselves because they really aren't sure how. Ways you can do this is to eat right, exercise, and socialize, but you are the one only one who knows for sure what you need. Hate to exercise? Start with walking and increase it little by little. Join a club or take a course. Cut out the fast food, and sweets. And make sure to pencil in some alone time to rejuvenate with a massage. (See #2)
7. Find your passion and your purpose. Someone once told me "Find your passion and you'll find your purpose." Whether your passion is helping others or writing a best-seller, your purpose will depend on what you do with it.
8. Keep Learning. No one knows everything, but the more you know the better decisions you can make. Read, talk to people who are experts in their fields, take notes, and then read some more. Knowledge is power.
No one is perfect. We all have set-backs and make mistakes. But every day is another chance to try again. And at the end of the day, if you can lay in bed and know you did the best you could, I'd say that was a good day.
I once saw a post that said, "Growing up is mandatory; growing up is optional." When we are little, we are told to grow up when we are acting like we are supposed to. But when we do finally grow up, we tend to forget what it was like to be a child. If you have ever spent time with a child, you know they are curious by nature and express their emotions without filters. Everything is new and exciting to them, every day is a new adventure.
We hurry to grow up and then wish we were little again, certainly not to go through all the lessons we have learned up to this point, but to experience the emotions and feelings that came with being a child.
We could learn a lot from spending time with a child. They can remind us what it felt like to be free and adventurous, and we can teach them not to be in such a hurry to grow up and enjoy being little longer.