Health tip (2)

This next installment of monthly health tips seems small and simple but can have great benefits: go to bed 10-15 minutes earlier. The National Sleep Foundation recommends adults get between 7-9 hours of sleep and a few polls have shown that about 1/3 of American adults sleep less than the recommended amount. A good way to start getting more sleep is to start with an increment of 10-15 minutes of additional sleep. If you try and go to bed 2 hours earlier than you’re accustomed to, your body will probably not be tired enough to fall (and stay) asleep. gradually you can increase the number of hours you sleep every night.

health tip sleep more

A lack of sleep can have many negative effects for example, fatigue, lack of concentration, lack of motivation, decreased immunity, irritability and premature aging.

My Fitbit (Alta) has a sleep tracking system and I’ve found it really interesting to see my sleep patterns. Since having kids, I really enjoy routine for myself and the kids. I probably sleep more than the average adult as I (obviously!) enjoy sleeping ha, ha! One thing I’ve found is that it’s hard to ‘make up’ sleep. For example, if you are sleep deprived during the week, sleeping in extra on the weekend doesn’t necessarily have the same benefits as regular, consistent sleep. I’ve heard there are lots of good phone apps (like Sleep Cycle) that track sleep and help you find the best time for you to fall asleep and when your best wake up time is.

Here’s to feel more well rested and energized every morning!

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Foam Roller: A free massage and my favorite way to relieve sore muscles

One of the most effective ways I love to relieve sore muscles is foam rolling! If I’m super sore I’ll apply peppermint oil and use a foam roller before I go to bed. The pressure from the roller relaxes the muscle fibers and muscle tightness. I love to use mine primarily on my hamstrings but also quadriceps, glutes, back, IT band and calves.  You gently roll the part of your body on the roller (slowly and not staying in one spot for more than 20 seconds). It’s basically a free massage for your muscles that you can do anytime!

I got mine years ago from Amazon and they also sell longer ones. Most gyms and studios will have foam rollers and they are so effective for sore, tired muscles and for warming up and cooling down. I use mine basically every week and especially during periods when I’m running, cycling and playing soccer.

foam rolling sore muscle relief

calf ^

foam rolling sore muscle relief

hamstring ^

foam rolling sore muscle relief

glutes/lower back

Peppermint Oil: quick relief for sore muscles, stomach ache, cramps

Peppermint oil is an awesome aid applied topically for tight or sore muscles, stomach aches, cramps, headaches, etc. It’s also super useful for clearing a congested or stuffy nose. Even just smelling a little peppermint can help clear your nasal passageways and feel invigorated and alert. I love that it’s energizing, refreshing, relaxing and makes sore muscles feel cool and a little tingly (think similar to Tiger Balm but less sticky to apply)

I buy mine from any drug store (CVS, Walgreens) in a roller form. This means the oil is already diluted and ready to apply to skin (not ingested!) I know there are many other forms to buy oil and ways to use it (like mixing it with other oils, a room diffuser, etc) but for me this is the easiest and least complicated way to use it. 99% of the time I only use it for sore muscles after exercising and I love that it’s soothing and invigorating. The one I usually buy is similar to this one from Amazon and the price is comparable.

peppermint oil sore muscle relief

If you’re interested in reading more, here’s an article I found that seems thorough and neutral 😉 This article also has a ton of interesting information and additional uses of peppermint oil.

Read the Top 10  benefits of peppermint tea

Note: I never use peppermint oil on the kids even though there are ways oils can be used on children.

 

Fitbit Review

Around Black Friday last fall, Dave and I both got the Fitbit Alta. There’s tons of fitness trackers out there today and we got them I guess mainly because of their popularity and they seem to function well. I love that it’s lightweight. I wasn’t sure how well I would like wearing it all the time but I wear it basically all the time except in the shower or doing dishes. It has a sleep tracker that shows you how well you slept, how many times you woke during the night, periods of restlessness, etc. We also like this model because it sends texts alerts.

I feel like overall it does help you to move and walk more. I haven’t been running much since my achilles injury last summer but I’ll usually hit my step goal during our nightly walk.

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Long lasting battery – the battery lasts 3-4 days before it needs to be charged
  • Alerts – text alerts and it can be programmed to send hourly alerts to remind you to get up and walk.
  • Easy to use – with the smartphone app, it’s very easy to set up, check your progress, and sync your Fitbit to your device.
  • Fair price
  • Durable – it’s only been a few months but we haven’t had any technically issues with our Fitbits. Their website says you can actually wear it in the shower and when it’s raining.
  • Interchangeable bands – you can buy other color bands or if yours gets gross from sweat, etc

Cons:

  • The Alta model doesn’t rack heart rate. They have a model that does and if I were to do it again I would get the Fitbit Charge which does track heart rate. It’s more expensive than the Alta which is originally why we didn’t get it.
  • Doesn’t track activity like cycling. I do a spin class twice a week and it’s technically logged and 0 steps and 0 ‘active minutes’. You can go in on the app and manually log in active minutes (ie. exercises like cycling, yoga, etc).

Bottom Line:

I would recommend the Fitbit! Even though I exercise 6 days a week it’s always nice to move around more and have goals. Like I said, they do have like 5 different types from the most basic step counter to a fully functional heart rate monitor. I would suggest finding the model that fits your needs and then looking for a good price. We got ours at a Black Friday price but I know they periodically have sales on Amazon. We’ve used Camel Camel Camel in the past which is an Amazon price tracker for whatever product you’re looking for and it’ll send you emails when a low price hits.

fitbit alta

fitbit alta

fitbit alta

Health tip

Like most people, I make a health related goal at the beginning of every year.  How are yours coming along? I feel like most people are super motivated in January and sometimes that motivation fades as the year goes on. To help all of us achieve our health goals this year, I will post a small health tip every month to hopefully boost that motivation level. All the tips will be practical and simple. I’m not into fad diets or drastic measures that promise quick results (because they usually don’t last). My philosophy is more about consistency and challenge. Some tips won’t necessarily focus on just physical health as over wellness includes mental, social, emotional and spiritual health. Here is February’s health tip:

health tips and motivation, lose weight, be healthy

When I’m done working out, one of the first things I want to do it eat! It’s easy to eat snacks or even junk but try to fill up with good, whole foods. When you burn calories exercising, you need to replace those calories. Don’t let your body store junk food calories or it’ll take longer to progress. I’ve listed some of my favorite, easy post workout snacks and I also like these protein bites you can make before hand.

100 rep leg blast workout

This is one of my new favorite leg workouts! I’ve been doing it twice a week for the last 2 months and have definitely felt my legs getting stronger and more defined muscles. As a runner and soccer player, I’ve always had fairly strong legs. However, when I was pregnant with Tessa (yes, like 3 years ago!) I was super sick and didn’t exercise the entire pregnancy. I still feel those effects of atrophied muscles, but the good news is that our bodies are resilient and can always get stronger! If this looks overwhelming, start with just 10 reps per exercise or add more rest after the circuit.

100 rep leg blast workout

More body weight exercises here and more easy tips to a healthier you here 

Fiesta Friday: links I love and things to celebrate

things to celebrate happy weekend links

I recently downloaded this Taco app which helps you find tacos wherever you are! It pulls up tacos based on your location. I haven’t used it a ton yet but love the idea and tacos, of course.

An app that pays you for working out? I downloaded Achievemint last month which gives you points based on how much you walk/exercise by syncing to other fitness apps (I use my Fitbit Alta and MyFitnessPal). When you accumulate 10,000 points they send you $10. It isn’t much but I figure I might as well get paid for something I’m already doing! I’m almost at 3,000 points 🙂

Need a few more New Year’s resolutions? I loved these ideas.

How to get motivated: new year, a new fit you

Every year I have a yearly fitness related resolution. We’ve done half marathons, bike races (including a century!), duathlons, etc. Last summer I injured my achilles tendon and was so bummed to not be able to accomplish my goals. I worked through 6 months of recovery and focused on strengthening my muscles and flexibility. This year I feel even stronger and extra motivated! Fitness and wellness is something I’m passionate about and wanted to share some tips to start the new year.

I’m excited to have two amazing guests contributors today sharing their motivation tips. Jess and Kiana are both fitness experts I admire and they are also moms!

fitness motivational tips

1.  Consistency – be consistent in eating in moderation and exercising to see results! We all fall off the boat sometimes but the most important part is to pick up and start again. Focus on how you feel rather than numbers on a scale. Hang in there and work to develop healthy habits. I promise you your hard work and dedication will pay off!

2.  It’s ok to have treats and rest days every once in a while. I love exercising but I also love good food. One treat won’t kill you and your body needs those rest days. Your body and muscles need to recover and over-training can lead to plateaus and exhaustion. Challenge yourself but don’t push yourself to the point where you can’t enjoy food or where you’re constantly out of energy.

3.  Find a form of exercise that you love! There are countless forms of exercise – yoga, running, cycling (outdoor or spin classes), zumba, boxing, weightlifting, walking, swimming, team sports, partner sports (like tennis and racquetball) – try new things until you find what is a good fit for you. When you do something you enjoy, you’re more likely to be consistent at it. That being said, mixing up your workouts can usually push you out of a rut or a plateau. I’ve done road cycling for years and a year and a half ago decided to try a spin class – turns out I love it! It’s a great work out and there’s more benefits to indoor cycling than I thought.

fitness motivational tips

Hi everybody! I am Jess! I have always had a passion for fitness. It has been important to me my entire life and I know it’s because of the way my parents raised me. We always enjoyed family bike rides, walks, playing sports and I was a competitive dancer. Just because it has always been important to me doesn’t mean that it has always been easy. I have had times in my life when I have been injured, coming back from a pregnancy or just lacking the desire! Let me share with you my 3 tips to keep a healthy lifestyle as a priority!
1: How do you want to feel at the end of your day? Accomplished? Frustrated? Healthy? Tired? Happy?
We all make decisions throughout our day that are in our control. We choose what we eat, what we wear and outside of job commitments we choose what to do with our time. Absolutely every person has 30 minutes of time in their day to get something done for themselves. If you want to feel accomplished, energized and happy then make the choice to be active even for 30 minutes! This is a choice! It’s a positive decision to better yourself. I am not saying 3 hours. I am saying only 30 minutes! Whether it’s when kids are napping, on a lunch break or even if it means setting your alarm 45 minutes earlier in order to squeeze in your fitness it’s all worth it!
2: Are you being fit for you? Or are you being fit to make someone else or people around you happy?
This world we live in can be hard. We feel pressures to look a certain way, wear certain clothing or to fit into a mold. Are you exercising to be proud of yourself and to achieve goals? Or are you exercising so that your friends will think you’re more beautiful? THIS is the time to prioritize. The second you begin to respect yourself and what you are personally capable of you will be unstoppable. When you set personal goals instead of goals to look like your friend you will blow yourself away. We are all different. We all look different. We are all good at different things and this is beautiful! Enjoy fitness because it makes YOU feel good. It makes YOU happy and it makes YOU feel accomplished. Do this for you and not because you want to look like someone else. YOU are worth it.
3:  It’s ok to be selfish. Think I am crazy? Sure. Think it! But read this first. How can you give 100% of yourself to others if you have nothing inside to give. Here is my personal example. I am a mother of 3. Finding the time to exercise is not always easy. It’s something I have to schedule and prioritize. But, the days I exercise verses the days I don’t are night and day. The days I exercise I enjoy my children more. I see more positive than negative. I am more active with my kids! I am so much happier! So, what I am getting at is that being what some may call “selfish” and taking 30 minutes to 1 hour for myself means that I actually in return have 110% of myself to give. See how that works? My kids see that I make fitness a priority. They enjoy exercise and they know that mommy likes to be strong! I am not only taking a little bit of time for myself but I am also being a positive example for my kids.
I hope these personal tips help even a little bit for your new goals this upcoming year. You can make the choice to be physically fit! Find a friend. Find a group! Find a new program and take the time for yourself! Follow me on Instagram @jesstoolson for daily workouts if you are lacking the ideas for your workouts. I hope that each of you can be strong both mentally and physically! Let’s cheer each other on! Xo, Jess
fitness motivational tips

Hi everyone! My name is Kiana from Glitter&Donuts blog. I am a mom to the sweetest one year old boy, I work full time as a second grade teacher, I have been married to my husband for almost 5 years, and we live in UTAH! I am so excited to be a guest on Jen’s blog today!

Jen asked me to share some motivational tips for exercising today. I have a love for health and fitness and I am really excited about this topic!

Number 1: I would say that the most important thing is to schedule your workout into your day. Find a time that you can fit in a workout every day and don’t skip out on it. That time for me is in the evening after I put my son down to bed. I work full time and waking up even earlier in the morning just isn’t going to work for me. I have been doing this routine for almost a year now and it works out great! I don’t even have to think about it anymore, it just happens.

Number 2: Find an exercise or a workout program that you enjoy and don’t be afraid to change it up when you’re getting bored. If you are doing a 90 day challenge and you get tired of it half way through don’t be afraid to change things up. Don’t stick it out to the end if you are just going to dread every workout. Find something new to do! I have done quite a few different activities; cardio & weightlifting, running, I did 12 weeks of Kayla Itsiness’ Bikini Body Guide, and I am currently doing Bikini Body Mommy. Find something you like and don’t be afraid to change things up when you’re bored.

Number 3: My last piece of advice is to focus on how you feel rather than how you look. I know a lot of people workout because they want to lose weight, and if you’re doing things right then you will! For me it’s about how I feel. When I workout I just feel so much better about myself. I am more motivated in every aspect of my life. I want to eat healthier, drink less soda, have a cleaner home, and just be more productive all around! Find out what is truly motivating you. Also, follow some fitness accounts on Instagram. Those are super motivating and they give you good tips also!

What do you do for exercise? I want to know! I am almost done with my 90 day program and I am looking for something new. Stop by my Instagram @kiana.probst, follow along and introduce yourself! I’d love to meet you all!

Thanks again. And thank you Jen for having me!

Happy Wednesday!

Yo yo yoga

Before my mission, one of my friends at BYU introduced me to yoga and I’ve loved it ever since. I haven’t been consistently practicing since then but the time periods where I’m actively practicing yoga I definitely feel the benefits.

Why I love yoga: it combines strength, stretching, flexibility, balance, breathing and relaxation.  I feel stronger after practicing and also more relaxed and energized.yoga

My favorite myth about yoga: you have to be flexible to do it. Not true! On most days I can’t even touch my toes, there are always options to poses and modifications. Yoga is very personal and everyone can go at their own pace and modify the poses without judgement.

My favorite pose: Tree (Vriksasana) I love feeling rooted while working on balance, full body strength and being centered. The image of a tree is very solid, strong, firmness and represents life.tree pose

tree pose

Products I like: gaiam yoga mat, water bottle, Lululemon capris (similar)

best-way to start the week yoga