Health Tip

health tips give a complimentThis month’s health tip is guaranteed to help you feel better and someone else! If you’re feeling down, a great way to feel a little better is to reach out and compliment someone. While you may not see the impact of your compliment, the recipient will remember it. Focusing on others is something that helps me to see outside my own needs and usually gives me a better perspective on any problems I’m having.

*more health tips here

7 Tips for Summer Sun Safety

We’ve been enjoying our first summer in Southern California, and especially the days the kids and I spend at the beach! Newport is the closest beach to us and we usually go about once a week for a few hours. I’m excited to share this guest post about sun safety. My favorite tip is the first one, which may seem obvious, but I’m always sure to slather sunscreen on myself and the kids with a combination of both lotion and spray sunscreen.

By Christine H.

It’s summer! And that means it’s time to get outside and enjoy the wonderful weather. However, as you spend time splashing in the public pool, picnicking at the beach, and hiking through the mountains, take precautions to protect yourself and your family from the sun.

Here are 7 suggestions that will keep you sun-smart this summer:

  1. Wear sunscreen… daily! If you simply slather on some sunscreen when you go to the beach, you’re not doing enough to protect yourself from the sun. Sun has a major effect on your skin. In the short term, it can lead to heat rash and sunburn. But it has more severe effects over time, and it’s cumulative, as this article warns. Sun exposure leads to prematurely aging skin – wrinkles, and sunspots, and loss of elasticity. Even more dangerous, sun exposure can lead to skin cancer. Some melanoma will be minor and simply require removal. Others can spread to the rest of your body and become life-threatening. Wear sunscreen every day, not just when you’re planning a big event outside and you’re worried about sunburn. You should have a daily face cream that protects against UV rays.
  2. Cover up. Sunscreen can’t do everything. Sometimes the best technique for protecting yourself from the sun is the old-fashioned one. Wear a hat to protect your eyes and face from direct light and glare. Wear longer sleeves to limit your sun exposure. Also remember to seek out shade and bring umbrellas with you for outdoor events. It might seem counterproductive to cover up more when you’re hot, but it can actually protect you from heat stroke and exhaustion.
  3. Guard your eyes. Wearing a hat helps protect your eyes from UV rays, but you’re better off wearing sunglasses to keep your eyes healthy. Much like your skin, your eyes can age prematurely with exposure to sun. UV rays can lead to a higher chance of cataracts and AMD. Not all sunglasses are created equal, so take a close look at your purchases. Do they say that they protect from UVA and UVB rays? If not, they might be even more harmful than not wearing glasses at all, since they encourage your eyes to keep the pupils dilated, which lets in more harmful UV light.
  4. Take precautions when you go camping and hiking too. If you’re in the woods or up in the mountains, you might not feel as hot and so you won’t think as much about how much sun you’re being exposed to. However, you’ll probably get more sun through the day than you usually do during just an hour or two at the pool. So bring sunscreen with you, and be realistic about the effects that the sun is having on you. Seek shade when possible, and drink lots of water. Sun exposure can also create fatigue in your body, which you’ve probably noticed if you’ve ever slept really well the night after a day spent sunbathing. This might be caused by dehydration, and your body working overtime to regulate chemicals and temperature.
  5. Think outdoor events through. Often, fairs, music festivals, and things like amusement parks can cause a lot of health problems because people aren’t thinking about how much sun and heat they’re getting. The crowds can make things even worse, especially if you’re at a music festival or other event where people are in close quarters. So, as you walk into an event, look around and see where the medical tent is. Plan your time under shade. This link has some great suggestions for being safe at an outdoor event.
  6. Be aware of signs of overexposure. Sometimes, exposure to sun isn’t just about your skin and your eyes. Sun exposure can lead to fainting, or heat stroke. So recognize the symptoms and take care of yourself if you start exhibiting some of these problems:
    1. Dizziness
    2. Faintness
    3. Blackout
    4. Headache
    5. Trouble focusing
    6. Spots in your vision
  7. Hydrate more than you think you have to. You may not feel dehydrated while you’re out and about and being busy. But if you’re spending time in direct sunlight, you will get dehydrated. Make a conscious effort to drink water before, during, and after your time outside.

 

Sun safety is important, but so is making the most of your summer. It’s a great season to meet new people, try new things, and have some fun! This article has some great suggestions for things to do to get the most out of your time, whether it’s in the sun or not. So don’t let the warnings scare you away from doing what you want to this summer. Just be smart!7 summer sun safety tips

My favorite beach products here

My favorite way to stay hydrated here

5 ways to increase your self confidence

No matter who you are, there are always situations where you may wish for a bit more self confidence. I think I was pretty shy as a child and learning to speak to adults and really anyone is something I learned a lot on my mission. While I’m not the most self confident person in the world, I do feel that with practice, I’m able to talk to basically anyone. Here are 5 things that have helped me:

1.Firm handshake – a firm handshake can convey that you are a strong and confident person. You don’t need to use a death grip when shaking someone’s hand but you should also try to avoid the ‘dead fish’ handshake.

2. Good posture – body language says a lot about you and your personality. Standing tall can make you feel and appear more confident even if you are feeling nervous. Pull your shoulders back because you are in charge.

3. Have a quick look to appear ‘put together’  – Doing something small can often help you feel more ‘put together’ with your best face forward and more confident. This doesn’t mean you have to be extra fancy or wear a lot of make up. Often looking your best can help you feel your best. I find that small things like having my nails nice or painted, I feel more ‘put together’. Other small ways to look and feel your best include brushing your hair, adding an accessory like earrings, putting on a lip color, cleaning your shoes from any scuffs, etc.

4. Whiten your teeth – smile with confidence by using a teeth whitener. My favorite is the teeth whitening system from Smile Brilliant (save $25 with code ‘jamtartmd25’). The trays are custom fit to mold to your teeth. It comes with whitening gels to use in the trays followed by a desensitizing gel. To see my previous results, click here.

5. Pretend that everyone likes you – whether it’s meeting new people or giving a presentation or speech, pretend that everyone already likes you and are friends.With this mindset, you can overcome hesitation, fear, or nervousness. Chances are that they like you anyway!

5 ways to increase self confidence

5 ways to increase self confidence

Romper from Carissa Miss, an awesome apparel shop where 100% of the proceeds goes towards the National Footsteps for Fertility grant.

Favorite Exercise Products

Before having kids, my favorite ways to exercise were running outside, cycling, soccer and yoga. Since my time is more limited, I’ve been lucky to find gyms with childcare options. We (the kids and I) go to 24 Hour Fitness every morning and I’ve enjoyed lifting weights, strength training and spin classes. Here are some of my favorite exercise products:

favorite exercise products

Fitness tracker – We’ve still been using our Alta Fitbits and I still enjoy tracking my progress. I feel like we do make more of an effort to move around and walk more. I read and enjoyed this article which rated 87 types of fitness trackers! Definitely valuable information for when we upgrade our current trackers.

favorite exercise products

Shoes – I’ve worn Asics running shoes since high school. I’ve tried a few different brands and always come back to Asics. They are great for my neutral foot position, arch and running stride. For running I prefer a little more sole support. For the gym, I like Nikes  since the sole is pretty basic and good for various types of exercises.

Yoga mat – I’ve had this Gaiam yoga mat for years. It’s been very solid and was affordable, I’ll probably have it for years to come.

Pants – I love Zella, Ahtleta and Lululemon 7/8 pants (or petite version). They have great stretch while keeping their form. They aren’t the most affordable but very high quality and worth the cost. I recently tried glyder apparel pants which are very soft and stretchy but don’t have as much form as other pants. For running shorts, I love Lululemon’s 4 way stretch shorts.

Tops – I love Lululemon tanks because they are lightweight and very soft.

Socks – I prefer ASICS socks, they don’t slide down or move around while exercising.

Hydro Flask – staying hydrated is so important to your overall health and I’m still loving my Hydro Flask because it doesn’t leak or collect condensation.

Nike backpack – I take a ‘sport’ backpack (similar to this one) to the gym to hold my water, towel, keys, and diapers.

Foam roller – Still one of my favorite products that is also very affordable! Foam rollers are easy to use and basically a free massage. I love using mine especially on sore hamstrings.

favorite exercise products

Foot roller– I found this foot roller at Homegoods for around $5. It’s a great, cheap massage for the arch and ball or your foot.  You just roll it under the sole of your foot (while sitting in a chair) and apparently you can use these cold or hot although I’ve only tried at regular room temperature. I love using it when my feet feel sore, especially after a long day of walking.

favorite exercise products

Blender Bottle  – This blender bottle is perfect for making protein drinks. I’ve still been using the strawberry protein powder I posted about here. This bottle does a great job breaking up and mixing the powder without any clumps. While I still don’t crave protein drinks because of their flavor, I’ve found that 1) it serves it’s purpose of filling you up with protein and 2) it tastes much better colder and when the foam has settled (from shaking it).

Peppermint oil – This combined with the foam roller are my favorite things for sore muscles to refresh them. I used to buy peppermint oil in a roller bottle at a drug store but recently found them for a better deal on Amazon.     favorite exercise products

What are you drinking? 5 drinks that are good for you

With all the trends of specialty waters, sodas, juices, shakes, etc it can be confusing what is actually good for you without a lot of research. My personal preference is water – for every meal, ha, ha! I’m not a fan of milk because of the texture and taste. I even eat cereal dry which I know is weird! I occasionally drink juice because I try to limit sugar and sometimes drink herbal tea (my favorite is peppermint). We’re going on a staycation to the beach later this week. We’ll only be about an hour from our house but it’ll be nice to relax! Thanks, Maurine for guest posting today!

5 healthy drinks

5 Drinks that Actually Are Good for You

By: Maurine Anderson

There seems to be a lot of misconception in the nutrition world as to which drinks are actually healthy for you. Fruit juice, for example, is commonly deemed a healthy drink option that counts towards your daily intake of fruits and vegetables, yet many health experts are quick to point out that fruit juice contains little fiber and is full of sugar. According to multiple studies, in fact, fruit juice seems to have many of the same effects on the body that soft drinks do.

So what drinks are healthy, then? Here is a look at five drinks that truly are beneficial to your health.

Water

Water, of course, tops this list. Water offers so many health benefits that it would be impossible to name them all in this post. For the skin, for example, water helps bring nutrients to skin cells, maintains skin elasticity, staves off wrinkles, and combats disorders like psoriasis and eczema. For the heart, staying hydrated helps the heart pump blood through blood vessels and reduces risk of heart attack. This article, meanwhile, points out that water also promotes stronger teeth, as it flushes sugars from the mouth, cuts down on sugary drink consumption, and may even contain fluoride if it comes from the tap. Long story short, water is vital to helping every aspect of your body function efficiently on a daily basis.

In addition to all of these health benefits, it doesn’t hurt that water is the most affordable thing you could be drinking. If you don’t like the taste of your tap water, you can always invest in a water filter pitcher or a water filter for your faucet. You might also consider installing a water softener as this article suggests, since hard minerals can alter the taste of your tap water. Try infusing your water with lemon juice or fruit for added flavor and health benefits!

Tea

Tea is another immensely healthy drink option. For starters, as this article mentions, drinking herbal tea or green tea is a great way to increase your daily water intake if you have trouble getting in 64 ounces of water each day. In addition, depending on the particular ingredients of the tea, it will offer a myriad of health benefits on top of proper hydration. Chamomile tea, for example, has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-fungal, anti-ulcer, antispasmodic, and astringent properties thanks to the dried chamomile flower it contains. Açai berry tea, meanwhile, can boost energy levels, improve mental sharpness, regulate blood sugar and cholesterol levels, reduce inflammation, and enhance nutrient absorption. Tea, in general, has been linked to a variety of health benefits, including a stronger immune system, a healthier digestive system, lower risk of heart attack and stroke, and even reduced risk of cancer.

Note: One thing to keep in mind here is that too much caffeine can have negative effects on the body. So in this case, when it comes to caffeinated teas, you can have too much of a good thing. In addition, adding sugar to your tea will, of course, essentially negate many of the benefits you get from the tea.

Low-Fat Milk

Setting aside the fact that some people are lactose intolerant and therefore cannot digest milk properly, milk is another healthy drink option that is rich in nutrients. It is an excellent source of calcium, which is known to promote strong and healthy bones and teeth. It is also often fortified with vitamin D, which regulates calcium and phosphorus absorption and is hard to find in other foods.

Raw Coconut Water

Ever tried unsweetened and unflavored coconut water? Coconut water is rich in electrolytes, including calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, and potassium. Many health-focused athletes are starting to opt for coconut water to replace fluids after a run, instead of sugary and acidic sports drinks. It’s also a good source of fiber, which promotes better digestion. When selecting coconut water, just be sure that it’s raw and not pasteurized—the pasteurization process boils away many of the nutrients found naturally in coconut water.

100% Fruit or Vegetable Juice (When Enjoyed Properly)

Don’t get the impression that they cannot be part of a healthy diet. Pomegranate juice, for example, is packed with antioxidants that can prevent inflammation and reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer. Orange juice is rich in vitamin C that neutralizes free radicals and promotes cell repair. Beet juice, meanwhile, can lower blood pressure, increase stamina, and improve blood flow to the brain. Just be sure when selecting juice that there are no added sugars and that it is indeed 100 percent juice—and be sure to enjoy it along with plenty of water throughout the day. It can also be a good idea to dilute the juice that you drink with some water.

coconut water 5 healthy drinks

5 healthy drinks

 

Health Tip

health tips avoid comparing yourself to others

When most people think about health, they think about physical health – like eating well and exercising. Total health and wellness not only involves physical health but also emotional, social, spiritual and mental health. This health tip deals with emotional and social health. How people portray themselves (especially online and social media!) isn’t how they really are. Most people don’t post pictures of their messy house, when they’re having a bad day, when they haven’t showered, etc. but everyone has those moments! Comparing ourselves to someone else is never healthy or beneficial. It’s fun to catch up with people or make friends on social media but just remember that no one is perfect, despite their online or initial appearance.

My quest to find a good tasting protein powder

One of my top health and fitness tips is to fill up with protein after exercising. The calories your body burns during exercise need to be replenished. If you fill up with unhealthy food, your body will hold onto those calories. This is why it’s important to be careful what you put into your body. The less processed food is the best (hence the popularity of ‘whole foods’). Protein is essential to building muscle tissue and is essential for your body to function. You don’t have to be perfect with your diet, but doing small, important things like getting enough protein will definitely benefit your body and overall fitness. I have a few favorite post work out food items like protein bites, eggs, bananas, etc and also like protein powder drinks- but not all powders!

Protein Powder Basics

If you’ve ever walked into a supplement shop, you might be overwhelmed by all the choices, brands, types, etc. The protein powder I use is basic whey protein. I like that a protein powder drink has overall less calories and fat that a protein filled food meal. However, you cannot use protein powder or supplements as your sole method of caloric intake. For a large container, the price varies but is approximately $40-$50 dollars. This initially seems like a lot but I only use 2 scoops a day.

How Much Protein Should One Consume

You should aim for .36 grams per pound (of body weight). If you’re trying to bulk up, have an intense training/workout schedule, have a special diet, medical conditions, etc. this may be different for you. The amount of protein in 1 scoop of protein powder varies. Of the brands I’ve tried, they have 20-22 grams of protein.

How to Use It

You can add protein powder to things such as water, milk, oatmeal, juice, smoothies, etc. The only way I use it is with water to make a protein drink. I don’t drink milk because I don’t like the taste or smell. Many common protein powder flavors are sweet or dessert flavors such as vanilla, chocolate, peanut butter, etc. Unfortunately for me, all the dessert flavors taste gross! I’ve been on the search for flavors that have a decent taste and a powder that is easy to use in a BlenderBottle (ie it dissolves well and doesn’t clump).

So far, I’ve found 2 flavors that (to me) don’t resemble milk – strawberry and orange. I found the strawberry at GNC which has locations nationwide (or online) and the orange from BodyBuilding.com.

I add 2 scoops of protein powder to approximately 12-16 ounces of water. I add the metal whisk ball that comes with the blender bottle, close the top, shake the bottle about 30 seconds, let the foam settle, then drink. I actually really like the combination of both strawberry and orange so I’ll use one scoop of each. Lots of people like all flavors of protein powders and protein bars but it was important for me to find ones that don’t taste gross! These fruity flavors mixed with water taste like watered down juice or flavored water. There are tons of recipes for protein shake smoothies, I just always use water because it’s the fastest and easiest to make.

strawberry protein powder gnc

tire flips nike protein drink

Stop now and do this stretch!

One of the most use body parts that we often forgot to stretch is our hands and forearms! Most everyone uses their hands all day whether it’s kids playing, writing at school, typing on a computer or phone, working, cooking, cleaning, driving, etc.

This stretch below is one of my most favorite stretches that instantly relieves any tension in the wrist and forearm. It only takes a few seconds but is crucial for good wrist health and flexibility. This stretch and other simple stretches such as wrist rotations can help prevent wrist fatigue, pain associated with carpal tunnel syndrome or overuse.

Extend arm with fingers towards the ground. Use the opposite hand to gently pull fingers back towards your body. (Stop if you feel any pain!)wrist forearm stretchwrist forearm stretch

Extend arm with fingers pointed towards the sky. Use opposite hand to gently pull fingers back towards your body.

wrist forearm stretch

These stretches are so great for any repetitious action especially working on a computer or phone. Even after playing the piano, cleaning, washing dishes, knitting, or driving for a long time my hands, wrists and forearms can be tight or exhausted and I find it so beneficial to stretch them.

Other awesome stretches for the hands, wrists and forearm include wrist rolls, squeezing a tennis ball or stress ball and the prayer pose stretch.

6 ways to get more from your workout

I’m excited to share some tips that can help all of us achieve our fitness and wellness goals. They are all great reminders of how to get the most out of a workout. My favorite part and something I always can improve on is making sure to fully stretch after exercising. We are members at 24 Hour Fitness and use their Kids Club as childcare while we’re there. I sometimes find myself rushed after a workout or fitness class to get back to the kids, other commitments, errands, etc. Thanks, Maurine Anderson for guest posting!

Want to get more out of your daily workout? Finding the motivation to get that daily workout in is hard enough as it is, so it’s good to know that there are a variety of techniques out there that you can use to make the most of your workouts. Here are 6 simple ways to get more out of every workout.

Eat a pre-workout snack.

Even if you like to work out first thing in the morning, your body is going to need some fuel first before hitting it hard. Enter: the pre-workout snack. The ideal pre-workout snack contains simple carbohydrates, which are absorbed quickly and offer quick energy, along with complex carbohydrates, which will sustain you throughout the duration of your workout. (Many say that a good pre-workout snack also includes protein, and while some protein helps, protein is ultimately much more important as part of your post-workout meal.) You should plan on eating your pre-workout snack 30 minutes to an hour before working out, as this article states. Some ideas for pre-workout snacks:

  • Whole wheat toast topped with fruit
  • Oatmeal topped with dried fruit
  • Greek yogurt topped with fruit
  • Fruit smoothie that includes oats
  • Cold brown rice topped with fruit
  • Banana slices and peanut butter

Warm up first.

Many people confuse warming up with stretching. Warming up involves doing a lighter version of the exercise you are about to engage in, at the beginning of your workout. If you’re about to go on a run, for example, warming up should involve fast walking or slow jogging to get your heart rate up. If you’re about to engage in a synergistic workout, jumping jacks make for a great warm up. You should warm up for about 5 to 10 minutes at the beginning of your workout, gradually increasing intensity throughout the course of the warm up. Doing so will increase blood flow, loosen the joints, and prepare the muscles for high intensity work.

Cool down and stretch afterward.

Cooling down and stretching are essential for preventing injury and aiding in muscle recovery. They can also help improve flexibility and range of motion. A good cool down is a lot like a warm up, only it involves gradually decreasing intensity and incorporating some stretching. Start your cool down by gradually decreasing the intensity of the exercise you are engaging in, and finish by stretching the muscles you worked. A cool down should be about 5 to 10 minutes long.

Don’t forget your recovery meal.

If you work out regularly, your post-workout recovery meal is perhaps the most important meal of the day. Your recovery meal should be rich in both protein and carbohydrates, and you should plan to eat it within two hours after a workout. (It’s also best to consume some carbs within 15 minutes after your workout to replenish your muscle glycogen supply.) Your recovery meal may also include some fat and fiber as well, as you’ll have more time after you work out to digest those things. Aim for a recovery meal that’s between 200 and 400 calories. Here are some examples:

  • Grilled chicken and mixed vegetables
  • Whole wheat toast and a vegetable omelette
  • Chocolate milk and some raw almonds
  • Whey or soy protein shake
  • Energy bar and fresh fruit

Get a massage.

Here’s a tip that you won’t need me to tell you twice. Getting a quick massage after a particularly strenuous workout can actually improve and speed up your post-workout recovery. Studies have shown that getting a post-workout massage reduces muscle inflammation and increases the number of mitochondria in muscle cells (which generate the energy your muscles need for recovery).

Go for a soak.

Here’s another tip you’ll like hearing—soaking in a warm bath or hot tub after your workout can also help you get the most out of your workout. The heat of the water helps increase your circulation and relax your muscles. The key with this, however, is to time it right. It’s best to wait for your heart rate to go back down before immersing yourself in hot water. You can read more tips on incorporating hydrotherapy into your workout regimen here.

Maurine Anderson originally hails from Washington, DC, but is now enjoying life out west in Salt Lake City. She is a professional writer and blogger who in her free time loves to create new cake recipes, travel, and practice her hand at photography. She tends to geek out over linguistics, cats, and all things Scandinavia. Check out more of her writing at MaurineDashney.com and find her on Instagram @maurinedashney.

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