Tag Archives: exercise

5 Ways to Kick start Your Weight Loss Motivation and Rev up Your Health

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It’s impossible for even the most successful people to be motivated all the time. After all, we are only human. To stay motivated you need to be interested, on track and engaged.

Everyone needs a little push now and then, including myself. There are days I am super charged to eat healthy and get to the gym and work hard, and other days I feel like throwing in the towel and simply want to sleep all day. Most days I get up and put in the work because I know it yields results. When you see results from the work you put in, it’s much easier to stay motivated. 

Here are 5 powerful ways to kick start your weight loss motivation in order to rev up your health: Continue reading

Exercise Together: 3 Exercise Techniques To Bring You And Your Spouse Together

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Many couples spend hours after work watching TV and not talking. It’s easy to fall into this routine. However, If you are hoping to figure out how to spice things up, then it is necessary to find something that both of you like to do. One of the most beneficial things that a couple can do together is exercise. Exercise will get you both in shape and loving each other’s good looks once more. Often, couples disagree on the exercise format. Which often keeps them from doing their workout together. Here are three exercise techniques that will are fun, healthy and will strengthen your relationship. Continue reading

Exercise Can Save Your Life and Your Money

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You can build an exercise program that will improve your mental health, your physical stamina and your future. All of these benefits can be yours with very little investment but for your time and the desire to take better care of yourself.

Start Small

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Moving your body through space is easy and extremely healthful. Adding just sixty minutes of brisk walking per week can help you maintain a healthy weight and reduce your risk of type-2 diabetes. All you need are some comfy shoes! Continue reading

5 Benefits of Cross-Training (even if you’re 50+)

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You’re reading this article probably because you are interested in improving your health.  Awesome!  It takes more than interest though – it takes some action.

There is no magic pill.  If you just focus on “products” to help you lose weight or look younger, those products will make you feel insecure when they don’t work as intended. That’s not healthy in the long run. 

One of the best ways to do improve your health is through exercise done on a consistent basis.  And the key to consistent exercise is finding something you enjoy doing.  Even though I am 51, participating in trail running and hiking is something I’ve always liked to do. I look forward to it and plan my schedule to fit those activities in. It’s ingrained in my lifestyle.

If you only do one exercise, running for example, it can create some problems with people and cause joint pain. It’s important to “mix it up” with different work outs. I balance my running with hiking, yoga workouts, and lift light weights to help with overall muscle toning. But I know swimming and bike riding should be done more often because they are low-impact.

If you use the weather as an excuse, you can use indoor equipment like a treadmill, elliptical machine and a stationary bike. You can have this equipment at home if you don’t belong to a gym and if you have the space available.

Use of equipment is not needed at all actually. There are many other methods like stair climbing, aerobics, yoga, etc. Here’s a list of ideas to choose from that fit your personality and preferences: http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/fitness-a-to-z

Note: I recommend you check in with your doctor first if exercise is new to you – especially if you have a current medical condition. It would also be a good idea to meet with a personal trainer to help you get started.

Cross-training is the backbone of any exercise program, and is ideal for anyone, even if you’re a beginner who wants to get in shape or you are experienced with exercise and want to ramp it up. Here are five benefits to incorporate cross-training: Continue reading

You Lost the Weight, Now What?

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Once you lose the weight, then the real work begins. You now have to keep it off. One of the unfortunate realities about weight loss is that it is very difficult to keep your excess weight from coming back. As many as 68 percent of people who exercise and diet to lose their weight eventually gain it back. In fact, they can return to obesity in four to five years. What causes people to let themselves go after putting in all that hard work? In some cases, it is due to feeling of accomplishment that comes with weight loss. A dieter may feel that since they have reached their desired weight, they can now reward themselves by not dieting. Another answer is that the body undergoes certain hormonal changes after weight loss. Those changes can result in increased hunger and fat storage. So how do you keep your weight off after working for so long to lose it? Here are some tips: Continue reading

Give Working Out A(nother) Chance

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I was 22 when I got my first gym membership.
This was post college. I had just moved to Nashville where the currency is biscuits and butter. My new roommate had just lost 80 pounds by exercising and switching her diet (translate: cutting out teenage overindulgences on pizza, burgers and anything you can heat up in a microwave) and I decided maybe I would give it a try too. She looked happy and she was an ordinary person!

But maybe you’re like me. I had long avoided the gym for a lot of reasons.
I was self conscious. I had no idea what half of the equipment did or how it worked.
I had been disappointed by a lack of results in the past.
I realized that the hard part wasn’t just the workout. For me, it was just as tough getting through the front door because of all the baggage I carried about my body, the perception of others, a myriad of things.

But I went. And these were some of the things I learned from experience and from my fellow gym goers: Continue reading

The Spirituality of Fitness

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by Janice Lennard

I am convinced that there is a direct parallelism between spirituality and fitness. Indeed, the foundation and centeredness achieved through regularly practiced physical activity is attributed to the interlacing of spirituality throughout the entire experience of exercise.

The commonalities of spirituality and fitness include, but are not limited to:

Discipline, Commitment, Focus, Mindset, Lifestyle and The ability to say “no.”

The aforementioned list most certainly has room for improvement and modification, but don’t we also have room for improvement and modification? After all, our bodies are constantly changing, and we modify our actions and behaviors to accommodate the continuous  changes we experience throughout our lives. It is through disciplined exercise and a spiritual mindset that change is embraced rather than feared. Continue reading

From Intent.com: Feeling the Sadness

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Much like the ocean, the mind is a vast world inside of our bodies- we have yet to fully understand it’s depths or its full power. Scientists still seek to understand the full effects of nature versus nurture, the distant impacts of our family tree on our behavior or how exposure to artificial light is changing our sleep patterns. Mental health has been a huge subject in our world recently as all sorts of variables (diet, hormones, random acts of God, etc) collide in creating sometimes highly volatile moments of experience. We are getting used to words like “depression” or “bipolar disorder” because we’re finding countless more friend, family and colleagues who live with them. If no one comes to mind, it is reported that 14.8 million adults in the US are affected by depression in any given year.

So what do we do? Continue reading

Stop Procrastinating and Pre-Commit to Healthier Habits

Procrastinating can cost you so much more in healthcareWhat if I told you that we, as a nation, waste $317 billion a year in medical expenses just because of forgetfulness and procrastination? Research from Express Scripts, a pharmacy benefit manager, shows that the biggest healthcare issue facing the nation today is not illnesses related to smoking, excessive drinking or obesity due to overindulgence in bacon cheeseburgers, super-sized sodas and curly fries. No! It is what the healthcare industry calls “non-adherence” – not taking our medications as prescribed by the doctor, following guidelines and sticking to our promises to take better care of ourselves in general.

We all know the importance of diet and exercise. Yet, often times we just think up some lame excuse. My husband, for example, won’t eat dark, leafy greens as he claims he’s got supersensitive papillae on this tongue and therefore they taste way too bitter. And a friend of mine won’t get on what she terms the “Dread-mill,” even now in NYC when it’s too icy to walk outside, because she knew someone who caught her foot in the belt when it was moving and fell off. (Truth be told, I feel the same way about the “H-elliptical” machine!)

And how many people do all of us know who don’t sign up for a 401K even when it means they are losing out on the match made by their employer, just because they never “get around to it?” Voila! Procrastination at work!

Getting everyone to regularly focus on their health-related behaviors is the best method for combating issues ranging from obesity to missed doses of important maintenance medications. While the approach may be appealing, unfortunately, it may run headlong against millions of years of evolution. According to Bob Nease, Ph.D., Chief Scientist at Express Scripts, “Our brains, though amazing machines, simply are not made for continuous focus on anything that isn’t immediately painful or pleasurable. The gray matter in our heads can process about 10 million bits of information a second — the same bandwidth of the original Ethernet cable. Yet the conscious part, which we think of as our mind, can only process 50 bits every second. We are wired for inattention.” (Yikes! That’s a thousand times slower than dial-up!)

Ergo, the intent-behavior gap, which explains why we behave in ways detrimental to our health, despite our best intentions to do otherwise.

Nease cites Adam Davidson, who writes the weekly “It’s the Economy” column for The New York Times Magazine, as an example. Apparently, after a lifetime of trying and failing to lose weight, Davidson recently succeeded by committing to a program that left him no options. “Most diets and other good intentions fail because there’s always a third option — an easy way out — that allows us to tell ourselves we tried even while undermining our own success,” he explains. “And when we make a firm commitment that eliminates these escape routes, we are more likely to get results.”

According to Nease, there’s a concept known to behavioral science as ‘precommitment.’ The idea, in fact, was first documented as far back as the 8th Century BC. “In Homer’s Odyssey, Odysseus needed to sail his ship past the Sirens, who’s enchanting song tempted sailors to their deaths. So before entering those waters, he lashed himself to the ship’s mast so he could resist. His precommitment helped him stay the course.”

Nease contends, however, that he has yet to hear of a diet guru taking Odysseus’ approach literally –e.g., lashing our arms to the dining-room chair. “But some companies are working to make it easier for people to impose big financial penalties on themselves if they fail to meet their weight-loss goals. And precommitment strategies in the tradition of Odysseus propose a good way to navigate through modern life’s multitude of options and temptations to arrive at a healthier place.”

For their part, Express Scripts discovered, for example, that offering their employees the opportunity to precommit nearly tripled actual participation in a company exercise program. “If they agreed in advance to let us block the time on their calendar,” Nease insists, “they ultimately overcame the day-of excuses, showed up, and got in some good exercise.”

The real costs, both financially and heath-wise, come from non-adherence to taking prescribed medications. Forgetting to take a heart pill, for instance, could endanger your life. My husband must take the anti-blood clotting medicine Plavix thanks to his three coronary stents (hellooo filet mignons!!). His cardiologist doesn’t want him to miss even a single dose as that could mean a heart clog and possible death. (He always hides his pills when we have an argument, fearing that I will switch them for a placebo!)

Discipline and willpower are the simple answers, but remember what Bob Nease said about our being wired for inattention and inertia? Below are some simple pre-commitment techniques, starting with the ones I recommend to my audience:

• Use only smaller plates and eat in a room outside the kitchen, away from the refrigerator.

• Eliminate leftovers by buying food and preparing dishes in smaller quantities.

• Banish snack foods from the house. You can’t eat what you can’t find.

• If you’re a late riser, put the alarm clock across the room to avoid simply reaching over and swatting the Snooze — or worse, Off – button.

To precommit to your medications, I defer to Bob Nease:

• Tape a note to your refrigerator or set an alarm that will help make taking your pills part of your daily routine.

• Having your prescriptions delivered to your home in 90-day supplies has been proven to increase adherence.

• Check your prescription insurance plan to see if automatic refill reminders are available and how you can sign up to receive them.

• Long before you near the end of your final refill, schedule an appointment with your physician to renew the prescription. If you wait until the last minute, you might not be able to get there in time to stay on your therapy.

• Take advantage of being able to ‘opt out’ if your automatic enrollment gives you the choice. This approach leverages inertia – the opposite of patient engagement — by making you do something to stop the delivery.

No matter what method you use to pre-commit to all aspects of your personal wellbeing, remember that better decisions today lead to healthier results tomorrow. In other words, to feeling Better Than Before.

Exercise for Joy, Energy, and Happiness

woman-and-scale-shutterstock1Every year I set the same resolutions – lose 15 pounds, cut out refined sugar, meditate daily, exercise 5 times a week – resolutions that seem like nostalgic wishes by mid February. This year I set the intent I am living with the intent to feel energetic, creative, joyful, centered and inspired

And, while I am making a commitment to work out more often and eat more mindfully, I am committing to physical activities that make me feel connected spiritually and full emotionally rather than torturing myself just to shed pounds.

I am discovering a love of yoga (believe it or not, I am not a yogi – read about it here!) through a group class I am doing with other mom friends.  Historically, yoga has been a struggle for me as I have felt like I am “bad” at it.  But this year I am approaching it differently – inspired, as I often am, by the guiding philosophy of my good friend Tara Stiles.

Tara and I recently hosted a SCLA event in San Francisco and as I watched Tara twist and turn in amazing ways to hip hop music during our event, I noticed the intention to find joy, creativity, and challenge by those in her class. Tara’s approach to yoga made it fun, rich and fulfilling for all those in the class, even if they couldn’t keep up with her!

In an interview I did with Tara last year, she talked about the joy she discovered in yoga:  “(As a dancer), everything has to be perfect or you’re not completing the movement. That’s what was so exciting about yoga. You’re going to your own limit and finding the ease in that moment.  From a mental, spiritual and emotional aspect it was definitely key. I was like, ‘I have to do this forever!’”

What I am enjoying about my own weekly yoga class is that I can do it at my own pace.  And its social!  I have as much fun chatting with the other mom friends as I do stretching and breathing. We’ve always been big supporters of yoga here on Intent and encourage all of you to give it a try if you’re looking for a practice that not only works you out but also helps you connect to your body through your mind and spirit.

I’ve also been on a few hikes on the lovely trails here in Santa Monica where I live, not checking my phone for emails, and walking in silence noticing the beauty of nature. 

And, this weekend I plan to start running on the beach again – one of the most emotionally healing things I have done in the past. For my 40th birthday, I ran a half marathon and found a love for running because of how it made me feel emotionally. Working out with an activity that makes you feel happy and better about yourself is much healthier than doing something you hate because it’ll trim fat.

Hopefully my strategy of living with intent this year will help me realize some of the changes I am seeking in my life more effortlessly and with lasting impact.  And more importantly, because I am having fun, feeling connected and inspired, I am anticipating my physical time, rather than feeling burdened by it. This will keep me motivated to stay on the path to healthier living!

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