5 Signs You Should Slow Down Your Workout

You wake up tired, yet you still push yourself to go to that 6 a.m. Spinning class. After all, you’re trying to foster healthy habits. But according to Mark Allen and Brant Secunda, the authors of Fit Soul, Fit Body: 9 Keys to a Healthier, Happier You, those high-energy workouts could be doing more harm than good.

“High intensity equates to high stress, even if there is a part of it that feels good to a person,” explains Allen. “In small doses this is fine. However, as a staple of your exercise [regimen] it causes the negative effects of stress hormones to set in and can lead to lack of motivation, depression, lack of mental acuity, irritability, and injury.” He adds, “Slowing down from exercising at high intensity helps the body to gain fitness in a way that is sustainable over time and that is low stress.”

Below Allen and Secunda share five telltale signs you should slow down your workout routine.

SIGN #1: You’re feeling burned out.
Pushing the envelope in your exercise will always lead to burnout over time. So drop the intensity down to a level where you end the workout feeling much fresher than when you start. Also, listen to your body. If you feel discomfort, or if you feel like you have try really hard to keep the workout momentum going, slow things down to a point where you are able to look at the world around you and feel a sense of enjoyment in your workout.

SIGN #2: You lack a good night’s sleep.
You fall asleep easily but wake up feeling like you were run over by a truck. You keep waking up numerous times in the night. You feel big dips in energy and sleepiness during the day. If you suffer from any of the above, it’s an indication to take it a bit easier in your training. Along with swapping heart-pumping cardio sessions with low-impact workouts, try cutting back on caffeine, especially in the afternoon. Replace that coffee pick-me-up with a short walk outside. It will help you get through the rest of the day, and it will help you sleep better at night.

SIGN #3: You’ve had sudden changes in weight and appetite.
Rapid weight loss (or gain) as well as any fluctuations in appetite levels could mean your body needs time to recuperate from any high-intensity activities. Slow down your workout, up your protein intake, and reduce carbs (especially in snacks). Opt for almonds instead of cookies, or crackers and hummus instead of chips. This will help regulate blood sugar as well as give your body more of the building blocks it needs to repair itself.

SIGN #4: You have body pains or injuries.
Sore muscles are normal, but any sharp or chronic pain is a sign that your body has reached the limit of what it can take. Stop trying to set a personal record during each workout, and reduce muscle and joint stress with easy to moderate exercise. Also try a new activity if one is causing you some discomfort. For example, if a knee hurts when you run, try cycling or swimming instead. It may not be your first choice of exercise, but the variation will give an ailing part of your body some extra time to recover.

SIGN #5: You have an elevated resting heart rate.
Pay attention to your heart rate when you wake up in the morning. If it reaches five (or more) beats above normal, this is usually a sign to take things down a notch. On top of reducing your exercise effort try drinking some extra glasses of water throughout the day. This will help to reduce another cause of an elevated resting heart rate: dehydration. Staying hydrated is especially important in the spring and summer months when the heat can make workouts even more challenging.

Reposted from theahhmoment.blogspot.com

8 Springtime Health and Happiness Strategies

If winter is the time to hunker down and be meditative, spring is the time to, well, spring into action! If you’re ready to shake off the winter blahs and the extra padding you accumulated over the past few months, take a cue from nature.

Think about it: The animals are coming out of hibernation and getting active. New shoots are breaking through the frozen earth and feeling the sun. The sunlight is brighter and the days are lighter and longer. Nature sends us messages about how to get healthy by making seasonal changes too. All we have to do is listen.

Here are 8 new springtime health strategies that lead to good health for your body and soul, and will help you look and feel your best.

“Spring up” your diet.
Indigenous people who live close to nature eat seasonally. It’s a healthy way to eat that naturally helps you shed those winter pounds and make you feel light and springy. Seek out foods that are fresh this time of year, such as green leafy salads with sprouts and radishes; strawberries and baby asparagus; and seasonal fish and shellfish.

Get in a springtime mood.
Scientists have proven that we have around 60,000 thoughts a day, the vast majority of which are negative! For one week, every time you catch yourself having a negative thought, which robs you of energy, state it in the opposite way. Replace “I can’t” with “I can.” Make that shift over and over until you begin to see more and more time pass between negative thoughts. Watch how much more spring you have in your step at the end of the week.

Commit to outdoor time.
Scientists have proven what shamans have known for millennia: that being outdoors in nature makes people happier, calmer, healthier, and more energetic. Make a conscious effort to spend at least 30 minutes outside daily doing anything. You will feel significantly less stressed, more connected, and more energetic as you get in step with the spring light, spring smells, and spring activity.

Try something new.
Springtime is a time for renewal. To get into the mood of change and forward momentum, try a new sport or an old one you haven’t done for a long time. Often, when we engage in new activities, it’s especially motivating. The more types of activities you engage in, the more energetic you’ll feel.

Sprout some new eating habits.
Did you get into a carb habit over the winter? Try this: For one week, cut out all sweets, pasta, and breads. Then slowly add more carbs back in—but only complex carbs with lots of fiber (whole grains, whole fruits and vegetables, beans, etc.). Notice how much lighter you feel.

Refresh an old workout routine.
This spring, don’t let workout boredom squelch your motivation to get in shape. Change your workout course. Do the familiar course in the opposite direction. Or find a workout partner. Or work out at a different time of day.

Take a springtime trip.
Pick a wildly beautiful place in nature. Schedule a weekend to go camping or hiking. Or simply take some extended time to relax in a wonderful outdoor place where spring is showing its colors and beauty. Taking a trip in nature will jumpstart your springtime energy and will shake off the hard work, restlessness, and stagnation from winter.

Accept that challenge is normal.
Lots of us this time of year look in the mirror and think, “I’ll never get in shape by swimsuit season.” Think of a fragile crocus pushing its way up through the frozen earth. Challenge is a normal part of striving, growing, and overcoming obstacles. Realizing this will help you manage your fear and negativity and propel you forward.

Reposted from intentblog.com

10 Ways to Be Happier and Healthier at Work

Running a business is kind of like running a marathon. To succeed at either, you need to be in top physical and mental shape. In today’s guest post, authors Brant Secunda and Mark Allen share 10 tipsadapted from their book Fit Soul, Fit Body that can help you and your employees be happier, healthier and more productive on the job.

According to the annual Conference Board job satisfaction survey, more than half of Americans (52%) say they are dissatisfied with their jobs. But it’s not the work that’s makes us unhappy — it’s how we deal with it while we’re there.

Boredom, perfectionism, anxiety, and impatience make us hate what we do. And feeling physically bad — from sitting too long, caving in to stress, and eating poorly at work — just make things worse.

Here are 10 strategies you can put into practice tomorrow that will make an enormous difference in the way you and your employees perform and feel about your jobs.

1. Stand up to your office chair.It’s great that you have the newest ergonomic chair. But if you sit in it all day, you’ll reduce the amount of fat-burning enzyme called lipoprotein lipase by a whopping 94%. To keep this enzyme active and burning fat requires only 30 minutes a day of standing up to read, to talk on the phone, or to consult with a coworker.

2. Embrace the power of repetition. Here’s a trick that helps top athletes train every day for hours at a time. Embrace the repetitive aspects of work. Start to see chipping away at the same tasks day after day as powerful ways to reach your financial and professional goals. This is similar to the way our ancestors could plant an entire hillside with corn by hand, one kernel at a time, year after year.

3. Brush away impatience and frustration. When you’re impatient with a task that’s taking too long, or frustrated with a complication such as a technology glitch, here’s a simple way to quickly reset your workplace mood. Think of whatever you are doing at that moment — say, consulting the user’s guide for your computer — as your top priority instead of the means to an end.

4. Change your routine to prevent monotony. Like the idea of cross training for athletes, workers can stay mentally fit by mixing up the routine. If you work 9-5, try working 8-4. If you always check your email first thing, do something else for the first hour. Rearrange your office. Try making calls instead of emailing.


5. Stop procrastinating for 5 minutes. Do you put off working on large projects or tasks as the deadline gets closer, and then eat yourself up with worry at night obsessing about them? Try this. Commit to working on it for just 5 minutes. That’s it. Once you start, you might find it’s not that bad. But even if it is, it will be easier to complete if you’ve been chipping away at it for 5 minutes a day.

6. Slow down to get faster. Fitness scientists know that working out at a comfortable level is more beneficial for health than pushing through at top speed or effort. You can apply this principle to your workplace activity as well. If you consciously slow down, take time to think things through, finish one task completely before going to the next, perhaps even ignore incoming calls and emails temporarily, you’ll find that your productivity will increase along with your happiness.

7. Take time to feed and water yourself. Don’t skip breakfast. And eat small healthy snacks every couple of hours, such as fruit, yogurt, almonds, carrots and peppers, nut butter sandwiches, dark chocolate, and soup. Keep a liter of water on your desk and sip it all day long. Watch how energized you feel — especially midafternoon, the time you normally crave a sweet and some coffee.

8. Weightlift for your soul. “Weightlifting for the soul” is giving up negative thoughts that weigh you down. The next time a negative thought comes into your mind, force yourself to restate it to yourself in a positive way. So, “This is too hard” becomes “I have all it takes to make it through.” Or, “This is a waste of time” becomes “What can I learn right now?”

9. Look at the now. Are you a perfectionist? Do you beat yourself up for not doing things as masterfully as you think you should? Try this: Ask yourself if you are doing the best you can right now with everything going on in your life. Instead of focusing on absolute perfection, make the goal to give the best you can in the moment, even if you know on another day it might be better.

10. Keep making deposits. View your physical, emotional, and spiritual health as a bank account that should always be tended to. Being healthy goes hand in hand with being happy — in and outside of your business. Every day you are sedentary, eat bad food, or indulge in negative thinking is a withdrawal. Every day you eat well, get enough sleep, stay hydrated, exercise, and are optimistic is a deposit.

Reposted from smallbizdaily.com