Move! Walk Yourself Happy

Exercise has such a profound effect on our happiness and well-being that it’s actually been proven to be an effective strategy for overcoming depression. In one research study, three groups of patients treated their depression with either medication, exercise, or a combination of the two. All three groups experienced similar improvements in their happiness levels to begin with but what happened over time was drastically different.

Six months later, the groups were tested again to determine their relapse rate.

Medication alone: 38% had slipped back into depression

Combination of exercise and medication: 31% had slipped back into depression

Exercise alone: Only 9% relapse!

You don’t have to be depressed to gain benefit from exercise, though. It can help you to relax, increase your brain power and improve your health.

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Complete Guide to Calories

By using the Walkingspree Food Tracker, you can compare your calories consumed with your calories burned. This infographic does a fantastic job helping you understand calories. You can even check how many steps you need to walk to burn off a particular food item, along with minutes of cycling and swimming.

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Eat Smart! Healthy eating and breast cancer

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. This pink ribbon effort puts the focus on education and fundraising events to find a cure.

Breast cancer is the fifth leading cause of death in women according to the CDC. No food can prevent you from getting breast cancer, but a healthy diet can boost your immune system and help keep your risk as low as possible. Some research studies have focused on food and its relationship to breast cancer. Here are a few findings.

Alcohol: Women drinking five or more drinks a week were linked to a higher risk of breast cancer than those who don’t drink, according to an American Cancer Society study. They recommend not drinking alcohol if you are in a high risk cancer group.

Antioxidants: Study after study suggests antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables may lower risk of cancers, including breast cancer.

Weight gain: Women who gain between 21 to 30 pounds after age 18 have a 40 percent increase in risk of breast cancer, even if they were not at a perfect weight when younger. The reason is tied to the rise of overall body fat which results in increased insulin and estrogen levels, both of which have been linked to breast cancer.

The American Cancer Society recommends an overall healthy diet of fruits and vegetables (five or more servings a day), whole grains and limited amounts of processed and red meats. And, of course, exercise. Check last Monday’s Move Smart! for more information about how walking can reduce the risk of breast cancer.

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Move Smart! Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Pink Breast Cancer Ribbon

Walking is a great way to get healthy and stay healthy, and it may reduce a woman’s risk of breast cancer or its recurrence. Walking can also help control your weight, which has been linked to breast cancer.

Researchers from Washington University and Harvard University evaluated nearly 65,000 women who filled out questionnaires on their level of physical activity at various periods of their lives, starting from age 12. Women whose activity was equivalent to 3.25 hours a week of running or 13 hours a week of walking had a 23 percent reduced risk of breast cancer compared with those who had been less active.

“It did not seem to matter much what the activity was; the differences between strenuous, moderate, and walking activities were not statistically significant. You don’t have to be a marathon runner to get the risk-reducing effects of exercise,” commented Dr. Graham Colditz of Harvard.

In another study, breast cancer survivors who exercised at least three to five hours a week reduced their risk of recurrence or death from breast cancer by 40 percent compared to those who were inactive.

Weight also has been found to be a risk factor. Women who gain between 21 to 30 pounds after 18 have a 40 percent increase in risk of breast cancer even if she wasn’t a perfect weight when she was younger, an American Cancer Society study found. The reason is tied to the rise of overall body fat which results in increased insulin and estrogen levels, both of which have been linked to breast cancer.

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24 Tips to Beat Hunger Cravings

Do you eat out of hunger…or do you eat out of habit?

Often it is difficult to determine if you are craving food because of physiological hunger or psychological hunger. This method may help give you the time to determine if you really are hungry or if you just need an alternative to keep you busy.

Rate your level of hunger: 0 – 10

Ask yourself, why are you hungry? Is it because you skipped a meal or snack? Sometimes we become so busy we forget to eat our snack or even skip a meal. Be sure to have your snack with you if you are not at home. If you are home, make sure that your snack is easy to grab. If you skipped a snack or a meal, then your body is telling you that it is  hungry and needs to be fed. If that’s the case, choose healthy options. Eat a handful of nuts, nibble on some raw veggies or drink a bottle of water to hold you over until you either eat your snack or eat your meal

Ask yourself, are you hungry because you are just having a bad day or are you bored? If that is the case then your hunger is psychological and you can try journalling what you’re feeling and keep this in a feelings log to see if there is a pattern.

Try some of the following activities the next time you want to eat.

  • Go for a walk
  • Fix that leaky faucet
  • Call a friend
  • Play a board game
  • Brush your teeth
  • Work a crossword puzzle
  • Take a bath
  • Write a note to a friend
  • Check your email
  • Re-pot a plant
  • Take a drive
  • Listen to your favorite music
  • Read a book
  • Work in the garden
  • Work on a hobby
  • Clean a closet or organize a junk drawer
  • Visit a neighbor
  • Write in a journal
  • Pray or meditate
  • Go to the library
  • Get up and stretch
  • Look at a photo album
  • Vacuum your car
  • Practice your golf swing
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