The Benefits of Cardio Exercise

References from topfitness.com & darebee.com

If you are new to working out or returning to the gym, deciding what kind of exercises you should do can be overwhelming. While it doesn’t hurt to try a little bit of everything, there are some exercises that will be more beneficial toward your goals. For instance, cardio is one of the best and most popular types of exercises people perform. However, a lot of people also despise cardio in any form. Even though you may not find the physical activity of cardio enjoyable, it has a lot of major health benefits—discover a few reasons to start doing cardio.

GREAT FOR WEIGHT LOSS

One of the main reasons why people adopt a cardio exercising routine is because it can help you lose weight. Cardio is a great exercise for those looking to slim down because it helps you burn fat and lose calories. While diet is more instrumental in weight loss, you will want to work cardio into your routine to further advance your goal to shed a few pounds. This is because cardio can burn hundreds of calories in a session.

STRENGTHENS YOUR HEART

Cardiovascular relates to the heart and blood cells, so when you perform a cardio exercise such as running or biking, you strengthen your heart. This is due to the fact that cardio exercise makes your heart rate accelerate and properly pump blood. As a result, this strengthens your heart, which is arguably one of the most important organs of your body.

 

REDUCES THE RISK OF SEVERAL DISEASES

Cardio exercise also helps reduce the risk of several deadly diseases. Roughly 1.5 million people suffer from heart attacks and strokes annually in the United States. Cardio exercise is one way you can reduce the risk of heart attacks and disease along with their underlying causes such as high blood pressure and cholesterol. Many people also suffer from diseases such as diabetes and cancer, and fitting in time for physical activity like cardio can also help you prevent these diseases.

IMPROVES LUNG CAPACITY

Many people tend to shy away from cardio because it can be tough to breathe as you perform the exercise. However, that heavy breathing you are experiencing is actually improving your lungs. Cardio will increase your lung capacity as you push your breathing ability to the limit during a tedious workout.

NATURALLY BOOSTS ENERGY

It is quite common for people to consume energy drinks and coffee throughout the day to stay alert. Other people can’t get through a day without taking a long nap. But these methods can be harmful to your health if you overdo them. A healthier option is cardio exercise. It can naturally boost your energy, which is why many people start their day off with some cardio in the early hours of the morning. When our body goes through an activity that requires energy, such as running, it releases endorphins. These increased endorphin levels, in turn, boost our energy.

GREAT FOR MENTAL HEALTH

Since cardio exercise releases endorphins, another benefit is that it simply makes you feel good afterward. Cardio is a healthy way to combat mental health issues like depression, anxiety, or stress. Many people have coined the feeling one experiences after physical conditioning as a “runners high.” Aside from the endorphins, as you are doing cardio, you are challenging yourself mentally. There are bound to be many times throughout your workout when you feel like you may quit. Pushing through a tough workout and eventually finishing gives you a great sense of accomplishment and leads to a natural “high” you may feel afterward. When you get into the routine of doing cardio exercise, you will start to feel better about yourself overall and improve your confidence.

BETTER SLEEP

Many professionals recommend you get at least seven to eight hours of sleep per night; however, a lot of people do not accomplish this. This results in low energy that can make the day a huge pain to get through. For many, good sleep is difficult to come by simply because it’s hard to fall asleep. When you add cardio to your lifestyle, you will begin to experience a higher quality of sleep. With cardio as part of your day, you’re sure to feel tired come the evening, which is right before going to bed. In turn, this will make it far easier to get in bed and fall asleep at a reasonable hour.

HELPS THE IMMUNE SYSTEM

Nobody wants to get sick. You may not be able to afford to miss work or have an important event coming up. The worst thing about getting sick is that it often happens out of nowhere, perhaps at the most inconvenient time. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. Cardio exercise can help your immune system fight any bacterial infections you may be vulnerable to because it changes your antibodies and white blood cells. With regular cardio exercise, the antibodies or white blood cells in your body will move around faster and gain a better ability to find potential illnesses.

Bottom Line

Adding 20 minutes of cardio to your daily routine three to five days a week comes with all these incredible health benefits. Plus, it doesn’t need to be boring. You can add in plenty of variation, so your cardio workouts won’t feel so overwhelming. Further, you can easily choose the intensity at which you perform cardio exercises.

The main point is that we are not meant to sit around all day—we need to keep our bodies active and moving. Cardio is one of the best ways to remain fit and treat your body as a temple. Additionally, it’s one of the easier exercises to compete because you can do it outside, at the gym, or at home.

Here are some great at-home cardio workouts:

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Tips for working-out at home

Referenced from Chantel Nowak

Feeling stuck at home because of Covid-19? Or maybe you aren’t comfortable with going to a gym or a fitness class right now. Working out at home can be a great alternative to hitting the gym. It’s pretty ideal, in fact.

10 reasons working out at home is awesome

  1. Your bathroom and kitchen are nearby – no waiting and no need for shower shoes.
     
  2. You don’t have to lock up your valuables while you’re working out.
     
  3. There’s nobody around to make you feel self-conscious about how you look or how fit you are.
     
  4. You don’t have to worry about parking.
     
  5. You don’t have to take off your clothes in front of strangers.
     
  6. No need to rush to fill up your water bottle before your class starts.
     
  7. You don’t need to pack a gym bag and remember to pick it up on your way out the door for work.
     
  8. You can hide out from too-hot, too-cold or too-rainy weather.
     
  9. You get to pick the playlist.
     
  10. It’s free – or close to it.

There are a ton of simple ways to get moving at home. Here are some tips and tricks to help you find a home workout, stick to it and get the best results:

1. Choose your at-home workout space

Designate a corner in your home as your workout spot. You really only need a space the size of a yoga mat to have a bunch of options for an effective and efficient workout.

It’s best to not exercise in the same place you watch TV or eat. This will help you focus and stay committed to your workout.

2. Put on your gym clothes

Dress like you’re actually going to the gym. You’ll feel more like exercising when you’re wearing athletic clothes.

You might also find it helpful to put on your running shoes and do 15 minutes of house- or yard-work. It’s a great way to warm up and get a little extra energy before beginning your workout.

You may also want to invest in good, supportive running shoes. Taking care of your feet is extremely important. So do some research into what type of shoe you need to wear for your workout.

3. Don’t worry about gym equipment

You likely don’t need that much equipment, if any at all. But if you would really like to use weights, here are some options:

If you do have basic equipment such as hand weights and a mat, you have numerous options. If you’re going to use weights, it’s a good idea to have two different sets so you can customize your workout.

If you don’t have hand weights and you want to add extra resistance, try soup cans or water bottles. Some other equipment you might find beneficial include resistance bands or a foam roller. They can help you to stretch your muscles before a workout and pamper them afterwards.

4. Use your devices to get new workouts

Don’t think you can make up your own circuits? That’s okay. There are lots of routines out there, especially through apps, and many are free.

Try Fitplan: Gym & Home WorkoutsGetFit: Home Workout & Fitness, or the Tone It Up app. They feature programs that guide you through daily workouts that you can do any place, any time – including at home. Most are free. Others have a free trial so you can see if you like them before committing to paying for them.

If you have a smart speaker, you can also use it to guide you through a home workout. Alexa can pull up five-minute workouts for you if you want to get in a blast of exercise in a short amount of time.

You can also try creating an energizing and free playlist on Spotify. Choose songs that pump you up, and occasionally swap out your playlist to keep things interesting.

5. Set realistic fitness goals

Start slowly, trust your strength and treat your body well. You don’t have to jump into it full-speed. Instead, commit to what you think is reasonable for your body and schedule what you can manage each week. Maybe three days a week will work to start. As you become more comfortable, start doing more.

Have you been at home or working from home due to the recent COVID-19 situation? Then you might want to consider other ways to stay active when you’re at from home. Try recording your times and reps and challenge yourself to improve them.

Do your best not to make excuses. Make exercise part of your daily routine and schedule a workout time that works for you, whether you’re a morning or night-time person. Make it your own and do something you enjoy, and you should start to feel and see results.

Equipment-free workout you can do at home

Your home workout doesn’t need to be super-fancy or complicated. Here is an equipment free work-out example:

  • Warm up by walking up and down the stairs for five minutes.
  • Hold a plank for 20-60 seconds (modifications: lean on your knees, forearms or hands – whichever feels best for you).
  • Push-ups: 10-15 repetitions (modifications: from your knees)
  • Squats: 10-15 repetitions

Rest for 30-40 seconds between sets and repeat. The number of sets you do will depend on your current fitness level. Last, cool down by walking on the spot and slowly stretch out your muscles.

Exercise is a great stress-reducer. It’s so important to make time for exercise. Unplug and just do it!

Home workouts are entirely customizable, time-efficient and cheap. Commit to the time and trust the process, and you’ll be on your way to living a healthier life.

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9 Ways to Beat the Winter Blues

Article referenced from Brigitt Earley and Melanie Rud 

Here are 9 ways that you can help improve your mood during the winter!

1. Give your skin some TLC

There’s no denying that your skin looks better in the summer, with its sun-kissed glow and fresh dewiness (thank you, humidity). There’s also no denying that as temperatures and humidity levels plummet, all that cold, dry air takes a toll on your complexion. That’s why fall is the perfect time to up your skin game. Reevaluate the ingredients in your skincare routine and get the pros involved. Check out the Breathe Blog post on How to Protect your Skin in 2021

2. Make your environment brighter

When your body is craving more daylight, sitting next to an artificial light—also called a light box—for 30 minutes per day can be as effective as antidepressant medication. Opening blinds and curtains, trimming back tree branches, and sitting closer to windows can also help provide an extra dose of sunshine.

3. Eat smarter

Having a well-balanced diet it so important for our mental health. Ensure you are trying your best to consume enough fruits and vegetables, along with protein and healthy carbohydrates. Certain foods, like chocolate, can help to enhance your mood and relieve anxiety. Other foods, like candy provide temporary feelings of euphoria, but could ultimately increase feelings of anxiety and depression.

4. Simulate dawn

People with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a form of depression that usually begins in late fall or early winter and fades as the weather improves, may feel depressed, irritable, lethargic, and have trouble waking up in the morning—especially when it’s still dark out. Studies show that a dawn simulator ($50; walgreens.com), a device that causes the lights in your bedroom to gradually brighten over a set period of time, can serve as an antidepressant and make it easier to get out of bed.

5. Exercise

2005 study from Harvard suggests walking fast for about 35 minutes a day five times a week, or 60 minutes a day three times a week improved symptoms of mild to moderate depression. Exercising under bright lights may be even better for seasonal depression: A preliminary study found that exercise under bright light improved general mental health, social functioning, depressive symptoms, and vitality, while exercise in ordinary light improved vitality only. Try these mood boosting workouts and 10 stretches to keep your body healthy.

6. Turn on the tunes

In a 2013 study, researchers showed that listening to upbeat or cheery music significantly improved participant’s mood in both the short and long term.

7. Plan a day-trip

Longing for an adventure? With the pandemic surrounding our lives, it’s hard to take a vacation…but the simple act of planning a day-trip to your local beach, or a road trip to one of your favorite parks causes a significant increase in overall happiness! Make a picnic lunch, grab a Starbucks, or order some take-out and enjoy your day in an environment (safely) that isn’t your home!

8. Help others

Want to help others while social-distancing? Sort out your wardrobe (or even your whole house) and take your unwanted items to your local homeless shelter, thrift store, or Salvation Army!

9. Get outside

Talking yourself into taking a walk when the temperatures plummet isn’t easy, but the benefits are big: Spending time outside (even when it’s chilly!) can improve focus, reduce symptoms of SAD, and lower stress levels

Get Help

Not sure where to go to find help or who to turn to? Consulting with your healthcare provider or another trusted professional is always a great start.

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How to improve your posture

Resources from girlslivingwell.com

You can improve your posture at any age, but the sooner the better. The longer you wait with aiding your posture, the more damage you can put on your body. The best way to improve it is to start taking measures in your daily life and be conscious of wanting to improve. The good news is that changing posture is very much possible.

Here are some tips & tricks to help improve your posture!

1. Get in the right mindset and recruit a friend
  • Being aware of wanting to make a change is a great first step in improving your posture. Make a plan of what steps you are going to take and give yourself a pep talk. Be kind to yourself and keep up the motivation. It takes up to 5 weeks to make new actions habits and so create a timeline and keep it. Can also recommend recruiting a friend for accountability and motivation.
2. Focus on not slouching
  • Just focusing on not slouching is another great way to improve your posture. Make reminders on your phone or post-its in your house and it will go a long way in helping you stand and sit straighter.
3. Look up more
  • Day after day of looking down is bad for your posture. The head is tilted, and stress is put on the muscles and joints of the neck. This stress alongside straining the eyes can cause headaches and prolonged poor posture will eventually lead to degeneration and poor posture. Holding your phone straight in front of your face (as if you were taking a photo) and lifting your PC screen will help your posture.
4. The right fit bra and comfortable clothing.
  • Having the wrong bra can impact your posture as it can inhibit a muscle called serratus anterior and this muscle needs to be strong to give you a good posture. When this muscle gets weak it will cause shoulders to roll forward and cause your shoulder blades to wing and your back to slouch. The best is to wear a bra that has no wires or the very least wear one that is the correct size and not too tight.
5. Stretch
  •  Make sure to incorporate a stretching routine for the neck and back. Stretching these muscles will help muscles get relief, decrease tension, and help your posture. As little as 5 minutes can do wonders and a good way to incorporate stretching is to do it while watching TV.

Keep reading for 4 quick stretches that will help you get there!

Child’s pose

This resting pose stretches and lengthens your spine, glutes, and hamstrings. The child’s pose helps to release tension in your lower back and neck.

To do this:

  1. Sit on your shinbones with your knees together, your big toes touching, and your heels splayed out to the side.
  2. Fold forward at your hips and walk your hands out in front of you.
  3. Sink your hips back down toward your feet. If your thighs won’t go all the way down, place a pillow or folded blanket under them for support.
  4. Gently place your forehead on the floor or turn your head to one side.
  5. Keep your arms extended or rest them along your body.
  6. Breathe deeply into the back of your rib cage and waist.
  7. Relax in this pose for up to 5 minutes while continuing to breathe deeply

Forward Fold

This standing stretch releases tension in your spine, hamstrings, and glutes. It also stretches your hips and legs. While doing this stretch, you should feel the entire back side of your body opening up and lengthening.

To do this:

  1. Stand with your big toes touching and your heels slightly apart.
  2. Bring your hands to your hips and fold forward at your hips.
  3. Release your hands toward the floor or place them on a block. Don’t worry if your hands don’t touch the ground — just go as far as you can.
  4. Bend your knees slightly, soften your hips joints, and allow your spine to lengthen.
  5. Tuck your chin into your chest and allow your head to fall heavy to the floor.
  6. Remain in this pose for up to 1 minute.

Downward Facing Dog

This is a forward bend that can be used as a resting pose to balance out your body. The downward-facing dog pose helps to relieve back pain, while also strengthening and aligning your back muscles. Practicing it regularly helps to improve posture.

To do this:

  1. Lying with your stomach on the floor, press into your hands as you tuck your toes under your feet and lift your heels.
  2. Lift your knees and hips to bring your sitting bones up toward the ceiling.
  3. Bend your knees slightly and lengthen your spine.
  4. Keep your ears in line with your upper arms or tuck your chin all the way into your chest.
  5. Press firmly into your hands and keep your heels slightly lifted.
  6. Remain in this pose for up to 1 minute.

Pigeon Pose

This is a hip opener that also loosens up your spine, hamstrings, and glutes. The pigeon pose can also help to stretch your sciatic nerve and quadriceps. Opening and stretching these places in your body makes it easier to correct imbalances in your posture.

To do this:

  1. Come down on all fours with your knees below your hips and your hands a little bit in front of your shoulders.
  2. Bend your right knee and place it behind your right wrist with your right foot angled out to the left.
  3. Rest the outside of your right shin on the floor.
  4. Slide your left leg back, straighten your knee, and rest your thigh on the floor.
  5. Make sure your left leg extends straight back (and not to the side).
  6. Slowly lower your torso down to rest on your inner right thigh with your arms extended in front of you.
  7. Hold this position for up to 1 minute.
  8. Slowly release the position by walking your hands back toward your hips and lifting your torso.
  9. Repeat on the left side.

How to protect your skin in 2021

Resources from Byrdie.com

We have all had to adjust the last few months to a different way of life in many ways. Let’s take a self-care approach that can help us feel a little more comfortable in our own skin. Wearing a mask can be inconvenient in a number of ways and let’s be honest, our skin has suffered from this new-found way of life – so here are some tips and tricks to help prevent that dreaded “Maskne” in 2021.

6 natural remedies for skin-care that actually work


1. Baking Soda

“Technically baking soda and water soften blackheads and any clogged pores in the skin. It’s best for congested skin,” says Vargas. She recommends a DIY baking soda mask

2. Apple Cider Vinegar

“It’s the best astringent in nature because it helps to balance the skin’s pH, making you both less oily and less dry,” says Grigore. She warns that apple cider vinegar is very pungent and that you must always dilute it before using. “I recommend using a mixture of one part vinegar to four parts water. Apply to your face with cotton or a spritzer. No need to wash it off,” she says. 

3. Turmeric

According to Holecek, turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory agent. She recommends it in gentle, exfoliating bases like chickpea flour, oat powders, or kaolin clay.

  • Turmeric powder is made from the root of Curcuma zedoaria, a form of ginger native to Southeast Asia. Its active ingredient, curcumin, is what gives it that yellow-orange tinge; it’s also what makes it such a potent anti-inflammatory. Turmeric is also found to lighten hyperpigmentation.

4. Honey

Holecek says honey is a soothing remedy for those pesky acne scars. For a DIY facial, she suggests mixing honey, aloe vera, one teaspoon of chickpea flour, and a pinch of turmeric to make a paste. Spread the paste on your face. Once you rinse off with cool water, use an ice cube on the skin for 30 seconds to treat a congested face.

5. Fine-Grain Salt

“Fine-grain salt cleans deeply, removes dead skin cells, balances moisture, and pulls toxins from pores, making it especially great for preventing acne or quick treatments during flare-ups on the face and body,” Grigore says. “The simplest way to use sea salt is to wet your face or body, put some salt on your wet hand so it sticks, then pat it gently onto your skin. You can leave it for a few minutes or rinse immediately. Just make sure not to scrub too hard—it is too abrasive by itself.”

6. Tea Tree Oil

According to Grigore, tea tree oil is known as a “miracle antiseptic.” 

“It’s renowned for its antibacterial, antimicrobial, and anti-fungal properties, making it an easy and effective spot treatment,” she says. She suggests diluting tea tree oil in a little bit of extra virgin olive oil or organic jojoba oil and applying it directly on a zit. 

8 tips to protect your skin while wearing a face mask


  • Choose a mask made with two layers of breathable material, such as cotton.
  • Wash your mask regularly, ideally washing it after each time you wear the mask. Avoid wearing makeup. If you wish to wear makeup, use a mineral makeup.
  • Wash your skin with a gentle cleanser and apply a moisturizer twice a day.
  • If you are experiencing dry patches of skin, apply a thin amount of a barrier repair cream to the area affected.
  • Avoid products that will not clog your pores. Look for, non-comedogenic products, which means it will not clog your pores
  • If you are experiencing breakouts, spot treat the area with a benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid product.
  • Give yourself weekly at-home facials with the natural skin-care remedies above!

self-care is not selfish

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10 Affirmations to keep your momentum going



1. EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE OK.
2. THIS IS NOT FOREVER. YOU WILL NOT BE HERE FOREVER.
3. “THERE IS NO GROWTH ON THE TOP OF THE MOUNTAINTOP”- ANDY ANDREWS
4. JUST BECAUSE YOU TOOK LONGER THAN OTHERS DOESN’T MEAN YOU FAILED” – DANIEL FRIDAY DANZOR
5. NEVER TRUST YOUR FEARS. THEY DON’T KNOW YOUR STRENGTHATHENA SINGH
6. IF YOU CAN’T FLY. THEN RUN, IF YOU CAN’T RUN, THEN WALK THEN CRAWL, BUT WHATEVER YOU DO, YOU HAVE TO KEEP MOVING FORWARD.” –MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.
7. DON’T LOOK AT EVERYONE ELSE. STAY IN YOUR OWN LANE,
8. LOOK FOR OPPORTUNITIES WHEREVER YOU ARE
9. “IF YOU WANT THE RAINBOW, YOU GOTTA PUT UP WITH THE RAIN” – DOLLY PARTON
10. “A CHAMPION IS DEFINED NOT BY THEIR WINS, BUT HOW THEY CAN RECOVER WHEN THEY FALL.” – SERENA WILLIAMS


above Resources from The Start Today Brand



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