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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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

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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 Cope with Anxiety

Resources from https://www.healthline.com/

Only YOU have the power to take control of your anxiety & to seek help.

Breathe: There are ways to calm your anxiety

Know that feeling of your heart beating faster in response to a stressful situation? Or perhaps, instead, your palms get sweaty when you’re confronted with an overwhelming task or event.

That’s anxiety — our body’s natural response to stress.

If you haven’t recognized your triggers yet, here are a few common: your first day at a new job, meeting your partner’s family, or giving a presentation in front of a lot of people. Everyone has different triggers, and identifying them is one of the most important steps to coping and managing anxiety attacks.

Identifying your triggers can take some time and self-reflection. In the meantime, there are things you can do to try to help calm or quiet your anxiety from taking over.

5 quick ways to cope with anxiety

If your anxiety is sporadic and getting in the way of your focus or tasks, there are some quick natural remedies that could help you take control of the situation.

If your anxiety is focused around a situation, such as being worried about an upcoming event, you may notice the symptoms are short-lived and usually subside after the anticipated event takes place.

1)Question your thought pattern

Negative thoughts can take root in your mind and distort the severity of the situation. One way is to challenge your fears, ask if they’re true, and see where you can take back control.

2)Practice focused, deep breathing

Try breathing in for 4 counts and breathing out for 4 counts for 5 minutes total. By evening out your breath, you’ll slow your heart rate which should help calm you down.

The 4-7-8 technique is also known to help anxiety.

3)Use aromatherapy

Whether they’re in oil form, incense, or a candle, scents like lavender, chamomile, and sandalwood can be very soothing.

Aromatherapy is thought to help activate certain receptors in your brain, potentially easing anxiety.

4)Go for a walk or do 15 minutes of yoga

Sometimes, the best way to stop anxious thoughts is to walk away from the situation. Taking some time to focus on your body and not your mind may help relieve your anxiety.

5)Write down your thoughts

Writing down what’s making you anxious gets it out of your head and can make it less daunting.

These relaxation tricks are particularly helpful for those who experience anxiety sporadically. They may also work well with someone who has generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) when they’re in a bind too!

However, if you suspect you have GAD, quick coping methods shouldn’t be the only kind of treatment you employ. You’ll want to find long-term strategies to help lessen the severity of symptoms and even prevent them from happening.


6 long-term strategies for coping with anxiety

If anxiety is a regular part of your life, it’s important to find treatment strategies to help you keep it in check. It might be a combination of things, like talk therapy and meditation, or it might just be a matter of cutting out or resolving your anxiety trigger.

If you’re not sure where to start, it’s always helpful to discuss options with a mental health professional who might suggest something you hadn’t thought of before.

1)Identify and learn to manage your triggers

You can identify triggers on your own or with a therapist. Sometimes they can be obvious, like caffeine, drinking alcohol, or smoking. Other times they can be less obvious.

Long-term problems, such as financial or work-related situations, may take some time to figure out — is it a due date, a person, or the situation? This may take some extra support, through therapy or with friends.

When you do figure out your trigger, you should try to limit your exposure if you can. If you can’t limit it — like if it’s due to a stressful work environment that you can’t currently change — using other coping techniques may help.

Some general triggers:

  • a stressful job or work environment
  • driving or traveling
  • genetics — anxiety could run in your family
  • withdrawal from drugs or certain medications
  • side effects of certain medications
  • trauma
  • phobias, such as agoraphobia (fear of crowded or open spaces) and claustrophobia (fear of small spaces)
  • some chronic illnesses like heart disease, diabetes, or asthma
  • chronic pain
  • having another mental illness such as depression
  • caffeine

2)Adopt cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)

CBT helps people learn different ways of thinking about and reacting to anxiety-causing situations. A therapist can help you develop ways to change negative thought patterns and behaviors before they spiral.

3)Do a daily or routine meditation

While this takes some practice to do successfully, mindful meditation, when done regularly, can eventually help you train your brain to dismiss anxious thoughts when they arise.

If sitting still and concentrating is difficult, try starting with yoga.

4)Try supplements or change your diet

Changing your diet or taking supplements is definitely a long-term strategy. Research shows certain supplements or nutrients can help anxiety reduction.

These include:

  • lemon balm
  • omega-3 fatty acids
  • ashwagandha
  • green tea
  • valerian root
  • kava kava
  • dark chocolate (in moderation)

However, it can take up to three months before your body is actually running on the nutrition these herbs and foods provide. If you’re taking other medications, make sure to discuss herbal remedies with your doctor.

5)Keep your body and mind healthy

Exercising regularly, eating balanced meals, getting enough sleep, and staying connected to people who care about you are great ways to stave off anxiety symptoms.

6)Ask your doctor about medications

If your anxiety is severe enough that your mental health practitioner believes you’d benefit from medication, there are a number of directions to go, depending on your symptoms. Discuss your concerns with your doctor.


When is my anxiety harmful?

Identifying what sort of anxiety you’re dealing with can be somewhat challenging because how one’s body reacts to perceived danger can be entirely different compared to another person.

It’s likely you heard anxiety as a blanket term for that general feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease. It’s often a feeling grown in response to an upcoming event that has an uncertain outcome.

Every person deals with it at one time or another, because it’s part of our brain’s response to a perceived danger — even if that danger isn’t real.

That said, there are times anxiety can get serious and turn into anxiety attacks that initially feel manageable and then gradually build up over a few hours. (This is different from a panic attack, which is out of the blue and subsides.)

Signs of an anxiety attack

These are some of the more common mental and physical symptoms of anxiety:

It’s also possible to experience an anxiety and panic attack simultaneously. The quick coping strategies mentioned above may also help with a panic attack.

Other mindful strategies to cope with panic attacks include focusing on an object, repeating a mantra, closing your eyes, and going to your happy place.

Symptoms of a panic attack

What causes anxiety?

If you notice that quick tips haven’t been working, you may want to consider seeing a professional for help. Especially if you believe you have GAD and its interfering with routine activities and causing physical symptoms.

A mental health professional can help with streamlining the process of identifying your triggers, maintaining long-term strategies through behavioral therapy, medications, and more.

For example, if your anxiety stems from a trauma you experienced in your past, it can be helpful to work through that with a licensed therapist. On the other hand, if you’re brain chemistry predisposes you to chronic anxiety, you may need to go on medication to manage it.

Anxiety may always be a part of your life, but it shouldn’t overtake your day-to-day. Even the most extreme anxiety disorders can be treated so that the symptoms aren’t overwhelming.

Once you find what treatment works best for you, life should be a lot more enjoyable and a lot less daunting.

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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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Embracing Your Emotions

Either the false positive or “keep calm and carry on” is so much bound into the way the culture exists.

WE become hooked on the idea that happiness is the holy grail. And what the push for only happiness does is it leads to IGNORE our difficult experiences.

Therefore, we aren’t actually bringing ourselves into the fullness of what we are capable of, & to bend on the reality of those experiences.

Because our culture doesn’t support our ability for us to be WHOLE with these difficult emotions…we often start engaging in hustling with them. We either bottle them, suppress, deny, or even brood on them – where we get stuck in them and start treating them as fact.

So many of us express “I don’t want to feel, I don’t want to feel this stress, I don’t want to feel anxiety. I just wish this feeling would go away.” I get it. At such a deep level I GET IT. When we constantly wish away our difficult emotions & avoid feeling what we feel at a fundamental level, we are not living to our fullest. If you are ALIVE you will FEEL. If you are alive you will feel stressed, hardship, disappointment, failure. Tough emotions are part of our contract with life.

Embrace your feels ❤️

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Asking For Help With Anxiety

asking for help can be hard – but it can be crucial to your personal growth process


A simple benefit of asking for help is that other people can help you move forward.

If you think about in what area you could use some help and ask someone who has the right knowledge, skills, resources, or connections, you increase your chances of learning and of making progress

Remind yourself that asking for help means you’re strong enough to admit you don’t have all the answers. That’s a real sign of strength.

It means you’re trying to deal with uncomfortable emotions, like humility, fear, and embarrassment, head-on. It also means you’re willing to be vulnerable.

Feeling anxious now? Take a deep breath, listen to your thoughts, try to figure them out, then take things one day at a time.


Only YOU have the power to take control of your anxiety & to seek help.

mental health resources

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.

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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