The Role Emotions Play In Health

The Role Emotions Play In Health

Your emotions play an important role in your health and well-being. It’s typical to think only of your physical body when it comes to health but balancing your emotions is crucial to overall wellness.

Did you know that your mood and emotions are affected by diet and exercise? Well they are!

Research shows that consuming 7-8 servings of fruits and vegetables a day will put you in a better mood. And, when you’re in a good mood you are more likely to eat a healthier diet.


Be Fit and Eat Good Food

Be Fit and Eat Good Food

When initiating lifestyle changes to support your health and well-being don’t feel like you have to do it all by yourself. In fact you’re more likely to be successful if you have the help and support of others. 

Get in the routine of engaging in some type of physical activity 5 days a week. Look at your calendar or planner to see what you’ve already got scheduled. Then block out time for exercise. Write down what you plan to do and when. If you put it on the calendar and intentionally set time aside you’re more likely to actually do it.


Exercise Can Strengthen Your Immune System

Exercise Can Strengthen Your Immune System

Several recent blog posts have pointed out the health benefits of exercise and physical activity. In this one we’ll explore how an active lifestyle can support a healthy immune system. Your immune system is your body’s natural defense mechanism and offers protection not just in the winter months but all year round.

Building a strong immune system requires adopting healthy lifestyle habits one of which is exercise or physical activity. Along with eating nutritious foods, getting enough sleep, and minimizing stress, exercise can improve your immune function for the long term.

On the flip side, leading a sedentary, inactive lifestyle can contribute to a weak immune system. When your immune system is compromised it can lead to illness.

Exercise boosts immunity in a variety of ways. 

  • May promote good circulation, allowing cells to do a more efficient job.
  • Releases antibodies which attach themselves to bacteria or viruses and destroy them. 
  • May contribute to better functioning white blood cells which fight infections.
  • Can positively affect the brain by promoting a sense of well-being.

The goal is to get your heart rate up, performing moderate to vigorous activity, at least three times a week for 30-60 minutes. This can be accomplished with something as simple as going for a brisk walk. Other activities to consider include running, cycling, and using an elliptical machine.

Strength training also appears to help support the immune system and is beneficial as you age. It improves mobility and supports bone health. For optimal health incorporate aerobic activities and strength training into your weekly fitness routine. 

Repetition is key, as the benefits of a workout will be depleted over time. Exercising only occasionally is not going to have an impact on your immune system. Regular exercise can also help prevent age related immune function decline.

Recent research has found that exercise and physical activity can help prevent some cancers and help some cancer survivors live longer. This information was released in a report, Exercise Guidelines for Cancer Survivors. A panel of researchers found that cancer related symptoms may be affected by performing moderate aerobic exercise, resistance training, or both.

The recommendations include:

  • Exercise, for all adults, is important for cancer prevention. It lowers the risk of seven common types of cancer: colon, breast, endometrial, kidney, bladder, esophagus, and stomach. 
  • Exercising after being diagnosed with breast, colorectal, or prostate cancer may help reduce the chance of recurrence and improve survival.
  • Exercise during and after cancer treatment improves fatigue, anxiety, depression, physical function, and quality of life and does not exacerbate lymphedema. 

Before my breast cancer diagnosis, I led an active lifestyle exercising an average of 5 days a week including running, swimming, cycling, and strength training. Throughout my treatment regimen, I continued to exercise. The level of intensity and quality of the workouts diminished but I kept moving. Maintaining an exercise routine was good for both my body and mind. After completing chemotherapy and radiation, I gradually increased the amount and duration of physical activity until I regained my stamina and endurance.

If you don’t currently have an exercise routine, check with your doctor before starting one and share your goals with them. Start slowly. Gradually increase the time and intensity of your workouts. Be persistent and consistent. 

For additional tips on immune system support, click here to get my guide, 4 “natural” ways to support your immune system. And, if you haven’t yet, subscribe to the blog here.

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Engage in Physical Activity to Promote Sleep

Engage in Physical Activity to Promote Sleep

Did you know that being physically active can promote a good night’s sleep? Well it can!

Being physically tired can help you sleep. And, if your body is tired you’re more likely to fall asleep. Exercise often reduces the amount of time it takes to fall asleep and increases total sleep time.

The time of day you exercise can have an affect on whether or not you fall asleep easily. If you have trouble getting to sleep adjust the time of day you exercise. Experiment to see what time of day seems to work the best for you.

Additional ideas to get a better night’s sleep:

  • Reduce caffeine and alcohol intake. Caffeine stimulates the nervous system and may prevent your body from naturally relaxing at night. Alcohol may lead to disrupted sleep patterns.
  • Do a deep breathing exercise before going to bed. Stress and anxiety can prevent or obstruct sleep.
    Deep Breathing Exercise: Breath in through your nose for 4 seconds. Hold the breath for 4 seconds. Exhale through the nose for 4 seconds.
  • Meditate. Meditation is a great way to clear and reset your mind. To get started, try guided meditation. It may work the best. Use an app such as Calm or Head Space or watch a You Tube video by Light Watkins. When you first begin it’ll be hard to calm your mind but the more you meditate the easier it will become.
  • Read or take a warm bath. Alone or together, they can help you relax and improve the quality of your sleep.
To relax before bed try this bath soak recipe.  

Always use only the highest quality essential oils. Many essential oils on the market have been adulterated. What does that mean? It means that these oils may have been produced with pesticides, extracted using chemicals to get more yield, or extended (diluted) by adding synthetic man-made compounds. The only way to distinguish authentic from adulterated is through testing. 

Because of that, it’s super important to find a source for essential oils you can trust. To chat with me about the brand I use, click here. Click here and Watch the “Why Us?” video to discover a company that offers an amazing quality guarantee.

To get more tips on how to get a good night’s sleep get my free guide. Click here to get the guide.

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Developing a Fitness Routine

Developing a Fitness Routine

If you don’t exercise regularly, now is the time to get started! It doesn’t matter how old or young you are, your physical condition, what time of year it is, or how busy you are. You can always come up with an excuse why now is not the right time. If it’s important to you, you’ll find the time in your schedule. You can do it! Your body and mind will thank you!

To remain committed for the long term, make exercise a habit. To do that you’ll need to put practices in place to help you establish and stick to an exercise regimen. 

Before you get started be aware of your current state of physical health. If necessary, consult your physician before you begin to exercise. Knowing what you are capable of and your limits will help you set a goal and have realistic expectations. 

What are you hoping to accomplish by exercising? Do you want to feel better, have more energy, lose weight, decrease medications, avoid or reverse a disease? Spend time reflecting on why it is important to you. When you face challenges or setbacks and think about quitting refer back to your WHY.

To reach a fitness goal, it is important to develop a routine. Determine the best time of day for you to exercise. Will it be better to get up and do it first thing in the morning? Or would you rather use exercise as a way to unwind towards the end of the day?

Until you have established a fitness habit consider scheduling when you’ll exercise and write it on a calendar or in your daily planner. You may have better luck actually doing it if it’s planned into your day and not done randomly. Performing exercise at the same time each day can be beneficial as well. Develop a plan and stick to it. 

Consider enlisting a friend, family member, or coworker as an exercise partner. You can be accountable to one another and keep each other motivated. Or meet with a trainer at the gym. Find someone to hold you accountable to your goals. You’ll be less likely to come up with excuses if someone is depending on you and knows what you are attempting to accomplish.

Track your activity. Keep a journal and write down when you exercise, what you did and for how long. A fitness tracker or downloadable app is another way to do it. A tracker provides a good visual of what you’ve done or haven’t done. 

Struggles and challenges are to be expected. When they happen recognize them for what they are, except them, recommit and move forward. Be patient and gentle with yourself throughout the process. 

I’ve been exercising at the same time every morning for so long I can’t remember when I started. Until COVID hit I was so regimented it was almost scary. 

In a typical week I work out 5 times at 5:30 am except on Saturday. Run on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday. Swim on Tuesday and Thursday. Sleep in on Friday and Sunday. Because the pool is closed the activities have changed but the routine has stayed the same. 

When on vacation or traveling exercise is still part of my routine. It can be a great way to explore new places as well. Again, the type of exercise and time of day may change but it still gets done. I share this to let you know it’s possible. If I can do it so can you!

Getting a good night’s sleep and eating healthy foods can help provide you with the energy you need to exercise. I’ve put together a guide with tips on how to promote a good night’s sleep. Click here to get the guide.

Think more consciously about the decisions you make every day. How do they impact your health? What simple choices can you make to help you lead a more healthy and vibrant life?

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