5 Easy Ways to Immediately Improve your Health

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  • Drink water
    • I know everyone says this but do you ever take action? Make it a daily assignment to refill that water bottle every couple of hours. Hydration is essential to good health, better digestion, clearer skin and mental clarity. If water seems boring try adding some cut up lemon or cucumber to add flavor. Lemon water has even more amazing health benefits and is especially great to have first thing every morning. It boosts your metabolism and aids with digestion all day long.

      Rosette Quilt Sky - Anthropologie.com
      via anthropologie.com
  • Get serious sleep; I am talking about at least 8-9 hours every night
    • We all are guilty of staying up late watching our favorite show or turning over the next page of a book we are drawn to, but putting sleep as a main priority will show serious health benefits. Even better; studies show that if you turn off all technology one hour before bed you sleep better and get more out of your sleep (I am still working on this one).4_6
  • Move your body daily
    • Physical Activity is so important to your health. Physical activity does not mean you have to spend an hour at the gym each day. Moving your body can be a few laps around the office every few hours, it can be taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or it can be a gentle yoga class. Any movement of the body is better than none!

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      via wholefoods.com
  • Eat foods that are found on the perimeter of a grocery store
    • This is the easiest way to think about eating for good health. A grocery store is set up with the fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy and whole grains on the perimeter. All of your processed food is what sits in the aisles. Do your best to increase the percentage of food you buy to come from the perimeter.FullSizeRender (1)
  • Do one thing a day that makes you happy or smile
    • This tool is my favorite. In this day and age we are SO busy and constantly stressed we forget about ourselves sometimes. Happiness and love are so important to your health and making an effort to do one thing a day that you love and makes you smile will make your days and weeks so much better. It can be something as simple as taking an extra minute or two to enjoy your breakfast in the morning, stopping on the way home to get a new nail polish or some flowers, or pouring yourself that glass of red with dinner.

 

Book Review: “The New Health Rules” by Frank Lipman & Danielle Claro

image via amazon.com

This week I purchased the book, The New Health Rules, after hearing it was getting incredible reviews in the health & fitness world. I sat down one night after work and read through it front to back in less than hour. It is a quick read, very well written, and most importantly contains easy to understand knowledge to aid you in achieving overall health and wellness. What I love most about this book is, that it is in no way a diet or weight loss book. Its’ tagline explains it all; “Simple Changes to Achieve Whole-Body Wellness.”

The book begins in the best way; Frank reassures all his readers that anyone can take what they want from this book. He explains to everyone that they do not have to follow every “rule” in this book, but to just take baby steps and incorporate new rules slowly over time.

Okay, okay now to the good stuff..Frank divides the book into five sections that affect your health and wellness: Eating, Moving, Boosting, Healing and Living. I am going to share two or three of my favorite rules from each section and save the rest for you all to read and enjoy on your own!

Eating:

Fat Is Good for You
-Your body needs fat; the good fats in order to be nourished. Do not cut out fats completely! Eating avocados, raw nuts, coconut oil, grass-fed meats, and fatty fish are extremely beneficial for your body.

Everything You Know About Breakfast is Wrong
-Start to move away from having grains and fruit at breakfast. Your body will flourish if you consume healthy fats and protein. Frank suggests meals like eggs with greens or half an avocado sprinkled with spices and squeezed lemon.

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Moving:

Strong and Stretchy
-Everyone needs to find balance in their workouts. Trying to incorporate strength training as well as stretching into your workout routine a few times a week helps prevent injuries, improve posture, and keeps bones healthy.

Move Five Minutes Out of Every Hour
-This is easy and something I want to make a goal for myself every day; especially at work. Simply, move for five minutes once an hour. Get up take a walk around the office, go up and down a flight of stairs or just stand up and stretch in your office or cubical. This allows your body to change shapes and allows your mind a mental break and a few minutes to restart as well.

Boosting:

Spend Lots of Time with People You Love
-Spending time with people you love is a boost to your immune system. Your body and mind needs laughter and deep conversations that allow you to have your guard down. You have to make time to be yourself and hopefully you can incorporate this into your life daily. Physical time with these people is more beneficial than through the phone or other pieces of technology.

Sleep – Train Yourself
-Train your body to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day. Your body will adjust and learn to produce melatonin (hormone that aids sleep) an hour before your bed time and serotonin (hormone that helps you wake up) an hour before your alarm goes off. Soon enough you will not even need an alarm, your body will wake up on its own!

Healing:

Do Something You Love for at Least 10 Minutes a Day
-This is something you might find surprising, but most of us don’t do this. Make it part of your schedule each day. Take a walk, a long shower, paint your nails, blast some music; anything that makes you smile!

Let it Go
-This one is something I personally strive to work for every day. When a stressful situation occurs, try journaling about it. This helps release your emotions and provide clarity. After, partake in an activity that takes your mind off things and allows your thoughts to wander in a more positive direction.

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Living:

Green Your Cleaners One by One
-Every day we learn more and more about the harsh chemicals that can be found in all our household products. Frank suggests not to immediately start throwing everything away, but simply start replacing each of your products to an all-natural option as they run out. There are many safe and non chemical alternatives these days.

Clutter is the Junk Food of the Home
-Take a day or weekend to clean out, throw away, and organize your house. You will not believe the feeling you have after. Many of us hoard with or without realizing and hold on to things that no longer benefit us, and by getting rid of them your body and mind feel better and function more smoothly.

I HIGHLY recommend for everyone to read this book, especially for those who want to begin a healthier lifestyle in 2015!

Resources: “The New Health Rules” by Frank Lipman & Danielle Claro

This article also appears on Women’s iLab to inspire the next generation of female leaders.

My New Focus for 2015: Mental Health

As the holiday season came and went, Lululemon launched a campaign encouraging people to “give presence.” The company encouraged people to put their phones away, communicate, and enjoy time with their friends and family without being distracted. This campaign really stuck with me. What exactly does “give presence” mean? When you take a step back and think about it; most of our days are consumed with to do lists, worrying and planning about future events or tasks, or dwelling on a past event. How often are you really just living in the present? The truth is probably not very often…

Living in the present and being in the present is hard to do in this day and age with so much technology and the ability to be so easily distracted. I took this campaign as an opportunity to challenge myself to try to enjoy the little moments in life more; take time to relax, reflect, and truly connect with those around me day to day without distraction. This challenge has led me to finding ways to take a few moments in each day to really bring myself back to the present. My two favorite ways are to journal and to do simple meditation. Both techniques relax and reset my body and mind.

Meditation has amazing health benefits and many researchers say it is something everyone should do daily, even if it is only for a few minutes.  Studies show that meditation can improve a variety of psychological areas; including stress, anxiety, addiction, depression, eating disorders and cognitive function. Meditation can also reduce blood pressure, pain response, stress hormone levels, boost your immune system and strengthen your cellular health. Meditation shouldn’t be scary or intimidating at all. It can be as easy as taking a deep breaths and closing your eyes for a few minutes.

Check out this great article via MindBodyGreen that gives you six easy ways to do simple meditations.

The Power & Influence of Fitness Instructors

Do you jump out of bed in the early hours of the morning or sneak out of work a little before five to get to a fitness class? Do you book out your classes weeks or months in advance to ensure you get a spot? This enthusiasm to work out is hard to find and a big reason most “fitness obsessed” people have this drive is partially because of their instructors.

Anyone who takes group fitness classes knows how crucial having a great instructor is to your workout. Everyone has experienced an instructor who is lacking energy, speaking softly, and just seems to be going through the motions of class, which causes you to have a not- so-awesome workout. Fitness instructors to most become like family; they are the people you see every day, probably more often than most of your actual family of friends. These women and men start or end your day on a high note with energy and self-confidence. Instructors have the ability to turn your bad day into a good one and it is so important to find a studio where you know you can always depend on this. Good instructors deserve so much more credit than they receive because they always find a way to put their life stresses and bad moods off to the side to make their clients experience the best it can be.

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For me, at Pure Barre Wellesley, I never have to worry about having a bad instructor or a lack luster workout. This group of ladies is amazing, and they always show up to teach a class with 100% enthusiasm. These women are what make it so easy to get up out of bed each morning for 5:45 am class. One of my favorite instructors, Ang, has a way of pushing me to my limits in every single one of her classes. She is known to keep you performing your “A-game” all class and never lets anyone give up. She has a way of making you move your body in ways you didn’t know it could and always makes sure to give you a shout out in class when she notices your extra push. I leave her classes feeling as strong and confident as ever. I look forward to the classes she teaches because I know I will be challenged both physically and mentally. Being  a member for almost a year now, and taking at least two to three classes with Ang a week, I have never had a mediocre experience with her so I had to find out how she and many other great fitness instructors do it..

How do you stay motivated and energetic for every class, especially days when you teach 3 or 4 in a row?

Without a doubt my motivation comes from the energy that our clients bring to class every day. When I see a client push themselves out of their comfort zone, it always gives me the fuel to keep things challenging! Physically, it’s important to eat small healthy snacks in between classes and stay hydrated as well.

What is your favorite way to keep the clients pushing for their best during class?

My favorite thing to do to keep clients motivated is to give a few name shout outs and say what they are doing well. When people want to break out of a position, I think specific positive reinforcement can really help!

What do you love most about being a Pure Barre instructor?

My favorite thing about being a Pure Barre instructor is when a client tells me that they are seeing results in their body that they’ve never been able to attain before. When clients begin to experience positive changes, they become even more confident in class and in themselves.

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I hope everyone is able to find a place where they can experience great instructors, and for those that do, remember to thank these amazing people for the crucial role they play in your everyday life!

This article also appears on Women’s iLab to inspire the next generation of female leaders.