Happy Easter, Friends!
This weekend, eggs will be dyed, pastels will be worn, and a mythical bunny will deliver baskets filled with candy and treats to homes all over. While there is no harm in making memories and having a little fun, Easter Sunday really should be recognized as the most important and sacred day of the entire year, as it commemorates Jesus' resurrection and ascension to heaven.
The true significance and meaning of Easter is Jesus Christ's victory over death. His resurrection symbolizes the eternal life that is granted to all who believe in Him, as well as the complete verification of all that Jesus preached and taught during His three-year ministry. If Christ had not risen from the dead, if He had merely died and not been resurrected, He would have been considered just another teacher or Rabbi. However, His resurrection changed all that and gave final and irrefutable proof that He was really the Son of God, and that He had conquered death once and for all.
Despite the pastel-colored eggs and kids' games, Easter is for recognizing Jesus Christ's resurrection from the dead and His glorious promises of eternal life for all who believe in Him. Jesus, our Savior, our God and Redeemer, laid down His life as our sacrificial lamb to pay for our sins. When he rose from the dead three days later, He gave victory over eternal separation from God (death) to all who put their faith and trust in Him. That is the new covenant - everlasting life spent with God through faith in all that Jesus Christ has done and continues to do.
This Easter, may we remember the true meaning of the holiday, recognizing the sacrifice made for us, so that we might live and live abundantly!
Whether it is in the dead of winter or in the middle of summer's scorching temperatures, our bodies needs water. Keeping hydrated is crucial for health and well-being.
Did you know your tissues and organs are mostly made up of water? In fact, our brains are 80% water, muscles (including your heart) are 75% water, blood is 83% water, lungs are 90% water, skin is 64% water, and even our bones are 30% water! Knowing this, it is vital to think of water as a nutrient your body needs.
Need motivation for drinking more H20? Here are 8 specific ways drinking water and staying properly hydrated will tremendously benefit your health:
1. Brain Health
Since your brain is mostly water, drinking it helps you in a number of ways, including:
2. Weight Loss
Drinking water helps you lose weight by acting as an effective appetite suppressant so you will feel fuller and eat less – all with zero calories! Drinking plenty of water also prevents fluid retention, because your body won’t try to retain water if it’s getting enough. Additionally, multiple research studies have demonstrated that drinking a large, cool glass of water will increase your metabolism by 24-30% for up to 90 minutes.
Your body fluids transport waste products in and out of your cells, while your kidneys and liver flush those waste products and other toxins out of your body. This process can only work properly and efficiently, however, if you are well hydrated. When you are not drinking enough water, you are at an increased risk of developing kidney stones and experiencing urinary tract infections.
4. Maintain Regularity
Sufficient hydration keeps things flowing along your gastrointestinal tract and helps prevent constipation. Water helps dissolve waste particles and passes them smoothly through your digestive tract. If you’re dehydrated, your body pulls water from your stools to maintain hydration, leaving your colon dry and making it more difficult to pass waste.
5. Healthy Muscles
Being adequately hydrated is very important when exercising. Drinking water helps prevent muscle cramping and lubricates the joints in your body.
Additionally, drinking water can actually make your muscles stronger. Water carries oxygen to the cells of your body, including those of your muscles. Being well hydrated enables your muscles to work longer and harder before they feel tired, and this will help you build muscle.
6. Youthful Skin
Your skin contains lots of water and functions as a protective barrier to prevent excess fluid loss. Drinking plenty of water hydrates skin cells and plumps them up, making your face look younger. Water helps to replenish skin tissues, moisturizes your skin, and increases the elasticity of your skin. It also flushes out impurities and improves circulation and blood flow, helping your skin glow.
7. Regulate temperature
Water that is stored in the middle layers of the skin comes to the surface as sweat when the body heats up. As it evaporates, it cools the body. Some scientists have even suggested when there is too little water in the body, heat storage increases and the individual is less able to tolerate heat strain. Having a lot of water in the body may reduce physical strain if heat stress occurs during exercise.
8. Performance Booster
Dehydration during exercise may hinder performance. Some scientists have proposed that consuming more water might enhance performance during strenuous activity. More research is needed to confirm this, but one study found dehydration reduces performance in activities lasting longer than 30 minutes.
9. Prevent Bad BreathHave you ever hung out in a crowd of runners after a marathon? You'd be wise to remain at a comfortable distance when speaking. Bad breath is often a clear sign of dehydration, and, in addition to the food you eat, dehydration can also cause bad breath.
10. Save Money
If none of the aforementioned benefits sound motivating to you, then consider how much money you could save by drinking water. If you spend money on soda and coffee each day, you’ll spend in the $2-$4 range. If you spend money on bottled or pre-made drinks almost every day, this can add up to thousands of dollars a year. Instead, purchase a reusable water bottle to fill up on-the-go. In most cases, it won't cost you a dime!
It’s necessary to maintain a healthy mind and body so you can feel good throughout the day. Need help drinking more water? Keep track of your water intake by measuring your progress with a cup or water bottle placed in a spot you will see it throughout the day. Set goals for yourself at time points throughout the day to make sure you are drinking enough. Here are a few other tips to increase your fluid intake and reap the benefits of water:
So the next time you’re thirsty, instead of ignoring your kitchen sink at home or the bubbler at work, take a moment to savor the one drink that’s free, refreshing, and actually good for us: plain old water!
Did you know the human head weighs an average of 10-11 pounds? Grab two 5 pound bags of sugar or think about a 10 pound bowling ball...that is how much weigh is perched up there on your neck! Knowing this, it makes sense that your neck may have problems from time to time.
One of the most frequent conditions involving your neck bones is a bulging disc. Between each vertebrae is a gel-filled disc that acts as a shock absorber and helps the spine move. A damaged disc, may bulge, pushing backwards into the spinal canal. The disc usually bulges toward one side of the canal (either right or left), which is why people with a bulging disc are likely to have pain and tingling on just one side of the body.
A bulging disc in your neck may be relatively painless, but it can also cause severe pain in your neck, as well as your shoulders, chest, and arms. Additionally, it may cause numbness or weakness in your arms or fingers. Sometimes, this pain and numbness may even cause you to think that you’re having a heart attack.
Degenerative disc disease is the most common cause of bulging discs, often resulting in spinal osteoarthritis. Other factors that can cause or contribute to bulging discs include:
If you have pain that could be from a bulging disc, your doctor will give you a physical exam. You’re also likely to have one or more imaging tests. Fortunately, there are several ways to treat a bulging disc:
If you’re like many, you’ve struggled to stick with exercise plans in the past. You’re busy, life is crazy, and it’s hard to find an hour or so a day to exercise. Maybe you’re tired of starting exercise plans that you can’t follow through with. You start…but you can’t seem to stick with it, and then you feel like a failure.
What if we told you that the problem isn't YOU? What if we told you the problem is the outdated belief that workouts have to be long, brutal, and sweaty in order to be worthwhile? Or that the problem is trying to fit yourself into a model of exercise that just doesn’t work for you and your needs? Well, we're here to tell you that you, in fact, are NOT the problem! There IS a better way.
You’ve likely heard about HIIT, or high-intensity interval training, and there’s a reason you've heard about it: it really works! HIIT is a training technique in which you give all-out, one hundred percent effort through quick, intense bursts of exercise, followed by short, sometimes active, recovery periods. This type of training gets and keeps your heart rate up and burns more fat in less time.
Contrary to popular belief, you don't have to go slog it out at the gym for 30 or 45 minutes to get the results you are looking for. In fact, working out for just 15-20 minutes (yes, 15!) comes with an abundance of health benefits, from upping your calorie burn and whipping your body into shape, to lowering your risk of certain diseases and even adding years on to your life. That's right, these quick sweat sessions are no joke. Need more convincing? Here are several more reasons to start carving out 15 minutes of your day:
1. QUICK RESULTS
Researchers recently found that a 10-minute workout, with just one minute at high-intensity, had the same benefits as 45 minutes of jogging. One group of study participants did a two-minute warm-up on a stationary bike, followed by a 20-second sprint, then rode slowly for two minutes. They repeated that sequence two more times for a total of 10 minutes. Another group just rode steadily on the bike for 45 minutes. After 12 weeks, both groups showed a 20 percent increase in cardiovascular endurance.
2. BURN MORE CALORIES
HIIT workouts, which usually lasts just four to 15 minutes, can also give you more "bang for your buck" in terms of calorie burn. In a study published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, those who did 13 minutes of HIIT burned more calories per minute and increased their VO2 max by 12.5 percent more than those who did steady-state cardio for 40 minutes. More payoff in half the time? Sign me up!
3. LIVE LONGER
Just 15 minutes of exercise per day could actually increase your lifespan. Scientists actually studied participants over a 12-year period and found that those who exercised at a low level (or the equivalent of a 15-minute brisk walk) were 22 percent less likely to die during the study period than those who didn’t exercise at all. In addition, participants who exercised at medium and high levels reduced their risk of death by 28 percent and 35 percent, respectively.
4. MANAGE WEIGHT
The calorie-burning benefits of even the shortest strength-training bout keep coming long after you've left the gym. In one study, researchers found that when volunteers did just one set of nine exercises, or about 11 minutes of strength training, three days a week, they increased their resting metabolic rate (the calories burned when just hanging out) and fat burning enough to keep unwanted weight at bay.
5. STAY YOUNG
HIIT can have a profound effect on aging at the cellular level. The older you get, the less efficient your energy-producing mitochondria become. In fact, when three groups of exercisers were analyzed over 12 weeks—one that did high-intensity aerobic interval training, one that did resistance training, and one that did a combination of the two—they found that those who did HIIT actually reversed that age-related degeneration. Translation: Their mitochondria actually worked like those of much younger people.
6. BOOST BRAIN POWER
You know working out is good for your body, but you probably don’t think too much about how good it is for your brain, too. Actually, just 10 minutes of exercise can boost your brainpower for a short time afterward, according to a recent study published in the journal Neuropsychologia. The researchers found that study participants who rode a stationary bike at a moderate to vigorous pace for 10 minutes answered questions 50 milliseconds faster after exercising than they did before, a 14 percent increase in cognitive performance.
Need a brain boost stat? Try this 15-minute workout for stronger abs.
7. LOWER YOUR RISK OF CERTAIN DISEASES
Obviously, all exercise has health benefits. But according to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, participating in 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week can decrease your risk of getting cancer or cardiovascular disease. That’s just 12.5 minutes a day.
8. DON'T WORRY, BE HAPPY
Everyone knows about exercise and endorphins. But science actually says that just one hour of exercise per week (that’s less than 10 minutes a day) could prevent up to 12 percent of depression cases. One study published in American Journal of Psychiatry followed more than 22,000 healthy adults who did not have symptoms of anxiety or depression for about 11 years. In the end, researchers found the people who reported not exercising at the beginning of the study were 44 percent more likely to become depressed versus those who spent one to two hours working out each week.
So there it is - no more excuses! 15 minutes a day is definitely achievable and, if you combine with a healthy eating plan, you'll be knocking your healthy and weight loss goals out of the park in no time at all!
Baking is comfort food, not just for the end result, but just by way of the process. The meditative work of whisking and watching ingredients combine from the ground up, to the aromatherapy of flavors swirling through the air and that final moment of pulling your baked goods from the oven, it is pure comfort. And the good news is: it doesn't have to be unhealthy to taste good!
If you love to bake but try your best to eat clean, then this Chocolate Chip Banana Bread is for you! It is the perfect combo of warm and cozy meets decadent, is delicious, and it is perfect for breakfast, as a snack or even a dessert treat. Try it....you won't be disappointed!
Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
Spring is (hopefully) just around the corner, and the cold will soon be on its way out! For many people, spring is the time to get up and get outside to actively enjoy the sunshine. While an active lifestyle is encouraged, if you “spring” into activity too fast there could be some serious consequences. With that in mind, here are some friendly reminders to play it safe:
If it has been some time since participating in an activity, slowly ease back into it to reduce the risk of an injury. Light exercise, like leisurely walking, can help build stamina. Gradually increase the intensity level before you actively jump into a new activity. It is important to be comfortable with moderately intense physical activity before participating in a vigorous activity.
Hard Day, Easy Day
Maximum gains in conditioning are best obtained when appropriate rest is allowed along with exercise. Inadequate rest increases the probability of sustaining an injury, therefore, an intense workout should be followed by a lighter workout the next day. Always remember that your body makes gains in strength and endurance during recovery. If you don't provide time for recovery, the body can break down.
Warm Up and Stretch
Warming up and stretching go hand in hand, but it is important to remember that they are different from one another. Sports injuries are most commonly caused by improper warm ups. Warm up with a low level activity like jump rope or jumping jacks before you stretch. Warm ups raise muscle temperatures, which prepare the whole body for physical activity, and thus reduces the risk of a sports injury. Warm up for a minimum of 5 to 10 minutes so the body can prepare for an activity.
Stretching improves blood circulation, in turn increasing flexibility, and continue to raise muscle temperatures after a warm up. When you stretch, hold each stretch for 20-30 seconds. Each stretch should only be done once. If a person stretches a muscle before a proper warm up, the muscle will still be cold, and make the person more susceptible to injury.
Use Proper Techniques
Many sports require the use of different techniques. Learn the correct technique that is associated with a sport to lessen the risk of sports-related injuries to tendons, bones, and muscles. If you are unsure of what techniques you are supposed to use, talk with your coach or ask a professional to help you.
Recognize the Symptoms of Overuse Injuries
Overuse injuries can be prevented if you are familiar with the progression of injury, in addition to modifying your workout prior to the onset of injury. Overuse injuries usually progress through stages, which include:
In the unfortunate event that you do obtain an injury, we recommend using treating using RICE+AR:
Rest- Determine a level of exercise, which produces only benevolent pain, and provides relative rest. This may require complete rest from the exercise program for a few days or possibly cross training with a different sport.
Ice- Apply an ice pack several times a day for about 15 minutes at a time. This is especially important during the first 24 to 48 hours after injury.
Compression- Apply an elastic wrap with comfortably firm pressure during and after ice application. Remove the wrap during sleep.
Elevation- Elevate the injured area above the level of the heart whenever possible.
Anti-inflammatory- Medication such as aspirin or ibuprofen can also be used to assist in the reduction of the inflammation.
Re-conditionstretching and a gradual progression to strength training and gradual return to activity. If improvement is not felt in three to five days, please contact us for an evaluation to avoid further injury.
The most effective treatment for spring related injury is prevention. Your brain may be telling you that you’re pumped to get outside and give it all you’ve got, but your body could be telling you otherwise. Take it slow while the body adjusts, and make sure to use suitable equipment. Should you find yourself with an injury, however, don't delay in contacting us for an evaluation, so you can quickly return to your activity injury-free!
Living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t mean hours of training at the gym and eating only salad leaves. It’s about making easy-to-manage healthy choices in your day-to-day living. When it comes to adopting new healthy habits and making them stick, there are lots of little things you can do that will make a big difference in the long run (and not make you crazy in the process). So, instead of trying to upgrade your health with a huge makeover, try these nine small, practically painless moves instead for long-lasting results.
1. Eat a variety of foods! For good health, we need more than 40 different nutrients, and it is not about a single food or meal, but a balanced food choice over time that will make a difference.
2. Ease yourself into getting more sleep with five-minute increments. Completely abandoning your to-do list, whether it’s business or personal, to go to sleep three hours earlier just isn't realistic. Instead, try going to bed five minutes earlier each night (or every few nights, if this is really tough for you) until you hit the seven to nine hours the National Sleep Foundation recommends for adults.
3. Replace saturated with unsaturated fat! Fats are important for good health and proper functioning of the body. However, too much of it can negatively affect our weight and cardiovascular health. Some of these tips could help us keep the balance right:
5. Reduce salt and sugar intake! A high salt intake can result in high blood pressure, and increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Here are a few different ways to reduce salt in the diet:
6. Eat regularly and control the portion size. Eating a variety of foods, regularly, and in the right amounts is the best formula for a healthy diet. Skipping meals, especially breakfast, can lead to out-of-control hunger, often resulting in helpless overeating. Snacking between meals can help control hunger, but snacking should not replace proper meals. For snacks, we could choose yogurt, a handful of fresh or dried fruits or vegetables (like carrot sticks), unsalted nuts, or perhaps some bread with cheese. Paying attention to portion size will help us not to consume too much calories, and will allow us to eat all the foods we enjoy, without having to eliminate any.
7. Drink plenty of water! Hydration is very important because, well, our bodies are made up of a whole lot of water! Water is the best way to stay hydrated, and it's also calorie-free! How much water is enough? According to the World Health Organization, the minimum water requirement for a 70 kg human (154 pounds) is three liters (100 ounces) per day. But, to keep things simple, we suggest aiming for eight, 12-ounce glasses of water per day (96 ounces).
8. Maintain a healthy body weight! The right weight for each us depends on factors like our gender, height, age, and genes. Being overweight increases the risks of a wide range of diseases, including diabetes, heart diseases, and cancer. Excess body fat comes from eating more than we need. The message is reasonably simple: if we are gaining weight, we need to eat less and be more active!
9. Get on the move, make it a habit! Physical activity is important for people of all weight ranges and health conditions. It helps us burn off the extra calories, is good for the heart and circulatory system, maintains or increases our muscle mass, helps us focus, and improves overall health well-being. We don't have to be top athletes to get on the move. 150 minutes per week of moderate physical activity is advised, and it can easily become part of our daily routine. Suggestions include:
Don't wait...Start now! And keep changing gradually. Gradual changes in our lifestyle are easier to maintain than major changes introduced all at once. While maintaining a healthy lifestyle takes work, perseverance and consistency pay off and keep you from spiraling back into old, unhealthy habits.
This year, Americans will spend approximately $2 billion on candy gifts for the special Valentines in their lives. That’s good news for the chocolate industry, but not so much for the country’s collective waistline. If you’re looking for a non-traditional gift for your special someone, we recommend giving the gift of health this Valentine's!
Staying fit and healthy with your Valentine is one of the most loving gifts you can give, as it maximizes your time spent together for years to come. With that in mind, here are five great ways you can not only spend quality time with those you love, but also improve your health at the same time:
1. A Bike Ride for Two
Whether you have a bicycle built for two or two bicycles built for one, there really isn’t much that can compare with the feel of an early morning ride outdoors with the wind in your faces. If the weather permits, you can even bike to a scenic picnic spot and enjoy even more time outdoors together.
2. Hit the Trails
It might seem simple, but taking your loved one on a nice hike is a great way to spend the day together! Depending on your preference, you can make this as strenuous or mild as you like. If you can, identify a trail that leads to scenic overlook or waterfall for an added dose of romance. If weather is an issue, however, a trip to one of the various rock climbing facilities could also be just what Cupid ordered!
3. Massage or spa treatment
A good way to help your significant other relax and achieve overall wellness is by treating him or her to a luxurious day at the spa. In fact, studies show that massages work to relieve stress and lower blood pressure! So, why not book a couple's spa treatment for you and your Valentine both to relax and reduce stress together!
4. Personal trainer sessions
If your Valentine isn’t a serious athlete but still takes workouts seriously, a few personal training sessions can be the perfect thoughtful gift. You don’t even need to register for a long-term commitment here. Just three to five sessions with a professional can be enough to learn some new moves and tips about how to make the most of workouts. Now, that’s the gift that keeps on giving!
5. Cooking classes
Rather than heading to a fancy restaurant for a Valentine’s Day dinner date, why not sign up for a healthy cooking class instead? Not only will you be able to indulge in a healthier option that you don't have to regret, but it’s also something that you can continue to do after the holiday ends. Plus, learning something new as a couple can help strengthen your relationship, and new experiences help solidify your bond as a couple!
Hopefully one of these ideas will help you celebrate a healthful Valentine’s Day. If you have more ideas on how you can celebrate a healthy Valentine’s Day, we'd love to hear your thoughts by leaving a comment below!
Twice-a-year juice cleanse? Gym membership? Binge-watch the latest TV show everyone’s talking about? It’s January, and that means many Americans are already several days into their New Year’s resolutions. But as each year brings its own personal goals and associated challenges, none ever carry as much weight (no pun intended) as the old standby: getting in shape.
As the new year takes hold, health and wellness are top priorities for U.S. consumers. In fact, data from a Nielsen survey highlights how “staying fit and healthy” is our top resolution, coming in at 37%, followed closely by “lose weight” (32%). And based on the survey results, just a handful of us are throwing in the towel and not making any resolutions (16%). The only problem is only 8% of Americans are successful in achieving their resolutions.
So now that we’ve put the holidays and the leftover pumpkin pie behind us, how are we pledging to better ourselves and our lives in the New Year? What are your goals? What is your true motivator? Understanding and remembering the real reason why you want to make a change will keep you accountable.
No matter how you set your goals, we encourage you to make sure they are SMART goals:
Ready for a change?
If getting healthier, losing weight and/or creating better habits are on your resolution list, The Smith Clinic has some great options for you to aid in your journey: