Preferred Fitness Blog

Our goal is to offer the opportunity to the sharing of experiences and info related to HEALTH, FITNESS, PROMOS and upcoming EVENTS.

  1. How to Stay Healthy While You Travel

    March 9, 2018 by


    It is easy to stay in a healthy routine when you are home. You keep to your regular gym schedule, make healthy meals at home, and you know what local places will provide you with healthy options. This consistency of eating healthy and working out probably has you feeling pretty great.

    However, when you step away from your comfort zone and start to travel, it is easy to lose track of your healthy habits. From small hotel gyms to constantly having to eat at restaurants, you are probably missing out on your normal healthy routine and on top of that, you’re likely losing some much-needed sleep.

    The good thing is, there are ways you can stay on track while you are traveling. When you are able to stick to a plan while you are on-the-go, you will have great feelings of accomplishment because you were able to push through the inconvenience for the sake of your health.

    Here are a few ways to maintain your healthy habits, no matter where you are.

    Make yourself at home at the hotel.

    Sometimes it is hard to fall asleep when you are in a new environment. This is because your brain becomes hyper-alert and aroused when it is in an unfamiliar place. The trick to falling asleep is to convince your body that you are familiar with your surroundings.

    Bring a small blanket or something else that reminds you of home when you travel. So can playing favorites when it comes to hotels. Staying at the same chain every time you travel doesn’t just mean loyalty points, it also means your body familiarizes itself with the decor, lighting, and room style?making it feel more like home. When your body feels more familiar with its surroundings, you?re less likely to suffer from the first night effect and get better sleep, says Dasgupta.

    Fight jet lag.

    If you are traveling to a different time zone, our body may have to play catch up. Your internal body clock is set for a 24 hour day, which regulates your sleep and wake cycles.

    That means that if your internal clock thinks it is 2:00 in the morning when it is actually 10:00, you are going to be sleepy and groggy. You will also be likely to suffer from digestion issues and find it hard to fall asleep at an appropriate time.

    Your body?s internal clock uses sunlight to regulate itself, so if you land somewhere in the morning, make sure to get outside and be in the sunlight. One way to do this is to go on a walk to start discovering your new surroundings. Use an app to find the local popular running routes and pick out some destinations that you want to see while you are out. Exposing yourself to the sunlight will help reset your internal clock and the added exercise will help you sleep.

    Dehydration can also contribute to fatigue and lethargy, so make sure you drink a lot of water while you are traveling. This is extra important if you are at a high-altitude destination where your body isn’t used to the level.

    Stick to your nighttime routine.

    When you?re traveling, your nights may be busy with dinners and social gatherings. To stay caught up with your sleep, make sure to stick to your normal pre-bedtime routine as much as you can. This will help you wind down as you normally do.

    For example, if you usually read a book before going to sleep, make sure you bring your book while you are traveling. This will help your body know that it is time for bed and it will be easier to fall asleep.

    Eat as many fruits and vegetables as you can.

    Eating too many foods that lack nutritional value while you are on vacation can put your body out of sync. If your diet starts to slip, you may find yourself constipated, bloated, and cramping.

    Your best bet is to drink lots of water, exercise as much as you can, and eat fiber-rich foods like oatmeal, fruits, and vegetables.

    Indulge just a little bit.

    Stay as close to your normal food routine as you can, but still remember that you are on vacation. This means that you have to find a healthy balance. Especially if you can keep your exercise going while on vacation, it is okay if you want to indulge yourself a bit. Just remember that indulgent meals should be eaten slowly and you do not need to eat until you are full.

    Don’t forget to exercise.

    Research whether your hotel has a gym so you can keep up with your workouts. Many hotels have bigger gyms these days than they used to with almost every accessory you may need. Alternatively, if you prefer to work out in your hotel room, bring with you whatever you may need to do so. Just make sure to bring all of your exercise essentials with you when you travel.

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  2. Reasons Men Want to Get Married

    March 8, 2018 by

    If you watch a lot of television and movies, you may think that men only get married when a woman gives them an ultimatum to do so. However, this isn’t really true. Outdated gender stereotypes are no longer relevant to the modern man. Here are several reasons that men have given for wanting to get married.

    1. Marriage allows men to show their love in a new way.

    Marriage is a symbolic gesture of love and commitment to another person. The wedding itself is an excuse to celebrate a relationship, but the real joy comes afterward in the years following.

    2. Marriage provides a healthy environment for children.

    Many men want to have children. Having a marriage theoretically provides a stable environment to raise children.

    3. Because of marriage, a girlfriend can become family.

    If a man is in love with a woman, he likely wants to create a family with her and be able to consider her to be family himself. Having a legal document that proves that two people have become a family is something that a lot of men want.

    4. Marriage saves money.

    Did you know that there are 1,138 federal benefits to being married? This is in addition to splitting all of the bills.

    5. It allows men to fully commit to one person.

    Marriage is a commitment that two people will be together forever. Marriage is a promise unlike any other that you will be there for the other person even when things get rough in life. Additionally, it?s a promise that you have made in front of your family and friends, so will likely work hard to keep it.

    6. Life is easier with a partner.

    Marriage is great because it is easier to improve oneself with a partner who is always in their corner. The good things in life are more exciting and the bad things are easier to handle when you don?t have to do them alone.

    7. You get to love someone forever.

    Men want to be able to spend their lives with someone they love and who loves them back.

    8. Men don’t want to lose the one they love.

    Many men get married because they can’t see themselves finding anyone else aside from the one they are with.

    9. Men believe traditions are important.

    Even if the wedding ceremony is not traditional, the idea of living in matrimony is a tradition. Men like to follow these social traditions to stay on the same trajectory as others.

    10. Men would do anything for the woman they love.

    Men will do anything to make the woman they love happy.

    11. Some men want to create a family to make up for the one they never had.

    A lot of men’s parents got divorced when they were young, which led to jaded feelings about marriage. However, having a really great family of their own and doing everything they can to ensure that cycle does not continue for their children is a great life goal. Getting married may be a man’s own way of correcting what happened in his own childhood.

    12. They love the idea of committing to someone who accepts them for who they are.

    Men want to have someone in their lives who knows everything about them and accepts and supports them forever. They yearn for companionship.

    13. Marriage is logical.

    It feels better for men to say ?my wife? instead of ?my girlfriend.?

    14. Life is better with a spouse.

    There is nothing better than being in a relationship. It allows you to do everything with the person you love.

    In conclusion, there are many reasons that men get married, it just depends on the man. However, men agree that getting married makes their lives better overall and it is something that they want to do.

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  3. Magnesium and Heart Health

    March 7, 2018 by

    We all know that you need calcium for strong bones, and you are also probably aware that you need potassium to keep your muscles healthy. But are you aware that you need magnesium for your heart health? Many people are deficient in magnesium, but it is a mineral that we all need because it is essential for hundreds of chemical reactions in our bodies.

    Magnesium helps to keep your bones strong, your nerves and muscles working as they should, and it helps keep your blood sugar under control. It is also an important mineral to have in your diet for maintaining a steady heartbeat and healthy blood pressure.

    Magnesium is an important part of having a healthy heart rhythm because it helps transport electrolytes such as calcium and potassium to your cells. These act as important nerve signals to help the muscle contractions that are needed for a normal heartbeat. If you have a magnesium deficiency like many people do, it will increase your irregular heartbeats, which is also known as arrhythmias.

    In fact, magnesium deficiency in the blood is associated with atrial fibrillation, which is the most common heart rate disorder, which happens when a problem in the heart’s communication system leads to the upper chambers of the heart quivering.

    Ongoing research is helping us understand when increasing your magnesium intake can benefit heart health. Studies have shown that magnesium supplementation may help lower blood pressure and that a magnesium deficiency is associated with hypertension. Research has also shown that magnesium deficiency is linked to an increased risk of a heart attack.

    Twenty-five grams of magnesium in the body is average for a healthy adult. Most of this magnesium can be found in the bones. The recommended daily amount of magnesium adults should have depends on one’s age and sex. If your doctor thinks you may be deficient in magnesium, they will perform a blood test to determine levels of magnesium in your body. Symptoms of magnesium deficiency will show up if your levels drop below 1 mg/dL.

    It is best to get the nutrients your body needs mainly from food sources. Magnesium is added to some foods such as breakfast cereal, but there are some excellent natural sources of magnesium as well. Almonds, tofu, and leafy green vegetables are all healthy sources of magnesium. Other sources of magnesium are legumes, black beans, cashews, avocados, soy milk, and whole grains.

    Under 1 percent of magnesium in the body is located in the blood. Rather, most magnesium can be found in the bones. Magnesium is also located inside cells, which can make it difficult for doctors to diagnose a magnesium deficiency. In people who are otherwise healthy, having a magnesium deficiency is not very common because the kidneys regulate the amount of magnesium in the body. This means that if your magnesium levels become low, less magnesium is excreted through the urine.

    With time, if you do not consume enough magnesium, it can lead to a deficiency. However, some health conditions also deplete magnesium, such as alcoholism, type 2 diabetes, and gastrointestinal diseases. Using diuretics for an extended period of time can also contribute to a loss of magnesium. Older people are more likely to have a magnesium deficiency than younger people because they are more likely to take medications that can lead to a magnesium deficiency. Additionally, as we age, our bodies decrease the absorption of magnesium.

    People who are diagnosed with a magnesium deficiency might need to take a supplement to avoid having side effects, such as an irregular heartbeat, muscle spasms, and seizures. Consuming too much magnesium from food will not pose a threat to your health because the kidneys will excrete anything the body doesn’t need. However, high doses of magnesium from supplements may lead to side effects such as diarrhea, nausea, and stomach cramping. In extreme cases, high doses of magnesium may be fatal.

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  4. The Relationship Between Stress and Blood Sugar Levels

    March 6, 2018 by

    People have no shortage of stress these days. Between demanding jobs, relationships, major life changes, and everyday conflicts, people’s stress hormones end up being activated for long periods of time. These hormones used to prepare people during short-term dangers such as getting away from predators, but now these days, they are turned on even though people are not necessarily fighting for their lives. Instead, people are stewing, which can lead to chronically high blood sugar.

    When your mind and body experience stress, epinephrine, glucagon, cortisol, and growth hormones play a role in your blood sugar levels. This may happen if your body is fighting an infection, you are ill, or you are experiencing emotional stress. These hormonal responses may last for 6-8 hours. During this time, blood sugar may be hard to control. When a low blood sugar is followed by a high blood sugar, it is called a rebound or ?Somogyi? reaction. For optimal health, you want your blood sugar level to stay about the same throughout the day rather than having highs and lows.

    When stressed, your body is ready to take action. Your heart will begin to race, your breath will get faster, and your stomach may tense up. This also triggers your blood sugar levels to rise. When your body goes into fight-or-flight mode, your increased blood sugar levels prepare you to act. However, if your cells are insulin resistant, the sugar will accumulate in your blood without an exit plan, which can lead to hyperglycemia.

    When you are stressed, your body prepares itself by making sure that you have adequate amounts of sugar or energy readily available for you to use. This causes insulin levels to fall and glucagon and epinephrine levels to increase, meaning more glucose is then released from your liver. As your growth hormone and cortisol levels increase, your body tissues become less sensitive to insulin, which results in more glucose being available in your bloodstream. This can lead to weight gain and diabetes.

    Stress can certainly lead to weight gain. When your body produces more cortisol during times of stress, testosterone production slows. Over time, a drop in this muscle-building hormone leads to a decrease in your muscle mass, allowing you to burn fewer calories. While this happens naturally with age, high cortisol levels make this process happen quicker. Cortisol also makes your body store visceral fat, which is especially dangerous because it covers your vital organs and puts more fatty acids into your blood, which can raise cholesterol and insulin levels and lead to heart disease and diabetes.

    One way to keep your mind and body calm while also keeping your weight down is to focus on your diet. A diet that is based on real, whole foods, and foods that have natural probiotics, helps to support a positive mood and mental health. It also helps you be resilient in the face of adversity and bounce back from stressful situations. Some great foods to consider include dark chocolate, berries, bananas, omega-3 fats, and curcumin to help increase your mood. Alternatively, sugar, wheat, and processed foods can actually make your mood worsen. Additionally, your diet can certainly influence the number of fluctuations in your blood sugar.

    One of the best things you can do for your health is to limit your intake of net carbs and protein, and instead, consume higher amounts of healthy fats such as seeds, nuts, olives, eggs, avocado, coconut oil, and grass-fed butter.

    To decrease your stress, practice mindfulness throughout the day. This will help lower your levels of anxiety and allow you to focus on the present moment. Practice meditation to take a few breaks throughout the day and focus on your breathing.

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  5. Cooking Guidelines for Chicken

    March 5, 2018 by


    Chicken is a common food that is used in many different types of cuisines around the world.

    It is easy to cook and is versatile in the sense that it can be paired with a lot of different ingredients to make up a delicious meal. Additionally, organic pasture-raised chickens have a lot of nutrients, including:

    • High quality protein
    • Niacin
    • Vitamin B6
    • Selenium
    • Vitamin A
    • Riboflavin
    • Pantothenic acid
    • Phosphorus

    There are many ways to enjoy chicken, from chicken noodle soup to chicken salad sandwiches. However, while it is easy to cook, it still requires you to pay close attention to how you?re cooking it.

    It is imperative to cook chicken thoroughly because eating undercooked chicken can lead to foodborne illnesses. Some of the bacteria that raw chicken may have include:

    Salmonella enteritidis

    This dangerous strain of Salmonella can be found in the intestines of livestock and it is usually associated with poultry. Salmonella contamination is one of the main causes of diarrhea. If your immune system is compromised, being infected with salmonella may be life-threatening.

    Staphylococcus aureus

    Staphylococcus aureus leads to food poisoning. If infected, a person can exhibit symptoms such as diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and dehydration. These symptoms may not show up until six hours after the bacteria has been ingested.

    Campylobacter jejuni

    Campylobacter can be life-threatening. Because this bacteria can spread among surfaces, one may become infected by using contaminated cutting boards and utensils.

    Listeria monocytogenes

    This bacteria leads to a serious infection called Listeriosis. Its symptoms begin with a fever and diarrhea but may end up impacting other areas of the body such as the joints, bones, and chest.

    Escherichia coli (E. coli)

    E. coli is typically found in the intestinal tract of animals and humans. Some strains of this bacteria may cause diarrhea, urinary tract infections, and respiratory disease.

    However, as long as you handle and cook your chicken properly, you do not need to worry about these bacteria infecting you. Make sure to designate separate cutting boards for your raw meat and your vegetables to help prevent cross-contamination.

    Baking chicken is a healthy way to prepare this meat. This also lets you create your own recipes by mixing various sauces, vegetables, spices, and marinades.

    Baking chicken can be a bit difficult, however, because if you bake it for too long, it will become dry and tasteless. On the other hand, taking chicken out of the oven before it is completely cooked may pose the threat of bacterial contamination.

    There are several cuts of the chicken that you can bake, which sometimes makes it hard to tell how long you need to cook your chicken. The cooking time and temperature also vary depending on the chicken’s weight, your recipe, and your oven.

    Chicken should be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. When you are checking the internal temperature, make sure to put your food thermometer in the thickest part of the chicken.

    A whole chicken weighing 5 to 7 pounds should be baked for about two hours and 15 minutes. However, if it is frozen, it will take about one hour longer. If your chicken has bones in it, you should allow at least 10 minutes for standing time.

    Remember, eating chicken is a great source of protein, vitamins and minerals, but this is only true for organic pasture-raised chickens. Chickens that come from concentrated animal feeding operations have little to no nutritional value and they make you more susceptible to foodborne infections.

    Make sure that you get pasture-raised chickens from local farmers. These chickens are antibiotic-free and eat a natural diet of worms, insects, and seeds. This means that they have more nutritional value than other chickens.

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  6. The Health Benefits of Grass-Fed Meat

    March 4, 2018 by


    Grass-fed meat has many health benefits that you may have overlooked. However, it is important to be aware of these benefits so you can be an informed consumer when shopping for meat. According to studies, grass-fed beef has significantly more omega-3 fatty acids and healthy conjugated linoleic acid (otherwise known as CLA) than traditional grain-fed beef. In fact, grass-fed beef is one of the best protein foods available and is higher in vitamins A and E, as well as cancer-fighting antioxidants, than grain-fed beef.

    CLA is a strong polyunsaturated fatty acid that humans can only get from consumption that has been shown to help fight cancer, build muscle, and reduce weight gain. Two of the best sources of this fatty acid are grass-fed meats and butter. It is possible that you do not put much consideration into what the animals you eat were fed throughout their lives. You have likely heard the term ?grass-fed? but are not aware of the real difference that this criterion makes to your food. Once you learn the differences between grass-fed and grain-fed beef, you?ll likely look at your meat a bit differently.

    Most of the meat on store shelves today have been fed a grain diet, including corn and soy. However, it is less known that some grain-fed cows are also fed many foods in addition to grains to keep costs down and promote weight gain. From stale candy to chocolate bars, these cattle are often fed a cheap and unhealthy diet that will put the most fat on their bodies. However, grass-fed animals have continuous access to pasture and are not fed grain or grain-based products.

    CLA in the Fight Against Cancer

    The 16 different types of CLA provide a unique health benefit. Studies have shown that CLA promotes health and helps fight diseases. From fighting cancer to helping people lose weight, CLA is a critical part of a diet that will give you optimal health.

    CLA has been used in animal studies to show proof of its ability to fight cancer. CLA is unique because it comes from an animal source, while the majority of natural substances known to fight cancer come from plants. Studies have shown that CLA lowers the risk of breast cancer in women.

    CLA has also shown to reduce one’s risk for heart disease. The reasons why grass-fed beef can benefit heart health are because it has less fat than grain-fed beef, it is lower in dietary cholesterol, it has higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids, and it has more antioxidant vitamins such as vitamin E.

    Grass-fed beef can also help improve blood sugar. Consuming enough healthy fats is very helpful in keeping your blood sugar healthy. Research has shown the effects of CLA on insulin sensitivity in obese children. Researchers found that 37% of the children who were treated with CLA showed improvements in their insulin sensitivity. Additionally, muscle biopsies of the children treated with CLA showed an increase of the protein molecule IRS2, which lessens the effects of insulin on one’s body.

    The benefits of grass-fed meat are clearly not only for adults. The results that children exhibit are also significant for adults who want to keep their blood sugar managed to help fight diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and metabolic syndrome.

    Free From Hormones

    About 80% of antibiotics that are sold in our country go to livestock such as cows. Cows that are grain-fed are typically given hormones to help increase their weight and therefore yield more meat. However, grass-fed cows do not gain as much weight because they eat a healthy diet that is low in calories.

    Farmers use antibiotics for their animals because as the demand for meat increases, animals are confined to increasingly smaller spaces, which increases the spread of disease. The use of antibiotics in animals that are consumed by humans contributes to antibiotic resistance in humans. Because of this, it is very important that you are aware of what is given to the animals that you eat. Antibiotic and hormone use is significantly less likely in grass-fed animals.

    When you eat grass-fed beef, you are doing something good for yourself and advocating for the proper treatment of cows. You may feel conflicted if you have been eating grain-fed beef throughout your life, but as our population becomes more aware of how our food gets to our plates, the demand for grass-fed, free-range beef is increasing, meaning it is more available to you.

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  7. Common Strength Training Mistakes

    March 3, 2018 by

    While you may finish a workout thinking that you just did an awesome job, what if you wake up the next day and you are sore? If you use the improper form when strength training, you may use the wrong muscles and end up with injuries.

    Additionally, you are likely to not get the most out of your workout if you use improper form. It is important to use the correct muscles in order to build strength.

    When you have proper form, you will be able to teach your body how to use your muscles more effectively in your everyday life.

    Here are some common mistakes that people make when strength training that can lead to injury or an inefficient workout.

    Deadlifts

    With this exercise, people often round their backs, making their shoulders lean forward while they are dropping the weight. Rather than doing this, it is best to have a neutral spine while keeping it strong. Keep your shoulders back, tighten up your stomach, and make sure to bend at the hips rather than leaning over. This way, only your hips are moving. Your shoulders, back, and abdomen remain in the same plane as they were in your standing position. Keep your back flat and your spine neutral.

    Bent-Over Row

    Similar to deadlifts, you have to consider bending your body at your hips and make sure you keep a neutral spine while doing bent-over rows. As you pull your elbows back and move the weights toward your chest, keep your neck and head in a neutral position and in line with your spine. While you may want to check your form out in the mirror, looking up can add stress to your lower back. Instead, have somebody else spot you.

    Bridge

    While you may feel that you can do a bridge without engaging your glutes due to having a flexible lower back, this is not an effective method. You might feel the need to arch your back to thrust your hips off the ground, but you should think about keeping your back straight and abs tightened before bringing your hips up.

    Pushups

    There are several mistakes that can happen when doing pushups. First, you don’t want to allow your head to hang forward, however, you also don’t want to look upwards. Keep your head neutral. You also want to avoid bending your elbows out too far. Instead, allow your elbows to bend backwards at a 45-degree angle away from your body, which will allow you to engage your back muscles. Keep your abdominal muscles engaged while you slowly lower and raise your body, and keep your body straight during the entire pushup.

    Plank

    Many people get their planks wrong. This is bad because this form of exercise is the foundation of many other exercises, so it is important to get it right. Common mistakes include allowing your hips to rise up too high in the air or letting your hips fall, adding pressure to your lower back. Make sure to keep your spine neutral and your abs tight to stay straight, with your elbows placed directly beneath your shoulders.

    If you follow these rules, you are more likely to get a more effective and efficient workout in. Additionally, it will lower your chances of becoming injured, which is important if you don’t want to be benched for several days.

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  8. How to Increase Workout Motivation

    March 2, 2018 by


    If you are an active exerciser, you know that having the mental strength to keep your motivation up can sometimes be a challenge. You may be in great physical shape, but if your mind becomes weak, your training will likely suffer.

    Mental blocks are common and most people experience them at one point or another. They are often triggered by feelings of stress, pressure, anxiety, or the fear of new experiences.

    However, mental blocks are different from low motivation. You may feel low motivation during a mental block, but that isn’t necessarily true. You may have the ability to fix a barrier to your motivation, but mental blocks really make your goals unable to achieve.

    However, you can use some of the coping mechanisms that you use for increasing your motivation can also help you get over your mental blocks. Here are seven ways to help get your brain in gear and ready for a good workout.

    1. Break your large goal into smaller, more achievable goals.

    Having one massive goal ahead of you, like running a marathon, may seem overwhelming. Instead of focusing on this long-term goal, break it up into smaller sections of progress so you can celebrate a bit along the way. This will make your larger goal easier to tackle and it will likely come sooner than you expect.

    This will help you increase your confidence, especially if you follow the SMART goal rule. To do this, make sure your goals are specific, measurable, adjustable, realistic, and time-limited. Following this goal method will help you recognize when your goals have been achieved and also help you track your progress.

    2. Reconsider where you are training.

    While joining a gym may be the obvious choice, it may not be the best choice for you, Think about if you would prefer to be in an environment where you are alone or you are outside. Or maybe you would do better in an environment where you have someone to motivate you, like a trainer.

    If you find that your ideal environment isn’t the one you have found, consider changing it. You may need to do a few things before finding what works best for you.

    3. Find your motivation.

    If your training is not working, consider looking at the bigger picture. Think about your reasoning behind beginning to work out in the first place and if those reasons have changed.

    By questioning what is motivating you, you may find that you aren’t really enjoying the activity, and are therefore having some difficulties. If you find that you become irritable or frustrated while you are doing the activity, or have negative thoughts, you may want to explore other options.

    If you do realize that you aren’t happy with your workout regimen, make sure that you have an alternate plan in place to fall back on. Refocus on other things you may be able to do.

    4. Envision yourself succeeding.

    Pretend you have had a goal for a while and you have been unable to achieve it. Picture yourself getting past this block and how you would feel if you were able to succeed. Train your brain to know what it is like to get what you want.

    5. Don’t be scared of failure.

    It is ok if you are not always able to achieve your goals. If everything was easy, then success wouldn’t be as great as it is. If you can’t succeed on your first try, you will be able to learn from trial and error how to do things in the future to improve.

    6. Practice mindfulness.

    Practicing mindfulness and focusing on the current moment will help improve your focus. This can then help you overcome mental blocks. Teach yourself to live in the present moment rather than be anxious about the future.

    7. Seek professional help.

    Know when to look for help, which is likely when you have tried many times to succeed and have been unable to do so. Asking for support is nothing to be ashamed of and can help you come up with strategies to improve your work and confidence. In the end, this will benefit you through your new skills and new approaches to achieving your goals.

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  9. The Benefits of Having Family Dinners

    February 9, 2018 by

    While eating dinner as a family may seem cliche, it has so many health benefits that it is worth taking the time and effort to sit down as a family and enjoy a meal. Eating meals together highlights one of the important parts of being a family, which is partaking in a meaningful gathering and a sacred time together.

    Unfortunately, family meals on the decline and over half of Americans say that they do not eat family meals as often now as they did when they were growing up. However, there are scientifically-based reasons that show that eating meals together as a family is important.

    First, family dinners result in better family relationships. Eating meals together can strengthen family bonds because it gives the family a daily time to be together. For younger children, having routine family meals may provide a needed sense of trust, security, and a feeling of belonging. And, while it may not seem obvious, older children and teens enjoy catching up and spending time with their family members during the week.

    Family meals can also lead to healthier food choices. Research has shown that children who eat meals with their families on a regular basis eat more fruits and vegetables and consume less soda and fast foods. Their diets also included more key nutrients such as calcium, fiber, and iron. This is likely because parents are able to look after what their children are eating when they eat together as a group.

    Homemade meals also allow for better portion control. A restaurant meal may be double or even triple the amount of food that one would normally eat as a serving size, and these portions are continuing to grow. This makes eating at home healthier than going out to eat with friends.

    Family meals are also a great opportunity for parents to explore their cooking abilities and expose their children to various foods from around the world and expand their children’s tastes. In one study, children were asked to eat a sweet red pepper and then rate it on how much they enjoyed the taste. Afterwards, every day for the following eight days, they were asked to eat as much of the red pepper as they wanted. At the conclusion of the experiment, the children were claiming that the pepper was tastier and they were eating more of it. This goes to show that the more a child is exposed to a new food, the more they will learn to like it.

    Additionally, research on teenagers has shown that when they eat meals with their parents on a regular basis, they have a higher chance of being emotionally strong and have superior mental health. Teens who sit down to regular family meals are also more likely to be well-adjusted, have good manners, and effective communication skills. Similarly, mothers who sat down and ate meals with their families on a regular basis were also found to have less stress and feel happier compared to mothers who did not.

    Finally, eating at home with the family saves money. In 2007, a study showed that on average, people paid $8 per meal outside of the home and only $4.50 per meal that was made at home.

    It is important to take the time to plan family meals. Not only should the time and place be planned so everyone is aware of the occurrence, but the meal should also be carefully planned out to make sure that it is healthy and everyone will enjoy it.

    The truth is, if you value the importance of eating a meal as a family, you have to make it a priority. This may involve packing up a picnic for the family to enjoy after soccer practice during a busy week or getting up early to eat breakfast together before starting the day. Try to eat together as often as possible, scheduling less important activities around your mealtimes rather than scheduling your meals around your other activities.

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  10. Mindfulness and Exercise

    February 8, 2018 by

    If you have done sports or you work out on a regular basis, you are probably aware that it takes a lot of mental strength (in addition to your physical strength) to get through a workout. Without having the mental endurance to finish your workout, even if you are exhausted, your body could give in to your stress you may quit before you are done.

    Exercise causes eustress, which is a healthy type of stress that your body endures. This is especially true if you are doing vigorous or very intense activities. Because of this, it is always important to allow your body to have the rest that it needs to recover from a workout. Mental resilience and focus is also a critical part of a successful training session. Similar to your body, your mind can become tired. However, researchers have started to look at how training your mind through mindfulness meditation can also help you train your body.

    Practicing mindfulness meditation may be a straight-forward way to improve your physical fitness and overall well-being. Studies done on college athletes have shown that the more relaxed the athlete allows themselves to be, the better mood they are in and the more mental resilience they tend to have.

    This means that the athletes who tended to their mental health were able to let go of some of the stress they had to endure during athletic training. Mindfulness training proved itself to be more effective than relaxation training in this study.

    Even for people not playing sports, research suggests that mindfulness meditation can provide a mental edge that keeps you on track during challenging workouts. For non-athletes who want to remain healthy, being able to move past mental roadblocks to exercise is important, and this can be easier if you practice mindfulness. Yes, some people look forward to their daily exercise, but there are many people out there who dread it. Mindfulness can help those people change their minds.

    One study found that people who said they were able to be mindful while they were exercising were able to feel more satisfied with the exercise. This is because mindfulness might be able to increase feelings of satisfaction because people are satisfied when they are having positive experiences during physical activity. In order for these physical experiences to be noticed, people need to be present in the moment by practicing mindfulness.

    Practicing mindfulness can also encourage people to make healthier choices throughout the day and increase their motivation to exercise. One of the latest trends in group exercise classes is to add several moments of mindfulness so participants can help train their brains and their body at the same time.

    So, how do you add mindfulness to your workout? It is simple once you start practicing. Practicing “mindfulness” just involves you being able to actively pay attention to the present moment and let it happen without judgment. Instead of allowing your mind to wander, just live in the moment and allow all of your passing, distracting thoughts to pass by without getting caught up in them.

    There are a lot of parts of your day that you can add mindfulness to. While it is great to do to improve your exercise, you can also practice mindfulness while you are eating, while you are at work, or even while you are just doing chores around the house. Just start paying attention to the sensations that you are experiencing at that time. You can also take formal mindfulness meditation courses or become involved with other mindfulness-based interventions.

    If you are new to mindfulness, it may be best to start with some professionally organized mindfulness training. However, you can also start with small steps on your own to incorporate mindfulness into your life when you feel stress or anxiety and just allow your skills to build.

    The reason that mindfulness is especially effective during exercise is that exercise is a form of stress, even though it is healthy stress. Mindfulness can help you regulate your body’s response to the physical stress of the exercise. Ultimately, it is becoming increasingly clear that to have a strong body, you must also have a strong mind. There are several ways to increase your mental reserves and harnessing the methods that appeal to you the most can boost your overall wellness.

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