How much exercise do you *actually* need to get in shape?
Twenty minutes three times per week? Half-hour per day?
And how much is too much?
Do you need to sweat it out for an hour or more every day?
Let’s go over the (sometimes) mysterious amount of exercise that is ideal. Ideal for your health and wellness. Ideal for getting into shape.
Starting with the minimum.
What's the Minimum Amount of Exercise You Need?
This article was first published March 29, 2017. Since it's been awhile, you may not know that our family of four traveled for ten months through Australia, New Zealand, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Spain, France, Italy, Belgium, Holland, and England.
During our travels we ate many different kinds of foods and experienced the challenges of trying to eat a healthy diet at the same time. Peru was one of the easiest places to feel like I was eating well, and as a result I physically felt great while I was there. If you someday get a chance to go, take it!
When I originally wrote this, I did not yet know that my son, ten-years-old at the time, would declare himself vegetarian, just as we were entering Spain. The poor kid ate mostly potatoes in Spain, and we cut our time in Spain shorter than we'd planned so that we could get to the Pizza!
His new vegetarianism was probably a combination of seeing meat hanging in open air market, the guinea pigs raised for food, and his best friend at home being vegetarian. He's still vegetarian two years later. Now, our family eats mostly vegetarian at home, but isn't as strict away from home. It's what works for us!
Probably not an Incan Priestess, but I did fall instantly in love with the Peruvian culture. It could have been reading all of those Paddington Bear books. He was from darkest Peru. Or it could have been the Peruvian Dark coffee I used to drink roasted by Santa Cruz Coffee Roasting Company.
Or was it the delicious food?
This might seem strange that your skills would have anything to do with your well-being, but hang in here with me. It's important for several reasons.
Learning and practicing skills adds excitement to your life. When you're excited, you automatically have more energy without changing anything else. Your life satisfaction will increase when you're actively involved in learning and looking towards your future.
Do you remember when you were a teenager or young adult and people were always asking you about what your plans were and the future seemed exciting and limitless?
Why shouldn't it be the same now, no matter what your age?
Not only that, adding new skills or practices into your life works your brain muscle! Did you know that the more educated you are, the more information your brain stores, and the better it accesses what it's learned. In fact, the build up of information results in what neuroscientists refer to as "cognitive reserve," meaning that added connections and pathways between neurons give a boost to the brain which can counteract dementia and/or Alzheimer's disease.
Step 1: Determine your primary field of interest.
Last week I wrote about clarifying who you want your future self to be and how that future self interacts with the people in your life. This week, we'll delve further into how to bring your future self into being.
Did you know that research shows that people who feel loved are more likely to enjoy healthier hearts than those who feel unloved? Love is the healthiest of all emotions, yet it takes effort to stay in love once the infatuation stage ends.
In fact studies in positive psychology show that the quality of your relationships can make you happier, perform better, and feel better.
So how do you make that a reality in both your intimate relationships, friendships, and family relationships?
When you interact with others are you intentional? The most successful people make a conscious choice on who they're going to be and how they are going to interact with people.
I'd like to start with the definition of well-being. According to Psychology Today, "Well-being is the experience of health, happiness, and prosperity. It includes having good mental health, high life satisfaction, and a sense of meaning or purpose.
Can you increase your sense of well-being? Yes, you can! Well-being develops from your thoughts actions and experience, most of which you have control over.
Through the next few weeks, I'll be covering some key components of positive well-being. When any of the components are lacking, your well-being is thrown out of balance. I'll be sharing some tools to help you discover where you should be spending your energy in increasing your sense of well-being.
The term "detox" is thrown around a great deal, especially this time of year when many people have set New Year's resolutions and many of them have to do with improving health. Detoxing can mean different things to different people. Some detox plans are beneficial and some may do more harm than good.
So let's explore the general intention of a detox and figure out whether it's the right thing for you.
How can you tell if you might benefit from a detoxification program?
What are toxins and how can they impact your health?
Toxins are harmful agents found in the environment. They can encompass anything from digestive and metabolic byproducts to environmental chemicals that can pass through and/or collect in your body.
The toxicity of many chemicals is dose dependent, meaning that they can have toxic effects if they're consumed in significant quantities. This can even go for certain foods, for example spinach, beet greens, and Swiss chard contain oxalic acid, which can block the uptake of calcium. So, it's wise to not eat too much of these foods, but they shouldn't be avoided entirely because they contain a lot of beneficial nutrients and antioxidants.
Toxins can enter the gut through:
It's becoming easier and easier to identify toxins in your home and avoid them. I became more aware of toxins that might be present in my home environment and foods when pregnant with my first child. The childbirth classes I took emphasized avoiding toxins to increase your chances of a healthy birth.
During my pregnancy with my second child, I became especially aware as we were remodeling our home and had many decisions to make regarding carpeting, wood finishing, paints, and wood floor refinishing, While there were some resources, there definitely weren't as many as there are now!
Then, when I was trying to help my son heal from the heavy duty antibiotics he'd been on following a bone infection, the protocol that ended up helping, stressed removal of anything with artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, or fragrances. It was much harder than I thought, as even natural and organic foods, body care products, and cleaners contain these chemicals. It was especially hard because, he was school aged and exposed to whatever was used to clean classrooms.
I again faced frustration when our family was traveling for a time several years ago. I wrote an article how I was moved to tears when my laundry smelled so strongly of fragrance here. Looking back, I find it kind of funny that we travelled through South America with our container of fragrance free laundry detergent. And one Airbnb apartment we stayed at in France had so many air fresheners plugged into walls, or hiding here and there, that I was constantly gathering them and stashing them where we couldn't smell them. I had write an apologetic note to the host telling her where I had hidden them.
It might sound crazy to you, but once your remove artificial fragrances from your life, for better or worse you become much more sensitive to them. The benefits to your health, though, is worth it!
This article was originally posted on November 23, 2016. Our family was three months in to a ten month "round the world" trip.
Our food habits changed quite a bit from country to country. In Australia, we were mostly cooking on a camp stove or in the communal kitchens at the caravan parks as we were mostly traveling by camper van.
In New Zealand it was mostly hostels. We had our boxes of food that we stored in the communal kitchens, then packed up for the next place.
We met so many wonderful people and observed different cooking and eating habits. In many ways, cooking in hostels wasn't too different from cooking at home. If I had a plan and the food to prepare, a meal would happen!
The more you cook, the more you will cook.
We're travelling by car in New Zealand and staying in hostels most of the time.
As much as I've talked about being an introvert, I've preferred hostels to our Australian campervan experience.
I'd never stayed in hostels before, so its been quite fun doing it with our family of four. We are all having fun having other people to talk to. Our fellow travelers are interesting as are the people managing the hostels.
It really struck me the other day how much people were cooking. Not just throwing sauce on pasta, although that is a good option for a long travel day. They often cook good healthy meals from whatever country they are from. Hardly anyone is American, most often they are German, Dutch, French or from various Asian countries.
I was really impressed!
Why using Real Plans weekly meal planning service has been a life changer for me.
First of all, why should you go to all the effort to meal plan?
I’ll share my story first, because I definitely haven’t always been a meal planner, unless it was one big meal, like Thanksgiving, Christmas, or for a party of some kind. And I really needed some help. I couldn't manage to come up with a weekly meal plan on my own.
*If you want resources for meal planning on your own, click here.
I’d usually go to the store with a plan for that night’s dinner, then fill in with items I knew I was out of (I would make lists for those kinds of things) and staple items that I used all the time, like onions, carrots, lettuce, bread, cheese, rice, etc.
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Hi, I’m Crystal!