Weekly Health Roundup – May 12-16

We cover all the corners of health in this week’s Weekly Health Roundup!

Today is Going to be Awesome

Mental and emotional health is one corner of the overall health triangle that is often ignored or forgotten completely in our culture. In reality, it is an essential part of our total health and the way we see and experience the world. Mental/Emotional health, especially through positivity leads “to greater joy, fulfillment, and happiness (and just as important, help[s] eliminate or reduce negative thinking, which reduces unhappiness),” says Examiner’s Jimmy DeMesa. From reducing negative thoughts to promoting positive thoughts, he offers 10 simple tips to develop a “positive thinking” habit. Take one tip per week and watch your outlook change.

Attention tech nerds! This is the article for you. Natasha Baker of Reuters has investigated music apps for runners that track your pace and match the music to your step counts. “The app uses the device’s sensors to detect the runner’s steps per minute and then automatically adjusts the music’s beats per minute to match the step count,” writes Baker. Makers of apps like DjRun (Android), RockMyRun and TempoRun (iPhone) claim that this system not only increases motivation but also increase enjoyment of the sport, leading to better, more sustained exercise plans.

For transformational fitness this season, don’t be afraid to push yourself harder. You always have more in you than you think you do. “The truth is, you need to be constantly improving your fitness level, most trainers say. That means cranking up the speed, adding one more rep, and pushing past your comfort zone,” says FitSugar’s Leta Shy. Just be sure that while you’re pushing your body during some workouts, you strike a balance with moderate and easy workouts as well. Trainer Michelle Bridge says its best to “schedule six workouts per week, making sure that three of them are intense, two moderate, and one easy.” Your body will thank you.

What are the best words to hear when talking about cooking at home? CHEAP and HEALTHY. The Greatist has come to the meal rescue.  Each recipe in their list of 400+ Healthy Recipes (That Won’t Break the Bank), “requires eight of fewer ingredients and takes less than 20 minutes to prep.” They cover it all, heart breakfasts, nutrient-packed lunches and dinners, lighter snacks and sides, and even a few indulgent (and still healthy) sweet treats. Chefs, start your ovens!

Do you get intimidated by the pictures of human pretzels that are the yoga pros? Does the simple thought of clearing your mind of all thoughts to meditate send your mind reeling in every direction imaginable? These assumptions of what yoga is or “should be” deter many people from the practice. However, Greatist’s Taylor Wells says the most important part of yoga is to show up and breathe. “I believe that emotional, mental, and spiritual flexibility are virtuous and life-enhancing, and when it comes to yoga practice, paramount,” Wells says.  It’s about setting an intention and analyzing your reaction to changes. “Think of it as a journey, not a judgment of yourself,” Wells continues. He also offers 6 easy steps to let yoga practice saturate your life and improve your days.

Weekly Health Roundup: April 21 – 25

For a boost of healthy energy for your weekend, here is your Weekly Health Roundup!

When you start a new fitness routine, it’s tempting to push yourself too hard, looking for immediate results. You can be impatient with your body, but in the long run, that impatience can lead to injury, exhaustion and a lack of motivation. Experts recently told Reuters Health, take it slow as you get out there this season. Make sure your running form is safe and comfortable (check out the above video for beginner’s tips). Also, try these tips for transitioning from treadmill to pavement from FitSugar to keep you on the path to success. If you’re looking to set a goal, check out fatatthefinish.com for races of all distances in Central Illinois.

The budding trees, the warm sunshine, the beautiful flowers…the sneezing, the tissues, the allergy meds. It is officially allergy season and almost everyone is feeling it. Don’t let the pollen and dust get you down. Treat your symptoms early to prevent a full-blown infection and try these tips to fight the itchy eyes and runny nose. As always, talk to your doctor to find the plan that best works for you. Now, get out there and bask in the Illinois Springtime!

Love it or leave it, quinoa is one of the trendiest kitchen essentials. But what exactly is it? Until last year, you’d be hard pressed to find an average consumer who could give you a straight answer. Since then, it’s been embraced by health nuts and made fun of by the likes of Bud Light. So the New York Times Well Blog took to the experts to give you 5 Things to Know About Quinoa. Some of the facts may surprise you. If you want to try it out, check out New York Times’s Recipes for Health: Great Grain Salads for inspiration.

Old, young, honeymoon phase, or Golden Anniversary, optimism may lead to happiness and health in relationships. A recent study published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research indicates that your spouse’s optimistic outlook may be a key secret to a long-lasting relationship. “The results showed that people with an optimistic spouse had better physical mobility and fewer chronic illnesses…higher levels of relationship satisfaction and better team problem solving,” the author noted.

Weight loss efforts do not have to be confined to a 50-minute gut-busting exercise routine or skipping out on French toast for a breakfast smoothie. The writers at FitSugar have put together an outline of simple things you can do throughout your day to help you reach your goal weight. Try a little tip every hour to cultivate successful, healthy habits.


New Year’s Motivation: How to Set Yourself up for Success

These days, it seems that New Year’s resolutions have become the butt of everyone’s jokes. We tell them to our friends then joke about how long (or short) they’ll last. We write them in our journals, then don’t bookmark the page or turn to it again. It doesn’t have to be that way, though.

The key to resolution success is in the plan. When you know what your goal is and how you’re going to get there, the goal becomes much easier and more exciting to achieve.

So check in with your goals now that we’re a month in, not with jokes or expectations of failure, but with a goal and a plan. With that in mind, here are a few steps you can take to help ensure your success – whether you want to lose weight, eat more healthfully, relieve stress or even finish that first novel.

Apple water on scale













  • Schedule It. Make it part of your daily routine. If your goal is to get fit or tone up, write your work out in your calendar and stick to it. If your goal is to de-stress, work in 15 minutes right before you go to bed to meditate or write. With this kind of planning, your goal is harder to avoid or put off. If need be, commit to scheduling your entire day around it. Make child care arrangements, set a different meeting time, plan for dinner early. Do what’s necessary to make your goal a habit.
  • Chunk It. A surefire way to succeed in your New Year’s goal is to make sure it’s manageable. This is where “chunking” comes in. Split your goal into smaller goals or milestones with rewards. If you want to run a marathon, make checkpoints at certain intervals (10 miles, 20 miles) or paces (10 miles at race pace). This makes the marathon seems less overwhelming and gives you a chance to celebrate progress as you move toward your ultimate goal.
  • Write It. Research shows that writing your goals with good old-fashioned pen and paper creates a stronger connection between the brain and the visualization of the goal. So commit your goal, your reasons you want to reach it, and your plan to reach it to paper and post it somewhere where you can see it regularly (fridge, bathroom mirror, planner). Keep it as a constant reminder and motivator.
  • Share It. Sharing your goal with a friend or supportive group of people not only creates accountability, but it also gives you somewhere to turn when you find yourself in a slump. Be intentional when choosing who to share your goal with. Make sure your confidante will keep you positive and support you through the process. Or join a community (like this one!) where everyone is working toward the same or similar goals to ensure support and positivity.
  • Understand It. Life happens. You must understand that there will be ebbs and flows in your motivation and your ability stick to your schedule or stay right on track. Accepting that fact and finding little tricks or different approaches to get you out of those ruts will make your goal more achievable and fulfilling.

What are your goals for 2014? Share them in the comments below or in the Share Your Story section and join our community of support!