Health Hacks 5/24/17


Mind

Each morning spend a few minutes visualizing 2 or 3 things you want to accomplish that day. Picture yourself having a great workout, a successful meeting, a positive encounter with your children or partner. There is a deep, powerful connection between the brain and the body. Countless studies have shown the benefits to athletes and others when they visualize the outcome they are seeking for a given event. This simple but powerful practice can be put to use for non-athletic situations as well. You may think this is hokey but try it for a few mornings. Other than a couple minutes of your time you have little to lose and a lot to gain.

Nutrition

If you have a sweet tooth and find yourself consuming late night desserts regularly, consider substituting something that is healthier and less caloric but that can still satisfy your craving. Dark chocolate is a great alternative to things like cookies, cakes, ice cream, etc. It is generally healthier, and takes very little to satiate. The way to ‘have your cake and eat it too’ is often just have a smaller cake! Portion control is key to weight loss, so if you are not yet ready to give up that post-dinner sweet, find something that has fewer calories that will do the trick. Dark chocolate is a great way to go.

Weight Training

Most people who lift weights focus on how many reps they are performing rather than the quality of the reps. You far better off doing fewer reps with great technique than to ‘cheat’ your way to higher reps. No one is counting how many you do, and frankly no one really cares (as much as you might think that cute girl next to you heads home after the gym to journal what a great lifter you are). Really focus on squeezing (contracting) the muscle throughout the rep but especially at the ‘top’ (eg during bicep curls). When you focus on contacting the muscle with good form rather than swinging your way to high reps, you really tax the muscle which will lead to strength and growth gains.

Cardio

The body gets used to whatever you ask it to do repeatedly, so mix it up. Add a mile or 2 to your run. Throw some hills – or higher resistance (if on an indoor bike) - to your ride. Do some sprints/intervals while swimming. Get off the elliptical and do some real cardio. Buy a jump rope for $10 and use that for a cardio session. Your workouts will be more interesting, go by faster (mentally), and your body will respond positively to the change.

Spiritual

Giving is living, especially if done unexpectedly and anonymously. Give someone a gift: pay for a month of something they do regularly like massages or a gym membership. Sweep a neighbor’s driveway or clean their car. Help a total stranger when they are struggling to get in a parking spot. In our times of alternative facts and tremendous divisions, little acts of kindness can go a long way to lifting the spirits of all those involved.

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