All posts tagged “Exercise

Summer Jog
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Exercise triggers brain cell growth and improves memory

Recent studies by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) shed new light on a link between exercise and memory. By exercising regularly, you can increase your ability to retain learned and new information. Scientists examined the muscles during exercise to determine which proteins are released. The studies revealed that a protein called cathepsin B is released during aerobic exercise. The protein travels to the brain after being released. Cathepsin B triggers new brain cell growth, scientists believe this is key in the link between memory and exercise.

Researchers discovered an increase in the protein cathepsin B when examining mice who regularly ran on exercise wheels. The mice who exercised produced greater amounts of the protein than the mice that did not exercise. Further, mice that released cathepsin B displayed better results in memory tests than the mice that did not.

Dr. Henriette van Praag, a neuroscientist at the NIA states, “Overall, the message is that a consistently healthy lifestyle pays off.” In humans, the release of cathepsin B is also triggered by exercise. This means that simply increasing physical activity can aid in an individual’s ability to perform better on complex tasks and memory retention.

To read the full article click here

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A mother and child fast asleep.
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The connection between sleep and sickness

Sleep leading to sickness

Recent studies have confirmed what most people kind of already knew; sleep is good for you. Too little sleep can be directly related to cardiovascular, endocrine, and immune function as well as a lot of other health issues related to a lack of sleep. In a long term sleep study, over 22,000 participants reported their sleeping patterns in parallel with their health from 2005 to 2012. This study found that getting six or less hours of sleep per day had a direct correlation with experiencing sickness of flu-like symptoms and that the more sleep people got, the less they faced these negative health outcomes.

Sleep should be on the agenda

A lack of sleep isn’t just important to bodily functions, it also sets the tone for the rest of the day and many people don’t realize how much sleep may determine their plans and activities. As mentioned earlier sleep can cause a plethora of negative health issues but even more so is the lifestyle that usually comes with not sleeping enough. Turns out, short sleepers are also more likely to have negative health behaviors like not exercising and poor nutrition which in the long run can be detrimental to health. Creating good sleeping habits can translate into other positive health behaviors because of the increased energy and productivity that accompanies being well-rested.

Sleep is serious business

An interesting point Dr. Sanjay R. Patel of the Center for Sleep and Cardiovascular Outcomes at the University of Pittsburgh makes is that “society does not stigmatize the person getting in their car and driving after only four hours of sleep the way it does the person driving after drinking, even though the risk to others on the road may be the same.” Meaning that a lack of sleep can be just as detrimental to motor function and cognitive skills as drinking, but is largely overlooked and the seriousness of the matter is rarely emphasized. He goes more in depth about just how neglected the science of sleep is by mentioning how little physicians usually discuss sleep with their patients due to the lack of training and attention given to sleep in medical school.

While sleep may still be a little bit of a mystery it is clear that adequate sleep is closely related to good health. Not getting enough sleep is not only bad for the body, but also makes it harder to create and sustain other healthy habits, so get those Z’s!

For the full article, click here.

caption-arrow  Feature photo by  Sima Dimitric


Hiking in nature can be very beneficial both physically and mentally.
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How hiking helps the brain

Hiking kicks out negative thoughts

Rumination is defined as the tendency to continuously think about upsetting situations, causes, and consequences that might be burdening an individuals mind. Luckily, the National Academy of Sciences recently conducted a study which found that going on nature-filled hikes can significantly curb these thoughts, encouraging not only physical well being but also mental prosperity. By measuring neural activity and levels of rumination in the two different groups, researchers found that urban environments have distinct correlations with depression and negative disposition while the natural environments show to lower levels of rumination as well as neural activity in the part of the brain that is intimately linked to mental illness.

Hiking can boost brain power, and help keep you focused

Other studies contrasting urban vs. natural environments have found that not only can hiking in nature prevent negative thoughts, it can also greatly improve cognitive performance! Researchers realized that a nice long hike away from urbanization and technology can reduce mental fatigue, boost creative thinking, improve memory, and even remarkably reduce symptoms of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). Along with all of these incredible benefits, it is proven that people who work out outside are much more likely to continue their routine rather than quit shortly after starting. Whether it’s for a minute or an hour, everyone should make an effort to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy the tranquility of nature whenever possible. Good for the mind, body, and soul, hiking in nature is an excellent way to stay healthy and happy.


For the full article, click here.

caption-arrow  Feature photo by Loren Kerns



Erase Stress
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Stress: how to cope better with life’s challenges

What causes stress

Imagine you are walking down a beautiful trail, taking in the scenery, smelling the flowers and enjoying your day. Your brain is having a positive response to the relaxing environment, serotonin is released, and you feel happy, at ease. Now imagine, around the next turn you are face to face with a brown bear. In an instant the chemicals in your brain change drastically, digestion in halted, your heart beat speeds and blood flow to your muscles increases. These chemical changes are your body’s instinct to defend itself, your fight or flight response. These changes are also called stress.

Stress can be a good thing in moderation, or when you need that boost to dive out of harm’s way. But stress can cause unhealthy physical symptoms when it goes on for too long. Stress in everyday life can negatively impact physical and mental health. Most often, there is no fight or flight response needed, yet your body prepares to run, working overtime. This can cause you to feel anxious, worried, afraid or uptight.

What changes may be stressful

Simply, any change can lead to stress. This can be good change or bad change. Although, it may not be the change itself causing stress, rather how you react to it. It is also important to remember that stress is different for everyone. Going to the grocery store might be stressful for one individual and therapeutic for another.

Can stress hurt my health

Stress can cause or complicate health problems. A few possible signs of stress can include

  • Anxiety
  • Neck and back pain/tightness
  • Head aches
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Depression

How can stress be managed

Firstly, try and recognize the common signs of stress. Shoulder and neck tension, as well as clenched fists are often early warning signs of stress. The next step is to select a method to deal with your stress. Ideally, avoiding the thing that causes your stress is best, but that is not always an option. Here are some tips for dealing with stress,

  • Choose a hobby – something you love, or want to get better at
  • Try not to worry about the things out of your control
  • Take care of your little problems first – this can help you to feel more in control
  • Try to prepare for the stressful things in advance
  • View change as a positive challenge, forward momentum
  • Exercise regularly
  • Choose healthier food options

Why Exercise

Exercise is a great way to release pent up energy, as well as release your “happy” brain chemicals. For example, serotonin production is increased during exercise. Serotonin increase has been shown to improve mood and increase energy.

The silver lining

If you are feeling stressed, you get to choose your hobby, something you love. These hobbies can include music, puzzles, walking, yoga, and video games; the list is infinite, because there isn’t a correct answer.  Get lost in the things you enjoy, and remember to take a deep breath.

Contact your doctor if you want help or advice on how you can tackle stress.


For the full article, follow the link here.

  Feature photo by  Alan Cleaver

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Take 30 minutes a day to boost your health

It’s not that hard to be active. The key is get 30 minutes of moderate exercise five days a week. Walking at a brisk pace fills the bill. So do bicycling, dancing and a host of other activities.

How do you know if an activity is moderate? It feels somewhat — but not too — hard. You:

  • Are breathing quickly but not out of breath
  • Develop a light sweat after about 10 minutes of activity
  • Can carry on a conversation but not sing

Being moderately active can benefit your health in many ways. For example, you’ll:

  • Sleep better
  • Strengthen your bones
  • Lower your risk of depression

Regular moderate activity will also help prevent conditions like high blood pressure and heart disease. It can even reduce risk for some cancers.

caption-arrow  Feature photo by Dawn



small win
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Don’t forget to celebrate the small things

Setting long-term goals are great, but what about the small wins that get you to achieve those long-term ones?

I know that I can get caught up in achieving the big win – like losing weight by a certain date or traveling around the world. But don’t forget to celebrate the small wins that help you reach your ultimate goals.

These can be anything from:

  • Taking the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Drinking water instead of a soda for lunch
  • Working an extra day to save up for that around the world vacation
  • Eating an apple instead of cookie for a snack
  • Running an extra 5 minutes to burn more calories

Celebrating the small wins can spark your excitement for getting to your end goals. So give yourself a high-five, or buy new workout clothes to help celebrate the small things that you have done!

What are some small wins that you have accomplished lately?

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break time
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Give yourself a break!

Are you working too hard? How often do you take breaks at work? These questions are meant to get you thinking about giving yourself a break every now and then because it is good for your health.

Many of you, like me, get lost in projects that you are doing at your computer and lose track of time. It is hard to pull yourself out of your work mode and think about getting up and taking that allowed 15 minute break.

A recent article  has stated that ” an hour of sitting can impact arteries in the legs, but even a 5-minute stroll helps (for every hour of sitting).” Sitting for long periods of time are also linked to other health problems like heart disease.

I know that is hard to pull back and get out of your work zone, but you can set an alarm on your computer to remind you to get up for a quick break. Here are some ideas of what you can do on your breaks:

  • Refill your water bottle
  • Walk up and down the stairs a few times
  • Have a walking meeting (if you can’t take a break)
  • Grab a healthy snack
  • Stretch it out
  • Walk to a co-worker’s desk instead of e-mailing them

These are just a few ideas that you can use for your breaks. It is hard to step away from the project, but taking a break can make you feel more refreshed, and help you focus on the task at hand.

What do you all like to do on your breaks? Let me know by commenting below!

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National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month
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National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month- Is your child 1 in 3?

September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month.  Did you know that according to the CDC, 1 in 3 children are overweight or obese?  Working in at least three days of activity for 30 minutes on your family calendar every week will help keep you and your family healthy. Keep in mind that kids should also get about 60 minutes of play a day. Here a few ideas to help your family get moving:

  1. Take turns choosing an activity for the entire family. This way everyone gets to do an activity they enjoy.
  2. If you are watching TV together, have fitness challenges during the commercial breaks. Try doing jumping jacks, sit-ups or push-ups through the whole commercial.
  3. Go for a family walk. It can be around your neighborhood, or head to a local park.
  4. Create a scavenger hunt  with items you can find outside or in the home.

These are just a few ideas to get you moving. Kids are recommended to get at least 60 minutes of activity everyday. Eating healthy also plays an important role in maintaining a healthy weight. For more ideas to get active, and eating healthy, check out Let’s Move!

 If you have some fun family activities or healthy recipes, leave us a comment below!

caption-arrow  Feature photo by U.S. Department of Agriculture


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New Year’s Resolution Challenge – My Fitness Pal

Continuing with the New Year and the topic of weight loss, has anyone tried My Fitness Pal? It is a free app and website that you can use to help track your nutrition and exercise.

Here at Moda I am coordinating a 10 week New Year’s Resolution Challenge that consists of 3 circuit training workouts a week. Each workout is just 30 minutes long. Along with the workouts we will also be tracking our exercise and nutrition using My Fitness Pal. This was our first week and I am feeling really motivated! Read More

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New Fitness App Gives Back – Charity Miles

Recently I heard about an app that lets you not only track your distance, but also gives back to charities at the same time. Sounds cool, right? It’s called Charity Miles.

All you have to do is download the app, pick your favorite charity, and go. As you walk, run or bike they will track your distance and the money earned. Bikers earn 10¢ a mile and walkers and runners earn 25¢ a mile.

When you’re done, the app gives an option to share your success -  including the money you raised for your charity of choice – through your Facebook and Twitter feeds.

Participating charities include: Read More