walk for health
Taking Your Fitness Back
Idolized gym memberships, incredible fitness trackers that let you know when to walk, bottles that tell you when to drink water, apps that show you exactly how you sleep, stationary bikes that mimic open road topography, nutrition plans calculated down to the calorie… what do all of these have in common? They all take fitness and free will out of your hands and make you depend on them. It’s the 21st century, so of course we have all of this brand new technology that can help us get fit and healthy in so many ways… uhh so why is obesity at an all-time high?
The Dependent Exerciser
From a practicality stand point you would think that since we have so much tech at our disposal we should be healthy as ever! While that seems obvious it definitely isn’t the case. We depend so much on this stuff that we simply can’t function without it.
Many people simply don’t exercise if they can’t it make it to the gym. They can’t workout unless it’s in that atmosphere. Or many forget to drink water unless an app or bottle tell them to. Heck, many people don’t even walk unless their tracker tells them to get up and move around. In fact, many people freak out when they forget to wear their fitness tracker because “Their steps won’t be counted”.
When we need to be reminded to walk and drink water it’s time to rethink our perspective.
So that’s why this Spring we challenge you to live life on your own terms and forget about being tied to the trackers, apps, and apparel.
Getting Back To Your Roots
Remember when you drank water because you were thirsty? Well keep that up! Or remember when you actually did things outside like walking… gardening… golfing? It’s time to get back to these simple, yet highly-effective movements to get back in shape. Let’s make a pact:
Simply get outside walking 45+ minutes a day.
This can help you in so many ways like helping to reduce stress and depression as Dr. Sara Warber put it in an issue of the journal Ecopsychology, “Walking is an inexpensive, low risk and accessible form of exercise and it turns out that combined with nature and group settings, it may be a very powerful, under-utilized stress buster. Our findings suggest that something as simple as joining an outdoor walking group may not only improve someone’s daily positive emotions but may also contribute a non-pharmacological approach to serious conditions like depression.”
This doesn’t just go for walking either. You can plant a garden or herb patch. Go nature hiking. Walk the dog. Push mow the lawn (yeah, right). Walk 18 holes of golf. Go swimming. Play baseball or softball. Just get outside and exercising. The point isn’t that you have to be outside, the point is that you don’t have to be in a gym to get fit… you can do it at home or outside as well.
Once we start breaking through that mentality that you can only exercise or lift in a gym, the world opens up and the opportunities are endless. No longer will you be tied to a brick and mortar structure that helps you get fit. Instead you can get healthy, love life and take in nature anywhere you want to go!
Don’t stop there! Get more of the best at home fitness tips and great recipes at DIYactive.com!
More Fast Food Blues
More bad news for those of you out there that just love fast food! Don’t get me wrong, from time to time we all break down and grab a quick bite due to convenience, hunger, or just because we frankly like it, but it can have some seriously bad side effects. I’m sure you’ve heard it before about obesity, Trans fat, diabetes…etc. Well, we have another negative to add to the list: phthalates! Good luck saying that – I had trouble typing it correctly. Let’s look at the research.
The Chemical Called Phthalates
Well it seems the more fast food you consume the more likely you will be exposed to a chemical called phthalates. This was determined by a study published in Environmental Health Perspectives, and is one of the first to look at the link between phthalates and fast food consumption.
So what exactly are phthalates? They are an industrial chemical that is commonly used to make food packaging materials and other items used in the fast food industry. Many have researched the fact that they leach out of these packaging materials right into this yummy, albeit highly processed foods! The foods that were most likely to be contaminated were grains and meats.
Phthalates have been linked to birth defects, pregnancy loss, even high blood pressure in children and teens…etc. It’s no wonder that they need to be avoided but that’s easier said than done when they leach into our food sources! So what’s the correlation between fast food and phthalates? Lead author Ami Zota explained, “People who ate the most fast food had phthalate levels that were as much as 40 percent higher. Our findings raise concerns because phthalates have been linked to a number of serious health problems in children and adults.”
Fast Food Alternatives
If fast food is so bad for us, why do we eat it in the first place? For many people it’s because it is so convenient. It’s easier to grab a double cheeseburger with fries (supersized of course) than it is to pack some healthy snacks or even a full meal.
Make sure to have handy foods in the pantry or refrigerator that you can easily grab before heading out on a road trip. Better yet, make sure to have a few snack packs in your car or gym bag. For instance, fruit, dried fruit (raisins are great), beef jerky, whey protein shakes, and various other dietary supplements (choose with caution)…etc. all make for great food alternatives!
These types of food can hold you over until you reach your destination or you find a better alternative. It really is that simple when it comes to avoiding fast food! When it comes down to it, it’s all common sense.
Are you worried that fast food is causing obesity and other harmful effects on your body? Well stop eating fast food then! As Zota suggested, “People concerned about this issue can’t go wrong by eating more fruits and vegetables and less fast food. A diet filled with whole foods offers a variety of health benefits that go far beyond the question of phthalates.”
Looking for more nutritional tips and fitness tricks to help you get in shape and make fitness enjoyable again? Well then head over to DIY Active: “Fit.Food.Life,” and join the DIY Nation!
THE MADNESS OF MIGRAINES
A million years ago when I was in middle school, I began getting searing headaches that had me getting sent home and missing school. My parents took me to the pediatrician who diagnosed me with migraines. It was right around the same time that my hormones started changing, which is what he chalked it up to. They gave me medication, and eventually they started going away. After that brief episode, I only dealt with the occasional killer headache in my adult life – until recently.
Two years ago, I was diagnosed with epilepsy after suffering a major seizure followed by a few smaller ones. Just before this happened, I had been dealing with some pretty serious migraine headaches and had been seeing a neurologist about them. After the seizures, my neurologist and I had to work to find a balance of medications and homeopathic remedies to keep both at bay. Up until recently, we had done that, but the migraines are back with a vengeance, and I’m on a quest to find a more natural remedy to fight back.
So the first thing I wanted to know is, what exactly IS a migraine? I think we all know in general broad terms it is a whopper of a headache, but I wanted to dig a little deeper than that. Here’s how the Mayo Clinic defines a migraine headache with more in-depth information:
Migraines may be caused by changes in the brainstem and its interactions with the trigeminal nerve, a major pain pathway. Imbalances in brain chemicals — including serotonin, which helps regulate pain in your nervous system — also may be involved. Researchers continue to study the role of serotonin in migraines. Serotonin(*) levels drop during migraine attacks. This may cause your trigeminal system to release substances called neuropeptides, which travel to your brain’s outer covering (meninges). The result is headache pain.
There’s also hormonal changes in women. Fluctuations in estrogen seem to trigger headaches in many women with known migraines. Women with a history of migraines often report headaches immediately before or during their periods, when they have a major drop in estrogen.Others have an increased tendency to develop migraines during pregnancy or menopause.
There were other triggers indicated as well: foods, drinks, stress, sensory stimuli, physical factors, changes in the environment, and medications.
(*)As a gastric bypass post-op, there’s always a malabsorption concern, particularly with seratonin, and in my case I happen to also be an insomniac, so that makes things even trickier. Add to that I am 44 and in perimenopause, and I’m like a walking petri-dish for a migraine, the perfect storm just waiting to be unleashed – and in fact, it has!
The past two weeks have been almost unbearable, keeping me from rehearsals and needing to stay in my room with the door closed, lights off, and battling tears. I went to Facebook and the internet to ask for suggestions. I got many suggestions for medications, but also some more homeopathic and – interesting – ones that I thought I would share:
I know in this day and age it’s silly to be weirded out by the thought of the little needles, but I am. Still, this was by far one of the MOST suggested relief tactics. Even a quick search on Google shows the NY Times and Huffington Post listing it as a tried and true migraine relief answer.
Some people believe that migraine pain originates in the spine, and that getting a proper alignment can help. There are days that I will try ANYTHING that will help. If you tell me lining up my spine will do the trick, fine, let’s do it.
This one was new to me. I’ll be honest: I’m not so sure about this one, but I heard about it, so I’m putting it out there for you to decide on your own. The folks who told me about it SWEAR BY IT, and there were quite a few of them. Essentially it works a bit like acupuncture: it’s a small ear piercing in the innermost cartilage fold of the ear. Apparently it helps with migraines by targeting pressure points on the body’s surface to ease discomfort. And if it doesn’t? You can just take the piercing out and let the hole close up, just like any other ear piercing. Still, I checked snopes.com and found it’s not confirmed either way, so I’d suggest doing some reading first.
This is a supplement that’s a medicinal herb that’s used to treat migraines and digestive problems (but it should not be taken by pregnant women). Some people take it as a preventative treatment as well.
The first thing my neurologist recommended and the go-to on the internet. Most people who suffer from migraines and constant headaches are magnesium deficient and it’s generally recommended to boost your intake by 200 mg per day.
Many people wrote in and talked about the benefits of peppermint tea, peppermint essential oils, and peppermint candies. I haven’t personally tried this, but it was suggested so often that it definitely needed to make the list.
Riboflavin (Vitamin B2):
Another one my neurologist suggested. I saw no difference once adding this, but it’s often suggested as some people are deficient.
The older I get, the less medication I want to put in my body and the more “real” alternative I want. If you’re like me and you’re also dealing with migraines, hopefully you’ve found something in this list that you can talk to your doctor about and work with. Here’s to a pain-free head for us both!
Taunia Soderquist is a professional musician, music educator, and radio host located in the Greater Los Angeles area. She’s also a seven and a half year gastric bypass post-op living a healthy lifestyle after losing and maintaining 150 lbs. Now a passionate cook, but not-so-passionate about exercise (eh, she’s trying). Check her website for live shows and more info: www.divataunia.com.