Healthy Changes To Make Today

If you’re like me, it seems like it was only yesterday that you were a 20-something who could eat whatever she wanted, stay up until the wee hours of the morning and take a flight of stairs like it was nothing. Today, it's considerably harder to feel energetic, fresh and ready to scale heights. As you age, staying healthy seems like it’s always just outside your grasp. The thing is, it’s actually right in front of you: You just have to take it!

Whether you want to lose 30 pounds, have more energy for your grandkids or not have to take a breather after hiking to balcony-level seats, there are plenty of small changes you can start making today to feel better. Here are two of the most important.

Get Your Beauty Rest

I can’t overstate the importance of a good night’s sleep. When you’re tucked in tight and dreaming, your body is repairing, rebuilding and rejuvenating itself from head to toe.

As an adult, you need at least seven hours of beauty sleep each night. That's beauty not just for your complexion but also for your brain. When you fall short of those 7 hours, your body and mind rebel. In addition to feeling groggy and slow, inadequate sleep can lead to a variety of health issues, no matter how fit you are. For example, the risk of both heart attack and stroke increase for adults who don’t get enough sleep.

If, despite your best intentions, falling asleep is an issue for you, there are several ways to make trundling off to dreamland easier:

  • Get into the routine of going to bed at roughly the same time every night. Set an alarm on your phone if you have to.

  • Keep screens out of your bedroom. The light given off by many electronic devices is a one-way ticket to Insomnia Town, Population: You.

  • Try a sleep app. It seems like every day there’s a new app designed to help you fall asleep. I’m partial to the Sleep Stories on the Calm app.

Make Eliminating Stress a Priority

As women, we’re often expected to take care of everybody else. We’re mothers, daughters, best friends and CEOs. We run companies and households. We cook. We clean. We — well, you get the drift. The majority of women are subjected to an incredible number of stressors. Meanwhile, as caretakers, we may feel guilty if we take a moment to look after ourselves.

That line of thinking needs to stop. Over time, constant stress can lead to an array of health problems, including depression, ulcers, stroke, high blood pressure, heart disease, IBS and migraines. It also increases your likelihood of obesity.

If reading the above paragraph stressed you out, don’t worry. Small changes can yield big, healthy results. Making as little as 10-15 minutes per day to relax and have fun can put a huge dent in your stress levels. Those 10 minutes don’t have to be spent in silent meditation, either. For me, taking a break often entails one or more of the following:

  • Reading a magazine (the more celebrity gossip, the better)

  • Going for a walk

  • Watching an episode of “comfort food” TV

  • Listening to music

  • A hot bath, heavy on the rosemary oil

  • A glass of wine, preferably red

  • Playing a quick game or two on my iPad

If nothing else, check in with yourself often and take a few deep breaths. Self-care should be a priority in your life, not an indulgence.

Getting plenty of sleep and taking time each day to de-stress are just two of many small modifications you can make to improve your overall health. Even better, they’re two changes you can make today.

How To Use Household Items as Exercise Equipment

Whether you have no interest in joining a gym or simply haven't been there in a while, you're probably looking for ways to get in a good workout at home. Sure, you could buy a bunch of equipment and create a home gym, but maybe you're short on space or don't want to make that kind of commitment yet. The solution: work out at home using random household items to supplement your moves. At some point, you'll likely get bored with your simple, no-equipment routine, and you'll want to add a little bit of resistance. When you find yourself in that place, don't run out and buy the latest workout gadget. Instead, here are a few common household-items-turned-workout-props to get you started.

Chair as Barre

Let's start with a classic from every exercise video ever: using a dining room chair to hold onto while doing barre work. The trick here is to be sure and use a sturdy chair that won't topple easily and won't slide out from under you when you need it most. Try placing the chair against the wall for added stability. Once you're sure it won't move, you can use it as a support for mountain climbers, triceps dips, and modified planks, too.

Broom as Barbell

Your broom will only hold so much weight, and you don't want to try to lift too much without a spotter anyway, so think of this a lightweight bar, at best. To use it: Fill a pair of sneakers with heavy items, such as cans, and try to make the weight equal. Then slide them onto the broom handle by the ties. Be sure they're double-knotted so they won't come undone during your workout. You can also use a broom or long dowel without added weight to keep your hands in position for lat pulldowns.

Canned Food as Dumbells

This is another oldie-but-goodie. Don't have any dumbells? Just use cans from your pantry! It's an excellent option because you can use different sizes to give you different weights. However, be sure you can grip the cans well. If they're too big to hold, you'll risk dropping them on your toes, which, as you can imagine, is no fun at all.

Water Jug as Kettle Ball

Using a gallon jug to add some resistance to your home workout is pure genius. It's got a nifty, built-in handle that prevents you from easily dropping it, it weighs just under 10 pounds when full, and you can drink the water afterward. When choosing a container to use this way, be sure it's either factory-sealed or has a screw-on cap, not one that easily pops off. You don't want to deal with a gallon of water on the floor mid-workout. The best way to use this household item in your exercise routine is to substitute it anywhere you would typically use a kettle ball. If you're up for it, you could also use one in each hand to add resistance to bodyweight exercises.

Being stuck at home can quickly get old, but there's no reason to let your health slip because of it. Keep that body moving and mind engaged with whatever you happen to have on hand.

How to Work in 30 Minutes of Cardio During Your Busy Day

Many adults report that they have very little time for themselves during the day. Whether your job, children or community responsibilities take up most of your day, it’s important to make sure you take time for your health as well. Regular exercise is important for everyone, but it’s especially important for older individuals who need to keep a close eye on their physical health.  The good news is that working out doesn’t have to take up a huge chunk of your day. In fact, there I use a few simple hacks to make sure I get at least 30 minutes of cardio, no matter what my schedule is like. I can help you do it, too!

The Importance of Regular Cardio

No matter how full your schedule may be, regular cardio is essential for your health. Performing cardio not only raises your cardiorespiratory endurance, but it also helps lower blood sugar and regulate insulin levels. In short, performing just 30 minutes of cardio each day can help you live a healthier, more energetic lifestyle well into your senior years. Plus, it will help you keep extra pounds at bay.

Tips for Fitting Cardio Into Your Busiest Days

Now that you know how important cardiovascular activity is, you may be wondering “but how am I supposed to fit 30 minutes of exercise into my day?” Don’t worry, I’m here to help you with that. Here are a few things I do now or have done in the past to sneak cardio into my busiest days.

  • Ride your bike to work. This one is not only highly effective, but it’s also fun. Of course, it’s not a valid option for everyone, but if you work close by, riding your bike to work and back each day is an excellent way to squeeze some cardio in.

  • Take a walk during your lunch break. If you have an hour-long lunch break, why not use half of it to take a walk? Take advantage of nearby walking trails or just take a brisk stroll around the block. You’ll still have plenty of time to eat, and you’ll likely find that your walk energizes you so you can be productive the rest of the day.

  • Use the stairs instead of the elevator. Taking the stairs at work won’t give you 30 minutes of cardio, but it may give you anywhere from 1-5 minutes. If you do it several times per day, you could receive up to 15 minutes of cardio exercise by just taking the stairs. That means you’ll only need to figure out how to squeeze in another 15 minutes of cardio throughout your day. That’s doable for practically anyone!

  • Schedule your workouts and commit to them. In the grand scheme of things, how important is your physical health? The answer is “extremely!” That’s why you should never put yourself on the back burner. If you’re not getting enough exercise to stay healthy and happy, start scheduling it into your calendar. Give your workout the same importance you give professional meetings, and don’t break your cardio appointments.

  • Keep your workout clothes nearby at all times. Opportunities for short bursts of activity can come up at any time, but you won’t be able to take advantage of them if you aren’t prepared. Keep a gym bag of workout clothes nearby at all times, so you can go for a quick jog or bike ride if a meeting is canceled unexpectedly or if a friend invites you for a last-minute run.

The truth is, it’s easy to come up with excuses not to take care of your body. Believe me, I know! But if you keep these little tips in mind, you can get 30 minutes of cardio in without even realizing it.

HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) for Seniors

Seniors

Have you been wondering what in the world HIIT means? I’ve been hearing people tout it as an effective exercise strategy, but never knew what they were referring to. So I decided to hop online and spend some time learning more about it. Here’s what I found out.

High-intensity interval training, or HIIT, is a type of cardiovascular exercise that’s done in intervals. So, instead of exercising for 30 minutes at a steady pace, it requires you to alternate between shorts periods of intense cardiovascular exercise and recovery periods. For seniors, most people recommend exercising at a high intensity for 20-30 seconds, then switch to low intensity for up to 60 seconds. Repeat this cycle until you’re finished with your workout.

Benefits of HIIT Training for Seniors

HIIT training is a great way to raise your metabolic rate and gain muscle. It can also improve your blood pressure and heart rate. The key is to start out slowly. Remember, your body is far from a spring chicken, so treat it kindly! Here are a few suggestions for HIIT training that’s appropriate for seniors to try.

Walking

Walking is one of the simplest HIIT exercises you can do, and it’s a great way to get started. Here’s how to differentiate between high and low intensity when walking.

  • Low-intensity intervals: Walk at a slow, easy pace. You should be able to talk fairly easily.

  • High-intensity intervals: Walk briskly while pumping your arms. You should go as fast as you can, and you shouldn’t be able to speak during your high-intensity intervals.

During your high-intensity intervals, you can raise your arms above your head, lift your knees higher, or do anything else that helps you get your blood pumping quickly.

Stationary Bike

A stationary bike is the perfect solution for HIIT training for seniors. It’s very gentle on the joints and doesn’t require you to even leave your home. Here’s what low intensity and high intensity intervals should feel like on your bike.

  • Low-intensity intervals: You should be able to pedal effortlessly, with very little resistance.

  • High-intensity intervals: You should raise the intensity by either increasing the bike’s resistance level, pedaling faster, or doing both at the same time. You shouldn’t be able to carry on a conversation when you’re doing a high-intensity interval.

To raise the intensity level even more, try raising the resistance level high enough that you can stand and pedal through your high-intensity interval.

Swimming

Swimming is one of the best ways to incorporate HIIT into your life if you have any joint issues or if you’re very heavy. Swimming doesn’t jar the joints at all, and it makes you feel so much lighter. Here’s how to switch between high-and low-intensity he next time you swim.

  • Low-intensity intervals: Swim slowly and smoothly for one or two laps. You should be able to speak and breathe easily.

  • High-intensity intervals: Swim as fast as you can for one lap. You should be breathing hard throughout the lap.

If you don’t have access to a swimming pool, you can also do HIIT intervals in a swim spa.

Boxing

Who says boxing is just for young kids? For me, it’s a great way to get my frustrations out while losing weight in the process! Here’s what boxing intervals look like for me:

  • Low-intensity intervals: For these intervals, I usually stop boxing completely and give myself time to rest.

  • High-intensity intervals: I throw as many punches as quickly as I can during these intervals. It doesn’t take long to get completely winded!

Never lock your elbows out when throwing punches, or you can do some damage to the joints. Remember to protect your hands and wrists by wearing supportive boxing gloves.

Now that you know some of the best ways to get fit and healthy with HIIT, give them a try! Remember to take it at your own pace and have fun!

Can Losing Weight Help With Joint Pain?

Now you have yet another reason to stay active and eat a delicious, healthy diet. According to research from the renowned National Institute of Health, Arthritis Foundation and Cleveland Clinic, losing weight has a major effect on reducing joint pain and improving mobility. Here are 5 reasons why burning those calories should be a priority.

1. Osteoarthritis Relief

Losing weight can alleviate pain significantly in people who have OA. This is because every pound of weight is equal to four pounds of pressure on joints. If you drop just 10 pounds, it’s like you lost 40 pounds when it comes to your joints. Lose 20 pounds and your body feels 80 pounds lighter!

2. Less Cartilage Loss

Weight loss can make life much easier for people who have OA. Losing weight reduces the wear and tear your joints have to deal with. This can slow the damage to your cartilage, especially in knees and hips. Healthy cartilage cushions your joints, so you want to protect it as long as possible.

According to one 2017 study of knee OA patients, people who continually lost weight experienced much lower cartilage damage. What’s especially interesting is that weight loss was directly related to the speed of cartilage loss. The more weight patients lost, the slower OA advanced.

3. Reduced Inflammation

Did you know that fatty tissues send signals to your body that trigger inflammation? Too much fat can cause sore muscles and joints throughout the body, making the pain of arthritis much worse. Stop this inflammation cascade by keeping your weight in a healthy range. A diet rich in inflammation fighting foods can also provide significant relief.

4. Positive Effects on Rheumatoid Arthritis and Psoriatic Arthritis

Hitting your ideal weight helps your body deal with autoimmune disorders such as RA and PsA better. One recent study found that weight loss produced significant positive effects on people who have PsA. This can mean fewer days where you wake up with pain and stiffness. Losing weight also increases your odds of RA remission.

5. Lower Uric Acid Levels

Burning calories can reduce overall levels of uric acid in your blood. If you have a tendency to get gout attacks, losing weight should be top on your list of natural remedies. Want to take gout pain relief to the next level? Here’s what to eat:

  • Grapefruit and oranges

  • Pineapple

  • Cherries

  • Leafy green veggies and broccoli

  • Beans

  • Nuts and peanut butter

  • Lentils

  • Whole grains

Don’t forget to drink plenty of water every day. Yogurt, low-fat milk and coffee are great for reducing uric acid levels. Yes, several cups of coffee a day can actually help with gout prevention.

The Best Exercises for Joint Pain

If you’re experiencing a lot of joint pain, the thought of exercise probably doesn't seem appealing. However, your joints need workouts to stay flexible and healthy. The good news is there are gentle exercises you can do that really work. Even better, they help your body release endorphins, natural pain relievers and mood boosters.

Try low-impact, moderately intense aerobics activities three or four days a week. Swimming, walking, biking or using an elliptical trainer all help you stay active while reducing joint stress. As you shed pounds and eat great, you can look forward to less pain each and every day.

10 Tips for Safe Summer Exercise

When the mercury rises, so does the risk for heat exhaustion and other heat-related illnesses. These risks increase for older adults, who may have difficulty adjusting to extreme temperatures. Seniors are also more likely to have chronic conditions or take prescription medications that make them more sensitive to heat. If you want to stay active when the summer sun takes over, try these smart tips for safer summer exercise.

Stay Indoors

Adjust your normal routine to move your workout inside. If your home doesn't have air conditioning, schedule your exercise sessions around the forecast, or head to a cool setting like a gym, senior center or community center. If you live in an area with a large shopping center, try walking the mall for a change of pace.

Dial It Down

If your typical exercise is fairly strenuous, take it down a notch on the hottest days. For example, if you usually jog or bike, go for a walk instead. Choose a path in your neighborhood with plenty of trees to stay shielded from the sun. As your body acclimates to the increasing temperatures this type of year, you can slowly increase the intensity and frequency of your workouts as long as your doctor says it's safe for you to do so.

Check the Clock

The sun tends to be strongest from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., so schedule your workouts early in the day or toward dusk. If you like to exercise after dark or before the sun rises, make sure to wear lights or reflectors so you remain visible to cars.

Get Wet

Water aerobics is an incredible source of low-impact cardio and strength training, so it's often recommended for adults who struggle with joint pain. As an added bonus, you can keep cool on 90-degree days by taking a dip. If you aren't uncomfortable with an aerobics routine, simply swimming a few laps provides a healthy workout.

Remain Hydrated

Drink at least eight 8-oz glasses of water each day, or more if recommended by your doctor. Don't wait until you feel thirsty to drink; according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, by the time you notice the symptoms, you may already be dehydrated.

Dress for Success

When you venture outside to exercise in the summer, protect your skin with loose-fitting, light-colored clothing. Look for fabrics with UPF protection, since these garments actually block out the sun's rays. Wear a wide-brimmed hat to shield your face, along with sunglasses that have UV protection.

Go Golfing

Even if you're new to the sport, golfing provides a low-impact workout. Because you can ride the golf cart from hole to hole, you have the option of taking a break if you begin to feel tired. In between rides, swinging the club and seeking the ball get you moving. Golfing also provides a great opportunity to connect with others.

Work Out With a Buddy

Speaking of connection, a friend is the perfect complement to your exercise regimen. Using the buddy system is especially important during the summer, so one of you can get help if the other succumbs to the heat.

Practice Self-Care

After a workout, lower your body temperature with a comfortably cool bath or shower. You should also get plenty of sleep on the night after a workout and take it easy so your body has time to rest.

Know When To End

Familiarize yourself with the symptoms of hyperthermia and stop exercising right away if you don't feel well. Danger signs include confusion, dizziness, headache, weakness, nausea or muscle cramps. When these symptoms occur, go inside, drink water and call your doctor right away.

Staying active keeps you healthy throughout life, but too much exercise can cause issues when it's hot outside. With these strategies, maintain your fitness routine no matter what the sun has in store.

What’s the Best Way To Lose Weight: Dieting or Lifestyle Changes?

For many, the battle of the bulge seems never-ending. We lose weight. We gain it back. We lose more weight. We gain even more weight back. To see real, permanent change on the scale, what’s the best way to ditch those unwanted pounds?

Dieting

From Atkins to The Zone, there are more diets than there are seats in Madison Square Garden. Some diets, like the Mediterranean diet, ask you to fill your plate full of healthy fats. Others, such as the Paleo diet, challenge you to go full “cavewoman” and only eat the foods that our earliest ancestors ate: nuts, lean meats, berries.

No matter what’s on the menu, virtually all diets have two things in common. First, most diets are designed to offer big results in a short period of time. They tend to do this by similar means, too:

  • Calorie restrictions

  • “Eat and “Do Not Eat” lists

  • Calorie counting

  • Prewritten weekly meal plans

  • Eliminating certain foods or food groups from your diet

  • Frequent weigh-ins

The other thing that most diets have in common is that they’re ineffective. In the simplest terms, following a regimented eating plan that’s full of rules and restrictions is a hassle. For starters, it eliminates the possibility to eat, drink and be merry. A slice of birthday cake or that second glass of wine are strictly off limits, which can make socializing a self-conscious slog.

It can also result in a frustrating cycle of eating very little for several days and then eating everything in sight. In fact, the overwhelming majority of people who lose weight using a diet gain all of that weight back within five years, and many of those folks pack on additional pounds in the process.

Dieting can also be bad for your health. Extreme diets can be a gateway to eating disorders, particularly in younger women and men. They can also leave you nutrient-deprived. Remember the Grapefruit Diet that was all the rage in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s? It turns out that woman cannot live on citrus fruit (and some strategically placed salads and skim milk) alone. Many diets lack balance. This can have adverse effects on your health, such as iron-deficiency, for example.

Some diets also impart unhealthy, if not downright bizarre, eating tips. Contrary to what you may have believed in the era of Pac-Man and shoulder pads, grapefruits do not burn fat.

Lifestyle Changes

While diets typically provide a temporary fix, healthy lifestyle changes create the potential for lasting weight loss. Slow and steady wins the race, right? Instead of forsaking all carbs, for example, make a switch to healthy whole grains, and incorporate them mindfully. This behavior is far easier to maintain than trying to swear off all bread baskets until the end of time.

Here are several examples of other lifestyle changes that can lead to permanent weight loss:

  • Eating and drinking in moderation

  • Taking the stairs

  • Avoiding processed and prepackaged “convenience” foods

  • Going for a walk everyday

  • Using a fitness tracker or pedometer

  • Drinking more water

  • Treating yourself from time to time

The key to implementing lifestyle changes is starting small. If you want to start walking two miles every day, but you haven’t dusted off your sneakers in years, start by just walking to the mailbox every day — or even just putting on some sneakers. Once you master that walk to the mailbox, start walking to the end of your block and back. You’ll likely find yourself getting to the end of your block and deciding to go even farther — just because you can.

The Verdict

If you want to lose 10 pounds for your niece’s wedding next month, a crash diet might do the trick. If, however, you want to lose weight and make it stay gone, most health and nutrition experts agree that lifestyle changes are far superior to dieting.

6 Reasons Why I Love Yoga

My days as an athlete are behind me — for the most part, at least. I can still swing a mean whiffle ball bat in the backyard, but overall, I look for kinder, gentler ways to exercise these days. When I discovered yoga, it was a game-changer. There are countless reasons why I love my yoga practice (for starters, I can do it in my living room!), but these are six of the most important that I want to share:

1. I’m less stressed.

Striking a yoga pose reduces my anxiety almost instantly. That’s just the tip of the iceberg, though. A yoga session can also:

  • Decrease tension (especially in your back and neck)

  • Lower your blood pressure

  • Lower your heart rate

  • Ease a variety of respiratory issues

That’s right: Yoga can literally help you breathe easy! These powerful benefits, such as more manageable blood pressure, can also combat hypertension. Since I’ve started my practice, my upper back feels relaxed for the first time in a decade, and I’m taking fewer pills every day, too.

2. I sleep better.

The older I get, the less sleep I seem to get — no matter how late I go to bed. Once I started doing yoga on a regular basis, however, I started snoozing like one of my grandkids. I’m not only sleeping for more hours most nights, but I’m getting higher quality sleep, too.

3. I’m in a better mood.

Maybe it’s the extra rest I’m getting; maybe it’s the potent combo of movement and mindfulness. No matter what the cause, since beginning yoga, my mental health has improved. I still feel blue from time to time, of course, but those times are fewer and farther in between.

4. My bones are stronger.

Decreased bone density and mass are just two of the many “perks” of growing older. Brittle bones and osteoporosis have always been concerns for me, so when I learned that yoga can help stave off their onset, I couldn’t buy a cute yoga mat fast enough.

5. I move faster and easier.

Before I started yoga, getting down on the floor to play with my grandkids felt like moving a mountain — a loudly groaning mountain that couldn’t remember when she suddenly got so inflexible and achy. After just a couple of weeks of regular yoga sessions, I started feeling more limber.

It makes sense. Yoga poses focus on precise, mindful movements and involve a whole lot of stretching. The more often I break out my mat, the easier moving gets. The easier moving gets, the more flexible I become. The more flexible I become, the better my balance gets. All of which leads to perhaps the biggest yoga benefit of them all…

6. I’m in less pain.

As we age, a sedentary lifestyle is a one-way ticket to Aches and Painsville. I recognized that if I wanted to feel as young and vital in my body as I do in my mind (most of the time, at least!), I need to get moving. Since I’ve started incorporating beginners yoga into my weekly routine, I’ve experienced a very noticeable decrease in those creaky joints and achy muscles that I thought I was just supposed to deal with as I get older.

As it turns out, I absolutely did not have to put up with any of those pesky pains! Regular yoga practice means I’m moving more, I’m moving more easily, and I’m worrying less about staying independent as I get older. You know what they say: Move it or lose it.

If you think you’re too old, inflexible or conservative for yoga, think again. Whether you take a beginners class at your local gym or ease into a video series from the comfort of your home, starting a yoga practice can lead to a host of health benefits for your body, mind and soul.

Tips for Taking Care of Your “Bat Wings”

bat-wing arm workouts

Have you noticed that when you wave to someone, your underarm waves too? Don’t worry! Underarm fat, or “bat wings,” as it’s often called, is a very common condition affecting adults. Fortunately, there are some simple exercises you can do to combat the problem. Here are a few of the top exercises and tips to tone up your underarms and get rid of the unwanted “fat flap” for good.

Tricep Dips

Tricep dips are great for tightening up the underarms and reducing the dreaded jiggle. Here’s how to do them.

  1. Sit on a stable chair, bench, or other solid surface of the same height.

  2. Slide to the edge of the chair or bench and grip the edges of the front with both hands.

  3. Move your feet a few steps forward while slightly lifting your body and keeping your grip on the front of the chair.

  4. With your buttocks slightly in front of the seat, slowly lower your body down towards the ground until your arms come to approximately a 90-degree angle behind you. Use your arms to pull your body back up to a seated position.

  5. Repeat this move five to 10 times.

If your arms don’t feel strong enough to lift your body back up, don’t lower your body very far. Instead, lower your body only slightly, then use your arms to raise it back up. Over time, your strength should improve and you’ll be able to lower yourself further.

Wall Pushups

Wall pushups are an easy, safe way to get rid of arm fat. Follow these steps to get started.

  1. Stand with your arms straight out in front of you facing a wall.

  2. Move forward and place your palms flat against the wall, about shoulder distance apart.

  3. Bend your arms as you lower your torso to the wall, while keeping your feet firmly planted.

  4. Tighten your core as you push your body away from the wall using only your arms.

  5. Repeat this process five to 10 times.

As you grow stronger, you can slowly increase your repetitions. The key is to start out slow and don’t push your body too hard in the beginning.

Arm Lifts

Arm lifts can easily be done with or without weights. They strengthen the muscles in the arms and in the shoulders and target fat on the back of the arms. Here’s how to do them safely.

  1. Stand with your feet firmly planted about hip-width apart.

  2. Hold a dumbbell in each hand (or do this activity without dumbbells).

  3. Turn your arms so your palms are facing inward, toward your body.

  4. Raise your arms straight out in front of your body, but don’t go higher than shoulder height.

  5. Lower your arms back down to your sides.

  6. Raise your arms to the sides, but don’t go higher than shoulder height. Your body should form a “t” now.

  7. Lower your arms slowly to the sides.

  8. Repeat five to 10 times.

You may wish to begin this exercise without dumbbells, then add light dumbbells (1 to 3 pounds) as your strength increases.

Plank

A plank is a great overall exercise that strengthens muscles throughout your body (including the backs of your arms). Here’s how to perform this great exercise.

  1. Lie down in the ground, with your hands directly beneath your shoulders.

  2. Straighten your core and push upward onto your forearms and toes. Your elbows should be approximately shoulder-width apart.

  3. Avoid pushing your hips upward or downward. Your body should be in a straight line.

  4. Hold this position for a few seconds, then lower yourself back onto the ground. Repeat up to five times.

As you build your strength, you can slowly increase the amount of time spent in plank. Eventually, you may build up to 1 or 2 minutes at a time.

5 Ways To Stay Happy and Healthy While Staying at Home

The key to feeling happy and staying healthy at home is to keep your activity level high. Here are five ways to take great care of your physical, emotional and mental health even if you can’t leave the house.

1. Good Emotions: Connect With Friends and Family

You need your friends and family, and they need you. Even if you can’t talk long, just seeing a friendly face can do wonders for your heart. There’s simply no replacement for a laugh or smile from loved ones.

How can you keep in touch while following social distancing to stay safe? Share the love digitally. Download video-conferencing apps such as WhatsApp or Zoom. These tools are easy to learn.

Phone calls, emails and text messages can also spread welcome morning cheer to friends. With voice technology, composing a heartfelt message is easy.

2. Calm Heart: Limit Negative News

The coronavirus is bad. You understand that. But you don’t need to keep hearing about it multiple times every day. Many health experts recommend cutting down on the amount of coronavirus-related news you watch.

This can reduce your anxiety levels significantly. Ironically, the less stress you have, the stronger your immune system. Instead of staying up late watching the news, get a good night’s sleep and wake up completely refreshed.

3. Active Mind: Put Together a Jigsaw Puzzle

Fight boredom by exercising your mind. Jigsaw puzzles are the perfect recipe for days stuck at home: they keep you entertained, take a long time to finish and feel rewarding from beginning to end.

The beautiful and sometimes humorous images of many puzzles can give you a positive attitude. Try ordering custom jigsaw puzzles online using pictures of your grandkids!

Sudoku, crossword puzzles, adult coloring books and other brain games can be just as effective. The important thing is to give your mind a healthy workout.

What are the best foods for staying healthy during the coronavirus? Follow a colorful diet. Eat lots of red bell peppers, broccoli, spinach, strawberries, yogurt and fresh fish.

4. Healthy Body: Stick to Your Exercise Routine

Now’s a great time to pick a dedicated exercise spot and do some exercise every day. Alternate excellent stretching exercises like Pilates with moderate activities that make you sweat: dancing, strength training or riding an exercise bike.

Keeping up a healthy exercise routine offers many benefits:

  • Excellent cardiovascular health
  • Great emotional health
  • Comforting sense of structure
  • Gratifying feeling of accomplishment

Plus, you get to watch your tummy getting slimmer every day. Having a stunning waistline can definitely make you smile.

5. Satisfied Tummy: Make Delicious and Nutritious Meals From Scratch

It’s easier than ever to have groceries delivered to your door. Instead of ordering takeout, get your hands on colorful fruit, crunchy veggies and nutrient-packed proteins.

It may take longer to prepare breakfast, lunch or dinner from scratch, but honestly time is something you have in abundance right now. Making nutritious meals is good for your whole body:

  • Making meals gives you a satisfying activity boost
  • Eating fresh fruit and veggies provides higher levels of nutrients
  • Avoiding takeout lowers cholesterol and glucose
  • Getting vitamins is essential for a healthy immune system

Cooking is a great way to stay entertained and stay healthy at the same time. It gives you more flexibility for eating healthy and making things that get your mouth watering.