Understanding the Causes and Treatments of Mucus Overproduction

While overproduction of it can become a nuisance, mucus serves a significant purpose: the lubrication and filtration of the respiratory system. Mucous membranes run from your lungs up to your nose. The membranes produce the mucus that acts as a glue or sticky substrate for viruses, dust, and allergens to stick to — think about it like a fly trap.

When these membranes are working optimally, mucus is usually not a problem. Unfortunately, the membranes can sometimes work too hard and overproduce mucus and phlegm, resulting in frequent throat clearing.

Causes of Mucus Overproduction

While there are many illnesses or conditions that can lead to excessive mucus production, your environment can also play a role. Some of the environmental and lifestyle factors that contribute to excess mucus and phlegm include:

  • Dry indoor environments
  • Dehydration
  • Smoking
  • High consumption of coffee, tea, and alcohol
  • Certain medications

While environmental factors and lifestyle choices can lead to mucus overproduction, health conditions often contribute to the problem. The primary issues that lead to mucus overproduction include:

  • Allergies
  • Asthma
  • Acid reflux
  • Lung diseases
  • Infections

Remedies for Mucus Overproduction

Many people will experience the overproduction of mucus at least once in their lives, but it is not a frequent experience. Other people have to deal with the problem regularly. If you deal with mucus overproduction frequently, you might want to consult your primary care physician to see if any underlying conditions are causing the problem.

For the occasional occurrence of mucus overproduction, a doctor might recommend either an over-the-counter or prescription medication. OTC medications include those under the category of expectorants. These medicines help to loosen and thin mucus, helping you clear it from your chest and throat as it becomes phlegm.

Some prescription medications fall under the category of mucolytics, like hypertonic saline and dornase alfa. These medicines are mucus thinners, and they are inhaled. A doctor might also prescribe antibiotics if the mucus problem results from a bacterial infection.

Home Solutions for Mucus Overproduction

Medications are not always necessary to alleviate excessive mucus production. In fact, there are at least seven things you can do to help resolve your phlegm and mucus problem.

The first thing you can do is gargle with warm saltwater. The saltwater kills any germs in the back of your throat and can help loosen mucus.

Second, make sure that your home is not too dry. Using a humidifier will help to thin your mucus.

Third, elevate your head. When you lay flat, mucus collects at the back of your throat, resulting in coughing and a need to clear your throat.

Fourth, avoid potential irritants, such as fragrances, pollution, and chemicals. Odorous materials can irritate mucous membranes, resulting in more mucus production.

Fifth, do not use decongestants. While decongestants are excellent medications for drying out secretions, they can actually make it harder to reduce mucus.

Sixth, stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water because it helps mucus flow while loosening congestion. While many people want to drink warm liquids, which can help, you should avoid caffeinated beverages.

Finally, if you smoke, stop. Smoking is notorious for instigating the overproduction of mucus.

The overproduction of mucus can be uncomfortable. There are many possible reasons for the problem, but talking with your doctor is the only way to know what is causing the issue. Have you ever tried any of the relief methods above? If so, which worked best? Comment below.

Why I Stopped Using My Fitness Tracking App

Since their rise in popularity five to 10 years ago, smartwatches and fitness trackers have changed the way people approach fitness and health. While once upon a time individuals would only count the number of calories they burned while on a treadmill, today they are able to track their process at every waking moment. Not only that, but smart devices enable wearers to monitor their sleep patterns, count their calories, track their heart rates and more. While you, like so many others, may assume that this kind of insider knowledge can help you more easily stay motivated and hit your wellness goals, experts worry that the constant access to data may feed obsessive tendencies. These experts are not wrong.

Constant Tracking Causes Anxiety … And Feeds Addictive Tendencies

If you use a fitness tracking app, you know all too well how quickly fitness — or, rather, the data — can overtake your life. In your pre-app life, you may have gauged your level of fitness on how good you felt, how well your pants fit and how much energy you brought to each day. Since downloading the app, though, you may suddenly feel as if you’re not good enough when you struggle to meet that 10,000-step-a-day milestone.

For instance, your levels of anxiety may increase as the sun begins to set and you only have 8,000 steps logged. Feelings of inadequacy may creep in when you notice that your friend logged 1,000 steps more than you even though you’ve been awake for the same amount of time. Though you may be ashamed to admit it, you may have put a conversation on pause once or twice to jog in place or take a couple of laps around the room.

If you can relate to one or all of the aforementioned scenarios, you have tracking-induced anxiety. Though a new phenomenon, it is common and grows increasingly more so with each passing day. Instead of letting fitness tracking apps continue to zap the pleasure out of working out and nurturing your body, it may be time to revert to the old ways of monitoring your health. Chances are you will be happier for it.

Fitness Tracking Fosters Unrealistic Expectations

Somewhere between the development of fitness tracking apps and the surge in their popularity, a myth was born, and that is that you need to take 10,000 steps a day to achieve optimal health. There is no scientific basis for this assertion, and, in fact, most active people do not walk this much in a single day. Yet, not only does this myth prevail but also, it contributes to even more unrealistic expectations. These expectations can deter even the most motivated of individuals from walking daily. For people who are just starting out, they can be downright daunting.

Fitness Tracking Does Not Consider the Intensity of a Workout

For you to realize all the touted benefits of exercise, you must succeed at getting your heart rate up. Heart rate increases with the intensity of a workout, not with an increase in the number of steps you take. You can take 10,000 steps every day, but if those steps are taken at a slow pace, they may do you little good. However, if 1,000 of your 7,000 daily steps are taken during a high-intensity exercise, you may be better off than a person who routinely takes 10,000 steps per day. Fitness tracking apps do not take the intensity of a workout into consideration and, therefore, often provide inaccurate data.

The idea behind fitness tracking apps is admirable. Yet, there are several variables for which they do not account and, more worrisome, they cause more stress than they alleviate. For that reason, many people have given them up in 2022, and you should consider doing the same.

The 5 Worst Ways To Start Your Day

How you feel in the morning has a huge impact on your mood the rest of the day. A relaxing morning makes it easier to stay positive during your workday. Feeling stressed or angry puts you on edge. Is your morning routine helping or hurting you? Here are five of the worst morning habits to avoid.

1. Checking Your Phone Right Away

Many people keep their phones next to their beds. When they wake up in the morning, the first thing they do is check text messages or respond to work emails. Unfortunately, flipping on your phone first thing is a great way to ruin perfectly good morning:

  • Anxiety: The second you go into “work mode,” stress starts to kick in. People who look at their phones right away in the morning have a lot more anxiety than those who don’t.
  • Negativity: Instead of the positive feelings of wellbeing you would normally have after waking up from a good night’s sleep, checking work messages turns on your inner critic. This negative voice makes you worry you’re not doing enough or something bad is going to happen.
  • Productivity problems: Believe it or not, reading work emails first thing can make you less productive, not more. It can distract you from important tasks with other things that aren’t that urgent.

Give yourself a break! Make your morning routine a phone-free zone. If there’s something truly urgent, co-workers or family members will call you anyway.

2. Skipping a Healthy Breakfast

You wouldn’t dream of driving your car to work on an empty tank of gas, right? That’s exactly what skipping breakfast is like for your body and mind. Breakfast kickstarts your metabolism.

Do you tend to feel drained of energy or sluggish all day? Do you have trouble concentrating? Those are signs you’re not getting enough fuel. A healthy breakfast with plenty of protein is the best pick-me-up!

3. Watching TV

If you work from home, you may be tempted to flip on the TV in the morning while you get ready. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a laugh to start your day, but the problem is that TV shows are purposely designed to take up at least 30–60 minutes of your time. Once you start, it’s hard to stop, and you can end up “watching” your entire morning disappear.

4. Hitting the Snooze Button

"Just five more minutes," you say. Your body doesn't understand what that means. Hitting the snooze button throws off your internal clock, your metabolism and your normal sleep routine. This makes you more sleepy than if you had just gotten up right away!

5. Getting Angry

It’s not always easy for moms and dads (or couples for that matter) to avoid little irritations in the morning. Kids can make a mess or your significant other can leave the toothpaste tube squashed the way you hate again. If possible, push those things out of mind until later.

Create an enjoyable family custom in the morning that everyone likes. It can be as simple as a hug and kiss before leaving, or sharing a cup of coffee.

A Healthy Morning Routine

Set aside time for yourself in the morning. It's worth investing 15 minutes for stretching your legs, eating breakfast, breathing fresh air and making someone smile. The benefits for the rest of your day are amazing.

How do you start your day off right? What makes you smile in the morning? Share your ideas in the comments below!

Stress, Memory, and the Brain

A common characteristic of stress is forgetfulness and disorientation. Most people accept that bouts with anxiety or worry will result in diminished cognitive returns. However, many do not realize that chronic stress can affect memory and cognitive health.

According to medical research on people and animals, there is a direct correlation between stress and brain function, particularly with how the brain processes information. Whether real-life stress or manufactured stress in a lab setting, the research demonstrates how stress interferes with attention, cognition, and memory.

Studies also show a correlation between stress, emotional states, and inflammation. The effects of stress are both psychological and physical, and it is common for chronic sufferers to experience health problems, including brain and heart diseases.

The Brain and Stress

Before you can understand the effects of stress on thinking and memory, you must acknowledge some of the fundamental processes of the brain. The brain compromises several parts that perform individual tasks and operate as a whole. Therefore the brain is not a single unit. The general understanding from this singular observation is when one part of the brain takes center stage; the other parts give up some of their collective energy to focus on the primary task.

When in a dangerous, stressful, or emotionally taxing situation, the amygdala, or survival guru of the brain, takes over. The other parts of the brain tasked with memory and higher-order tasks receive less energy, meaning they are less capable at the moment. Many scientists speculate survival mode is the reason people can become more forgetful when under stress, possibly experiencing memory lapses depending on the trauma of the event.

Stress and Long-Term Brain Changes

Chronic stress can rewire the brain over time. During the study of animals, scientists noticed a measurable decline in the activity of the prefrontal cortex and other parts of the brain responsible for higher-order tasks. The results were the opposite for the amygdala and the parts of the brain responsible for survival.

Scientists liken the changes to exercise. A person should expect the muscle groups they focus on to develop more than those they don't. The same happens for someone experiencing chronic stress. The parts of the brain getting the most focus are those associated with survival; therefore, these areas develop while areas tasked with complex reasoning and thought take a backseat.

Differences in Stress Types

You cannot dispute the effect of stress on the brain because it is well-documented. However, determining the type of stress that leads to damage or memory problems is not as clear.

Stress is broadly defined and typically accounts for all variables of the term. Using too broad a definition is problematic because the circumstances surrounding occurrences of stress can vary greatly. For instance, anxiety before an exam is short-lived, and most scientists hypothesize it will not lead to problems later, but the trauma of a car accident can have lasting psychological and physical injuries.

Stress Management Is Necessary for Reduced Risks

The one constant throughout leading research is stress' adverse effects. The best thing people can do to reduce the potential risks of long-term or chronic stress is to find ways to mitigate it.

Mindfulness, meditation, and exercise are all potential remedies for stress. While most people struggle to find personal time in today's 24/7 world, you need to find moments for personal care, even if it is just five minutes of quiet in your office chair.

What are your favorite ways to destress? Comment below.

Your Top 3 Menopause Questions, Answered

The thought of menopause can be scary because it’s often associated with unpleasant symptoms. But is menopause really as bad as it’s sometimes portrayed in sitcoms and other television shows? Do some women sail through menopause without even realizing it or is the experience always terrible? To help ease your mind and prepare you for this important phase in life, here are your top three menopause questions, answered.

1. What Are the Symptoms of Menopause?

As your body approaches menopause, your estrogen levels begin to act a little haywire. They may be elevated one day, then fall the next. These extreme hormone changes can lead to a lot of symptoms, including:

  • Mood swings
  • Hot flashes
  • Sleep problems
  • Irregular menstrual periods
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Increased abdominal fat

Don’t those symptoms sound fun? As your body approaches and goes through menopause, you’re likely to experience more than one of the above symptoms. If you’re lucky, you’ll get them all! But it isn’t the end of the world. The symptoms you’re experiencing won’t last forever, and there may be things you can do to minimize them.

Some women experience very mild menopause symptoms. It’s not clear why some women have mild symptoms while others have extreme symptoms when going through menopause. If you think you might be going through menopause but you aren’t sure, you can do a blood test. Your doctor will test your estrogen and follicle-stimulating hormone levels to confirm if you’re going through menopause.

2. Are There Complications Associated With Menopause?

Most of us ladies will go through menopause without any major issues. But some of us may develop complications from menopause. The below complications are associated with menopause (though they are also associated with the normal process of aging).

  • Weight gain
  • Heart disease
  • Urinary problems
  • Osteoporosis

The physical changes that happen to your body during menopause may leave you more susceptible to the above complications after menopause. During the postmenopausal stage, estrogen levels are quite low. These low levels can negatively impact bone and heart health. It can also lead to weight gain (particularly around your middle section) and make you more prone to urine leakage (especially when laughing or coughing).

You can lower your risk of these complications by quitting smoking, eating a heart-healthy diet, exercising regularly, and looking into treatment options for urinary incontinence. Don’t worry – you may not develop any of these issues after going through menopause. It is just a good idea to look out for them and be prepared to deal with them if they occur.

3. How Can I Treat My Menopause Symptoms?

There are treatment options available for women going through menopause. Before you start taking any of the available menopause medications, it’s important to understand that they come with risks and potential side effects.

Hormone therapy is one of the most common treatments for menopause and it can minimize symptoms such as hot flashes, mood swings and vaginal dryness. However, hormone therapy is also associated with an increased risk of stroke, uterine cancer and breast cancer. Talk to your doctor to figure out whether the risks of hormone treatments are worth the benefits they can offer.

You may be able to naturally minimize your menopause symptoms by doing the following:

  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Exercising regularly
  • Eating more foods high in phytoestrogens (such as flaxseeds, soybeans, beans and tempeh)
  • Reducing consumption of processed foods and refined sugars
  • Staying properly hydrated
  • Taking natural hormone-support supplements (such as red clover extract, black cohosh, dong quai and evening primrose oil)
  • Eating sufficient protein for your body’s needs

If you don’t want to take hormone replacement therapy, try the above natural remedies to minimize your menopause symptoms. Don’t forget that menopause doesn’t last forever. Take it one day at a time until you get through this challenging phase of life. There are millions of women fighting alongside you!

6 Best Foods To Support Healthy Aging

We may not be able to stop aging, but what we can control is how we age. Eating a variety of delicious foods with essential vitamins, powerful antioxidants and good fats can support better health whether you’re 25 or 65. What are the best foods for feeling great at any age?

1. Carrots, Sweet Potatoes & Tomatoes: Smooth Skin

Carrots, sweet potatoes and tomatoes may all look different, but they have something important in common: antioxidant vitamins called carotenoids. These nutrients are essential for youthful skin.

Cooked or fresh, these colorful veggies help protect your skin against harmful UV rays and premature signs of aging skin. That way you don’t have as many wrinkles or “crow’s feet” around the eyes.

2. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO): Overall Health

When you think of Italy and other places in the Mediterranean, images of extra virgin olive oil drizzled over salads and pasta probably come to mind. It’s no surprise that the average life expectancy for many places in Europe is over 80 years.

Why is EVOO so good for aging in style? This delicious oil can lower your risk of countless health problems:

  • Heart disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Some cancers

Even doctors encourage people to eat lots of EVOO. It's rich in healthy fats that protect your heart.

3. Fatty Fish: A Happy Mind and Body

The people of Iceland also live a long time. The island's entire population has an average life span of about 82 years. Their diet probably plays a big part. Icelandic dishes feature a lot of fresh fish, veggies and wild berries.

Salmon, tuna, trout, sardines, herring and mackerel are more than tasty. They’re full of omega-3 fatty acids — healthy fats that help your heart, nervous system and other organs.

Omega-3s are phenomenal for fighting inflammation and stiffness. Including more fatty fish on the menu can even help your mood, chasing away depression and giving you feelings of calm.

4. Blueberries: Wrinkle Defense

Raspberries, blueberries, cranberries and other red berries have a high level of antioxidants for protecting your cells. These tangy berries support aging in a big way by slowing down the amount of collagen you lose over time. You can enjoy healthier, more elastic skin and stronger joints.

5. Papaya: A Healthy Gut

When your gut is happy, you’re happy. You feel more comfortable and get more benefits from the foods you eat. Take good care of your digestive system with fresh papaya.

This tropical fruit helps with gut troubles such as bloating, heartburn and constipation naturally. Just half a papaya has a whopping 30% of the total fiber you need in a day.

One special enzyme in papaya, called papain, is so good at alleviating stomach upset that it’s included in many over-the-counter products. You won’t believe how fast tummy inflammation goes away.

6. Red and Yellow Peppers: Sharp Eyesight

You probably already know that vitamin C is a super-vitamin for aging, but what you may not know are the best places to get it. Juicy citrus fruits are good sources of vitamin C, but red and yellow bell peppers have even more — over 150% of your daily needs!

When you get lots of vitamin C, it lowers your risk of cataracts and other age-related eye problems. You can take great care of those lovely peepers and enjoy tastier meals at the same time!

The Best Ways To Wake Up (Besides Coffee)

Are you missing your morning coffee? It’s one of the hardest things to give up when the doctor says so. The good news is that you don’t need caffeine to enjoy a spring in your step. Try these tips instead.

1. Drink a Cool Glass of Water

I honestly didn’t believe this would work until I tried it myself. It’s amazing!

Before you get dressed for work or eat breakfast, drink a glass of cold water. It makes you feel alert and energized in no time.

Most people wake up dehydrated, which is why we feel sluggish and tired in the morning. Staying hydrated gets your brain in gear when you start to feel sleepy at work.

2. Get Moving

You know that your body requires a constant supply of oxygen, but do you know why? Oxygen helps your cells produce energy. The more oxygen floating around, the more energized you feel. It’s like connecting a charger to your phone’s battery.

To give oxygen levels a boost, do cardio exercises:

  • Turn on some swing music or salsa and dance around in your socks
  • Take your dog for a 10-minute walk
  • Walk up and down the stairs at work a few times.

Any exercise that increases your heart rate can wake you up and increase your energy levels. It doesn't need to take a ton of time.

3. Eat Something Crunchy or Chewy

The next time you feel like you’re going to doze off during an important meeting, head to your desk for just a second and munch on a quick snack. The crunchier or chewier the better.

Just chewing makes you feel more alert. Plus, it boosts the blood flow to your brain, giving you supercharged mental focus. Personally, baby carrots, apple wedges, celery sticks or almonds do the trick. Some people like chewing gum more.

4. Skip the Sugar and Grab Some Protein

Many people reach for a candy bar when they’re feeling drained. This is one of the worst things you can do. Sugary foods give you a sudden rush of energy, but it doesn’t last long. After that short spike of blood sugar comes a depressing, exhausting crash that makes you want to sleep all afternoon.

Protein has the opposite effect. Instead of making you crash, it keeps you going strong for hours. Here are my favorite sources of quick and easy protein:

  • Jerky
  • Peanut butter and celery
  • Almonds, cashews, pistachios and peanuts
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Greek yogurt
  • Portions of favorite cheese
  • Hummus with veggies

If sugar is a matchstick, then protein is a candle. A little protein snack keeps you satisfied all morning or all afternoon. You can concentrate better on your work and get project after project checked off your to-do list.

Fatigue Isn’t “Normal”

Some people feel tired so often that they start to think it’s normal. “Everybody is exhausted right now,” they say. I’m here to tell you that it’s a bunch of baloney.

If you’re tired all the time, it means your body is running low on nutrients, your muscles are begging for more physical activity or you’re having trouble sleeping.

Find out what’s tiring you out and do something about it! These tips can get your blood pumping again, and that feels amazing.

These 5 Holiday Gifts Can Put You on a Healthy Track

Every year I go through the same cycle. I start the year out strong, with loads of determination and healthy eating goals that I follow religiously for a few months. By the time summer rolls around, I start to get a little lax because of vacations, family barbeques, and other fun events. When the holidays arrive, I’ve usually gone up a size in clothing, but I’m jolly because I’m enjoying great food and great company. But once the holidays are over, I’m ready to get back into my healthy habits once again.

Does this cycle sound familiar to anyone else? Well, here we are at the end of the year again, and it’s time to get serious about healthy living. Fortunately, you can hint to your family members that you’re ready for some healthy holiday gifts that can help you reach your fitness and wellness goals. Here are five holiday gift ideas that can put you on a healthy track for the new year.

1. Wireless Earbuds

I want to do more outdoor exercising this year. Studies show that working out in the sunshine can not only boost your physical health, but your mental health as well! You can thank your body’s increased production of vitamin D for that.

To make exercising in the great outdoors more enjoyable, I’ve decided I need a quality pair of wireless earbuds. Though they’re expensive, they have great durability and can last up to 20 hours on a single charge. If you don’t own a pair yet, add wireless earbuds to your Christmas list.

2. Fitness Tracker

I used to think fitness trackers were unnecessary, but after seeing how informative they can be, I’ve decided they’re essential for tracking my healthy living goals. If you want to know how many calories you burn in a day versus many calories you consume, a fitness tracker should definitely be underneath your tree or in your stocking this Christmas! Some models will even track your sleep quality so you can make changes as needed.

3. Weight Set

Weights are cumbersome and can take up a lot of room, but they’re so helpful for building muscle strength and boosting bone density. I don’t have much room in my home for a big weight set, so I put one of those nifty compact weight sets on my Christmas list. They’re almost like nesting dolls, but in weight form so they take up minimal room and can easily be adjusted to get the perfect weight for each workout.

4. Yoga Mat

If you’re anything like me, floor work tends to put too much pressure on your knees, wrists, and back. That’s why I’m hoping someone in my family gifts me a nice, thick yoga mat this year. A yoga mat adds just enough padding to keep aching joints well-cushioned during floor workouts. Some mats come with their own holders so you can easily roll them up and take them to a designated storage location once you’re finished with them.

5. Foam Roller

After all your workouts, you’ll need a way to help your muscles recover. A quality foam roller is a great investment because it can minimize your post-workout recovery time and help you avoid excessive soreness. Foam rollers help break up knots in your muscles and facilitate better blood flow so you’re less prone to exercise-related injuries.

Not a bad wish list, if I say so myself! Feel free to steal some or all of these items for your own gift list this year. Most of the items on this list are much more affordable than a treadmill or other expensive piece of workout equipment. But they’re perfect for encouraging a healthier lifestyle and can help you meet your fitness goals.

When Should You Drink Water, and Are You Drinking Enough?

Many dieticians and nutritionists believe people often require more water than they get, even following federal guidelines — eight glasses per day. According to Sarah Krieger, a registered dietician nutritionist, a more accurate or adequate model is to take half of your body weight and drink that in ounces, meaning a 140-pound individual would drink 70 oz. 

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine makes the process even easier, recommending men drink a minimum of 13 cups of fluids per day and women drink nine or more. In other words, men should aim for 104 oz. and women for 72 oz. 

How do you fit all that liquid into your day? First, pay attention to the wording. The suggestion is for fluids, not just water. However, it is crucial to up your water intake, and that is a straightforward process when you know the most optimum times to drink.

Wake-Up 

Many people do not realize they wake up in the morning already dehydrated. You do not drink for the eight hours you are asleep. Therefore, help your body replenish itself by drinking one to two cups of water when you wake, eight to 16 ounces. 

Once you have one or two cups, feel free to make yourself a cup of coffee. Coffee also counts toward your fluid intake for the day.

Pre-Meal, Mealtime, and Post-Meal

Many studies suggest that drinking water can help regulate and mitigate hunger. Therefore, many experts recommend having a cup of water before, during, and after a meal. 

By drinking a glass of water before your meal, you effectively lubricate your insides, which will ultimately help with digestion. However, you also prefill your stomach, meaning you are less likely to overindulge during the meal. 

Drinking water during your meal will also help with digestion. It also provides lubrication for your throat, making it easier to swallow food. 

Finally, drinking a cup of water after a meal ensures optimal digestion and helps reduce the risk of sudden hunger pangs. Therefore, drinking water in this way ensures you stick to a meal plan and avoid consuming empty calories between meals.

Midafternoon Slump

It is natural to feel a bit of a slump around 3:00 pm. While this slump often results in the afternoon consumption of coffee, it is best to stay away from caffeinated beverages. Consuming caffeine late in the afternoon can affect sleep later. 

What most people do not realize is that slumps can stem from dehydration. Dehydration can also result in irritability, hostility, confusion, etc. Therefore, it is best to help your body stay steady and alert by consuming more water.

Pre-Workout, Workout, and Post-Workout 

Do you workout before or after work? Regardless of when you exercise, drinking water is a crucial component of your routine. 

While you will want to drink water before your routine, make sure you allow your body enough time to process the fluid. Drinking a cup of water immediately before hopping on a treadmill will likely result in bloating and discomfort. Instead, drink a cup of water 30 minutes before you begin. 

You will also want to hydrate during your workout. However, do not gulp water. Take sips. Drink slowly during your routine to prevent getting sick or feeling uncomfortable.

Bedtime

You should also bring a glass of water to bed, only taking a couple of sips before lying down. Too much water before bed will lead to sleep disruptions. 

Are you an avid water drinker? Share your tips for staying hydrated throughout the day.

7 Advantages of a Workout Buddy

If you're looking for a way to reach your fitness goals and have a lot of fun along the way, you should find a fitness buddy. This can be a friend, family member or partner. You won't believe how many benefits it can have on your workouts.

1. Stay Motivated

When you have a fitness buddy, both you and your buddy can encourage each other to reach your goals. This keeps you motivated long term.

We all need someone to tell us that they’re proud of us from time to time. It feels really good when your friend tells you they can start to see those sculped abs peeking out.

2. Push Yourself Harder

You may notice your exercise buddy's legs, glutes or abs and think “I wish I looked like that.” They’re going to gaze upon your toned arms and think the same. Far from being a bad thing, a little friendly competition pushes you to reach your goals more quickly.

One study from Kansas State University found that people who worked out with a partner who was fitter than them exercised up to 200% longer and harder than someone working out alone. That’s almost triple the calories burned!

3. Have More Fun

The main reason I love having a workout buddy is that it’s more fun. Going to the gym with a friend is like spending time together at a coffee shop, except with tank tops and fitness watches. You can laugh, joke around, talk about the weather or gossip (gasp!) — all while lifting weights or cycling.

4. Stick To Your Exercise Commitment

You know your buddy is counting on you. This gives you another reason to push yourself. It’s a lot harder to hit the snooze button in the morning when you know a friend is waiting for you at the park.

5. Get Better Results

A workout buddy can improve your exercise performance and results. The other person can see things you can’t. They can correct positioning errors and help you avoid hurting yourself.

A classic example is pushups. From your point of view, you’re acing them! That’s when your workout buddy tells you your butt is jutting out and you’re not actually doing a pushup. With some good-natured nudging, you’re going to burn way more calories.

6. Watch Time Fly

When you exercise alone, your mind is completely focused on the burn. You feel all the aches, you count every sit-up and you have way too much free time to think. It’s so boring!

Things are different when you hang out with your workout buddy. Those 30–45 minutes zip by and you have a blast.

7. Mix Business and Pleasure

Couples can enjoy an added benefit when working out together. Some studies suggest that all the sweating and adrenaline and closeness can lead to more romance. Whether it’s just a quick smooch or something a little more playful, this relaxing time together is good for your heart on many levels.

Choose a Workout Buddy You Like Spending Time With

The best workout buddy is someone positive that makes you feel comfortable and happy. You can tell you made the right choice if you look forward to your sessions together.

Can't find a suitable human just yet? An energetic dog can also be an exercise buddy!