Destress Monday: Take a Walk on the Calm Side

destress monday

From our Friends at the Monday Campaigns:

You don’t always need heavy equipment or a gym membership to exercise. If you need to destress from work, school, or just life in general, take a walk. Walking can reduce your chances of problems with blood pressure, obesity, depression and heart disease long term.

Walking can be a group activity, too. That’s where the Monday Mile comes in. Grab some friends, family members, or co-workers and go for a 20-minute walk together. If you need more convincing, here’s why you should make this Monday’s activity a group walk:

Pick your partner: You have flexibility to choose your walking buddy, so ask anyone from your children to your grandparents. You and your parents can set the pace and intensity and still get reliable exercise.

You can go wherever you want: Schedule your 20-minute walk wherever works best for you, whether it’s at your office with co-workers or down the street with your family. Bonus points if you walk outside, which has been linked to reducing stress. Each location has their own challenges so that your walks stay fun, and your group can enjoy a variety of sites along the way.

Keep yourself motivated and social: Walking is more than just an chance to stay or get into shape. It’s a chance to catch up with people you care about and motivate each other to prioritize your physical and mental health. Staying social is a great way to relieve stress and you can use this time to discuss big life events with your walking partner(s).

Stay active: If you don’t have time or money for a gym membership, a 20-minute walk will keep your heart pumping and your brain focused. This is an opportunity for you and your group to stay active, and, if done consistently, walking is a great way to reduce long-term, stress-related health issues.

Download the free toolkit “Start a Monday Mile in your Community” today so that you can use the next Monday to get stress out of your life, make walking fun, and keep your bonds strong.

Move It Monday with a Mini Exercise

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From our friends at Move It Monday:

Happy #MoveItMonday!

You probably know you need to exercise. What you probably don’t know is how to squeeze the time it takes to exercise into your schedule. For the next four weeks, we’ll be taking a look at easy exercises you can do at work (or anywhere for that matter) that can be performed in very little time. Research shows that small bouts of exercise benefit your health, so check in every Monday for the next four weeks to learn about a new mini exercise you can try.

This week we’ll show you how to perform a Glute Stretch.

Move It Monday: Fuel Your Workout With Music

move it monday

From our friends at Move It Monday:

Happy #MoveItMonday!

Music and exercise go together like peanut butter and jelly. Do you have a favorite workout playlist? If not, it’s worth putting one together. Exercising to music has some big, scientifically-proven benefits – here are just some of them.

Move It Monday: Practice Your Balance

move it monday

From our friends at Move It Monday:

If your exercise routine is solely made up of sweaty cardio sessions and weight lifting, you’re missing out on something major: A balance practice! A good sense of balance helps align your muscular system, which is important for stability.

So try these simple balancing moves today!

Move It Monday: Take Yourself Outside

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From our friends at Move It Monday:

This Monday, it’s time to move it outside!

This Monday, get moving outdoors! Beyond the benefits of good, old fashioned physical activity, being outside ups the ante. Moving outside can combat fatigue and boost your mood. Even small bouts of physical activity can help you achieve these results.

How to get moving:

Jogs aren’t mandatory here; there are plenty of ways to enjoy the great outdoors. To reap the rewards of moving outside, try one of the following activities this Monday:

  • Ride a bikeThis activity can be as strenuous or as leisurely as you’d like! Swap your typical commute with two wheels or grab a friend after work for a ride around the block.
  • Visit the park: Get out there and relish in the beauty of your local park.
  • Go for a hike: Explore a new trail in your neighborhood or revisit an old favorite.
  • Take out a kayak: Enjoy some time out on the water by renting a kayak at a nearby facility.

If the weather’s nice this Monday, take your move it goals outdoors. Just think back to the cold, dreary days of winters past, and soak up every drop of sunshine this season has to offer!

Click here for more Move It Monday tips.

DeStress Monday: Try Square Breathing

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From our friends at DeStress Monday:

Square Breathing Exercise

It’s no secret that deep breathing exercises are a great way to reduce stress. Taking a few moments to concentrate and breathe deeply calms not just the mind but the body. There are several ways to practice deep breathing but it’s always a good idea to try something new. This Monday, try square breathing when you need to take a moment to settle down.

Square breathing is a great way to refocus your mind if you’ve been having a hectic day. Multitasking and busy schedules can be demanding on your brain and leave you in a fog. It’s important to take a brief break and clear your head before diving back into business as usual. You don’t need a visual aid but it can give you something on which to concentrate while you learn a new way to deep breathe.

Here is the practice:

  1. Inhale for a count of 4
  2. Hold for a count of 4
  3. Exhale for a count of 4
  4. Hold for a count of 4

While breathing and counting, imagine a square. If you’re using a visual aid, follow the four sides of a square. Each step is a corner of the square; as you count to four, move along one side of the square at a time. You can use anything square-shaped around you – a post-it note, a mouse pad, etc. Another way to visualize while square breathing is to imagine you’re running bases in a baseball diamond in slow motion.

Inhale and run to first base… two… three… four…
Hold and run to second base… two… three… four…

To start out, we recommend using GIFs that can provide you with a point of concentration. After a few sessions of square breathing, you’ll be able to visualize the square in your mind while breathing deeply.

This Monday is a great day to be square and destress!

Move It Monday: Eat Healthy for a Better Workout

move it monday

From our friends at Move It Monday:

When you’re getting ready for your next workout, remember that you’ll need to fuel up before and after you get moving. The right foods will help you get the most out of any exercise you choose to do and help your body recover when it’s over. This Monday, make sure your grocery list includes nutritious foods that will do your body good!

Even if you stick to low-impact exercise, eating the right kind of nutritious foods will help optimize your workout and get you in shape to come back for more. When it comes to fitness, think carbs! Carbohydrates are the key to fueling your workouts and helping you recover later. As a pre-workout food, reach for fruits and vegetables or whole grains. Save protein for after your workout since it digests more slowly and might slow you down.

One thing to do before, during, and after your workout is hydrate. The best choice is always water! You can also blend your water with fruit juice to give it a boost of natural carbohydrates. It’s always a good idea to stay hydrated, even if you don’t break a sweat.

If you do engage in exercise that is more high-impact, pay closer attention to the foods you eat as well as staying hydrated. Vigorous activity will make you sweat and you’ll have to replace the water you lose. Increase your usual water intake and eat hydrating fruits and vegetables like watermelon, celery, cucumbers, and strawberries. One excellent option post-workout is milk, which not only provides the benefits of hydration but also contains protein to repair your muscles.

Starting a healthy diet and regular exercise this Monday will not only benefit your physical health, they can provide the energy that you need to power through your busiest days!

For more information visit moveitmonday.org.

Move It Monday: Exercise During Your Lunch Hour

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From our friends at Move It Monday:

Do you experience the 3:00 PM slump on weekday afternoons? Try adding a mid-day workout! Using your lunch hour to get some physical activity may have positive effects on the way you work during the day. You don’t even have to break a sweat (unless you want to)! This Monday, start incorporating an exercise routine into your work day to keep your body moving and your mind sharp.

The Center for Disease Control recommends that people of all fitness levels and ages get about 150 minutes of moderate-level activity a week – or 30 minutes a day, five days a week. Many people find it difficult to commit to a routine when they have busy lives, but if you start establishing a daily habit this Monday, it can become a normal part of your life that you won’t give a second thought! Those 30 minutes a day can also happen in smaller increments. Using your lunch break to move around for 10, 15, or 20 minutes can make a noticeable difference in how you feel.

Studies have shown that exercise impacts your cognitive performance by improving concentration, memory, creativity, and the ability to learn new things. Exercise is also a proven stress reducer, which can come in handy if you’ve been having a hectic day. So, what can you do during your lunch hour to get moving? Plenty of things!

One of the best exercises you can do is walking, an easy, cardiovascular activity that will help you clear your mind and work some muscles. Another idea is a simple yoga routine that can be done at your desk or while seated in a chair. Yoga provides another great opportunity to practice mindfulness so you can refresh your mind and body before returning to work. There are also plenty of mini-workouts you can do to wake yourself up, get your blood flowing, and get toned. For the truly dedicated fitness buff, use the time to hit the gym!

If you’re wondering when to eat if you’re using your lunch hour for a workout, eat something light and nutritious  before you get moving then have a healthy lunch when you return. Stick to a schedule and you won’t miss a beat!

Monday is a great day to start a new routine. Adding a workout to your lunch hour is a great way to make the most of your free time and keep yourself moving – and productive!

Move It Monday: Dance With Someone You Love!

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From our friends at Move It Monday:

Looking for some enjoyable activities you can do with your partner to get moving this Monday? Why not get started on the right foot with some dancing!

Dancing is often considered a social activity so its many health benefits can be overlooked.  While certainly entertaining, dancing is also an excellent form of physical activity that offers a broad range of benefits. It’s good for your heart and can improve muscular strength, balance, and flexibility.

But wait, there’s more! Getting fit with a partner can bring unexpected rewards such as quality time with your partner, improve your mood, and make it easier and more enjoyable to commit to fitness.

Ready to dance? Get started today!

  • You don’t need to be an expert – it’s easy to find a class with a good instructor at your local gym, recreation center, or dance studio.
  • There is no equipment necessary, except a good pair of comfortable shoes.
  • Dancing can be for everyone. If you or your partner need special accommodations, seek out adapted special needs classes. Many facilities are committed to providing all-access classes.

Spend quality time on the dance floor with your partner this Monday for a fulfilling and shared fitness experience. Move It Monday is an international campaign encouraging people of all fitness levels to kick off the week with exercise.

Move It Monday: Do a Monday Mile

move it monday

From our friends at MoveItMonday:

Walk For Heart Health
February is American Heart Month and we’re highlighting some of the positive impacts physical activity can have on your heart. Being more active can offer many benefits to your health. It can help reduce stress, build muscles, and increase your endurance. It can also boost your heart health! Walking is something many of us do every day, several times a day. When it’s done for more than 30 minutes a day, it can be a great exercise for people at almost any level of fitness. It’s the first Monday of American Heart Month, so find some time to walk today!

Walking Can Be a Perfect Low-Impact Activity
Some people are a bit daunted by the idea of exercise or may not feel like they’re in the condition to take on something physically demanding. But walking can be an ideal low-impact activity for people who are just starting a fitness routine, coming back after a medical recovery or even pursuing something more challenging. Thirty minutes of brisk walking every day can add up to the recommended 150 minutes of moderate physical activity you get every week, even if that 30 minutes is broken up into 10- or 15-minute walks.

According to the American Heart Association, a daily walking routine can benefit your cardiovascular system by reducing your risk for several conditions such as heart disease and stroke, obesity, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes (as well as osteoporosis and breast and colon cancer). If the physical rewards weren’t enough, walking also burns calories, keeps your muscles strong, and reduces stress. And all you have to do is walk!

Start Monday and Keep Moving
If you can devote 30 minutes to walking a Monday Mile during your day, that’s great! But there are many ways to incorporate more walking into your daily routine that can be done throughout the day. If you have a dog, take him or her for a walk instead of staying in the backyard. If you drive a car, park farther away from your destination and walk the rest of the way. Taking stairs instead of an elevator is another way to squeeze in a few steps; it also provides an added challenge and changes up your terrain. You can even take a walk around your office and hold “walk-and-talk” meetings.

This Monday, get walking for a healthier heart! Seek ways to keep it up all week, and let each Monday be a reminder to stay on track.