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Laughing is Healthy

We all know how we feel after a good laugh- let’s be honest, nothing balances us out and brings us back to a harmonious state than a good, real, hearty laugh.  It’s almost as if instantaneously, laughter dissipates all stress, pain, and conflict.  Laughter is so contagious that it can connect you to others, lighten your burdens, inspire your hopes, and keep you grounded, focused, and alert.  In case you’re wondering why laughter is so therapeutic, Health Fitness Revolution breaks it down:

 

  • Laughter Triggers Endorphins: which are the body’s natural feel-good chemicals.  They are known to give a sense of overall well-being and even temporarily relieve pain!  Endorphins curb anxiety, worry, fear, and stress.
  • Laughter Relaxes: laughter leaves your muscles relaxed for 45 mins afterwards, leading to less stress and physical tension.
  • Laughter is Good for your Heart:  laughter can help protect you from cardiovascular diseases and heart attacks by improving circulation, blood flow, and improving blood vessel function.
  • Laughter Boosts Immune System: Laughter improves the body’s resistance to diseases by increasing immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies while simultaneously decreasing stress hormones.
  • Laughter Lowers Blood Pressure
  • Laughter gives a Workout:  Have your abs ever been sore from laughing hard?  That’s because every time you laugh, your abdominals and diaphragm contract- giving you a mini-workout!
  • Laughing increases Learning and Memory:  in a John Hopkins Medical School study, results showed that laughter during learning led to higher test scores.
  • Lowers your Blood Sugar Levels:  One particular study tested a group of diabetics.  After a large meal, they were immediately subjected to a tedious lecture.  The next day, after the same large meal, they watched a comedy- and their blood sugar levels were significantly lower on the day they laughed after their meal.

 

Samir Becic ALS Ice Bucket Challenge!

Health Fitness Revolution founder Samir Becic ALS ice bucket challenge and challenges the Croatian President Ivo Josipović, Bosnia-Herzegovina Chairman of the Presidency Bakir Izetbegović, and Serbian President Tomislav Nikolić in order to spread this noble cause and awareness throughout the Balkan Region where he is from!

The ALS challenge is a very important way to raise money for the charity, and it is a part of a healthy lifestyle we support. Everyone should come together to support this very important event and realize is relation to promoting health across the world.

Samir has donated to the cause in addition to the doing the challenge, to donate to ALS, please visit http://www.alsa.org/donate/

 

6 Simple Steps to a Renewed Health

These days, more and more people are saying that they want to be healthy rather than just being tone or in shape. But being healthy and changing your habits and lifestyle can often be difficult. It’s almost a shock to realize that it takes much more than working out to be healthy. Here are some simple steps to start the change in your health for the better. You don’t have to wait until the New Year to make a change; start today!

1. Work with a health care provider. Your physician or health care professional can help you set goals and focus on specific things that you need to work on. Make sure to stay connected.

2. Create a simple protocol. This goes hand in hand with working with a health care provider. Create a simple plan with them. The more complicated the plan, the less likely you will complete it. Aim for realistic goals.

3. Plan ahead. Plan ahead to get your workout in or plan ahead to cook a healthy meal. Not planning ahead will most likely lead to failure, and we don’t want that. Take time to think about the steps you need to take to achieve your goals.

4. Create accountability. You need to take accountability for your actions. If it’s hard for you to do so on your own, find someone who will hold you accountable.

5. Make it enjoyable. Don’t think of it as a chore. What you make of it will affect whether you enjoy it or not. So make the most of it and make it enjoyable for yourself!

6. Be holistically mindful. Anything in our lives that requires change also needs you to be open and accepting of the change. If you refuse to change the things necessary for you to achieve a healthier life, then it won’t work. You need to be open and accepting of the change.

Information gathered from Huffington Post.

Top 10 Free Health and Fitness Apps

Smartphones have become the norm in our thriving digital age. Known for being handy, all-in-one devices, smartphones aren’t so smart without the convenience of certain programs – or apps. In our case, the apps we’re looking at fall into the health and fitness category. These apps are helpful tools for trying to get in shape and stay healthy, and have served as substitutes for trainers, nutritionists and dietitians while also tracking goals and achievements. But with so many to choose from, where do you being?

We’ve compiled a list of 10 essential health and fitness apps, all of which are free!

  • Spring* – An iPhone exclusive, Spring is a music app designed specifically for workouts. Everyone agrees that working out is much more fun with some upbeat tunes, and Spring provides music that plays in-sync with the movement of the your body to idealize the workout experience. Get ready for your morning runs or spin classes to fly by!
  • MapMyFitness – MapMyFitness provides users with guidelines for a healthy, fit lifestyle by giving them the tools to track their food intake and exercise. Tracking is a good way to become more conscious of your health habits and it makes it much easier to lose weight or refrain from gaining weight. MapMyFitness also has a feature where you can share your activity with friends, so when you lose those 5 lbs or achieved a new PR, you get to show it off!
  • Noom – If you find tracking all of the elements of your diet tiring and difficult, Noom may be the app for you! It has an extremely wide database that includes all sorts of popular food items, so you can make sure your tracking is accurate and that you’re eating the right number of calories to reach your goals. Noom also gives you tips on how to change your habits to be as healthy as possible.
  • HealthyOut – Eating out can be very difficult if you’re trying to stay in shape. Thankfully, HealthyOut quickly provides nearby suggestions for restaurants with options including your diet specifications. You can enter a calorie limit or a diet restriction like “vegan”, and this app will find options near you. Going out with friend can finally be guilt-free!
  • Lumosity – If you like playing games, you’ll like Lumosity. Lumosity exercises your mind, including games that train your reflexes, your memory and more. These exercises seem just like fun and games, but studies have shown an increase in brain function after steady use. After working on them for several weeks, your mind will be sharper than ever!
  • HealthTap – Doctors are at your fingertips with this app! If you have a minor health concern but don’t have time to visit your doctor, you can text medical professionals and receive free advice tailored to your concerns. HealthTap also includes healthy lifestyle forums which help enables users to learn and grow together.
  • Runkeeper – If outdoor exercise is your thing, Runkeeper will be your best friend! This app tracks your distance, pace, calories and route. A handy voice alert chimes in every 5 minutes notifying you of your time, pace and distance, ensuring you of where you are in your goals.  You can also compare your workout to previous days to even track your progression.  Runkeeper also features a playlist keep your favorite workout tunes close by.
  • MyFitnessPal – Calorie counting made extremely easy! This app helps you keep a food journal, complete with nutritional facts and calories.  MyFitnessPal has an extensive database of fast food and restaurant dishes so you’re never guessing caloric intake.  You can also log your workouts and the app will deduct the calories you burned from your daily amount.
  • Nike Training Club – This fitness app offers over 100 workouts specifically crafted by Nike master trainers and athletes (such Allyson Felix and Sydney Leroux) for all fitness levels. Whether your goal is to tone up, lean out or get stronger your perfect workout awaits.  There’s even a video of each workout to show you the proper form and technique.  And if you’re crunched for time, don’t worry! Many of the focus workouts are as short as 15 minutes.
  • ShopWell – If you struggle with nutrition labels, this is a great tool.  Start by creating a profile with your age, gender, health goals, allergies, and food you would like to avoid in your diet (sugar, fat, sodium).  As you shop you simply scan each item’s barcode and you are given either a red, yellow, or green light and a score (the higher, the better).  This identifies the food that you should steer clear of, or those that are really good for you.  No more grocery store confusion!

*With the exception of Spring, all the apps featured are available for iPhone and Android devices.

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Top 10 Health Tips to Promote Family Fitness

Family members – can’t live with them, can’t live without them. From the start of your life your parents nurture you and instill in you values important to them, and at the end of the day, it’s your family who cares for you the most. So it’s essential you have the best relationship possible.

But in this day and age, obesity in America is quickly rising so more and more kids are growing up unhealthy. It’s time to make a change in our diet, in our daily activity and in our home lives. Parents have the most power when it comes to teaching their kids to lead a healthy lifestyle.

Through family fitness you will build a connection that will last as you adopt the health lifestyle for years to come. Kids are the most impressionable when young and instilling the importance of health and fitness could lead them to following a healthy lifestyle for decades to come. If a son watches his father partake in daily runs, it’s likely he will imitate that behavior to emulate his father. On the other hand, the kids will not only adopt a healthy lifestyle, but also treasure fond memories of family experiences, whether it’s going on daily runs, camping and hiking over vacations, or hosting lessons on how to cook healthy, the influence you have on your kids can be immeasurable.

Here’s some advice Health Fitness Revolution came up with to inspire family fitness:

Work Out

  • Keep track of your goals – Odds are everyone in your family is at different levels in terms of fitness and nutrition. Perhaps one is a track star who devotes most of her time to athletic sports, while another has never played a sport in his life. Maybe one is diabetic while the other consumes water and granola bars like no one’s business. Not everyone will be on the same page. The best thing you can do is have everyone set individual goals for themselves, given their current position. Having your family at your back will hold you accountable for reaching your goals and maintaining whatever workout or diet regimen you maintain.
  • Hit the gym – Finding a gym that suits your needs and getting a membership is the first step. Some gyms offer deals for family memberships to motivate you to get your whole family active, so be sure to capitalize on that. Take each other to the gym – you don’t have to do the same workouts, but knowing someone is there with you can prove reassuring.
  • Cycling – Riding a bike is fun for all ages. Going on rides at the park, around the neighborhood, to run errands – all of this can be a fun activity the whole family can take part in. If you have older kids, you can take them on rigorous, enduring rides through the woods or back roads for enhanced physical activity and a unifying adrenaline rush.
  • Running – There’s nothing like a good run to clear your mind. Just like with biking, you can go running through the neighborhood or at the park as a family. One of the best things about family fitness is that you can wake up in the morning and go run together. There’s no need for plans in advance since you’re in the same household. There are also plenty of fun runs and family 5ks to participate in.
  • Swimming – Swimming is a fun interactive way to workout your body. You can do it recreationally or competitively. You can swim during the summer, on vacations, or even at neighborhood pools. Many families enjoy swimming as it’s a good way to promote not only athleticism, but also teaches the swimming ability – a fundamental life skill – while everyone’s having fun splashing around!

Nutrition

  • Breakfast – Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, serving as the basis for the rest of the day as it is the first fuel in your body. You want to make sure you have a good balance of carbs, protein and fats to keep you energized throughout the day.
  • Lunch – As you approach midday, you feel your body craving for some tasty sustenance. You don’t necessarily need to completely fill yourself up at this time, but be sure to eat just enough to keep you on your feet. If you’re packing your kids lunch you want to make sure you’re giving them the right amount of protein, carbs, and fruits and vegetables.
  • Dinner – The last meal of the day is typically eaten with your family. This gives you a chance to have the whole family eat healthy. You don’t want to eat right before you go to bed because bad food can affect your sleep and can possibly lead to gas buildup in your digestive system. If you want to wake up refreshed the next morning, having a light dinner will be enough to keep you satisfied without weighing you down.
  • Snacks – Snacking throughout the day can be just as important as meals because having snacks can keep your metabolism at peak levels and decrease portion size in your main meals. Just as is with meals, it’s imperative you snack on foods that are nutritious, like fruits, vegetables, or even nuts. Grated, it may be tough to ease vegetables as a snack into your kids’ diet, so try adding organic peanut butter or ranch dressing as a dip for flavors. Click here for various snack recipes and tips!
  • Dessert – The temptation to consume dessert is an ever-present one, nagging at your sweet tooth and your taste buds as if to say there’s no harm in it. Unfortunately, there can be plenty of harm in coming dessert. Try eating some healthy desserts if you’re in the mood for baking or eat berries and other healthy but sweet foods to satiate that craving.

Top 10 Benefits of Fitness Trackers

It’s no doubt that inactivity can lead to a number of health and personal issues, including weight gain, onset of chronic and acute illness and even low productivity in school, work and daily life. Conversely, constant activity can prevent and may even reverse many of these issues. Moving around – by walking, running, even fidgeting in your seat, can help boost a person’s overall health. But not only do you have to be constantly active, making gains in your activity as well.

Fitness trackers are one popular way to keep track of your progress. Depending on the tracker, wearers can track steps, calories, distance travelled, caloric intake, and even heart rate and sleep. Some even offer GPS tracking to map your distance and pace. While fitness trackers may seem like a needless investment for those who already have an athletic incentive, fitness trackers can be the “ghost you” you’ve been looking to compete with all along!

Here are the Top 10 from Health Fitness Revolution and author of the book ReSYNC Your Life Samir Becic:

Personal accountability – Unless the corresponding app you use with your fitness tracker encourages social media usage, the only person you’re truly competing against is yourself! Fitness trackers track your goals and your progress, psychologically encouraging you to walk more steps than you did yesterday; to run faster than you did yesterday; to sustain that peak heart rate for just a little longer for that intense interval training. Research shows that wearing a fitness trackers – even if it’s just a basic pedometer! – can increase a user’s activity levels by 30 percent!

Individually-tailored goals – Maybe you’re a season 5k runner but looking to get into the 10k and eventually half-marathon scene? Perhaps you haven’t gone for so much as a walk around the neighborhood since graduating from college. Either way, most fitness trackers have workouts, tips, and realistic goals you can set for yourself. It makes sense before running half-marathon that you can, at the very least, run a 5k and 10k. If you want to run a 5k but have been couch ridden, couch-to-5k programs to exist and in as little as 8 weeks, you can be running 3.1 miles, no problem!

Woman doing exercise with ball wearing smart wearable device wit

All about you! – Let’s face it; there’s a lot of anxiety around hitting the gym. Whether or not you work out regularly or haven’t worked out in a while, going to the gym can be nerve-wracking for many people. “Am I doing this right? Are they watching me? Will I be laughed at?” are all questions many of us have faced one time or another. Fitness trackers, on the other hand, are a “crutch” – not in the bad, but in the sense that you can rely on them and tune into them to ensure you’re working out for you. Whether you decide to workout at home, at the park, or at the gym, the fitness tracker and where you are in your goals can serve as an excellent thing to focus on when nerves hit you.

Financial motivation – Many models of fitness trackers are retail-priced at over $100. For many, that can be steep for a little band that wraps around your wrist and displays information most athletes don’t need to know to motivate them to workout. But this is part of that psychological encouragement. If you’re dropping the cash for it, you might as well use it your advantage.

ThinkstockPhotos-468504736Up-to-date weight loss tool – As you’re busy trying to beat and maintain your personal records, you may not even notice the gains (or well, losses) you’re making in your weight goal. Or you may. Regardless, seeing your activity levels, noticing whether you’re in the correct heart rate zone and comparing with your weight on the scale after a few weeks can determine whether or not you’re on the right track to your desired weight.

Group dynamic – While personal motivation is ultimately a key component of physical activity, many people also enjoy the benefits of posting their activities on social media – and many fitness trackers’ apps promote linking up with other fitness trackers in your area, creating workout groups, and hosting challenges.

Incentives promote activity in the workplace – Fitness is no longer an individual hobby or habit. Workplaces are getting involved in encouraging employees adopt and maintain a healthy lifestyle with many incentives. Richardson Software, for example, promised to reimburse employees the cost of their fitness tracker if they walked one million steps – and employees were taking advantage of any free time they had to walk. Oscar Insurance Company started a program where they would pay their employees $1 for each day they surpassed a goal in steps. If your company’s not on board with these incentives yet, try to pitch the idea! Having healthier employees cuts down costs for companies too!

 Variety of trackers – Since there are a variety of fitness trackers out, an inquisitive consumer can easily determine which features they want most on their tracker. GPS may not be necessary if you know the distance of the trail you normally hike; same for the heart rate feature if you have a watch and can monitor your heart rate yourself. At this point, they’re essentially customizable!

ThinkstockPhotos-510858069Everything you need in one – Once you’ve determined what features you need for your fitness tracker, you’re all set and ready to go. There’s no need to open an app or worry about whether or not you have enough battery to have multiple apps open; most trackers will automatically sync tracking activity via Bluetooth to your smart phone. If not that, some trackers have the option of being manually plugged into a computer via USB to upload information. A nightly charge or while plugged into a laptop can be enough to keep many trackers going throughout the day – and for a few, even the year!   

Sleep too! – Back in the day, tracking the quality of your sleep meant sleeping in a lab with wires hooked up to you to determine whether you were in REM or NREM sleep; now fitness trackers can easily determine the quality of your sleep based on your movement during sleep. Sleep is an instrumental determinate in the quality of your health and lifestyle and ensuring you get at least 3 full cycles of sleep in a night is pivotal to maintaining the energy you need throughout your day while giving your brain ample time to store and process everything that’s happened in the day prior!