Thursday, September 20, 2007

Keeping The Glass Half Full

We all feel bad sometimes. But getting trapped in negative moods like anxiety, anger and depression can do more than ruin your day, they actually raise your risk of heart disease. Here are 4 things you can do to keep yourself feeling happy, boost your mood when you’re feeling down and keep you healthier in the process:

Move, Move, Move
If you can resist the urge to skip your workout on a low energy day, you'll reap the rewards both now and later. Try tricking yourself by committing to do just 10 minutes. Push Play anyway and see what happens. Once you're up and moving, you'll probably want to finish your workout. And even if you can't push past that 10-minute mark on a really bad day, you can feel good about doing at least a little something. Sticking with your fitness routine will help you feel good about yourself, strengthen your immune system and enhance your body's production of mood-boosting hormones.

Hanging out with your family or friends at least once or twice each month and maintaining connections with the people you care about has a hugely positive impact on your health – especially if you share some laughs. Laughing lowers blood pressure, dissipates anxiety, and releases endorphins, which block pain. And don’t forget to make the most of your relationships at work. Colleagues and co-workers can provide valuable support and keep your blood pressure under control during stressful situations.

Be of Service
Find an organization, school, club or church where you’d like to volunteer. Sharing your time, talents and expertise not only helps others, it does wonders for your well-being. Getting involved and feeling engaged with your community is good for your emotional health. It’s also an opportunity to learn new skills, which will keep your mind sharp.

Controlled breathing exercises (like inhaling through the nose and exhaling slowly through the mouth 3 or 4 times), progressive muscle relaxation, yoga, and massage are all effective means of reducing tension, stress, depression, and anxiety. So, when you’re feeling stressed - pop in your stretch disc and push play or take a brisk 10 minute walk. That’ll do a lot more to lift your spirits and dissipate stress than grabbing that bag of chips or cookies you crave when you’re feeling anxious.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Below The Belt

While women have been told about the benefits of exercising their pelvic floor muscles (known as kegel exercises) to address a variety of issues from bladder control to improved sexual satisfaction, not a whole lot of men are aware of what it can do for them:

Okay, guys. No one wants to admit if they’ve considered buying a bottle of little blue pills, but the truth is erectile dysfunction (ED) effects 15-30 million men. The good news is that 40 percent of guys who deal with this problem and consistently do pelvic floor exercises for 6 months, first with a trainer and then on their own, regain their normal function au natural. Now that’s worth a try, wouldn’t you say? And if you start doing these exercises consistently, you’ll reduce your chances of ever having it happen in the first place.

Here’s the deal: Your pelvic floor muscles support your bowel and bladder, so you’re looking for that feeling you get when you’re clenched up, waiting to get into the men’s room before that bean burrito explodes in your pants or cutting your urine flow off in mid stream. When you tighten those muscles, you’ll know you’re doing it right because your penis should retract and your scrotum should lift. Tighten and hold for 10 seconds, then relax. Repeat. Do it as often as you like. The best part about doing this routine is that you can do it any time, anywhere, and nobody can tell you’re doing it.

Keep in mind that there are a lot of factors that can contribute to ED such as diabetes, vascular and kidney disease. Maintaining your healthy diet and sticking with your Power 90 or P90X programs will make a big difference not just for your overall health and fitness, but to your little buddy, too.