exercise

Need Motivation? There’s an App for that!

Smart Watch for Motivation

Motivate with a Smart Watch

It seems like there is an app for just about everything; and fitness is no different. Many of the latest fitness apps combine things like GPS technology with being able to connect with friends in real time to not only improve your workout but also give you a boost in motivation. Give one of these apps a try the next time you need a bit of a push to get through your next workout.

Runkeeper

This app can be found at the top of many runners’ lists as far as their go-to running apps are concerned. Not only can you use the GPS data to map out a route anywhere, the app collects data including times for each route so you can track progress. One of the most motivating features of Runkeeper is the fact that your friends can send you virtual kudos during your run to encourage you.

FitStar

As with many of the apps, the basic service is free, but the subscription services are where the best advice comes from. The app helps to build workouts based on your personal health and fitness levels so you are the star of your own workout. One of the bonus features as a paid user is the coaching and pep talks from none other than former NFL star Tony Gonzalez.

Charity Miles

This app allows you to find a wonderful motivation to run or log in miles of walking. You can earn real rewards in the form of donations to a charity of your choice. Imagine being able to watch a donation add up during a long run; or tracking each month just how much your efforts have contributed to a great cause.

Endomondo

For basic subscribers, the app can help gather, track and organize data about each workout and the progress made over the course of each month. For those who pay for a subscription, the app turns into a virtual coach you carry with you while you work out. The premium service gives users valuable tips and motivational goals on demand.

Zombies, Run!

Nothing motivates you to keep running than something chasing you! This app turns your daily run into a top-secret mission as you dodge zombies and push your skills to pass the next level. This app shot to the top of the charts as far as the best new fitness apps and it continues to be one of most downloaded fitness apps for the entertainment factor alone.

Spotify Running

The right playlist can be just the boost you need to get through a tough workout or to finish the last mile of a run. As a member of the popular Spotify family, this app takes workout soundtracks to the next level. Instead of searching endlessly for songs to mix into your own playlist, the app uses your own pace and heart rate to match you with songs of the same pace to keep you going.

Freeletics

If you are looking for new workouts that can be done anywhere and that only require you to use your own body, this is the perfect app. It has hundreds of workouts on demand that go from the most basic to advanced. Many find motivation is being able to exercise in unique ways on the go, which this app encourages

Pact

Money and competition can be very motivating for some users. If that is you, then this is the app for you. The basic idea is you make a commitment to go to the gym a certain number of times each time period and the app tracks your progress towards that commitment via a GPS feature that also measures the time you spent at the given location. The catch is if you follow through with the commitment, you win cash rewards, but if you do not follow through the cash goes to other users. This is competition at its best.

Motivation comes in a variety of forms. You may find it in an app that has zombies chasing you through an afternoon run or via miles adding up to a donation to your favorite charity. No matter what the motivation for you is, there more than likely is an app for that too.

This article was written by Paige Johnson with LearnFit.   She can be reached by email: p_johnson@learnfit.org

 

 

 

Mother Nature is healing!

Mother Nature is just outside waiting for you to embrace her healing benefits. Too many people have lost their way with connecting with Mother Nature. Getting outside and moving your body has many health benefits such as vitamin D production from the Sunlight, improved cardiovascular health, improved mental health and improved joint and muscle health. Spending time with Mother Nature triggers a good balance in various hormones and neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin and cortisol. When your hormones and neurotransmitters are in balance, you feel wonderful, in body and mind.

The following article goes into more detail about the benefits of spending time with Mother Nature. Here is the link to the article. Get Outdoors! Here is the link to the Author, Amy Whitley. 

Here is the full article about getting outside and spending time with Mother Nature.

The mental health benefits of exercise are well documented, known to reduce stress and increase “feel good” hormones like dopamine. But many of us seeking better mind-body heath overlook the benefits found in simply spending time outdoors. It turns out the age-old adage is correct: fresh air is good for you! While outdoor physical activities such as jogging, trail running, and hiking combine both physical exercise and the outdoors for a mental health boost jackpot, according to both the National Institutes of Health and Harvard Medical School, simply spending time in nature in any form can improve your mental outlook, in addition to providing physical benefits. How refreshing!

Ways in Which the Outdoors Boosts Mental Health

Getting outside and taking a stroll truly can clear your head while also boosting your immune system and elevating your sense of well-being. If you can get outdoors regularly, you can trade seasonal light therapy boxes and artificial indoor lighting for natural light, which floods your body with vitamin D and immediately improves your mood. Just 15 minutes of natural sunlight per day is known to reduce depression and anxiety levels. Perhaps even more importantly, vitamin D and all that natural sunlight helps you sleep better at night. A study out of the Saint Louis University School of Medicine noted that natural sunlight helps set our body’s internal clocks. And the better rested we are, the better our mood and mental state.

But stepping outside does more than offer sunshine. Studies show that those living in urban environments have to contend with sensory overload on a daily basis, causing what researchers call cognitive fatigue. Finding green space or stepping into a park or garden can give the brain a break from urban stimuli. A recent epidemiological study has shown that people who move to greener urban areas benefit from sustained improvements in their mental health, according to Frontiers in Psychology. In fact, a recent Scandinavian study found that office workers with even views of trees or nature had lower stress levels than those who had city views.

Nature improves concentration as well, helping both children with attention deficit disorders as well as elderly citizens combating dementia or Alzheimer’s. Without the rush of man-made stimuli, the human mind is freed up to be more creative, and having lower stress levels allows us to focus on the task at hand better. This is why you might get your best ideas during a day fishing on the lake, or make that breakthrough on a work-related problem while on a walk in the woods.

How to Make it Happen: Getting into Nature

Getting your daily dose of nature doesn’t have to involve traveling long distances or taking up extreme outdoor sports like backpacking or kayaking. While a daily walk or bike ride is ideal, any green space can boost your mood and lower your stress and anxiety levels. Even sitting outside on a patio or balcony can give you access to sunshine and, at the very least, a skylight over your work or living space can provide natural light. Consider walking or biking to work each day, taking a new route through a green space or park instead of along city streets, or opting for the scenic commute instead of the freeway.

While outdoor sports such as hiking, fishing, kayaking, and skiing successfully combine exercise with outdoor stimulation, any form of outdoor living will elevate your mental health. Simply walking through a forest has been proven to reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol and reduce blood pressure and heart rate. So take a daily walk, try your hand at fishing, or simply sit and read in a garden to see benefits.

Attention Restoration Theory

Capitalizing on the restorative properties of peaceful outdoor settings doesn’t mean city life is all bad. Living in an urban environment is a happy reality for many who have chosen to live and work in urban centers, and has many upsides. This is where Attention Restoration Theory (ART) comes in.

The thinking behind ART is that urban settings can have an excess of stimuli (car horns, sirens, people) that demand our attention whether we are consciously paying attention to them or not, whereas natural settings require our attention but also reward us with feelings of pleasure and help restore our attention. For urban dwellers, visiting a setting such as a park can feel like an oasis, in that it provides the feeling of “getting away” even though you may only be minutes away from your office.

Getting outdoors to feel happier and healthier is both intuitive and backed by medical science! Make yourself a promise to spend just 15 minutes or more in a natural environment per day to reap the rewards.

Nutrition for Athletes

The right nutrition for athletes and for anyone who exercises is very important. Food needs to provide fuel and energy. It also needs to help the body to recover and rebuild and to lubricate, nourish and protect. Many athletes do not put enough emphasis on healthy food. Healthy nutrition for athletes should be a top priority.

The right foods are also very important when healing from injuries and most everyone will experience an injury from time to time.

Watch the video below for an in-depth look and wonderful information about nutrition for athletes and healing from injuries.