A Healthier U

HOLIDAY SEASON FITNESS

The holiday season gives us many opportunities to celebrate with food and drink, but may sabotage your workout routine. Since you’ll probably consume greater-­than-usual amounts of calories, its important to seek opportunities for physical activity.

Whether you’re traveling for the holiday or just affected by the icy weather, you may feel out of your element. You may be in a serious time crunch this time of year. Work, family and other stresses and make it seem easy to put physical activity on the back burner for a bit.

Don’t do it. The more stressful your life is, the more beneficial physical activity can be. Now is a great time to practice sneaking in a fitness routine no matter what the challenge. Stay away from exercising for a couple of weeks or more, it becomes so painful to get back on track later.

Here are some ways to stay active:

  • Check out a new class. It may be easier to get excited about something out of your ordinary routine. Treat yourself to a class. Taking care of yourself is the best gift.
  • Do you run for fitness? Sign up to do a “streak group.” Commit to walking/running at least one mile a day. Here is one example.
  • Do body-weight exercises that you can do anywhere, anytime and for just a few minutes. Here are five of our favorites:
    • Plank: Perform for one minute; two-four sets. If you are advanced, lift one leg or open and close the legs while holding the planks for more intensity.
    • Push-ups: Perform 15 reps; ­two-four sets. This is the perfect upper-body exercise that anyone can do anywhere; intensify by putting feet on a chair or some other elevated surface.
    • Squats: Perform 15 reps;two-four sets. Do jump squats or box jumps for higher intensity.
    • Triceps dips: Perform 15 reps;two-four sets. Use a desk chair for this effective upper-arm exercise; elevate your feet to intensify.
    • Hamstring heel digs: Perform 15 reps;two-four sets. While lying on the floor, place your heels on a chair or the edge of a bed and lift the hips toward the ceiling; use one leg at a time to intensify.

The human body was made to move. Make a goal to keep up with your exercise routines during this busy and indulgent time of year. You will not regret it.


HealthFeed

WANT TO BE HAPPY? HELP OTHERS

Who among us doesn’t want to be happier? The lightness of being that comes with finding joy in day-to-day activities, social connections and one’s purpose on Earth are all important measures of human satisfaction, and most of us strive toward greater levels of happiness on the daily.

There are all sorts of approaches to happiness. Gretchen Rubin, for example, is notable for her work actively chasing down happiness: reviewing the latest scientific findings, reading the works of great philosophers and practicing those principles in her daily life. Some medical researchers seek to increase happiness by reducing conditions that get in the way, such as the Utah Depression Research team, which monitors brain chemistry through scans to try to determine the best ways to increase “good” chemistry and alleviate depression.

Read the full story here.

For more expert health news and information, visit healthcare.utah.edu/healthfeed.