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Not Crossfit, Better than Bootcamp…DUFF on THE BEST SUNGLASSES FOR WORKING OUT

Now that the weather is looking up here in the LowCountry, exercise enthusiasts all over Charleston and Mount Pleasant are starting to take their workouts outside.  We DUFFNATICS are right there with them! But one downside to working out in the sunshine is dealing with SUNGLASSES! 

While sunglasses are an important exercise accessory—as CNN explains, “To protect your eyesight, the most important recommendation you need to follow is to wear sunglasses that block ultraviolet radiation whenever you go outside during daylight hours, according to the National Eye Institute.”—working out in sunglasses can be a pain!  They slide when you start sweating, they fog up AND nobody wants to subject their $300 Wayfarers to the abuse they’ll get while pounding the pavement.

Luckily, there are several great designers out there who have created sunglasses that are STURDY enough to handle the toughest workouts but STYLISH enough to keep you from looking like an extra on Bladerunner! 

Read on to check out our top picks for this season’s sportiest sunglasses!

UA Battlewrap Polarized $145

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Fitness Magazine features former pro footballer Curtis Williams’ advice: ”Silicon grips are important in order to keep the glasses from sliding off your face.  Vision and performance go hand in hand, and you want to make sure you can see and react to your coach during drills, and perform through the elements of the outdoor environment.”  From what we can research, it looks like these babies will even stay in place during burpees on the beach!

Click HERE for more info.

Native Eyewear Flatirons $129

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We’re in love Health Magazine’s recommendation: “These plastic shades are lightweight and feature nose and ear grips to help them stay in place whether you’re on a jog on the beach or deep into a game of sand volleyball. They also come in a slew of cool colors that scream summer.”  While these are more of a street style, we think the Mastoid Temple Grip will keep these stylish shades from slipping during runs and workouts outdoors.  According to Native’s website, the Grip “ensures temple ends hug mastoid bone behind the ear for a snug fit.” Sold!

Click HERE for more info.

Switch Tioga $224.95

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Men’s Health rates Switch the best for high impact sports: “like Switch’s entire eyewear line, [Tioga] uses a magnetic system which makes a lens swap as quick as a lighting shift, and the magnetics are strong enough to hold the lens in place—even during rough sports like snowboarding and mountain biking. Frames and lenses are impact resistant, so don’t be afraid to go full-speed. All eyewear includes one pair of polarized lenses and one pair of low-light rose amber lenses.”  We love that you can also order these glasses with prescription lenses.

Click HERE for more info.

Smith PivLock Overdrive $230

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VeryWellFit.com loves the entire Smith Sunglasses line: “In general, you will find interchangeable lenses and maximum coverage without neglecting peripheral vision. The nose pads and temples have non-slip rubber so they stay in place during activity.”  We perused the website and can’t take our eyes off of the PivLock Overdrive. They come in colors that range from simple to totally outrageous (think orange lenses right off of the slopes of PyeongChang!)

Click HERE for more info.

Tifosi Vogel 2.0 $50

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And finally, for those who want great exercise glasses without shelling out tons of cash, Women’s Running recommends Tiofis: “With a frameless design and adjustable ear and nose pads, [these are] impressively light and the lenses are fog-resistant.”  Good news glasses wearers, you can get these with prescription lenses too.

Click HERE for more info.

Not Crossfit, Better than Bootcamp…DUFF on THE BEST FITNESS BLOGS OF 2018

Hey Mount Pleasant and Charleston DUFFNATICS: Looking for something inspirational to read while waiting in line at the bank/carpool/your child’s orthodontist/your turn for the bathroom in the morning?  Spark up your smartphone and put that good time to use!  Read on for our favorite (and often FUNNY) blogs of 2018.

Blog Rec #1: FIT BOTTOMED GIRLS

GreatList explains, “”Jennipher Walters and Erin Whitehead, the brains behind Fit Bottomed Girls, are real women with busy lives who understand that exercise should be enjoyable, not punishment. This popular blog has a lighthearted and practical approach to fitness that we seriously dig. It’s a great combo of real talk, laughs, workouts, motivation, and more.”  And WE love the fact that these fitness fanatics update their workout playlist section with new grooves to get your heart pumping!  To check that out, click HERE.

Blog Rec #2: ACE BLOG

HealthLine recommends The American Council on Exercise blog: “Offering science-backed training and information to U.S. fitness professionals and the general public, the aim of American Council on Exercise (ACE) is to reduce preventable, inactivity-related diseases by 2035. In addition to educational programs and training certifications, the nonprofit group shares in-depth articles by health and fitness experts, from certified professional trainers to college kinesiology professors. Some posts are geared toward fitness pros, like how to find a job as a personal trainer or creating effective treadmill interval workouts. Others feature tips for people looking to get healthy, like when and what to eat when you work out and yoga poses for athletes.”  We personally love the last one!  To read more, click HERE.

Blog Rec #3: OH LADYCAKES

The experts at Self love Ashlae of Oh, Ladycakes “Ashlae’s beautiful blog focuses on fresh, healthy recipes with a dash of travel mixed in—and so does her Instagram feed. It’s all #goals, all the time.” Swoon.  We love here here at DUFF too!  Click HERE for her piece about chocolate protein oats (with full recipe).

Blog Rec #4: THE FITNESSISTA

Medical News Today gets real with their recommendation of The Fitnessista: “The Fitnessista is a healthy lifestyle blog written by Gina Harney, who is a fitness instructor, personal trainer, and weight loss specialist based in San Diego, CA.  Gina is a mom of two, and she shares snippets of her family life on the blog along with quick, effective workouts and healthful recipes that are super speedy to put together.”   We love her article titled, Getting Past The Mom Guilt To Make Time For Your Health.  We all can relate to that!!!

Blog Rec #5: RUNNING OFF THE REESES

Shape loves laughing with Running Off The Reeses: “Cely of Running off the Reeses doesn’t just feature workout tips and tricks (though it provides those too), but it also features funny pictures and captions, and on days when you need extra motivation, photos of hot famous guys, like Javier Bardem or Patrick Dempsey.”  We love their irreverent humor (read: links to hilarious Oscar outtakes) mixed in with reading recommendations like the book Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld.

Not Crossfit, Better than Bootcamp…DUFF on WAYS TO AVOID THE FLU!

It’s February here in the LowCountry and we are in the thick of it: FLU SEASON.  Poor souls all over Charleston and Mount Pleasant laid low with fever, hacking coughs and headaches.  We’ve already posted about avoiding the gym when you’re sick…but how do you actually avoid GETTING SICK?  Read some of our favorite expert tips on how to say well during this epidemic Flu Season!

Flu Tip #1: Pass On That Second Glass

Prevention Magazine explains in their article, 9 Ways Doctors And Nurses Avoid Getting Sick: “According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, studies have shown that excessive alcohol suppresses the immune system by reducing the ability of white blood cells to effectively kill bacteria—so you’d be wise to stick to the recommended one drink per day for women. Alcohol is also dehydrating and can disrupt your sleep—two more ways to lower your defenses. (Already sick? Romy Block, MD, an endocrinologist and assistant professor at Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, says that a single drink can lengthen the duration of the virus by a few days.)”

Flu Tip #2: Get Your Beauty Rest

Psychology Today explains, “That means at least 7 hours a night. Whether you stay up all night one night, or just consistently don’t get enough sleep (even just a few days in a row), sleep deprivation puts a serious damper on your immune system’s ability to fight off infection.”

Flu Tip #3: Get Your Workout ON!

We love this tip from the Today Show!  They explain that as long as you are NOT ALREADY SICK, working out is great for preventing illness: “Moderate exercise…can slash your risk of catching a cold by 27 percent, Korean researchers report. Working out switches on your immune response, possibly by sending a cascade of ‘natural killer cells’ to hunt the rhinovirus.”

Flu Tip #4: Keep Your Workouts CLEAN!

Here at DUFF we are all about keeping up exercise routines in the face of a Flu outbreak…but the trick is to WORK OUT SMART and WORK OUT CLEAN!  The experts at Health Magazine put it perfectly: “”Gyms are crawling with sweaty towels, dirty sneakers and other germy grossness. Instead of sitting directly on a mat or bench…place a clean towel on it first. Any equipment that [you] have to touch—like free weights or bicycle handlebars…clean first with antibacterial wipes.”  So wipe down BEFORE and AFTER you workout.  And be sure to wash your hands after your workout!

Flu Tip #5: Get Your Shot!

And finally, from the Holy Grail of wellness, the CDC recommends: “The best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get vaccinated every year.” And what about people who got the flu IN SPITE of getting vaccinated?  Turns out the shot still helps: “Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, and missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations.” 

And it’s not too late!  If you haven’t already, the FDA explains that it’s still important to get your shot: “Haven’t had your flu shot yet? It’s not too late. And there are still good reasons to get one…when more people get vaccinated, less flu can spread through a community. It can take about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body.”  And since flu season can run as long as late March, you still have PLENTY of time to worry about staying flu free!

Not Crossfit, better than Bootcamp…DUFF on THE BEST SHOES OF 2018!

It’s late January here in the Lowcountry and now that Mount Pleasant and Charleston have thawed out a little bit, we’re BACK ON TRACK with our 2018 fitness goals!  And what better way to bring some inspiration into our workouts than to gear up with the best that 2018 has to offer?

This week we are going to focus on the 5 hottest new shoes of 2018!  Read on to hear what our favorite experts have to say and if you’re convinced, click on the links for more info!

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Reebok Crossfit Nano ($148)

According to Esquire, these black beauties are great for training at the gym: “ Reebok has been dominating the Crossfit sneaker space, crafting shoes that enhance every piece of your WOD. They have a tight, barefoot feel—good for lifts—but aren’t too stiff for suicides.”  These come in Men, Women and Kid sizes so even your smallest trainees can rock them at the gym!

Click HERE for more info and to buy.

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APL Athletic Propulsion Labs Techloom Phantom 3d Mesh Sneakers Gold ($185)

Bring a little bling to your workouts with these sassy shoes that work great for running and at the gym.  The experts at PopSugar explain that these from APL “are a great low-profile shoe that work for the gym and the road.”  (ps. If gold is a little to flashy for your feet, APL offers several other colors including black, plum and peach).

Click HERE for more info and to buy.

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Nike Metcon 4 ($130)

The newest iteration of Nike’s immensely popular Metcon 3 is so amazing that GQ dedicated an entire article singing it’s praises.  Here is, in short, why the experts at GQ have named it “The Best Gym Shoe” for 2018: “It’s a workout sneaker that can handle intensive movements, heavy lifting, and circuit conditioning—and if all that performance support weren’t enough, it’ll also give you a boost of style so that you’re at the top of your game, in and out of the gym.”  These are available in Men, Women and Kid sizes.

Click HERE for more info and to buy.

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New Balance Minimus 20v6 Trainer ($80)

Men’s Fitness explains why they rank this stylish sneaker “Best All-Round”: “Unlike other options, its “burrito tongue” folds from left to right, making the top of the shoe softer and more flexible than others’. This is especially nice for movements like jumping and rowing, which require ankle flexion.”  Not to mention the fact that at under $100, this shoe comes in as our most affordable.

Click HERE for more info and to buy.

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HOKA One One Clifton ($130)

For workout warriors who do some heavy cardio to compliment their weights, New York Magazine interviewed Jen Ator, Fitness Director at Women’s Health Magazine. She recommends Hokas.  While they’re kinda outer-spacey upon first glance, this writeup got us interested to try them out! “ They look big and bulky to put on, but feel amazingly light when running. The toe box is just a touch wider than a standard running shoe, which gives a noticeably more comfortable and relaxed fit without feeling like your foot is sliding or shifting around. And thanks to the ample amount of cushioning packed into the outsole, I have far less aches and pains in my knee compared to other sneakers when running long distances.”

Click HERE for more info and to buy.

Not Crossfit, Better than Bootcamp…DUFF on The Excellence of EGGS!

Most of you know that we’re crazy about eggs here at DUFF.  They’re delicious and easy to make…and it turns out that research shows that eating eggs is GREAT for you!  In fact, regularly including eggs in a well-balanced diet can actually help your workouts at the gym, your physical fitness and overall health.

Read on to discover why we’re EGG-cited about EGGS!

EGGS ARE EASY

With all of the snow and ice hitting the LowCountry last week, a lot of us around Charleston and Mount Pleasant have been stuck inside and scraping by on the dwindling contents of our refrigerators.  And we don’t know about you, but one of the best dinners-of-last-resort has always been to scramble up some eggs!  We almost always have them on hand, they’re easy to make, they are an ingredient in many delicious dishes…

…BUT

Unfortunately, eggs have had a bad rap in the health department—especially during the “Low Fat” craze in the late 90’s, where eggs were vilified for their link to high cholesterol and heart disease.  Picture a giant burger with a sloppy fried egg on top or a pile of scrambled eggs, bacon and sausage. 

But it turns out that the EGGS were not the ones to blame for this unhealthiness—consider it guilt by association.  According to LiveScience, “Research has shown that we usually have our eggs alongside foods high in saturated fat, such as bacon, sausage and buttered toast. This meal pattern raises LDL levels and makes the effect of eating eggs worse than it actually is.”  So while things like Alfredo sauce, fried burgers, sausage and bacon are terrible for your heart, the eggs that accompany them really are not!

EGGS ARE NUTRIENT RICH

According to CNN,  “They contain high-quality protein, meaning eggs offer all nine essential amino acids that can’t be made by humans and therefore must come from our diets. Protein in eggs can help build and preserve muscle as well as boost satiety, both of which are important for weight control.” (Read: AWESOME FOR YOUR WORKOUTS AT THE GYM!!!)

Consumer Reports breaks down the facts: “One large egg gives you 70 calories, 6 grams of protein, 2 grams of saturated fat, about 185 milligrams of cholesterol, and a long list of important nutrients.”  These nutrients include:

  • lecithin (an important component of cell membranes)
  • choline (an essential nutrient that aids brain development)
  • phosvitin (a protein that maintains healthy skin)
  • carotenoids (compounds that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties)

EGGS HELP YOU GET STRONGER

So they’re great for your overall health, but what about at the gym?  It turns out that eating eggs also helps you in your workouts. Muscle and Fitness proclaims: “Few things match nature’s great engineering at packing such nutritional power in such a small, but deliciously satisfying package, particularly for those looking to build muscle or burn fat…[they] have long been recognized and appreciated as a great source of high quality protein, both to the average Joe and those who spend lots of time with the iron in the gym.”

Why is this? Men’s Fitness explains, “Eggs are pretty much the gold standard against which all other proteins are judged.”  And MF explains that protein is pretty much the golden ticket when it comes to an exercise diet: “All the squats and bench presses in the universe won’t get you very far unless you’re consuming muscle-building material—and that means lean, rich, complete protein.”

BodyBuilding.com continues this sentiment: “A bodybuilder’s diet must be much higher in protein than the average persons [and eggs are the answer].  Eggs contain about 6 grams of high quality protein, so high that it is used as the standard by which other foods are measured…[they] also contain all eight essential amino acids needed for optimal muscle recovery and building valuable minerals like calcium, zinc and iron…[and they] are easily digested and absorbed and are extremely useful in ensuring a balanced diet for us bodybuilders.”

Egg-citing Recipes

While eating hardboiled eggs is a no-brainer (come on!  You can actually buy them pre-boiled at the grocery store!), there are lots of fun recipes for before your workouts, after you exercise and for anytime. 

Click on these links for great recipe ideas!

Women’s Health Magazine: Post-workout Egg recipes

Fitness Magazine: 6 Easy Egg Recipes

Egg Nutrition Center: Pre and Post Workout Recipes

Not Crossfit, Better than Bootcamp…DUFF on WORKING OUT SICK!

Hey All!!!!  This is a re-post from last year, but we feel it is SUPER IMPORTANT to repeat this message!

It’s never a good idea to work out SICK!

Read below for more info:

‘TIS THE SEASON

You’ve probably heard it already around Charleston and Mount Pleasant…that hacking cough, those sniffly noses.  It’s Flu Season and germs are spreading like wildfire around schools, offices…and yes, even gyms. People are sick everywhere.

We get it, nobody wants to take time off from your workout routine to nurse a cold.  And exercising usually makes us feel so good…it’s easy to think that a quick trip to the gym might be what the doctor ordered.  But how sick is too sick to workout? Obviously you are the only one who can really be the judge of that.  However, here are some things to keep in mind.

ARE YOU CONTAGIOUS?

The first question you should ask yourself is, are you contagious?  While it’s perfectly okay to get your heart rate pumping when you feel the first signs of a cold coming on, please try to keep other gym-goers (and trainers!) in mind.  Men’s Health puts it this way, “None of the other gym-goers want to catch your cold. That doesn’t mean you need to wear a Hazmat suit on the treadmill, but be mindful of your germs. Make sure to thoroughly wipe down equipment with antiseptic spray after you use it, visit the gym during non-peak hours, and bring your own sweat towel.”

TAKE IT EASY

Instead of hitting the weights, Precision Nutrition suggests taking a modified approach to your routine. Working out at your regular rate can actually cause you harm.  “A structured workout routine — one where you’re breathing heavily, sweating, working hard, and feeling some discomfort — awakens a stress response in the body.  When we’re healthy, our bodies can easily adapt to that stress. Over time, this progressive adaptation is precisely what makes us fitter and stronger.  But when we’re sick, the stress of a tough workout can be more than our immune systems can handle.”   

THE “NECK RULE”

Health Magazine consulted chief health and medical editor at ABC News, Richard Besser, MD to find out how to handle exercise and illness.  Dr. Besser recommends using “the ‘neck rule’: If your symptoms are above the neck—sneezing, sinus pressure, stuffy nose—then breaking a sweat is generally considered safe.” But if your illness has spread to your chest, causes aching muscles or any other symptoms (like dizziness or fatigue), pass on your workout…and if you have a fever, absolutely forget about working out until symptoms subside.  Remember, there is no shame in honoring your body.  If you are ill, your body is telling you that it needs to rest.  DUFF and your routine will be happily waiting for you when you are feeling better!

GET OUTSIDE

So assuming that you DO feel up for some moderate exercise, what are some things that you can do?  The first recommendation is to stay out of the gym.  First of all, you will be sparing your workout peers exposure—and secondly, being around fitness equipment and other people breaking a sweat may cause you to over-do it (which is counter-productive to your health—and can be dangerous).  WebMD warns that“You’ll need to watch out for certain risky situations. Physical activity increases your heart rate, but so can some cold medicines. A combo of exercise and decongestants can cause your heart to pump very hard. You may become short of breath and have trouble breathing.  If you have asthma and a cold, make sure you talk with your doctor before you exercise. It may cause you to cough and wheeze more and make you short of breath.”

So instead of hitting the gym, get outside. The folks at active.com recommends walking: “even just a 20-minute walk can help you reap the benefits of regular exercise, and it may help improve your cold symptoms, as well.”  And if you’re up for it, even light jogging can be okay.  “As long as jogging is part of your regular routine, there’s no reason you need to skip it just because of a mild head cold. You can scale back the intensity of your normal run…since your body is already working in overdrive to help fight off infection.”  Other great options include Hatha yoga and Zumba, but again, be sure to avoid groups and do these activities at home. 

TO SUM IT UP

In a nutshell, it’s okay to workout with a cold (as long as an honest self-assessment proves that you’re up for it), just don’t do it around people!  Active puts it this way: ”If you would not like the person next to you on the treadmill or who finishes before you on the elliptical to be sneezing and coughing and wiping their nose, than do your fellow gym mates a favor and do a lighter workout at home, instead. Germs can spread easily on machines and in the locker room…so it’s best to stay away while you’re contagious.”

Not Crossfit, Better than Bootcamp…DUFF on STARTING YOUR NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS NOW!

In a few weeks, Mount Pleasant and Charleston will be abuzz with the talk of New Year Resolutions.  For some reason, society at large has decided that January 1st is THE DAY to start a new, healthier routine: to start going to the gym to exercise more, to stop eating and drinking unhealthy things, to begin to take on those projects you’ve been putting off, take more group fitness classes, more sessions with your personal trainer…

And here at DUFF, we are ALL ABOUT celebrating a healthy lifestyle!  BUT if you have noticed the tree at the front of the gym, we have asked all of our clients to write down a FITNESS GOAL to work on in the new year.  So why, in the mix of the holidays should you start thinking about goals now? 

Read on to see why NOW is the time to start working on your NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS!

GET A JUMP START on the NEW YEAR

The experts at Forbes ask the perfect question: “What can you do now to accelerate those goals so you hit the ground running on January 1?”  We’re all about action at DUFF and we love the idea that even though you may be indulging in the holidays right now, that if you have a healthy goal and plan set, when it’s time to put it in action, you’ll be READY!

TAKE THE PRESSURE OFF THE NEW YEAR

BuzzFeed has another good point.  Beyond just being ready, having a plan in action before the big day will make you more likely to follow through with it all: “[Having a plan will] help take the pressure off of January 1st — off all of 201[8] — to begin ahead of schedule. Humans literally invented the concept of time! And so while dates on a calendar can be comforting and compartmentalizing, they can also be much too rigid when it comes to the messy and non-linear work of personal change.”

WAITING FOR THE NEW YEAR WASTES TIME

The Power of Positivity continues this point: “In a sense, if you postpone your goals to a later date, you will lose valuable time that you could spend to manifest your dreams. Think of how much you can get done between now and the new year. For example, imagine that you want to adopt a healthier lifestyle that includes more fruits and vegetables and a regular exercise routine. You could start feeling more vibrant and having more energy now instead of waiting until the new year, and you will feel accomplished knowing you beat everyone else to the punch and started your New Year’s resolutions early!”

STARTING BEFORE THE NEW YEAR MEANS LESS WORK 

Plus the earlier you begin, the less work you will actually have to do! This is especially true at the gym.  Shape Magazine sums it up perfectly: “The Statistic Brain Research Institute also found that 21.4 percent of people cite losing weight or eating healthier as their New Year’s resolution. With that in mind, waiting until January 1 can actually set you back, making it harder to achieve your goal.” 

The article quotes creator of Dr. Di Fit Life, Dianah Lake, M.D.: “Many people gain 5 to 7 pounds during the holidays because of poor food choices and more alcohol intake,” so it continues, “It’s no secret that the holidays are a challenging time when it comes to eating healthy, and waiting until the start of the new year can result in giving yourself a free pass that you just don’t need. (Read: feeling more inclined to eat that cheesecake now, since you know you won’t have it in January.)… 

If you start building healthy habits now, you’ll have strategies in place to avoid or minimize unhealthy food choices during the holidays, explains Dr. Lake. By doing so, you can stop bad habits from pushing you farther away from your goals—and continuing to make healthy choices will be that much easier come January, when holiday temptations are no more.”

NEW YEARS IN A NUTSHELL

So with all this in mind, we by all means recommend enjoying the holidays.  But instead of putting your New Years Goals off until January 1st, come by the gym and write them down!  Before you jump into our group fitness class, hang your goal on the tree!  By putting it in writing, it will give you the chance to start processing your plans and possibly (even if subconsciously) starting them a bit earlier than January 1st.  As the experts have shown, by starting the process early, you are mentally preparing yourself, getting a jump start and quite possibly making less work for yourself in the long-run.  And we all know that resolutions that are easier to follow are easier to keep!

Not Crossfit, Better than Bootcamp…DUFF on BEING HAPPY!

We all know that giving back is good for the world around us.  Last year we did a blog post recounting the health benefits we all get from volunteering and gave some great volunteering opportunities around Charleston and Mount Pleasant (to see that article click HERE).  According to CreatingtheGood.com, “From lowering stress to boosting self-confidence, volunteering offers many health benefits—especially for older adults.” And The Cleveland Clinic agrees and explains that volunteering leads to benefits like lower blood pressure, increased self-esteem, less depression, lower stress levels, longer life and greater happiness. In essence, volunteering can make you happy. 

This year, in the spirit of the holidays, we thought it would be fun to go beyond just volunteering and explore how HAPPY PEOPLE ARE HEALTHIER.

PEOPLE WITH PURPOSE ARE HAPPY

The relationship between volunteering and happiness makes sense.  Giving back helps people find higher meaning in life.  Forbes explains: “A new study from Northwestern…finds that people who have a purpose in life have an unwitting benefit: They sleep better at night…having a purpose in life is also linked to having a longer life, according to a large study in The Lancet a few years ago…”

WHY ARE HAPPY PEOPLE HEALTHY?

According to The Harvard School of Health, we begin to understand this phenomenon by looking at its opposite:  “A vast scientific literature has detailed how negative emotions harm the body. Serious, sustained stress or fear can alter biological systems in a way that, over time, adds up to “wear and tear” and, eventually, illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Chronic anger and anxiety can disrupt cardiac function by changing the heart’s electrical stability, hastening atherosclerosis, and increasing systemic inflammation.” 

So we get it.  Unhappy people are less healthy for a host of reasons.  But on the flip-side,  Science Daily states: “People who report positive emotions are less likely to catch colds and also less likely to report symptoms when they do get sick. This held true regardless of their levels of optimism, extraversion, purpose and self-esteem, and of their age, race, gender, education, body mass or pre-study immunity to the virus.”

Science is not exactly sure WHY happier people are healthier, but The Daily Mail explains: “Researchers from the universities of Utah and Virginia analyzed numerous studies that investigated a link between happiness and health.  Results revealed that in 65 percent of the studies, a sunny disposition is related to improved health and wellbeing. It may be that happier people are more inclined to live a healthy lifestyle by exercising regularly, eating well and not smoking, according to the researchers.”  So in a nutshell, happy people tend to make healthier decisions.

SO COME ON GET HAPPY!

What do we need to do to be happy?  Here are some expert recommendations:

Eat well and Sleep Well!

Real Simple keeps it just that…SIMPLE! The best way to treat yourself is by TAKING CARE OF YOURSELF:  “start with the basics, like going to sleep at a decent hour and not letting [your]self get too hungry. Science backs this up; these two factors have a big impact on happiness.”

Remember to Breathe

The Daily Burn explains, “No matter what kind of foul state you’re in, connecting with your breath is one of the easiest ways to come back to the present moment and feel better — fast.”

Make the Choice

WebMD reminds us that we have more control over our emotions than we often give ourselves credit for: “You can choose to be happy…How? In part, by simply making the effort to monitor the workings of your mind. [M]ake a conscious choice to boost your happiness.”

Get Moving

DUFFNATICS, this is a obviously our favorite tip!  Self Magazine speaks our fitness language: “Research has found that a mere 20-minute workout can produce more subtle mood benefits that last as long as 12 hours!”  So get to the gym and get your heart rate pumping!

Give Back

Finishing where we started, there is no better way to boost your mood than to help others!

Not Crossfit, Better than Bootcamp…DUFF on THE NEED FOR SLEEP!

In this season of end-of-the-year-issues at work, finals for kids and holiday obligations—not to mention all of the parties—it’s no wonder that most of us aren’t getting enough sleep!   And while it may be tempting to skip some zzz’s to get in some more online shopping, finalizing that report or stopping by that last party, it turns out that missing sleep does more than just make you tired…missing sleep can have lasting impacts on your health. 

Read on to hear WHY getting sleep is important (no matter what time of year!) and WHAT HAPPENS to your body when you DON’T get enough!

Why Sleep is Important

We consulted How Things Work who gives three main reasons:

  1. It gives the body a chance to repair muscles and other tissues, replace aging or dead cells, etc.
  2. It gives the brain a chance to organize and archive memories. Dreams are thought by some to be part of this process.
  3. It lowers our energy consumption, so we need three meals a day rather than four or five. Since we can’t do anything in the dark anyway, we might as well “turn off” and save the energy.

What Happens if You Miss a Night of Sleep

We’ve all pulled an all-nighter or two in our day but it turns out that we should reconsider next time we decide to push through a night without sleep.  The Today Show (and several other sources) cite a Swedish study that indicates that even missing a single night of sleep can mess with your health: “After a restless night people think they can make up for the lost sleep by going to bed early and sleeping in the next day. This certainly helps people feel rested, but a new study finds that just one night of sleep deprivation negatively impacts metabolism and cellular biological clocks. ‘When [participants] had been sleep deprived and it was only one night … their glucose levels were at the level where you would say there is an increased risk of diabetes,’ says Dr. Jonathan Cedernaes, a neuroscientist from Uppsala University in Sweden and an author of the paper in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.”

What Happens if You Consistently Skip Sleep

HealthLine gives a sobering list of 10 consequences of missing shut-eye.  These include:

  1. Increasing your chance of getting sick
  2. Increasing your chances of coronary artery disease
  3. Putting yourself at higher risk for Breast, Colorectal and Prostate Cancers
  4. Impairing your brain function
  5. Impairing your memory
  6. Diminishing your libido
  7. Causing your to gain weight
  8. Increasing your risk of Diabetes
  9. Putting yourself at risk of getting in accidents (auto, job-related, injuries)
  10. Your start looking older sooner (YIKES!)

So How Much Sleep Do We Need?

According to the CDC, “More than a third of American adults are not getting enough sleep on a regular basis, according to a new study in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.”  With that many people not getting enough shuteye, it seems like it’s important to clarify here exactly HOW MUCH REST IS ENOUGH. 

The Sleep Foundation has provided a helpful infographic to help us figure this out based on our age, gender and activity level:

STREPchanges_1

Tips on Getting Better Sleep

So how do we get enough rest?  Especially during these crazy holiday months? 

The Mayo Clinic offers these six helpful tips:

  1. Stick to a sleep schedule
  2. Pay attention to what you eat and drink: “Don’t go to bed hungry or stuffed. In particular, avoid heavy or large meals within a couple of hours of bedtime. Your discomfort might keep you up.  Nicotine, caffeine and alcohol deserve caution, too.”
  3. Create a restful environment: “Create a room that’s ideal for sleeping. Often, this means cool, dark and quiet. Exposure to light might make it more challenging to fall asleep. Avoid prolonged use of light-emitting screens just before bedtime. Consider using room-darkening shades, earplugs, a fan or other devices to create an environment that suits your needs.”
  4. Limit daytime naps
  5. Include physical activity in your daily routine: “Regular physical activity can promote better sleep. Avoid being active too close to bedtime, however. Spending time outside every day might be helpful, too.”
  6. Manage worries: “Try to resolve your worries or concerns before bedtime. Jot down what’s on your mind and then set it aside for tomorrow. Stress management might help. Start with the basics, such as getting organized, setting priorities and delegating tasks. Meditation also can ease anxiety.”

Not Crossfit, Better than Bootcamp…DUFF on HEALTHY HOLIDAY DESSERTS!

We don’t know about you but we are still glowing in the aftermath of our DUFFTASTIC Holiday Oyster Roast.  DUFFNATICS from all over Mount Pleasant and Charleston came to the gym with their favorite holiday dishes, we ate oysters and sipped libations…let’s just say it was a very merry evening!  But we also have to admit that we’re in a bit of a FOOD COMA which led us to wonder, is there a way to do holiday decadence without all the guilt?

The short answer:  not totally!  It’s important to let go and have some great food and drink on occasion.  BUT in the era of a holiday party (or two!) each and every weekend in the month of December it’s important to find a way around all of these holiday CALORIES…and lucky for us, our favorite experts provided! 

Read on to get 5 healthy takes on Holiday Desserts.

(note that all of these desserts are UNDER 200 CALORIES per serving!)

Healthy Holiday Dessert #1: REAL Coconut Snowballs

Amber from Dessert Now, Dinner Later! shares one of her favorite kid-friendly recipes on SuperHealthyKids.com:

realcoconutsnowballsrecipe

To see the recipe online, click HERE.

Healthy Holiday Dessert #2: Strawberry Santa Hats

The Snack Girl found this adorable recipe on the California Strawberry Facebook Page: “Santa Hats are fun to make and SO much easier than making Christmas cookies. No mixing and baking here! Just slice and add some whipped cream.”

strawberryhatsrecipe

To see the recipe online, click HERE.

Healthy Holiday Dessert #3: Buttermilk Pralines

Health Magazine has devised a brilliant alternative to this typically rich treat: “Shhh. Don’t tell anyone our version has a fraction of the fat and calories of a traditional praline. Even better, they last up to two weeks in an airtight container.”

buttermilkpralines

To see the recipe online, click HERE.

Healthy Holiday Dessert #4: Candied Pumpkin Seeds

Healthy Green Kitchen recommends a treat that is as savory as it is sweet: “These fiber and zinc-rich goodies are perfect for topping salads and side dishes. They are also wonderful eaten on their own.”

candiedpumpkinseeds

To see the recipe online, click HERE.

Healthy Holiday Dessert #5: Chocolate Yule Log

Cooking Light, the masters of making decadent treats decent has transformed this Christmas classic into something actually healthy…ish: “We’ve managed to transform naughty numbers into nice with this incredibly rich dark-chocolate sponge cake filled with a delicate, yogurt-lightened whipped cream. We cut sugar in half, letting the intensity of the chocolate in the sponge cake shine—go ahead and splurge on a higher-quality bar for this recipe. The thick, creamy texture of Greek yogurt complements the whipped cream quite perfectly, with a fraction of the sat fat and calories. Skip the powdered sugar dusting, and use fresh raspberries, mini pinecones, fresh pine needles, or even fresh mint to decorate. Add 1⁄4 teaspoon peppermint extract to the whipped cream filling for a cool, minty kick.”

chocolate yule log

To see the recipe online, click HERE.

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