10 Spring Cleaning Tips to Help Make Your Life More Joyful

10 Spring Cleaning Tips to Help Make Your Life More Joyful

Spring cleaning is all about getting rid of the old and making room for the new! It’s a season for change. A time to make things fresh again. But, how did spring cleaning become such a tradition?

The History of Spring Cleaning

According to an article published by Country Living1 referencing an article that was published by the Washington Post, the annual tradition of spring-cleaning dates back to the 1800s when housekeepers would have to clean the dirt that had collected in the home from the cold winter months.

Soot and grime would collect, lamps were lit with whale oil or kerosene, and needless to say, things got messy. In order to clean the mess up, windows would be opened to let in the fresh air and let out the dirt and soot. Of course, opening up the windows meant the weather had to be nicer.

However, there are also religious origins associated with spring cleaning in Jewish, Christian and Iranian customs. Each consist of a special type of cleaning that takes place in honor of a religious holiday.

And probably the most obvious of all reasons is that in the winter the weather is colder and the sky is murkier, which makes us sleepier – not to mention that the days are shorter! Energy is hard to be found during the winter months, so once the sun starts showing itself again and our bodies begin feeling recharged, it’s easier to wake up and feel an urge to start wiping away all that extra dust you may start noticing around the house.

Spring Cleaning Tips

Whatever your reason for spring cleaning is, it’s always good to try switching things up, whether that’s spring cleaning your home, your fitness routine, or your nutritional habits! (Did those warm winter comfort foods add on a few extra pounds?)

Check out our list of some helpful ways you can spring clean your health and fitness routines!

Spring Clean Your Fitness Routine Tip #1

Here comes the sun, do doo do do.

Staying active doesn’t have to just mean staying active in the gym! Living a healthy lifestyle means staying active indoors and outdoors! When the weather starts looking nice, head outside for some fresh air and to try a new exercise – switching up your fitness routine can help prevent your body from hitting a weight loss plateau.

Spring Clean Your Fitness Routine Tip #2

Out with the old, in with the new!

Are you a cardio person or more of a weightlifter? Chances are you probably prefer one over the other, but both are needed for a balanced fitness routine! Try switching it up and add some more weight training to your routine or cardio if that’s where you normally struggle. Change can do the body good, and there’s no better time than spring cleaning to get started with something new!

Spring Clean Your Fitness Routine Tip #3

HIIT the Ground Running

Spring cleaning your fitness routine doesn’t necessarily mean trying an entirely new activity. It could be something as simple as switching up your interval training. Perhaps try shorter, high-intensity workouts a couple times a week and combine those with longer, steadier workouts throughout the week.

Find a HIIT by LAF® studio near you.

Spring Clean Your Fitness Routine Tip #4

The Early Bird Gets the Gains?

A workout is a workout no matter the time of day, but if you’re used to going to the gym after work, try going first thing in the morning – dare we suggest even before your morning cup of coffee? Or if you’re used to mornings, try going after work and sweating off some of that post work stress. Changing up the time you go to the gym helps keep things fresh and can help break you out of your normal routine.

Spring Clean Your Fitness Routine Tip #5

Spring into Sports!

Are you a fan of sports? Try joining a recreational sports league to help keep yourself active while also trying something new! Sometimes, participating in sports is a great way to forget you’re working out while also having fun. LA Fitness offers a variety of club leagues – ask the front desk about it today!

Join a league.

Spring Clean Your Fitness Routine Tip #6

Group Fitness Fun

If you haven’t tried a Group Fitness class yet, now is the time! There are countless options available at various times throughout the day. Try an activity you’ve never done before and give it a chance – it could become one of your new favorite exercises. Plus, having a class support group and trained instructors cheering you on can help keep you motivated on days that you’re losing steam.

Find a group fitness class for you, here!

Spring Clean Your Fitness Routine Tip #7

We. Dare. You.

Are you up for a challenge? Sign up for a race! It’s a great way to train for an event and embrace your competitive side. Plus, cardio is great for the heart and building endurance. Even if you’re not a fan of long distance running, there are plenty of 5ks available year around. Check out what’s local to you!

Spring Clean Your Fitness Routine Tip #8

Grab a Moving Buddy.

Friends who train together make waves together. Swap out after work happy hour for flex hour at the gym. Not only does having a gym buddy help keep you accountable, but it can be a lot more encouraging than working out solo. Try inviting a friend to join you for a sweat sesh and set mini challenges for each other for some friendly fun.

Invite a friend.

Spring Clean Your Fitness Routine Tip #9

Train. Harder.

Do you feel like you have a pretty good grasp on fitness by now? Try elevating your fitness routine by working with a personal trainer. Adding a trainer to your routine can help you train harder, add variety to your workouts, and push you to step outside your comfort zone.

Sources:

  1. Carter, Maria. “How Spring Cleaning Became an Annual Tradition.” Country Living, Country Living, 24 Jan. 2018, www.countryliving.com/home-maintenance/a38381/how-spring-cleaning-became-a-tradition/.

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 Give Me Strength Training – Podcast Ep. 19

 Give Me Strength Training – Podcast Ep. 19


Welcome to the 19th episode of the Living Healthy podcast, presented by LA Fitness.

On this episode of Living Healthy, we speak with LA Fitness, Personal Training Director, Mark Joseph de Guzman, who educates us on the importance of strength training.

Let us know how we’re doing by tweeting us @LAFitness using the hashtag #LivingHealthyPodcast or send us an email at blog@fitnessintl.com.

This podcast should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Timecard Markers – Give Me Strength Training – Podcast Ep. 19

Intro

Begins at 0:01

Personal Training Director, Mark Joseph de Guzman joins the show

Begins at 0:33

Let’s Define Strength Training – Do Bodyweight Exercises Count?

0:52

How Does Strength Training Build the Muscle?

1:41

Can Strength Training Improve Metabolism?

2:45

What Type of Protein is Best for Building Muscle?

4:41

How Much Protein Should Be Consumed Per Day?

5:26

FACT or FICTION: Will Girls Get Bulky from Strength Training?

6:58

What Should Bodybuilders Do to Bulk?

8:01

What is the Average PT Client Looking to Accomplish?

9:46

Different Types of Strength Training: Does One Work Better Than Another?

10:31

What Is Muscle Confusion?

11:10

Rest Days and Strength Training

13:22

What is the Best Thing to Do for Your Muscles After Strength Training?

15:24

How Does Strength Training Affect the Blood? 

17:05

How Important is it to Train the Entire Body? 

18:07

Why Do Bodybuilders Oil Themselves Up So Much?

19:25

Actionable Advice

20:50

Outro

22:00


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Celebrating International Women’s Day: What Women Need to Know About Their Health

Celebrating International Women’s Day: What Women Need to Know About Their Health

“Take control of your health. How you or your body responds to something may be very different from your friend, neighbor or the gal standing in front of you at the coffee shop, so try not to worry or compare yourself to others. You have only one life to live, make it your own and make it your best!”

Kimberly P., MD

Family Medicine Physician , Kaiser Permanente Santa Monica Office

What do women commonly overlook when it comes to paying attention to their health?

KP: Women often care for others’ health care needs before tending to their own. We are great at taking family members to the doctor and we call a friend when they’re sick. However, if it’s us getting sick, we call a friend or research “Dr. Google” and get scared when we read something on the Internet.

Going to the doctor is sometimes last on our list. Some of us are too embarrassed or too busy, and others of us are too afraid to hear what the doctor has to say. But regular checkups are so important as are regular physicals to prevent disease. What’s most important is to listen to your body and seek medical care when you think it may be trying to tell you something. But also, lean on your doctor to guide you through your health concerns.

Are there certain diseases that women are more susceptible to that women should be screened for on a regular basis? How often should those checkups be?

KP: I generally encourage all patients to come in every year for at least a checkup. Discussing your diet, exercise, lifestyle, checking to make sure your vaccinations are up-to-date, and having a blood pressure check can prompt conversation for continued health maintenance and surveillance. Tests such as diabetes screening, cholesterol, liver, kidneys, thyroid, and others may be discussed with your primary care physician as well as the interval they are recommended, curtailed individually for you. Blood tests are not necessarily required annually unless there is a medical reason, concern or symptom your doctor wants to check.

There are some screenings that are designed specifically for women.  For example, while both men and women can acquire the HPV virus through sexual intercourse, the HPV virus can also make women susceptible to cervical cancer. For this reason, women are encouraged to undergo regular cervical cancer screenings called pap smears. It is now recommended to start after the age of 21 and to have a pap smear every 3 years between the ages of 21-29 and every 5 years between the ages of 30 to 65, unless instructed otherwise by your doctor or with a history of abnormal prior test results.

Breast cancer screening is also important and I recommend annual breast exams with most of my patients who are in their mid-20s and older. The USPTF advises starting mammograms at age 50 and every 2 years after that.  Some women may choose to start this screening at age 40 or possibly even younger (if needed) because of personal or family history but this should be discussed with your doctor.

Lastly, we recommend all female patients of child-bearing age to have STD screenings when sexually active, especially when unprotected. Exposure to chlamydia and/or gonorrhea can lead to scarring and fertility concerns for women if left untreated.

When it comes to improving mental health, what are some tips that women (and men) can do to improve their mental well-being?

Good mental health is essential for all people, men and women alike. Our mental health affects more than just our mood. It also affects our energy, sleep, concentration, productivity, relationships, work, weight, eating habits, and so many more things in our daily lives.  Depression and anxiety are experienced by most women at least once in their lives and 1 in 5 will have experienced it within the past 12 months. My recommendations are to stay active and try to exercise regularly. Starting with something easy and not overly daunting such as 30 minutes, 3-5 times per week is a great starting place. If you can’t make it to a gym, get out of the house for some fresh air, take a walk and stretch! This will help open up your chest and your heart. Find what works best for you whether its yoga, or for me, boxing. There are so many options to explore, see if anything can strike your fancy and help protect your mental wellbeing. Exercise helps promote endorphins- the brain’s natural pain killer- enhancing mood and sleep – and it can show you great results that can, with time, improve the way you feel.

Meditation is also a wonderful practice for mental wellbeing. It can help gain perspective, reflection, and mindfulness. Lastly, don’t be afraid to talk to someone! Whether it’s a friend, religious figure or getting professional counseling, there are people who care and resources to help, especially in time of crisis.

Everyone’s body is different, but when it comes to the general health for women, are there certain foods they should be eating? Increase in their diet?

KP: First and foremost, try to avoid fad diets. Life is about moderation. It’s OK to treat yourself every once in a while, but find a meal plan that works right for you; something you can sustain and is easy to follow for you. Be mindful of portion size and ingredients that are on the labels. Read the whole label!  When possible try to stick to foods that are low in inflammation. Chose nutrition dense foods such as green veggies. Reduce your intake of sugars and processed foods, and opt for whole grains, lean proteins, and leafy greens. Here are some other tips:

  • Eat Fiber
    • Beans, peas, lentils, and peanuts are great examples. These foods are a great source of fiber and protein and high-fiber diets have been linked with good intestinal health and bowel regularity, decreased cardiovascular disease, are high in isoflavone (soybeans are the highest), and can help reduce PMS and menopausal symptoms.
  • Eat Yogurt
    • Low-fat yogurt can be beneficial to the intestines as a probiotic to help reduce inflammation in the digestive tract.
  • Protect your heart
    • 2-3 servings per week of fatty fish (Omega 3 fatty acids: DHA and EPA) such as salmon, sardines, and mackerel can help as an anti-inflammatory for many disease processes including heart disease and stroke.
  • Get Vitamin D
    • This includes low-fat milk, fish (as listed above) and certain juices. You want to be taking in at least 800 iu daily. For those of us who do not have the time spend basking in the sunlight and naturally building or vitamin D levels (sunscreen also reduces natural vitamin D absorption), a diet rich in vitamin D can help with fatigue, calcium absorption and reduce the risk of various disease processes in our body.
  • The Power of Berries
    • Eat fruits such as blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and cranberries. They have a high level of vitamin C and folic acid, but also offer a powerful source of antioxidant (protecting the heart and skin, for example) and an anticancer nutrient called Anthocyanin which helps in cell repair.
  • Eat Red Fruits
    • Tomatoes, watermelon, red grapefruit, and navel oranges provide lycopene, which is a powerful antioxidant.

What vitamins are essential for women? Is it better to consume these in daily supplements or in day-to-day foods?

KP: It is best to get your vitamins and micronutrients in your diet rather than chasing after supplements.  Your body is an amazing tool and can more effectively extract the nutrients it needs from the foods you consume than by getting it thru a supplement. However, there are a few diagnoses that may require vitamins:

For example, if you have a diagnosis of osteoporosis, then Calcium and Vitamin D are helpful in bone health. Also, vitamins are essential for women when they are planning to conceive or are pregnant. Taking a daily prenatal vitamin to ensure adequate folic acid and B vitamins are essential.

If my patients really want to take any supplements I encourage Vitamin D, Omega 3 and fiber.  These are the most common things lacking in normal American diets, and even a multivitamin does not provide this for you. A daily multivitamin is generally not necessary.

If you are still not convinced please consult your doctor but always be careful when taking over the counter supplements. Sometimes, taking too much can lead to complications such as liver, kidney or heart disorders that you would have never otherwise known or expected.

Responses provided by Kimberly Petrick, MD, Family Medicine Physician at the Kaiser Permanente Santa Monica Office. Some slight grammatical adjustments were made. 


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Are Supplements Really Necessary to Be Successful in the Gym?

Are Supplements Really Necessary to Be Successful in the Gym?

During my time as a writer for LA Fitness, my knowledge of nutrition, fitness, and health topics has grown considerably. As a certified personal trainer, I usually feel comfortable sharing my insights on fitness topics. Yet, there are still questions that I need help answering. My latest query is this:

Are supplements really necessary in order to be successful in the gym?

Personally, I do not take any supplements, and I live a very active lifestyle both inside and outside of the gym. Instead, I choose to focus on maintaining a fairly balanced diet. I choose to eat foods that help fuel me while also allowing myself some “cheat days” – which I know some people disagree with – however, that’s what works best for me.

Because everyone is wired differently, my approach may not be what works for you. When it comes to creating a personalized fitness or nutrition plan, it’s best to speak with a personal trainer or registered dietitian. However, supplements are one of those things that I have found very confusing to educate myself on, mainly because I think of them like vitamins and I get my vitamins naturally, rather than taking a vitamin supplement.

Needless to say, I wanted to reach out to a few experts on the matter.

The Trainer


 

“Supplements are the elephant in the room when it comes to the gym scene. The first thing you should always do is to check with your physician and have them do the proper testing to see if you have any deficiencies. Depending on those results or documented family history, you may need to add certain vitamins or mineral supplements to your daily caloric intake. A common example would be pregnant women, who typically get put on prenatal vitamins along with additional iron supplements as they go through their pregnancy. However, if your diet consists of the proper amount of lean meats, fruits, and vegetables, most people should be in a position where additional supplements are not needed to keep up with the individual’s active lifestyle.

The more commonly thought of supplements in our gym world are the performance-enhancing types, such as steroids, creatine, and other performance-enhancing drinks, pills, or injections. While these supplements have been documented to show immediate improvements in one’s overall strength and performance gains, they traditionally result in long term negative effects such as hormonal deficiencies. I never recommend any member or client take these types of supplements unless they have been prescribed by their doctor. For instance, these supplements are sometimes prescribed by surgeons as part of the rehabilitation program after undergoing some kind of major surgery where the supplement will aid in the rapid growth and strength of muscles, which aids in the healing process. Again, these supplements should be avoided as much as possible, generally speaking. You can get all the ‘amp’ and ‘steam’ you need from a proper diet.” – LA Fitness Master Trainer, Geoff Fox

The Dietitian 


 

“Just as you can get in a good workout without ever lifting up a free weight or stepping on a treadmill, you can get good exercise performance without having to take supplements. A sound diet balanced in nutrients with good hydration supports general exercise goals for non-athletes just fine. Now, healthy adults that are already fit and toned, who fuel right and would like to take it to the next level may benefit from that extra push a sports supplement can provide. They might utilize creatine, glutamine or a protein powder high in branched-chain amino acids to start. Also, caffeine can be a boost to those training for endurance.” – Debbie James, RDN

The Doctor 


 

“Supplements are a highly unregulated area with few randomized, placebo-controlled trials to warrant their effectiveness. For supplements in which we do have good quality data, they have been found to rarely live up to the hype. Furthermore, we want to be cautious and consider what medications one is taking because supplements can sometimes interact and change the effectiveness of medication. Always follow the directions of your doctor, particularly when it comes to taking supplements when you’re also taking medications. The big concern around supplements is that the label may not always reflect what is in the product.  When it comes to “being successful at the gym”, everyone is looking for the edge. The thought is that supplements may help in getting to the goal faster. However, healthy eating and exercise should not be a goal but a lifestyle. Habits are what create lasting change and success. Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts in this journey. At Kaiser Permanente, we believe the key to healthy living is to sleep more, move more, stress less and consider increasing how many greens you eat, such as a plant-based diet. That’s it. This is what research has repeatedly shown to optimize our health.”  – Sean Hashmi, M.D., nephrologist and adult weight management lead, Kaiser Permanente Woodland Hills Medical Center

The Results


 

From our three experts, it looks like the overall answer is that supplements are not necessary in order to be successful in the gym, but they could be helpful for certain people, depending on your fitness lifestyle and goals.

However, supplements can be dangerous if you’re taking the wrong type. So, before you choose to take any supplement, be sure to fully understand what’s in it and how it affects your body.

A healthy diet combined with a balanced nutrition plan should give you the nutrients and energy you need to build a healthy body for yourself. However, this generalized advice may not apply to those with certain medical conditions, so always follow the recommendations of your doctor.


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Does Love Really Affect the Heart?

Does Love Really Affect the Heart?

Ah, love. Is there anything more freeing than the feeling of being completely, utterly, and hopelessly in love? When suddenly, the world seems calmer, colors seem brighter, and you just can’t hide the smile that stays stuck to your face. True love is pretty wonderful because it makes us the best version of ourselves – and often, the best version of ourselves makes others want to be the best version of themselves. It’s an ooey-gooey cheesy feeling that is truly amazing.

Reflecting upon how good love makes us feel inside, we reached out to American Heart Association volunteer John A. Osborne, MD, PhD, the director of Preventive Cardiology at State of The Heart Cardiology in Dallas, TX to understand if these feel-good feelings actually affect the heart.

Dr. Osborne, is this true, does love really have an effect on the heart?

Absolutely!  As anyone who has ever been in love (or read about it) knows!  It not only makes one’s heart “pitter-patter” and makes us feel wondrous, it may actually be good for your heart health!  When you are in love (and feel loved), one’s blood pressure responds to that peace and calm and may translate to lower blood pressure.  High Blood Pressure is the most common form of cardiovascular disease and affects about one-half of US adults.  If this “silent killer” is not identified, treated, and controlled, it could take between 5 to 7 years off the average lifespan!  In fact, those who are married or in long -term supportive relationships live longer and have better recoveries if they do encounter heart problems.  Patients who have a good social support system had better recoveries and survival rates after bypass surgery than those who did not.  This survival benefit also extends to our four-legged friends as well!  Don’t forget about them on Valentine’s Day either!

What about the opposite – can you really die of a broken heart?

The short answer is yes!  Only in the 1980s was this described in the medical literature, although for centuries that concept of “dying from a broken heart” has been well described in literature, operas, plays, and, most recently, movies!  It is called “Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy” and is more common in women and looks like a typical heart attack, but in this case, there are no blockages in the blood vessels unlike how the vast majority of heart attacks occur.  It is felt that a sudden, massive release of catecholamines (the stress hormones such as epinephrine, norepinephrine, and other stress hormones) can cause severe vasoconstriction of the blood vessels to the heart and cause a heart attack, heart damage, heart failure, and even sudden death!   Fortunately, if diagnosed properly and with appropriate medical care, the damage can be prevented, and our heart can heal itself with time and medications.

What are some ways you can make your heart feel happier and stronger?

A good diet (the Mediterranean Diet was voted, yet again, the best overall diet in 2019) and regular exercise along with a no tobacco lifestyle are the foundations for excellent cardiovascular and all-around health.  A small amount of dark chocolate – with its blood pressure lowering anti-oxidants, flavonols, and catechins, and best of all shared with your loved one(s) – can’t hurt!  The AHA has a great app to help with this called “My Cardiac Coach” that is available for your smartphone and large number of resources on the web at www.heart.org.

Responses above provided by American Heart Association volunteer, John A. Osborne, MD, Ph.D., the director of Preventive Cardiology at State of The Heart Cardiology in Dallas, TX. 


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