healthy

8 Reasons to Run Outside

For many, running is one of the greatest pleasures in life. As children we learned to run by chasing our friends, playing sports, or running after pets. We ran because we could and because we wanted to, not simply because we needed to stay in shape. For some people this is still true, but for others reasons may be different. Whatever the reason you have for running, it is a great one. Running is one of the simplest forms of exercise, yet is also one of the best for you. Besides the obvious health effects that you can get from running, there are many other lucrative reasons why people should run, and run more! My personal preference is running outside.  Here are 8 reasons to run outside:

1. Change of Scenery

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If you, like me, aren’t a fan of running laps around a track, running outside may be your best option. Running outdoors gives you the chance to see things that you have never seen and take in views. It can make running much more enjoyable when you are able to run through nice and interesting areas, thus making what may initially be viewed as pure exercise a little more fun. Running outside also brings the added benefit of exposure to sunlight, which when managed correctly (wear appropriate sun protection) can bring lots of added health benefits such as increased Vitamin D!

2. Save Money

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Besides saving you trips to the doctor by improving your health and decreasing the risk of disease, running can help to save you valuable cash. Gym memberships can be very expensive, whereas running outside is a very inexpensive thing to do. Running only requires a pair of shoes which you would have needed to go the gym anyways!

3. Do it Anywhere

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One of the great advantages of running is that it can be done anywhere. All you need is land, which unless you live on a boat is all around you! Sometimes you don’t have the time to commit to driving to and from the gym along with the allotted time for your exercise. Running can easily be done in very small intervals, allowing for the maximization of your time. The ability to get up and go also is a bonus for people who may not have the motivation to get up and get to the gym. Simply having to put on clothes and shoes is much easier to do!

4. Improve your Brain and Body

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Studies have shown that regular exercise can boost the circulation and flow of nutrients and oxygen to the brain.  People who get out and run tend to have lower levels of stress, and thus have decreased risk of diabetes, heart attack, and other ailments. Running also lowers high blood pressure, making runners healthier overall than those who do not run. Cardiovascular disease is much lower in people who exercise regularly

5. Sleep Better

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For those who may have trouble sleeping, running can be a great cure. Running helps to reduce stress and anxiety, thus making falling asleep easier. Your body heat is also raised during a run, and when it drops down to normal post-run, this can make you tired which makes it easier to sleep. Many runners enjoy running at night or before they go to sleep, as an obvious effect of running is tiredness post-run.

6. Enjoy Others Company

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One great advantage of running is that it can easily be done with a buddy. Running with friends is an easier way to get motivated to get up and go and can also improve your relationships. Exercising with someone else puts you both in a place where you may be healthier and have less stress. Less stress leads to an overall happier mood.  Running can also promote unity as setting running goals together or accomplishing benchmarks as a team can be a great feeling that can be shared.

7. Increase Stamina

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Running is also great because it allows you to increase your stamina. This will allow you to go further in subsequent runs and also will improve other aspects of your life. Other workouts at the gym or other places will be more bearable and you will be able to do more in your day without getting as tired. Although boosting your endurance and stamina can be difficult at first, the advantages of doing so are well worth the effort!

8. Give Yourself Time To Think

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Although it may not be the first thing that pops to mind when you think of the advantages of running, the ability to think and be alone with ones thoughts is one of the greatest advantages that running outdoors has. Personally, I love being able to go on a long run as it gives me the chance to disconnect from the world and just be alone with my thoughts. Running past beautiful scenery and through interesting areas, you can easily forget all issues and think about what you want.

I hope that all of these reasons to run outside will inspire you to get there this summer and run!

Comment below with other great reasons you love to run outside! 

Simple Ways to Live a Healthier Life!

We all want to be healthier but not all of us want to make big sacrifices to reach this goal. I may be able to help you out. Read these simple ways to live a healthier life!

1. Switch to Whole Grains.

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Everyone loves carbs, but a lot of the ones many of us eat everyday are not great for you. Instead of white bread, go for whole wheat or multigrain bread. Instead of white rice, go for brown rice, quinoa, or wild rice. Whole grains have much more nutritional value and have tons of health benefits including heart health, reduced risk of cardiovascular and heart diseases, and slower digestion (which is good for lessening blood sugar spikes!) It’s actually quite easy to just substitute whole grains where you would normally eat refined grains without a massive change in your meals.

2. Go Carb-Free for One Meal a Day.

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This is typically easiest to do at breakfast. Go for things low in fat and high in protein, such as fat free yogurt or eggs. If you’re worried about the cholesterol in eggs, use one regular egg and the rest egg whites. You’ll still get the protein benefits with less of the cholesterol that comes with the yolk. For the yogurt option, you can go for a fat-free yogurt or low calorie Greek yogurt and then add fresh fruit and some chia seeds. Chia seeds are a super food with lots of protein, Omega-3s, and soluble fiber. They don’t really have a flavor so you can add them to lots of things for added nutrients! You can also incorporate the yogurt option into a smoothie with frozen fruit.

3.Eat More Soluble Fibers.

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Soluble fiber is better for you than insoluble fiber because it dissolves into the water in your body to create a viscous liquid/gel that prevents some of the fat and sugar in your food from absorbing, which can help reduce cholesterol or maintain healthy levels of cholesterol. It also helps to prevent your risk of diabetes. You can find soluble fiber in foods such as apples, oat bran, chia seeds, beans, barley, and sweet potatoes.

 4. Incorporate Regular Exercise into Your Routine.

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Take advantage of the gyms you have on campus. Try to go 3-4 times a week and find a fitness routine that you like and can manage. Do a mixture of cardio and weight training. Maybe get on the elliptical for a half hour and then head over to the free weights and resistance bands. If the gym isn’t your thing, try doing outdoor activities like jogging, hiking, biking, etc. You can even find guided workouts on YouTube if you’d rather exercise in your room! Just find something that works for you and stick with it. Eventually you’ll see results and you’ll be able to work up to more intense workouts. Go at your own pace, be safe, and don’t do more than you can handle. You’ll get to where you want to be eventually, so take it slow and build from there!

Healthy Broccoli and Pasta Casserole Recipe!

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This is a recipe for a delicious casserole that can be made in a surprisingly healthy way.  Now that we are heading into the colder months, you might be craving some heavier comfort food and this will definitely satisfy that!  This is also a proven crowd pleaser even amongst the pickiest of eaters and while it is vegetarian friendly, meat eaters will love it too!

The trick to making this casserole more health conscious is to pick your ingredients wisely.  I usually go for low-carb pasta (whole wheat would work as well) and Smart Balance instead of butter.  This really cuts down on the calories!  A great low carb pasta is made by Dreamfields and can be found in many grocery stores.  For the broccoli I find that using frozen broccoli florets work best with this dish.

So here we go…

Ingredients

1 box low-carb pasta

1 package frozen broccoli

1 tub of Smart Balance (you won’t use all of it!)

1 package/tube of grated Parmesan cheese (again, you won’t use all of it!)

Directions

  1. Put water in a pot and bring to a boil.  Toss in pasta and cook for 8-10 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 350.
  3. Put several chunks of Smart Balance and the frozen broccoli in a frying pan over medium to high heat and let it simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Once done, drain your pasta and put it into an oven-safe casserole dish/bowl.  Then put several more (as much as you like) chunks of Smart Balance onto the pasta and stir.  Pour in your broccoli and stir until evenly distributed.
  5. Sprinkle on about ½ – ¾ cup of grated cheese and stir again.
  6. Put it into the oven for 10-15 minutes, until the top looks a bit crispy.
  7. Take out and serve.

Getting Sick Without Mommy

Taking care of yourself is one of the many things you’ll need to worry about when you leave for college. Making sure you have all the necessary tips for prevention during the cold and flu season as well as habits for optimal health can keep you looking and feeling wonderful throughout the school year.

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How to prevent illness:

  • Wash your hands regularly- This is common knowledge as the first way to prevent the spread of germs.
  • Keep your hands out of your mouth, nose and eyes- germs are easily spread through contact with
  • Tissues, Tissues, Tissues- use them to open doors in the bathroom to keep hands clean as well as wiping your mouth (as opposed to using your hand, gross!) and catching a sneeze.
  • Have Vitamin C handy- Luckily, you can get your daily dose of Vitamin C through orange juice, oranges, and lozenges. Halls makes tasty Vitamin C drops that not only boosts the immune system but also sooths sore throats.
  • Hand Sanitizer- some areas at your college will have stations with free standing hand sanitizer machines. If you are unable to get to a bathroom to wash your hand, the next best thing is your own personal hand sanitizer. It will kill most of the germs on contact.

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If you unfortunately come down with the common cold, fever, or the dreaded flu, there are certain steps that you can take to get better quickly.

  • Drink plenty of fluids- liquids will help replace some of the fluids lost due to a fever or other ailment.
  • Sleep and rest as much as possible- the body needs time to recuperate and while you sleep, your body works to heal itself.
  • Take over the counter pain relievers- this can include Tylenol or Advil. It’s helpful for reducing fever, pain and body aches.
  • Eat and drink healthy- you can help your body recover by boosting the immune system to fight the infection. Tea, especially green tea, with organic local honey (for nutritional benefits) will sooth your throat and help heal the body.

It’s important to note that not all infections can be treated in this manner. Only illnesses that are bacterial need antibiotics prescribed for your doctor. Unfortunately for viral infections, you will need time for your body to fight them naturally.

Healthy Studying Habits

We all know how important it is to spend time studying, but how effectively are you spending that time? If you aren’t using healthy studying habits, your time could be wasted. Here are a few tips to make sure you’re getting the most out of your study break.

 Keep Highlighters Handy

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Sometimes you don’t have time to rewrite what you’ve read in a summarized form. This is when highlighters come in handy. Having at least two different colored highlighters on hand while studying can make note taking faster, more efficient and allow you to color code as an added bonus.

Master Skimming Readings

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Knowing how to skim a reading can be very useful during exam time. You should read the material thoroughly the first time of course, but when you ready to review the reading, it’s better to have a quick summary to recall facts. One way to do this is to read the introduction paragraph, the first and last sentences of each body paragraph, then the concluding paragraph. This should give you a broad overview of the reading and remind you of what you have already read as a whole.

Keep Neat Notes

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It’s important to keep your notes neat and readable, otherwise they can be next to useless as it will take you longer to decipher your notes than it would have taken to reread everything. If you must write quickly to keep up during lectures (who doesn’t?) then try setting aside time later on to re-write your notes legibly. It will pay off in the long run.

Be Alert

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Pay attention to what times during the day you feel the most energized and motivated. Try to tailor your study sessions to these times during the day. Nothing is worse than trying to study with drooping eyelids! Plus, you probably won’t remember anything you read while you were tired anyway.

What are your sure-fire study tips? Let us know in the comments below!