10 Simple Ways to Drink More Water

10 Simple Ways to Drink More Water

10 Simple Ways to Drink More Water

 

While keeping your body hydrated is one of the easiest ways to improve your health, research shows that nearly half of us are dehydrated. To stay healthy and hydrated, you should be drinking at least half your body weight in ounces of water daily. If you don’t drink enough, it can affect your body temperature, energy, brain function, digestion, mood, performance, and joint health. Use the tips below to hydrate better and improve your health.

 

1. Drink a glass first thing in the morning.

When you wake up, drink a glass of water before enjoying your morning cup of Joe, tea, or juice. Drinking water will replace fluids lost during the night and jumpstart your hydration for the day.

2. Do a mid-day hydration check.

Looking at the color of your urine is the easiest way to monitor your hydration. If your urine is darker than lemonade, you’re dehydrated. Make it your daily goal to have clear urine by 3 p.m. It will give you a good idea of how well you’re hydrating in the morning. If your urine isn’t clear, drink water immediately and work to hydrate better the rest of the day.

3. Naturally flavor your water.

Water doesn’t have to be boring. Add a burst of flavor with sliced fruit like lemon, lime, orange, watermelon, mango, kiwi, pineapples, berries, pineapple, cantaloupe, and grapes. Cucumbers with thyme, lemon with mint leaves, and sliced ginger root are also tasty options.

4. Keep a water bottle with you at all times.

To stay hydrated, keep a one-liter bottle with you at all times. A liter is equal to 33 ounces, so plan to fill up your water bottle based on your personal hydration needs. If you weigh 120 pounds, that’s two to three refills per day.

5. Replace soda, juice, and coffee with water.

While it’s clear that water is the best option for hydration, sodas, juices, and coffee drinks can be tempting. Not only are they loaded with calories and sugar, they can also dehydrate your body. As a starting point, work to decrease your intake of these drinks to one per day. Substituting water for a 20-ounce soda will save you about 240 calories. This can help with hydration and weight management.

6. Set a reminder.

It’s easy to forget to hydrate until you feel thirsty, but by that time you’re already dehydrated. Set a schedule or calendar reminder a few times throughout the day to help you remember to refill your glass and hydrate.

7. Eat more fruits and veggies.

Eat two to three servings of fruits and vegetables at every meal. Unlike processed foods (sugar, flour, salty snacks, lunch-style meats), fruits and vegetables are high in water and minerals. For a list of water-filled foods to add to your diet, read “22 Foods to Keep You Hydrated.”

8. Hydrate when you exercise.

Just 2 percent dehydration can lead to a 20 percent decrease in performance. During the day drink 1/2 to 1 ounce of water for every pound you weigh. In the two hours before you exercise, drink 16 ounces. Follow that with 4-6 gulps of water every 15 minutes during your workout. After you exercise, drink 16 ounces of water for every pound of weight you lost during training.

9. Drink before you eat.

Before each meal, drink at least three gulps of water. Thirst can often be confused with hunger. To avoid overeating and dehydration, drink a few gulps of water at the first feelings of thirst or hunger. Wait a bit and then decide if you’re really hungry.

10. Finish your day with water.

Before you go to bed, drink a glass of water to stay hydrated overnight. If you prefer a hot beverage to kickstart or end your day, drink hot water with lemon.

Arturo Espitia Certified Personal Trainer Everett,WA

Can Twitter Help You Lose Weight?

Twitter

Twitter

 

Having a good support system of family and friends can help you reach your weight loss goals, but what about your Twitter followers? A new study found that connecting with others about your weight loss goals on Twitter can aid weight loss [HuffingtonPost.com].

Researchers at USC followed 96 overweight and obese adults for six months. Participants either listened to two nutrition and fitness podcasts each week or listened to the podcasts, recorded their activity level, and connected with other participants on Twitter. After six months, Twitter users lost more weight compared to those who didn’t use Twitter. Even more interesting is that each tweet actually corresponded to a half pound of weight loss.

“Traditional behavioral weight loss interventions generally provide social support through weekly, face-to-face group meetings. While we know this is effective, it is costly and can create a high degree of burden on participants,” said lead researcher Brie Turner-McGrievy, PhD, MS, RD, in a release. “Providing group support through online social networks can be a low cost way to reach a large number of people who are interested in achieving a healthy weight.”

Arturo Espitia  Certifeid Personal Trainer  Everett, WA  Twitter

7 Stretches for the Office

7 Stretches for the office

7 Stretches for the office

 

The average office employee spends 28 hours a week bound to his chair, sitting in front of a computer at work, stuck in meetings, and—ugh—working at home, according to a national survey. If reading this puts a kink in your neck, then it’s time to evolve your work routine.

 

Start with your workstation. Has it been assessed for ergonomics? Many companies provide a service for this, so take advantage of it. How about your stretching habits? Are you doing the same toe touches that you did 10 years ago, or worse, sitting in the same hunched over position all day?

To help you maintain better posture, boost energy, and ease pain, we enlisted the help of physical therapist Sue Falsone. Use her series of innovative moves below to redefine your workday stretching routine.

Start with one stretch each time you break during the day—to fill your water bottle, use the restroom, take lunch, or walk to meetings. Then visit our work channel for more tips to stay active all day.

While no amount of exercise will counteract a daily routine of poor posture, these simple strategies will help you straighten up at work—and even make your gym time more valuable.

1. Standing Shoulder Retractions

Benefits: This exercise combats the hunched-over posture that comes from sitting all day by moving your shoulders back into their natural position. Try it two or three times a day.

How to do it: Stand tall with your arms at your sides, chest up, and palms forward. Pull your shoulders back, squeezing your shoulder blades together for a count of three. Relax, then repeat 8-10 times.

2. Massage Stick – Lower Back

Massage Stick Lower Back

Massage Stick Lower Back

Benefits: Using a massage stick to loosen tight areas is about the next best thing to a professional massage.

How to do it: Sitting tall on your chair, take the massage stick and rub your lower back, looking for trigger points (areas that feel sore). When you find a tender spot, massage it for 10 to 15 seconds, then continue through the area, maintaining steady pressure with the stick.

3. Thoracic Spine Mobility – Tennis Ball

Thoracic Tennis Ball

Thoracic Tennis Ball

Benefits: No massage stick? Try taping two tennis balls together to form a peanut. Like the previous move, this will loosen tight spots in your back to help you move more freely.

How to do it: Lie on your back with the tennis balls under your spine just above your lower back, and raise your arms over chest. Alternate reaching arms overhead for 5 repetitions and to each side for 5 reps. Think about keeping your ribs pushed down to the ground during the arm reaches. Move slowly, and don’t forget to breathe.

4. Half-Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch

Benefits: There’s a group of muscles on the front of your upper thigh called the hip flexors. When you sit for long periods of time, these muscles become tighter and shorter, yanking on your lower back and ultimately causing pain. Stretch your hip flexors with this move.

How to do it: With your back to your chair, get in a half-kneeling position with one foot flat on the floor and your back foot on your chair seat behind you. Contract (squeeze) your back glute, then shift your body slightly forward until you feel a stretch in the front of your thigh. Hold, relax, and repeat for a set of 8 before switching legs.

5. Glute Bridge

Benefits: Training your glutes (butt muscles) with glute bridges will help take stress off your back and knees.

How to do it: Lie face-up on the ground with your arms at your sides, knees bent, and heels on the floor. Raise your hips up off the floor by contracting your glutes until your knees, hips, and shoulders are in a straight line. Hold for two beats, lower back down, and repeat 8-10 times.

6. Thoracic Extension – Seated

Hunched over desk

Hunched over desk

Benefits: Sitting hunched over decreases the mobility in your thoracic spine (upper back). Regaining mobility in this area can relieve pain in your neck and shoulders.

How to do it: Sitting in your chair, place your elbows on your knees and tuck your chin. In this position, your back should be rounded. Keeping your elbows on your knees and your chin tucked, reverse the curve in your back by extending your spine. Return to the starting position and repeat 8 times.

7. Trunk Rotation to Lateral Flexion – Seated

Trunk Rotation Stretch

Trunk Rotation Stretch

Benefits: Helps improve upper back mobility and overall posture.

How to do it: Sit in a chair with a towel between your knees, with your hands behind your head and your elbows in line with your ears. Keeping your chest up, rotate your trunk to the right. At the end of your range of motion, laterally flex your spine, crunching your right elbow down toward the ground. Reverse directions to the left and repeat. Rotate a bit further each time for 3 reps.

Arturo Espitia Certified Personal Trainer Everett, WA

Better Posture with…Duct Tape?

Better Posture with Duct Tape

Better Posture with Duct Tape

 

Here’s an enlightening way to kill some time over the holidays and make even those interminable gatherings with the in-laws more tolerable and productive. Find a roll of duct tape and take off your shirt. While standing as straight and upright as possible, have a friend apply a strip of tape down your spine—from just above the vertebrae at the base of the neck to your lower back. Then apply two other pieces of tape from the top of each shoulder to the middle of your back. When finished, it should look like you’re wearing an upside-down peace sign.

Now put your shirt back on and go about your day—working at the computer, driving your car, finishing up your Christmas shopping, or mingling at a holiday party. Every time you start to hunch or slouch, the tug of the tape on your skin will remind you to stand taller or sit straighter while gently pulling you back into alignment. (Note: If you have a hairy back, this “gentle pull” will be more of an “agonizing rip,” which is even more effective.)

“If an athlete’s posture is really bad, I’ll tape him,” says Sue Falsone, PT, CSCS, the director of performance physical therapy for Athletes’ Performance. “Sometimes the tape ends up coming off in less than 30 minutes because they slouch so much. It’s a great way to become more aware of your posture. The goal is to go through the day without ever feeling the tape on your skin.” And it works. I taped myself for a morning and found it even reminded me to squat and lift with my knees rather than bending over and risking my low back. (However, when it came time to remove the tape, my wife ripped it off way too fast. Now I have a giant red peace sign on my back, which has been producing some double takes at the pool.)

The Internet is rife with Rube Goldberg inventions that promise to promote better posture and all its subsequent advantages in far stranger ways than duct-taping yourself. I spent some time perusing the market and found three products that—although I haven’t tried—looked promising enough to call your attention to:

Adidas TechFit PowerWeb Apparel

Adidas claims that its line of compression-wear “improves posture and increases power and endurance…by actively supporting your muscles and focusing their energy.” Falsone says she’s used the shirts to increase posture awareness, and “athletes tell me they put them in a good position.” Here’s a video of Core Performance founder Mark Verstegen explaining how it works.

iPosture Intuitive Electronic Device

The $75 iPosture is a one-inch-diameter disk that’s worn on your upper body, either clipped to clothing or stuck to the skin. Once adjusted to your optimal sitting or standing position, it will vibrate when you slouch or hunch for longer than 60 seconds, which supposedly helps you learn better posture over time.

PostureTek Biofeedback Apparel System

Developed by an orthopedic surgeon, this $120 T-shirt (or bra) features a side pocket that holds a small posture-sensing disk. After calibrating it to your desired alignment, it’ll vibrate whenever your body angle needs adjusting.

Although neither Falsone nor I have personally used the last two products, she says that continuing feedback—whether from an electronic sensor, compression fabric, or simple duct tape—is the key to correcting bad posture for good. And as we’ve discussed in previous blogs, better body alignment is the secret weapon for enhanced performance and injury aversion. So give it a try. All you have to lose is some skin.

Great Article

Arturo Espitia Certified Personal Trainer Everett, WA

5 Ways to Make Your Daily Commute Healthier

Make your commute happier

Make your commute healthier

 

A long commute can wreak havoc on your body and mind. The stress of dealing with traffic combined with being hunched over a steering wheel can spell trouble even for those dedicated to maintaining the proper mindset, nutrition, movement, and recovery. Unless you work from home, walk or bike to work, or have a short drive to the office, there’s no way of getting around the daily grind of commuting, but there are plenty of ways to keep the commute from driving you into the ground. Start here:

1. Change shoes.

There’s a reason Mister Rogers would change his shoes and switch from a suit coat to a sweater when he arrived “home” at the start of his television show. He wanted to be more comfortable, but it also signaled a shift in mindset. Many city commuters wear one pair of shoes in the office and change for the walk home or to catch a subway or bus. So why should drivers be any different? “People tend to get home tense and stressed from work, and one reason is that they’re still in their work clothes,” says Anthony Slater, Core Performance’s director of performance. “Something as simple as changing into more comfortable shoes for the drive home can give you that mental transition.” (To stress less the rest of the day,

2. Adjust your seat.

New parents typically visit a car dealer to have a professional fitting for a child’s car seat, but when was the last time you considered your own fit? Use your armrests to take the tension out of your upper body, especially the trapezius muscles. Don’t view your car seat like a lounge chair; aim for the same posture you’d have at the desk. Having a hard time not slouching? Consider the rear view mirror. “Adjust your mirror to where it should be when you have perfect posture,” says Sue Falsone, vice president of performance physical therapy for Athletes’ Performance. “That way you’ll have to maintain good posture to be able to see out of it. It’s an effective reminder.”

3. Switch to stick?

Granted, few of us are going to return the driving mentality of just a generation ago, when more people engaged their left leg by driving manual transmission. These days, the left leg generally is bent and still during long drives and only the right foot is extended. That makes for easier driving, but it’s not as good for the body. “You’re tilting your hips to one side, and that creates imbalances,” Slater says. “You see a lot of people with their right leg externally rotated because of this.” There are plenty of exercises to counteract this (some examples below), but one easy fix, especially for men, is to take that fat wallet you’ve been working so hard for out of your back pocket before getting into the car. Sitting on your wallet tends to exacerbate muscle imbalances.

4. Take five.

On long rides, Falsone recommends stopping at least once every two hours to stretch and walk around—every hour if you have back problems. (See also: “How to Reduce Back Pain”) “Yes, it’s inconvenient, but it’s better than arriving at your destination and not feeling good,” she says. “A five-minute break can make a big difference.”

5. Warm up first.

If you live in a cooler climate, you know the importance of letting a car warm up in the winter before pulling out. So why should your body be any different? After a long day hunched over a computer, stretch it out before stepping behind the wheel. Core Performance moves such as a Backward Lunge with a Twist, Inverted Hamstring, or Standing Ts will help you prepare for the drive home. So, too, will stocking your car with a bottle of water, your favorite tunes, and healthy snacks—especially if you missed out on a late-afternoon feeding and might not have dinner until late. All of which will make commuting less stressful. “The more we can create the right environment and have the right mindset, the less stress you’ll feel at the end of each day and the end of the week,” Slater says. “If you take two minutes before every drive to do a couple of Movement Prep exercises and set your car up the right way, that’s an investment that will pay huge dividends down the road.”

Arturo Espitia Certified Personal Trainer Everett, WA



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