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TOGOFIT TIP #2 - Midday walk

Tired of that afternoon slump? Walk around a bit during your lunch break!

Going for a short walk at lunchtime makes people feel more enthusiastic, less fatigued and less stressed. Researchers in Australia surveyed volunteers on mood, stress, enthusiasm, motivation, physical fatigue, and more. They asked one group of volunteers to walk during their lunchtime with no formal rules on distance or pace. When the scientists compared the responses between the walking and non-walking groups, they found that answers were substantially more favorable among those who walked! Employees were more relaxed and motivated in the afternoons after a little lunchtime stroll.

Recommended Reading of the Day:
The Benefits of a Lunch Hour Walk (Gretchen Reynolds, NYTimes)
Learn more about a new study, which found that just 30 minutes of midday exercise can make people more productive.

Image Source: Bupa



TOGOFIT TIP #5 -
Morning Yoga

Did you know that yoga can help you accurately process information faster? Just twenty minutes of yoga in the morning before a stress-filled day might be key in keeping your brain at its best. Yoga can help you stay in the present and pay attention to details.

The sun salutation sequence is a great place to start. Best done early in the morning on an empty stomach, the postures stretch and tone muscles in your whole body. Pay attention to the breathing instructions!

Recommended Reading of the Day:
Benefits of Yoga: 10 Things That Make Yoga Totally Badass (K. Aleisha Fetters, Fitness Magazine)
We know you don’t need more reasons to start making a yoga a regular part of your life but just in case, here is more motivation to jump on this ancient bandwagon.

Image Source: “yogawithpaul” blog



TOGOFIT TIP #8 - Sleep tracking

Find yourself feeling too tired on some days even though you thought you got plenty of sleep? Tracking your sleep habits can help identify any issues you might have with sleep quality. Your FitBit tracks sleep automatically! Wear your device to bed and view your sleep stats here. You can view any restless times at night as well as the overall hours you slept.

Want to improve your sleep effectiveness even more? Try an app like Sleep Cycle! Not only does it monitor your sleeping habits in more detail but also, has an alarm window for the lightest sleep phase in your cycle so that you can wake up feeling refreshed and ready to start the day.

Recommended Reading of the Day:
Sleep Your Way to Slim: 10 Ways to Improve Sleep for Wellness and Weight Loss (Doni Wilson, The Huffington Post Healthy Living)
A good night’s sleep is not only essential for optimal health but is also the secret path to a slimmer waistline. Here are ten ways to improve your resting habits.

Image Source: techpp



TOGOFIT TIP #13 - Power Posing

Changing our posture is an easy way to change the way we feel. Sitting up straight, extending and taking up space are all ways to make us feel more confident, more positive and more energetic. Getting into a power pose in a stressful situation will increase our ability to deal with stress. Studies show that just two minutes in a high-power pose can allow your testosterone levels to skyrocket 20% while causing the cortisol levels to fall.

Quick poses to try:

Recommended Reading of the Day:
3 Things You Can Do to Improve Your Mood in 2 Minutes (Daniela Tempesta, HuffPost Healthy Living)
Here are some ways to use the body to shift feelings. Taking back the reigns of body positions can decrease anxiety, increase happiness and soothe pain.

Image Source: CNN



TOGOFIT TIP #15 - Mindful Eating

When was the last time you were truly conscious of chewing? Most people chug down meals between schedules without realizing that eating slowly can actually help you lose weight! Noticing the way you chew can aid digestion, boost nutrient absorption and decrease overeating . Moreover, it allows you to actually taste and appreciate the food, which will leave you feeling more satiated.

How to savor the silence:

Recommended Reading of the Day:
5 Reasons You Should Chew Your Food (Katie Cavuto, US News & World Report)
Chewing your food with awareness can have beneficial effects of health, weight and overall enjoyment of a meal.

Image Source: Smerete


 
TOGOFIT TIP #22 - Lemon Aromatherapy

When life gives you lemons, smell them! A whiff of citrus could boost your mood, improve memory and enhance concentration. The bright scent of lemon has been shown to reduce anxiety and encourage positive energy. In one Japanese study, researchers saw that exposure to lemon essential oil regulated hormone levels and boosted immune function.

How to make your own pick-me-up:

Recommended Reading of the Day:
The Smell is Right – Using Scents to Enhance your Life (Sally Augustin, Psychology Today)
Here are a few examples of how certain scents can encourage wellness from reducing depression and anxiety to boosting cognitive performance, sleep quality and creativity.

Image Source: MindBodyGreen



TOGOFIT TIP #30 - Gratitude Journal

Gratitude journals are a simple way to promote positive aspects of our lives and improve overall health. According to a study, people who kept a weekly gratitude journal actually did more exercise, had fewer physical problems and felt more optimistic. Entries can be short paragraphs, a bulleted list or even an essay on a post-it note!  Regardless of how you do it, taking a few minutes once a week to organize thoughts and contextualize experiences can have a deep emotional impact.

Journaling tips:

Recommended Reading of the Day:
10 Ways to Get Happy (Katia Hetter, CNN)
CNN’s “Project Happy” explores 10 ways to pursue happiness, from practicing kindness and keeping a gratitude journal to removing ourselves from too much email and social media.

Image Source: “Glimour Writing” blog


TOGOFIT TIP #33 -  Tai Chi

Tai chi is a low-impact mind-body exercise that allows you to meditate while moving. Studies say that regular tai chi lowers the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s. Unlike other exercises, these movements really let you focus attention on each sensation in your body. The muscles are relaxed rather than tensed, and none of the movements are forced. In addition, tai chi can lower blood pressure and improve your sleep!

Try these tai chi inspired moves at your desk today:

Arm circles:

Leg circles:

Recommended Reading of the Day:
Easing Ills through Tai Chi (Neil Porter Brown, Harvard Magazine)
Tai Chi focuses on basic components of overall fitness: muscle strength, flexibility, and balance. Learn more about this centuries-old Chinese mind-body exercise.

Image Source: DivineCaroline  blog


 
TOGOFIT TIP #36 - Answer an Email in Person!

Sitting for a long time can slow your metabolism and make you tired. Various studies claim that sedentary behavior increases the risk of obesity, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and premature death. Cardiologists often recommend standing and walking at least once in an hour.

Short movements throughout the workday can boost your energy, engagement and efficiency! Try walking to a coworker’s desk rather than sending that intra-office email this week. Not only is friendlier and healthier, you’ll also be increasing your daily steps count!

Recommended Reading of the Day:
To Work Better, Just Get Up From Your Desk (Alison Griswold, Forbes)
A new study suggests a quick fix for daily lags in energy- interspersing short movements and exercises throughout the workday. Take a look at these results from a work-place wellness program that encouraged employees to keep moving.

Image Source: Cogxio blog



TOGOFIT TIP #41 - Gardening

A number of studies show that gardeners live longer than non-gardeners! The activity is not only a light exercise that improves joint flexibility and strength but is also a great way to calm your mind. What can be better than de-stressing while playing in the dirt and soaking up some sun? Even a small pot on the windowsill can brighten up a space.

Whether you’re planting fresh vegetables that will improve your diet, beautiful flowers that’ll improve your mood or pretty herbs that can be useful in the kitchen, the health benefits of gardening cannot be ignored!

Don’t have space for an herb garden? Use a shoe organizer!

Recommended Reading of the Day
Improving Mind and Body Wellness through Gardening (Emily Harper, EcoSeed)
Gardening can provide a relief from stress while serving as a light workout. Read more about why you should start a small-scale garden.

Image Source: DIY Vertical Herb Garden with a Shoe Organizer


 
TOGOFIT TIP #48 - Get Turned Off

As a child, I was always one to sneak a book under my blanket and read with a flashlight. Besides gifting me a healthy obsession with Enid Blyton, the habit grew up to an unhealthy bedtime routine of fervently refreshing social media feeds and emails. I'm not alone; children and adults today are spending more time with technology in bed. Late-night laptop use and keeping a smartphone ready on the bedside table have become the norm.

This “wired and tired” phenomenon means that even when we get a full night of sleep, it isn’t as restful as it should be. The visual and cognitive stimulation of electronic devices puts the body into fight or flight mode. It is hard for us to change this behavior in spite of the numerous expert advices constantly thrown around us.

This week, try taking small steps! Challenge yourself to get turned off before a certain time today. Pull that time back even further tomorrow and continue until you reach your balance.

Still don’t think you can stay away from your emails for too long? Try F.lux, a program that adjusts the color of your screens to match the time of day. This app reduces blue light after the sun goes down and helps your body prepare for bed!

Recommended Reading of the Day:
Power Down for Better Sleep (Heather Hatfield, WebMD)
Learn how disconnecting yourself from technology can result in more restful sleep and more productive days.

Image Source: Best Products Powered



TOGOFIT TIP #51 - Guided Imagery

Guided imagery is a powerful technique that focuses and directs the imagination to create positive sensations. It is essentially day dreaming with purpose- harnessing the power of the mind to craft the feelings we need to reduce stress, ease pain or find clarity. The technique can involve visualizing yourself at a pleasant place far from stress triggers or at the celebratory end of a big presentation; you can even picture your nerves extending out from a spot on your body and slowly bringing away the pain.

Though it might sound complicated, experts say it’s a lot easier than other forms of meditation and accessible to everyone including children. Guided imagery has been shown to improve mood, ease depression, alleviate pain symptoms and improve sleep.

Find a quiet place and try this script or audio from the UIUC’s McKinley Health Center. Remember that it’s okay to let your mind wander!

Recommended Reading of the Day:
Guided Imagery Brings Real Relief (Susan Bernstein, Arthritis Foundation)
Learn more about the technique, its benefits and find examples to start the practice.

Image Source: Daydreaming really is the key to solving complex problems (Telegraph UK)


  TOGOFIT TIP #55 - Random Acts of Kindness

“Err in the direction of kindness.” In yet another commencement speech season two years ago, author George Saunders gave this valuable piece of advice to Syracuse University graduates. Saunders made the point that throughout his journey in life, the moments he regretted the most were the “failures of kindness. Those moments when another human being was there, in front of me, suffering, and I responded… sensibly. Reservedly. Mildly.”

For far too long, kindness has been considered the “cherry on top,” a remarkable part of existence separate from the standard way of living. Being professional or civil is expected but, bearing genuine acts of kindness is somehow radical. But maybe it’s to rethink the norm.

Researchers say that regular acts of kindness could have measurable effects on our body. Expressing kindness to others boosts positivity in emotions, thoughts and behavior, improving our wellbeing as a whole. Cultivating kindness within ourselves, our homes, workspaces and communities might be the public health intervention we can’t afford to skip!

Simple acts - like writing a thank you note to a coworker each month or grabbing an extra cup of coffee for a neighbor- help us slow down our days, build genuine relationships with those around us and feel more valued.

Recommended Reading of the Day:
How Random Acts of Kindness Can Benefit Your Health (Priya Advani, The Huffington Post)
Find out more about studies that explored the effects of being kind on our physical and mental health.

Image Source: Sphere


 

TOGOFIT TIP #58 - Rest Day

Most people understand that weight-training or hard muscle building routines require a rest day, which helps prevent injuries, repair tissue and avoid overtraining stress. So why don’t we allow our minds to have some recovery time? 

Whether it’s Sabbath, Shabbat, Sapattu, Uposatha, new moons, etc., most religious and traditional customs around the world see the value of taking a day for rest and self-reflection. When we spend the day exploring new territory or indulging in our favorite hobby, we are allowing our minds to refocus and restore itself. This will help us think clearer while being more positive and productive in days to come.

This long weekend, put away the news feeds and the errands- commit to taking an entire day off!

Recommended Reading of the Day:
When it's time to clock out on technology (Alene Dawson, Los Angeles Times)
Experts say everyone should take time to punch the clock on technology at least one day a week. Working too many hours can cause a burnout and result in less productive work.

Image Source: Huffington Post


  

TOGOFIT TIP #62 - Walk to Happiness

If you think meditation always requires quiet corners, no movement and lots of silence, think again - with a bit of focus, the walk home from work can be just as powerful!

Take a 10 or 20 minute walk outdoors and deepen your breath as you walk.

Breathe in a pattern that matches your steps while paying special attention to the physical experience of walking – how your soles feel and how your arms swing. Let your hips and shoulders remain loose.

Make it a point to find things you might not normally notice. Consciously note new sounds, birds, flowers or even, the traffic. There is tremendous power in reframing the ordinary!

Recommended Reading of the Day:
Walking as Meditation: Quiet Your Mind as You Improve Your Health (Danny and Katherine Dreyer, HuffPost Healthy Living)
Make your daily walk a calming ritual with these tips on deepening your awareness and using walking as a meditative practice.

Image Source: Change Your Energy


  

TOGOFIT TIP #67 - Daydreaming

New research suggests that letting your mind wander may actually benefit your concentration. In the past, experts believed that daydreaming ruined focus and performance, but a new study shows that thinking about moments from your past can help spark the activation of long-term memories and solve difficult tasks at hand.  

So next time you’re faced with a tough issue at work, let your mind wander. You might discover a solution right in front of you!

Recommended Reading of the Day:
When You Think Your Brain Is Doing Nothing, It's Really Getting You Ready To Socialize (David DiSalvo, Forbes)
You might think your brain is "offline" taking a break when you’re not actively engaged in a task but it is actually preparing you for social interactions. Learn more about why downtime is never really downtime.

Image Source: Men’s Health


  

TOGOFIT TIP #70 - Rise (Really) Early

The early bird gets a lot more than the worm. Business Insider reports that most executives get up incredibly early- with many shaking off their covers as early as 3:30 am!

When was the last time you watched the sunrise with a smile on your face? Being up as the world wakes sets you up to have a great day. If you don’t think of yourself as a morning person, remember that changing the mindset is often the hardest part- you just might be pleasantly surprised! Giving up the snooze button will allow you to have more time for peace and quiet before the real world drudgery hits.

A solid morning routine will allow for a less stressful and healthier life without a constant sense of urgency following you through your day. Try your own challenge:

Recommended Reading of the Day:
12 Lessons of Waking Up at 4:30 a.m. for 21 Days (Filipe Castro Matos)
Read insights from a young entrepreneur on Medium who challenged himself to #21earlydays and found that changing his alarm setting changed his worldview.

Image Source: Selfhelpmanual.com


  

TOGOFIT TIP #73 - Laughter

Your favorite comedy show might tone your abs as well as your sense of humor! Laughter can burn calories, tone muscles and enhance daily wellbeing.

While some people choose to participate in laughter-based exercise, such as laughter yoga, the benefits can be reaped in many different ways. Researchers at Loma Linda University in California published a study that suggests that laughter can significantly decrease stress levels, and increase short term memory and learning ability. A University of Maryland study also found that laughter may lower your risk of heart disease.

Daily laughter not only makes you feel good emotionally but also, has true physical benefits while aging. By taking time out of your day to enjoy yourself, you are simultaneously, and very easily, bettering your overall quality of life.

Recommended Reading of the Day:
8 Emotional Moments That Have A Huge Impact On Your Body (Huffington Post)
Learn about how both positive and negative emotional moments in your life affect your health and wellbeing (hint: laughing is one of them!).

Image Source: School of Thinking


  

TOGOFIT TIP #75 – DIY Body Scrub

As we get older, our body’s process of shedding old skin cells slows. The solution? Body scrub! Applying a scrub can help slough off dead skin, boost circulation, increase blood flow to the skin’s surface and help our post-shower moisturizer absorb. Whether you are doing at it home or by a professional, always make sure to apply firm pressure and concentrate on tough areas such as the elbows, knees and feet. Try this recipe for DIY Vanilla Mint Honey Scrub to make your skin feel like new!

How to make body scrub at home:


1. Mix the salt or sugar with the oil, scraped vanilla bean pulp, and honey.
2. Add essential oil and stir. If too oily, add more salt or sugar until you reach the desired grainy paste consistency.
3. Scoop into a jar with the split vanilla bean on the bottom for a decorative touch and screw the lid on tight.
4. Use a tablespoon of scrub at a time and rub the paste in your palms until loosened. Gently massage into wet skin and rinse after 2-5 minutes. Your skin will feel exfoliated and moisturized!
Recommended Reading for the Day:
3-D printers could soon make human skin (CNN Money)
In the wake of the hype of organ printing, companies are now working on bioprinting, a process that uses live cells and specialized 3-D machines develop 3-D skin tissues. L’Oreal is leading the way in this technology through a partnership with Organovo, a US biotech firm.

Image Source: Top Inspired (Blog)



TOGOFIT TIP #77 - Breathing Awareness

One of the most effective ways to reduce your stress is by practicing breathing awareness. This is a meditation that encourages both physical and mental relaxation by controlling breaths.

While there are many variations available, the important thing to remember is to not “over breathe”- inhaling more than you exhale can lead to a feeling of breathlessness and increased stress. On the contrary, a few minutes of relaxed diaphragmatic breathing and a few minutes of consciously extending each exhalation can clear the mind and control anxiety while promoting muscle relaxation.

How to:

Recommended Reading of the Day:
12 Yoga Poses To Undo The Damage Of Your Desk Job (Carolyn Gregoire, The Huffington Post)
Yoga postures that target areas of tension can be an effective antidote to many desk-job ailments. Try these poses to undo your workday.

Image Source: Huffington Post


TOGOFIT TIP #80 - Sun Protectors

One of the biggest mistakes athletes can make during the summer months is forgetting to protect their body’s biggest organ – their skin. Luckily, there are natural defenses working in our favor coming from the foods that we eat. Foods such as broccoli, basil, apples, walnuts, and olive oil all contain UV-fighting components. Broccoli, which is made up of large amounts of polyphenol, has even been shown to protect against cancer. Incorporating these foods into your daily routine can be a simple trick to boost your natural defenses against the sun.

Try this refreshing salad to incorporate some sun-protecting foods into your diet:

  • 6 ounces grilled chicken breast, sliced
  • 5 ounces pre-washed spring mixed salad greens
  • 2 heads broccoli, chopped
  • 1 quart strawberries, hulled and cut
  • 1 medium cored apple, cut into chunks
  • 1/3 cup walnut pieces, toasted
  • 1/4 cup crumbled low-fat feta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil

Recommended Reading of the Day
Wearable Devices to Prevent Sunburn (Jennifer Jolly, The New York Times)
Learn more about a FitBit-esque device that can track your UV exposure this summer.

Image Source: http://www.thecupcaketheory.com/apple-walnut-salad/


TOGOFIT TIP #81 - Early Morning Workouts

We all know how hard it is to get going in the morning, especially if there’s an early workout looming. Despite this, sunrise workouts leave time for other priorities during the day and increase focus during the workday. Moreover, exercise-induced endorphins will make you happy (or so Elle Woods claims).

To avoid hitting the snooze button and drifting back to sleep, try these tips to follow through with your morning exercise routine:


Recommended reading for the day:
5 Reasons Why Morning Workouts Are The Best Kind of Workouts (Huffington Post)
Just in case the reasons above didn’t convince you, here are a few more reasons to get up and get going with a morning workout.


TOGOFIT TIP #82 - Peppermint Oil

Peppermint is a highly versatile oil that is deemed “essential” for a reason! It has been used for thousands of years to remedy a wide variety of ailments. A dab can solve your headache woes while increasing concentration and alertness. A warm peppermint oil footbath is a blessing for sore feet and a diffuser can turn it into an instant mood lifter. The extracted oil is also great for allergies, chest colds and cramps. Around the house, it can be turned into a cleaner or a bug repellent. This summer, add peppermint to your herb garden and make your own bottle at home!

How to make your own peppermint oil:

Recommended Reading of the Day:
‘Fragrant,’ by Mandy Aftel (Thessaly La Force, The New York Times)
Check out this wonderful book review of Mandy Aftel’s Fragrant, a charming exploration of aromas. The fascinating history of the five key natural essences and the philosophical role of scent in our lives will have you paying more attention to the aromas we choose.