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THE FITBIT BLOG

5 Beneficial Reasons to Run

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Jen running 8-26

For many people running is the ultimate “zen” activity. People who run often talk about the ways that their minds drift — allowing them to “de-clutter” thoughts while honing in on the things that really matter. Almost every runner will say they “just feel better” after a run compared to how they felt going in, and “sleep like a baby” at night on the days they run. Here are five beneficial reasons why running might help you out.

1. Running boosts thinking skills, reduces stress, and helps you sleep.

When asked in a recent survey about happiness and productivity, only 10% of employees say they do their best thinking while at work — the rest happens when they’re doing something else. Maybe the best way to do “out of the box” thinking is by taking a run outside the office. There could be some science to back this up. Studies show that running helps curb anxiety, enhances “feel good” hormones, and brings oxygen into key areas of the brain for regulating emotions and solving problems.

Comparing the pre-run and post-run scans of runners, neurologists at the University of Bonn, Germany, found increased opiate binding of the happy hormone endorphin in the frontal and limbic regions of the brain, areas known to be involved in processing emotions and stress.

Also, researchers from the University of Illinois found that an improvement of only 5% in cardio-respiratory fitness from running led to an improvement of up to 15% on mental tests (1).  And, Stanford University School of Medicine researchers asked sedentary insomnia sufferers to jog for 20-30 minutes every other day. The time required to fall asleep was reduced by half, and sleep time increased by almost one hour (2).

So next time your stuck on a problem, instead of getting another cup of coffee, try lacing up the kicks and going for a quick jaunt instead. read more

#FitbitSummer: 5 Sane Ways to Recover from Vacation

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Lauren Slayton is the author of The Little Book of Thin and created the Foodtrainers blog. She has a Master’s Degree in Clinical Nutrition from New York University and appeared in Allure, In Style, Cooking Light and more. She previously wrote about Tips to Prevent Weight-Gain Weekends.

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I had one of those “What day is today?” moments when I woke up. But then it sunk in. My extended weekend vacation is over, which makes me a little sad. As long as I’m complaining, I’m also tired.

We were in Montreal for the 4th of July. But it’s not always about going away; sometimes relaxing can leave you wanting to relax more. And then there’s that feeling — you know it. “Uh oh, I need to undo what was done this weekend.”

And you don’t need to “do” that much to feel off. We had lots of seafood, green juice and salads. My Fitbit was happy with upwards of 20K steps a day (love that about vacation), but there were plenty of meals out, cocktails and well, here we are. Before you cleanse or “boot camp” yourself, here are five ways to feel better today.

 

1. Stay Home Tonight (and tomorrow too)
Before we get all technical with the idea of de-bloating, you simply need to spend less time with salt. Takeout and restaurant meals make this impossible. Cooking can mean scrambled eggs or a simple smoothie. read more

30 Days to Summer Fit, Day 19: Switch up dessert with something healthy

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We’ll be posting a new challenge every day leading up to summer! Follow along here on the blog, or using this calendar.

30 Days to Summer Fit

Dessert can be a pain point for anyone with a sweet tooth who’s also trying to cut back on the calories. But it doesn’t have to be. Which brings us to today’s challenge: Switch up dessert with something healthy.

To help you along with this challenge, here are two great adaptable recipe from Chef Jessica Albertson, who previously provided us with our Day 9 healthy recipe.

30 Days to Summer Fit, Day 19: Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth

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30 Days to Summer Fit, Day 3: Healthy Snacks to Fuel Your Day

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We’ll be posting a new challenge every day leading up to summer! Follow along here on the blog, or using this calendar.

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It’s day three of our summer challenge, and hopefully you’ve tried a few new workouts by now. But today we’re shaking things up with a new type of challenge, one that goes beyond being active: snack healthy.

We’ve written before about how to master your fridge, which is a great start along the healthy-eating path. And if you’ve ever tried tracking your food or searched for healthy recipes on your web browser of choice, there’s a lot out there to help you out. But even the best-laid meal plans can succumb to unhealthy snacking habits. So today, and hopefully moving forward until summer begins, the goal is to check the nutritional info whenever you reach for a snack and try to make the healthiest choice you can.

100 Calorie snack attack

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Avoid a Common Mother’s Day Mistake with These 5 Tips

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This week we’re celebrating Mother’s Day with our friends over at MyFitnessPal. Whether you’re a mom or you just happen to have one, you’ll find great tips and advice for staying healthy and happy all year long.

lauren mother's day mistakes

Lauren headshot smallToday’s post is from Lauren Slayton, the author of The Little Book of Thin and created the Foodtrainers blog. She has a Master’s Degree in Clinical Nutrition from New York University and appeared on Allure, In Style, Cooking Light and more. She previously wrote about mastering your fridge and 10 Ways Busy Moms Can Stay Healthy.

Almost daily during nutrition sessions in my office, clients say, “I want my mother to come in for a visit,” or, “My wife needs to see you.” Statements like these make me squirm.

I know all too well from doing this for a very long time (I started Foodtrainers on the verge of motherhood myself, and my “baby” is now 12) that buying someone nutrition sessions or a gym membership doesn’t always work. And yet I totally get that watching a family member ignore their health can be difficult and frustrating.

…buying someone nutrition sessions or a gym membership doesn’t always work.

So how do you avoid the common mistake of buying fitness and health? Here are five easy ways to get the point across and make it stick.

  1. Do it together – Whether it’s taking a walk in the park, playing tennis or enrolling in a healthy cooking class, suggesting to meet for an activity is often better received than “You should do this.” Plus, working out or exercising with a friend or in groups increases its benefit. So do it together!
  2. Mention it and let it go – Yesterday, I received a voicemail from a prospective client saying, “I’ve had your business card for two years.” I loved hearing this as I knew this client waited until the timing seemed right. If you know of a great trainer or yoga instructor, give your mom the contact info. After that zip it! Don’t say another word about it. read more

12 Healthy Hacks from Fitbit’s Spring Clean

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Over the last few weeks, we’ve been sharing our own “healthy hacks” from our experts and Fitbit employees to help you jumpstart new spring routines. How much progress have you made in your own spring cleaning? Have you used the change of season as inspiration to make positive changes in your health, activity or general well-being? If so, we want to hear about it! Let us know in the comments below or use #FitbitSpringClean on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or Instagram.

And just in case you missed any of our 12 hacks, here they are in one handy place.

 

Fitbit’s Spring Clean: Reduce Stress by Getting Active Outside

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It’s time to hang up your winter coat! This is the last post in our series of 12 healthy “hacks” from our experts, to help jumpstart new spring routines. Today’s post is our second from Lauren Slayton, the author of The Little Book of Thin.

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Forget therapy (OK maybe not) have you heard of ecotherapy?

I always joke that my workouts are medicinal. They help me de-stress. It seems that “mean mommy” makes an appearance on the days when there isn’t time for a run. I had previously chalked this up to the endorphins from exercise, the power of a good sweat and the boost I get from listening to my favorite music. I may have missed that where I do my workout is just as important as whether or not I did it.

There is a burgeoning area of research on “ecotherapy” or the effects time spent outside has on us. A study conducted in the UK compared a group walking in a shopping mall to another group walking in the park. After walking in the park, 90% of participants claimed increased self esteem, 88% improved mood and 71% felt less tense. For comparison, these numbers were under 50% in all criteria for the mall walkers.

Time outside provides an escape from our homes and our desks. It’s a time to reflect and may evoke good memories. Outside time also stimulates our senses with color, sounds and fresh air.

After walking in the park 90% of participants claimed increased self esteem… read more

Fitbit’s Spring Clean: Hack an Efficient Outdoor Workout without Equipment

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It’s time to hang up your winter coat! We’re sharing 12 healthy “hacks” from our experts to help jumpstart new spring routines. SF instructor Erica Stenz from Barry’s Bootcamp is back, this time taking the 30-minute workout routine to the outdoors.

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Planning a solid outdoor workout with cardio and strength training without equipment can be challenging. But before you get discouraged, just follow these simple tips from Barry’s Bootcamp San Francisco fitness industry expert Erica Stenz.

4 Tips for an Effective Outdoor Workout

1. Tabatas, Tabatas, and yes more Tabatas

Can’t say this enough – perform Tabata drills throughout the entire workout. Tabata drills are performed through high-intensity training intervals and alternated with sets of 30-second intervals (one 20-second set and one 10-second set), repeating the 30-second set 4 to 8 times.

To keep the highest level of intensity throughout each set, alternate 20 seconds/10 seconds with 2 different exercises.

Set 1 – 30 Seconds (Repeat 4 to 8 x)

  • 20 seconds:  high knee sprints (standing in one place)
  • 10 seconds:  butt kicks (aka reverse high knees standing in one place) read more

Fitbit’s Spring Clean: 9 Tips to Adjust to a Time Change with Dr. Kelly Glazer Baron

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It’s already April, but the spring time change and drastic weather shifts can throw off even the best of us. And if you’re a frequent jetsetter, adjusting to a new time zone can feel like a boxing match that goes the distance. If you’re already tracking your sleep with a Fitbit device, that’s a great start. To take it a step further, our bodies crave routine via circadian rhythms, and there are specific things you can do to help get your body and mind back on track. So we asked clinical psychologist and sleep researcher at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University, Dr. Kelly Glazer Baron how to set things right.

  1. Start living on the new time zone as soon as you can — It’s the first thing you should do when adjusting to daylight savings time or a time change. The natural tendency is to sleep in and hit the snooze button as a result of the late sunrise in the morning. But that’s only going to keep your clock shifted forward making it more difficult to get to bed and wake up at your desired time.
  2. Ease the transition by a gradual adjustment — If you wake up 15 min earlier for 4 days, you give yourself an achievable shift each day. At the same time, make sure to adjust your bedtime as well so you don’t short change your sleep. Start getting to bed a little bit earlier each night until you’re back on track. But be careful with this one. The last thing you want to do is lie in bed tossing and turning because your body isn’t ready to fall asleep.
  3. Set a defined routine – Our bodies crave regularity and keeping our circadian clock dialed in is extremely important in upholding quality sleep. So start setting a routine. In addition to defining your wake-up and bed times, eat meals at the same time every day, dial in your exercise calendar, and start to manage your light exposure. read more

Fitbit’s Spring Clean: Hack the Farmer’s Market for the Best Spring Produce

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A trip to your weekly farmer’s market – it sounds so easy breezy.  Fresh produce at direct-to-shopper prices? There’s nothing wrong with that.

But in reality, navigating a farmer’s market isn’t always a piece of cake…er…ripe fruit.  Unlike a supermarket where everything is well thought out and categorized, a farmer’s market can be rather unorganized. Vendors compete for visibility and sell similar products. There’s both organic and conventional produce. Much is in season, while other fruits and veggies may be coming in or out of season.

Why shop in season? When buying local produce, there’s usually an abundance of crop when produce is in-season. And more crop means lower cost. Produce usually has a better taste during it’s season/peak season, and when harvested at its peak, has the maximum amount of available nutrients.

Going in prepared can be the difference between getting tasty, in-season produce and going home underwhelmed. So here’s our handy guide to shopping in-season this spring, as well as helpful tips on when it’s OK to go conventional and when to splurge on organic. Lastly, shopping in season gives you and nice variety of fruits and vegetables year-long. Because let’s be honest — in most places, you simply can’t get berries in winter!

Spring Produce: What’s in Season?

  • Artichokes – In season from March to December. Peak season from March to May. Artichokes are best when the leaves are tightly clung together, as open leaves will have a more bland taste. Avoid brown spots as much as possible and definitely choose the heavier, meatier artichokes for the best quality.
  • Apricots – May to August, peaking from May through July. Choose fruits that are darker yellow and orange in color and avoid bruises. You want plump yet slightly firm, especially if you’re eating them whole and not using them for pies or jams. read more