Healthy Habits Corner

by

Britney O’Connell

Optimize Healthy Habits

Spring marks a season of new beginnings.  Starting with the buds on the trees and the flower blossoms on shrubs, bees are buzzing, and hummingbirds are off to the races.

Being in the health and wellness field I often get asked where to start? And, at times, all the information available is overwhelming. In short, start with what you know. So, what do you know? How about breathing.

Start:  Inhale from your nose for a count of 4, hold it. Then exhale from your nose for a count of four, hold it. Repeat four times. Just notice without judgement. Use your diaphragm. 

Why? Focused breathing is known to reduce stress by tapping into our parasympathetic nervous system. It relaxes the body. Practicing deep breathing through the nose strengthens the muscles required to do so.  A strong diaphragm will support lungs during activities like running and walking. Why the nose? Simply, it gives us more air.  Breathing is the mechanism for how energy leaves our bodies in the form of CO2 during exercise. I wonder …. What would five minutes twice a day focused breathing give YOU?

Hydration

What do you thirst for? 

The hot topic of hydration. Hydration regulates body temperature and keeps organs working properly. 

What is hydration? the replacement of body fluids lost.

What to consider?

There are a plethora of variables to consider when thinking about adequate hydration, such as air temperature, intensity of workout, duration. Then there are the individual differences with sweat, diet and what it is you like to drink!

Where to start? 

Consider the following: research shows that drinking water before a workout, sipping during a workout as needed, and replenishing  with water after the workout keeps a person hydrated.

What about electrolytes and sugar? The body will burn what is in your system first. What sugars do is support performance, because it is energy immediately available for muscles to use.  Without the immediate sugar, the body will use up glycogen stores from meals eaten prior. Electrolytes, like potassium, chloride, sodium, magnesium support neural communications and cell function. 

When to use Skratch Labs, Gatorade,  LMNT, coconut water etc…

Do you want immediate fuel? Do you sweat profusely or is it a high intensity and high heat situation? Is it for endurance training; longer than two hours of sustained work? If you answer yes to any of these, then using an electrolyte and fuel supplement will support performance and hydration.

Keeping it simple, the average healthy person who follows a balanced diet does not need added sugar or salts to stay adequately hydrated during moderate exercise. 

When changing up the way you hydrate, keep in mind your bio individual needs and personal preferences.

TIP: Intense activity in the summer months, particularly in Vegas, can lead to dehydration quickly. Coconut water has a balanced ratio of sugars and electrolytes making it a great fuel and hydration choice.

However you choose to hydrate, hydrate early and often.

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Britney O’Connell is a Nationally Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach. For more information about personalized coaching contact Coach Brit at optimizehealthyhabits@gmail.com or follow her on instagram @CoachBrit