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From the Plow & Hearth Fitness Team: Harvest Season is Here!
By The Plow & Hearth Fitness Team
9/23/2014 1:09:00 PM  

The Harvest Season is on it’s way!


It’s always important to choose produce that’s in season so you get the maximum amount of nutrients. See below for some must-have healthy FALL FRUITS & VEGGIES!


Pumpkin

Pumpkin is full of nutrients that can benefit the body. It contains fiber, vitamin A, potassium and vitamin C. Don’t throw away the seeds! They are full of zinc, magnesium, protein and iron. The nutrients in pumpkin can aid with digestion, immunity and eye health. Not only that, zinc has been known to aid with taste changes, which patients receiving cancer treatment may experience.

Butternut Squash

This hourglass fall staple is full of fiber and vitamin A. It is rich in folate, too. If that’s not enough, because of its high antioxidant content, butternut squash has anti-inflammatory effects. Reducing inflammation in the body has been known to reduce the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and even cancer.

Sweet Potatoes

Why use sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes, you ask? We know white potatoes are a more traditional side, but sweet potatoes are a WAY better option. These orange spuds have a low glycemic index, which means they won’t cause your blood sugar to spike. They’re rich in and beta-carotene, which can prevent vitamin A deficiencies, promote healthy eyesight and generate retinol production. Sweet potatoes are also a good source of vitamin C, and when baked in their skin can pack nearly 5 grams of fiber.

Apples

Last, but not least, are apples. Though apples are available during the whole year, they are even sweeter and cheaper in the fall. Why should you eat them? Three words: fiber, fiber, fiber. Fiber can aid with digestive health, blood sugar control and heart health by reducing inflammation and cholesterol levels.

HEALTHY TIP: Traditional dishes made with these foods include a great deal of sugar, butter or cream–even though these fruits and vegetables are naturally full of sweet and savory flavors. Try using recipe replacements for the high-fat, high-sugar additives. Consider using plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream, applesauce instead of oil in sweet breads, and half-and-half or evaporated skim milk instead of heavy whipping cream.

-Your Plow & He♥rt Fitness Team


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Tags: Fall, Autumn, gardening, vegetables, fruits, fitness, health, nutrition
Categories: Health & Fitness
Health & Fitness  
Lifestyle Tips from the Plow & Heart Fitness Team: Improve your Zzzzs!
By Plow & Hearth
8/23/2014 12:04:00 PM  

Healthy Lifestyle Tip: Exercise is Key to Good Sleep

 

Exercise can affect your sleep. "Exercise is great for sleep. For the millions of people who want better sleep, exercise may help," says David Cloud, CEO, National Sleep Foundation.

 

Self-described exercisers report better sleep than self-described non-exercisers even though they say they sleep the same amount each night (6 hours and 51 minutes, average on weeknights). Vigorous, moderate, and light exercisers are significantly more likely to say "I had a good night's sleep" every night or almost every night on work nights than non-exercisers.

 

"If you are inactive, adding a 10 minute walk every day could improve your likelihood of a good night's sleep," says Max Hirshkowitz, Ph.D., poll task force chair. "Making this small change and gradually working your way up to more intense activities like running or swimming could help you sleep better."

 

Those who report exercising close to bedtime and earlier in the day do not demonstrate a difference in self-reported sleep quality. In fact, for most people exercise at any time seems to be better for sleep than no exercise at all.

 

"Exercise is beneficial to sleep. It's time to put exercise – any time – at the top of our list for healthy sleep habits," says Dr. Barbara Phillips, poll task force member.

 

We wish you an active, healthy week with some good rest!

 

-Your Plow & He♥rt Fitness Team


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Health & Fitness  
Lifestyle Tips from the Plow & Heart Fitness Team: New Sneakers
By Plow & Hearth
8/16/2014 10:30:00 AM  




Developed to be protective and add traction, running/walking shoes have  evolved to incorporate lightweight materials that cushion the foot from the trauma of walking or running. Most cushioning comes from EVA foam, a lightweight material injected with air cells designed to absorb impact.

 

But, like all good things, the foam eventually loses its magic, that can happen anywhere from 300 to 500 miles after the first wear. For a runner/walker doing five 3-mile runs or walks per week, that comes out to a new pair every five to six months. (Let’s hope Santa comes twice this year!).

 

“According to some researchers, running/walking shoes should be replaced anywhere from 300 to 500 miles after the first wear.”

 

Why rush to pick up a new pair? Once that foam wears out, the risk of overuse injuries increases, because the material has lost its ability to absorb shock. While some overuse injuries (like shin splints are minor, others (like tendinitis) might require more serious treatment. One good way to avoid these issues: Regularly trading in your old shoes for new kicks.

 

Your Action Plan

Why do experts give such a big range for the appropriate time to replace old sneaks? Every runner/walker has a different weight and foot strike, both of which affect the cushioning of shoes in various ways (For instance, a heavier runner/walker who runs or walks on their heels may wear out the shoe cushioning faster than a light runner/walker who runs or walks on their toes.). To eliminate all those miles of guesswork, here are some quick signs that those running/walking shoes need to be replaced:

 

  1. Try the press test. Press a thumb into the center of the shoe, where the midsole is. If the midsole feels tough and unyielding (rather than cushy with some "give"), then it may be time for a new pair
  2.  Look for signs of creasing in the sole. Look at the midsole, then use your thumb to press on the outsole into the midsole. When the midsole shows heavy compression lines before you press into it, and doesn't compress much when you press into it, that's a sign that the cushioning is pretty much worn out.
  3. Pay attention to aches and pains. While some say pain is weakness leaving the body, others say it’s an indication that something is wrong. A little twinge at the bottom of a foot could be your body's way of saying that a shoe is past its prime.
  4. Compare new shoes with old ones. Trying on an old pair of shoes immediately before trying on a new pair gives runners/walkers a direct comparison of which feels better. Once an old pair of shoes stops feeling comfortable, it may be time to change it out. 

-Your Plow & He♥rt Fitness Team



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Health & Fitness  
Lifestyle Tips From The Plow & Heart Fitness Team: 10 Healthy Road Trip Snacks
By Plow & Hearth
8/4/2014 11:04:00 AM  

This summer, millions of Americans will take to the roads. If you’re one of them you may think that means hours with nothing to munch on but convenience store staples like chips and cookies. Not anymore! While convenience stores still have their fair share of not-so-good eats, many now stock a surprising selection of healthy choices. Next time you stop to refuel, test drive these light snacks:

1. Whole grain cereal cups
Why start your day with a donut when you can get wholesome whole grain cereal? You may need to dig through the cereal display to find it, but it’s there. Just be sure to read the label, as some varieties are more healthful than others. Look for brands that supply at least 4 grams of fiber and about 160 calories per cup (Cheerios are a safe bet that are almost always available). Mix with low-fat yogurt and a banana and you’ve got a wholesome breakfast you can take along for the drive.  


2. Energy bars
Energy bars make a savvy snack to have on hand for times when you’re stuck in traffic and your stomach starts to growl. Yet they’re not all created equally. Many are low in fiber, high in calories and loaded with sugar. For maximum hunger control, aim for bars with a combo of at least 5 grams of fiber and 7 grams of protein and fewer than 170 calories such as Kellogg’s Special K Protein Meal Bar or Kashi Go Lean Protein & Fiber Bar.



3. Peanuts in the shell
Packed with vitamin E and monounsaturated fat, peanuts are a heart-healthy snack. But, if you’re not careful it’s easy to wolf down several servings before you know it. Enter in-shell peanuts. Shelling your own peanuts automatically slows you down, so you’ll be less likely to eat too many. About ½ cup supplies 7 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber and 20% of your daily vitamin E for a respectable 160 calories.  

4. Low-fat yogurt
When you crave something cool and creamy, head to the refrigerator case instead of the ice cream case. There you’ll find low-fat yogurt (some stores even stock organic varieties). It will satisfy your taste buds while also delivering on the nutritional front. For about 140 calories or less, you’ll get one-quarter of your daily calcium and as much protein as you’d get from a large egg. Look on the label and you’ll see many brands are now fortified with vitamin D as well.  



5. V8 100% vegetable juice

Squeezing in your 9 daily servings of produce when you’re on the road can be a major challenge. While fresh is best, it isn’t always possible. That’s when 100% veggie juice can help. One 12-ounce bottle provides the equivalent of 3 servings of vegetables for just 70 calories. It’s packed with vitamins A and C, heart-healthy potassium, and lycopene, a phytochemical cousin of beta-carotene. Each bottle also offers 3 grams of filling fiber.  

6. Trail mix
Put down the peanut M&Ms and reach for a bag of trail mix instead. Its dried fruit and nuts provide the perfect mix of sweet, salty and crunchy - but with a healthful twist. You’ll not only slash fat and calories, you’ll get half the saturated fat you’d find in chocolate bars or M&Ms. Be sure to keep an eye on portions. Even though it’s good for you, trail mix is high in calories. Three tablespoons supply 140 calories and 9 grams of fat.

7. Single serve bags of baby carrots
You no longer need to stumble across a roadside stand to get your fill of fresh veggies. Conveniently packaged single-serve bags of baby carrots make it easy to sneak in a serving of produce. Precut, prewashed and easily portable, they make a smart alternative to other bagged snacks. One 2¼ ounce bag delivers 90 percent of your daily dose of vitamin A and 2 grams of fiber for only 25 calories.  

8. Fresh fruit cup
Stores like 7-Eleven are making it easier for you to get your fruit fix. Now instead of gravitating toward the snack aisle, check out the fresh food case. There you’ll find juicy fruit cups made from pre-cut cantaloupe, honeydew, and grapes. Not only are they a calorie bargain, they’re rich in fiber and also supply healthful antioxidants like vitamins A and C and beta-carotene. They’re filling too. One 8-oz container provides roughly 2 servings of fruit for only about 100 calories. If you can’t find fresh cut fruit, look for fruit packed in water or extra-light syrup.  



9. Part skim string cheese sticks

It’s hard to squeeze in your 3 daily servings of dairy when you’re cooped up in the car all day. Calcium-rich snacks like string cheese can help. Grab a couple of these and you’ll get as much calcium as you would from a glass of milk. What’s more, their protein (one piece supplies 7 grams) helps you focus and stay alert behind the wheel. For a balanced snack, pair them with a bag of baby carrots.

10. Bananas
Most convenience stores offer single pieces of fresh fruit like bananas, oranges and apples year round. You don't have to look far to find them either—they are usually at the front of the store next to the cash register. If you don't want to worry about washing an apple or trying to peel an orange while driving, reach for a banana. This sweet fruit is packaged in its own skin for easy clean up and nonsticky fingers. Bananas are a potassium powerhouse, delivering energy to help keep you going on that long drive.  


Happy Travels!
-Your Plow & Hert Fitness Team


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Health & Fitness  
Lifestyle Tips From The Plow & Heart Fitness Team: 4 Steps to Fitness
By Plow & Hearth
7/22/2014 2:36:00 PM  
The best diet and the best workout program are the ones you can stick with.


One Size Doesn't Fit All: How to Find the Best Health and Fitness Routine for You
It's one of the first things we learn in school: Everyone is different. Our bodies react differently to certain types of training. Our stomachs handle different foods in a variety of ways. Some of us are excited for a workout that others dread.

4 Simple Steps to Decide What's Right for You
To become healthier as individuals we need to become people who try different things, listen to our bodies, and find positive lifestyle changes that we can stick with for the long haul. There's no such thing as one-size-fits-all in the health and fitness world. There's only what works for us as individuals. It might not be easy. (It won't.) But it will be worth it.

So, how do we figure out which diet and/or workout routine will help us feel healthy for the long haul? Start by asking yourself these questions:

1.
Do I enjoy your workout? You don’t have to be over-the-top obsessed, but you have to enjoy the exercise you’re doing enough to push past the resistance your mind will give you after the novelty of it wears off. The opposite question to ask is, “Do I dread it?” If so, it’s not the program or diet for you.  

2. Is it sustainable? We all have different schedules. A mother working 70 hours per week is going to have different availability than a student with a light class load. Even if you love what you’re doing, the time commitment has to be sustainable, or else you’ll burn out. Chopping veggies for 30 minutes every day or lifting weights for an hour might not be right for you. Start with a time commitment that's without-a-doubt manageable. You can always add in additional time later.

3. Is there a community of like-minded people to support me? This doesn’t have to be a physical, in-person community, but you should have access to some sort of community. Maybe you really enjoy bodybuilding but love working out alone with your headphones on. Perfect. There are hundreds of bodybuilding forums online where you can learn from and support other people pursuing a common goal. Without this kind of support, you can feel very isolated, and it’s easier to quit when you feel like you’re going it alone. The same goes for diet. You will benefit from a community of people eating the same way and providing recipes, ideas, and support to keep you motivated.

4. Is it working? Check your progress after two months or so by re-testing a workout you did at the very beginning of your program: Can you complete it faster? Are you lifting heavier weights or doing more reps? You can also measure physical markers like body measurements, weight, how your clothes are fitting, cholesterol, blood pressure, etc. Accept that finding the right health and fitness program will involve trial and error and whatever you settle on will take work, you'll bring yourself one step closer to the lifestyle that helps you be the best you can be!

-Your Plow & Hert Fitness Team

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