It’s time to get in shape by striking a pose.

Just about everyone has thought “I should try yoga” at one point or another. Chances are you have a friend or family member who can’t stop talking about it, and for good reason – research shows that beyond its many health benefits, yoga may actually be good for your brain.

But actually getting into yoga can seem intimidating. The culture around it promotes an all-or-nothing mentality, and most practitioners advise joining a studio or hiring a teacher to get the full benefits. That’s great for some, but not everyone has the time, money or inclination to make that kind of commitment.

Thankfully, yoga is like most kinds of fitness – you can dive in headfirst or just dip your toes in the water. There are plenty of simple, effective poses you can learn at home that will also challenge and invigorate you.

Here are some of the best basic poses to promote strength, flexibility, and mindfulness. Remember to start slowly, taking the time to learn each position correctly.

Bridge Pose

Lots of people suffer from back pain and poor posture issues because they lack the ability to fully utilize their glutes. That can be because they lack the necessary strength, or just because they struggle to activate their glutes properly. This pose tackles both issues.

How to do it: Lie supine on the floor with your arms at your side, knees bent and heels as close to your butt as feels comfortable. Push your feet and arms into the floor while squeezing your glutes, lifting your buttocks until the thighs are about parallel to the floor. Make sure your knees remain directly over your heels. Hold the position for up to a minute, then slowly lower yourself to the starting position.

I do this pose regularly to help develop the glute muscles that I don’t work in my normal exercise routine. This is probably one of my least favorite poses, but I know it really works.

Downward-Facing Dog Pose

Even if you’ve never had an interest in yoga, you’ve probably heard of this pose. It’s one of the most well-known yoga techniques because it offers great benefits while also being easy enough for just about anyone to attempt. It stretches everything from the shoulders to the ankles and provides a challenging core workout on top.

How to do it: Get on your hands and knees, with your knees directly under your hips and your hands slightly in front of your shoulders, pressing into the ground firmly. Exhale and tuck your toes as you lift your knees off the floor, pushing your pelvis towards the ceiling.

Then, draw your sit bones towards the wall behind you as you straighten your legs without locking your knees. Stay in this pose anywhere from one to three minutes, deepening the stretch as you go. End the pose by bending your knees to the floor while exhaling.

You can do even more by adding this pose as part of a general sun salutation which will get your heart rate up.

Garland Pose

You may have heard this pose referred to colloquially as the “third world squat” or “slav squat” by crossfitters and bodybuilders, but this deep stretch is beneficial for just about anyone – especially those who sit at a desk all day.

When you spend that much time sitting, your hips tend to get incredibly tight, which can lead to posture issues and lower back pain. This pose forces those hips to open up, as well as aiding in ankle mobility that affects the whole lower body.

How to do it: Stand with your feet about shoulder width apart, feet angled out anywhere from 15 to 30 degrees. Keep your chest and head high as you push your hips back, sitting down into a squat position as deep as you can safely go.

Make sure to keep your hips back so your knees do not come in front of your toes, and use your elbows to push your knees out. You may have to adopt a wider stance with your feet angled further out at first, but you should eventually be able to bring your feet closer together with a straighter foot angle. Hold this position for at least a minute, then exhale as you straighten the knees to stand.

Find the Time

If you’re like me, finding the time to do anything extra seems impossible, so that’s why I try to incorporate stretching into my regular routine. For example, I try to do a Garland Pose while I’m brushing my teeth or while I’m waiting for my dinner to heat up in the microwave.

These yoga poses are easy to tackle, but only if you start out slow. Try doing one a day until you’ve built up a habit. Then, add another pose. No matter how crappy you’re feeling, aim to complete your exercises. You’ll feel better in the long run.

Are you a yoga practitioner? Any tips you want to give? Let us know in the #Adulting Facebook community

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Life and love-handles happen. But it doesn’t have to end there or cost a lot to get back into shape.

Popular exercise and diet trends are all over the board. Their results are often inconsistent or short in duration.

One thing about them that is consistent, is that they’re expensive.

This doesn’t have to be so. Here are economical ways to get back into and stay in shape.

Move it.

The biggest misconception about exercise programs is that complex and expensive choices are better. You must join a fancy gym with shiny equipment and super-fit reps wearing high-end lycra clothes. The more hip sounding the program’s name, the better the results.

These things simply aren’t true. Just move!

Walking consistently comes up in studies to be one of the best exercises people can do. If walking isn’t enough insanity for you, jog or run. If you want to work your quads and hamstrings more, walk, jog or run up and down steps. Malls, office buildings, maybe your apartment building, tracks, and fields are great places for these exercises.

If you have a bike, ride it. If you have access to a low-cost pool, swim in it. If these are too boring for you or you don’t have time for these, house chores and gardening are great exercises. Just get off the couch, turn off the Netflix and move.

Cook it.

It’s a tough truth, but what and how we eat affects our physical shape more than how and how much we exercise. Every single calorie counts. If we’re eating more calories than we’re burning, being out of shape is the result.

Despite all our modern conveniences, we’re busier than ever. This often means we can’t find time to cook at home and opt for dining out or getting take out. Even the healthiest options in most restaurants have more calories than anything we’d cook at home.

A cheap way to get back into and to stay in shape is to simply cook at home, and keep what you cook at home simple. Don’t use more than five ingredients per dish, and avoid processed foods and anything wrapped in cardboard or plastic.

Schedule it.

Humans are creatures of habit. Schedule your exercise for the same time of day every day and make exercise a habit. The key to getting back into shape and staying in shape, whether you focus on diet, exercise, or both, is being consistent.

It will feel difficult at first, but when your mind and body get into the habit of working out regularly and consistently, you’ll find getting to your workouts easier. When exercising becomes routine and your exercises become easier, increase the intensity of your exercises. That’s when you’ll start to see real results.

YouTube it.

If you don’t feel knowledgeable enough to exercise without the guidance of a pro but can’t afford a pro, use YouTube. Search for “exercising” in YouTube. You’ll get 712,000 results. Surely not all 712,000 results are worth your time but you can find good ones and they cost a lot less than any pro.

From yoga to cardio, to Pilates to tai chi, find the exercise programs and the exercise pros that work for you, and watch yourself lose the weight without losing your money.

Don’t pitch it.

Aside from the expensive gym membership to that gym you never go to, one of the biggest costs of becoming a fitness fanatic is the fitness clothing. Truth be told, most of us don’t need a high-performance moisture wicking, organic microfiber.

Do some people need these? Yes, professional athletes. Are you a professional athlete? If you answer no, then don’t waste your money on pro-quality exercise clothes.

Older t-shirts, including undershirts, are perfect for your new exercise program. Unless your gym shorts or pants will get you put in jail and can’t stand on their own, they’re probably good enough. Heck, even brand new, expensive yoga pants could land you in jail. Save yourself the money and the risk.

Don’t pay for it.

What’s the best price? Free. Local community centers, YMCAs, and colleges often offer free exercise classes or training. This can be to market the facility or to help a new exercise facilitator gain more experience before they start charging a fee. Sometimes it’s an exclusive, one-time offer or part of a package. Likewise, exercise studios and gyms offer free classes or a few free days to experience their facilities.

This strategy may not last forever, but it can kickstart your new exercise regimen. This can, also, provide you with enough information to ensure that you get the most from your YouTube exercising from higher above in this list.

App it.

If you want to just do it, there’s an app for it. There are tons of apps that can help you with anything from running to lifting weights. So, if you do pay to workout at a gym, you don’t have to pay for a gym trainer. Even if you don’t want to work out at a gym, you can find an app that supports your home-based exercising.

See my list of nine apps to help you live healthier, many of which will also help you live wealthier.

Borrow it.

How many friends or family members do you know with exercise equipment collecting dust or doubling as a clothing tree? Help them make space in their home by offering to take their equipment off their hands. You could probably negotiate a serious discount off the original price or even get it for free. My parents had weights, a weight bench, and a treadmill in their basement that they never used, and they just wanted to get rid of it. Some lucky person got a new home gym for free.

If you don’t have friends or family with this problem, you can find “gently used” equipment online or at consignment and resale shops. Just be careful to not fall into the trap of thinking that because everything is cheaper than the original price that you need to buy everything.

As you can see, getting back into and staying in shape doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. In fact, I’d argue that if you can get back into shape with the low-cost and less shiny methods above, you’re more likely to stay in shape.

Do you have any other low-cost tips for getting fit? Let us know in the #Adulting Facebook community

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Certain things go as you get older. Is your cognitive ability a casualty? Learn what you can do to keep your skills sharp.

Why is the scenario below a common occurrence in my everyday life?

Me: Hi, I’m John.
Maximus Lazarus Falcon: Hi, John. I’m Maximus Lazarus Falcon.
Me: It’s nice to meet you.
Maximus Lazarus Falcon: It’s nice to meet you, too.
Me: Um, what’s your name again?

Now that I’m in my 40s, one might claim that I’m starting to suffer from a decline in cognitive skills. Au contraire! I’ve always lacked such cognitive skills. I’ve been struggling to remember people’s names for as long as I can remember anything.

What are cognitive skills?

As LearningRx.com says, “Cognitive skills are the core skills your brain uses to think, read, learn, remember, reason, and pay attention. Working together, they take incoming information and move it into the bank of knowledge you use every day at school, at work, and in life.”

A common belief is that we lose our cognitive skills as we age. The truth is that we gain our cognitive skills between birth until about 18 to 20 years old. At that point, some cognitive skills decline, and some continue to improve. Even in our older age, as some cognitive skills decline, other stay stable.

The reason why I couldn’t remember people’s names in my 20s is likely because I lacked cognitive attention skills. I’m not ADD or ADHD. I just lacked and maybe continued to lack solid cognitive attention skills. As I age, my inability to recall people’s names whom I’ve met less than six times (apparently) could be attributed to a decline in my cognitive memory skills.

What cognitive skills tend to improve with age?

Cognitive intelligence skills tend to improve and outperform younger people only because older people have acquired more knowledge and experience over time. Likewise, reason and problem-solving skills tend to develop because every year a person doesn’t die they’ve rationalized and solved more problems. Coming up with a solution for an older person may take longer than for a younger person, but they can find a solution, and often a better one, because of their history. Consequently, wise people in movies, think Yoda, tend to be or look much older.

Another cognitive skill that may improve or, at least, stay consistent until much later in life is cognitive attention skills . Therefore, a three-year-old can’t sit still for three minutes, and a 40-year-old can listen to a two-hour lecture on cognitive skills.

Another cognitive skill that typically improves or maintains homeostasis is language proficiency. Older people have lived longer and, therefore, have heard, read and used more words. An expected improvement is vocabulary is why we expect our wise, old sages to use more than one and two-syllable words or to use more than 140 characters to make important policy decisions.

What cognitive skills tend to decline with age?

Aging isn’t all roses and sunshine. Some cognitive skills do decline. That’s why you get upset when driving behind an older person.

Memory is often the first cognitive skill to be recognized as declining. By now, it’s almost expected and, at first, it’s humorous. I have three nieces and no matter whose name I’m trying to recall, I always recall the other two first. This why we chuckle when we walk into another room to get something only to forget the very thing we went into that room to get.

Of course, the humor may someday end. For this reason, it’s scary when an older adult goes missing. We’ve all heard the stories of older people who went for a drive and ended up hundreds of miles away in another state.

How can you maintain or slow the decline of cognitive skills?

As with our physical and mental health, best maintaining cognitive skills comes down to “use it or lose it.” That is, of course, unless there are extenuating circumstances such as an illness, accident or disease.

Exercise more

Also along the lines of physical and mental health, physical exercise is one of the best ways to fight the decline of cognitive skills. Studies show that just 60-minutes of exercise three times a week has a positive effect on cognition. So, get moving, no matter how old you are. I recently read that 40 is the new 20. Join me in getting fit!

Stimulate your brain

Learn something new. Try a new hobby. Watch documentaries and foreign language movies. Read more, especially on topics that make you think. Play games such as crossword puzzles, chess, Trivial Pursuit, Jeopardy, Poker, Rummy and even Memory.

All these will make your brain work and keep it working longer. So, start playing, just avoid betting when playing. For more brain stimulation, add more culture to your life.

Stay positive and reduce stress

Depression and isolation have been shown to have an adverse effect on the elderly in numerous ways, including causing a decline in cognitive skills. Research indicates that “not only do we know of the cognitive deficits present during acute depression episodes but we also know that some cognitive deficits do not completely go away even when depression is in remission.”

Look for ways to stay social and engaged with friends and family. As we age, we tend to want to stay home. This is the exact opposite of what we should do.

It’s, also, beneficial for us to engage in creative ways to stay positive. It’s impossible to stay depressed when you’re dancing naked in your living room or surrounded by amazing people – but maybe don’t do both at the same time – well, why not? Go ahead and dance naked in your living room surrounded by awesome people.

The takeaway is that some decline in cognitive skills is inevitable, however, in many cases, we can at least slow that decline. Likewise, some things get better with age, so it’s not all negative. The more aware we are of the signs of declining cognitive skills and the more steps we take to slow that decline, the better.

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Living healthier takes time, commitment, and information. If you have a phone, you have the information, the rest is up to you.

The gig-economy isn’t great only because it makes working excellent and entrepreneurship more accessible. I love the gig-economy because it is also creating mic-dropping technology.

The gig-economy created Uber and Lyft that has elevated the taxiing experience. It has brought us robotic crop pickers. The gig-economy has made waiting 36 hours for my Amazon package a long time!

There are other ways life is getting better. Picture it! Ten years ago, a little company called Apple invented something smaller called the iPhone and this made phones “smart.” Finally, there was a device small enough to fit in a pocket that played music and people could talk to and text with each other on it.

The world was amazed.

That little Apple, though, knew the greatest part of its invention was its “app technology.” Now anyone could create technology to add to these phones that improve life in the 21st Century. One such way apps are helping humans is with healthier living. Below are some of my and my friend’s favorite healthy-living apps. Try some and live healthier, too.

Exercise.

Zombies, Run!

As a fan of running and a bigger fan of The Walking Dead – so much so I’m even still watching Fear the Walking Dead – I’ll start with my personal favorite. Zombies, Run! combines a little virtual reality, gaming, music and fartlek.

That’s right. I said fartlek. Fartlek is Swedish for “speed play” and is an efficient way to lose weight and get in shape because it fluctuates the heart rate.

Zombies, Run! plays music while you run and notifies you when a zombie starts chasing you. If you don’t speed up, you’ll die. Not really, but it’s fun to pretend. There are 200 missions, and you’ll collect supplies and points as you go.

7 Minute Workout

Have 60, even 30 minutes to exercise? Me, either. The amazing gig-economy isn’t putting more hours in the day. That’s why I love the 7 Minute Workout app because I can usually find 7 minutes to workout, sometimes 14, sometimes 21 and . . . you get the picture.

The 7 Minute Workout app has 72 exercises, 22 workouts that can create up to 1,000 variations and the app progresses with your fitness level to make sure you don’t plateau or regress. I especially love that the 7 Minute Workout includes both aerobic and anaerobic exercises, as most training apps focused only on aerobic exercises.

iScubaToo

Jerry Garcia, the lead singer and a founder of The Grateful Dead, once famously said that he never would’ve tried drugs if he had tried scuba diving first. Aside from being Nancy Reagan’s most ardent ally, scuba diving is great for the mind, body and spirit.

CEO and Founder of iScubaToo, Chad Nash says of scuba diving, “It’s great for both the mind and body by keeping you present at all times. It’s a kind of meditative state. You don’t have to be the most physically fit to dive to start, so it fits everyone. From there, you can move onto other active, healthy opportunities.”

iScubaToo helps you easily find, rate, review and connect with dive shops around the world. Not all dive shops have quality safety or equipment ratings. This app works like Airbnb and Uber but for divers to find quality dive shops anywhere in the world.

Yoga

I love yoga! The human body is the best weight-machine, and we take ours everywhere. Unfortunately, many think they can only get a good weight workout at the gym, but that’s not so. So, let’s combine tranquility with technology.

Down Dog

Who doesn’t like to do it doggy style? Not only is Down Dog a great whole-body stretch and mild inversion yoga pose, but it’s also a great app. If you’re intimidated about doing to a yoga studio and falling all over yourself in front of strangers, or you simply don’t have the $1,000,000 to buy a yoga studio membership, check out Down Dog.

Down Dog claims it has so many sequences that you could never run out of content. That’s great because that keeps you challenged. Along with sequence and instruction, Down Dog plays appropriate music for a “studio-like yoga experience from the comfort of your home.”

Yoga Wake Up

If you like to do your yoga early in the morning like me to do yoga, it’s hard to go from an earth shattering alarm to a gentle yoga experience. That’s why I love Yoga Wake Up.

Yoga Wake Up wakes you with peaceful, meditative sounds rather than a noise that lets miners and steel workers know their shifts ended. It also lets you start your yoga practice with “slow, delicious morning stretches from the warmth of your covers.” That makes me want to wake up several times a day.

Meditation.

Deep Sleep with Andrew Johnson

Have trouble falling asleep at night? You’re not alone. According to the National Sleep Foundation, about 45% of Americans report having trouble falling asleep at least once a week.

Deep Sleep with Andrew Johnson, brought to you by Michael Schneider, is the answer. I don’t know a single thing about either of those men, but they’re the only strange men I allow in my bed because their app and Johnson’s calming Scottish voice helps me fall asleep when the sheep refuse to jump the fence.

Omvana

For pure, lotus-sitting meditation, I love listening to Vishen Lakhiani’s 6 Phase Meditation on the Omvana app. In 21 minutes, Lakhiani walks listeners through a comprehensive meditation routine that includes connection, gratitude, forgiveness, visualization, daily intention and blessing.

As an overly-scheduled person with a perpetually wondering mind, Omvana helps me exercise uninterrupted meditation and feel the full effects of that kind of meditative focus.

Healthy eating.

Lose It!

Studies consistently show that one of the best ways to lose weight is to track your eating. But, keeping a ledger of the food you eat all day, every day and having to track the portion-size and calorie count of everything you eat sucks more than sucking lemons. That’s why Lose It! is great.

Lose It! lets you track the food you eat three different and easy ways. The first is by searching its database rather than going to some random site referred to you by Google. The second is scanning a bar code, if one’s available. Now, you can take a picture of your food and the resident experts at Lose It! will let you know how many calories you’re eating.

Lose It! connects with other apps, like other fitness trackers, and lets you set goals and track your progress.

Fit Men Cook

How can you find meals that won’t make the eyes of the resident experts at Lose It! pop? Get the Fit Men Cook app. Fit Men Cook gives easy and affordable meals that can be prepared in advance. It helps you to choose healthy meals and not succumb to a fast food meal because of time.

Fit Men Cook even makes grocery shopping easier. Based on the meals you choose to eat that week; Fit Men Cook will create a grocery list that can be checked off as you toss items into your grocery cart.

Plus, even if you can’t find a single recipe that you like, Kevin Curry, who invented Fit Men Cook, is delicious in and of himself.

Embrace the gig-economy. Embrace apps. They’ll help make you happier, healthier, and because most apps are free, they may make you wealthier.

Do you use apps to help you have a healthier lifestyle? What are some of your favorites? We’d love to hear about it over at the #Adulting Facebook community

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Self-care is important.

Once in a while, we present Adulting.tv LIVE! Subscribe on YouTube to hear about future events, and share your questions about or suggestions for our next discussions!

Show Notes

We don’t have a video this week, but we do have an interview with an expert. Lynette Davis is an entrepreneur coach and mental health advocate. She knows what it’s like to lose touch with yourself and the importance of mental health as an entrepreneur.

In this episode, Lynette talks about the importance of self-care, watching for signs that you might need to pay better attention to your mental health, and how better mental health can help you make the most of your business.

We also talk about the importance of getting help when you need it and removing some of the stigma related to mental health from the national conversation. Listen in to find out what you need to know about mental health as an entrepreneur.

Website: http://lynettedavis.biz/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/AplusDMedia
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lynetted

Hosted byHarlan L. Landes and Miranda Marquit
Produced byadulting.tv
Edited and mixed bySteve Stewart
Music bybensound.com

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How to be wealthier and healthier — at the same time.

Once in a while, we present Adulting.tv LIVE! Subscribe on YouTube to hear about future events, and share your questions about or suggestions for our next discussions!

Show Notes

Harlan and Miranda are joined by Jessica Moorhouse and Jaclyn Phillips. Jessica is a personal finance expert (blogger, podcaster, speaker) and Jaclyn Phillips is a fitness expert (fitness coach, yoga instructor, champion bodybuilder). We talk money and fitness — and how they go together.

Jessica Moorhouse is an award-winning personal finance blogger, speaker and host of the popular Mo’ Money Podcast, who regularly shares helpful money tips with major news outlets and magazines as a go-to millennial money expert.

Focusing on building her community offline (in addition to online), Jessica founded the Millennial Money Meetup in 2016 to promote financial literacy amongst millennials in her city of Toronto. Aside from being passionate about personal finance, she’s also a fitness & balance advocate, having launched her first e-course with fitness coach Jaclyn Phillips, the Rich & Fit Bootcamp, in June 2017.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jessicaimoorhouse/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jessicaimoorhouse/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/jessi_moorhouse
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/jessicamoorhouse1

Jaclyn Phillips is a registered yoga teacher, fitness coach and international bikini competitor based out of Toronto. She has been active her entire life and approaches health and wellness from a holistic perspective. Finding balance between work, fun and health has always been her focus and lifestyle.

Priorities for Jaclyn are making the time to eat healthy, work hard and train hard, and she has a passion to share this with others. Her goal is to inspire and motivate others by sharing her fitness journey and experiences through progress, nutrition and workouts. Jaclyn has a soft spot for animals too – especially dogs – and loves all things nature.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jaclynphillipscoach/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jaqioh/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JaciPhillips
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCaDJnkBMVkdlR6Yz41GqcGA

Hosted byHarlan L. Landes and Miranda Marquit
Produced byadulting.tv
Edited and mixed bySteve Stewart
Music bybensound.com

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Some struggles make us lose hope. Make us feel lost. If you are dealing with anxiety or depression, there is hope. There is a path to wellness.

There’s no denying it – depression and anxiety are on the rise in the United States. Whether you attribute the uptick to societal factors or heightened awareness of mental health issues, it’s clear that many Americans are suffering without a clear path to wellness.

Thankfully, treating these issues is exceedingly more simple than people realize – which isn’t to say it’s easy. There are tried and true methods that, if used appropriately and consistently, have a high chance of improving the symptoms of anxiety and depression. It may be an uphill battle, but it’s a hill worth climbing.

Successful treatment looks different for everyone, so keep an open mind. Here are some basic steps to take if you don’t know where to start.

Catalog your feelings.

Writing down your feelings is one of the most basic strategies to cope with feeling anxious or depressed. The University of Rochester Medical Center recommends journaling to combat “stress, depression or anxiety.”

I write in a journal every day, chronicling how I’m feeling and what’s bothering me. When I’m in a funk I can’t explain, I automatically reach for my notebook. On a basic level, documenting your mental condition allows you to separate yourself from negative emotions by playing the part of an objective observer.

I also use thought records to document my anxiety and change my reaction to it. A thought record is a simple worksheet where you catalog what the situation is, what you’re thinking and how you feel. Then you write down how rational your thoughts are, what the more rational response would be and how likely it is that the rational response is correct. Cognitive behavioral therapy practitioners believe when they change their thoughts, they can change their feelings and behavior.

For example, if you think your friend will be mad you forgot her birthday, you could write down a thought record saying why you feel bad, what you’re thinking about yourself and what your friend’s likely response is. Thought records can help you see when you’re blowing things out of proportion and how to manage your problems more effectively.

Stay connected.

Depression often robs victims of the energy and desire to do the hobbies and activities they once enjoyed. It can take away the motivation to work out, eat healthy and stay connected to your social circle. The problem is, staying involved with your friends and pastimes is one of the few ways you can feel better.

Start small. Invite a friend or two over for a movie night where you don’t have to do anything except provide a DVD or turn on Netflix. Meet a former coworker for coffee or a drink. If a pal is having a party, try to go for at least an hour.

“I can usually count on a few things to help or at least distract me from how I’m feeling for a bit,” said Kelly Whalen of Centsible Life. “Those include reading, walking outside, petting my fluffy dog, taking a nap or a little window shopping.”

You should also consider finding a group of peers who are dealing with depression as well. Talking about your problems with people who understand can make you feel less alone in your struggles. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America has an online support group you can join, as well as a private forum where you can write out your feelings.

Find a therapist.

A licensed therapist or counselor can be an incredible tool in fighting depression or anxiety. Unfortunately, many people assume that the only therapists available are ones who charge $200 an hour.

Not so. Almost everyone can find a low-cost therapist if they look hard enough. Your doctor might have some recommendations on where to look, so start there. A local university with a psychology department will also have an in-house clinic where you can meet with current students or graduates. Low-cost or free clinics often have a therapist on staff.

On average, these clinics charge anywhere from $5 to $40, and many have a sliding scale system based on income. I’ve had good experiences with inexpensive therapists and consider them a necessary tool in fighting anxiety and depression.

Talk to a doctor.

You should talk to a doctor about medication if therapy, journaling and working out don’t alleviate your anxiety or depression. Only a medical doctor can prescribe pills, so make an appointment with your primary care physician and not your counselor or therapist.

Don’t worry if it takes some time for the medication to kick in or if you don’t like how it feels at first. Many patients need a few weeks to adjust, so be aware of that. Your doctor can alter the prescription as need be if you’re not feeling better after a month or so. If you decide you don’t like it, ask your doctor how to taper off. Withdrawal symptoms are common and can be debilitating if you don’t scale back appropriately.

If you’re feeling anxious or depressed, it can take time to work through it. Try to find what works best for you.

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Want better health? You may have to get off your lazy ass. The good news is that you might not have to get off it for very long.

I hate exercise.

I literally have to trick myself into it by being active in ways I don’t associate with exercise.

Unfortunately, it’s not always effective. I can’t make it to the pool each day. I don’t always make time for a bike ride. Getting to the mountains for a hike isn’t always feasible.

In a world where the research says, “Get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week, or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity,” it can feel like a serious endeavor to live healthy.

Generally, in order to make it work, the experts recommend spreading the workouts over a period of days. Exercise every day (or at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week), and you reap the benefits.

But what if you could stave off early death and a host of problems by exercising only two days a week?

Nice!

Thanks to science, you might be off the hook. At least for some of the time.

Health benefits from exercising one or two days a week

What if you don’t want to try to exercise each day?

Sure, you can break it up into 10 minutes sessions each day to feel better about the whole thing. But what if you don’t even want to do that?

But what if you don’t even want to do that?

According to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), it’s possible to get solid health benefits from cramming it all in on the weekend.

Here’s what one of the study’s authors, Associate Professor Emmanuel Stamatakis, said about the results:

It is very encouraging news that being physically active on just one or two occasions per week is associated with a lower risk of death, even among people who do some activity but don’t quite meet recommended exercise levels.

That’s right. Even if you don’t get up to that 150 minutes of moderate (or 75 minutes of vigorous) exercise, even just going for it one or two days a week can help reduce some of the health risks that come with a sedentary lifestyle.

Adopt the weekend warrior exercise lifestyle.

This takes the concept of minimum exercise to the next level. And it also makes it easier to follow the “trick yourself” method of exercise.

Think about it: I don’t have to try to exercise every day. If I just take half a Saturday, my son and I can ride bikes to the Greenbelt and then go for an exploratory walk. It’s perfect. That’s a nice combo of vigorous and moderate exercise.

And it does the job.

As a bonus, I get to enjoy quality time parenting my child and making good memories.

This is really easy during months when the weather is is pretty good. Yardwork. Picnics in the park. Hiking. Biking. Family basketball games in the driveway. Tennis. A day playing in the municipal pool.

It’s harder for me during winter because I’m not into skiing and snowshoeing. But a Sunday afternoon sledding with my son and his friends or a couple hours building a snow fort does the trick.

Hell, when my cousins come over to play Rock Band, I can get a couple hours of “moderate” activity just by jumping around like an idiot in the family room, pretending I can actually sing.

If you have a free Saturday or Sunday each week (or one other day during the week), you can engage in the minimum exercise you need to not die too early in one fell swoop.

Get some benefits with even more minimum exercise.

Is the prospect of giving up half a weekend day to exercise just as horrifying as exercising 30 minutes a day?

There are indications that the absolute minimum exercise you can do is a 10-minute walk each day. This is especially true if your life is mostly sedentary.

Going for a walk can be a good way to boost your cardiovascular health. If you can manage 10 minutes a day, it’s an upgrade. You won’t see the same results of doing 30 minutes a day (or powering through the weekend), but you can still see positive results that reduce the chance of dying horribly and dying early.

Plus, a side bonus of going for a 10-minute walk each day is that it can help you feel instantly better about life.

Just finding 10 minutes in your day to go for a walk can mean better emotional and mental health, as well as better physical health.

Don’t forget about your eating habits.

Of course, just doing the absolute minimum exercise alone isn’t going to save you from heart disease, diabetes, and any number of ailments.

If you’re serious about your health, you might also need to address your eating habits.

When you don’t up your exercise, you need to change what goes in, if you want to avoid some of the worst of the debilitating illnesses related to your daily habits.

That might mean switching to healthier foods, eating less crap, and generally paying attention to these things. When you make that move, you are more likely to get away with doing as little exercise as possible.

At one point, I managed to lose five pounds just be eating better. No extra exercise needed. Score!

Healthier habits = better quality of life.

In general, better health habits mean a better quality of life. Despite my hatred of exercise for the sake of exercise, I know that physical activity will help me feel better in the long run.

When I make sure to exercise every day (even if it’s only a 10-minute walk or a few minutes of yoga in the morning), limit the junk I eat, and get enough sleep, I feel better.

I make better decisions. I feel more energetic. I’m less grumpy with my son (and other people in my life). I get more done.

So, even if you only do the minimum exercise, make the effort to change things up with your other habits.

Baby steps toward a healthier overall lifestyle can have positive consequences, even if you never become a health nut.

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Dieting rarely works. In fact, chronic dieting can lead to bigger weight gain. Here’s how to alter your lifestyle to be healthier and happier.

So, you went on another diet. And that diet failed you.

Dieting is no fun and it gets less fun the older we get. The older we get, the smarter we need to be about dieting.

When I was in high school, I didn’t have to diet. When I was in college, eliminating cheese from my diet for a week got me back into shape. Today, that’s not nearly enough.

It’s even worse when you diet and gained weight anyway. How does that happen?

Cursed cortisol.

If you’re on a diet, you’re likely on a cardio routine. That means long bike rides, long walks, long runs, long times in a humid, body-sweat-infused exercise room with dozens of your weight loss peers.

This routine may have worked when we were kids, but during our adulting years, these same exercises increase our stress levels more than they used to do. Stress produces increased levels of cortisol in our bodies, which converts blood sugar into fat.

Ugh! Doesn’t cortisol know fat is the enemy of diets?

This is a bitch for us, but it helped our cavemen ancestors. Our cave brothers and sisters had to run long stretches because something was chasing them.

Today’s solution is to do aerobic exercise in moderation, preferably at lower heart-rate levels incorporated with anaerobic exercise.

If you diet and gained weight, it’s time to re-think your routine.

Stressful stress.

This same hypocritical hormone, cortisol, hypo-produces and goes into hypo-overdrive when we’re stressed about any and everything. Whether it’s work-stress, family-stress, relationship-stress, emotional stress, or stress-stress, we incur the same wrath from cortisol as when we run 10 miles to Ben & Jerry’s.

Anything that you do to reduce your stress levels will reduce the hypo-production of cortisol. Leave bad situations. Meditate. Adopt healthy exercises to relieve stress. Get yourself in nature.

A great way to knock all these out at once is to go for a hike in the woods, by the ocean, or in a park. Being in nature has been shown to reduce stress levels and acts as an active meditation.

Suspect sleep.

On the flip-side, lack of sleep produces extra serotonin. When we’re stressed or tired for any reason, we usually want to feel comfortable.

What’s the easiest and most satisfying way to feel comfortable? Eating comfort food!

The reason you want that breakfast donut, a plate of spaghetti, and dessert cake is because high-fat and high-carb food produce serotonin that makes us tired.

This should cause us to sleep more, except that white, processed sugars make it hard to fall asleep and lose pounds.

If you diet and gained weight anyway, take a look at your sleep schedule.

Processed poisons.

Natural sugars in whole foods, such as fruits and vegetables, include vitamins, minerals, protein, phytochemicals, and fiber, which are all good for you.

Processed sugars don’t have those benefits and provide no value other than gaining weight and keeping us awake.

The same goes for processed flour and, therefore, we should do our best to avoid both. 

The things we eat matter more than we think. Reduce the processed foods you eat, and turn more toward produce and whole grains. You’ll see better results, even without all the calorie counting.

Low-down, low-fat.

For most dieters, avoiding fat is as important as avoiding carbs. The problem is that fats, proteins, and high-fiber carbohydrates produce satiety hormones, such as corticotrophin and cholecystokinin, which make us feel full.

We eat more than we need to when we don’t feel full when we should. Therefore, include some fats in your diet. Healthy fats include nuts, olive oil, avocados, fatty fish and, yes, even dark chocolate – in moderation.

Pay attention to what kinds of things you’re eating. Not all calories are created equal. Just cutting calories might not be enough, especially if you diet and gained weight in the end.

Horrible hunger.

Likewise, when we feel too hungry too often, our bodies go into protection mode and store what food we do eat as fat. This helped our caveman brothers and sisters when food was scarce during the long, cold winter. Most of us today don’t suffer from a scarcity of food.

Our bodies love it if we eat six smaller meals a day rather than three meals a day. It’s especially important to eat breakfast, rather than starving all day and binge eating at night.

Binge weight watching.

Fits and starts of eating also cause us to binge eat. Because our brains think we’re starving, we’ll dive right into the first bowl or bag of food we see only to eat more than we should. It takes about 20 minutes for those satiety hormones mentioned above to reach our brains and tell us to slow you down or stop eating. Unfortunately for many, this is too little too late.

Again, eat six smaller meals throughout the day and you’ll be golden.

Feeling hungry doesn’t help anyone. If you diet and gained weight, even though you’re hungry all the time, your problem might be the hunger.

Magnificent muscle.

It’s possible that because you’re dieting and doing moderate levels of aerobic exercises that you’re also doing appropriate amounts of anaerobic exercises, like lifting weights, yoga, and pilates.

Muscle weighs more than fat, and bodies that weigh the same look better when their weight is more muscle than fat. So, gain more muscle and don’t worry about having too much. For most of us, that would be hard to do.

Try focusing on inches, rather than weight. If you are losing inches, but still gain weight, it might be muscle.

These are eight reasons WTF you may be gaining weight when you’re dieting. Some are good and some are bad. Now that you know what to look out for, manage your diet and exercise to never be sad.

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Sweet tooth out of control? It’s time to show your teeth who’s boss. Try these tips for getting over your sugar cravings.

Research shows eating too much sugar leads to heart disease, diabetes, and other diseases.

Sugar has overtaken fat and carbs as the ingredient to avoid in food. Most of us know drinking a Diet Coke and eating a box of Chips Ahoy isn’t good for us, but we still do it.

Why?

Because sugar is addicting. Some scientists say it works like cocaine and other drugs, targeting the dopamine-releasing centers in your brain. Sugar makes you feel good in the moment and bad in the long-term.

What can you do if you’re trying to improve your health and cut back on that sweet stuff? Read below for our best tips on battling your sweet tooth:

Wait 15 minutes.

When that craving hits your brain, suddenly all you can think about is feeding your addiction. It can be an all-consuming feeling, but the key to breaking out of your addiction is to avoid giving in.

Tell yourself that you’ll have to wait at least 15 minutes before you satisfy your sweet tooth. During that break, your brain will have time to think about how you promised to get better and how crappy you’d feel if you relented. Many people find that after 15 minutes have passed, they don’t even remember the intense craving they had.

Keep a food journal.

When you feel like heading to the snack machine or your closest convenience store, take a second and stop.

Instead of giving in to your urges, keep a notebook with you to write down how you feel when those cravings arrive. Remind yourself why you decided to cut back on sugar and what your goals are.

When we have a craving, we’re determined to fulfill a short-term need. It’s like scratching a mosquito bite. It feels better in the moment, but afterward you just want to keep scratching.

A food journal can help you remember why you’re saying no to your sweet tooth and keep your long-term goal in mind. 

Avoid buying it.

Creating a new habit requires a lot of willpower that’s often in short supply. Instead of counting on yourself to always make the right decision, you have to start making it easier for yourself. Case in point: avoid buying sugary items.

If you buy a packet of Oreos, then every time you want to have some, you’ll be forcing your brain to make a difficult decision. A box of Oreos represents at least a few times you’ll have to decide between breaking your diet and staying on track.

The best way to avoid that scenario? Don’t buy the Oreos in the first place. Not buying the Oreos in the first place helps you avoid being forced to make a decision about them later. 

Reach for fruit.

Research says that there’s little difference between the sugar found in fruit and junk food. However, fruit usually contains essential fiber that will slow down how fast your body processes the sugar.

Instead of eating a Little Debbie snack, grab some fresh strawberries or cut up a banana. It’s a lot harder to binge on fruit than it is on Hostess snacks. Satisfy your sweet tooth with something healthier.

Combine it with protein.

You don’t have to give up sugar entirely to stay within your diet. But one way to decrease the effect more sugar can have is to pair a sweet treat with protein. If you want a piece of chocolate, have some almonds or walnuts with it. Pair a cookie with a glass of whole milk, which has more protein and Vitamin D than skim or 2%.

Protein will fill you up more and prevent you from eating five brownie bites. Peanut butter and almond butter are also good additions to some chocolate chips or ice cream. Your sweet tooth gets a little love, but isn’t taking over.

Avoid peer pressure.

The people around you will likely notice if you’re trying to change your eating. Some might criticize you and say things like, “One cookie isn’t going to kill you.”

It’s easy to give into peer pressure, especially if you feel uncomfortable or are in a workplace setting. But those people aren’t looking out for your best interests; they’re just trying to feel better about their own choices. When they see someone who’s making better decisions, they get insecure and want to tear that person down.

Instead, find someone you know who has a similar goal. You can help each other stay on track and vent when your cubicle neighbor is harassing you about eating their homemade brownies.

Eat mindfully.

When we eat something we crave, we likely hoover it down. Instead, try eating as slowly as possible and concentrating on what you’re ingesting. Eating mindfully has been shown to reduce overeating because it helps you appreciate the food you have.

This piece of advice might seem a little “woo woo,” but it can help you realize you only need one candy bar, not five.

Plus, the slower you eat, the more time your stomach has to truly signal that you are getting full.

In the end, we really are what we eat. So try not to eat so much crap.

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