Living an Independent and Healthy Life

From Florida And Beyond

Best Brain Exercises (Pre-Workouts Help Too)

Pre workout for womenIt is common knowledge that the human body needs exercise in order to function properly, but did you know that the same principle goes for the human brain? Yes, our brains also need all the exercise it can get in order to keep the mind in shape and functional.

One might argue that an individual cannot possibly go through one whole day without using his/her brain. To me, that constitutes that brain exercise needed. Remember that the human mind is innately smart. When you go about your routine every single day, the brain remembers and somehow ‘programs’ this routine, causing it to work less hard when you just do things that are already familiar every single day. This is the reason you must keep your brain active; you have to engage it in activities that will force the mind to exert effort.

This is a side note to the article. My brain tends to work efficiently when two things happen: I get my caffeine and complete a workout. I’ve recently switched to a pre-workout (no more coffee) because it contains the caffeine I need; it also gives me the extra boost to workout at the gym. After those two things happen, I am ready to do my brain puzzles! Also, remember that women take to pre-workouts differently than men; make sure to check out for some women’s friendly advice.

Back to the brain exercises–to complement your physical workout, here are some brain exercises that will keep your mental and intellectual activity at par with your physical state:

Puzzles – there must be a thousand variations of puzzles available out there, so you will never run out of options to keep your mind excited. You can try Sudoku, crossword puzzles, or even jigsaw puzzles! There are tangible toys of this kind to play with, but there are also software puzzles to keep your mind occupied all the time – whether you’re in public transportation, or while waiting for a friend to meet you, you can keep your brain busy with puzzles.

Wikipedia:Random – the internet actually provides a lot of venues that will keep your mind busy, but you have to be able to distinguish between websites that require you to think and learn, compared to the ones that would just take up your time without leaving you anything worth your time. Wikipedia random is a surefire way to keep your brain alive. Do this every day to guarantee that you learn something new and allow your brain to expand its scopes and limitations.

Sense stimulation – a great way to keep the mind healthy is to regularly check its connection with each of your senses. Try recreational stuff first, like relaxing with music; and if you are ready for more intense mind activities, try enrolling in a yoga class and learn how to meditate.

Learn a new language – learning a new language not only entails that you learn how to speak a foreign tongue, it also compels you to learn about the culture of other nations, particularly how they relate with other people. Learning a new language may be intellectually stressful at times, which makes it a good brain exercise. Make sure you don’t give up!You can even sign up for an actual language course if you have the time to spare.

Eat for the brain – there are a lot of things you could do to exercise the mind, and I’m sure you can find out some of these by yourself. However, it is still worth reiterating that the human mind works parallel to the human body. For it to stay healthy, it is not enough to just engage it in activities and exercises. You have to ensure that you also have a healthy intake of foods that are good for the brain. This includes vegetables, walnuts, unsalted nuts, and salmons.

Keep that brain healthy and live the independent live you deserve!

Jump Start Your Workout When You’re Tired

Chick Pump Womens PreWorkoutMy favorite pre-workouts are listed on my favorite pre-workout site. My go-to pre-workout is the Chick Pump. They also do a nice review for those that are interested. Note: this is a women’s site, but I find the pre-workouts to be of better quality; most of them are organic and contain better chemicals than the products promoted towards males.

I guess it’s true that you start missing something when it’s gone. Yeah, now that I can’t train the way I used to before, I miss it! However, when I was still on top of my game, I wasn’t always motivated and up for training.

Guess it’s also true that the human mind works in mysterious ways.

There were days when I woke up feeling tired and bummed, as if I hadn’t rested at all. Those were the days when it was the hardest to get up and start my training. Consequently, these are the days I cling on to my pre-workout supplements. The way this works is quite simple: all these supplements do is provide extra mental and physical assistance on days when you don’t feel quite well. This varies depending on brand and other things, but there is one ingredient always present in this type of supplement: caffeine. My pre-workout supplements help me get through my planned workout with full strength.

And the best thing about these supplements? They’re considered legal aid to athletes. You might even hear your physicians giving out prescriptions for pre-workout supplements.

I personally experienced the way pre-workout supplements worked. Comparing days when I took supplements and days when I didn’t, I found out that taking a pre-workout supplement training allowed me to do more repetitions before fatigue finally set in. Remember that the last thing you need when you are already tired is negative reinforcement, so training halfheartedly is not good; and finding out that you are unable to maintain a good number of workout repetitions may worsen your situation and cause you to become unmotivated.

Training, as I have always said, is as mental as it is physical. Proper mindset changes the game. Pre-workout supplements help you condition your mind and body, especially if you are already feeling tired, or if you are taking on a particularly intense workout session.

If power training is your thing, then you could take my word for it, athlete to athlete. Remember that I am much like you: sometimes feeling grumpy; or tired; or not in the mood to go for the intense workouts. However, you can always try it out if you are still unconvinced. Simply try out one of the pre-workout supplements that you think would suit your needs, and see how they could improve your training. Make sure you watch the increase in your repetitions and power levels.

By improving the number and quality of repetitions you make, you are able to make the most of your training time! If you feel like you are achieving less than what you are exerting, then pre-workout supplements might just be the only thing missing from your routine.

If you find pre-workout supplements satisfying, make sure you cycle your intake so that you can trick your body into thinking that you are taking new ones every now and then. If you don’t your body will get used to it and become non-responsive to them.

You’re welcome in advance. :)

How Swimming Gave Me Happiness and Saved My Ankle

second postWhen I was told by the doctors that my ankle injury was too severe to the point that I could never run anymore, I must admit I was feeling depressed. However, I knew I didn’t want this to happen, and I sought help. In doing this, there are two things that were often given to me as advice: stay positive and keep busy.

The first thing I could think of was is that I would go back to my first love, which is swimming. Yes, I may have found a true love in running, but way before that, I was into swimming. At first, I wasn’t too sure if this was a good idea since there are some activities that could just aggravate my injury. It was delightful to find out that swimming actually is a good choice for those that are recovering from an ankle injury, like I was.

Apparently, water activities are a good way to recover from injuries on your lower extremities. The science behind this is because of water buoyancy. When you are in a pool, the water lifts your body up. This means that even if you exert equal effort as you are running or cycling, there is less pressure on your legs and ankles. When I was recovering from the injury, pool time became the highlight of my activities. My love for swimming resurfaced because I was practically training with the same intensity as if I never got injured, but without aggravating my ankle.

Swimming helped keep me stay in shape without worsening my ankle. I always enjoyed swimming laps to keep my endurance level high, and I would definitely recommend this training routine for people who are recovering from a bad ankle injury, or those that have naturally weak ankles.

Also, aside from what swimming has done for me physically, the most important benefit it has given me was that it kept me busy. I was actually spared from having to revel too much on the fact that I am forever separated from my love of intense running. It saved me from succumbing into depression, and it definitely helped my mental state maintain its happy ways.

Injuries are always awful, but recovery doesn’t have to be. Again, you need something to keep you occupied. For me, it was swimming that kept me happy and through all the bad days. There are days that I feel particularly down, and all I would do was get in a pool, swim some laps, and I feel better instantly. It’s a pretty big bonus that it also kept me in good shape despite my incapacity to run, ever again.

If you are battling with weak or injured ankles, maybe it’s about time you fall in love with swimming. I guarantee you won’t regret it. However, make sure you consult your physician to see if it is a good idea to deal with your particular injury.

Good luck! And if you can’t go and run, just swim your way to that finish line. You won’t regret it. :)

How to Stay Motivated While You’re Injured

Stay Motivated With An InjuryInjuries are never pretty. Most of the time, they happen way too fast for you to fixate on the aesthetics of them. One day you are feeling great–on-top of your game, even. And then all of it just changes.

Nobody ever plans on getting injured, or at least I certainly didn’t plan on it. When I was told there was an extremely slim chance of me running again, my emotions went on a roller coaster ride. I went from shock, denial, anger, and finally came around to acceptance. Those who know me personally know that this emotion did not last long. Soon after, I went back to my motivated self, vowing to that only my ankle was injured–not my spirit. I fought on.

Since the terrible ankle injury, a lot of people have been asking me how I stayed motivated in the midst of the terrible injury. I would like to share my very own recipe for motivation.

Here are some tips that can help you stay motivated, whatever injury you might be battling right now:

1. Stay positive – Denial, anger, and self-pity cannot be avoided, but make sure you don’t let these negative emotions linger more than necessary. Surround yourself with people who can make you laugh, instead of ones who pity you. I personally enjoy laughing about my own injury–it’s a foolproof way to avoid the sinking depression.

Remember that while you don’t have total control of the things that happen, at least you can control your mind and how you respond to your emotions.

Check out the video below. This athlete embodies the positive spirit after he suffered a ruptured achilles tendon.

2. Explore new activities – Most injuries do not allow you to return to your daily routine. This means you have a lot of extra time on your hands. While this could be spent resting, there is a risk of succumbing to depression and self-pity. I always find it helpful to dedicate the time I used to spend for training to other recreational activities. I never stopped being active, and still do things my injury allows me to do.

Specifically, I have an ankle injury. This means that while trying to recover, I cannot regain full use of my ankle, so I have to find a different exercise routine. If you can, find the one that makes you the happiest (and pain-free).

3. Find out what type of motivation works for you – Don’t be afraid to try out various stuff to keep you motivated, since these vary for each person. Personally, I try staying away from fitness websites and sports channels, since they only keep me sad and depressed. However, a friend of mine who worked through her injury a few years back seemed to enjoy seeing these things even more when she was injured. Apparently for her, seeing other healthy athletes at the top of there game kept her motivated.

Ultimately, dealing with an injury is much more a mental process than a physical one. The best advice I could give you is this: be aware of your emotions. If you could, tally them and write them down. Find out the things that make you happy and the things that upset you. Do the things that help keep you positive more often and stay away from those that keep you down. Remember, it is important for us athletes to keep a good attitude all the time.

You know what they say: The strongest muscle every athlete must have is the heart.

Have the heart to power through the injury. Have the heart to stay motivated.