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A Healthy Brain is just a Workout Away

BDNF Exercise

Did you know that your brain health is not definitive? Just because a family member has Alzheimer’s disease does not guarantee that you will too. There IS something you can do about it. Check out my latest article on Brain Health to learn more! 

By: Angela Joy

Increasing research is being done on brain health, specifically neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia. Recent findings have concluded that though there is no definitive cure for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) or dementia, neurogenesis of the brain cells is possible! Confirming that brain health can be improved and potentially regenerated.

Neurogenesis is defined as the formation of new neurons in the brain, as stated by an article published by the Queensland Brain Institute in Australia. The article goes on to state that neuroscientists have discovered stem cells within adult brains, confirming that adult neurogenesis is now recognized as a “normal process that occurs in the healthy brain.”

The neurogenesis process can occur in any area of the brain, however in terms of its impact on neurodegenerative diseases specifically AD, the area of the brain we want to focus on most is the hippocampus. You may have heard of the hippocampus. It is a small organ in the medial temporal lobe of the brain, which is part of the limbic system. It regulates emotions, plays an important role in spatial navigation, in addition to its incredibly important role in memory (specifically long-term memory), among many other things.

 

 

 

 

In the progression of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) the hippocampus is one of the first areas of the brain that is affected. A recent study stated that “the hippocampus is one of the most affects areas in AD.” The study, published March 25, 2019 in the journal of Nature Medicine, discussed the process of adult hippocampal neurogenesis (AHN) and the correlation of AD development.

Hippo

Throughout the progression of the study it was discovered that “… the number and maturation of these neurons progressively declined as AD advanced.” In other words, as the neurons in the hippocampus formed, the development of Alzheimer’s disease declined. Furthermore, as Alzheimer’s disease developed in an individual it was concluded that hippocampal neuron development decreased.

Therefore, the study findings state that, “Restoration of normal levels of AHN in these patients emerges as a potential therapeutic approach to counteract the progression of this as yet incurable disease.”

BDNF Benefits

So, how can we promote neurogenesis in the hippocampus?

A 2016 study found that the Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) can promote neurogenesis in addition to the growth and differentiation of new neurons and synapses. BDNF, which is encoded by the BDNF gene, is a member of the neurotropic family of growth factors in the body, specifically the brain and periphery.

The study states that BDNF is “expressed in areas that are vital for learning, memory, and executive function (i.e. hippocampus, cortex and basal forebrain). It is also expressed in peripheral tissues such as kidneys and prostate and in blood and saliva.”

BDNF

In this 2016 study published in the American Academy of Neurology, the authors examined the expression of BDNF in the brains of 535 elderly participants annually for six years, measuring cognitive decline and dementia. Following their deaths, a neuropathic assessment was completed.

The results of the longitudinal study found that “high brain BDNF expression was associated with slower rate of cognitive decline during life.” The study measured BDNF levels among those with AD, dementia, and those with normal cognitive function. Those with Dementia expressed slower cognitive decline when higher levels of BDNF was present.

In summary, the study findings “promote the idea that increasing BDNF gene expression might be a reasonable therapeutic strategy for AD in humans.”

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How can we increase BDNF in humans?

Physical activity has been found to be one of the strongest methods associated with increased BDNF levels, thus decreasing rates of cognitive decline and dementia. Additional ways to increase BDNF and decrease cognitive decline include; social interaction and environmental enrichment.

Dr. David Perlmutter, author of the book, “Brain Wash,” further discusses the impact of BDNF levels and brain health. In addition to his unwavering stance on the benefits of consistent exercise and brain health, he also recommends following a more ketogenic dietary approach (decreasing carbohydrate intake and reliance on high sugar foods), circumin/turmeric supplements, DHA in the form of wild caught fish or fish oil, optimal vitamin D levels (60-90), prebiotic-rich foods, and more.

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In summary:

The consensus here is our brain health is not inevitable. There is something we can do about it. Our brain has the potential to regrow new neurons, thus improving memory.
Our first step, start exercising!

To learn more about your brain health, refer to the references listed below. Also, consider Dr. Dale Bredesen’s book, “The End of Alzheimer’s,” Dr. David Perlmutter’s book, “Brain Wash,” also the work of Dr. Daniel Amen. There are many more resources available on brain health and longevity, these are my favorites.

Brain Loves BDNF

References:

https://www.drperlmutter.com/can-our-brain-activity-affect-the-gene-expression-of-future-generations/

https://qbi.uq.edu.au/brain-basics/brain-physiology/what-neurogenesis

https://www.news-medical.net/health/Hippocampus-Functions.aspx

https://www.drperlmutter.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/BDNF-reserve-Editorial-2016.pdf

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5677569/

https://www.the-scientist.com/features/this-is-your-brain-on-exercise-64934

 

 

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Feeling Stressed? Overwhelmed? Impatient? I Can Relate!

Stressed about life anyone? I saw this quote from “Godly.Waiting” on Instagram. “The reason you are so stressed in because you’ve been trying to figure it out on your own. Let go and let God make it happen. He’s already paved a way.”

I think we all have had a time or two in our lives where we try to figure things out on our own. We work in our own strength to make things happen in our life. We develop goals, plans, ambitions, dreams and hopes in an effort to attain happiness, success, recognition or what have you.

Goals and ambitions are really good things to have in our lives. But, what happens when life doesn’t turn out how we had hoped? What happens when you have worked tirelessly towards achieving specific goals and dreams all to find that they are not within reach. We don’t win, success, or follow the “plan.” Maybe, something went wrong, the money wasn’t available, a sickness occurred, maybe even a death – nevertheless, you are now being recalculated and the path towards your dream is closed off.

What do we do then? Do we give up? Keep trying? Start over? Or, do we stop?

Who is to say? Not me.

I have had numerous setbacks in my life. If you asked my five years ago if my life would be where it is now I would laugh at you. Nothing in my life has gone the way I had hoped, dreamed, planned.

Sometimes I get upset. Sometimes I want to do everything in my power to change my circumstances. Sometimes I want a do-over. Sometimes I obsess over what I can change.

However, what I really need to do is stop. Stop dead in my tracks and turn to the one who created me. Yes, He can instill desires and hopes in our hearts. Yes, we can have dreams that we think are pleasing to Him and part of His will. But, we can also be misguided. We can misunderstand, misconstrue, misinterpret what we are actually being told. On the other hand, this process of being “recalculated” can also be a learning experience or testing. The Lord works in mysterious ways. And it is not our job to understand all of the interworkings of His plan for our lives.

I have beat myself up time and time again asking questions such as these: Is this the will of God? Is He leading me here? Do I need to do this in order for His plan to enter into my life? What can I do to receive His blessing and direction?

I am sure that these questions are not too far off of your mind from time to time.

The Lord woke me up in the middle of the night after one of my long days of stressing out over my future and trying to “fix” my life in my own strength. He told me that there is nothing I can doNothing I can do in my own physical strength that will bring me any closer to His will and plan for my life.

There is one thing I can do, however!

What I CAN do is surrender. I can give my life to the Lord and trust that He will guide and direct my paths. Psalm 119:150 states, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light to my path.” He is our light. Our faith and trust in Him directs our paths.

If we knew what God had planned for our lives then we wouldn’t have the opportunity to develop our faith in Him. He leads us exactly where we need to be at exactly the right time — when we put our trust in Him. (God is never late 🙂

Whenever I am feeling down, feeling the need to work in my own strength, or feeling disappointed — I use this time to look to the Lord for answers. (I look to Him for my strength and direction).

“Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city.” Proverbs 16:32 (Having the self-control to trust in God)

Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” John 13:17 (Which is what He told his disciples)

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding: in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.”  Proverbs 3:5-6

It is truly amazing what God can do with our lives, IF we will let him.

Sometimes we need to take a big step back. We need to step back from our minute problems and difficulties. Yes, this scenario may seem big to us, BUT it is nothing for God. We must remember that He is in control. We are in the palm of His hands. He can change our situation around in a heart beat …. However, He can also allow us to stay in our situation.

In my life, I truly feel that the Lord is leading me to use this integral time in my life to grow closer to Him — to learn more about His teachings, grace, love, promises. To develop my faith and trust in Him. You never know, you may need to go through these “waiting” periods in order to handle the blessing God has on your life.

Regardless of what God has in store, it is our job to place our faith in Him. To call onto Him and ask that He guide, direct and strengthen us. God will never fail you. Please trust Him today 🙂 I promise He will give you everything you need, and more!

“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us.” Ephesians 3:20 (ESV)

Allow the Lord (the Holy Spirit) to work within you and develop the fruits of the spirit. Allow Him to come into your life. Allow Him to make a way where there is no way. He will provide, all you need to do is ask Him ❤

May God bless you in whatever season you may be in, whatever difficulty you may be facing, whatever struggle may be overpowering you.

 

Wishing you love, joy and blessings ❤

Angela Joy

Tips for Your Next DESTINATION Race

Destination Race Photo

By: Angela Ciroalo

Are you considering traveling to a race in another city, state or maybe even country? Try a destination race!
Destination races are great for solo runners, groups of friends, and even families.
They create the opportunity for the runner to visit a new place, take a vacation, meet new people, and participate in a new event.
In an effort to ensure the trip is worry-free, enjoyable and exciting, read my list of nine essential tips to prepare for your next destination race.
Earlier this year I traveled to California to run in a 10k race on the San Leandro Shoreline, a few miles from San Francisco.
The race was a lot fun, the course was beautiful, and the weather was spectacular.
As a result of my travels I shared with you several tips to help you have an awesome time and maybe even set a personal record during your next destination race.

Destination-Race-Packing-List

Pack Race Day Gear First
Before packing your favorite bathing suit, that beautiful dress that has been sitting in your closet, or the sunscreen – you may want to start by packing your essential running gear.
Imagine waking up race day morning to find out that your running shoes are sitting on your living room table?
Pack the essentials: shirt, shorts/pants, socks, shoes, gels, belts, headband, hat, or anything else that you run with on a daily basis.
When deciding on your outfit, be sure to check the weather forecast of the race destination.
For those who are concerned their gear might get lost or stolen, another option is to pack race gear in your carry on – or to even wear it during your flight, or while you are traveling.

Use Extra Travel Time to Relax
During your travels try to make time to stretch, drink plenty of fluids, rest if possible, and prevent any unnecessary stress.
Traveling can be difficult for everyone, although when you are preparing for a specific event travel can become exceedingly more difficult.
Use this time to visualize your race, remind yourself of all of the hard work you have done to prepare for this event, congratulate yourself for the success you have achieved thus far – and get excited!
Utilize this extra time during travel to prepare your body, physically and mentally. This way when you are arrive you are fully prepared for the big day.

Race at Beginning or End of Vacation? 
When planning your race destination, be cautious of where you place the race date during your trip.
Placing a race at the end of a vacation can leave you depleted and tired on race day. Additionally, you may not be in top shape and your results may suffer.
Scheduling the race in the middle of the trip can cause complications. The race may interfere with the itinerary or other vacation plans.
If possible, schedule your race at the beginning of your trip. This will allow you to race in your top shape, you will be in race mode (not vacation mode), you will be (hopefully) well rested, and you will have plenty of time to vacation and sightsee after the race is over. Most importantly you can celebrate your success throughout the remainder of the trip.
During my recent trip to California, I raced the morning after our flight arrived. Though this was slightly difficult because the flight had landed at 12 am the day prior, I was thrilled because I felt prepared, focused, and the time difference gave me an additional three hours of sleep.

What Do I Eat? 
What you will eat the night before, the morning of, during the race, and after the race are all very important factors to take into consideration.
The pre-race meal and the post-race meals are generally the more important meals, therefore you will want to be extra cautious when planning these out.
The last thing you want is to eat food your stomach is not familiar with the night before a race causing you to feel uncomfortable or ill. Stick to the age old tip; don’t try anything new race week.
When choosing a restaurant, pick food that you are familiar with eating the night before a run. In the event of an emergency or issue, be sure to pack snacks and foods that can be easily stored and consumed.
After the race be sure to not wait too long to properly refuel with adequate nutrients.
Some great tools to use when choosing your pre- and post-race meals include Zagat, LocalEats, Open Table or Yelp. These websites and smartphone applications with help you to locate restaurants and eateries that fit your needs.

Transportation to The Race
For those who utilized public transportation to arrive to their location be sure to pre-plan transportation for race morning.
The morning of a race can be stressful, tiring, upsetting and even nerve-wrecking.
In an effort to avoid confusion, or even arriving to the race late, plan your route and method of transportation in advance.
Ordering a taxi cab or using online transportation networks like Uber or Lyft can save you time, energy and money.
During my trip to California I used Lyft to arrive to my race destination race. The cost was inexpensive and the process was accommodating and safe.
Renting a car is another safe option. A can rental can also be beneficial if you plan to sightsee later that day.

Proper Hydration During Travels
Traveling often leaves the body dehydrated and tired. In an effort to avoid this common issue pack a reusable water bottle to use during your trip.
Most hotels offer filtered water to their guests and locations to refill water bottles.
Be sure to drink plenty of fluids the days you are traveling to and from your destination, the day before your race, directly after your race, and during your sightseeing ventures.

Sleep and Rest
It is quite common for athletes to lose sleep the night before a big event.
In an effort to avoid race day fatigue, make an effort to receive adequate sleep the days leading up to the race.
The days leading up to a race are often spent tapering (running less to rest your legs), therefore your body will appreciate the extra sleep.
After tapering and sleeping 8-10 hours before the big day you will arrive to race day fully prepared to give your best effort.
After the race, you will also want to set aside some extra time to rest your legs, sleep, stretch, foam roll and walk.

Destination-Races-600x600

Proper Post-Race Recovery
After a race it is easy to get caught up in the post-race activities, food and festivities; however these actions can make recovery very difficult.
After your race make time for your regular post-race routine which should include; hydrating with electrolytes and water; re-fueling with adequate protein, carbohydrates and fats as well as vitamins and minerals; stretching and foam rolling; resting and recovering; and getting a good night of sleep.
This may be difficult if you have limited time in your location and you want to squeeze everything in, however keep in mind that chances are you will feel it later.
After my race in California, I showered and went directly out to sightsee and explore.
While this was beneficial for my legs to spend time walking after the race, I did not to take some time to stretch, rest and properly refuel.
As a result, I felt fatigued and sore by the end of the day.
Take it from me, the extra hour of rest, proper refueling, and stretching can make a world of difference while decreasing recovery time dramatically.

Have Fun!
Take photos, do funny poses, make new friends, try new foods, take in the sights, try your best – and have a good time.
The purpose of your trip is to enjoy yourself. Destination races often go down as one of our top 10 favorite races ever completed.
They are filled with a sense of freedom, opportunity, mystery and excitement.
Take this time to enjoy this experience.

SF

Caption: Me in San Francisco for a destination race in February 2017 – Took first in my age group!

Tips for a First Half Marathon

Sadbhavana-Half-Marathon1

By: Angela Joy

The half marathon race is a running race made up of 13.1 miles, or one half of the full marathon distance of 26.2.

The half marathon distance is an appealing race. The event is long enough to serve as a challenge while not as intimidating as the full marathon.

In 2014 the half marathon race was recognized as the “fastest growing standard” race distance in the United States with a “12.5 percent annual finisher growth rate” from 2006 to 2012, according to RunningUSA, a not-for-profit organization that conducts annual studies on race registration, involvement and results.

In 2014 a total of 2,046,600 participants completed a half marathon race, an increase from 724,000 in 2006, according to a 2014 RunningUSA report.

What makes the half marathon so attractive? Red Bank resident and runner Donna Rubin feels that the half marathon is “very challenging, but attainable.”

She explains that once runners have completed the 5k or 10k they are ready for the “next step.”

“Half marathons are popular because they appeal to a wide range of runners,” Rubin, who completed the Philadelphia Love Run Half Marathon in March, stated. “The races often have fun themes, offer great ‘swag,’ and market themselves as destination races.”

She went on to explain that the half marathon races “seem like a fun event for friends to do together, while offering a nice reward for the investment in training.”

The state of New Jersey hosts an average of 30 to 40 half marathon races each year, according to the ‘Running in the USA’ race calendar.

The events are held particularly in the spring and fall, with the exception of a few races offered in the winter and summer months.

For those preparing for a summer or fall half marathon race, check out these 10 tips to prepare for your first half marathon this 2017.

  1. Decide why you are running the half marathon

Be clear with yourself about why you have chosen this race distance. Why it is important to you? Whether the race is symbolic, a challenge you would like to achieve, or is a stepping stone to another goal, decide this early on.

Remembering your purpose will motivation you on days when you want to skip training, sleep in, or better yet – quit.

  1. Establish your base

Local running coach and race director Bob Both confirms, “The half marathon distance is a popular one.” Both is the race director for the Asbury Park RunAPalooza race in April. He is also the RunCollege training group coach.

“(The half marathon) is a doable distance for any runner who already feels comfortable with running a 5k (3.1 miles) or five-mile race,” Both said.

New runners should not choose a half marathon as their first race. New runners should take time to build up to a race of 13.1 miles through proper training.

“For most who plan to do their first half it is endurance which is most critical,” Both said. “It is important to gradually build up your mileage.”

In an effort to avoid injury, Both suggests building up to a half marathon gradually. “Your body needs time to adapt and doing too much too fast can set you back.”

How much of a base should you build before taking on your first half? Both suggests running about 15 miles per week with a long run of about 5 miles.

Over a span of between 12 to 16 weeks the runner should gradually build up their long run from 5 miles to 10 or 12 miles.

Both offers training plans to his RunCollege training participants preparing for a half marathon. Training plans can be found on his website, https://sites.google.com/site/runcollege/.

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  1. Choose your race

When selecting your race keep in mind the weather you will face when training, the possible weather on race day, the amount of time you have leading up to the race, and any prior commitments you have that may impact your training.

Check out www.runningintheusa.com to view New Jersey half marathons this year.

  1. Follow a Plan

Similar to the training plan that running coach Both offers through RunCollege, there are a number of half marathon training plans available online. Not all plans available online are credible, however it is important to follow a plan week-to-week in order to build up to running 13.1 miles comfortably and safely.

Other ways to find a reliable training plan include hiring a running coach or purchasing a training plan.

There are a number of experienced running coaches in the state of New Jersey.

Additionally there are a number of training plans available for purchase. Some website that offer paid training plans include the running magazine website, www.RunnersWorld.com, the Olympic runner and running coach Jeff Galloway website, www.jeffgalloway.com, or the online training application featuring coaches from all over the world,www.trainingpeaks.com.

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  1. Get the gear

New runners may not be familiar with running shirts, shorts or proper shoes. These run-specific items are not just for show, they are created to avoid chafing and injury while offering comfort during the run.

Locally running gear can be purchased in any athletic store. Additionally, there are a number of running shoe stores in Monmouth and Ocean counties which will offer a full gait analysis. The employees will assist customers in selecting a proper shoe, socks, and additional gear, as needed.

  1. Join friends and local running groups

Registering for your goal race with a friend or family member can be very motivating.

However, if this is not possible consider joining a local running group or get in touch with friends who also run.

The Jersey Shore Running Club is one group that welcomes new members to participate in several group runs during the week and on the weekend. Joining a training group like RunCollege is another outlet.

There a number of formal and informal groups in the area. Spread the word that you are preparing for your first half marathon race and ask friends to link you with local groups. Research local groups online. Find out how to join or where to meet, and get started!

Joining a group is very motivational. The group members are indispensible during times where you are “too busy” to complete your long run or you want to “give up.”

  1. Learn your course and train accordingly

When selecting your race, view the race course. Look for the elevation of the race, the amount of curves or turns, if the race loops and where you can meet up with friends and family.

If you find that your race has a number of hills, complete a number of training runs on a hill surface. You don’t want to be surprised on race day when you find yourself running up a steep hill that you did not train for.

If your race offers it, you may be able to complete a training run on the race course. This will familiarize you with the course and prepare you for any potential hiccups that may occur along the way.

  1. Fuel the run

When preparing for a half marathon race it is highly likely that participants will be running the longest distance they may ever have completed.

When the body is participating in exercise for long periods of time it is important to properly refuel with carbohydrates in order to avoid feeling ill and tired.

Any bout of exercise longer than 90 minutes should include carbohydrate intake, either in the form of liquid, gel or food.

Registered Sports Dietitian and author Nancy Clark recommends taking in carbohydrates 30 to 60 minutes into a run. When choosing a food or drink, choose a food or drink that has between 25 to 60 grams of carbohydrates and ingest this item in small doses every hour.

It is also important to eat food before running a half marathon and after a half marathon.

Food beforehand offers energy during the run. Food after the run restores lost glycogen in the muscles, creating energy in the body for the next run.

For more information on proper fueling strategies, look to Nancy Clark, M.S., R.D., www.nancyclarkrd.com.

  1. Don’t overdo it

A taper is when the training plan hits a mileage highpoint and then begins to decrease leading up to the race.

The taper period allows the body to fully rest in preparation for the race.

Both suggests running a long run of between 10 to 12 miles about 2 to 3 weeks prior to the race. Every training plan will be different, but not by much.

Once the runner has reached their longest run of the training period the taper period will begin.

The shortest amount of runs and lowest weekly mileage is found during the final week leading up to the race.

“In the final week you need to taper and cut back your mileage so your body, joints, muscles and mind are well rested,” Both stated.

Women

  1. Have fun

The night before and the morning of the race can be stressful. Participants have worked so hard for this moment and now it has finally arrived. There are a million things that can go wrong; there are also a million things that can go right.

The night before, eat a normal amount of dinner and relax. Stretch, drink water, rest your legs and visualize yourself running in the race. Many sports psychologists recommend visualizing the start of the race, how you will feel during the race, how you will react when you feel tired, and how you will finish the race.

Use these strategies to calm you down and try to get a good night of rest.

Race morning, focus on enjoying yourself. Take in the loud cheers, lining up in your corral, the beautiful sights, and your fellow runners.

The race is meant to be fun, so have a good time! You’ve earned it.

 

Forks Over Knives Cooking Class: Day 1

By: Angela Joy

This week I will be starting an online three-month long cooking course.

The course was created by Forks Over Knives and will instruct students on how to effectively make healthy, plant-based meals from start the finish.

Forks Over Knives Online Cooking Course
Forks Over Knives explains the course as, “an online cooking course, designed to help you learn new techniques, flavors and styles to live your very best life.”

The course will offer basic cooking instruction to allow the students to feel fully equipped to confidently make meals on their own.

Throughout the course, students will complete each online video lesson at their own pace.

Assignments are posted to measure how well students have learned and practiced the information.

Students will be graded on their assignments and will receive a certificate upon completion based on their progress.   

Why I Chose to Pursue the Course
I chose to pursue this course for a number of reasons.

First of all, I am a self-taught cook/baker. Most of the information that I have obtained on how to properly make a meal or bake a desert I learned from the internet or television.

While this may be an effective resource for many, I feel it is important for myself as a woman and future mother to feel confident cooking delicious, fun and healthy meals for myself, my friends and my family.

In addition, I hope to utilize the information that I learn from the course to teach others how to make meals. In my current role as a Health Coach I aspire to motivate, inspire and educate others on how to improve their health and wellness. Improving one’s health and overall diet is made possible through education and a desire to be healthy.

Starting the Course
Today is day one of the online course. I am looking forward to watching the videos and making completing my first assignment.

I will offer updates and information of the course along the way!

Those interested in learning more about the Forks Over Knives course can click here.

Quote of The Day:

“Change your thoughts, and change the world.”

-Norman Vincent Peale

Wishing you joy, love and blessings

❤ Angela Joy

 

 

Running From Recovery

And they’re off! The clock is ticking and the runners are making their way through the 5k route towards the finish line.

I make my way through the crowds of people, running one step at a time, trying my best to keep up, however I can’t help but feel—well terrible.

My legs are sore, my throat was throbbing, even my bones felt pain—I was tired.

I had been racing and training hard all summer with little to no recovery periods, and I was feeling the effect.

Continuous exercise, day after day, with little to no rest or recovery can be detrimental to performance as well as health.

Negative effects can occur in muscular strength, mental strength, and physical health.

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The Effects of Too Much Exercise

According to an article published in the U.S. News & World Report titled, “Ten Signs You are Exercising Too Much,” over-exercising without allowing your body adequate rest can lead to “diminished strength and increased body fat.”

The article, written by contributing writer Chelsea Bush, further explains when recovery is not available the body will begin to store fat opposed to burning it.

During exercise the body will transform into survival mode causing it to do what it needs to in order to ensure energy is available at all times. As a result, fat can be stored to avoid the chance of low energy levels.

Ms.  Bush stated in the article that the best way to recover from a difficult workout, such as a fast-paced or long run, is to rest one to two days.

If a full day of rest is simply not possible it is acceptable to participate in a very light bout of recovery exercise.

Additional resting requirements suggested by Ms. Bush include a minimum of eight hours of sleep per night, proper nutrition, and proper hydration.

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How To Properly Recover

Providing the body with adequate recovery is just as important as completing workouts.

In order for the benefits of a hard work out to be experienced the muscles must repair and rebuild so they can strengthen, which will only occur through rest periods.

An article published in the online healthy living website, Very Well, exercise physiologist and fitness consultant Elizabeth Quinn explains why rest and recovery are essential after exercise. “Rest is physically necessary so that the muscles can repair, rebuild, and strengthen,” Ms. Quinn explains. “In the worst-case scenario, too few rest and recovery days can lead to overtraining system—a difficult condition to recover from.”

During recovery the body will adapt to the stress placed on it through exercise. It will also replenish energy stores lost through the energy needed to exercise as well as repair tissue, Ms. Quinn explained.

Without periods of recovery the body will continue to breakdown and symptoms of overtraining will occur.

Symptoms of overtraining can range from a general overall tiredness, depression, decreased sports performance, increased risk of energy, lack of interest in training, lack of sleep, along with other symptoms, Ms. Quinn stated.

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How To Properly Recover

When recovering from a hard workout or a race there are several recovery measures that should be taken immediately after.

In an article titled, “How to Recover From a Race,” published by Runner’s World Magazine, recovery should be taken in stages from the moment the race or workout ends, to the days and weeks that will follow.

Within the first 24 hours after the workout the body should consume carbohydrates and protein to adequately restore the energy lost during the event.

Within those same 24 hours relaxation of the muscles along with light foam rolling can assist in recovery and blood flow throughout the body.

Once nightfall comes, the athlete should sleep a minimum of eight hours to allow the body and mind adequate restoration.

Runner’s World contributor Brad Stulberg writes, “When you do finally feel drowsy, don’t cut yourself short. Sleep is vital to recovery, so don’t be afraid to hit the snooze button.”

Throughout the next two to three days the athlete can resume exercise, however light exercise is recommended.

“Active recovery expedites the body’s natural repair process by delivering more oxygen and nutrients to the muscles,” Mr. Stulberg stated. “Just keep it easy—go for a walk.”

Physiologist and doctoral candidate at the University of Utah’s Vascular Research Lab Corey Hart stated in the Runner’s World article that the athlete should listen to their body.

It is common for athletes to reach for ibuprofen to fight pain after a race or workout, however Hart recommends against it.

“The inflammatory response is signaling recovery,” Hart stated, “and that is not something we want to mask.”

Once three to seven days have passed athletes should check in on how they feel to determine the next steps of the recovery process.

Hart stated that athletes who complete longer distances can experience extended periods of fatigue, known a central system fatigue.

“While training, you are constantly suppressing fatigue or downright ignoring it, which can throw your hormonal profile out of whack,” Hart added.

Those who are still experiencing feelings of fatigue should take precaution and allow time for lengthened rest in an effort to avoid a weakened immune system or injury.

Hart said, “Do not fight this fatigue,” instead he recommends light active recovery.

After even seven to 21 days the body may still be undergoing recovery, depending on the type of workout or race that the athlete endured.

Therefore, the athlete should be cognizant of how their bodies feel.

Physiologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, New York Michael Joyner stated in the Runner’s World article that throughout the seven to 21 days after the race athletes can begin to incorporate “some” intensity workouts, depending on how their body has recovered.

“The main thing to remember is that you can’t train if you are injured,” Joyner stated, “focus on reading your body and backing off if soreness and fatigue don’t improve.”

In sum, recovery is a very important aspect of training that should not be ignored or discounted.

Athletes who work out hard will recover just as hard, therefore regardless of the type of activity completed all athletes should make recovery a priority.

rest-reover

From Runner to Triathlete

By: Angela Joy

triathlon

The triathlon; a swim, followed by cycling, and ending with a run. To some this may sound absurd, to others this may sound like a Friday morning workout.

For me, however, it appeared as a difficult to obtain goal.

Running several days a week was one thing – but cycling and swimming, there was no way.

First of all, I did not know how to swim. I had taken a few swim lessons as a child.

I swam in friend’s pools, the ocean and the river every now and then. But overall I did not know the first thing about freestyle swimming, goggles, one piece swimsuits, swim caps – or anything else related to swimming.

Secondly, I would need the proper bike – a beach cruiser likely will not cut it.

And last but not least – how would I transition between all three? What would I wear? How would I train?

These questions and fears ran through my mind along with many others.

It wasn’t until I overcame the barriers preventing me from beginning my triathlon training that I took the first steps towards accomplishing my goal – which you, too can do.

1996 Atlanta Paralympic Games
Australian S12 swimmer Jeff Hardy swims freestyle at the 1996 Atlanta Paralympic Games

Step 1: Overcome your barriers preventing you from completing your first triathlon.

The barriers preventing me from participating in my first triathlon included learning to properly and confidently swim in a race and a road bike to train with and use during the race.

In an effort to overcome these barriers and begin my training I first purchased a used road bike.

The bike is not great by any means – however it is a good first road bike that served as a wonderful learning tool for a first race.

Secondly, I signed up for swimming lessons at a local YMCA.

These swimming lessons were not easy by any means, in fact they were incredibly difficult and I still struggle to get myself into the pool to improve my swimming skills.

Not having the opportunity to be around a pool and swim laps as a child or teen made it difficult to learn the sport.

Nevertheless, I did not allow the frustration and sometimes embarrassment prevent me from accomplishing my goal.

Each Sunday morning I showed up, I remained positive, and put forth my best effort.

Learning how to do something new as an adult can be difficult, however there is no reason to give up just because the task is hard.

tri-plan
(This was not my training plan, this is just an example of a triathlon training plan)

Step 2: Follow the proper training plan to achieve your goal.

After researching numerous triathlon training websites, books, and plans I put together a training plan that would fit my goals, schedule and fitness level.

Throughout my training I swam one to two times per week, cycled two to three times per week and ran three to five times per week (running is obviously my favorite of the three).

Transitioning from one sport to all three was definitely a challenge.

One must determine where they are going to swim, where they will cycle (indoor, outdoor and if outdoor the location) and for how long.

(Some training plans recommend training less than I did. However, based on my current fitness level this amount seemed fitting.)

Following a triathlon training plan can be difficult and time consuming.

One should a lot about one hour per day for five to six days per week for triathlon training.

Some days you will feel tired. You will want to quit. And then, when you least expect it you will overcome these feelings and wake up at 5 a.m. for your workout, go to the gym right after work, swim when you want to sleep and skip a fun night out to complete a skipped workout. These things happen, they can be stressful however they are worth it.

tri-ace

Step 3: Choose your race.

The most common first triathlon race is the sprint triathlon.

The sprint triathlon distance is generally a half mile swim (or less), a 10-15 miles bike, and a 5k run.

This race is doable for first triathletes who are swimming, cycling and running throughout the week one to two times.

For women seeking their first triathlon there are many women-only races that serve as very welcoming.

I however, chose the Atlantic City Triathlon in August.

The race was the perfect size, location and distance for me.

Things to consider when choosing a race include;

  • The distance of each event in the race
  • The location of the race and each specific event.
  • The body of water the swim portion is located in
  • The standard temperature of the body of water the swim is in
  • The distance the race is from your home
  • The locations your family and friends can watch you from
  • The depth of the hills and amount of turns during the cycling course
  • The type of course and temperature of the running portion

I am sure there are other factors to consider, however these are a few to think about when deciding.

tri-suit

Step 4: Get the proper gear.

Being a triathlete can be expensive.

Gear for swimming, biking and running is required – in addition to the specifically made triathlon gear.

Some gear to consider would be purchasing a road or hybrid bike, a pair of triathlon shorts and a triathlon top which can be worn during all three events instead of putting shorts and a shirt over a bathing suit, spare tire tubes in case your tire goes flat, a helmet which is required to participate, and comfortable running shoes.

After stressing over what to wear I decided to purchase a pair of triathlon shorts in addition to receiving a triathlon top given to me by a friend.

Before, during and after the race I was very pleased with my decision and the lack of stress I experienced trying to change during transitions.

Step 5: Participating in the race and having a great time.

While people can choose to participate in a triathlon for many reasons (weight loss, challenge, competition, to prove a point) the overarching goal should be to have fun.

After stressing over getting to the race, checking in at the expo, properly preparing my bike, checking in to a hotel, training, the course and much more – I ended up having the most fun that I have had all year!

My first triathlon was definitely one of the best experiences of my life. I enjoyed every second of it and cannot wait to compete in my next race.

I ended up finishing the race with a great overall time, experiencing no issues, and receiving a medal for the second fastest finishing time in my age group. To put it lightly I was over the moon.

Now it was not a goal of mine to rank in my age group and I don’t recommend setting it as an expectation, but this does not mean that it is not possible. Shoot for the stars, you never know what you are capable of until you TRI.

I encourage you to go out and accomplish your goal, whatever it may be. Whether it is a triathlon, a 5k race, a marathon, losing an amount of weight, gaining more muscle, feeling healthy or feeling happy – start today.

❤ Wishing you love, joy and blessings,

Angela Joy

dream-it

Stay Cool on Your Next Run with These Great Tips!

By: Angela Joy

All year long we count down the days till the sun is shining, the ocean water is glistening and the warm sand sits beneath our toes – alas summer has arrived!

When you live along the Shore, you can’t help but love summer. When you are a runner this love has a completely new meaning.
Warm weather means more daylight which equates to more running – and who doesn’t love more running?

While the warm weather and increased daylight can be fantastic the summer season does have the potential to create some critical situations such as; heat exhaustion, heat stroke, severe dehydration, sun burn, and severe body fatigue.

In an effort to stay cool and healthy this summer while running, try following the following tips.

Running water

  1. Stay Properly Hydrated

Hydration is critical when running during the summer months.
Dehydration can lead to difficulty breathing which can lead to injury, falling faint, or even heat stroke.

When the body is lacking hydration the amount of blood volume decreases causing the heart to pump harder which will impact performance.

As a result it is best to drink water before a run, during a run and after the run.

Be conscious of your hydration level.

Try checking the color of your urine to determine how hydrated your body is.

The darker the color the lower the level of hydration.

The lighter the color the greater the level of hydration.

  1. Warm Up and Warm Down

Before you begin your workout or next race be sure to start with a warm up.

I know this may sound counterproductive especially if temperature is warm and your body already feels warm, however the warm up is a very important part of running.

The warm up allows the body to adapt to the movement that you are preparing for.
Blood is pooled into the legs and arms away from the organs in order to allow you to run.

The warm up also allows the body time to acclimate to the current temperature.

If you spent the morning indoors with the air conditioning on your body will not be prepared to jump outside in the heat and start running.

The warm down, or cool down, is also important.

If it is very hot outside and you have just completed a workout you it is important to slow down your pace for another mile or so, allowing the body to cool down, the heart rate to decrease and

Long Distance

  1. Wear Sun Screen

While running outdoors during the summertime it is important to apply sunscreen to skin surface areas that will be exposed on the run.

Sun burns and skin cancers are not fun, therefore preventative measures such as applying sunscreen early and consistently are essential.

In an article published in Running Times in May 2015 San Diego runner and board certified dermatologist Jeffrey Benabio stated that the best sunscreen to apply is the on “you’ve got.”

Benabio suggests applying sunscreen with an SPF of 30 while consistently re-applying.

When applying sunscreen make sure to cover all of your bases; face, lips, head, ears, chest, arms and legs.

  1. Wear the Proper Attire

While I can suggest to you specific clothes to wear in the heat it is equally important to recognize clothes not to wear in the heat.

Clothes that are black, made of cotton, are too big, and stick to the body should not be worn when running in the heat.

Items that should be worn include dri-fit and sunlight reflective clothing, sleeves to block the sun, a hat or visor and sunglasses.

Each item will assist in keeping your skin health, sunburn free and the body cool.

ST Runners

  1. Run at the Right Time of Day

In an effort to avoid the high temperatures or high humidity try running early in morning before sunrise or late at night just before sunset, or even after if possible.

Avoid running in the middle of the day when the temperatures are at their high and the sun is strongest.

Both running early and late in the day may seem inconvenient, however both can be very relaxing and enjoyable.

Very few people are awake or out on the road at these times plus you might get a chance to see a sunset or sunrise.

  1. Run in Shaded Areas

Try running in a new location.

Seek out areas close by a body of water, surrounded by trees or in a cool area.

Running on asphalt, in the middle of the day, without any trees or a breeze can be disastrous.

No matter how well you have prepared for the run you will feel drained and can potentially harm the body.

Seek out shaded areas and enjoy the run without the discomfort.

Running 2

  1. Listen to your Body!

Most importantly listen to your body.

Running is the heat can have a dramatically negative impact on the body.

If the proper precautions are not taken you may find yourself feeling nauseous, sluggish, tired, ill and/or dizzy.

Listen to your body. If it feels too hot to run – don’t.

If you feel tired and think you should stop, don’t test yourself – not on a hot day.

Recognize and feeling of concern and address it as soon as possible.

When dealing with heat, err on the side of caution.

Enjoy the sun and the surf this summer. Stay cool and keep running!

 

Do you like to run in the summer? Share with me some of your favorite summer running tips! I would love to hear from you. 

 

❤ Wishing you joy, blessings and love,

Angela Joy

10 Steps to Becoming a Runner

By: Angela Joy

Are you someone who would like to run, but feel intimidated or unsure where to start?

When the furthest run you have ever completed was the mile run in your high school gym class running for fun can seem impossible. Don’t worry, you are not alone.

In an effort to offer motivation and support in beginning your running journey, I have listed my top 10 tips to becoming a runner.

I am a runner

  1. Start slow: My first tip is to start out slowly.

People often think that running must be completed at a fast pace, for multiple miles, almost every single day.

The truth is it is best to ease into running. Start with the run-walk method.

The run-walk method allows new runners to build up their running endurance, prepare and train their muscles, and strengthens their lung capacity.

During the first week of your training plan the Road Runner’s Club of America [RRCA] suggests beginning walk to run interval consisting of a one-minute run followed by a four minute walk for a total of thirty minutes.

Each week increase the amount of time spent running while interchangeably decreasing the amount of time walking until you are able to run for the full 30 minutes without walking.

You are  capable

  1. Set a goal: Whether the goal is as small as “running for 10 minutes without stopping” or “running in a 5k race” it is important to set a goal for yourself.

The American Council on Exercise [ACE] suggests setting SMART goals.

SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound.

Specific goals are not broad or general. They are simplified and precise.

Measurable goals have a specific distance or time.

Attainable goals are within your reach.

Relevant goals are relatable to your long-term goals.

Time-bound goals have a set deadline.

Short-term and long-term goals can also be set. Short-term goals help to build the momentum and confidence.

Long-term goals are beneficial when the motivation and confidence wear thin.

  1. Keep a training journal: In an effort to track your progress it can be very helpful to keep track of your runs.

Write down the days you ran, the mileage you completed and the time you completed the runs within.

After each week compare and contrast each run.

Make notes of where you may have run at a faster pace, a slower pace, a longer distance or a shorter distance.

ST Runners

  1. Learn to warm-up, cool down and stretch: For new runners it is fantastic to implement these three healthy habits early on.

Starting off with a slow and steady warm up allows oxygen and blood to be delivered to the muscles and fully prepare the body for the run you are planning to complete.

The cool down allows the body to ease the blood flow away from the muscles that were working and back through the rest of the body.

Stretching allows the muscles that were just exercising to stretch and prevent any tightness, injuries or pain.

Incorporating these three habits into your running routine will not only make you a much better and smarter runner, it will also prevent you from a great deal of pain and injury.

 

  1. Follow a plan: Once you have chosen your goal your next step is to create a plan that you guide you in accomplishing your goal.

The plan that you choose should be catered to your goal distance and time, it should offer you ample preparation time, while also providing a manageable schedule of training runs each week.

A female road runner runs down a road at dusk at Independence Pass.

  1. Get a good pair of shoes: It is important that you run in a supportive and comfortable pair of running shoes.

Running shoes that are several years old and worn down can cause injuries to your body.

Seek out a local running store and request a shoe fitting, along with advice for selecting the perfect fit.

The right running shoe will offer your feet support, will improve your stride, and will prevent injuries caused by incorrect or old shoes.

 

  1. Make friends that run: Having friends that enjoy running can be motivational, resourceful and supportive.

At times when you want to give up, skip a workout, or you are just looking for advice – the right running buddy will come in handy.

Whether your buddy is a new friend, an old friend, a running group or an organized running club – having people around interested in the same thing as you, training for a similar event, can be very helpful and supportive.

You can do

  1. Seek motivation and guidance: Motivation and guidance can be found in multiple places, including the internet, speeches and presentations, friends, and books and podcasts.

When preparing for a new event or type of race I often seek out new information from podcasts, YouTube videos, books and presentations.

I make an effort to learn as much information on the topic as I can.

I look to professional and accomplished contestants who have made a name for themselves in that event or type of race.

I also enjoy learning the how and why they chose to accomplish their goals. These stories always offer insight and motivation.

Juices

  1. Eat and drink well: When additional strain is put on the body it is important to replenish and refuel the body.

Proper nutrition and hydration will assist in improving runner’s performance, strength and overall health.

I am

  1. Enjoy the process: Last, but not least; enjoy your running journey.

This is a very precious time. Learning a new skill is not easy for anyone.

Give yourself credit and have fun along the way!

 

❤ Wishing you love, joy and happiness,

Angela Joy

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