Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy? A Holiday Guide to Keep You from Packing on the Pounds

You know it’s coming. The elevator carols are playing, sweets are tempting you at every check out register and desk at work, and you barely have time to sit down for a real meal.  Sometimes it becomes nearly impossible to avoid gaining weight around the holidays.  The weather’s a little drearier, your family is gallantly catching up over a mountainous feast, and you cannot possibly turn down the festively decorated cookies, pastries, and other goods. So how can you enjoy the holidays without packing on the extra pounds? Try this at-home full body workout that’s effective and easy to fit into an already jampacked holiday schedule. In between schmoozing with the folks and setting the good silverware out, you might even keep your jeans buttoned all the way through dessert.

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More than a runner’s high; it’s a runner’s therapy

You may already have noticed that you feel calmer and less anxious after a run. Studies show that exercise stimulates the neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine, epinephrine, and beta-endorphin. These neurotransmitters can elevate your mood and help reduce depression. Madhukar Trivedi, M.D.’s research shows that therapeutic benefits of exercise increases with intensity. Running at a moderate to high intensity for 30 to 35 minutes, three or four times a week, is most effective for getting rid of your blues and irritability.

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Welcome to Goleta

Goleta is located just above Santa Barbara along the California coast. This relatively new city, as it was just declared an official city in 2002, has a population of approximately 30,000 people and continues to grow. It primarily consists of Caucasian residents but there is a significant population of Latino families that live in the area as well.

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When the World Ends: Your Musical Survival Kit

The countdown has begun. If the Mayan’s had it right, this December will be our last. Who, if anyone, will make it out alive? On 12/21/12, you may be forced to show the world what you’re made of.

You may wonder if the Mayan’s were on to something, or you might find the idea of the world ending ridiculous. No matter what your belief is on the matter, as you take on these next ten months, what better way to get a good work out than to feel as if your life depended on it? On your next gym visit, beach jog, or bike ride, celebrate mankind’s final year by shuffling through some of the catchiest Doomsday songs of the 20th and 21st centuries. Enter the doomsday zone with…

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Seven Falls: The Most Romantic Place to be this Valentine’s Day

As intimate as dinner and a dozen roses might be, it’s slightly overdone. If you want to make this V-day a real memory, why not go on a Valentines day adventure? Make this February 14th a dirty one– one that will make your sweetheart sweat and get em’ a little wet…That’s right, take them on a hike to Seven Falls!

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You have back pain? You’re not alone

There are reasons why 80% of our population will experience significant back pain at some point in our lives. Humans are built with great weight distribution that allows us a lot of mobility and dexterity, but there is a spot in our body that eventually pays the price for this: the low back. The weight above the waist needs to be transferred and supported by the lower body, and the low back works the hardest to make this happen. Another reason is that we’ve become a society that presents few physical challenges on a day-to-day basis. We sit for meals, sit in a car to and from work, sit at work, then again in front of the TV or computer at night. Some of this sitting is obviously necessary, but if you don’t counteract this sitting with physical challenges, problems inevitably arise. Sitting turns off the muscles of the low back when we should be turning them on and keeping them strong to avoid serious pain.

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10 Tips for Better Health

1. Exercise.

We all know we should exercise regularly, but exercise can help with things you never suspected. Leslie Shinkle, an ACE certified instructor at the YMCA, reminds us that, “exercise boosts our self-confidence and allows us to perform daily tasks easier.” Even housework can help. Leslie recommends adding lunges while you vacuum or curls while you carry your groceries. “Anything to get you off the couch is a positive step towards health.”

2. Supplements.

No matter how much “good food” we consume we are just not getting the nutrients we require. A multi-vitamin and mineral formula keeps our body functioning properly and can curb food cravings. Add amino acids, most of which we can’t produce ourselves and are needed for many processes in the body.

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Cardio Calorie Burners

After a tough workout or a long day at work, you may feel tired, unfocused, and frazzled. As you are probably aware, stress and anxiety have a large effect on your body, particularly in muscle tissue. We often think of massage as an experience of relaxation and tranquility, but massage is also an important process that keeps the blood flowing through your muscles to alleviate tension. Spending a few minutes to give yourself a massage at the end of your day can have amazing effects on your tired nerves and leave you feeling relaxed and a little less stiff. So give your body a break and use some of these tools for a rejuvenating massage.

Foam Rollers

The cylindrical foam rollers are excellent for muscle tension over a large area of the body. Using one can help improve joint stability, posture, and mobility. You can utilize foam rollers to strengthen your muscles with the best alignment, to prevent injury. You can trigger the knots in your back, calves, hamstrings, and quads by placing the foam roller on the floor and rolling your target muscles over it, using the weight of your body to put pressure on a tender spot, or trigger point, and relieve tension. When you roll over a bump, focus on that spot until the knot is gone.

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Hike of the Issue – Gaviota Peak

Length of Trail: 6 miles round trip

Time Spent (Round trip): Approximately three hours

Level of Difficulty: Challenging: It is a steady and moderately steep uphill to the top

How to get there
: Going north on the 101 Freeway, exit Highway 1 to Vandenberg Airforce base. At the stop sign take a sharp right and drive to the parking area. You will need to deposit a $2 parking fee at the post at the beginning of the trail

The Trail: The trail begins on an uphill dirt road surrounded by vegetation. At about ½ mile up, there is a fork in the road with a path leading to the hot springs. To get to Gaviota Peak, stay on the dirt road which curves to the left and downhill. This path leads through a field and gradually becomes a steep uphill. After about three miles, there is another fork in the road.

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Doctor’s Orders: Asleep, But Not Sneezing

 If we were contestants on the Family Feud and the question was “Name an anti-histamine” we would all slam our hands on the buzzer and blurt out, “Diphenhydramine!” and then quickly look away to avoid getting smooched by the host. Diphenhydramine is best known by its brand name, Benadryl.

Most people know that diphenhydramine is a strong allergy medication. Most people also know that diphenhydramine can make people sleepy. That is why it is the active ingredient in virtually all over the counter sleeping aids including Nyquil and Tylenol PM.

What most people don’t realize is that, like alcohol, regardless of how “awake” someone feels after taking diphenhydramine, it still slows down reaction times. In fact, because of this effect, it is illegal to drive while under the influence of diphenhydramine. I don’t get the feeling that this is a very strictly enforced law – at least not until we have a good breath, blood, or urine test to detect its levels. But once we do, I think the SBPD should be very wary of anyone they pull over who is not talking in a nasally voice.

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