Two New Health Tips for You

When I drive my daughter to school in the mornings, I often ask her what her goals are for the day and share my own.  This isn’t a serious conversation, but we have fun with it and she sets her own intentions for the day.  Yesterday, this was her response:

“I want to run with my friends outside….and eat my snack at school.”

I found this response both endearing and smart.  She expressed her desire to move, be outside, and spend time with her friends…..and have a snack before lunch.  Should we all follow that advice, I think we’d be all the healthier for it.

Here’s why:

Exercise (movement) is important for learning because it helps build our brain.  Exercising, resistance training, or learning a new physical skill turns on the release of BDNF, or growth factor, which is like Miracle Gro for your brain.  Exercising for merely 10 minutes (running outdoors with friends) at 80% of your max heart rate is enough to release BDNF.  When this happens, you are biochemically primed for learning.  Children who are exposed to new information following exercise are primed to learn and retain that new information.

As if that weren’t enough, BDNF also has the effect of rebalancing your mood related neurotransmitters.  Antidepressant medication generally increases 1-2 of those by recycling what you already have, whereas exercise rebalances the mixture of mood related chemicals altogether.

Being with friends is essential for good health.  Women usually turn to one another during times of trouble or stress, a response known as the “tend and befriend” reaction.  We talk to each other, vent, and in that process, release oxytocin (the bonding hormone).  This decreases the harmful effects of stress hormones and even counteracts the effects of estrogen.  This isn’t true for men, though-oxytocin usually increases the effects of testosterone, which is why men usually need to retreat to the “man cave” for some quiet time after a stressful day.

Getting outside is also boon to health.  We all need a little fresh air, but sunshine is important for Vitamin D3 replenishment.  It only takes 10 minutes or so without sunscreen.  Maintaining optimal Vitamin D3 levels has been reported to decrease your overall cancer risk by 60%, an impressive statistic.

Having snacks throughout the day is pretty darn smart, too.  If you can manage 5-6 small, protein based meals throughout the day, you’ll maintain stable insulin levels, energy, and mood.  Considering the fact that unstable insulin levels fuels inflammation and increases risk for Metabolic Syndrome and Diabetes Type II (now considered another form of Alzheimer’s Disease), taking the time to have 5-6 meals per day is worth it.

Today, take some advice from Savanna, my wise 4 year old:  run with your friends outside and have a snack.

That’s all for today from sunny, hot Boca Raton, folks.  I started training with Michelle Marie at BB3 Training Center about 3 weeks ago, and boy has that been an eye opener.  Those of you who know me are aware that I had a miscarriage at 3 months in March, and working out has been a big part of the healing process for me.  I thought I knew how to work out until I met Michelle, but I become so fantastically sore after training with her that I’m convinced I’ve been doing the wrong stuff for a long time.  Check out her blog for some awesome, easy recipes and fitness tips-she’s one ripped mom who walks the walk.  You’re sure to be inspired.  Ta-ta for now!


  1. April says:

    This is great-my favorite post so far. Kids can be so sweet!

  2. admin says:

    Thank you, April! Yes, kids have such a way of saying things at times.