Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

Karen Kloss

Recent Posts by Karen Kloss:

Health Benefits of Random Acts of Kindness

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It’s Random Acts of Kindness Day!!! The “pay it forward” movement stems from this day of kindness helping to incorporate it into our schools, workplaces, homes, and communities. A random act is not premeditated and an action to offer kindness to the outside world. Choosing to perform acts of has many benefits to our health – emotional, mental, and physical. Let’s take a closer look at how choosing kindness benefits our health.

Emotional Benefits:

  • Makes people feel helpful and optimistic
  • Boosts self-esteem
  • Increases oxytocin, a hormone making us feel connected to each other
  • Creates a sense of belonging therefore reduces feelings of isolation
  • Releases positivity – we feel better and those that we are kind to feel better leading them to pay it forward

Mental Benefits:

  • Reduces levels of the stress hormone, cortisol
  • Decreases overall anxiety
  • Helps improve feelings of depression
  • Reduces negative emotions such as anger

Physical Benefits:

  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Boosts immune system
  • Improves cardiovascular health
  • Provides a positive outlook on life which can help you live longer
  • Decreases health problems due to the increase of oxytocin which reduces inflammation

Practicing random acts of kindness is not just about how we treat others, but also how we practice these behaviors on ourselves. We are sometimes so quick to be negative and hard on ourselves. If we change our mindset to being more positive, we can be kinder to ourselves. Act and choose kindness today: Don’t overthink it, kindness is a simple act. Check out these options as simple ways to allow someone to feel kindness.

  • Put other’s needs before your own
  • Leave an inspirational message for a friend or co-worker
  • Send a card to someone
  • Give someone a compliment
  • Hold the door open for someone
  • Practice gratitude
  • Be kind to yourself
  • Send someone flowers
  • Volunteer in your local community
  • Donate to a charity
  • Run an errand for somebody
  • Be kind to a stranger
  • Help an elderly person
  • Make someone laugh
  • Leave an extra tip
  • Donate food to the food pantry

Practicing random acts of kindness increases a person’s sense of happiness. Kindness is contagious and something we should all want to spread to others.  What act of kindness will you perform today?

Topics: health and wellness kindness

How Caffeine Affects Your Workout

GettyImages-470296838 (1)Caffeine functions as a stimulant, which means you will experience an increased heart rate, more blood flow to your body, and more oxygen to your muscles when you consume it. Here are five ways caffeine can energize your workout routine:

1. When it comes to caffeine and exercise, a little goes a long way.

It doesn’t matter how you ingest caffeine; its impact depends on how much you consume. Up to 400 milligrams (mg) of caffeine a day is safe for most healthy adults, but when it comes to exercise, small amounts are more than sufficient to energize your workout. (See this NIFS blog for the content in your favorite beverages and food.)

2. Caffeine can increase endurance and make your workouts feel easier.

Whether you prefer running outside or working out on the elliptical, caffeine can increase endurance up to 30 percent as well as improve your speed by 2 to 5%. With caffeine, your body’s muscle consumption of glycogen (stored energy during exercise) decreases, which forces you to use fat reserves as energy. This helps delay muscle fatigue.

3. Caffeine may not burn fat, but it helps burn more calories.

Studies show that caffeine increases fatty acids in the blood, but the body ignores the extra fats and doesn’t oxidize them. Consuming coffee before exercise helps burn up to 15% more calories for three hours afterward.

4. Timing matters—before a long workout is best.

Caffeine takes about 30 minutes to kick in, so the time you consume it matters if you want to improve your performance. Since caffeine increases endurance, it can provide a greater training effect from the workout.

5. Metabolism varies, so listen to your body.

People metabolize caffeine at different rates. Some people do not respond positively to it and can get nervous or distracted after consuming it. Drinking too much caffeine along with working out can lead to dehydration and fatigue for some people, which will decrease the ability to perform. Always listen to your body.

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Even though consuming caffeine before a workout can improve your performance, it is important to be mindful and know your body. Don’t always rely on caffeine as an energy booster. Balance is the key.

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Topics: calories muscle endurance metabolism workout caffeine