Healthy Living

Keeping Fit During Winter Months

Kimberly Distilli Destress, Healthy Living Leave a comment  
winter exercise

winter exercise

Looking ahead to the gloomy winter months and thinking about skipping exercise, and hibernating in your stretchy pants and roomy sweaters? Think again. Winter is a great time to try a new routine and stay fit.

The University of Maastricht in the Netherlands studied exercise in colder months and found that as your body learns to adjust to working out in the cold, it burns more stores of fat. This extra fat is burned because your body, in addition to burning energy to jog or ski, is also burning energy to keep you warm. Exercising in cold weather is particularly good for reducing fat.

Exercise also helps to alleviate the winter blues for people who suffer with Seasonal Affective Disorder or depression. Many studies have shown that the release of endorphins from an indoor swim or outdoor jog improve moods. finding a workout you can do outdoors in winter, like jogging, skiing or snowshoeing adds Vitamin D, which helps to improve your mood and bone strength. Exercising also improves your sleep, which gives you the added benefits of mental vigilance, improves mood and helps regulate metabolism.

A Limited Period of Time
Knowing that winter is only here for several months is a good motivator to enjoy winter sports while they last. Many towns erect a winter ice skating rink, so become a regular. If that gets too expensive, look for an inexpensive sled and a few good hills. Hiking or walking in the snow is calming and great exercise, but most athletic trainers advise forgoing outdoor walking or running in the ice because one slip can easily result in a twisted ankle or a trip to the emergency room.

Outdoor exercise requires smart clothing choices. Layering is usually the key to the winter exercise wardrobe. Make sure to wear wicking tights and shirt, followed by a fleece jacket, and a waterproof shell for rain, and some track pants. A winter cap and gloves are a good addition to the mix, based on how cold it is. Bright colors and reflective stripes are more necessary in winter, when the sun comes up late and goes down early. Add a headlamp or reflective coat for maximum visibility.

Strength in Numbers
One of the best ideas for ensuring you exercise in the winter is the buddy system. Having another person helps with accountability and motivation. Can’t find a buddy who wants to run at 5am? Join a boot camp class or Masters swim program for the support and encouragement.

If outdoor exercise is not your top choice, add something new and fun into your routine. Try hot yoga, take a dance class or something you’ve always wanted to try. Avoid treating yourself to special foods as a reward for working out. Instead, stay away from food and use the sauna after a gym workout, take a warm tub after your run or schedule a massage for a month of consistent workouts. Making your workouts fun, and enjoying a special treat after will make this a winter of fun and fitness.

Vitamin D: How Much is Too Much?

Kimberly Distilli Education, Healthy Food, Healthy Living, Nutrition, Uncategorized Leave a comment  
Vitamin D

Vitamin D

Getting the right amount of vitamins is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Ideally, getting vitamins through the food we eat is the best way for our bodies to receive nutrition. When that fails, supplements can be a good source of nutrition. Unfortunately, many people tend to treat supplements less seriously than medicine and often take larger doses than necessary. Vitamin D is easy to over-ingest. Often, Vitamin D is found in daily supplements AND in calcium supplements, and many people, especially women, can take too much. Conversely, with decreasing outdoor activity and increased sunscreen usage, many people are diagnosed with Vitamin D deficiency. Read more

Baking Is Good For Your Health and Wellness

Kimberly Distilli Destress, Healthy Living Leave a comment   , ,


    Baking for others helps everyone

It turns out, if you enjoy baking for other people, the recipients aren’t the only ones to benefit.  Science now explains why we feel so good when we bake and give our results away. Baking allows for creativity. Creative expression is helpful for stress relief. According to Donna Pincus, an associate professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Boston University “Baking has the benefit of allowing people creative expression. There’s a lot of literature for connection between creative expression and overall wellbeing. Whether it’s painting or it’s making music [or baking], there is a stress relief that people get from having some kind of an outlet and a way to express themselves.” Read more

Cold Laser Treatment–What Is It?

Kimberly Distilli Detox, Education, Healthy Living, Lyme Disease Leave a comment  

LaserCold Laser Therapy, also called Low Level Light Therapy, is a treatment that uses specific wavelengths of light to help speed the body’s healing process. It can help patients who suffer from acute and chronic conditions to reduce swelling, help eliminate pain, decrease spasms and increase functionality.  This is an FDA-approved, non-invasive, non-prescription therapy.
Read more

Creating Good Sleep Habits at Any Age

Kimberly Distilli Healthy Living Leave a comment  
Good sleep

Good sleep

While we may not often consider sleep essential, it is as necessary for our bodies as air and food. Lack of sleep affects us at all ages. Growth hormones that increase a child or teen’s muscle mass and that repair cells are released during sleep. For humans of any age, cognitive abilities suffer from lack of sleep, making us prone to accidents and mishaps.  Lack of sleep has also been linked to Alzheimer’s disease in the elderly.

The good news is that sleeping is a habit and everyone can learn better habits with some structure and a little bit of effort. Harvard University offers the following suggestions:

  • maintain a regular sleep-wake schedule (wake up and go to bed at the same time every day, even on weekends)
  • avoid caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, and other chemicals that interfere with sleep
  • make your bedroom a comfortable sleep environment
  • establish a calming pre-sleep routine
  • go to sleep when you’re truly tired
  • avoid watching the clock at night
  • use light to your advantage by exposing yourself to light during the day and limiting light exposure in the evening, this helps regulate your natural circadian rhythms
  • avoid napping too close to your regular bedtime
  • eat and drink enough—but not too much or too soon before bedtime
  • exercise regularly—but not too soon before bedtime


Pre-Sleep Routine

Most of these ideas are self-explanatory, but a pre-sleep routine is worth examining closely.  A pre-sleep routine is different for every person.  Reading, crossword puzzles, knitting are all good “transition” activities from daily life to sleep. These transition activities should be done prior to climbing into bed, in a calm, comfortable room in your home.


Keep your bed as a place for sleeping, not reading, watching TV or answering email.  Sleep experts recommend no TV or electronic gadgets in your bedroom. This allows your mind to rest and helps you to fall asleep faster.  Also, screens on our electronic devices emit blue light, which reduces the production of melatonin, a hormone that controls our circadian rhythm, the cycles that help us fall asleep and stay asleep. In addition to the blue light, cell phones and gadgets often beep, tweet or buzz throughout the night, which prevents you from a restful sleep.  A technology curfew is helpful to sleepers of all ages.

Getting Enough Sleep

How much sleep is enough? The answer is it depends.  For children, check with your pediatrican for recommendations on how many hours your child should be sleeping.  For adults, most people need at least seven hours.  To find out what your body needs, start getting seven hours of sleep a night, and after three or four weeks, take inventory on how you feel. Still tired? Add a half hour and take inventory again. Continue until you typically feel rested most of the time.

The need for sleep is often seen as a weakness in American culture. In truth, it is an essential element to human existence.  Ensure that you are making the time for the wonderful necessity of sleep.

How Does Exercise Affect the Brain?

Kimberly Distilli Education, Healthy Living Leave a comment  
Exercise for brain and body health.

Exercise for brain and body health.

So far, no drug or therapy exists that matches the powerful effect regular physical exercise has on improving brain function or preventing Alzheimer’s disease.

In a study of senior citizens by the Mayo Clinic, exercise five to six times a week reduces the risk of mild cognitive impairment by 32 percent, as compared to other senior citizens who are not getting up and moving. Another Mayo Clinic study showed that for people with memory impairment, exercise improved memory about the same amount as the benefit of taking donepezil (Aircept), which does give some modest and temporary help to those struggling with memory loss. Read more

Stress-Reduction Techniques for Everyone

Kimberly Distilli Education, Healthy Living Leave a comment   ,

Reduce stress in your life through relaxation.

Per the Mayo Clinic, “Relaxation isn’t just about peace of mind or enjoying a hobby. Relaxation is a process that decreases the effects of stress on your mind and body.” Finding a method of stress-reduction is important for everyone. Practicing relaxation can take many different methods, but all with the same goal of regularly coping with everyday stress, and extra ordinary stress, as needed.  The Mayo Clinic advocates stress-reduction techniques for everyone, but especially for its patients who may be dealing with a difficult diagnosis, a long-term illness or even chronic pain. Read more

Elimination Nation

Kimberly Distilli Detox, Education, Healthy Living, Uncategorized Leave a comment   ,
Elimination Station

Elimination Station

Elimination — yup. We’re going to talk about THAT.  Every human organism relies on the ability to successfully eliminate waste from its system or die.  Getting waste out quickly is a benefit to any biological system. In humans, our bodies are designed to evacuate in a squatting position, and long before the modern toilet was invented, our ancestors squatted. Many cultures still use toilets that require squatting, which would be viewed as odd here in the United States. Read more

Teach Your Children to Eat Nutritiously

Kimberly Distilli Children, Education, Healthy Food, Healthy Living Leave a comment  
Eat Nutritiously

Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Medicine’s Kids Healthy Eating Plate

As W.E.B. DuBois said, “Children learn more from what you are than what you teach.” Want to get the children in your life to eat more nutritiously? Start by doing it yourself.

This blog emphasizes the importance of changing one or two habits at a time in order to make lasting change. If you want to teach your children to eat nutritiously, you are teaching (and learning) skills for a lifetime. Here are a few things to try and see what works for your family. Read more

The Effect of Sugar on the Body

Kimberly Distilli Detox, Healthy Food, Healthy Living, Nutrition Leave a comment  
Too much sugar makes us want more sugar.

Too much sugar makes us want more sugar.

Early humans needed sugar to survive. They needed it for energy (glucose) and to help store fat (fructose) for times when food was scarce. In order to help them survive the human brain developed a craving for this delicious ingredient. Richard Johnson, professor in the Medicine Department of the University of Colorado, speculates that the “feel good” response modern humans get from sugar is a holdover from this early survival response.

Today, in our sugar-run-amuck world, that craving has the opposite effect. Too much of a good thing is making us sick. Most of us know it’s bad for our teeth and our waistline, but it is much more destructive than that. Overindulgence on sugar affects many areas of our body. Read more