Melt Away Stress at Hotworx in Cedar Park, TX

Hot Worx Cedar Park

 

Spring has sprung and summer plans are beginning

Hiking and trekking, beach outings, and returning to family and friend’s events are all in the works.  Hibernating through last year has left some of us a little sluggish.

Luckily, Susan Sandoval at HOTWORX in Cedar Park, TX understands, and we’ve provided the 411 after interviewing her below. Please continue reading for the scoop on HOTWORX and how it offered lessons more valuable than any workout routine ever could!

 

What is Hotworx?

It’s a virtually instructed exercise program created for consumers to experience the many infrared heat absorption benefits. Goers choose between 30-minute Isometric workouts or 15-minute High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) sessions. Classes you can choose from are Hot Iso, Hot Yoga, Hot Pilates. Step it up just a bit and attend a Hot Warrior, Hot Core or Hot Bands session. The great thing is you can mix and match the classes that best suit your needs. Virtual instructors change up the flow of exercises and scheduling on your phone helps to slide in a workout session on the fly. No guilt and no excuses, freedom to set a schedule that works best for each individual.

 

According to HOTWORX, “As the infrared heat penetrates your body causing you to sweat, the isometric postures further accelerate detoxification by physically removing the toxins from your organs through muscle contraction.” Even after you leave the session, your body will continue to burn off calories and detox. Infrared heats you internally, so thirty minutes after your workout, you’re still burning calories. That’s the beauty of the heat!

 

Inside HOTWORX, you will find eight infrared saunas and four isometric stations

An isometric workout is one that involves little movement with high muscle engagement. You choose a position and hold it. For example, Susan’s favorite yoga pose is the Lord of the Dance. As a balancing pose dedicated to Shiva’s dance, you stretch muscles in your chest, abdomen, and thighs. This famous backbend yoga pose stimulates your heart chakra known as Anahata, associated with love and compassion.

 

More workout, less time!

High-intensity interval training, known as HITT, is a form of interval training and gets the heart going! This cardiovascular exercise strategy encourages short bursts of exercise with brief (30 to 45 second) intervals of breaks in between. You should be out of breath by the end of your workout. No fear! The sessions are much shorter due to the intensity level.

 

Go when you want, for as long as you please

Being open 24-hours, our members love that there is no set class schedule. They can come and go as they please. Whereas in other gyms, if you miss your scheduled class, you will most likely not get your work out on that day.

Susan says it’s popular for goers to do a quick 15-minute HIIT and then move to something else to keep up their momentum. Many love the belly burning benefits of core compressors. It creates instant slimming results, enhances calorie burning, and flushes out toxins.

 

Susan reminds us: “All things in moderation, as the saying goes” – including stress

With the bustling, busy times, we tend to rush to wake up, rush to work, rush to pick up kids, and rush to get our work out done so that we can run to make dinner and do it all over the next day.

Advised by her nutritionist, “it’s not good for you to be on the go, go, go!” At HOTWORX, her stress melts away. She says that it’s really hot in there, and she barely moves her feet while her heart rate elevates and lowers stress upon the body. She can pop on a good podcast, watch a show or meditate while getting in a good workout.

 

Thank you, Covid-19, for a new perspective

As silly as that may sound, Susan thanks the pandemic for her newly found awareness of things she didn’t correctly appreciate before the outbreak. She has started to learn new reverence for breathing easier since life was disrupted before opening her business in 2019.

She knows that health applies both physically and mentally. It tends to affect relationships and may even cause psychological issues and raise the risk of disease. Stress can also reduce our capacity to take care of one another. There are many benefits of reducing stress within your everyday life.

 

 It’s so important to take care of your mental health

With a heart full of a new perspective, she realized that she was spending money on things that were unimportant and spending time where it did not matter. She no longer values being caught up in worldly things and plans to go forward to make memories with her family. She plans to create less stress in her life, including during her workouts. And luckily, with HOTWORX, she’s able to do just that!

HOTWORX offers patrons a mental break when stress and anxiety come to be too overwhelming. However, Susan wants our readers to know, “There’s no right or wrong answer as to going to a gym during pandemic times. If you’re not comfortable going, just go for a walk, and everything else will fall into place.” She continues, “It’s so easy when you’re going through stressful times to watch Netflix, but getting out of the house – even for a walk – is so important. You need to get out of the house.”

 

Thank you, Susan, for taking the time out of your schedule to share with our Wilco Family.

We appreciate it very much and encourage our readers to check out HOTWORX when they can.

It might just change your life!

 

 

 

Sweet Sweat: What Our Sweat Reveals About Us

Sweet Sweat Wilcowellness

Many scenarios can make us sweat, from illnesses to anxiety, to hormones, stress, and spicy food

As embarrassing and uncomfortable as this biological response is at times, there are tons of reasons why it’s necessary. By learning how to decode when we sweat, how much we sweat, and even what our sweat smells like, we can more closely sensor our health.

 

But first, what if we never sweat?

 

Evolutionarily speaking, we would be in last place. You see, humans have evolved to be the best runners on the planet. We may not be the fastest, but we do have the most endurance, thanks to all the 2-4 million sweat glands in each of our bodies. While running, our sweat glands work simultaneously to keep us cool. Because sweat functions to regulate body temperature, it makes sense that we sweat any time our temperature rises.

 

Why do we sweat as an emotional response?

 

When we feel fearful, anxious, or stressed, our sympathetic nervous system triggers the fight or flight response. When this occurs, our body temperatures rise as we experience a rush of hormones and adrenaline. Additionally, brain scans reveal that when we smell another person’s panic-induced sweat, the portions of our brains that manage emotional response and social signals also light up. In other words, sweat keeps us sharp and helps us stay aware of potential risks in our surroundings.

 

What can the smell of our sweat tell us about our health?

 

The body has two different types of sweat glands: apocrine glands and eccrine glands. Eccrine glands are responsible for regulating temperature, whereas apocrine glands secrete a mixture of fat, protein, and bacteria and are activated by stress levels. Activated apocrine glands indicate that the body is enduring chronic stress- such as poor diet, anxiety, and even the flu. Interestingly, this is considered a natural defense mechanism to keep others away and minimize the spread of disease.

 

How else do we benefit from breaking a sweat?

#1. Sweat detoxifies the body from heavy metals and endocrine disruptors.

While studying individuals exposed to heavy metals like arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury, scientists found that the body more heavily excretes toxic substances through sweat as opposed to urine. In another study, BPA was excreted through sweat alone, indicating that sweat is a critical defense for fighting off toxins, many of which are closely related to cancers.

 

#2. Sweat promotes healthier, more glowy skin.

It’s a common myth that sweating leads to breakouts. In truth, acne breakouts occur when we fail to shower after sweating. Sweating improves skin cell turnover and acts as a prebiotic that encourages healthy skin bacteria. The real reason we break out after exercising is that all that nasty stuff we sweat away remains on top of our skin until we shower.

 

#3. Sweat helps stave away sickness and infection.

Did you know that sweating can decrease our chances of catching the flu by one-third? Sweat contains antimicrobial properties that help fight off such bacteria and viruses as E.Coli and HIV. Research shows that visiting the sauna is an effective way to alleviate and prevent many common acute and chronic illnesses. That said, if you have high blood pressure or heart disease, you must consult with a physician before setting foot in a sauna.

 

#4. Sweat is our hormone’s best friend.

Hormones aren’t always a bad thing, you know. When we sweat, we boost growth hormone production, which helps the body repair itself and heightens metabolic function so that we can lose more weight faster. Sweating also ups our body’s parasympathetic response and happy hormones, owing to that feeling of blissful relaxation after a great workout.

 

#5. Sweat decreases our risk of dementia substantially.

As mentioned before, sweating detoxifies the body from toxic substances like heavy metals, which are closely linked to Alzheimer’s disease. A study of Finnish men performed in 2016 found that men who used a sauna 4-7 times a week over the course of 20 years were 66% less likely to develop dementia. Men who bathed in the sauna most also demonstrated significantly lower rates of cardiac death and coronary artery disease.

 

Now that you know why we sweat, it’s time to find out where to sweat in Williamson County!

 

 

 

Let’s Celebrate Athletic Trainers For Keeping Us Safe And Strong

Celebrate Athletic Trainers

Athletic trainers are highly-skilled and educated health professionals who help athletes and everyday people keep fit, prevent injury, and perform at their best.

 

Here in Texas, we do everything big. Our parks are greener and more beautiful, our barbecue is bigger than our plates, and our state is home to the best football in America. Athletes pour blood, sweat, and tears into this demanding sport, but there’s more to great football than the players themselves. For a team to be successful, each of its players must be strong and healthy. For this reason, football teams require the diligence and devotion of athletic trainers.

What is National Athletic Trainers Month?

Athletic trainers are the first to step in when an athlete is injured. They continuously strive to improve and implement training exercises and regimens that help prevent injury from re-occurring. A personal athletic trainer will help educate you on all aspects of health and fitness. Inspired fitness professionals have the proper understanding and education to help you reach individualized styled goals to help you succeed in your daily life.

Every March, National Athletic Trainers Month is observed in honor and celebration of these highly-skilled individuals who work behind the scenes to keep their clients, athletes, performers, soldiers, and workers strong, safe, and healthy.

How to Become an Athletic Trainer

An athletic trainer’s career is incredibly rewarding and offers opportunities to work with an array of passionate individuals. This career path is ideal for both individuals who grew up playing sports and individuals interested in healthcare but who have never played sports.

Education and Certification Required for Athletic Trainers

Athletic training is a competitive field, but demand is increasing. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the athletic training profession will grow 21% by 2022. Most athletic trainers obtain a degree in athletic training from a college that is accredited by the Commission of Accreditation of Athletic Training Education.

According to the National Athletic Trainers Association, 68% of trainers hold a master’s degree as well. In many states, aspiring athletic trainers must also meet the standards of the Board of Certification, which may entail additional training and exams. All in all, it takes 4-7 years to become an Athletic Trainer.

Where to go to School for Athletic Training near Williamson County

We love sports in Williamson County, and it shows. There are numerous athletic training degree opportunities throughout Williamson County. Southwestern University has a kinesiology department where courses range from human anatomy and biomechanics to sports medicine and the physiology of exercise.

The University of Texas at Austin also has kinesiology and health education programs, with one of the more popular degrees being Exercise Science. Athletic Training jobs in Texas can be found on the Texas State Athletic Trainers’ Association website.

What to Expect from an Athletic Training Expert?

  • They will cater to your personal requirements
  • Provide tips and support for short-term goals or an activity
  • Set long term realistic goals
  • Keep you accountable to a routine that will maximize your results and minimize wasted time and injuries
  • They make your mental health a priority by boosting your confidence and providing a support network
  • They will challenge you in ways a friend or family might not

Local Athletic Training Experts in Williamson County

Athletic trainers are hired to work for institutions and associations where athletic training takes place. They can be found at schools and universities, clinics and hospitals, performing arts studios, and the military. Appointments can be scheduled in groups in your neighborhood or business, On-Line in a virtual format, or at a local park or gym near you. For best results, one on one appointments to start with are recommended.

Not sure where to start or who to call, take a look at a few of the best trainers in your city. Each one offers injury care and sport-specific treatment programs designed to help athletes of all ages heal, enhance their performance and improve their overall ability to enjoy a healthy vibrant life without physical obstacles. 

 

Jas Performance & HealthCedar Park – Jas Performance & Health – Train the Brain, Train the Body. Arian Soltero is not just an athletic trainer, he spends time understanding the whole person, their unique individuality and designs a program that works towards each person’s personnel goals. Arian utilizes a neurological lens that incorporates much more than “rules” when it comes to improving performance and health.

Get Age Fit

Georgetown – Get Age Fit – For the young at heart with a few wrinkles. Theo Thurston and his team will find the perfect program for your needs. As we age it is all about “no pain is a great gain.”

MVP Transformation Fitness

Hutto – MVP Transformation Fitness – We’re Hutto’s only Lifestyle and Personal Training gym! As a woman and veteran-owned facility, we specialize in filling the gap that most traditional gyms don’t provide- a custom fitness and weight loss experience. 

Warrior WellnessLiberty Hills – Warrior Wellness– Holly at the Warrior Wellness studio is a Corrective Exercise Specialist with a passion for helping people to feel better in their day-to-day lives. She combines her education and experience in nutrition, strength training, behavior change, yoga, aerial yoga, and aqua aerobics to overcome her own personal health challenges, which has fueled her devotion to helping many others get the same positive results.

 

Like drinking water, stretching, and building strength, working with a qualified athletic trainer is a critical part of the training process. The right athletic trainer can help you get your body in shape to prevent injury and allow you to enjoy the sport or active life you love for as long as possible.

Without the work of athletic trainers in Texas, our state’s athletic programs wouldn’t be as strong as they are. If you have an athletic trainer in your life, be sure to thank them this month!

The Wonders of Walking: How Walking is the Most Underrated Exercise

Wonders of Walking WilcoWellness

 

One of the first monuments in our lives are those first few steps we take.

As we age, our walks become more valuable; we spend them communing with nature, making business deals, and conversing with people we care about.

We take walks to escape stressful situations and cool our minds and brainstorm our next big idea. Walking is one of the most under-appreciated things we do in life, and this simple activity benefits our body, mind, and spirit.

How does walking work?

The cycle of walking requires two phases, which are referred to as the “gait.” The first phase of the gait is called the “stance,” whereupon the foot is on the ground. The second phase occurs when the foot swings from the ground.

This is called the “swing,” and it comprises 40% of the cycle. Walking requires a coordinated effort of the brain, the hips, the knees, and the feet. By stretching the hips, knees, and feet often, you can walk better and walk longer without placing too much pressure on any single area of your body.

Why is walking important?

Taking at least one walk a day can have a tremendous effect on overall health and wellbeing. Thirty minutes of walking each day can significantly improve cardiovascular fitness while strengthening bones, tightening muscles, and increasing energy.

Walking benefits mental health by:

  • Increasing self-esteem
  • Brightening mood
  • Radically reducing stress and anxiety
  • Decreasing fatigue

Walking benefits physical health by:

How much should you walk to achieve these benefits?

Walking 10,000 steps a day is considered ideal by many experts, and while that seems like a lot, it certainly doesn’t have to happen all at once. To reach this goal, you might consider walking to nearby places more often rather than driving.

Another consideration is to walk to the grocery store once a week or walk to work more often. For those of you who aren’t counting steps with your watch or an app on your phone, 30 minutes of walking a day or at least 150 minutes of walking a week is considered enough to reap the benefits of walking without overdoing it.

How to make walking more interesting?

If you need a little more motivation for your walks, you’re not alone. In this busy society of ours, it’s become harder and harder to step away from our work and obligations to find time to walk in peace. For many, the joy of walking is hampered by the stresses of everyday life. To make walking a little more enjoyable, there are a few things you can try:

  • Mixing up where you walk: If you’re a mall walker, maybe it’s time to try taking a hike through nature. And if you’re a nature junkie, you might find it interesting to take a trek through the city. Fortunately for us here in Williamson County, there are a plethora of sites to see, from the big city to the rivers and walking paths. More on those below!
  • Walking with a dog: A dog’s got to walk, and their enthusiasm for walking is undoubtedly inspiring. Most dogs love to walk fast and walk as long as possible. You’ll be able to count on your dog to keep going as long as you do, and your dog might even get you running! Did you know there are dog parks in Williamson County? Now you do!
  • Wear a pedometer and challenge yourself: By wearing a pedometer, you can easily track how many steps you are taking, then challenge yourself to increase that amount each day. Choose a healthy reward for yourself or plan a special night of pure relaxation for the end of the week after you have reached your goal.
  • Join (or start) a walking club: Accountability partners can make all the difference in reaching your health and fitness goals and sticking with them for the long-term. If you don’t have a friend to go on walks with, you might consider finding a walking group near you, or better yet, starting one with a few neighbors and friends.

Tips for Walking Safely

Three factors to consider to walk safely are: what shoes you wear, the safety precautions you take, and how you prepare for and cool down from a walk.

#1 – Walking Shoes

Walking shoes come in all different kinds of colors and styles, but there are a few primary components that go into making a shoe ideal for walking. First, pick a shoe that provides ample arch and heel support.

Next, choose a size that offers a little room in the toe area, so that your feet aren’t scrunched up against the shoe as you move. Be sure to pick a pair that offers cushioning in the midsoles, as this portion of our feet tends to strike the ground with the most force. And finally, look for shoes that provide good traction to avoid slipping no matter which surface you walk on.

#2 – Safety Precautions

Personal safety is extremely important while walking in public areas, especially when out in nature where you think nobody else is around. For starters, it’s crucial to stay alert and aware of your surroundings. If you absolutely must walk with headphones in, keep the volume low and only use one earbud.

The Williamson County Sheriff’s Office offers self-defense classes, and in addition to taking classes, it’s wise to carry at least one self-defense tool, such as mace. Be sure to keep your phone charged at all times, and let someone know where you’re going as an added precaution.

#3 – Warming Up and Cooling Down

Before heading out on your walk, it’s best to warm up with soft exercises such as lunges and squats, jumping jacks, or arm circles. This will help to get the blood flowing and prevent any injuries. While you might think that stretching beforehand is the way to go, research suggests that it’s best to save the stretches for after the walk is finished.

Stretching before a walk loosens up muscles and tendons, making them more prone to injury. Stretching after a walk, however, is known to improve flexibility and expedite post-workout recovery.

Where are some great places to walk in Williamson County?

Parks, rivers, and paths galore! Williamson County has no shortage of places to explore. If you’re looking for a walking path, check out one of Williamson County’s beautiful nature parks, such as the Lake Park Trails in Hutto or the Veteran Memorial Park in Cedar Park.

If you would prefer to venture off the beaten path, you can find a map of trails nearby on TrailLink. No matter where you go, no two walks are ever the same!

 

National Lego Day

National Lego Day

Mark your calendars! January 28th is the National Lego Day

Legos are one of the most popular toys on the planet. As they are enjoyed by both children and adults alike, Legos make for one of the best indoor family activities.

From Tokyo to LA, thousands of Lego fanatics swarm LEGO conventions and building competitions each year in celebration of this simple and practical toy with endless possibilities. This year, Lego building competitions even went virtual.

Lego toys are fun, innovative, and long-lasting, and the brand itself has formed a culture all its own. While Lego sets are far pricier than their competition, a lot is going on behind the scenes to warrant the price tag. 

The Lego team employs researchers who endlessly strive to enhance the quality of the product, to bridge the gender gap among users, and to develop the Lego franchise in Hollywood with movies and television series. 

In honor of National Lego Day, let’s start by throwing it back with a history lesson

The Lego company began in 1932 with an expert carpenter named Ole Kirk Kristiansen. Kristiansen had a passion for making wooden children’s toys and inspiring in them a fondness for creating with their hands. In 1935, Kristiansen called his company Lego, which comes from the Danish words, “leg” and “godt.” When combined, these words translate to, “Play well.”

In 1946, Kristiansen sourced his first plastic injection molding machine to make more products faster, however, he remained focused on building wooden sets. In 1949, Kristiansen Lego sets officially began production, but in the 1960s, disaster struck when a fire destroyed the wooden toy factory. 

The company never returned to making wooden toys and focused solely on the Lego sets we know as of today. Since then, over 560 billion lego sets have been produced, equating to approximately 62 bricks for every single person on the planet.

Some Lego Sets Are More Notable Than Others

Currently, there are 42 themed Lego sets listed on their site. The Lego company has created tens of thousands of themed sets, ranging from simplistic design sets to complex sets with 1000+ pieces that each play an integral role. Some of these sets have received special attention from collectors, and any time they appear on the marketplace, there is a mad dash to acquire them before anyone else. 

  1. The most expensive Lego Set ever sold is Set Number 10179 LEGO Ultimate Collector’s Series Millennium Falcon. It was sold for a whopping $15,000 in Las Vegas. Regular Millennium Falcon sets are sold anywhere between $3,400 to $5,700.
  2. The second most expensive set is a masterpiece lego replica of the Taj Mahal, sold for $3,864.
  3. The biggest Lego set structure to date is the “Lego Pharaoh.” It is a 16-feet tall hyper-realistic replica of the Egyptian King, consisting of about 200,000 pieces.

Indoor Family Activities That Celebrate National Lego Day

The best way to celebrate National Lego Day is to grab your old Lego set, dust it off, build something new, or build something you once made as a child. 

Whether you live alone, with a significant other, a roommate, with your parents, or your children, there’s something for everyone on National Lego Day. Here’s just a few activities you might enjoy:

The Fastest Builder

The number of players involved in this game depends on how many lego pieces are available. First, choose a structure to build- whether it’s your own house or a replica of the family cat, the sky’s the limit! Display an image of the target structure on a phone or laptop, countdown from five, then race to see who can build the structure first.

Cookie Cutter Legos

Another great indoor family activity, created by Nerdy Nummies, on National Lego Day is baking Lego-shaped and Lego-themed pinata cookies. These triple-decker cookies are colorful, stuffed with icing and candy, and a work of art all their own. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4WG42v2HVhE

After mixing up a sheet of colorful dough, the dough is pieced together in layers to form an edible model of these iconic Lego pieces. Once they’re finished in the oven, these cookies can even be stacked together like real Legos to form crumbly, cookie castles.

Motorized Lego Races

Some Lego sets come with toy cars or other kinds of miniature, manual and battery-operated vehicles. Before the race begins, take some time to build a unique obstacle course for the cars to race around the house. Then, let the children (or adults) pick a vehicle. 

Find a flag or a t-shirt to mark the start of the race, and let the race begin! Just in case there is only one Lego vehicle lying around, players can use the same vehicle by timing each dash and comparing the results.
The expression that the simplest things in life bring the greatest joy is more true for Legos than almost any toy. Anything is possible when friends and family put their imaginations together. That is, after all, what Legos are all about.

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Avoid The Chills While Staying Fit This Winter

Winter workout 101

If you’re determined to stick it out through the cold and crush your fitness goals, then this article’s for you.

It’s that time of year again. The days are shorter, the skies are grayer, and lazy days on the couch are becoming more appealing. Feeling sleepier than usual when winter rolls around is normal; in fact, our bodies respond to colder weather by increasing melatonin flow- a hormone that regulates sleep cycles and heightens hunger.

In other words, if you feel like hibernating this winter, that’s quite alright. We’re practically hardwired for it! But, if you’re determined to stick it out through the cold and crush your fitness goals, then this article’s for you. While there are risks involved with working out in chilly weather, the potential for the pay-off is high when you exercise caution. Here’s how:

Dress to Sweat

As you layer up for an outdoor fitness session, keep in mind that clothes made of cotton will soak up your sweat and zap the warmth right out of your skin, leaving you cold and wet. The more miserable you feel, the more likely you are to throw up your arms and quit. Instead, opt for breathable clothes that will dry faster, such as polyester, nylon, or polypropylene.

Join a Community

From Yoga to Crossfit, opportunities abound in Williamson County to link up with fellow fitness enthusiasts for some extra support. Not sure where to begin? A little birdie told us that Soul Strong Yoga, located in Round Rock, has excellent specials going on this month.

If you’ve already found Nirvana and are looking for something different, Georgetown’s TrueCore Fitness offers a mix of high and low-intensity workout options, including their combination Boxing and Pilates class.

 
Don’t Let the Clouds Fool You

It’s just as essential to protect your skin in the winter as it is in the summer. According to the WHO’s Global Solar UV Index, up to 80% of the sun’s UVA rays can penetrate even the thickest of clouds on a wintry overcast day. Just like a good stretch, one ought to make applying sunscreen an essential part of their routine. Consider grabbing a hat to protect your head from sunburn as well.

Speaking of Stretching…

We generally think of stretching as something we do before a workout begins. The truth is, cold weather reduces the muscular range of motion by causing muscles to contract and tighten. This doesn’t just increase our chances of sustaining strains and sprains; research suggests that stretching before workouts also impedes the body’s performance. Save the stretch for last, and opt for dynamic warm-up exercises like lunges, squats, jumping jacks, and arm circles.

Protect Your Lungs

When we run in wintry weather, the cold fills our lungs and narrows our airways, creating that tight feeling in our chest. As refreshing as the crisp, cool air can be, it can also lead to throat burn once we speed up and start breathing faster. Certain high-performance cold weather face masks like those by ColdAvenger include a ventilator that warms and humidifies inhaled air, allowing for easy breathing without the burn. On windy days, it’s also best to begin the run by heading into the wind. That way, the wind is behind you when you’re breathing heavier on the way back.

Listen to Your Heart

Winter is associated with a higher amount of cardiac symptoms. As our body temperature falls, the pressure in our blood vessels increases, requiring the heart to work harder to keep up with us. This increase in pressure may cause symptoms of angina or shortness of breath for people with cardiovascular disease. If you have or suspect that you have heart problems, you must consult with a licensed cardiologist before taking your workouts to the cold outdoors.

Drink Up

You know that it’s important to hydrate while exercising, but do you really know why? For one, proper hydration protects your muscles and digestive processes from breaking down, and this is especially important during winter workouts when the body must exert itself harder. When you’re colder, you might not feel as thirsty, but that certainly doesn’t mean you shouldn’t drink water often.


Research suggests that 75% of Americans may suffer from chronic dehydration. Furthermore, the body needs more water in the winter months to properly regulate body temperature. As a general rule, we should all aim to drink at least half our body weight in ounces each day.

Now that you’re prepared to get the most out of your workout this winter, there’s only one thing left to do: have fun! During the final stretch of the year, Williamson County hosts numerous races and running series, such as the Round Rock Turkey Trot and the Old Town Rudolph Run. Find everything there is to learn about those and other upcoming races right here. Stay safe, and enjoy the holidays!

’Tis The Season To Get Crafty With These DIY Gift Ideas For All Ages

DIY Christmas 2020

 


We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give,” the ever-clever Winston Churchill once said.

This simple truth is especially meaningful at Christmas time when choosing gifts for loved ones calls us to strike a balance between opening our wallets and opening our hearts.

Here’s the thing, some of the sweetest and most memorable gifts are those created with more care and less cash. Looking for ideas to DIY some Christmas cheer? You’re in for a treat.

 
We’ve collected these 10 DIY gift ideas to inspire you:

Printable Photo Books with Canva

There’s nothing like a photo book to bring a spark of nostalgia to someone’s life. Canva’s free photo book maker allows users to drag and drop up to 100 images into a myriad of designer-approved templates then add filters, effects, and fun graphics to customize their design. Want to collaborate with friends, classmates, or family? Using a shareable link, users can grant the entire group access to edit so that everyone can add a personal touch.

A Throwback Board Game Favorite

Guess Who is about to engage the whole party with barrels of laughs. No, it’s not a question. We stumbled upon an ingenious, DIY twist to the classic board game favorite: Guess Who? This project requires little more than craft plywood, dollhouse hinges, super glue, and hilarious pictures of each party guest plucked from social media. The funnier their expressions, the better!

Sustainable Wine Cork Vases

To create these rustic wine cork vases, you’re going to need three things: a glass vase, heavy-duty craft glue, and approximately 70 wine corks! Now look, we all know that the holidays can be a bit stressful at times. So consider this your chance to let loose, set aside those corks, and pick up the rest from the local thrift store. Recycle, reuse, and rendezvous your heart out.

Timeless Love Letters

While giving cash is sure to please, it’s a thoughtless gift that will be gone at the drop of a dime. Last year, we wrote about the time-honored tradition of letter writing to show how much you care. There are plenty of sustainable ways to spice up your message using recycled goods. Or, put a modern twist on this tradition with a handwritten love letter blanket.

Homemade Pressed Flower Candles

From decadent feasts to evergreen, everyone nose that Christmas is a holiday for the senses. While you can find candles just about anywhere, they’re simple and inexpensive to make as well. For these radiant, handmade candles, you’ll need a transparent mug, Mod Podge, wax and wick, and flower petals- though we’ve also seen them made with coffee grounds. Either way, you can’t go wrong with the gift of warmth.

Easy-Peasy Scrabble Coasters

Got a knack for puns or punchy phrases? This one’s for you. Besides glue, scissors, and finishing spray, all you need for these scrabble coasters are a few sheets of cork, wood scrabble tiles, and a selection of movie quotes, inside jokes, or personal notes. Package these coasters with a choice bottle of liquor or wine, and serve your gift with a side of good conversation.

DIY Fort Kits

Don’t you wish building the home of your dreams was as easy as gathering a sheet, rope, and some clamps? For children, building forts is more than a past-time. It’s a rite of passage and a chance to escape with a warm blanket, a book of tales, and a best friend. All too often, constructing a dream-dwelling requires tearing the living room apart, but that’s where these designated fort kits come in handy. Be sure to throw in a fort-warming gift, too. Some snacks and a good read sound nice!

Chill Pills Gag Gift

So you over-splurged on the rest of the gifts but need one last, inexpensive touch to crack a smile. To pull off this “chill pill” gag gift, simply fill a mason jar with Skittles or Reese’s Pieces, then print and apply an old-timey drugstore label. We’ve seen some hilarious, albeit totally useless gag gifts out there and think a more practical gag gift is one that appeals to the sweet tooth and is good for the soul.

With a little time and lots of love, you can surround the Christmas tree with memorable gifts for others while giving yourself the lovely experience of creating them.

Looking for a Walking Path in Williamson County Texas?

Williamson County Parks

November is a beautiful time of year, and the weather is perfect for getting outdoors

 

 

Any day of the week you can visit local parks and enjoy the space around you. Pack a picnic, throw a Frisbee, Wet your hook, take a walk in a sculpture garden, or hang with your pups in the park. Williamson County has a great variety of Parks to choose from. Have a great day !!!!

Healthy Benefits of an Early Morning Workout

Benefits of AM workouts in Texas WilcoWellness

Consistency is your best friend when it comes to getting a good workout in!

Everyone is different. The “perfect time” depends on personal preference, lifestyle, and body type. While there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer, early AM sweat sessions have their perks. Morning Workouts

Checking it off your list before the day starts (with a good attitude)

First of all, checking off a sweat first thing in the morning means you get it over with before your day even starts. That means you’ll begin your day with a better attitude. Thanks, endorphins! Also, knowing that your workout is done is a huge accomplishment. You can carry this “token” with you all day long, especially knowing most people won’t accomplish this goal all day). What an ego boost!

Furthermore, you won’t worry about getting in a (sometimes half-hearted) gym session later that day. This can be a huge relief, leaving more time for family games, dinner, or plain relaxing.

Fewer distractions

When you first pop up, you’re not worried about your to-do list and are less likely to receive phone calls, emails, and texts. Without people’ bugging’ you, you’re more likely to follow through with your fitness routine.

And they say that the early bird catches the worm, which is true. Especially if you’re a little birdy looking for a “delicious reward.” Avoid distractions while on the hunt for your reward with an AM workout.

Beat the (Texas) heat

Summers can be brutal here, even late into fall. If you avoid working out in the hottest part of the day, it will make you feel more comfortable. Outdoor activities, like jogging the green belt with your favorite four-legged friend, should be done early to beat the Texas heat. And you’ll still get some healthy vitamin D.

Make healthier food choices

An early morning sweat session could mean making healthier food choices throughout the day.

In a study mentioned in Nature.com, 2,680 college students crushed a 15-week exercise program where each week involved three 30-minute cardio sessions. Students weren’t asked to make changes to their diet. Those who stuck with the plan made better choices, like eating fewer fried foods and red meat. Could it be your body telling you it would like healthier food and nutritional support?

Alert! Alert! Become more alert

Match your body’s natural hormone fluctuations by working out early. Cortisol, known as the stress hormone, keeps the body awake and alert! When the body is stressed (in a good way), it increases the heart rate and energy. Typically, cortisol gets the body pumping in the morning and drops off in the evening.

 

Your body might be more primed to exercise around this time should you have a healthy circadian rhythm. When the heart becomes alert, the heart rate will speed up to help get blood flowing to essential organs of the body for proper functioning.

Bonus tip: A happy, healthy heart tends to beat around 60 to 100 times per minute in adults when resting. However, this number will increase due to exercise. To measure your exercise intensity, you can calculate your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220. For example, if you’re 38 years old, subtract 38 from 220 to get a maximum heart rate of 182. This is the number your heart should be beating during exercise.

Better focus to get things done

No matter when you do it, getting physical stimulates the mind and increases focus. If you find it difficult to stay on task during the day, grabbing a morning workout could be your all-natural cup of coffee. Beyond that, morning exercise improves focus and mental abilities all day long. Your mind will be sharp and ready to tackle whatever comes to hand.

Better mood

Physical activity melts stress away! Why is that? When you exercise, the brain rewards you with “feel good” neurotransmitters known as endorphins. For example, some people experience less anxiety, elevated mood, and sometimes a feeling of euphoria after a good workout. This is the concept behind a runner’s high. This “high” comes with any type of exercise program that pushes you to your body’s best abilities during a workout, even yoga.

Support weight loss

As soon as you wake up, your stomach is starving for nutrients. However, if you can wait to eat, it might help you achieve your weight loss goals.

Working out first thing in the morning helps the body tap into its fat reserves for fuel instead of burning off your slack or last meal. Most people refer to aerobic activity (or any activity to get your heart pumping) on an empty stomach is known as fasted cardio. This program is especially appealing to those seeking weight loss if the main goal of the routine is to burn more fat.

Please, don’t forget to drink plenty of water!

Appetite control

As a general concept, exercise helps regulate your appetite by reducing the hunger hormone known as ghrelin. It may increase other hormones, like peptide YY and glucagon-like peptide-1 to assist in appetite control as well. However, if you work out in the morning it’s a possibility that it may control your appetite even further.

Increased overall activity

Pubmed suggests early morning workouts may inspire more movement throughout the day. Participants who chose a 45-minute morning walk showed an increase in physical activity over the next 24 hours. If you are trying to live life more active all day, morning exercise may be the key!

More Sleep

A good night’s rest may be achievable via an early morning workout. In this study by Appalachian State University, adults got a better night of sleep after they exercised at 7 a.m. Participants spent more time in deep sleep and experienced fewer nighttime awakenings. These sleep-related perks may be due to light exposure early in the day, increasing melatonin levels at night.

The “Right” Place for You

From improved sleep to an overall increase in activity, exercising has its benefits! Early exercise can help start your day with more energy, focus, and boost your mood. Plus, after a morning workout, you’re more likely to stay active and eat healthier all day long.

AM workouts do have a lot of perks, but note there isn’t a “right” time to exercise. Choose a time that you can commit to for the long run. Some of our favorite Williamson County workout spots can be found in our directory. Please feel free to stop by.

Exercise Is a Very Important Habit Everyone Should Cultivate

Healthy Habits Healthy Kids

Healthy children who participate in exercise and physical activities grow into habitually healthy adults

Teaching your children about exercise is vital to their cognitive, social, and emotional development. In this blog, learn how to overcome the challenges necessary (and vital) to build and raise habitually healthy adults.

Raise your child with good habits by being a better role model. Your checklist to raising a habitually healthy child might already include reading together, serving healthy foods, and offering plenty of hugs. However, have you thought about incorporating exercise? When physical activity becomes an everyday event, your kiddo will understand the importance and continue to grow in their practice. Eventually, a habitually healthy child will grow into a habitually healthy adult.

Why Exercise Is Important for Kids to Learn

Kids live to move – absolutely! However, exercise is so much more than getting ‘physically fit.’ Exercise helps their cognitive, social, and emotional development. It keeps their brains sharp, enhancing their ability to learn and improvement of their social skills. Think of exercise as an improvement for the ‘whole self‘ – mind, body, and spirit.

Exercise boosts blood flow all over the body, including the brain. As a result, brain cells get better at connecting. Think: the more you do something, the better you get at it.

What are the results?

  • Better thinking skills. Researchers say regular exercise improves memory thinking skills. You may even see immediate results. There’s a reason why people ‘go for a run’ to clearer their heads. One study says children scored higher on math and reading comprehension on a test after exercising for 20 minutes.
  • Higher confidence. Studies show that athletes are more confident. In turn, confidence may improve academic performance. Physically active children tend to get higher grades. There’re many factors that go into better grades, but we think better confidence due to exercise is strongly connected!
  • Mood boost. Happier kids are exercising daily. Regular physical activity releases brain chemicals that are natural stress fighters. It seems like any exercise will help. Physically active kids have a better understanding of managing their moods.
  • Solid sleep. Exercise tends to be hard work. There is a reason parents want kids to ‘go out and play’ after dinner. It’s to burn off excess energy for a solid night of sleep (and so parents don’t have to fight for ‘quiet time’ for themselves).

How to Get The Family Moving

It’s best to establish good habits early. As a result, this helps children enjoy exercise rather than avoiding it. In addition, an early start of learning these habits means reaping the benefits ahead of schedule. However, if parents are not making fitness a priority in their own lives, how do they expect their children to develop good habits? Your little kickin’ kangaroo may quickly become a comfy couch potato.

“Children are great imitators. So, give them something great to imitate.” – unknown


 

Set a good example

Grown-ups do not have to be perfect role models. However, a good example will go a long way! Kids pay attention (even when they don’t hear you say to pick up after themselves). So, make sure you set the standards as to liking and enjoying exercise. Also, it is up to the parent to promote the practice to their kids. They need time, space, and opportunity to play. It might not sound very easy, but it doesn’t have to be. Think: what exercise do you like? Your child might like it, too.

Helpful tips for challenges you may face

Finding time. If you find that your living situation or environment’s climate hinders your child’s opportunity to play, be more creative about finding space. And don’t fret, we’re all challenged by time – who can fit in everything they need into one day? That’s why fitness is best as a habit. Everyone finds time to brush their teeth and comb their hair; we need to find time to fit fitness into our daily schedule. Take a hard look at your schedules.

Let the Kids Be Kids – Safe & Locally. Parents may worry about free play in the neighborhood. The Playful Child makes playtime fun AND safe. In this facility, you will find a mission to nurture the mind and body. They cultivate the healing value of unstructured play within our community by promoting a sustainable model based on play. Their facility promotes less screen time and more creativity through messy and outdoor recreation. It’s a place where people are building connections through face-to-face communication.

Play together and apart. Demonstrate that you think the play is essential by joining in on games. Perhaps help make a ‘cooking game show’ in the kitchen or set up a fort in the living room. You will get a chance to ‘move and groove’ while giving them a playmate they trust. But kids should be playing independently as well. They will learn so much when they play alone, such as creative self-expression, problem-solving, and conflict resolution.

Schedule an ‘academic play date.’ If your child struggles in a subject at school, do a little research on converting that activity into a ‘playful game.’ If your child lacks math skills, consider counting frogs by the pond; if your child struggles reading, head to a bookstore or library. In most cases, they can pick out the book and read it on the spot.

Involve household activities. Dishes are a drag…until it’s a game! Involving household activities, like chores, makes a great way to fit in physical activities. Wait, the dishes? How? Pump up the tunes and dance in between scrubs. Anything can be turned into a jam session quite easily.

Replace screen time with ‘SCREAM’ time. If you feel the tension building in the home or your child’s life, tell them you are taking a ‘SCREAM’ time break. Take your child to a secluded area and start hollering. Run to the fence and back. Shake it out. Scream and shout. Dance about! Maybe try POSITIVE affirmations like, “I AM GOOD AT HELPING MY MOM!” or “I AM ENOUGH!” It feels good to scream. It feels good to scream positively and release negative energy. DISCLAIMER: Please be aware of neighbors thinking something is wrong. It’s vital to shout in a safe area, so nobody thinks you are injured or in trouble. Exercise on vacation. Training should not stop on vacation. It’s a habit, remember? Include physical family activities, like camping, kayaking, and snorkeling. Don’t forget to tell your child that these activities “count” as your day’s exercise. Even better, ask your child what kind of training they would like to do on vacation. Perhaps offer several options (within your budget).

Conclusion

Get your child into a good routine to help build cognitive, social, and emotional development. The sooner, the better! Introduce your child to new activities that might spark their interests. Attend a yoga class or send them to a martial arts course. In the long run, the investment is worth it. When you incorporate exercise into your child’s life, you are establishing healthy habitual habits to succeed in their future.