Health Benefits of Zone 2 Cardio

Steady state cardio or aerobic exercise gets passed up for HIIT (high intensity interval training) and other methods of cardio that seem to deliver more bang for their buck. However, there are some very good reasons to keep regular cardio in your routine. In today’s newsletter, we’ll take a look at what Zone 2 cardio is, how to do it and the most important health benefits that are unique to this form of exercise.

What is Zone 2 Cardio?

Zone 2 cardio is aerobic exercise of any kind that you can do for a long period of time because it’s low intensity and “easy”. You keep your heart rate steadily at 60-70% of your maximum (calculate yours here).

How Do You Do Zone 2 Cardio?

Walking, dancing, swimming, rowing, cycling, elliptical, and more can all be done at an easy pace that keeps your heart rate in Zone 2. Essentially, you are moving steadily for 20-60 minutes and it should feel easy and do-able. An easy way to know that you are not exercising too intensely is the “talk test” (being able to speak full sentences without taking a break).
 

Health Benefits of Zone 2 Cardio

As I mentioned, higher intensity workouts have been very popular for quite awhile, but fitness and health experts are re-embracing lower intensity exercise. Here are some of the key health benefits:

  • Increased mitochondia (more power and energy to your cells)
  • Improved circulation (your body builds more capillaries, tiny blood vessels)
  • Improved oxygen capacity and aerobic base (more blood vessels allows for more oxygen delivery)
  • Less fatiguing–Zone 2 cardio is great for those who are currently at a lower fitness level or energy level because it is much more accessible than “all out” interval training; (it also offers benefits for elite athletes)
  • Improves insulin sensitivity (your body’s ability to effectively use insulin properly to prevent high blood sugar levels–this is good for your entire body and terrific for maintaining a healthy weight)
  • Improves heart strength (heart chambers can hold more blood, pump blood more efficiently)
  • Improves oxygen capacity and longevity–in a large study of over 120,000 participants, those that regular participate in Zone 2 cardio had better V02 max (maximum amount of oxygen your body can use at once and is an indicator of how fit you are) and greater life expectancy

It is recommended by the CDC to do 150 minutes of Zone 2 cardio each week which is just over 20 mins/day. Pick activities that you enjoy doing and listen to your body. If you have any concerns, contact your health professional. 

It is my passion to work with people like you whose health symptoms are getting in the way of you living life fully and with a sense of freedom in your body. I can help you to regain your health so you can feel great and free to enjoy life fully. 

If you’re ready to discover where your best health has been hiding, I’d love to connect with you!

Apply for a complimentary Unstoppable Health Discovery Session here (subject to availability).

Until next time, I’m wishing you unstoppable health!
~Rebecca

Secret Ingredient for Consistent Health Habits

How would you rate your health habits on a scale of 1-10, ten being very strong/consistent and 1 being very inconsistent?
This tends to be the time of year that I see a lot people struggle to be consistent with their healthy habits: holidays, holiday parties, weather changes and comfort eating…but I’m going to let you in on a little secret…
You can relax into your great self-care habits, be consistent and consistently feel good AND enjoy your life. There’s a secret ingredient that makes all the difference: internal boundaries.

I have read the book Boundary Boss by Dr. Terri Cole several times. It’s fantastic. And she makes a distinction between what most of us think of as boundaries (outer boundaries, boundaries with other people) and internal boundaries.

Internal Boundaries vs External Boundaries

The boundaries that most of us think about are external boundaries–boundaries that “tell people how you will and won’t interact with them.” But your internal boundaries relate to how you interact withYOURSELF.
When you have healthy internal boundaries, you consistently follow through on what you say you’re going to do. You keep your word to yourself. You can trust that you’ll follow through with your commitments.
In Boundary Boss, Dr. Cole describes how when a person has damaged internal boundaries and they make a promise to themselves in a moment of their own “personal betterment”, they struggle with self-abandonment (not following through on their word to themselves, choosing instant gratification instead).
This type of relationship with internal boundaries creates a breakdown in our ability to trust ourselves or feel any sense of peace that we will consistently choose things for our highest good. Instead, we are teaching ourselves the opposite: when things get hard, I’m going to bail on you! Don’t depend on me!  From this vantage point, there is no possibility of creating consistent habits. If you want to relax into great self-care habits and consistently feel good, then strengthening your internal boundaries is essential.
 

3 Tips For Strengthening Your Internal Boundaries

This is an area I work on as part of my “creating an unstoppable health mindset” with clients. So many people come to me for help with their nutrition or lifestyle. However, knowing how much protein to eat or how to reduce health risks is such a small part of what’s really important to create health improvements. In order to make any goal stick, there must be consistency. In order for there to be consistency, there must be clarity about what to do and WHY to do it. It’s the WHY that keeps you focused so you can actually create results.
But the secret ingredient is strong internal boundaries. Without strong internal boundaries, you will always be able to find excuses, be indecisive, and fail to follow through on your plan/goal. It doesn’t matter how amazing a plan or goal is if you aren’t going to follow through on it! Strong internal boundaries are the key.
So, 3 tips for strengthening your internal boundaries are:

  1. Create a fresh start where you decide to keep your word to yourself. This will likely lead to changes in what you commit to.
  2. Be discerning in what you say you’ll do. In other words, if you have no intention of bailing or making excuses but instead are committed to keeping your word to yourself, say yes to those things and only those things. Say yes to the things that align with what you value and truly desire for yourself and your wellbeing.
  3. Give yourself plenty of encouragement. Celebrate this new path you are creating by acknowledging when you keep your word to yourself. And remember that strengthening anything takes time, so be kind to yourself if you struggle or slip up. Do your best to surround yourself with people who will support you along the way (friends, family, professionals).

Strengthening your internal boundaries is one of the most important things you’ll ever do. It can provide you with a deep sense of peace and safety.
I hope that this information empowers you towards living your best life.

It is my passion to work with people like you whose health symptoms are getting in the way of you living life fully and with a sense of freedom in your body. I can help you to regain your health so you can feel great and free to enjoy life fully. 

If you’re ready to discover where your best health has been hiding, I’d love to connect with you!

Apply for a complimentary Unstoppable Health Discovery Session. http://bit.ly/schedulinghealth (subject to availability).

Until next time, I’m wishing you unstoppable health!
~Rebecca

Unlocking High Blood Pressure

Did you know that there is a strong connection between your blood sugar and your blood pressure?
A common approach to treating high blood pressure (newly defined ranges for healthy blood pressure are 140/90 or below for those under age 60 and less than 150/90 for those over 60) is to lower salt intake or take medication. I work with many clients who want to have healthier blood pressure ranges who are already doing both…and sometimes they help, but as some of you may already know, it can be a very mixed bag.
Today I’d like to share some lesser discussed but incredibly effective strategies to help you build your health and balance your blood pressure. As always, I advise you to discuss with your practitioner first before implementing new strategies.

Insulin and Blood Pressure

First, I want to zoom right in on something that can raise blood pressure that isn’t discussed in the mainstream: blood sugar balance.
Keeping blood sugar levels consistently in the 80-89 mg/dL range is associated with health benefits including lower risk of heart disease (lower triglycerides, fewer small LDL particles, improved HDL), diabetes, less belly fat, normal blood pressure ranges, and more. To learn more about blood sugar and how to test yours, click here.
Basically, when we eat, we convert some of what we eat into glucose or blood sugar. Depending on what we eat, we can create very high amounts of glucose. The body needs to release the hormone insulin to use the glucose we create from food. When we release high amounts of insulin (because blood sugar was high), one of the effects is to stimulate the sympathetic nervous system (our fight-flight response) AND promote sodium retention, both which drive up blood pressure. Oh and insulin also interferes with your body’s production of nitric oxide, which expands your blood vessels to lower blood pressure. 
This is an extremely simplified explanation of the connection. There are MANY more aspects of our health that are effected by these hormonal interactions and you can read more about that here if you desire. The big takeaway is that what you eat can impact your blood pressure and keep it high even if you are on medication.

5 Diet & Lifestyle Tips to Lower Blood Pressure Naturally

I encourage you to explore these strategies to create health…which includes healthier blood pressure.

  1. Choosing quality carbs and lowering overall carb intake. I covered this well in this blog post. You can also check out some of the research here.
  2. Managing stress is also essential to balancing blood pressure since the primary stress hormone cortisol drives insulin levels up. Emotional self-regulation techniques like HeartMath are extremely effective. So is meditation, yoga, breathing techniques, movement, journaling, therapy and more.
  3. Get some sunshine. It boosts nitric oxide production and lowers blood pressure.
  4. Increase potassium intake and stay hydrated. Fresh veggies and fruits are good sources of potassium. Also consider potassium salt.
  5. Exercise. Here’s why plus a guide.

I hope that this information empowers you towards the diet and lifestyle changes that can add years (and quality) to your life.

It is my passion to work with people like you whose health symptoms are getting in the way of you living life fully and with a sense of freedom in your body. I can help you to regain your health so you can feel great and free to enjoy life fully. 

If you’re ready to discover where your best health has been hiding, I’d love to connect with you!

Apply for a complimentary Unstoppable Health Discovery Session. http://bit.ly/schedulinghealth (subject to availability).

Until next time, I’m wishing you unstoppable health!
~Rebecca