Six Health Trends to Shake Off Those Winter Blues

Looking for a new workout, an energy boost or a clear mind? Try these new trends in healthy living and jump start the rush to summer.

March 1, 2018

It’s been a long winter. Cold weather. Rainy days. Piles of homework. No motivation. No energy. But with Spring Break, eyes turn toward summer. How do you shake those winter blues and get the mind and body in shape? New trends in healthy living offer good alternatives for doing just that. Some of these trends are brand new and others offer a fresh look at an old standby.

Whether it’s trying out a “superfood” or downloading a new fitness app, these alternatives may be just what you need to get active, eat right, clear the mind and finish the year strong.

Healing Mind and Body the Natural Way

Natural extracts linked to treating ailments hit the mainstream. Mist them, soak in them, take them by mouth or apply them to the skin. Essential oils are more than your grandmother's secret remedy.

Lavender for sleeping, coconut for moisturizing, peppermint for fevers, and tea tree oils to heal cuts. Many people trust organic ingredients passed down from generation to generation as all-natural remedies for common ailments.

Called “essential oils,” these organic and natural oils can be used for medicinal and health purposes. They are extracted from plant materials and have been used for thousands of years in various cultures as a natural medicine.

Used for aromatherapy, in household cleaning products, for personal beauty care, and for natural medicine treatments, essential oils all hold different purposes. Some relieve headaches, reduce coughs, soothe bug bites, strengthen nails, whiten teeth and even fight acne.

“There’s not a lot of science behind essential oils, but if a person feels relief using them, and it doesn’t hurt them, then, ‘Why not?’” said School Nurse Mrs. Lori Liles. She said, “Some, such as peppermint and lavender, are ancient remedies and do have science behind them.”

One of the most popular oils used is Bergamot, a citrus-scented oil extracted from a Citrus Bergamia tree, a native of Southeast Asia. It is used in perfumes and colognes, and can be used to reduce stress, depression, anxiety, anorexia and many skin infections.

Eucalyptus is another popular essential oil that comes from the tree of Eucalyptus plant, which is native to Australia. It fights against respiratory diseases, as well as treats migraines, muscle aches and fevers.

Sophomore Riley Wiest said, “I got a Sleep Mist as a gift from Bath and Body Works that I sometimes use. It has eucalyptus oil that is supposed to help you sleep better.”

Lemon is a widely appreciated oil for its clean smell and help with improving concentration, aiding digestion, and easing symptoms of acne. It has many different qualities that help to improve a person internally and externally.

Tea Tree Oil is a common essential oil used for aromatherapy. It is known to fight infection and boost the immune system. It can be found in shampoos, lotions and mouthwash because of its healing properties.

Lush: Fresh Handmade Cosmetics is well-known for its use of essential oils in organic bath bombs, shower gel and face masks. They mainly use rose oil, tea tree oil and lavender oil. All of Lush’s cosmetics are fresh, 100 percent vegetarian and handmade. For example, their Razzle Dazzle bath oil is a blend of Persian lime oil, bergamot oil and violet leaf absolute, as well as organic shea butter, cocoa butter and jojoba oil.

Sophomore Noelle Piatas said “I love to use bath bombs from Lush. The essential oils make it awesome.”

Some may have sensitivities to essential oils. According to livestrong.com, side effects may include: allergic reaction, sensitivity to light causing sunburn, headaches, lightheadedness and nausea. These are typically resolved by discontinuing use.

Tired of boot camp, barre and CrossFit?

Orangetheory brings high energy workouts to a sleek, stylish setting. Cardio and weights combine to burn an average of 500 calories in a 60 minute class.

Called “the best one-hour workout in the country” by “The Today Show” and the New York Times, Orangetheory sets themselves apart from other workouts with their high intensity, high results format. Sixty-minute classes take participants through treadmill, rower and floor work with each class different than the one before. With an average burn rate of 500 or more calories per class, Orangetheory Fitness seems to be effective.

“My sister and I have been going to Orangetheory for a while. I like that it’s something we get to do together and stay in shape at the same time. I’d definitely recommend it to anybody looking to stay fit while avoiding boring exercises,” said Sophomore Jenna Gile.

“I’m fairly new to Orangetheory, but I would recommend it to anyone looking for an upbeat, engaging exercise routine. The flexible class schedules allow it to fit within my busy schedule, and the workouts change every time, so it never gets old,” said Senior McKinley Halliwell.

The workout is individualized but done in a group setting. A coach for each workout checks on individuals offering instruction and motivation. This results in the energy of a group workout coupled with the attention and assistance of a personal coach.

Class members wear an individual heart rate monitor while working out that keeps record of weight, age, etc. During the class, each participant’s current heart rate is projected in a particular color on monitors around the room. Each color represents one of the five heart rate zones, displayed on the screens as gray, blue, green, orange and red. The goal is to stay in the orange or red zones for at least 12 minutes of the class which translates to the user reaching 84 percent or more of their maximum heart rate for that length of time.

Along with the heart rate and color zone, the monitor shows calories burned and minutes spent in the orange or red zone for each user. Seeing how others are doing inspires members to strive harder and reach the orange zone. Each minute spent in the orange or red zone gains the user a splat point. If a user gains 12 splat points, the body launches into the after-burn effect, burning extra calories for 24-36 hours after the workout concludes.

This after-burn effect comes from research on what’s known as Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption, or EPOC. Studies at the University of New Mexico recommend that, “When working with clients who want to maximize energy expenditure through EPOC, focus on developing their training status so they can perform higher intensity exercise for periods of 30 minutes or more. In addition, regularly incorporate interval training workouts, as this type of training positively enhances EPOC.”

The Orangetheory Fitness design helps individuals all over the fitness spectrum, from professional athletes to beginners. The coaches provide additional options for the workouts, allowing users to safely perform movements that work around any physical issues. They encourage participants to push until an uncomfortable feeling hits, and then maintain that pace, weight or speed.

Their studios provide top-of-the-line equipment and lively music in addition to men’s and women’s restrooms and showers for those going straight to school, work or the like. The equipment is cleaned numerous times throughout the classes, as well as after a class has come to a close.

Classes are often full so plan ahead and arrive early. Also, plan to focus so the music doesn’t interfere with instructions from the leader.

There are locations in Plano, Frisco and Castle Hills, and the first class is free with online registration.

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