Put the (fun)ction back in fitness
If you’ve ever had the misfortune of pulling a back muscle while lifting heavy groceries, then you’ll know how suddenly injuries can occur. Enter functional fitness, a form of exercise that trains your muscles to work in tandem, rather than isolating specific muscle groups, mimicking everyday movement.
Although functional fitness can be done in a gym, there are a number of accessible, multi-joint exercises that don’t require any special equipment, including squats, push-ups, lunges, and jumping jacks.
A study of 24 seniors participating in a four-week functional fitness regimen found significant improvements in lower-body strength, upper-body strength, cardiovascular endurance, balance, and shoulder flexibility.
Another functional fitness perk? Giving your muscles some well-deserved TLC at any age will help you avoid (preventable) injuries that could stop you from doing what you really love.
Don’t forget to dry brush
You’ve brushed your hair and your teeth—but what about the rest of your body? Welcome to the world of dry brushing, a self-massage technique that has often been traced back to ancient Greek and Ayurvedic medicine.
True to its name, dry brushing is done on dry skin before you hop in the shower with the use of a natural stiff-bristled brush. Technique may vary but often brushing guides suggest using long strokes of the brush or circular motions moving toward the heart.
The benefits of dry brushing are numerous and include stimulating the lymphatic system, exfoliation, and increased circulation. Dry brushing is also beneficial to your skin, unclogging pores, eliminating dead skin cells and softening skin, and invigorating the nervous system. Cellulite removal is often touted as a benefit, but scientific evidence to support is still lacking.
One thing is for certain, spending a few minutes each day practicing self-care is never something you’ll regret!
What if there was a way to work with the elements when planning and maintaining a garden instead of against? This is the ethos behind regenerative gardening, a type of mindful, lower-impact gardening that naturally improves soil conditions and lowers (or eliminates) carbon emissions.
Although on a much smaller scale, regenerative gardening mimics regenerative agriculture, incorporating techniques like composting, cover crops, and crop rotation with the ultimate goal of creating a garden (or ecosystem) that will thrive on its own without excessive input from the gardener. This means respecting the Earth, its natural processes, and all those we share it with (including insects or “pests”).
If you’re interested in planning your own regenerative garden, there are a few ways to get started. Healthy soil is the most important component, so be sure to enrich the soil with cover crops, decrease soil exposure by planting succession crops, and avoid tilling as much as possible (tilling the soil can lead to decreased soil health and increased carbon emissions).
The botanical boom
Even though humans have been consuming botanicals for centuries (tea, anyone?), lately we’re seeing them in everything from food and beverage to cosmetics and skin care. But what are these naturally derived ingredients, really?
According to the National Institutes of Health, botanicals are plants or plant parts valued for their medicinal or therapeutic properties, flavors, and/or scents. Not only are they natural, they’re also convenient, abundant, and offer a wide variety of compounds that may have positive physical, psychological, and cosmetic effects.
So, what’s the catch? To date, there are no legal requirements to prove that botanicals in cosmetics live up to their claims. Promising though, is that existing research has shown that many botanicals—whether ginger for digestion or Vitis vinifera (grape) seed oil for anti-aging—do have the potential to offer health-boosting and cosmetic benefits. Coming up roses? We sure hope so!