Half Full Happiness

Pic for Blog- Half Full HappinessOkay you know the drill: there is a light at the end of the tunnel, positivity is power, the grass is greener, the glass is half full and all that jazz. I’m not here to be a motivational cassette tape in the form of a blog, because you’ve heard all of the clichés. Instead, I want to talk about the inevitable result of a positive mindset, and why we often subconsciously choose negativity.

In the midst of enduring a week of which at the time I could have been certain I was the most stressed person in the world, I received a text that made me sit up and think to myself, “Alena you dingus, it’s not the end of the world. Take a lap”. Even for someone who self-proclaims themselves to have optimism coming out of their ears, I sat there dumbfounded reading the text from one of my good friends in a group chat that simply said, “Guys, I decided I’m going to give up negativity.”

Not only did the concept of giving up negativity arrive via imessage at a perfect time, but it’s so wonderfully simple. Of course it’s easier said than done, but I’ve learned that the first step to minimizing negativity is to take the initiative to verbalize it. This was made clear to me when I wrapped up my appointment at UHCS for an untimely cold by being asked to participate in a small lifestyle questionnaire by the UHCS’s Health Educator. I learned a couple things about what simply verbalizing positive words can do.

  • Changing “I have to” to “I am going to” will make you more prone to fulfill a task, whether it be going to the gym, doing homework, cleaning, etc.
  • Eliminate your negative self-fulfilled prophesies. Above I mentioned using “I am going to” obviously doesn’t apply to negative outcomes. Saying “I am going to fail this exam” gives you a mindset that the fate of your exam is a lost cause and putting any extra effort in is useless.

“I’m not naïve and not negative I’ve come to the realization that people choose to verbalize their stress in order to portray the hard work they are putting in. The truth is, people who are positive are not floating through life. Rather, they are choosing the healthier route, which allows them to accomplish more. Everyone has stress in some shape or form, so don’t predict or compare other people’s work load based on how much they complain. That is just silly. Stop that.

“Don’t be a Negative Nancy” You may have heard this phrase before.  It may have been directed at you, or maybe you’ve even used it yourself. The thing about being a negative Nancy or a pessimistic Patty is that you’re not purposely trying to be the Eeyore amongst all of the Winnie the Poohs. Like I mentioned above, complaining is a natural way for us to make our hard work recognized. However, although venting is completely healthy, comparing your work load to other people’s work load is a parasitic relationship. You’re killing their vibe, man.

Simply setting yourself up for success through words and expressing what you can and will accomplish is an initiative that we naturally pass up. As the end of the semester is right around the corner and final exams are quicly approaching, I encourage you to use the infamous exam week as an experiment. Pitch positive self-fulfilling prophecies to your friends while cramming for an exam, put it on social media, and overall carry that healthy mindset with you and examine the outcome. Lastly, it is important to not only surround ourselves with positive people, but also to be that positive person. So keep your chin up and head high, because the glass can be half full if you want it to be.

“It’s a good day to have a good one.”

-Alena Purpero

Sweat, Baby Sweat

Pic for Blog- Sweat, Baby Sweat

Now that the weather is changing, our bodies begin to embrace the warm weather. Although, some people’s bodies embrace it more than others with a little thing called sweat. Personally, I am a hot box. I am always warm, uncomfortable, and 99% of the time I am sweating. My friends always laugh at me because my closet consists of every style of shirt you could imagine, in one color…. black. I am sure some of you can relate, sweat doesn’t show when you wear black!

Sweating was something that I always use to be embarrassed of. I purposely never use to raise my hand in class, wore tanks in the middle of winter, and even tried some of those deodorants that would help you “not” sweat. I forked over the money and bought a dose and thought it was great, until it was 2am and my armpits were on fire and nothing other than sleeping with cold washcloths in my armpits helped soothe the pain. So instead of continuing to torture myself, I decided to embrace it. Everyone sweats, so I decided to spread the word. Here is information, facts, and reasons why sweating is perfectly normal and nothing to be embarrassed of.

What is a pore? A pore is a small opening on the skin where sweat is released. We have millions of pores all over our body; even in areas we wouldn’t think we would. This is why we sweat in all areas of our body, not just under our arms. Pores can become clogged with dirt if you have poor hygiene, which can cause infections. Looking for another reason to take 2 showers a day? There it is! (What is a Sweat Pore?)

What is the purpose? When our body sweats, it means that it is heating up. By releasing sweat through your pores, the body is cooling down. The reason that some people’s sweat stinks is because it mixes with bacteria in the air.  After awhile, it creates that pungent body odor the kid next to you in the gym has (because you never smell, right?). You also might notice that your cheeks become rosy red whenever you start to perspire. This is because when sweat is moving towards the surface of the skin, blood is able to move closer to the skin, which is where the red appearance comes from (Health Benefits of Perspiration).

So after understanding the science of why it is good to sweat, now do you realize that it is a positive thing? Everyone has different reasons for sweating, whether it is exercise, stress, embarrassment, excitement, etc.

Here are some other great facts about sweating:

  • Sweating helps cleanse the body of toxins.
  • Yellow underarm stains are caused when proteins and fatty acids leave the body in your apocrine glands, which makes thick and milkier sweat.
  • Men sweat 40% more than women (except me!)
  • Cows sweat from their noses.
  • Hippos have red sweat.
  • During intense exercise in the heat, athletes have the ability to sweat off 2-6% of their body weight (it’s called water weight).
  • One of the most important: You don’t need to sweat in order to lose weight! (Raising your heart rate helps you lose weight and sometimes people just don’t ever sweat when they raise their heart rate!)

Sweat is a great thing, and if we all start to embrace it and not be embarrassed, life will be MUCH easier. So the next time you see someone with large dark circles under their armpits, don’t laugh at them. Walk over to that individual and give them a HUGE high-five because sweating is normal and I feel bad for those that don’t have water fountain underarm pores like me! (Maybe not)

“Always remember that it doesn’t matter how slow you go, as long as you keep on going.”

~Kenzi Weidman

Sources: What is a Sweat Pore?, Health Benefits of Perspiration, Cool Facts on Sweat, Sweats Facts

From Jessica to Daisy (Dukes of Hazzard Workout)

Pic for Blog- Dukes of Hazzard

The phrase ‘hard work pays off’ has to be one of the most spot on phrases when it comes to the fitness world. Working hard, eating right and getting enough sleep every day does the body wonders. Go ahead and listen to all of the success stories around the world, but the one that can truly put the phrase into perspective is Jessica Simpson in The Dukes of Hazzard. Now we may not all have the motivation of your body being shown on 50-ft Cinema movie screens around the world, but it is a prime example of how with the correct mindset, anything is possible.

Jessica Simpson spent weeks and weeks in the gym working hard and eating right for the role. “When I found out I got the role, I went straight to the gym,” says Jessica. Jessica also had the luxury of a personal trainer working with her every single day. She went on a workout regimen from her trainer, Mike Alexander, which consisted of squats, running, and other weight-resistance exercises to overall lean Jessica out and tone her up. She worked out for nearly two hours every single day to get in the best shape of her adult life.

She strayed away from carb-loaded foods like bread and her favorite sweet, banana pudding. Her trainer called the diet she went on a ‘don’t eat crap diet’ which pretty much was a lower carb, higher protein diet consisting of a lot of grilled chicken, fish and fresh, green vegetables. When Jessica cheated in her diet she found herself immediately resenting that she did and made herself work twice as hard the next day in the gym and added new exercises, extra sets, or extra running. “I watched my diet and was in the gym to walk proud,” she says. “My body is definitely an accomplishment.”

The trainer she had practically lived with her during the close to three months she trained for her part in the movie. He ate with her during ever meal she ate, told her what was okay to order, and told her what to stay away from. He also released the exercises on a website I found, including why he had her do each exercise.

Getting Simpson into Daisy Duke shape “was never about fat loss,” says her trainer Michael Alexander. “She never once stepped on a scale. It was about taking on a different shape.” Simpson would start her 2-hour sessions with a 5-minute jogging warm-up, then weight-resistance exercises and 30 minutes “booking it” on the treadmill, says Alexander. He describes key moves for her legs, rear and upper body:

• BODY-WEIGHT SQUATS: Stand with hands clasped in front of you. Do 25 reps for 2 or 3 sets. These will firm your glutes, hamstrings and quads.

• FORWARD LUNGES: Step forward and back, alternating feet, to tone your quads and glutes. Do 8 to 10 reps for 2 to 3 sets.

• REVERSE LUNGES: For a glutes and hamstrings workout, step back off a short box or step 14 times on each leg. Repeat 2 or 3 times.

• TRAVELING LUNGES: Walk across a room doing lunges with a straight back leg. (You should be leaning forward slightly so your head is in line with your back leg.) This works out every muscle from your waist down.

• PRONE-KNEELING LEG EXTENSION: Get on your hands and knees and have your spine straight, hands below the shoulders and knees below the hips. Bring one leg up, creating a straight line from head to toe (do not point toe). Alternate legs for 10 reps for 3 sets for a firm behind.

• BICEP CURLS FROM A LUNGE POSITION: Stand in a lunge position so that your back leg is on the ball of your foot. Holding dumbbells in each hand, do 18 bicep curls for 3 sets. This position also works out your abs.

• LATERAL RAISE FROM A LUNGE POSITION: Immediately after the bicep curls, switch legs in the lunge position and raise your arms straight out to either side while holding dumbbells. Do 18 reps for 3 sets. This tones your deltoids.

When people see movies like The Dukes of Hazzard, they see movie stars like Jessica Simpson and see how perfect she looks on and off screen during this time. It was literally her job to look as good as she possibly could for the time that she was recorded. She put in hours on top of hours with a personal trainer/nutritionist following her every move to make sure she was going to be able to look the way she wanted, and would punish herself for ever mistake she would make with eating or drinking. Once the movie was over, she took a break from working out too because of how hard she worked herself! Remember this when you try and compare yourself to someone like her or any movie star you see. You can always put in the work, but you just have to remember what they went through as well. Let them be your motivation and remember…

Yesterday you said tomorrow

-Eric Hess

Have Your Ice Cream, and Your Diet Too

Pic for Blog- Have Your Ice Cream, and Your Diet TooDo you love ice cream? Do you spend your time daydreaming about its creamy texture and rich flavor? Is your mouth currently watering thinking about that very first bite of deliciousness? Even in the coldest of winter months will you drive to the store to buy some ice cream, because you just can’t resist? If this sounds like you, listen up; there may just be hope for us ice cream lovers to have our ice cream…and our diet too.

The number one down fall to loving ice cream, besides being potentially dairy sensitive, is that it may seem hard to eat it without ruining your diet. Well if you simply can’t go on without ice cream in your life (me), you may find these tips helpful for at least managing your love.

First, lets start off with the obvious, portion control. Going to the grocery store and buying a gallon of ice cream may seem like a fantastic idea, but it’s a diet killer. Ideally you’d bring that bad boy home and eat a small bowl then put it in the freezer, but we all know seconds are only a spoonful away. Save yourself from the temptation and pass on the large buckets. Buying a pint size of ice cream isn’t a whole lot better. Although it may seem tiny, it can actually pack 4 servings of ice cream into that container. Eating a pint of ice cream in one sitting isn’t that hard to do either, so your best option is going to an ice cream place or restaurant and buying a single scoop. Not only will this allow you to have a proper portion of ice cream, but also once you leave the store half the temptation leaves with you. Out of site, out of mind.

My next tip is being wise about your toppings. If you find yourself in a situation where a bowl of ice cream is the only option, try adding some fruit to that bowl and give your body some vitamins! Blueberries are a super fruit and can offer tons of health benefits. For more info on that check out this article. If you’re not into eating fruit with your ice cream, sprinkle some dark chocolate shavings for a sweet taste and extra boost of antioxidants.

Next up, be aware of what you are putting into your body. Some store bought ice creams are loaded with tons of ingredients that you may not even be able to pronounce. Try sticking with the ice creams that have simple ingredients like milk, eggs, and sugar. Hagen Das 5 would be a great example of this, they offer ice creams made up of five ingredients found in the typical fridge. The more aware you are with what you are putting in your body, the better.

My last tip is to try an alternative. I know this kind of defeats the purpose of eating real ice cream but hear me out! Last year I bought a Yonana maker, and absolutely love it! It makes ice cream out of frozen bananas. You can add other ingredients such as chocolate or frozen fruits, but all you truly need are frozen bananas. It tastes slightly different than real ice cream, but if you’re serious about sticking to your diet, this option will trick that sweet craving into thinking you’re eating sweets! For more info on where to purchase a Yonana maker click here!

I hope this helped you realize there may be hope for us ice cream lovers after all!

Stay Healthy. Stay Strong.

Mary Marren

Let’s Talk Choc!

Pic for Blog- Let's Talk ChocIt’s the 16th hour of Day 26. 14 Days remaining. Life lacks meaning and joy and is instead a cold harsh expedition. This is the log of my days without the one thing that I lose all willpower when it comes to its magnificent and monumental presence. This is a log of my days without…chocolate.

Wait! Before you double check the website url, this is still a fitness blog site. You did not accidentally click a journal of a food addict. This is me admitting to you that as someone who tries to maintain a healthy diet, has its faults when it comes to sweets, especially chocolate. I chose to give up chocolate until Easter and let me tell you it’s been a long 26 days so far. With that being said, I am going to use this experience to talk about chocolate and how to curb chocolate cravings by making tasty and healthy alternatives!

  • Cocoa nibs: Cocoa nibs are also referred to as “nature’s chocolate chips”. They are peeled and crumbled from whole cocoa beans and obtain a rich and yet pure chocolate flavor. They have plenty of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fiber. If you want to make a clean desert or just want to satisfy your sweet tooth try sprinkling these on yogurt, mix them with trail mix, or just eat them out of the bag like I do!
  • Carob: This alternative contrasts from regular processed and sugary chocolate and has less chemicals. The cocoa bean naturally has a bitter flavor that is deluded with sugar, more so for milk chocolate than for dark chocolate. In addition to all of the sugar added to chocolate is complimented with oils, milk or cream. All of these added ingredients result in the product being hard to digest. Carob is a favorable alternative because it originally does not have a bitter flavor or grainy texture so it does not need sweetening or smoothers (oils and milk products).
  • Date Bars: Dates are naturally sweet and rich tasting, therefore they pair with the bitter taste of raw cocoa nicely. This recipe for Chocolate-Coffee Date Bars uses dates as the sweetener to overpower the bitter raw cocoa instead of sugar. This treat includes baking chocolate (100% cocoa) almonds, walnuts, pecans, or hazelnuts, dates, raw cocoa or unsweetened cocoa powder, vanilla extract, and teaspoon of expresso powder.

Although giving up a guilty pleasure such as chocolate can be difficult, I am always up for a way to apply creativity to my diet and these a few ways that you can too. A lot of us may think that finding a tasty alternative for chocolate is impossible, but you may be surprised as to all of the clean desserts that are possible. One of my favorite recipe sites My Clean Treats has plenty of recipes for delicious healthy desserts. Get creative and try whipping up a sweet concoction that’ll prove that you can have your cake (or date chocolate bar) and eat it too!

“It’s a good day to have a good one!”

-Alena Purpero

AIRobics

Pic for Blog- AIRobics.pngLately I’ve been looking for a new and exciting way to spice up my workouts. The summertime is overwhelming with activities to try, but in the winter it’s a little bit more difficult to find creative workouts. I stumbled across this indoor trampoline park, called Helium, online a few weeks ago and I knew imediately I wanted in. In all honesty, Helium is geared more so for young kids, but it sounded like so much fun I couldn’t resist.

When I entered the park I was handed a pair of grip socks to wear around to prevent as much sliding and slipping as possible. They cost $2, but you get to keep them forever as a souvenir, so that’s pretty cool. Helium has many options of activities to try, such as rock climbing, casual jumping, trampoline dodgeball, and AIRobics. From the title of this blog, I’m guessing you know which one I chose.

AIRobics. According to Helium’s website, AIRobics is a one hour cardio and strength training class that combines, “calisthenics, core exercises and aerobics.” We started the class with 30 minutes of cardio on the trampolines. This included jumping jacks, frog jumps, starfish jumps, high knees, and many other jumps. Each task was in one-minute intervals, so it kept the class moving at a fast pace.  After 30 minutes of cardio we moved onto strength training and abs. We did many different types of moves such as push-ups, planks, leg lifts, and overhand ball tosses. By the end of the hour, well to be honest after about 10 minutes, I was feeling the burn. Doing things that may seem simple on the ground becomes 10x harder on trampolines. It triggers your muscles to work extra hard while trying to maintain balance.

The website states that AIRobics can benefit you by the following:

  • Improves balance and coordination
  • Burn 60% more calories than running
  • Excellent cardio – low impact, easy on joints
  • Ideal for any fitness level

I also had a chance to talk a little to the regulars who came to the class to see what their opinion was. It turns out long term wise, the class may be able to improve lost flexibiltiy due to an accident or surgery. One man lost almost all his mobility in his shoulder at one point, but after a year of AIRobics he said that there was a huge improvement in his joint movement. The class instructor  got started with AIRobics after she had knee surgery from tearing her acl. To get back in the game and over fear of intense excersize, AIRobics helped her ease into regaining her strength.

It cost $10 per class, or $80 for ten classes. Whether you are looking for a fun, intense workout or muscle strength recovery, AIRobics could be just what you need! I went to the Helium Trampoline Park in New Berlin, but there are many locations!

For more info please check out their website.

Enjoy!

Stay Healthy. Stay Strong.

Mary Marren

My Newest Addiction

Pic for Blog- My Newest AddictionRun, run, run, every day is another day to see how many things I can accomplish. I am always on the go, whether heading to work, class, or workout. I always keep a snack in my backpack to make sure that I never am hungry. My latest snack that I can’t keep myself from indulging in more than once a day: homemade energy balls. I am sure you’ve seen this recipe before, although have you tried it? If you haven’t, maybe once I dissect the nutritious ingredients you will be more willing to give it a go!

 

The recipe is the following:

1 cup whole rolled oats, 5 tablespoons natural crunchy peanut butter, 2.5 tablespoons honey, 4 tablespoons ground flax seed, and ¼ cup mini dark chocolate chips (optional).

Mix all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Combine the honey and peanut butter in a microwavable bowl and melt/warm the two ingredients together. Pour over the dry mixture and stir. You can either roll them into 1-inch balls (serving size) or put them in a pan and cut them like granola bars.

Just writing about this makes my mouth water for the pan of them that I have in the fridge right now. The perfect treat that will nip that sweet tooth in the butt, keep your energy levels up, and keep you feeling full. The key ingredients in this recipe are:

Whole rolled oats: Where this ingredient lacks flavor, it makes up for it with its nutritious values. Rolled oats have been found to be a great blood sugar stabilizer. When your blood sugar is stable, your body will react less to temptations of sweets. Also, the high content of fiber keeps you feeling full and also helps with digestion.

Flaxseed: It is high in vitamins and minerals that have been found to increase your heart health. The high level of fiber content in flaxseed keeps you feeling more full because it expands once it is digested and helps curve your appetite.

The combination of the sweet honey, the salty peanut butter, mixed with the oats, fiber and some chocolate chips, is the best. Choosing to make your own homemade granola bars (or energy balls in this case) is much more cost effective and is also healthier. There are no preservatives in this recipe, and the cost is comparable to buying a box of Nature Valley Granola Bars every week when you are grocery shopping.

The best part is that you don’t need any certain utensils to make it and you can prepare this snack in bulk. It lasts for a long time if you keep them refrigerated as well. I encourage you to give this recipe a try, because I know you will be just as addicted as I am!

“Always remember that it doesn’t matter how slow you go, as long as you keep on going”

~Kenzi Weidman

Peanut Butter Lover

Pic for Blog-National Peanut Butter Lover's DaySunday is National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day, a day where all peanut butter lovers can get together and laud the magnificent substance, or just eat a peanut butter sandwich.  But since this holiday is quickly approaching, I decided to go over why everyone (who isn’t allergic to peanuts) should love peanut butter too and join in on the celebration. Peanut butter in moderation is a wonder source of many vitamins and health benefits. Let’s go over them.

Peanut Butter is an amazing source of Protein. Two tablespoons of peanut butter is approximately seven grams of protein. To stay on the healthy side with all of the others things you get from protein, you usually don’t want to intake over two tablespoons a day.

According to research done at Harvard Medical School there is heart health benefits that you receive from eating peanut butter. When you eat it in moderate amounts (two tablespoons or less a day) the amount of unsaturated fats that you get is amazing for you and is worth the lower amount of saturated fats that you get. You also have to be sure to eat higher quality peanut butter for it to be as healthy as possible (I’ll go over the better kinds of peanut butter later in this article).

The vitamins you receive from eating peanut butter can actually be an Energy Booster for your body. This is why peanut butter makes for a great condiment for breakfast food or for mid day snacks! I would try and stay away from it during the night, as it can be a factor in keeping you up at nights.

The fibers and proteins that peanut butter contains can actually help you feel fuller for a longer period of time and can help aid you in weight loss. Once again, eating massive amounts of peanut butter isn’t going to help you lose any weight, quite the contrary actually, but the two tablespoons a day can possibly be a factor of losing a few pounds!

Peanut butter has healthy fats. A lot of people worry about eating peanut butter because it is high in fats, but in reality the fats that peanut butter contains are actually healthy fats that you need for a complete daily diet. The unsaturated fats, which are the good fats, are much higher than the saturated fats, or bad fats, which makes it a good food to eat.

Buying the right, healthiest, peanut butter can be a task within its self. There are a couple things that you should be looking for when you purchase peanut butter.

All Natural peanut butter is the best for reducing your intake of most saturated (bad) fats and everything else that is bad in other peanut butter options. All natural peanut butter tends to be slightly more pricy so keep that in mind too, but if you’re sticking to your two tablespoons of peanut butter a day you shouldn’t worry too much about what kind you are getting.

The amount of Sugar is another factor that you have to look for.  The sugar is what makes the peanut butter have more of a sweet taste so keep that in mind when trying these kinds of peanut butter.

Let me know what types of peanut butter you like best and why.  If you didn’t eat peanut butter before, I hope you’ll give it a try after reading this article.  We’ll see you at the National Peanut Butter Lover’s day party on Sunday!

Yesterday you said tomorrow

-Eric Hess

Hold that Pose!

What words come to mind when you think of muscle building or strength training? Weights, a medicine ball, fancy weight machines, and dumbbells? But, why all of the materialist items? Do we really need all of that to build strength?

Pic 1 for Hold that Pose  Now, what words come to mind when you think of flexibility? Stretching obviously, and perhaps Yoga? So why is it that we associate only stretching with yoga immediately? Because the truth is, with Yoga and other resistance training exercises comes strength training that you can’t get from weight lifting. So if you’re short of weights or don’t have access to a weight lifting machine, good news: one of the best pieces of equipment you can have for strength training is your own body and here’s why:

  • While weights are a great way to build a specific group of muscles, we isolate that group of muscles while neglecting others. As bodybuilding.com states, “We forget about the smaller but very important intrinsic muscles that hold the body together in optimal alignment. When we neglect these muscles, the body’s way of letting you know about it is through bouts of dull pain or aches in your shoulders, knees or lower back that were not there before” (Clark et al., 2008).
  • Holding yoga poses and other resistance training exercises opposed to weight lifting, breaks down to a matter of eccentric contraction in the muscles vs. concentric contraction.

Pic 2 for Hold that Pose

- Yoga relies on eccentric contraction, where the muscle stretches as it contracts. This gives the muscle a sleek and lengthy look.

-Weight training relies on the opposing principle of concentric contraction. The muscle gets smaller as it contracts. This gives the muscle a compact, bulging appearance.

-Why does it matter to know the difference? Muscle strengthening may be most effective by doing eccentric contractions.

  • Yoga increases muscle endurance, since it is a matter of holding a given pose oppose to short compulsions of a repeated pose.

So next time you shut down a yoga class because you think you won’t benefit from it, revaluate all of the positive outcomes that comes with Yoga and Resistance training. Not only does it work as a double whammy, stretching and building muscle, but it focuses on muscles we usually neglect when weight lifting. As Nicholas DiNubile, says “Yoga can be just as effective as weights when it comes to building a stronger, more impressive physique.” Whether you’re trying out a yoga class for the first time or holding planks or wall sits in your room, broaden your horizon of muscles to focus on instead of isolating one group and neglecting others.

“It’s a good day to have a good one!”

-Alena Purpero

Single or Taken, Make this Valentine’s Day Fun!

Pic for Blog- Single or TakenWho says Valentine’s Day has to be a day of binge eating chocolate and candy? You work hard all year around, so why make this day an exception? Whether you are in a relationship or flying solo this holiday, there are so many activities to get you up and moving. You can’t have fun unless you’re in a relationship on Valentine’s Day? Nonsense! Here are some activities that anyone can do. Not only do you better yourself through physical activity, but also you don’t have to have the holiday guilt from all the sweets. Take the high road this Valentine’s Day and do something awesome!

The “Be Mine 5k” is a race that takes place on February 14th in Janesville, WI. Not only does this race include a medal, but you also receive a sweatshirt that can say, “Might Be Looking, Too Late, It’s Complicated, and I Hate Valentine’s Day”. This gives a fun twist to the holiday that is normally only celebratory for people in relationships. You also receive a one free drink ticket to Hhffrrrgghh’s Inn Restaurant and Bar if you are of age! For more information on how to sign up, check out their website!

If the price tag is a little bit too steep for you, you may be more interested in another Valentine’s Day race such as Valentine’s 5k in Madison, WI. Although this race doesn’t include all of the perks, you’ll still have a great time running it as well as helping support the UW Madison Running Club.

If 5ks are not your thing, perhaps skiing is more up your alley.

You can ski a 2-mile trail at Lake Kegonsa State Park in Stoughton, WI. Being that it is Valentine’s Day, the trail will be lit by candles the whole way. What a peaceful way to spend your night, whether it is with your loved one or with friends. After the ski there will be a cozy bonfire and refreshments. The event goes from 6pm-9pm. For more information, please visit the State park website.

On February 21st There will be a snowshoe or hike through Devil’s Lake State park with a warm bonfire and refreshments to follow the hike. Although this is the weekend after Valentine’s Day, it could make a great back up plan in you were busy on the actual day. If you do not have any snowshoes to wear, they have some to borrow!  This is an outdoor activity that doesn’t require training such as a race, but is still getting you up and moving! For more information on this hike, visit the Devil’s Lake Park website.

Well there you have it!  Wonderful and healthy winter activities you can do this Valentine’s Day. If you couldn’t think of anything fun and exciting to do this year, I hope these activities may be just what you need.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Stay Healthy. Stay Strong.

Mary Marren