With June only a few days away, many folks are planning summer vacations. While falling off the health conscious bandwagon is often associated with travel, we at Health IQ share a few of our favorite ways to stay healthy while on the road—or in the air. From the most effective (and efficient) workouts to inflammation-reducing desserts to sharing quality time with a partner—we’ve got you covered as your summer travel plans heat up.
What are the most effective strength training exercises?
Since most of us don’t have unlimited workout time—especially when traveling—we are always looking for the most effective and efficient exercises. Researchers used electromyography—a technique which records and evaluates the electrical activity produced within specific muscles—to find out which common strength training exercises stimulated the most muscle activation. For chest training, the decline bench press was found to be more effective than the flat bench press. Bent over barbell rows trumped lat pull downs for stimulating back muscles. Barbell squats hit the quads harder than leg presses. And preacher curls were the king of all bicep exercises. Find the complete list here.
A delicious way to reduce inflammation.
We are so excited that there is another reason to enjoy high quality dark chocolate (in moderation of course). A recent study at Loma Linda University gave lucky participants 48g (1.7 oz) of dark chocolate—slightly more than a standard Hershey bar—a day made with 70% cacao and 30% organic sugar. Results showed improvements in stress levels, inflammation, mood, memory, and immunity. This is in addition to the already proven heart health benefits that dark chocolate can provide. So don’t feel guilty if chocolate is your go to travel treat; just make sure it’s high quality—at least 70% cacao—and made with limited ingredients.
More good reasons to make social connections outside.
While we have long known that being and staying married is linked to many positive health outcomes, a recent longitudinal study explored the health risks of being divorced. Researchers were surprised to find an almost 50% increase in mortality risk for divorced people. This spike is at least partially caused by the increase in risky behaviors that divorced people are more likely to engage in, such as smoking and exercising less. Divorce may also lead to less support and accountability for health-promoting behaviors. No matter what your relationship status, these studies highlight the importance of social support and accountability for long-term health. So why not suggest doing something healthy and positive—like going on vacation—with a spouse or friend today?
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