The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly of Cycling

Cycling can be a great form of cardio, but it isn’t without certain drawbacks.

As a lifelong triathlete, cycling has always been part of my life. Whether I was scooting around the neighborhood in my childhood, or cycling long distances as a form of stress relief, something about being on a bike has always appealed to me.

Personally, I find a sense of accomplishment from traveling far and fast by using the natural capabilities of my body. It is also a great way to get to know a new city, or to rediscover your own city. While cycling is great with friends, it remains a solo sport in that you are still responsible for your own pace and progress. And lastly, you can cycle on bike paths, on the open road, or in a gym, if the weather isn’t great. So my overall opinion of cycling is that it is a great form of cardio with many benefits in terms of physical, mental, and overall health.

READ MORE: How to Snap Yourself Out of a Mental Funk

That being said, there are two sides to every coin. So if you’re thinking of adopting cycling as a new form of exercise, here are the pros and cons to help you make an informed decision:


Cycling is a great form of cardiovascular exercise, and can help you fight long term diseases like heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and diabetes.

Cycling is great for your mental health, and can relieve stress, as well as facilitate time for you to think through your problems.

Cycling is a great, eco-friendly way to get around town.

Cycling can be done alone, or in groups, making it the perfect exercise for friends who don’t always want to be held accountable.

Cycling regularly can help you lose weight and keep it off.

Cycling is easier on your joints than other forms of cardio, like running.

Cycling can keep you motivated to accomplish other goals in your life, when approached with regularity.

Cycling can be used to raise money for charity, and thus do some good in the world.

Cycling can be a great family bonding experience.


Cycling on open road can result in car accidents.

If your bicycle isn’t adjusted for your body, it can cause pain.

A poorly fitted bike can cause numbness in your body, that can lead to other health issues down the road.

Cycling too much can cause saddle sores, which make it super painful to sit.

10 Heart Healthy Foods to Add to Your Diet

Fight heart disease with tasty foods.

In the United States, heart disease is one of the leading causes of death. Cardiovascular diseases like hypertension, heart attacks, and stroke take over 17.9 million lives each year. While this may seem like a daunting statistic, the good news is that heart disease typically takes years to become really life threatening, and no matter where you are in the stages of the disease, making lifestyle changes can always help.

I always say that when it comes to your diet, small changes over a span of time are much better than adopting crazy fads, or trying crash diets to change your health. Think of your health as a long term investment in yourself. Incremental changes made over a period of time can have long-standing positive effects on your overall health and life expectancy. 

READ MORE: 10 Foods That are Surprisingly Bad for Your Heart

So, try and find a way to add these tasty food options into your diet. Short term, it’ll keep your belly full. Long term, it will create a healthier, happier you.

Salmon- Salmon and other fatty fish are superfoods, because they are chock-full of omega-3 fatty acids.

Dark Chocolate- Dark chocolate contains polyphenols, which are flavonoids that help with blood pressure, clotting, and inflammation.

Green Tea- Drinking green tea daily can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease by 20%, due to high levels of antioxidants.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil- Olive oil contains monounsaturated fat, which reduces cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

Broccoli, Spinach, and Kale- Dark leafy greens are full of antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, all of which are good for your heart. 

Coffee- Two cups of coffee today can be safely consumed, and can provide benefits to your heart health.

Avocado- Avocados are high in monounsaturated fats, antioxidants, and potassium.

Tahini- Tahini helps improve artery health because it is full of calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, and antioxidants.

Beets- Beets contain betalains, which have high-antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. They also contain nitrates that help relax and dilate the blood vessels.

Chili Peppers- Chili peppers are anti-inflammatory, improve blood pressure, and support a healthy circulatory system.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Running on Treadmills

When it comes to running, not all surfaces are created equal.

It goes without saying that running is one of the most effective forms of cardio out there. Running is a weight bearing exercise, which means that it both burns fat, and builds muscle effectively. Many people (myself included) consider running to be a good way to think, reflect, and stretch your mind. If you are running outdoors, it can also be really gratifying, and a great way to explore new environments. 

READ MORE: Five Indoor Cardio Exercises to Prepare You for the Gym

Running on a treadmill is a little different, however. Treadmills are super convenient as long as you have the space for them. They make it much easier to get exercise during the winter months, and they are easier on your joints than gravel or cement. Nowadays there are tons of programs you can run to, and virtual ways of enjoying the act of running on a treadmill. However, there are pros and cons to anything, and treadmills are no different.


-Easier on your joints

-Readily available despite inclement weather

-Great for rehab, or diving back into running after an injury

-Simulated programs and environments make it fun and competitive

-Easy to track your progress and set milestones


-Lack of agility

-Less muscular engagement than outdoor surfaces

-Easier than running outdoors (this could also be a pro, haha)

-Risk of boredom

-Risk of injury

So there you have it. Regardless of what cardio type you choose, a treadmill is a great thing to have in your workout arsenal, especially for rainy days. Combining outdoor running and a treadmill now and again can help you create a balanced exercise regimen.

16 Complex Carbohydrates to Give You More Energy and Promote Weight Loss

Complex carbs are an important part of a balanced diet.

In the past few decades, carbohydrates have gotten a bad rap in popular culture. Low-carb diets like Atkins have convinced the world that the key to losing weight is cutting carbs. While this is a strategy that technically works, it’s not really a good long-term solution to losing weight and keeping it off forever. The simple fact is, your body needs carbs to synthesize energy, maintain blood sugar, and aid in digestion. 

The key to understanding carbohydrates is to know that there are two different kinds: simple and complex.

Simple carbohydrates (monosaccharides and disaccharides) contain 1-2 units of sugar. Examples of this are glucose, fructose, galactose, sucrose, maltose, and lactose. These simple carbs do create energy, but they are quickly absorbed into the body, causing an increase in blood sugar, and release of insulin. These simple carbs are contained in some dairy products and fruits, but also in sugary soft drinks, candy, soda, and baked goods. 

READ MORE: Can A Plant Based Diet Increase Your Life Expectancy?

Complex carbohydrates (polysaccharides) like starch, glycogen, and fiber aren’t so easily broken down and absorbed into your system, thus the blood sugar increase is more gradual, and doesn’t cause a ‘crash’ in energy. Complex carbs like fiber also help aid the digestive system by promoting healthy gut bacteria and keeping bowel movements regular so you can maintain your weight. People who tend to choose complex carbs over simple are also at a lower risk for heart disease and certain types of cancer.

So the moral of the story is, the less simple carbs you ingest, the better. Here is a list of 16 complex carbs to add to your diet today!

Fruits: Apples, Bananas, Blueberries, and Oranges.

Starches: Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Butternut Squash, Beets

Fiber: Lentils, Chickpeas, Black Beans, Pinto Beans

Grains: Quinoa, Brown Rice, Farro, Oats

Add these into your diet to promote both long term weight loss, and a boost in energy. 

Can Coffee Actually Lower Your Blood Pressure?

A new study finds that coffee could actually be good for hypertension.

For many Americans, coffee is thought of as a life-giving, day-brightening, necessary component to your morning. Nobody can deny that it gives you plenty of energy, and can even make you feel jittery if you drink too much.

The idea that coffee raises blood pressure is widely accepted, however a new study shows that there are compounds in coffee that can actually lower your blood pressure.

In the Brisighella Heart Study, it was found that for people with hypertension, 2 cups of coffee per day can actually lower your blood pressure. Caffeine itself can either raise or lower your blood pressure depending on various factors, however coffee also contains antioxidants and various compounds. 

One such compound (chlorogenic acid) was found to lower systolic blood pressure in rats. Coffee also contains quercetin, which may also play a part.

READ MORE: Can Coffee Help you Fight Breast Cancer?

The idea here is that while caffeine may raise blood pressure, other bioactive compounds like chlorogenic acid and quercetin counteract it. It is also thought that while coffee might raise your blood pressure in the moment, the long term effects actually lower your blood pressure overall.

Thus for people with hypertension, moderate coffee consumption can actually help.

Five Ways Eating Spinach Helps Your Body

There is a reason spinach is considered a superfood.

For those of us who grew up watching Popeye constantly chug spinach out of a can and then beat up bad guys, the idea that spinach is healthy has been burned into our memory since childhood. While Popeye may be one of the earliest examples of product placement, they certainly chose the right product to place. The health benefits of spinach are well-known and widely accepted.

While it may be a bit annoying that when you cook five bags of spinach, they shrink down the size of a penny, the nutrients contained in spinach cannot be denied. Just three cups of raw spinach contain 20 calories, less than a gram of fat, three grams of carbohydrates, two grams of protein, and two grams of fiber. It also contains vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, iron, magnesium, potassium, calcium, and B vitamins.

If that isn’t the definition of a superfood, I don’t know what is. Aside from all that, here are five ways that spinach actually helps your body:

Disease Prevention– Eating spinach reduces oxidation in general, which helps support your metabolism and reduces inflammation. This helps to reduce the risk of certain diseases like obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer.

Blood Pressure– Spinach is full of nitrates that help to dilate blood vessels and increase blood flow to the heart.

READ MORE: 7 Foods to Keep you Full Longer

Brain Health– In terms of cognitive decline for aging adults, studies have found that eating leafy greens like spinach daily can reduce your ‘brain age’ by as much as 7 years.

Eye Health– An antioxidant in spinach called lutein has been shown to help reduce the risk of macular degeneration from aging.

Antioxidants– Spinach contains antioxidants such as kaempferol, quercetin, myricetin, and isorhamnetin, which help reduce inflammation, and protect from cardiovascular disease and cancer.

How to treat with common aches and pains as you get older

Dr. Karen Sutton from the Hospital for Special Surgery shares a checklist for understanding aches and pains people feel as they get older and how to find the right care.

Recently I appeared on the Today Show to discuss how to cope with and treat the common aches and pains that are associated with growing older. Click here to watch the segment and let me know what you think!

Five Things to Know About RSV

RSV is a respiratory illness affecting adults and children.

RSV stands for respiratory syncytial virus. Most people hadn’t even heard of RSV until recent times, but in the past year it has become a hot topic, especially in terms of infant infection rates. 

RSV can affect both children and adults, and the symptoms are much like that of a common cold, runny nose, fever, and coughing. It can lead to inflammation of the airways of the lungs, and pneumonia. It is most dangerous for small children and older adults, and it is very contagious. Here are five things to know about RSV.

RSV can be contracted by interaction with respiratory droplets from an infected person, or by touching an infected surface and then touching your face.

READ MORE: Five At-Home Flu Remedies

RSV is contagious for 3-8 days after you contract the virus. Symptoms may not show up for 1-2 days, so there is a chance you can pass the virus on without realizing it.

There is currently no vaccine for RSV, but all the big box pharmacy companies are currently working on it.

RSV normally clears up on its own with the normal remedies like rest, fluids, and cold medications. However it can lead to respiratory illnesses, so be sure to monitor your symptoms.

RSV can be prevented with common sense cold measures like washing your hands frequently, avoiding touching your face, staying home while sick, and wearing a mask in public. 

Hidden Symptoms of Diabetes

Symptoms of diabetes aren’t as straightforward as you might think.

One in 10 Americans suffer from diabetes. It is a serious disease that can negatively impact your life in many ways. Diabetes is fairly common, so awareness isn’t really so much of an issue. Catching it early is very important however.

Symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes can appear within a few weeks or months, whereas Type 2 can take years for symptoms to show. Being overly thirsty, or constantly feeling the need to urinate are two widely accepted symptoms. However, these symptoms are fairly easy to miss, and can delay your diagnosis, especially if you are someone who likes to live in denial (Aren’t we all?).

Effects of diabetes include cardiovascular disease, nerve and kidney damage, eye damage, hearing impairment, and even amputation in serious cases. So the more you know about the symptoms, the better. Here are five hidden potential symptoms of diabetes to consider. 

Gum Disease- Periodontitis is a gum disease that involves receding gum lines. If untreated, the disease can lead to tooth loss. Periodontitis is 2-3 times more common in people with diabetes, as they both have to do with the body’s inflammatory response.

Increased Infections- Bacterial and fungal infections can be a sign of diabetes because the increased blood sugar levels create a hospitable environment for infections. Bacterial infections like staph, styes, and hair and nail infections can be a sign of diabetes. Fungal infections like yeast infections, jock itch, and athlete’s foot are also potential indicators. However, it should be noted that these are fairly common, so they are only a red flag if they keep happening repeatedly.

READ MORE: 5 Reasons to Turn Exercise Into a Regular Habit

Vision Issues- Changes in vision, like blurry vision, trouble reading, spots, and streaks can be a sign that elevated sugar levels are causing constrictions in the blood vessels of your eye. 

Hearing Issues- Diabetes doubles your chance of experiencing hearing loss because of nerve damage in your ears.

Bed Wetting- Children who experience bedwetting may be a sign of an underlying condition such as Type 1 diabetes. This is only really a concern if the child is bed wetting multiple times per week, and experiencing other symptoms. However if your child starts experiencing this suddenly, it is worth a mention to your doctor, especially if diabetes runs in your family.

How to Create Boundaries for the Holidays

Setting boundaries can help you navigate your anxiety during the holiday season.

For some, the winter holiday season is a time to reconnect with family members, enjoy each other’s company, and create quality memories for the future. For others, it’s a hard-to-navigate hellscape of conversational landmines and pitfalls, with a trigger around every corner.

I’m not sure when this started exactly, but it seems like the political division in this country has become a catalyst for younger generations standing up for themselves at the dinner table, slightly older generations learning to set boundaries and call out bad behavior, and elder generations being faced with decades of problematic thinking patterns and systems of oppression that are now causing chaos at the dinner table.

The truth is, polite dinner conversation shouldn’t include any of this, but we are past the point of being polite in many instances. So how do you salvage the idea of having a good time with your family, while also being respectful of everyone’s beliefs and values?

READ MORE: Mood Boosting Foods to Try Over the Holidays

The answer is boundaries. Setting boundaries with family members is the only way to move forward and spend time with each other while steering clear of triggering topics. Here are a few ways to set those boundaries, to make your holiday season a little more relaxed.

Identify Your Needs. Is it important to you to spend time with every family member, or can you maintain a respectful distance from some? Is it important to you to feel seen and heard, or would you rather hold your tongue to keep the peace? Identifying what you want to get out of a family interaction beforehand will help give you a heading.

Prepare Your Responses. Most likely, you know what topics will trigger certain family members, and you probably know what they are going to say in return. If you are going into a difficult conversation, having your responses prepared beforehand will help you navigate.

Clearly Communicate Your Limits. If certain topics are off-limits, communicate that clearly as early as possible.

Be Consistent. If you say you’re not going to talk about certain things, stick to that, no matter how much your family members goad you, or try to trigger you into responding.

Learn to Say No. The word NO holds a lot of power. Learn to say it simply, without emotion. It is the most powerful tool you have in terms of setting boundaries.

Excuse Yourself if Necessary. If a conversation is going south, excuse yourself before you say something below the belt. Removing yourself from a situation is the best way to avoid a blowout. Think of it as if your family is throwing dodgeballs at you. In this metaphor, the dodgeballs are just energy. You can choose what you catch, what you throw back, and what you let fall to the floor.

Setting boundaries with family members is a valuable way to respect the opinions and morals of your family, but I would go so far to say that  it is mandatory for your own mental health. Especially during the holidays.