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7 Awesome Reasons Denver Residents Look and Feel So Good

I’ve lived in Denver for one month now, and by the end of the first week it was clear to me why Colorado as a state and Denver as a city own the top of the healthiest lists. From activity to fresh air and an attitude that supports wellness, how could anyone not feel their best here?

Year after year, Colorado remains at the top of the list for healthiest states. The CDC’s map of obesity trends starts in 1985, and it wasn’t until 1990 that Colorado even showed up for having less than 10 percent of its population qualify as obese. The most current map is from 2012 and puts Colorado as one of only nine states with an obesity population under 25 percent. Fitness and hiking clothes seem to be The Official Denver Outfit, as everyone at brunch, the park, the grocery store, and the office seem to be dressed down and ready to move!

While there are no doubt more, these are seven killer reasons that Denver residents look and feel so darn good!

denver bikes
Very Bicycle Friendly. I’m confident I’ve seen more bicycles in the last four weeks than I’ve seen in the last four years. Whether for commutes, fun, or exercise, bicycles own the roads in Denver. As recent as 2011, bicycle commuters were 2.4 percent of Denver’s population, a number up 183% since 1990. Bike racks and lanes exist everywhere, making it a no-brainer for cyclists to get out and ride to work, to the grocery store, or just out for fun. B-Cycle has 83 rental stations and 700 bikes throughout the city, making it pretty impossible not to bike.

chipotle sofritas
Vegetarian Food Abounds. You can throw a stone and find vegetarian and even vegan dining options. Bonnie Brae makes a titillating homemade vegan ice cream, Native Foods has a mock fast food menu that will knock your socks off, and the locally-based Chipotle even puts sofritas (organic tofu braised with chilis and spices) on the menu. Every restaurant we’ve visited (and there have been a lot!) has hearty vegetarian options that even the most carnivorous will consider noshing on. The Goodness Truck roams around near Ft. Collins serving their grilled brie sandwich — to die! And all around the area you can dine at farm to table events.
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Work it Off: 3 Ways to Negate the 620 Calories in a Gooey Cinnamon Roll

cinnamon roll

Few things smell better than a cinnamon roll fresh out of the oven. (Cinnabon continues to bank on this one basic fact!) That’s one of the reasons I avoid a certain bakery in my neighborhood. Even walking in front of the building makes my mouth water—the cinnamon rolls smell (and taste!) that good.

But sometimes I give in, as I did earlier this week. The sweet scent was just too good to pass up. Of course, this came at a cost. Like, a really big cost: 620 delicious calories, to be exact, which is higher than pretty much any other treat I’ve learned how to burn off—even donuts and biscuits and gravy.

So, how could I help rid my body of the extra 620 calories?

 

doing yoga

I could have done hot yoga for 149 minutes. (Okay scratch that—I can barely stand 60 minutes in that heat!)


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Workouts and Wine: The Newest Trend in Napa

wine bikes

You might assume that a trip to wine country means that you have to kiss your weight loss and wellness goals goodbye. But that’s not the case. In addition to breathtaking views, tours of the vineyards, and all the vino a girl can handle, hotels and resorts in wine havens like Sonoma, Napa, and Santa Barbara are adding health and fitness components to the already perfect weekend package. (Talk about making a good thing even better!) Think green smoothies by the pool, bike rides through the vineyards, grape-themed spa treatments, and Pilates classes….all with a glass of wine in hand, of course.

So where should you go? Here are three places we learned about in a recent article on The Huffington Post:

wine cooking

Wine, Women, and Wellness

The Westin Verasa in Napa to learn about the growing demand for fitness and wellness activities for their guests. They now host a “Wine, Women and Wellness” event during Women’s History Month in March, celebrating women’s health and female winemakers. Seminars included demonstrations from raw food chefs, yoga instructors, and makeup artists who create products from the antioxidant-rich byproduct of wine: grape seeds. They even staff a Running Concierge. That is correct: it is someone’s job to guide you through the many paths and trails for a walk or run through wine country. They can ever lend you running shoes! Talk about eliminating excuses.


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5 Things You do that Erase the Benefits of a Yoga Class

yoga class

Picture a serene room full of calm smiles, deep breaths, and mindful movements and you have an idyllic yoga setting. Peaceful instrumental music strums in the background as the sunlight peaks through the windows. Sounds perfect, right? Like just the place for tranquility and happiness! So why do some yoga sessions make you feel more stressed out afterward? Here’s a hint: It’s not about the setting. And it’s all about you. Here are 5 things you may be doing to sabotage the success of your yoga class, and easy fixes for each.

1. You Arrive Late
Nothing disrupts the first sun salutation like rushing in a few minutes late, squishing in between the rows to find a spot for your mat, and attempting to collect yourself after class has already begun. The first and last few minutes of class are arguably the most important and beneficial for your mental and physical health: crucial moments to slow down and check in with your mind and body.

Instead? Shoot for setting up your mat 10-15 minutes BEFORE the class is set to start. Use this time as much deserved “me-time” to stretch, close your eyes, do whatever you need to do to set your day aside and focus on what your yoga practice may bring you that day.

2. You Compete with Your Neighbor
Your yoga practice should be just that:  yoga PRACTICE. This means there is no good or bad, right or wrong way to do it. As long as your alignment is safe, and you are not bringing harm to yourself or others, all is fair game. It might be tempting to check out the skinny-mini with her designer tank top in the front row (…how is her Warrior II lunge that low?!), but you’re not doing anyone any favors, especially yourself.

Instead? Keep your eyes closed if you have to, and focus on how your practice feels on the inside, rather than how it looks on the outside.
3. You Add to Your Mental To-Do List
Inhale arms up (“eggs, milk, spinach”), exhale forward fold (“run to the bank, fold my laundry”). Does this sound like your internal monologue during your class? It can be tempting to tune out and let your body to the work while your mind wanders. But the most powerful part of these 60 to 90 minutes are arguably your work on staying present.

Instead? Set your to-do list aside because you can always pick it up the second class ends. But for now, connect your breath and movements together so tightly that there is no room for any other thoughts.

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The Healthiest Ways to Celebrate a Birthday!

A new trend is officially gaining steam: Healthy Birthday Celebrations! When it come time to blow out the candles, it seems like boozing and binging are out and exercise and eating well are in.

To be fair, this could be a sign of being a certain number of years out of college, but I don’t think getting older is the only thing at work here. It’s probably about getting wiser too. I have definitely noticed an increase in the healthier birthday party: For my roommate’s birthday a year or two ago, we all woke up at six in the morning to go on a group run. We spent the rest of the day antique shopping, walking around town (even more exercise), and ended the night with a glass of champagne each.

birthday

That’s right. Birthdays do not have to be about totally throwing your healthy lifestyles out the window. Here are some fabulous (and yes, still really fun!) ideas for a more adult birthday party. Enjoy!

Fitness Class Fun
Yoga, Zumba, Indoor Cycling, Pilates, ballet, kickboxing?! There are so many different exercise classes that are an extremely good time—why not bring your friends? Your birthday wish can (and should!) absolutely revolve around getting your best pals to join the fitness class you love. A lot of gyms and fitness centers have group rates or bring-a-friend prices, so definitely take advantage of them. What better way to start a new year in your life than with a little healthy sweat alongside your best friends?

Group Run Get-Together
Similarly, a nice group run is a wonderful way to set yourself up for success. Start your special day off right with a gorgeous run outdoors. Yes, gyms are great, and treadmills are good for your joints, but Vitamin D is important and it’s a lot more fun to run en masse in a park or along a trail. You can even theme the run. How fun would it be to run with birthday hats on or along a trail of landmarks from your childhood? Make it a little more interesting and your friends will definitely be in.


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