Health Is The Way To Happiness

When was the last time you felt truly happy and what is it that made you happy? The answer will be different every time it’s asked but there is one answer that will consistently bring you happiness and that is the benefits of good health.

Happy people have younger hearts, younger arteries, and a better outlook on life. Happy people recover more quickly from surgery, cope better with pain, have lower blood pressure, and have longer life expectancy than unhappy people.

Studies also suggest that happy people may have stronger immune systems and are less likely to get colds and flu viruses. If they do get sick it’s not as serious and they get better faster.

Not surprisingly, happy people are better at looking after their health, too. When people’s happiness levels improve, so do their health behaviors. They exercise more, get enough sleep, take better care of their teeth, wear sunscreen, and go for regular checkups.

What else determines happiness?

Genes play a part in your happiness just as they play a part in your general health. Some researchers estimate that as much as 40% to 50% of a person’s capacity for happiness may be genetically predetermined but that doesn’t guarantee a person will live a charmed life.

If you ask someone what makes them happy the answers will be as varied as the people you ask. Winning the lottery, being successful, finding that special person, world peace, and losing weight would be some easy guesses. How long would that keep them happy before they wanted something else?

Everyone wants to be happy and the benefits are clearly plentiful but people aren’t always great at predicting what will make them happy.  Left to our own devices, we tend to focus our energies on things that will give us the greatest instant pleasure. Even when we know better we will ignore the one thing that will bring us lasting happiness because it takes time and personal effort.

Even the gloomiest of us can learn to be happier and good health is the lasting way to happiness. Studies show that a person’s health is one of the strongest predictors of happiness. But the link between health and happiness is complex.

What makes us unhappy?

Adverse changes in health have a negative impact on happiness levels, at least temporarily. Poor health has the potential to significantly affect almost every aspect of your life so it’s no wonder when your health takes a hit so does your happiness. Once we adapt to those changes most people gravitate back to the level of happiness they enjoyed beforehand.

When the change in health status is severe, involving chronic pain or multiple disabilities, the impact on happiness can be long lasting. And both physical health and emotional health influence happiness.

Mental health can make it hard to be happy or do what it takes to be healthy. If you think you may be living with a mood disorder get it treated. Mood disorders diminish the quality of life even more than chronic physical ailments, such as arthritis, heart disease, and diabetes. Appropriate treatment can help reduce your symptoms, increase your sense of well-being, and get you back on track to a happy life.

If you look closely at unhappiness there will always be a reason for it that is linked to our health even if it’s not obvious. Always talk to a doctor for help if you feel that you can’t be happy they can help you find the answer.

What you can do to be healthy and happy?

Find something you like to do that will get you moving and preferably outdoors. Only 10 minutes of sunlight a day will boost your body’s natural response mechanisms to produce serotonin, a neurotransmitter which helps to elevate the mood, and melatonin, a hormone which promotes sleep. It promotes healthier attitudes toward diet and exercise and gives us a dose of Vitamin D which can be hard to get from foods alone.

Exercise not only helps keep you healthy but also keeps you happy. In general, increasing the amount of physical activity in your life increases well-being, whether it’s yoga, weight training, or daily walks around the neighborhood. Studies show that people who are active daily usually stay active throughout the day and weigh less than their couch potato counterparts.

Be your healthiest and happiest by eating a balanced diet with lots of fruit and veggies, getting a good night’s sleep, keeping stress levels to a minimum, getting regular checkups, wearing sunscreen, laughing often, moderating alcohol intake, getting plenty of exercise and not smoking.

It may sound like a lot of rules but we have to do so many things in our lives that we have no control over so the good news is when it comes to our health and happiness we can totally do it. Once we learn how to accomplish it there’s nothing better than being healthy, happy and enjoying our lives to the fullest for as long as we can.

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Exercise is the gateway to good health and happiness.

Since I started riding my bike every other day I have been extremely happy and my life is anything but perfect but I’ve never been happier or healthier and it’s a great feeling! I look forward to my rides despite the weather I have more energy than ever before I just feel awesome!

I still need dual knee replacement but by bike riding the Bay Trail every other day, I have improved my knees by a large percentage. I’m no expert but they are so much stronger now and I can walk 4 miles on a good day. I still have a lot of pain but it’s manageable right now. As a side effect daily exercise acts as a natural painkiller in the body. It does!

I used to walk with a cane and my heart used to pound when I had an office visit with my doctor it got pretty bad. They would do EKG’s on me. I was gaining weight, clinically depressed and totally lost on meds. One day I looked in the mirror felt sick at what I saw and decided to change it.

What helped me most was deciding to ride every other day and sticking to it. Even if I bike a few miles as long as I did something. The more I rode the better I got and my riding got. Once the discomfort of getting into shape was over I looked forward to my rides. My doctor now thinks I’m in amazing shape.

I urge you to try riding a bicycle if you’re not already doing so. For me, it didn’t take long to see results. People of all ages can ride and even adults can learn to ride if they don’t know how. Stick to it and give it time, it took me over a year but good things don’t come easy. I wouldn’t trade it for anything and I love burning up the calories on a good bike ride.

Bicycle riding is optimal because it’s an aerobic exercise that isn’t hard on the joints and takes your heart rate through the exercise zones needed to strengthen your heart. Riding a bike burns calories at a fast rate as it strengthens your core, improves your balance and sharpens your mind. Admission is only the cost of a good bicycle, some safety gear, and can bring back those feelings you had when you were a child. It can make you happy and can be addicting.

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Like I said before, good health is a balancing act of exercise, healthy eating, and enough sleep. Exercise, food, and sleep are like the Macros of balance (instead of nutrients). Get it?

source: Some info and artwork was found using Google Search.

The featured image is a photograph of mine I took 6/10/17 at Talbot’s in San Mateo, CA where I bought the bike I own now. They fixed my flat tire I got that day. After I was done with coffee at the library I checked my bike before taking off and discovered my back tire was flat as a pancake. Lucky I could call a taxi company with a minivan to get me and my bike to the shop.

Be healthy, be happy, just be!

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Fitbit Cycling Fits

I believe in health bands they do so much to help keep me on the right path helping me to balance my activities so that I can stay healthy. I couldn’t have lost weight, mastered my insomnia or kept track of my food or exercise without them. They are meant to be a tool in helping us get an idea of how we’re doing not a medical device but if used correctly they are very useful.

Recently I bought a Charge 2 Fitbit band and I love it. It gives active (during exercise) and resting heart rate, sleep stages (REM, deep sleep, etc.) it tracks diet, has a Relax (deep breathing) mode, gives you a Cardio Fitness Score and more. It’s put together well and easy to wear even while sleeping.

Fitbit has a good community of users behind their products. They have many groups one can join to exchange information and share your ups and downs with on your journey to good health. One such group I joined was Cycling and it was clear that some of these people needed my help.

The first few times I tried tracking my cycling on the Fitbit it was a trial and error period for sure. My Fitbit uses my phone’s GPS to track rides and has a feature where it will automatically track cycling after so many minutes of riding. It sounds so simple but it wasn’t.

I was already using Mapmyride and Myfitnesspal so when buying my Fitbit I made sure the app connected and shared data with Under Armor products and apps like my Jawbone UP3 had. The food data worked flawlessly but the cycling was another story.

The first time I used Mapmyride everything was good until I looked at the Fitbit app. The Fitbit mapped my ride, I couldn’t enlarge the map and the info was limited. The info from Mapmyride did not show up. The data had not exchanged and I was stuck with 2 different versions and maps of my bike ride in 2 different places. I wasn’t happy with that.

After some thought, I went into the Fitbit exercise tile and changed the settings turning auto-tracking OFF. When buying bands everything is enabled after setting up and people don’t always look at settings until something goes wrong. It’s always good to know what your band offers and set things up the way you want to.

So the next time I biked my Mapmyride data was right there under my exercise tile on the Fitbit app and I was thrilled but then I noticed something. It said that the data came from Myfitnesspal, not Mapmyride. Just to see I took Myfitnesspal out of the equation and sure enough I had problems seeing my cycling data again. So, if you don’t have Myfitnesspal connected even if you don’t use it, your data won’t show up like this.

Myfitnesspal is all about nutrition and how many calories you can eat for the day adding and subtracting calories from what you burn (or don’t) changing many times in a day.  I think because of this it’s more active in sharing data between Mapmyride and the Fitbit app so I’m thinking that’s why it works this way. It’s just a guess but if it’s not broken I’m not fixing it.

What does all this mean? If you have a Fitbit and cycle outdoors it’s very easy to get your ride turned into steps, see your normal ride stats and have it all show up under your exercise tile on the Fitbit app if you just follow these instructions. Also, many people talk about putting their Fitbit bands on their ankle, shoe or other places while biking. I don’t know what started this nonsense but you can keep your band on your wrist.

Get Your Cycling Data Here

  • download Mapmyride and Myfitnesspal
  • fill out the profiles on these apps
  • make sure all 3 apps are connected to each other
  • on the Fitbit app press the exercise tile

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  • Under the exercise tile settings tell the Fitbit to IGNORE Outdoor Bike.

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  • When IGNORED it will look like this (above)

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  • next time you bike use Mapmyride
  • when finished, sync with the Fitbit app under the exercise tile
  • your workout will be there and look like this (above)

If you want these results you must follow my instructions including using Myfitnesspal in the loop. The Fitbit can map bike rides using your phone’s GPS but I like more stats about my rides, I can go and look up my past rides, the maps can be enlarged and much more on Mapmyride.

My hope is this helps the many friends I make and have in the Cycling Group on Fitbit. I have written these instructions too many times in comments on posts asking for help so this is a selfish attempt to save time and my hand from cramping. Lol!

After riding my bike I can’t wait to pour over my statistics about my ride and find out how I did. The easier it is the better. Enjoy your rides!

For more info on what Mapmyride can do for you follow the link and read my post on it and best of all it’s free.

I don’t use Strava, or other biking apps so if you do, experiment using them instead of Mapmyride. I’d be interested in the outcome if you do.

You Got To Hit It To Get It!

Tracking Your Rides Or Map With Bekkie

Sure it’s fun riding your bike but looking back at how far you’ve come in your quest for good health by keeping track of your rides is priceless. Whether you want to remember a particular ride, see the furthest you’ve ever ridden or how you rank against other riders in your area, you’ll want to use an application to record your rides using your cell phone’s GPS.

These applications act as free bike computers giving you all kinds of information on your bike rides along with a map showing exactly where you’ve been.

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Pick your type of bicycle and start your workout.

What can they tell me that I don’t already know?

  • Average speed
  • Top speed
  • Distance rode
  • Ride duration
  • Calories burned
  • Elevation
  • Splits
  • Date
  • Time
  • Rank (comparing you to people who ride your same trails)
  • Routes

These applications keep track of every ride you do with them and you can look at your rides in detail. Open an account with them, set up your profile, pick your bike type and ride. Take some time to set up your profile because that’s how the application figures out your calories burned. They will ask you for your existing weight, sex, age, bike type, and height.

Auto-pause.

On Mapmyride there are options to auto-pause your rides meaning all you have to do is press Start and the app will stop and start when you do automatically until you’re finished without touching your phone. If you walk with your phone during your workout it might act confused but when you finish and press Stop it will have figured it all out.

Listen to your ride stats out loud.

There is a function (using your phone’s Google voice) where you can set what you want the app to tell you (out loud) while you ride. The application will tell you whether it’s paused or not and much more all without touching your phone. You don’t have to wear headphones unless you can’t hear your phone where you keep it during rides. I love that feature!

I use Mapmyfitness which is Mapmyride by Under Amor.

Confusing? Not really, Mapmyfitness is the main company that puts out the different applications for walking, running, riding, hiking and even walking your dog. To make it easy for people to find the application for their particular exercise they are color coded. No matter which one you use as soon as you sign into your account your personal info will be there.

Take a look at Mapmyride for yourself. Here are the different applications under the Mapmyfitness umbrella so you can see what I mean. You can use any of them for your bike riding they are all the same and work the same.

And there’s more…

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Connect your fitness bands, smart scales, shoes or heart rate straps.

If you have a fitness band, like a Fitbit, or a Jawbone UP3 you can connect them to Mapmyride which will share your exercise information (such as calories burned and time ridden) giving you credit on your connected band’s application. Make sure you always let your applications sync because that’s when they swap data.

For your caloric needs, Mapmyride also connects to Myfitnesspal (another Under Amor application) and will add or subtract your calories burned during biking (or exercising) to the calories you can eat for that day. Even after losing weight I still use it to log my food and maintain my weight it’s excellent.

I’ve been keeping track of my rides since my first ride on 2/20/16 when I rode 5.96 miles. It took me 1:06:06 at an average speed of 5.4 miles an hour and Mapmyride keeps track of them for me, maps and all.

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From the website, all of my personal triumphs. Clicking on any of them on the site will bring back all of my stats plus the full map.

Mapmyfitness has a website online where you can look at so many cool things about your workouts. It’s amazing how much they give you for free and although there are ads you won’t mind when you see what they offer.

What can I find on the Mapmyfitness website?

  • Workouts
  • Goals
  • Achievements
  • Calorie calculator
  • Routes (maps)
  • Challenges (get involved)
  • Blog about exercising (cycling included)
  • And more

There are other applications you can use, like Strava, that are similar but Mapmyride has been time tested by me and Under Armor is a good company. When picking out your application to use make sure you look at everything offered and read the reviews carefully. You don’t want to trust your metadata to just anyone.

You might be asking yourself why would you want to go through this hassle when you can just enjoy yourself? To become healthy it’s about more than just enjoying yourself it takes work and having the right tools for the job.

Good health is a balancing act that requires eating the right foods, getting the right amount of exercise and quality sleep each night. Once you have your health under control you’ll feel great and everything in your life will be enjoyable.

Warning! Tracking your rides and data can be addicting and have serious side effects of making you very healthy.