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The Latest
Published Tuesday Apr 21, 2020 by Garmin

Advice from Garmin: Taking Care of Your Physical and Mental Health in Uncertain Times

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Now, more than ever, it’s important for us to band together and support one another. And investing in your well-being can help improve mood and maintain a sense of normalcy in times that are really not normal at all. That's why we've teamed up with Garmin to create a list of tips to help you maintain physical and mental health at home.


Staying Active

The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic activity, or a combination of both, preferably spread throughout the week. With all of us cooped in our homes and apartments, it can be difficult to achieve these targets. With that limitation, we have a few ways to keep moving and stay active. 

Yoga helps you destress and focus on breathing. Book virtual yoga on the Mindbody app!

Pilates helps you maintain flexibility, strength, balance and body awareness. Book virtual Pilates on the Mindbody app! 

Treadmill running gets your legs moving and your heart rate up. You can switch it up with speed intervals, incline and decline, side steps and more. 

Indoor cycling lets you break a sweat and connect with a virtual community. Book virtual cycling on the Mindbody app!

Outdoor walking and running helps you connect with nature and boost your immune system.

Partner workouts with a spouse or housemate are a fun, stress-free way to stay motivated and connected. 

In-home challenges such as going up and down steps, laps around the living room or hide-and-seek keep the whole family moving. 

Set up virtual challenges with your friends and family to engage from a distance, such as seeing who can do the most push-ups or hold a plank longer. 

Try dance cleaning to bring fun and cardio to your chores. Turn on your favorite tunes and dance around while you clean every part of your home. 

Create your own scavenger hunt with household items. Make it a little more challenging with clues. 

Work out with your kids or pets… literally. Do goblet squats while holding your toddler or bench press your poodle. 


If you have a Garmin Venu, vívoactive 4/4S or fēnix 6, you can download premade, step-by-step workouts here. 


  

Stress 

Stress is not just a vague feeling of being overwhelmed, anxious, or exhausted. It’s a physiological phenomenon that can be observed and measured. When you are under physical, mental, or emotional stress, your body releases a complex mix of hormones and chemicals. This release can cause several reactions, such as increased blood pressure, heart rate, and muscle tension.  When stress becomes chronic, it can lead to both mental and physical issues.  

Most Garmin smartwatches measure stress levels based on heart rate variability. If your Garmin device detects periods of high stress, you’ll be prompted to do a guided breathing exercise to help reduce tension, relieve tension and relax.

 

Sleep

Sleep is essential to maintaining your health.  It’s been shown to increase productivity, lower weight gain risk, and affect your immune system. Most adults need seven to eight hours of good sleep each night, while teenagers need nine to ten hours. School-aged children may need ten or more hours of sleep each night.

Advanced Sleep Monitoring on Garmin devices measures total hours of sleep, as well as classification of sleep stages: light, deep, REM, and awake periods. To help improve your sleep, experts recommend sticking to a consistent sleep schedule, avoiding heavy meals within a couple hours of bedtime, and reducing overall stress. Knowing how well you’re sleeping and following these guidelines can not only improve your sleep, but also improve your overall health. 


Garmin devices are great tools to help you stay on top of your health while you’re at home, with features to help you keep moving and track your health stats. Find the perfect one for you here! 

While everyone is doing their part to stay isolated and maintain social distancing, remember that we’re all in this together. Whether you follow these tips or have some creative ideas of your own, we hope you all stay safe, healthy and connected during this time. 

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About the author
Garmin makes products that are engineered on the inside for life on the outside. They do this so their customers can make the most of the time they spend pursuing their passions.
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The Latest
Published Tuesday May 19, 2020 by Shanila Sattar

Top Breathing Exercises for Anxiety and Depression and The New Normal

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Inhale. 
 
 
Have you been feeling it? The big emotion floating around the last few weeks is the Big Anxiety. Coupled with the stress of what the COVID-19 pandemic has bought for millions of people, disturbed wellness routines, and worry, we have a recipe to create massive damage to ourselves. 
 
 
Exhale. 
 
 
Adjusting to the new normal, with social distancing practices in place and adapting to precautions and routines, may be the root of even more anxiousness for many as we’re navigating uncharted territories.  


Long-term anxiety and stress can harm our bodies 

During times of high stress, our bodies experience a physiological strain, where essentially everything from our heart, muscles, blood, and energy have to work harder than needed in order to keep functioning at a minimum. Our body’s natural processes, like breathing, can get compromised, lessening the healing functions of the nervous system, and overworking our adrenal system. Stress management is almost non-existent. This overtaxing of the body disrupts the natural flow of energy and resources, and puts us in something known as the “fight or flight” mode. In this mode, we are constantly deciding if there is some kind of real danger and how to survive it. We feel these signals when our heart rate and blood pressure rise, our stress responses like sweating and either constricted or super fast breathing occur, and our feel-good hormones become compromised. 
  
As we process anxiety, not only do we mentally and emotionally feel the repercussions, we also physically confuse our systems that are doing their best to naturally heal us. Staying in a state of continued anxiety with an overactive sympathetic nervous system can be incredibly damaging to your health, even if it is a small amount of stress that collects over time. Stress suppresses our immunity, digestion, deep breathing, disrupts sleep, and eating patterns, impacts mood, energy levels, and much more.  


We are holding our breath

Studies show that over 50% of adults are essentially holding their breaths. They do a shallow type of breathing known as thoracic breathing, where you breathe lightly into your chest instead of into your diaphragm. For example, notice how you’re breathing right now. You’re likely holding your breath to some extent and you’re probably not breathing much at all. If you’re asked to partake in a deep breathing exercise now, you’ll puff up your chest and shoulders, and empty out your stomach. Guilty? 
  
If you’ve ever seen a baby breathe or the breathing technique of someone in deep sleep, you’ll notice that their bellies rise and fall; the oxygen goes directly into a natural deep belly breath. Adults, however, have become acclimated to holding our breaths without meaning to. When we can slow down and practice deep breathing, we send physical and neurological signals through our entire body that asks us to rest.  


Breathing exercises can reduce stress and anxiety

The great news is that there are easy breathing exercises we can do at home that do not take a lot of time or effort. An incredible tool that anyone can use in times of high stress is remembering to inhale and exhale. Yes, breathing. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention also recommended breathwork not simply as an immunity building tool, but as a way to balance emotional and mental wellbeing. Deep breathing and other breathwork improves the body’s overall functions; improves the respiratory system, builds protective mucus in the nose, oxygenates and blood and brain, improves digestion, alkalizes the full body, and much more. Each style of breathwork sends special physiological signals—some ask us our bodies to slow down and chill, to get out of fight mode, and bring us back to equilibrium where our body’s natural healing systems can be activated; some styles of breathwork ask to pump up and energize


Top breathing exercises to reduce anxiety and stress 

It’s common to find yourself rushing through breathing practices or feel like you need to set aside special time for it. But that’s the point. We get to slow down, and we get to implement these practices even if there are distractions, business, and no perfect zen meditation corners in our homes. We can do these anytime, anywhere. 
  
If you’ve been feeling any small symptoms of anxiousness or stress, now is the perfect time to incorporate some incredibly easy and effective breathwork techniques into your day-to-day. 


Belly breathing 

This breathing technique can be done at any time of the day, for as long as you want. It’s recommended to practice this for at least 30 seconds to start and several times throughout the day. It’s a breath technique to practice before going to sleep as well. As you’re doing this breath, imagine your stomach like a big pump. As you breathe in, you’re expanding; as you breathe out, you’re emptying out. 

1. Put your hands on your belly/abdomen area. 
 
 

2. Take a big breath through the nose and PUSH your hands away from the belly as you breathe in. Expand your stomach as much as possible and try not to puff up your chest. 
 
 

3. Slowly exhale through the mouth and constrict your belly inwards. Feel free to make a sound with the mouth when you do this.  
 
 

4. Repeat for a minimum of 30 seconds. 
 
 
  
  

6-7-8 Breath 

The 6-7-8 breath can be done at any time of the day to calm anxiousness and stress, especially before doing to sleep. It’s a self-soothing technique that helps relax and calm the nervous system. You can do this practice sitting up or laying down.  
  
1. Close down your eyes. 
 
 

2. Relax your mouth. 
 
 

3. Take a deep breath in through your nose for 6 full seconds. Count in your head and maintain an even pace. 
 
 

4. Hold this breath for 7 seconds. 
 
 

5. Pucker your mouth and exhale out through the mouth with a “whoooooossh” sound for 8 seconds. 
 
 

6. Repeat this 6-7-8 breath for at least 5 rounds, or as long as you wish. 
 
 


You can adjust the 6-7-8 counts to accommodate your pace. You can try a 4-5-6 sequence, or an 8-9-10 sequence. Play around with the length of time that feels good for your body. Some people love to sit by an analog clock for the ticking sound to help keep pace; some love to incorporate music. 


The Box Breath 

This is another easy technique that can be done at any time of the day. 

1. Breathe in for 4 seconds through the nose. 
 
 

2. Hold for 4 seconds. 
 
 

3. Exhale for 4 seconds through the nose. 
 
 

4. Hold for 4 seconds. 
 
 

5. Repeat at least 5 times. 
 
 

You can play around with the timing for 6 seconds, 8 seconds, and so on to see what works best for your body.

These are the top three breathwork techniques to manage anxiety and stress. Plenty of other techniques work on sleep, inner healing, subconscious programming, altered states of consciousness, and more. Play with the three techniques above and see what feels great for you. It’s common to find a sense of calm almost immediately, some gentle tingling, and relaxation! As we’re adjusting to the new normal, let’s all contribute to creating peace both inside and out. 

If you'd like to try a guided breathwork class with me, click here to find one that works with your schedule! For other breathwork classes, browse Mindbody

Shanila Sattar
Written by
Shanila Sattar
Founder, AlwaysPlay Studios
About the author
Shanila is a sound healer, breathwork coach, women’s researcher, and speaker. She trains sound healers and breathwork facilitators through her mobile studio, AlwaysPlay Studios, and is the founder of the Integrative Wellness Leaders based in Los Angeles. She practices integrative wellness - considering a person's emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual wellbeing. Her background is in tech, having co-founded an award-winning web agency, and in women’s research, specifically in mindsets, implicit bias, perfectionism, women's health, and societal experiences supported through the National Science Foundation, National Institute of Health, and several universities. She has implemented several health and wellbeing programs in underserved populations throughout Los Angeles. Shanila mentors women who are wellness entrepreneurs and on their confidence journey.