Category: Dave Pflieger

Dave Pflieger Presents: Travel Inspiration

I’ve had the pleasure and oppourtunity to travel to some incredible places and decided to share some of my favorite travel quotes here with photos from my travels to help inspire you guys to get out there!


Dave Pflieger | Travel Inspiration by DavePflieger

10 Natural Sleep Remedies

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Coffee and other caffeinated beverages can be a godsend, but they can only promise to energize one so much. For the restless and sleepless, the central nervous system stimulant will deliver a sufficiently energy boost before concluding with an inevitable crash Fortunately, there are numerous natural remedies to deal with profound exhaustion and restlessness.

Reports show that we’re getting far less sleep than we were just three decades ago, most Americans acquiring an average of about 6.7 hours of sleep during any given weekday. This escalating trend of American being tired seems tireless. National Sleep Foundation has confirmed that the number of people getting eight hours or more is dwindling, leading to stress, which is associated with sleep deprivation, anxiety, depression, and sleeplessness. December 2013, Gallup communicated that 40 percent of Americans get less than the recommended amount of sleep.

Serotonin, melatonin, 5-hydroxy L-Tryptophan (5-HTP), and tryptophan are necessary for the body’s biological clock to run smoothly and for a restful night’s sleep. Interruptions to that conversion of serotonin into melatonin mean less time resting in your cozy bed and more time obsessing over why others are getting more rest than you. The following natural remedies should help with that:

Turn off the Lights: It’s a fact that our bodies are programmed to produce higher levels of melatonin when it is dark, lessening when there is light. So, you’ll be better able to sleep if there are no lights and no screens.

Drink Tart Cherry Juice: Cherry juice is a natural sleep aid that’s filled with tryptophan, which is an essential amino acid. It’s the only amino acid that can convert serotonin into melatonin, which helps prompts drowsiness, lowers the body temperature, and syncs the central nervous system to the biological clock. But remember lights off. This process is inhibited by light.

Valerian: The roots of the Valerian plant can be used as a sleep aid and a sedative. It manages to regulate the action of nerve cells, offering a calming effect by increasing the GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid),.

Consider Feng Shui: So much more than rearranging your space to look appealing, rearranging a space maximizes the flow of good energy and it can lead to a restful night’s sleep. The bed should be easily accessible from all sides, the air in the room should be kept pure, natural light should be allowed in, the bed should be positioned so that it faces the door, and the room should be kept clear of clutter.

Acupuncture: The traditional form of Chinese medicine has long been considered an important healing practice in the world. The insertion of thin needs can open up blocked channels, and signal the release of neuroendocrine chemicals, which helps you to fall asleep.

Remove Your T.V. From the Bedroom: Simple as that. Remove your T.V., which distracts you from receiving the luxurious sleep that you absolutely deserve.

Warm Bath: A few drops of aromatic essential oils added to a tube of warm water can help to wash away the day’s stress. So, you may want to relax into a pool of sudsy water to ease your mind ahead of sleep.

Set A Schedule: If you relax into a schedule it will be easier for you to transition from being awake to being asleep because your body craves ritual. Meditate every night, drink tea every night or read a passage from a good book every night.

Chow Down On a Banana: Bananas aren’t only delicious, but they contain tryptophan, and potassium and magnesium as well, which is just excellent. Magnesium helps to relax your muscles.

Eat Healthy Carbs: This doesn’t mean you should run for the pasta with a side of garlic bread. Instead eat apples and veggies loaded with carbs, such as corn, carrots, and apples. Carbs and the release of insulin make it easier for tryptophan to cross the barrier into the cerebrospinal fluid.

Some other tips include making a lavender sleep sachet, sipping chamomile, using lemon balm, drink down some hops (not in the form of beer), sip warm milk, try a sleep mask, and create a sleeping schedule. The Sleep Cycle app, which is an alarm clock that tracks your sleep patterns and wakes you during the light sleep, is yet another response to the sleep deprivation experienced by the public.

Getting Well

Stress usually isn’t a good thing. Excessive stressors can lead to a number of ailments such as heart disease, obesity, and mental health issues. Naturally, employers should be doing the best they can in offering programs or resources to reduce the amount of stress. At the end of the day, what may seem like a waste of money on employees could be what keeps them happy, focused, and productive— all good things for a company.

NPR, in conjunction with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health, released a poll that found 57% of the surveyed who worked 50+ hour weeks felt that “their job had a bad impact on their stress level”. The poll also found high numbers of workers who felt it negatively impacted sleep and eating habits, too. However, there was some good news: just over half (51%) of respondents indicated that their employers had a wellness or health improvement program in place.

The plans themselves vary. Forbes published a list of the 10 most and least common health and wellness programs that employers provide, and there seems to be a divide between resource-based initiative and material help. For instance, the most common programs include wellness resources and info, access to a wellness publication, and the vague “wellness programs” general. Other programs— like subsidized gym equipment nap rooms, and vegetable gardens,—are far less traditional, although a small number of companies do offer them.

But even though more companies are offering these health programs, less than 40 percent of individuals are actually enrolled in them. That shouldn’t stop employers from offering the programs because these measures do save companies money. Those higher stress levels can translate into illness, and at the end of the day those rising healthcare costs become the employer’s issue.

Another simple measure companies can take to improve employee wellness is keeping better tabs on workloads and expectations. Downsizing may make a company feel like it is becoming more efficient, but the extra workload employees receive can have stress-related consequences. Part of the reason that so much paid time off goes on used is because employees feel that their workload won’t allow them to step away from the desk.

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Image courtesy of Flickr.

Making sure employees can use their vacation days should be a priority. After time away, you feel refreshed and can approach work with a renewed vim and vigor. If that weren’t enough of a reason, all that unused vacation time costs American businesses billions of dollars.

3 Ways to Improve Sleep Quality

It goes without saying that sleep is super-connected to wellness.  Well, no— it’s more than super-connected, the two are interdependent.

dave-pflieger-man-909049_960_720More interestingly, when you think about it, it is quite amazing that the simple act of doing nothing is one of, it not the most important, things you can do during your day-to-day. So, if you’re finding your waking hours suffering and constantly in need of a pickup, there’s a good chance that sleep quality is something you need to improve. Given that fact, here are three things you can do to improve the quality of your virtually invaluable sleep.

During the Day, DO.

Have you ever been totally exhausted and finally lie down to rest, only to be amazed at how well you slept? It’s just easier for us to fall asleep when we’re actually tired. Making yourself tired by the end of the day is as simple as getting active. Make it a habit to exercise. You’ll get a mood boost when you finish, but when you expend all that energy in a healthy way, your body just can’t wait to get it back. Sleep will fall over you in an instant!

Meditate

It can be pretty tough to sleep when you’re stressed about work, relationships, or even what you’re going to cook for dinner in the evening. Going to bed with a heavy mind can really impact your sleep quality, and when you awake those thoughts may still be there. Remember to take it one day at a time, and try some form of meditation to clear your mind. From reflecting on everything you’re thankful for, to focusing on your breath, there are countless ways to practice meditation and many resources available to help you get started.

Start an Evening Routine

Yes, it’s elementary, but sticking to an evening routine that works for you can be relaxing and will condition your body to know when sleep is coming. Better still, your evening routine can involve something you actually enjoy. Maybe it can even be a part of a longtime goal. Want to read more? Nestle in with a book for an hour every night. Trying to refine your writing skills? Start a journal! The only thing I’d avoid is anything that has to do with screens. Electronic light before bed can have negative effects on sleep, and that would defeat the point of starting a routine in the first place!

Easy HIIT

The benefits of high intensity interval training (HIIT) are well known. But as beneficial as it may be for your overall level of fitness, there is no denying that it is, well, hard!

It’s particularly grueling for beginners, or people in poor physical condition. So what if there were a way to replicate all the benefits of HIIT in an easy manner; in a schedule anyone can stick to?

Turns out that a team of researchers in Denmark may have the answer: They call it 30-20-10 training. It’s a type of interval dave-pflieger-runners-373099_960_720training that is as simple as it sounds. But beware: it can really wear you out!

Here’s how it works. After a warmup, jog at your leisurely pace for 30 seconds. Next, kick it up to a run for 20 seconds. Finally, in the 50th second of the minute, do an all-out sprint for 10 seconds. That final sprint is truly what this workout it all about, so don’t skimp on it. Really, everything hinges on how fast you can go in those ten seconds.

One minute completes one cycle. After five minutes of this training, take a two minute rest and do it again. The whole workout should only be about 20 minutes, including warmup and cool down. Not bad!

Of course, you should check with your doctor before starting a new program. Don’t be fooled by its short time. Just like any other HIIT circuit, this one is intense!

Bike Shares— Safer than You Think

It’s a fine assumption that Bike Share programs are a win-win for all parties involved, sentient and otherwise. The people participating in them are able to stay active, while the planet gets a break from the carbon emissions we’ve come to expect from passenger vehicles. That narrative— that Bike Shares are good for the environment and keep people active in the face of rising rates of obesity and weight-related chronic illnesses— has long been championed by advocates of such programs.

And now, as if there were need for another good reason to participate, there is another justification for this kind of program. Bike Shares, it turns out, are safer than other means of transportation. Not in the sense that they’re necessarily safer than walking, or driving, or using public transit; but in that bike shares are safer than the bike you have in your garage (though, if we’re being honest, garages and Bike Shares really aren’t found in the same city).

Aarian Marshall of City Lab set out to explore why Bike Share programs are safer, and came across several interesting studies and data. The first reason may be the most obvious: design. When you first looked at a Bike Share bicycle, were you no doubt taken aback by how, well, bulky the thing was? It’s thick, heavy, and some would say unwieldy. And they have to be— with programs like Washington, D.C.’s exceeding 5 million riders, the bicycles need to be able to take a beating. All that extra weight slows down the bike, and the reduced speeds associated with them may an added safety bonus. Also, there’s an idea that bike share riders may be more careful than when they ride their own personal bikes. After all we tend to (or should!) be more careful when using a piece of equipment that isn’t ours.

Another reason Aarian highlighted was that the bikes in Bike Share programs are usually painted with easy-to-see bright colors and they light up at night.

Marshall’s article also pointed out the irony inherent in bike helmet laws – these laws don’t result in lower hospitalization rates for helmet users. Put simply, while bike helmets are great to be wearing if you find yourself in a collision, they don’t actually prevent collisions. But I’m sure you knew that already. What is much more interesting, though, is that mandatory helmet laws do reduce the number of bike trips taken. It’s easy to see how a city can hype up fewer bike collisions because of their helmet laws. Yeah, there aren’t as many crashes… because fewer people are riding. How do you make cycling truly safe? By creating bike lanes and other bicycle friendly infrastructure.

Bike helmet laws aside, the bottom line with Bike Share programs is that hey are a huge leap forward in the journey towards sustainable and cleaner living. It’s also keeping us safer in more ways than one,

5 Healthy Resolutions for the New Year

It’s the new year and that means that it’s time for the new year’s resolutions to be made and then broken within the span of a few weeks. The sad truth is that many people don’t follow through with their resolutions, regardless of how well-meaning they may be. That being said, here are 5 of the healthiest resolutions for men out there. Good luck sticking to them!health and wellness

  1. Get fit and in shape: This is the standard new year’s resolution — the nebulous and esoteric “get in better shape”. That being said, this is a great one to work towards and everyone should try to be healthier. Don’t just focus on weights though; make sure that you include cardio into your exercise routine for a balanced workout.
  2. Watch what you eat: Instead of eating just meat and potatoes (probably the most stereotypical “manly” food there is), try to eat a balanced diet. Not only will this help you lose weight and look better, but you’ll also just be healthier and happier. I bet there are nutrients you’re currently missing out on that you didn’t even know about.
  3. Go to the doctor: There is no pride to be gained from getting sick just because you didn’t feel like you needed to go to the doctor. If you feel as though something is wrong, don’t try to just shake it off. Go to a professional and make sure that it is taken care of.
  4. Quit smoking: While it’s common knowledge that smoking is bad for you, addiction doesn’t pay attention to logic. Quitting smoking is the first step towards a healthier you and you’ll see the benefits across all aspects of your life, especially when you’re able to breath easier.
  5. Ease your stress: Stress is a killer and a leading cause of both unhappiness and unhealthiness. One of the first things you can do to get yourself on the right health track is to find ways to healthily mitigate and get rid of the stress in your life.

All of these resolutions are obviously easier said than done. That being said, once you get started on them you’ll notice an active difference in your quality of life and health. That will make it even easier to continue! If you’d like to read more, the link is here.

5 Tips for Packing a Healthy Lunch

How many times have you complained to yourself about not bringing a healthy, packed lunch to work? I know the feeling — I’m sure that everyone knows that feeling well. Below are five tips to help make packing lunch easier and not an experience that deserves avoidance and excuses. Getting lunch delivered to your office or from a place nearby is an easy and mindless habit to fall into without even noticing. Even when you try to order healthy (such as salad), the reality is that it will never be as healthy as something you prepare yourself.salad, sandwich, wellness, healthy eating

  1. Plan ahead: One of the best things about getting delivery or takeout at work is the minimal amount of effort required to feed yourself — one of the main issues with preparing a packed lunch. Plan ahead and prepare all of the necessary ingredients and packing items so that you can cut down on the work you need to do. Cook enough food to have leftovers for the next day or dedicate an evening to preparing lunches in advance; just plan ahead!
  2. Keep it simple: Healthy doesn’t have to mean complicated. Keep simple healthy ingredients on hand so that you can whip up simple and healthy meals without needing to think so hard.
  3. Add variety: They say that variety is the spice of life and healthy food has the potential for so much variety! Avoid getting bored of your lunch by paying special attention towards trying new recipes and using new flavors in interesting ways. There are so many delicious ways to eat healthy — can you find them all?
  4. Partner up: They say that misery love company! That’s a joke! But seriously though, company makes everything better and that includes eating healthy and packing lunch. Get your partner or spouse to join you in preparing lunches for the week. Turn it into a fun bonding ritual that also helps keep you in better shape.
  5. Stock up at work: Do you like snacking at work? Stock your desk with healthy snacks and options so that you can pack less for lunch and just supplement your lunch with snacks throughout the day.

These are just five ways to make packing lunch easier than it is. Use these tips to double down on your healthy routine and keep moving towards the improved you that you’re aiming for! Click here for the article.

How to Deal with Stress in the Workplace

Dave Pflieger Wellness in the WorkplaceThe stress Americans feel every day can be largely attributed to the pressures and demands of the workplace. Every company should ask itself if it doesnt enough for its employees to assure a positive work atmosphere. Labor itself, along with limited body movement (being sedentary for long periods of time), and a strenuous work environment are all factors that contribute to feelings of tension and general negativity. Of course, over time, stressors begin to take a toll on employee happiness and productivity. It is a company’s responsibility to provide a satisfying work environment for those who work for its success. So, doesn’t it make sense for a company to supply its employees with its own form of stress-reducing exercises and wellness plans?

Roughly one in ten companies, only, has spent time designing a comprehensive wellness program for its employees, offering employees methods for stress reduction including yoga classes, meditative techniques and exercise. Beyond this, companies can introduce educational seminars and more long-term programs to advocate healthy practices. A few companies offer weight-loss and cholesterol management programs, healthy meals in vending machines and cafeterias, and even classes to help quit smoking. This is an intelligent way of addressing the many facets of a single issue: many workers smoke and overeat directly because of the stress they feel. Lowering stress helps twofold. Many of these programs raise feelings of positivity, well-being, and belonging, and inspire group activities, which means group progress. Members of a group do well to inspire each other to work for and maintain good habits. Aspects of a program can be as simple as reiterating good sleep and hygiene patterns. Often, it takes only a reminder and some repetition to instill values pertinent to good health, and one advocate often contagiously affects others around him with good habits.

Healthier workers simply feel better about what they do, and are more likely to come to work with a smile on their face than workers who feel they must sacrifice their priority on health for the sake of their employer. One company, Draper Inc. exceeded any expectations by organizing a team-based weight-loss program and awarding the winning team a prize for its success. What’s more is Draper honors employees monthly who display and encourage healthy lifestyles. It’s no surprise, Drape saw increased worker satisfaction and productivity. Other examples of going beyond the base level would be offering classes that help workers develop new skill, for example, cooking, music appreciation, or learning new computer applications. These give employees a chance to communicate and share experiences with each other in a different light. Positive feelings between co-workers engenders a free and transparent workplace, which helps all to feel more comfortable, appreciated, and motivated to work.

A company’s care for its employees is evident in all aspects of its conduct. Companies must understand their own culture to know how employees feel belonging to them. Jason Lang of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention expresses that a company’s concern for its employees’ wellness should be evident in everything the company does. Wellness is, ultimately, a question of lifestyle choices not of occasional beneficial activity. A company truly succeeds if it can make its impact last outside of the workplace.

 

A Breakfast Worth Waking Up For

Dave Pflieger Breakfast

We’ve all heard it: breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It starts you off with high energy, an alert mind, and a general feeling of well-being. Starting your day on the right side of the bed makes adapting to daily demands much easier and you’ll be thankful you have the fuel to power you through a difficult morning.

But what’s the right thing to have for breakfast? How do put together the right meal? Is there something light enough to not bog us down for the hours after, but substantial enough to keep us energized?

Most experts agree that eliminating simple sugars and instead eating foods high in protein and complex carbohydrates is the way to go. This means no partaking in iconic traditions like pancakes and waffles, and you’ll want to skip that side of bacon with the omelette.

One classic combination that has become a recent trend is a bowl of greek yogurt with fruit and granola. Greek yogurt provides a substantial amount of protein while fruit adds a series of vitamins and minerals that are difficult to find elsewhere. They are also low in fat and do not add any extra cholesterol to your diet. (Certain fruit like avocado mimic the nutritional value of nuts—reputably high in protein, fiber, and good fats—and makes it easy to switch out certain fruits and nuts for others.) With the sheer number of granolas and nuts available on the market and the colorful variety of fruits, it’s easy to form a reliable and healthy habit that never becomes monotonous. Switch up your fruits, switch up your nuts. Just make sure to avoid nuts that are cooked in oils or are otherwise flavored as they often carry unwanted extras like sugars and saturated fat.

Another excellent option for protein is the egg. Eggs are a staple breakfast food ranking as one of the most nutritious foods out there. Authority Nutrition says it better than anyone: “A whole egg contains all the nutrients required to turn a single cell into a baby chicken.” Loaded with proteins, fats, and vitamins, the egg is indubitably the most well-rounded single contributor to a healthy breakfast. They also raise good cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. The versatility and ease in preparing eggs also makes them one of the more fun foods to eat. Omelettes, for example, open up many options as they can be carriers of meats, vegetables, and cheeses, and healthy fats like avocados.

Breakfast starts every day so try and start your day with positivity. Establishing a good routine doesn’t mean leaning on a boring routine. The variety of fruits and nuts and egg preparations gives you endless options for creative cooking. Enjoy!