A Kale, Quinoa, and Blueberry Superfood Salad

Adapted from Urban Picnic and Epicurious

INGREDIENTS

For salad
1 cup quinoa (I used Alter Eco Royal Black Quinoa)
1 bunch dino kale, washed and chopped (about 2 cups)
1 medium carrot, grated
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup blueberries, washed
Toasted seaweed, such as nori, sliced thinly (I used 5 sheets of Annie Chun’s Sesame Seaweed Snacks)

For dressing
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon honey or brown sugar
1 tablespoon peeled and minced ginger
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon water

DIRECTIONS

  1. Prepare quinoa according to package instructions. Set aside to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, make the dressing by combining all ingredients into a blender and processing until smooth. Pour into a small jar with lid and set aside.
  3. Combine 1 tablespoon of dressing with the sliced kale in a large bowl, mix to coat leaves evenly, and set aside.
  4. When quinoa is cool, add to kale along with blueberries, almonds, carrot, and tomatoes. Mix to combine, adding more dressing if desired. Top with sliced noriand serve. Save any remaining dressing for later. Makes three servings of salad and approximately 10 tablespoons of dressing.

Salad without dressing


Salad dressing (per tablespoon)



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Quinoa Egg Bake With Thyme and Garlic

 

For the ultimate morning starter, this recipe combines two superproteins: quinoa and eggs. The quinoa serves as a crust while providing 12 grams of complete protein per half-cup, while each egg offers seven grams of protein You’ll even get your iron and calcium from the spinach and milk in this tasty recipe. Make this quinoa egg bake on a Sunday, and you’ll have breakfast (at under 250 calories per square) for the whole workweek.

 

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If you’re cooking this recipe as part of the Get Fit 2015 meal plan, serve with half a grapefruit or one cup cut fresh fruit with one-quarter cup Greek yogurt.

 

INGREDIENTS

1 teaspoon butter or butter substitute
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
8 eggs
1 1/4 cup nonfat milk
1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon thyme, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 cups packed baby spinach, roughly chopped
1 cup finely shredded romano or parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-by-8-inch glass or metal baking dish with butter; set aside.
  2. Put quinoa into a fine-mesh strainer and rinse under cold running water until water runs clear; drain well.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, garlic, thyme, salt, pepper, and quinoa. Stir in spinach, then pour mixture into prepared dish.
  4. Cover tightly with foil then jiggle dish gently from side to side so that quinoa settles on the bottom in an even layer. Bake until just set, about 45 minutes.
  5. Remove foil and sprinkle top evenly with cheese. Return to oven and bake, uncovered, until golden brown and crisp, 10 to 15 minutes more.
  6. Set aside to let cool briefly, then slice and serve.

Source: Calorie Count

Our 10 Favorite Quotes of the Year

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by Emily Thomas

Not to make any of you feel panicky, but…2015 is only a few hours away! As it often happens when the year draws to a close, it’s hard to believe that it’ almost over.

As the new year quickly approaches, it’s good to look back on 2014 and reflect on how we can take our careers and our lives to another level. One of the best ways to inspire you to go after your dreams is to surround yourself and fill your mind with positive words of affirmation. Below are a list of quotes that will inspire you to make the most out of your personal and professional life in 2015.

(All of the people mentioned in the article can be found on social media. Connect with them for more inspiration in 2015!)

1. “Try to divorce being creative from being adored.” –Benjamin Heath (@bennie)

Lesson: It’s easy to want to do what everyone else likes or is gravitating toward. It’s also easy to get discouraged when not everyone likes our ideas, but that doesn’t mean you should stop original thinking. Sometimes the bravest thing you can do is go out on a limb alone.

2. “If you aren’t stoked about the journey, you probably won’t be excited about the destination. Live the magic every day.” –Paige Overturf (@paigeoverturf)

Lesson: So often we get caught up in the idea that our lives will be better once we have certain things or achieve certain things. “I’ll be happier when I’m skinny,” or “I’ll be happier when I get a raise,” or “I’ll be happier when he/she likes me.” The truth is, that in order to be truly happy, it has to start from the present. Be happy where you’re at now, you’ll appreciate things more.

3. “Never ever let someone make you feel less than awesome. You are awesome if you want to be.” –Stephanie Be (@StephBeTravel)

Lesson: In 2015 I urge you to rid yourself of anyone in your life who doesn’t make you feel appreciated. Life is too short to spend it with people who don’t see your value.

4. “Whether it’s sharing your art, thoughts, knowledge, passions, love, (and the list goes on and on)–whatever you do, don’t hold back.” –Brenna Nickels (@brenna_marriie)

Lesson: Don’t ever hold back from showing the world your true colors. You have a voice that deserves to be heard.

5. “Always go the distance to affirm and love someone who has opened up in vulnerability and weakness to you.” –Chase Blood (@chaseblood)

Lesson: It takes insane courage to be vulnerable with other people. If someone in your professional life or personal life opens up to you about an idea or a personal thought, always give them your full attention.

6. “Make life your passion project. Never stop learning, growing, and exploring. Life’s too short to not make it the best story you’ve ever told.” –Patrick Moreau (@Stillmotion)

Lesson: Life’s too short to not be doing or putting your energy into things you aren’t passionate about. Ask yourself if what you’re doing currently aligns with the person you want to be. If your answer is no, it’s important to readjust and realign your current situation.

7. ”Don’t ever let setbacks derail your dreams. We’re driven not by our successes or achievements, but by our ability to overcome obstacles.” –Caulin Grant (@caulingrant)

Lesson: On the road to success, there will always be small setbacks. Whether it’s someone or something rejecting us, or having to make small changes, it’s those setbacks that strengthen who we are and shape our personalities.

8. “If you don’t live out your dreams, someone else will make you live theirs.”–Jefte Sanchez (@JefteSanchez)

Lesson: You have to have the courage and bravery to go after what you want in your personal and professional life. You won’t get what you want out of life if you’re too afraid to stand up and be bold. Chase your dreams, don’t follow the footprints of others.

9. “Wherever it may be, find the place that renews your sense of wonder.” –Victoria Wright (@Veekster)

Lesson: Whether it’s your favorite hike, a seaside dock, or your couch–find the place that restores your sanity. Going after goals/dreams can be draining when you’re working hard. Finding the place that restores your sanity is essential to keep your creativity flowing.

10. “One of the greatest gifts we could possibly possess, is the gift of possibility. Knowing that the future holds hope and better days… gives new found energy to seize today.”–Dmitry Shpak (@iamshpak)

Lesson: The possibility and opportunity to succeed is one of our greatest assets. As we continue to move forward to 2015 and chase bigger goals and dreams, everything we build today could lead us to something greater.

And a bonus for extra inspiration:

11. “If you don’t give it your all, why try at all? Do what you love, love what you do.” –Kyle Kuiper (@kdkuiper)

Lesson: When going after your dreams, always put in your best effort. You won’t achieve the things you want by not giving your dreams and your goals your all. When looking at where you were struggling in the past, ask yourself if there’s a way you can step up in 2015, you won’t regret it!

SPICY ROASTED BRUSSELS SPROUTS

One good reason to eat your vegetables

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Fact: Brussels sprouts have made a comeback. And if they’re good enough to serve at restaurants across the country, then they’re good enough to serve at dinner tonight. You just need the right recipe, and we’re here to help. In our version, we toss the sprouts with sweet honey and spicy hot sauce and roast them until caramelized. Another fact: You’ll be devouring this dish all winter long.

MAKES 4 TO 6 SIDE-DISH SERVINGS
START TO FINISH: 50 MINUTES

INGREDIENTS

1½ pounds brussels sprouts

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

¼ cup rice-wine vinegar

¼ cup honey

2 tablespoons Sriracha, or more to taste

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Trim the base away from the brussels sprouts and discard. Cut the sprouts in half.

2. In a large bowl, whisk the olive oil with the vinegar, honey and Sriracha to combine. Add the brussels sprouts and toss until they are fully coated. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

3. Spread the brussels sprouts on a baking sheet, cut sides down. Pour any extra olive-oil mixture onto the pan and tilt the pan around to distribute it.

4. Roast until the sprouts are crispy on the outside and golden and caramelized on the cut sides, 20 to 30 minutes. Serve immediately.

Oven Roasted Cauliflower

Forget florets–we’re roasting the whole cauliflower!!

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Roasted cauliflower? Been there, done that. But roasting a whole head of cauliflower? Now we’ve got your attention.

This recipe has you slathering cauliflower in a spicy yogurt marinade and roasting it at a high temperature.

The result is an amazingly delicious dish that’s as dramatic in presentation as it is easy in preparation.

Serve it with a big green salad (we suggest lime juice and olive oil for the dressing) for an easy weeknight supper or your next “the vegetarians are coming to dinner” party.

MAKES 6 SERVINGS
START TO FINISH: 1 HOUR

INGREDIENTS

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 head cauliflower

1½ cups plain Greek yogurt

1 lime, zested and juiced

2 tablespoons chile powder

1 tablespoon cumin

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon curry powder

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat the oven to 400° and lightly grease a small baking sheet with vegetable oil. Set aside.

2. Trim the base of the cauliflower to remove any green leaves and the woody stem.

3. In a medium bowl, combine the yogurt with the lime zest and juice, chile powder, cumin, garlic powder, curry powder, salt and pepper.

4. Dunk the cauliflower into the bowl and use a brush or your hands to smear the marinade evenly over its surface. (Excess marinade can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to three days and used with meat, fish or other veggies.)

5. Place the cauliflower on the prepared baking sheet and roast until the surface is dry and lightly browned, 30 to 40 minutes. The marinade will make a crust on the surface of the cauliflower.

6. Let the cauliflower cool for 10 minutes before cutting it into wedges and serving alongside a big green salad.

The Fountain of Youth

Turns out the sought-after magic elixir has been right under our noses.  I’m talking about water. Pure, simple water.

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Before you scoff at this idea, check if you’re dehydrated. Sadly as much as 75% of adults suffer from mild, chronic dehydration, a condition that dramatically works against your weight loss efforts.

Here is why water consumption must be at the top of your list in your quest for a fit, healthy and athletic body…

Water does all that?

Though you probably don’t think about it often, water is the most essential element, next to air, to your survival.

The simple combination of two parts hydrogen, one part oxygen makes up more than two thirds of your body and is involved in a host of bodily functions that we routinely take for granted.

Just to name a few:

Water works to regulate the thermal condition of your body

Water serves as a lubricant in your joints

Water helps flush toxins from your blood

Water gives your skin a clear, glowing complexion

Water assists with digestion, pulling all the usable nutrients out of foods

Water aides in disease prevention (Drinking 8 glasses a day has shown to reduce your chance of colon cancer by 45% and bladder cancer by 50%)

What about fitness and fat-loss?

You’ve probably heard that you need to drink plenty of water in order to drop weight, but did you ever wonder why?

What does water have to do with decreasing your calories and increasing your activity level in an effort to shed pounds?

1. Water is a natural appetite suppressant
Fill your stomach with a glass of water before each meal and you will find that you won’t eat as much. This also works on snacking throughout the day, keep hydrated all day long and watch as your desire to snack decreases.

2. Water increases your body’s ability to efficiently metabolize fat. This process begins with your kidneys receiving enough water to function at their peak, which in turn helps your liver reach optimal efficiency in removing toxins and waste from your blood. With your liver working at maximum capacity, fat will be metabolized at a higher rate. This means a decrease in your overall body fat. (And who doesn’t want that?)

3. Water is the perfect substitute for high calorie beverages. Want to super-charge your fitness results this summer? Well, this is the most effective way to utilize water toward your waist-shrinking efforts. Most of us consume more than our share of calorie-packed beverages. Smoothies, shakes, frozen mochas, soft drinks…you get the idea. When you trade your high calorie beverages in for a tall glass of water you will expedite your results in a major way.

The Other Side of the Story…
Now you know that drinking sufficient amounts of water will help you reach your fitness goals faster than ever, but you should also know that failing to drink enough water comes with serious consequences…

Your body will shift into “preserve” mode—which means you will store more fat.

Bodily functions will slow—leading to an overall decrease in energy levels.

Headaches will become an expected nuisance—your brain is over 70% water.

To avoid dehydration check out the following 5 Hydration Tips:

Hydration Tip #1
Caffeinated beverages—such as coffee, soft drinks or energy drinks—cause your body to lose water. After you enjoy a dose of caffeine replace the lost water by drinking 2 times that amount in water.

Hydration Tip #2
Add a slice of lemon to your water to spice things up.

Hydration Tip #3
Always carry water with you throughout your day—keep a bottle in the car, at your workplace and next to your bed.

Hydration Tip #4
Exercise and hot summer days both increase your body’s water requirements—make a mental note to drink before, during and after exercise or while out on a hot day.

Hydration Tip #5
Make it a habit to begin your day with a large glass of water then drink a glass before each meal and one between meals.

How to Lose Weight Safely and Permanently: 10 Best Exercises for Weight Loss

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There’s no getting around the fact that in order to lose weight safely and permanently, you need to eat healthy food and get plenty of exercise.

Exercising burns calories and builds muscle, which is essential for increasing your metabolism so that you can burn even more calories and lose more weight.

So dust off those workout clothes and pick one of these nine best exercises for weight loss to get started today on your path to a slimmer, healthier you.

1. Walking
Walking is an ideal exercise for weight loss: It doesn’t require any equipment, other than a decent pair of walking shoes, and you don’t need a gym membership to do it.

It’s a low-impact exercise, which means it won’t blow out your knees or cause other stress injuries that can leave you on the sidelines for weeks or even months.

For those with certain health issues, including obesity and heart disease, walking is an effective, low-intensity weight-loss activity that can lead to better overall health, as well as better mental wellbeing.

Depending on how much you weigh, walking at a pace of four miles per hour will burn between 5 and 8 calories every minute, or between 225 and 360 calories for a 45-minute walk.

At this pace, walking 45 minutes a day most days, you can lose up to a pound a week without changing any other habits.

So put on your walking shoes, turn on your iPod and go for a brisk stroll through the neighborhood. If you live close to where you work or shop, make walking your primary mode of transportation most days, and watch the pounds melt away. When the weather is bad, take to the local track or indoor mall, or hop on the treadmill.

2. Kettlebell

Kettlebells are cast iron balls fitted with a single handle. Unlike traditional handheld weights, the weight of the kettlebell isn’t evenly distributed, which means that your body has to work to stabilize you and counterbalance the weight of the ball.

Kettlebells provide for a hard-core workout that not only burns up to 400 calories in a mere 20 minutes, but also strengthens your core, improves balance and posture and targets all of the major muscle groups, as well as the stabilizing muscles.

Because kettlebell exercises involve the whole body, a kettlebell workout will rev up your metabolism to help your body burn fat faster, and it’ll get your heart pumping so that you get an aerobic workout as well. In fact, 20-minute kettlebell workout is similar to a six-mile run in terms of cardiovascular benefits and calories burned.

However, working successfully with kettlebells requires proper form to avoid injury and get the most benefit out of your workout. If you’re new to kettlebells, taking a class at your local gym will provide you with initial instruction about proper form and the safety guidelines you should follow when exercising with these heavy weights.

3. Swimming
Vigorous swimming can burn anywhere from 400 to 700 calories an hour. All types of swimming are effective for helping you shed pounds, from a front crawl to a breast stroke or even the dog paddle.

Swimming is a highly effective exercise for weight loss and toning. It’s one of the lowest-impact exercises out there, and it strengthens, tones and conditions your whole body.

It’s particularly ideal for women in their last trimester of pregnancy and individuals who battle with arthritis, obesity, and musculoskeletal conditions.

It’s also great for those who suffer from exercise-induced asthma, because the warm, moist air around the water helps keep the airways clear.

Many athletes use the pool as a cross-training tool, as well as to stay fit while rehabilitating an injury. When you’re neck-deep in water, your body is only bearing ten percent of its weight, and yet the water provides 12 times the resistance of air, making it ideal for strengthening and toning your muscles.

Swimming engages all of the major muscle groups, from your abdominals and back muscles to your arms, legs, hips and glutes. It effectively compliments other exercises, like running and walking, or it can be your sole form of fitness.

Don’t know how to swim? Not a problem. If you can propel yourself through the water from one end of the pool to the other, you can swim well enough to lose weight doing it.

4. Cycling
Bicycling is another low-impact, high-rewards activity for losing weight.

Cycling can burn anywhere from 372 to over 1,100 calories per hour, depending on your weight, your speed and the terrain you’re biking across.

Unlike running, cycling is easy on the joints, and even the most out-of-shape beginner can hop on a bicycle and ride several miles without feeling like they’ve just been through the wringer.

Outdoor cycling is best, because the varied terrain enables you to get a well-rounded workout that includes strengthening your lower body and getting a good cardiovascular workout.

If you live within biking distance of your job, cycling to work can stimulate endorphins and boost your metabolism for the day, as well as save you money on gas. If outdoor cycling is difficult or dangerous in your area, consider spinning.

Offered at most gyms, this group cycling activity is one of the lowest-impact classes offered, and yet it’s one of the most effective for burning calories and revving up your metabolism.

Even seasoned runners or bikers will likely find themselves challenged by the spinning instructor. An hour-long spinning class covers about 20 miles and challenges participants to reach speeds that they may find impossible when riding an actual bike.

5. Elliptical Trainer
The elliptical trainer at home or at the gym enables you to get a low-impact, full body workout.

Easier on the joints than a treadmill, the elliptical trainer also has movable handles that enable you to get a good upper-body workout in addition to working your lower body.

Elliptical machines let you choose the intensity level, and by raising and lowering the ramp and going backwards, you can target different muscle groups in your legs, both front and back.

The average person using an elliptical trainer can burn about 600 calories per hour. The elliptical trainer mimics the action of running while eliminating impact, saving knees and other joints from wear. For those who suffer from arthritis, musculoskeletal conditions and obesity, the elliptical trainer is a great way to exercise without risking impact injuries.

When you’re using the elliptical trainer, hold on to the movable handles rather than the static ones to increase the number of calories you burn and to help tone your arms.

Don’t rely on the calorie counters on elliptical machines to give you an accurate readout of calories burned. Instead, maximize your workout by striving to keep your heart rate at 85 percent and upping the resistance when it feels too easy.

6. Running
If you’re one of the many people who love to run, you’re in luck.

Running burns about 600 calories per hour, helps build strong bones and connective tissue and gets your heart pumping at a healthy rate to help prevent heart disease, stroke and certain cancers.

The only equipment running requires is a good pair of shoes to protect your joints and, if it helps you keep the pace and maintain motivation, an iPod with your favorite tunes.

Interval training can bump up the calories you burn on your daily run. Also called speed work, interval training involves short spurts, usually between 30 seconds and two minutes, of running at top speed.

Intervals burn a large number of calories in a short amount of time, improve your resting metabolism to help you burn more calories during the day, and increase your muscle mass.

Experts now recommend that you don’t stretch before you run. Instead, warm up by marching in place, bringing your knees up high, or walking for five minutes before beginning your run.

Because running is a high-impact exercise that can damage your joints, it’s always best to have a professional fit you with the right running shoes, based on your gait.

7. Tennis
A good game of tennis can burn up to 600 calories in an hour.

If you’re the type who prefers to exercise with a partner, tennis is an ideal way to get active. It’s also perfect for those who don’t particularly like to exercise, but who love a good competition.

You don’t have to be a great tennis player to lose weight doing it. After all, running after the balls is still a form of exercise.

The nature of tennis makes it a great whole-body workout, and playing it can help you improve your flexibility, balance and posture, as well as let off some steam to reduce stress.

Throughout the game, especially every time you hit the ball, your arm, abdominal and leg muscles are engaged, building strength and burning calories. But that’s not all that’s engaged. Your brain gets a good workout every time you play tennis, from thinking quickly and creatively to planning ahead.

Games like tennis boost the brain’s function to improve memory and the ability to learn new things. It also helps increase your peak bone mass; in fact, the National Institute of Health lists tennis as one of the activities that promotes bone health.

8. High intensity interval training
This is one of the most effective weight loss exercise options available.

You only need to engage in this form of exercise for about 20 minutes, three times a week, to get incredible benefits that include burning a large number of calories and ramping up your metabolism in the wake of the afterburn.

High intensity interval workouts can be done with many forms of exercise, and consist of short but intense bursts of activity followed by a lower-intensity period or a period of complete rest.

Those who are new to exercising shouldn’t perform interval training until they’ve been exercising regularly for a couple of months.

A standard interval workout for biking, swimming, running, lifting weights or even walking is 20 minutes long, but burns far more calories than 20 minutes of steady exercise.

Start out by warming up for five minutes. For the sixth minute, push yourself as hard and fast as you can. The seventh minute is all about catching your breath. Repeat the fast/slow cycle (minus the warm up) five times, and cool down for three minutes.

High intensity interval training, or HIIT, offers amazing benefits. Not only will you progress much faster to your desired fitness level, you will also improve your aerobic capacity. In fact, after only two weeks of HIIT, your aerobic capacity will be stronger than if you had completed eight weeks of steady-state endurance exercise, such as running.

9. CrossFit
CrossFit, like high intensity training, is only suitable for individuals who have been exercising on a somewhat regular basis for a couple of months.

Originally designed to train first responders and Special Forces, CrossFit is a workout regimen that involves weight lifting, endurance exercises, plyometrics, strength and speed training and kettlebell exercise routines, among other activities.

One thing you won’t lose with CrossFit is interest. Unlike other routines that involve doing one exercise for a specified amount of time, CrossFit incorporates many activities into one intense, fat-burning workout.

It’s designed to target all of the major components of physical fitness, including endurance, flexibility, speed, power and cardiorespiratory fitness.

No two days are alike when you’re doing CrossFit. An example of a CrossFit routine is five repetitions of 20 pull-ups, 30 push-ups, 40 sit-ups and 50 squats, all performed one after the other, with a three-minute rest between repetitions.

While definitely not for the faint-of-heart, CrossFit routines are highly effective at burning calories and fat, improving physical stamina and endurance, and increasing metabolism.

To get the most benefit out of CrossFit, you should perform a different routine at least three days a week, but ideally five days a week. The good news is that the routines are short, lasting only 15 to 20 minutes when done properly.

10. Cross Country Skiing
If you enjoy nature, like the cold and love a good snow, cross country skiing might just become your favorite exercise.

Cross country skiing is a tough workout that works every major muscle group in your body as you glide along, providing both pushing and pulling movements for your muscles. It’s great for improving balance and coordination.

Cross country skiing is a combination of resistance training and cardio activity that’ll burn between 500 and 650 calories per hour, depending on how much you weight and the intensity of the workout.

While you’re skiing, your muscles are working hard. However, since they’re all working together and you’re getting moments of rest on the glide, the lack of muscle exhaustion enables you to sustain the activity for long periods of time. Likewise, your heart rate will be elevated throughout the workout, but won’t be so high that you have to stop to rest.

Make sure you have the right gear for safety and comfort during your workout. You don’t need to spend a bundle, but you’ll need warm clothes that are designed to insulate and breathe. Make sure your ski boots are comfortable and warm.

The right form is critical when cross country skiing. Beginners should start slowly, propelling forward with long, slow strokes until rhythm and form become natural. The moves should feel coordinated and be executed with smooth, fluid motions.

Once you’ve got the form and rhythm down, let the skis take you on a tour of the winter wonderland around you. Allow your mind to wander while your body does the work so that you’re relaxed and renewed by the end of the workout.