Icelandic Fitness

Month: May 2015

Expired Supplements: Throw them out or keep them?

In the midst of doing some spring-cleaning, I found a half-empty economy size bottle of multi-vitamins in the medicine cabinet. According to the label, they expired just a few weeks ago. The question- keep them or throw them out?

 

I really didn’t want to throw them out- it seemed pretty wasteful. So, I did a little research to answer a couple of questions- are expired supplements harmful? And, if not- are they still beneficial?

 

What I found answered both questions, and I decided to keep the vitamins. Let me share the details with you.

 

First, let’s start with the expiration date. The expiration date is the last day (or month) an item will be at its highest level of potency. This is essentially an assurance from the manufacturer that the quality and strength of their product is guaranteed up until the expiration date. That doesn’t mean that the product loses any benefit or becomes harmful the day after it “expires.”

 

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not require supplements to have expiration dates. But, most manufacturers voluntarily list dates partially because it gives their consumers some piece of mind.

 

Most expiration dates are conservative, whether you’re dealing with supplements or prescription medication. Both start breaking down the day after they’re manufactured, so the fact that the product has “expired” mainly means that its lost strength, and may not have the same affect that it did when it was fresh.

 

Vitamins deteriorate at different rates, so manufacturers often times “beef up” the strength of some vitamins that deteriorate faster, in order to assure that they will be at the listed strength at the time of expiration.

 

One thing you should take a look at is they way you store your vitamins. It can have a big impact on how long your supplements will retain their strength. Be sure to check the label to see what the manufacturer advises on storage. Some folks keep their vitamins in the refrigerator, but you shouldn’t do that unless the instructions say so.

 

Most likely, the manufacturer will suggest that you keep your vitamins in a cool, dry, dark place and in their original containers. Some vitamins come in dark glass bottles or opaque containers to help preserve their potency. You should also store them away from heat and humidity, which makes the medicine cabinet one of the worst places for storage. I’ll be moving my supplements to the hall linen closet and putting them on a high shelf to keep them away from the kids.

If you store them properly, vitamins can last four or five years. And, taking “expired” vitamins is generally safe- they just won’t be as potent. It will take me about two more months to finish off this bottle of multi-vitamins, which means I’ll take the last few around three months after they “expired.” Perfectly safe.

 

Next time, though, I’ll be keeping better track of where I store my supplements so I can be sure to take them everyday. That’s how I ended up with this half empty bottle in the first place.

 

Jason Stone

Performance Coach, Icelandic Fitness, Denver, Colorado

Prioritize Your Fitness

someone busier2

 

 

5 Reasons Why You Should Think About Yourself First

 

Of course you want to work out. But, it’s hard to make time, what with work, the family, summer activities – you get the picture. It’s difficult to keep that promise to yourself to do something for yourself. Everyday.

 

There are legitimate excuses – you’re sick, a family emergency, or a huge project with a tight deadline at work. The problem is, if you look around long enough, there are plenty of excuses to keep you from ever working up a sweat. I’m here to tell you that you really need to think about yourself for a change.

 

We all want to look our best and exercise and a good diet are the keys to achieving that goal. But, exercise is important in other ways. It makes you feel better and improves your performance at work and at home. So, all those things you need to do everyday? Exercise can help you get them done.

 

Top 5 reasons to exercise:

  • Exercise increases energy. It improves your muscle strength, increases endurance and helps your lungs and heart work more efficiently. That gives you more energy.
  • Exercise reduces stress. Whether you’re just overwhelmed with a work project, or a family “crisis” (like a two year old’s public meltdown), a quick workout can help relieve stress.
  • Exercise helps you sleep better. Regular exercise can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. Just don’t do it close to bedtime.
  • Exercise can put some spice back in your sex life. Ok- increased energy, reduced stress, more sleep. Add to that, a better self-image. That equals more couple time.
  • Exercise improves your mood. Again, reduced stress, increased energy, better sleep and more sex. That would put most folks in a good mood.

 

So, WHY aren’t you exercising? Here’s what my clients tell me:

 

  • No time.
  • No energy.

 

Let’s talk about time. While it’s understandable that each day brings up unforeseen problems or situations, when you make something a priority, you find the time.

 

The energy problem. It stands to reason that sitting at a desk all day, coupled with work and family stress can drag you down. Remember, regular exercise will GIVE you energy. Just push yourself a little to get the ball rolling.

 

 

How to make exercise a priority? Even I struggle with this sometimes. But, I make it a point to fit a daily workout into my lifestyle. I have to say that I always feel better after a few minutes of cardio or weights. Or, even a hike on the weekend.

 

Here are a few things to consider:

 

  • Be realistic and start slow. You’re not going to be able to fit unrealistic goals into your lifestyle. Exercise needs to fit as seamlessly as possible into your life. If you have to adjust everything to fit in a workout, you probably will continue to make excuses why you just can’t do it. So, start out with two to three days a week. Then, add another day, another workout.
  • Put exercise on your calendar. Seriously. Block out the time. Let your family and your co-workers know. It’s harder to ignore if it’s on your calendar.
  • Be prepared. Plan ahead. If you know you’re doing cardio at lunch, be sure to have your workout clothes. If you forget, it’s an easy out, an easy excuse.
  • Get the family involved. There are going to be times, especially for busy parents, that you just can’t do your planned workout. So, be creative. Take the kids and the dog for a walk. Or, go to the park or a local school. While they play in the infield, you can jog around the track.

 

The key is to make that commitment to yourself. You will look better, feel better and, guess what, you’ll be a much better person to be around. Your family and your co-workers will thank you for that.

Jason Stone

Icelandic Fitness, Denver, CO