Happy New Year
We want to wish everyone a great 2019 and may the new year bring you joy, happiness, and good health!
Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays
Have a great holiday and enjoy this wonderful time with friends and family.
Stay Healthy & Happy On The Go
Whether traveling for business or pleasure, it can be exhilarating to see the world outside of the comfort zone of home. Yet between jetlag, foreign microbes, airplane food, and limited workout opportunities, travel can also take a toll on our bodies. Here are four go-to tips to stay healthy and in-shape while on the go.
Pack Light ~ Travel Light
Being weighed down by an oversized suitcase and heavy carry-on luggage can slow down even the most skilled of travelers and lead to all kinds of aches, pains, and even injuries.
Make your workout portable
One of the greatest travel stressors to athletes, gym-buffs, or anyone who has a dedicated fitness routine is becoming out of shape while away from home. Travel may make it challenging to control when, how, and for how long we can exercise, but developing a portable workout routine can help.
For example, running or walking can be an easy exercise to take on the road if you are staying in a location with access to a park, a river, a quiet neighborhood, a treadmill, or even a stairwell.
Eat your veggies to stay healthy
Often when we travel, we are surrounded by food temptations that may be less than healthy. While there is no harm in indulging every now and then, our bodies may feel out of whack from a diet that is composed of 100% junk food. It can help to do your homework ahead in mapping out healthy food options, using HappyCow or TripAdvisor as a starting point. Especially for travelers with allergies or strict dietary requirements, packing along a few healthy snacks can be helpful when hunger strikes and sugary snacks are the only choice around.
Travel on your own schedule
Rather than scheduling out a packed agenda of tourist attractions to see, people to meet, and recommended restaurants to try, make space for the activities that you truly enjoy – whether that means going for a hike, visiting a lesser-known modern art museum, or simply sitting in a coffee shop.
Sometimes making “me time” may mean forfeiting five-hour lines to the top of the Eiffel Tower just to say you’ve seen it, but that’s five hours of precious time that you could be spending on something you truly value. If you have the opportunity, take at least a day to yourself to travel on your own schedule, making room for wellness along the way.
Perfect Fitness Gifts for Friends & Family
It’s never too early to start thinking about great gifts to give the people in your life for the holidays.
Planning ahead helps save money, plus it keeps you from stressing out. Giving gifts that are good for health and wellness won’t just make you feel good, but they will also serve to give the ones you love a better quality of life.
Not sure what to get?
Start looking this list over now and you’re sure to find something to help everyone on your list be their most fit and fabulous!
It’s true that not everyone is into yoga, but a yoga mat can be used for a variety of fitness activities. Crunches and floor exercises are all more comfortable on a good yoga mat. Look for ones that are non-slip. Plus, there are quite a few with unique designs on it so they can truly stand out during their next yoga class.
Just because she’s got a gym bag doesn’t mean she doesn’t need a new one. Today’s gym bags are designed with our modern needs in mind. Look for ones that house laptops and tech devices safely while keeping sweaty gym clothes and sports equipment neatly stowed. It eliminates the need to bring separate bags for everything which is ideal for those that hit the gym before or after work.
For the fitness fanatic that’s always on the go, traveling can really take its toll. A mini massager is just the thing to help relieve stress and tension from overworked muscles after using the fitness center at a hotel or even in the office after a particularly demanding meeting. They even make mini foam rollers which are totally tote-able anywhere!
Smart Athletic Wear
There are plenty of people that love a good run in the frigid cold. And if someone on your list is one of them, getting them a good pair of gloves that are lightweight, comfortable and keep their hands from freezing is the kind of gift they’ll love because they likely won’t think of getting it for themselves.
Now you and everyone else on your list can with wireless earbuds. With this brilliant invention, there are no cords to get tangled up in.
Gym Bag Toiletries
One thing most people forget about when packing their gym bag is to fill it with good toiletries for their post-gym shower. Some people even use cheap brands to fill it with, but they deserve so much more. Find travel sizes of quality brands for shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, lotion, anti-perspirant, lip balm and more to make her feel like she’s on top of the world post-gym.
Ropeless Jump Rope
One of the best exercises by far is jumping rope. But it can really trip you up. Now we live in such a world that there are ropeless jump ropes available. It’s perfect for the traveler or for use in very tight spaces, like behind the desk at work. No more tripping either!
Reusable Water Bottle
Drinking plenty of water each day is hard work.
It’s even worse if that person find water bland and boring. Reusable water bottles with large opening can easily allow one to make water delicious by making fruit infused water and can be taken on the go. They help add tons of flavor to water plus they add all the nutrients from the fruits, vegetables and herbs that are put into them for a tasty way to hit that water quota.
Plus - reusable will help cut down plastic waste and help the environment. A win-win for everyone.
Sweaty feet are no fun in any weather. Give the gift of all-weather socks that are lightweight and breathable. They can be used in winter to keep feet warm and in the summer, they won’t slip down or bunch up, making for a comfortable workout any time of year.
Handle Bar Grips
Whether they love to ride their bike or they religiously head off to spin class, handle bar grips are just the thing to keep sweaty hands in place. Plus, they protect your love’s hands from touching the sweat of all the other exercisers before her.
Now that you’ve got a head start on your holiday shopping, you can rest easy knowing you’ve found the most affordable fitness gifts around!
Its that time of the year again ... where you prepare yourself to eat LOTS! Have a great Thanksgiving with friends and family.
Drinking alkaline water has become a growing trend, and with good reason too. Alkaline water balances pH levels in the body, but it does much more than just that. There are many interesting benefits to drinking alkaline water that few people are aware of.
Benefits of Alkaline Water
Alkaline water is less acidic than tap water. Its pH level ranges from approximately 8-9. According to the R.D founder; Alyse Levine, this is because there are less hydrogen ions in alkaline water. The pH scale measures the amount of hydrogen ion concentration in a liquid. It is then put on a scale of 0-14, which means that anything that is below seven is acidic like orange juice, coffee and the like. An exact measurement on a scale pH of seven means, that the liquid is neutral. Anything that goes above and beyond the former, then falls into the alkaline category.
Bluewave pH Alkaline Stick or special faucet attachments can be added to regular sink faucets raise the pH value of your tap water. There are also numerous brands of bottled alkaline water sold in grocery stores.
Alkaline water helps reduce aciditiy in the body. Water with a pH value of 8.8 can even aide in controlling acid reflux. It also helps reduce the amount of acidity in the bloodstream, helps protect bones, and boosts the immune system. It is composed of antioxidants that are known to prevent diseases and reduce the process of aging. It also cleans out the colon, revitalizes the skin, and acts as a lubricant to muscles and joints.
A recent study conducted on the benefits of drinking alkaline water showed that 100 people found a noticeable difference in their blood viscosity. This is the measurement of how blood flows through the blood vessels in the body. Anyone that consumed water with a high pH found that their blood viscosity was reduced by 6.3 percent in comparison to the normal 3.36 percent.
Alkaline Water can contribute to Mental and Physical Health
Water that has calcium strengthens our bones while also creating a healthy circulatory system. Magnesium based water helps convert our food into energy, and maintains the functioning of the kidney, heart, muscles, and nerves. Sodium aides in muscle movement, blood pressure, and the balancing of fluids in the body. Lastly, potassium relaxes the muscles and their contraction around the heart. Potassium also helps in the process of digestion and fluid elimination from the body when combined with alkaline drinking water.
Although alkaline water has many benefits, too much alkaline water can affect the stomach enzymes which break down and digest proteins. This, in turn, starves the body of essential amino acids, which are important in the brain for neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin.
Alkaline water can greatly benefit the body when not overconsumed. Alkaline water slows down aging, reduces acidity in the body, cleans the colon, and increases overall hydration. Alkaline water balances the pH levels in our bodies, and keeps us healthy and hydrated.
Guide to Survive the Holidays!
You know what they say, you can pick your friends but you can’t pick your family. Holiday time is probably the most stressful for anyone but nothing measures even close to having all members of your family in the same relative airspace as on Thanksgiving and Christmas.
But there is a number of ways in which you can get through it short of a medically-induced coma. Here are our tips to help you survive having to spend any time with those relatives who drive you nuts.
Conspire With Someone Who Shares Your Pain
Delegate, Delegate, Delegate
Have a niece that just pisses you off by being anywhere near you?
Now’s your chance to get some space between you and a bit of a respite. Construct a list of tasks to pass out to each member of the family and try to match the level of difficulty to how long you want someone away from the same area code as you.
So, for example, the most annoying of the family members get the tasks that involve being away longer. Remember, although you may not really need a purple marker, knowing that the one person you dislike the most has travelled across town hunting for one should give you cause for at least a little smile.
Use Extra Bodies To Filter The Room
Just in case you sense a volatile situation brewing when her family and your family get forced into the same building for more than 15-seconds, you have a great backup plan at your fingertips. Hit your contact list and call everyone you know and invite them over for a pre-Thanksgiving drink or snack.
The idea here is that the more you water down the ratio of family members to non-family members you have a chance at survival. Plus, with more people present, the more fun you’ll have not being forced to be nice to family members you’d rather not see again.
Remove The Fuel If It Happens To Be Booze
If the wet bar tends to be the most popular stop at any of your family events and somehow it leads to well, heated discussions that don’t end until either someone draws a gun or is found bleeding in the driveway, you have to change it up a bit. Sure, hiding all the hard liquor is not going to win you a lot of friends but these crazy relatives are most likely not that friendly to you anyway. Plus, by going with a ‘dry’ bar, you save all the good stuff for you when you really need it to cope with whatever happens during the actual meal.
Understand The Science Of The Perfect Seating Arrangement
Your best bet is to carefully map out the seating arrangement in advance. For example, that perverted uncle of yours should not be seated anywhere near the 13-year old second cousin of yours. That’s just an example. Once you figure out the perfect seating plan, stick to it. Use name tags or something to clue everyone in on what is happening and if you have to, bait them with a promise of a prize of something if everyone stays in their allotted seat through to the end of dessert.
Use Topic Starters
Need to keep the conversation away from certain areas to prevent an all-out war of words?
That’s easy. On the back of each of the name tags you used on place settings to keep the seating arrangement under control you can control at least some of the conversation.
Write two or three interesting topic ideas on each card to allow everyone a chance to start a conversation with something other than an accusation or complaint. You’ll be surprised how much more fun dinner conversation can be if everyone has a little bit of input. Don’t expect to go through all of the topics but at least you’ll have a fighting chance to steer things away from those touchy ones.
Release The Children So They Don’t Become Targets
The only segment of the complete family gathering you should be more lenient on than the others is the children. We’re talking younger than teens here. There is nothing wrong with seating them all at a table designated just for ‘kids’ and once they get through most of dinner, let them go and do something else.
There is nothing worse than being forced to sit through a long, boring holiday dinner when you are 8-years old and would rather be throwing rocks at things outside. Don’t torture the children just because the adults are torturing you.
Pre-Plan Your Escape Route
Long before anyone arrives – say two weeks in advance – determine where your safe place will be. Stock it with the creature comforts you will require once you hit critical mass during the holiday. Think about your safe place whenever you get close to losing it. Focus on the way in which that safe place with a beer fridge, comfy chair, and flat screen TV is going to save your life. Once you need to retreat to it, follow the escape route you planned and you’ll be fine.
Holy Crap, Batman … You Made It!
Once the crew you hired to come in and take care of all the dirty work after the house is empty, just lock yourself in the bathroom and soak in the tub for awhile. You survived yet another holiday with family.
You Are Far From Alone On This One
If you happen to think that your family is the only one on the planet that puts the ‘fun’ in dysfunctional, you are sorely mistaken.
Sure, yours could be hovering around the top five of the all-time worse examples of DNA in existence, but you now know how to cope with them as long as you choose to stay as part of this family. If the squirrely ones happen to be in-laws, you have a bit of breathing room. However, if the troubled family members happen to come from your DNA, you may have to fine tune your plan of attack for Christmas, Easter and that annual summer camping trip. Eventually you’ll have it so well planned that once the out-of-towners get their jackets off, you’ll be on your way down the highway for your own holiday away from your family.
Don’t worry, our intention is to not blow your cover but rather give you a cover you can adapt for those special occasions when you need it most. Remember, like we said at the beginning, you can’t pick your family but you sure can pick how long you intend to be around any of them on those holidays where everyone gets a little twitchy and fired up because there’s an audience to perform in front of. Its okay, you’ve got this under control…right?
Have a Great Holiday!
Surprising Benefits of Stretching
Feeling sore after a tough workout? Struggling with back or neck pain? Perhaps you want to boost your flexibility and range of motion? Stretching is the answer.
This gentle form of exercise improves muscle control, mobility, and blood flow. It also keeps your joints flexible and reduces injury risk. In the long run, it can make you a better athlete and enhance your overall fitness.
But what is stretching in the first place? And when it's the best time to do it? Should you stretch before or after exercise? Let's find out!
The Basics of Stretching
Studies have found that it helps those struggling with depression, diabetes, and breast cancer. This form of exercises boosts endorphin production in the brain, improving your mood and mental well-being. Endorphins are also referred to as the happiness hormones or "feel-good" chemicals. Stretching your body for just a few minutes can make you happier and more confident.
Beware that stretching isn't the same as warming up. To stay injury-free, you should warm up first, then stretch. For instance, you could walk on the treadmill or jog at a slow pace for five to 10 minutes before doing your stretching routine. This will warm up your muscles and get your heart pumping.
Types of Stretching
Most fitness pros recommend stretching after exercise when your muscles are warm and have a greater range of motion. However, there are dozens of ways to stretch, and each has its perks. Some are ideal before exercise, while others work best post-workout.
Let's take dynamic stretching. This form of exercise is perfect for warming up and works best before training. Due to its intense nature, it improves blood flow and boosts your range of motion. It involves controlled swinging of the arms and legs, such as arm swings, sideways leg swings, leg crossovers, and twisting reverse lunges.
Research shows that dynamic stretching leads to greater power and agility compared to static stretching. Furthermore, it improves reaction time and has a positive impact on vertical performance. To reap its benefits, stretch for five to 10 minutes before working out.
Static stretching is ideal after training. It involves holding a stretch in a challenging but comfortable position for 10 to 30 seconds or more. With regular practice, it boosts muscle and joint flexibility as well as functional fitness.
For instance, you could stretch your chest, back, shoulders, hamstrings, and other muscle groups. Think of it as a safe, effective way to cool down.
Beware that static and passive stretching are not one and the same. Passive stretching is done in a relaxed state where you assume a position and hold it with the help of a partner or object. Its role is to relieve muscle spasms, soreness, and fatigue after exercise.
Other stretching techniques are simply variations of active, passive, dynamic, and static stretching. Choosing one over another comes down to your needs and goals.
No matter how you stretch, you shouldn't feel pain. If you do, it means you're going too far.
Do You Need to Stretch at All?
Like any other exercise, stretching isn't mandatory, but it can make all the difference. Health professionals recommend stretching each of the major muscle groups at least twice a week. This will keep your joints flexible as you age. Plus, it can dramatically lower your risk of injury.
The benefits of stretching go beyond greater flexibility. This practice can improve your posture, prevent and relieve back pain, and speed up recovery from exercise. For example, physiotherapists often recommend back stretches to those suffering from sciatica or herniated discs. Stretching restores their range of motion and promotes healing.
Since stretching improves circulation, it leads to greater energy and stamina. Over time, it may improve muscular coordination and range of movement in the joints. Additionally, it's a good way to relieve muscle tension and reduce recovery time.
How to Stretch Properly
As a rule of thumb, focus on the muscles that are being worked. For instance, if you're going to train your legs, stretch your quads, hamstrings, and calves. Whole body stretches are beneficial as well, especially post-workout. Hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds; just make sure you maintain good form. Remember to breathe and relax.
Let’s say you want to stretch your back. Try the knees to chest stretch. Lie on your back with your knees bent. Place your hands on your hamstrings and pull both legs toward your chest until you feel a gentle stretch. Use a slow, controlled motion. Hold the position for about 30 seconds. Return to the starting position and repeat.
Stretching requires no equipment and suits all fitness levels (except for ballistic and isometric stretching). For a more challenging workout, you can use an exercise ball or resistance bands. These accessories are ideal for dynamic stretching. Over time, you'll move around more easily and with less pain, have greater energy, and get better results from your workout.
Vitamins, nutrients, and minerals are essential to maintain a healthy body. But what exactly do those nutrients do for our bodies?
This article will discusss the different types of vitamins and minerals and their importance. The following is a list of vitamins our body needs:
B Vitamins are required by the body for energy production and iron absorption. Many whole, unprocessed foods contain essential B Vitamins. These include whole grains, potatoes, bananas, lentils, chili peppers, beans, yeast, and molasses.
Vitamin D is essential to building strong and healthy bones in the body. One of the best sources for Vitamin D is natural sunlight. Although the sun is a natural source of Vitamin D, it is important to always protect your skin when outdoors. Never go outside for more than 15 minutes without sunscreen! Another way to obtain Vitamin D is by eating eggs, fish and mushrooms.
Vitamin K helps with blood coagulation, which is the process by which your blood clots. Vitamin K is found in green leafy vegetables, such as kale, spinach, brussels sprouts, and broccoli.
Calcium is another important mineral that helps grow healthy teeth and bones. The best source of calcium comes from dairy products like yogurt, cheese, and milk. Another non-dairy food that contains calcium is tofu.
Zinc is a mineral vital for one of the most important processes in the body: the immune system. Zinc also contributes to growth and fertility. Foods rich in zinc include seafood such as oysters, and other foods such as spinach, cashews, beans and dark chocolate.
What are they and who needs them?
There are a variety of over the counter supplements you can find at your local drugstore or supermarket. Supplements offer a daily dose of a single type of mineral or come as multivitamins. Taking too many supplements can lead to serious health problems, so it is best to take these in moderation.
When a person has a nutrient deficiency, sometimes doctors will recommend taking supplements to increase levels of a specific type of mineral in the body. Most doctors usually recommend a well-balanced diet as opposed to an overconsumption of supplements. Pregnant women, people suffering from food allergies, vegetarians and people struggling with eating disorders are most likely to be affected by nutrient deficiencies. If you feel you have a nutrient deficiency, talk with your doctor to see what’s right for you.
Vitamins are essential to maintaining a healthy body. Before turing to supplements, try eating the recommended foods listed above. Talk to your doctor if you feel you are nutrient deficient and see what diet and supplements work best for you. Living a healthy lifestyle can be easy when we make the right choices and eat the best foods.
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