All Posts In Fitness

Yoga 101

by in Fitness, November 24, 2012

yoga
Diet and exercise go hand in hand for a healthy lifestyle. If getting bendy in yoga poses is your workout of choice, we’ve got tips on the best way to fuel and hydrate.

Defining Yoga
Nowadays, the ancient art of yoga takes many forms. The very foundation of this craft involves joining mind and body to achieve emotional and physical gratification. When done properly, yoga can help benefit joint and muscle health as well as the neurological and cardiovascular systems.

Some of the most popular types of yoga include Hatha, Vinyasa and Bikram. Hatha is a more basic and simple style while Vinyasa is typically more aggressive and athletic. Bikram classes are conducted in a hot and humid environment – resulting in some super-sweaty participants! There also various types of yoga for pregnant women and moms and babies but be sure to check with your doctor before you start something like this.

For a list of more yoga styles, visit the Lululemon website.

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Sports Nutrition Tips for the School-Aged Athlete

by in Back to School, Fitness, September 13, 2012

kids sports
Back to school also means back to sports. From elementary age to college-bound, these tips will help any athlete P.E.R.F.O.R.M their best.

  • Pick nutrient dense foods

Athletes need vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to keep those muscles pumping. Calcium, iron, Vitamins C and D, and B-vitamins can be found in dairy, fruits, veggies, breads and cereals.

  • Eat throughout the day

Nothing stalls metabolism like an empty tank. Eating every three to four hours is a must for peak performance in the classroom and on the field.

How to Deal with Post-Workout Hunger

by in Fitness, August 12, 2012

exercise
Does an exercise session leave you famished or does the thought of food post workout make you ill? There’s a right and wrong way to eat after exercise; find out the balance to get the most out of your fitness routine.

Feel the Burn
Some people question whether or not it’s worth it to exercise since burning lots of calories can make you hungrier. It IS worth it and there are tricks you can adopt to beat this vicious cycle. Choosing the right foods after a workout can make a huge difference.

Research says hunger pangs may hit women harder than men; hormones are to thank for that. For this reason gals need to pay extra attention to how they eat before and after exercise.

On the flip side, other studies have found that exercise lowers levels of a hunger-spiking hormone called ghrelin. The only caveat here is that the exercise needs to be intense, not a leisurely a stroll on the treadmill.

Frequency of exercise also plays an important role. Hitting the gym (or however you like to sweat) regularly trains your body to burn calories more efficiently and of course lowers your risk of an onslaught of ailments including diabetes and heart disease. The bottom line is exercise: is good; here’s how to fuel it properly.

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Product Review: Nike FuelBand

by in Fitness, Product Reviews, July 31, 2012

fuel band
Tracking physical activity can help keep you motivated, but most calorie-counting knickknacks are famously inaccurate. Can Nike’s newest gadget get it right? I couldn’t wait to test out the FuelBand.

My Take
A gadget fans dream — and you don’t have to be a computer wizard to figure it out. The FuelBand allows you to track your activity (excercise and dozens of everyday actions), calories and progress. After a simple online set up to link the FuelBand with your computer and iPhone, you’re on your way.

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Burning Off High-Calorie Foods: Fair Foods

by in Dining Out, Fitness, July 20, 2012

fair food
Is your family hitting the local fair circuit this summer? Carnival concessions are famously fattening. We’re not saying to boycott fair foods all together but since these treats don’t come with a food label, we’ll fill you in on just how many calories you’re gobbling down, and what it would take to burn them off. As always, moderation is key!

Crunching the Numbers
Everyone burns calories a little differently, the values below are averages based on a 155-pound person.

1 Corn Dog  = 375 calories = 1 hour, 30 minutes walking the boardwalk

Funnel Cake = 760 calories = 1 hour, 20 minutes of singles tennis

Fried Twinkie = 420 calories = 1 hour water skiing

Cotton Candy =175 calories = 30 minutes whitewater kayaking

Candy Apple = 375 calories = 40 minutes running (8 mph)

Chili Fries = 700 calories = 3.5 hours playing frisbee

Nachos With Cheese Sauce = 850 calories = 1 hour, 15 minutes of vigorous swimming

Turkey leg = 1140 calories = 1 hour of beach volleyball

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Staying Hydrated: Electrolytes 101

by in Fitness, July 19, 2012

orange juice
There’s more to beating the heat than just drinking water. Electrolytes are important nutrients that help maintain your body’s fluid balance.

Electrolyte Basics
Electrolytes are substances that conduct an electric current. In the body, they help to facilitate actions of the nervous system, maintain proper fluid and acid-base balance, and allow muscles to contract.

Many important minerals also act as electrolytes – some of the major players for healthy muscles are sodium, chloride, potassium and calcium.

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Recovery Foods: What to Eat After a Workout

by in Fitness, June 16, 2012
greek yogurt
Eat Greek yogurt after a workout to replenish energy.

Eating after exercise is a MUST for healthy muscles. Recover and refuel with these regenerating foods.

What and When?
The body craves both carbs and protein after exercise. Carbohydrates are required to replenish energy stores, while protein repairs tired muscle fibers.

To optimize results, you want to take in carbohydrate and protein in about a 3 to 1 ratio, that’s 3 grams of carbs for every one gram of protein. Depending on when you exercise, recovery food can be a snack or a meal; either way, look to these 5 recovery foods.

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Burning Off High Calorie Foods: Summer Picnics

by in Fitness, May 26, 2012
strawberry shortcake
Before you reach for a second helping of strawberry shortcake, consider that you'd have to play tennis for 45 minutes to work it off.

Gearing up for grilling season? Don’t let too many high-cal favorites keep you from staying trim this summer. Here’s what you should keep in mind at your next picnic.

Crunching the numbers
Everyone burns calories a little differently, the values below are averages based on a 155-pound person.

Mains
1 foot long hot dog = 500 calories = 1 hour of swimming freestyle
1 cheeseburger = 400 calories = 75 minutes of kayaking
5-ounces BBQ ribs = 465 calories = 2 hours 15 minutes of body surfing

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Heart-Rate Monitors 101

by in Fitness, May 15, 2012
heart rate monitors
Do you use a heart-rate monitor?

Looking for a way to make the most of your workouts? Try a heart-rate monitor on for size.

What is a Heart-Rate Monitor?
As advertised, these gadgets measure your heart rate (a.k.a take your pulse) by sensing and displaying how many times your heart beats each minute. While heart rates will vary from person to person, a healthy adult typically averages anywhere from 60 to 100 beats per minute while at rest. As physical activity increases, so will the beats.

While there are some decent mobile apps out there for pedometers, it’s a very different scene for heart-rate monitors – apps just won’t cut it (at least not yet).

The most common heart-rate monitor styles are worn on the wrist, but some come with chest straps for continuous monitoring of heart activity. Chest strap models are slightly more cumbersome but are also more accurate (and more expensive).  For the wrist-only models, you usually have to stop activity to get an accurate reading. There’s also a huge variety of options – units range in price from $30.00 to more than $500.00! I’m a big fan of anything made by Timex and Polar has a nice variety of budget-friendly models.

Extra features you may find include timers, GPS devices, footware accessories that measure distance traveled and the ability to store data and download it to your computer to track progress.

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Pedometers 101

by in Fitness, April 21, 2012

pedometer
Counting individual steps may seem like a silly way to get some exercise but every little bit helps. Using a pedometer can be a fabulous motivational tool to get you to move more; use our tips and get stepping!

What is a Pedometer?
A pedometer is a pocket-sized device that senses movement and registers each step you take. Some units require a belt loop attachment while others can be carried in your pocket or worn around your neck. Some models may also have settings to estimate calories burned while walking, but these are often inaccurate unless there is an option to adjust for additional details like weight, age and gender.

Pedometers range in price from $6.00 to more than $30.00 – the higher pricing is typically associated with extra features like distance tracking and calorie counting.  Smartphone lovers will be pleased to know that there are quite a few pedometer apps – many of which are free or less than $3.00. Using the GPS already loaded in a Smartphone, many offer accurate distance tracking for less than a hand-held pedometer. Arawella Pedometer and Pedometer Pro GPS as well as Palm Shadow Footsteps Pedometer all carry high ratings.

Many fitness-centric wrist watches also come with built-in pedometers and heart rate monitors (more about heart rate monitors in an upcoming post).

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