Category Archives: Fitness

Are You Drinking Enough Water During Your Workouts?

Starting or modifying a daily exercise program can be beneficial for your body, mind, and spirit. There are many advantages to physical fitness, including lowering the risk of certain health problems like obesity and heart disease. Staying hydrated as you work out can help you reach your daily fitness goal, and there are a few facts to keep in mind that may make it simpler to balance water intake and whatever type of exercise you choose.

Hydration Can Increase Stamina

Drinking plenty of water before you begin your workout can reduce the risk of dehydration, muscle cramps, and dizziness that might occur if you lose too much water. This can be especially important if you are taking part in moderate to fast-paced exercise activities, such as a spin class or a challenging cardio workout. Water lubricates your organs and is a major component in helping muscles work properly, so drinking water before you exercise can also reduce the risk of injury.

If you are not sure how much water you should drink before a workout, consider the type and duration of your program. Drinking at least eight to 12 ounces before a 30-minute session will likely be beneficial, and you can always drink more during any brief rest periods you take.

Steady Hydration May Improve Performance

While drinking water before a workout can improve endurance, creating a consistent hydration schedule may help you reach peak performance during a workout or sport. For example, when you get up in the morning, drink an eight-ounce glass of water instead of having a cup of coffee, then take a spill-proof water bottle with you to the gym so you can drink more right before your workout. The more consistent your hydration, the better the chances of you reaching your workout goals.

One way to maintain a hydration schedule is to set an alarm on your phone or smartwatch. You can remind yourself to drink your morning water and to prepare your water bottle for the gym. Most smartwatches sync directly to your phone, so one will likely back up the other when it comes to reminding you consistently.

Water Helps Lower Your Caloric Intake

Drinking water during and after your workout can help you avoid overeating. While you may feel hungry after a workout, drinking water fills your stomach and may help you feel full so you eat less during your next meal. When you are fully hydrated, digestion tends to slow as well, so you may feel fuller longer if you drink before your meal.

Water may also help you battle cravings as well. The next time you crave sugar or carbs, have a cold glass of water with a lemon or melon garnish and sip it slowly. This can take your mind off the craving until it passes, and the additional hydration is beneficial as well.

Water Battles Fatigue

While you might want to reach for an energy drink or fancy coffee to boost your motivation, opting for water may be a better choice. Not only will you be avoiding the extra sugar and calories most other drinks contain, water hydrates the cells in mind and body, making you feel ready and willing to exercise.

Learning about water conservation and how it benefits all living things can enhance your workout program, as it can nurture the mind/body balance necessary to get the most out of your exercise. For example, if you live in Southern California, learning about the Cadiz Water Project and the program’s efforts to create a sustainable fresh water supply for the area can help you appreciate the important role water plays in health and wellness for everyone.

Increasing your activity levels typically improves your health and lower the risk of weight-related medical problems. Understanding the role water plays in fitness can help you get the most from your workout and support long-term health and wellness.

Looking Good While Working Out, Does it Matter?

Most people get ready for a workout knowing that they are going to get sweaty and gross. Because of that, they may not put a lot of effort into their appearance. However, that mindset may just be what is holding them back.

According to an article published by WebMD, looking good while working out can help you stay driven and self-assured. As a matter of fact, it can help increase your performance. One performance expert interviewed said that a cute outfit can be the motivation to get out and exercise in a public place, like at the gym, an exercise class, or park. But what is “flattering?” That is what many readers would like to know.

“Flattering” is Subjective

The expert who was interviewed for the WebMD article suggests that women wear predominantly black clothes to the gym. Black sports bras, black spandex, and black t-shirts with hints of lime green, soft pink, and shades of blue. For those who are not comfortable with their bodies, she suggests that “baggy clothes” are ideal. Unfortunately, this is where WebMD makes itself yet another source that fat-shames women who are just looking for fitness tips. Frustrating, considering it is such a well-known source for medical information, but not surprising.

While it may be true that having workout clothes that make you feel good can lead to better performance, the clothing choices are decidedly not. To tell someone that they should wear black, baggy clothes because their body shape differs from what society has deemed “ideal” is a form of fat-shaming. It is on par with telling someone not to eat a cookie because you have decided that they are too overweight. It is unconstructive at best and insulting at worst. In-Style has far more useful and inclusive gym style tips.

‘Show Off Your Curves’ and Other Good Advice

No one should be told that it is best to hide their bodies. Regardless of shape or size, our bodies are beautiful and capable of tremendous things. Luckily, more clothing lines are beginning to embrace body positivity. Lines like Le-Vel Thrive Gear create gym wear that invites people to show off their bodies, not conceal them.

Unlike WebMD’s advice of wearing black and hoping no one notices you, InStyle suggests wearing bright sports bras. Not only will they show off your assets, but they are also fun to mix with other bright clothes.

Many women consider some areas of their bodies to be “problem areas.” One of the easiest ways to get out of that mindset is in the clothes you choose. Seeing those areas in clothing that flatters them will completely transform how you see — and appreciate — your body. If you don’t like your hips, butt, or love handles, try a top that is tight in the chest and flares towards the hips. According to Le-Vel reviews, it is a flattering cut that pulls the eyes up while concealing areas that you may not feel comfortable having on display.

InStyle also has suggestions about which type of pants to wear in order to feel your best. While you can never go wrong with black, if black just isn’t your color, try out a bright pant that highlights the thinnest point of your leg. If you’re tall, an above-the-knee crop might be the best length for you. If you’re shorter, try a bootcut style that flares at the ankle and nips at the knee.

Feel Good, Kick Ass

Though WebMD may have been off on some of its advice, it does offer some wise parting words. For one, the author suggests not wearing an outfit that makes you feel uncomfortable. Wearing something that makes you feel bad about yourself is a huge energy zapper and you likely won’t be very productive.

While it’s important to feel good, don’t forget to dress for the activity you will be participating in. Long shirts can get in the way of gym equipment; loose clothing is not practical for yoga; overdressing can cause you to overheat and lose energy.

The next time you’re getting dressed for the gym, remember that you’re better than wearing black head-to-toe and fading into the background. When you look good, you feel good and when you feel good, you can smash your goals — inside and outside of the gym.

Tips for Improving Freestyle Kicks in Competitive Swimming

The freestyle stroke, or front crawl, is the fastest and most efficient of the strokes used in competitive swimming. However, in order for a swimmer to get the most out of it, their kick must be strong. While you may see more of a swimmer’s arms during freestyle swimming, it is a stroke that relies on both the arms and the legs doing their part. The speed that a swimmer will reach depends on the power of the kick propelling them through the water. Below are some tips for getting the most out of your freestyle swimming stroke.

Timing Your Kicks

There are two phases of the freestyle stroke. First, as your right hand is entering the water for the first part of the stroke, your left leg should be entering its kick. Conversely, as your left hand enters the water, your right leg should enter its kick. When done properly, the shoulders, hips, and torso should function as one unit, maintaining the proper degree of body rotation.

Proper Body Positioning

A strong freestyle kick relies on proper body positioning. In order to sustain momentum, your hips and legs should be in the correct position throughout your swimming kick sets.

Hips and Knees

One of the biggest mistakes a swimmer can make in the freestyle stroke is to bend their knees too much. This causes them to sink lower into the water than they should. Then, instead of putting all of their energy into their arm stroke, they are using it to keep themselves on the surface of the water. Instead, try to drive your freestyle kicks from your hips with your knees relaxed.

Plantar Flexion, or, Pointing Your Toes

The technical term for pointing your toes during the freestyle kick is “plantar flexion”. It is an important aspect of performing a proper kick. Unflexed toes increase the amount of water that your body has to push out of the way as you swim. This slows you down. Pointing your toes will reduce your drag in the water, giving you a better time.

Ankle Flexibility

Pointing your toes may seem like a laughably easy exercise. However, a competitive freestyle swimmer must point their toes sharply and for an extended period of time. Athletes like runners or cyclists are trained to stabilize their ankles as much as possible, but a swimmer must be both flexible and stable. Practicing yoga can help a swimmer learn to flex their ankles without undermining their stability.

With proper body positioning and practice, a swimmer can learn to deliver strong freestyle kicks and improve their stroke.

Tips for Choosing the Right Yoga Clothing for Your Workout

Signing up for your first yoga class is a lot of fun and exciting. If you’ve never been to a yoga class, however, you may be confused about what to wear. There are many types of yoga clothes out there, and each serves a different purpose. Here are a few things you should keep in mind when picking out yoga tank tops and pants.

Avoid Baggy Tops and Pants

While you don’t want your clothing to be so tight that it restricts you, it’s just as important that you don’t wear baggy clothing. Yoga requires a lot of movement, but if you’re wearing a baggy shirt, there’s a good chance that it will lift up when you bend over. This will give the entire class a view of your stomach, back or even your bra if you’re completely inverted.

If you see yoga pants at the store, you’ll notice that the majority of them are tight fitting. Stretchy material allows you to wear tight pants without feeling restricted. Yoga instructors don’t like baggy pants for a number of reasons. For example, they can get in your way while trying to do certain poses. The biggest reason why yoga instructors hate baggy pants, however, is because they can’t see your legs to make sure you are doing the poses correctly. Failure to do poses correctly can lead to injury or not achieving the results that you want.

Buy Built-in Bras

When getting a top, you may want to consider getting something that has a built-in bra. By getting a top with a bra built in, you don’t have to mess around with wearing a normal bra. Often times, normal bras are annoying when doing yoga because the straps fall down and the clasps dig into your back. A built-in bra provides support without feeling overly constricting.

Durability is Key

Finally, always buy clothing that is durable. The clothes needs to stretch and be washer friendly since you’ll be sweating in them often. Most yoga attire is made out of high-grade materials, which is why some yoga shirts and pants cost more than everyday wear.

Keep these tips in mind when searching for yoga clothing. Remember to have fun, and pick clothes that match your personality. There are tons of styles and colors of yoga clothing out there, and you should pick something that speaks to you.

How the Internet of Things Will Take Your Fitness to the Next Level

The “Internet of Things” is heralded as bringing about a new, connected era in which all of our devices will be able to communicate with one another. Imagine smarter appliances, self-regulating energy systems, and more efficient public transportation, just for a start. But one area where we will really see the benefits of this new form of technology is in personal health and fitness. If you use an activity tracker like a FitBit, you’re already tapping into these benefits.

Here’s a rundown of how the Internet of Things could potentially transform the fitness industry.

What is the Internet of Things?

So what is the Internet of Things, anyway? This blanket term refers to the simple prospect of connecting everyday objects in our lives to the Internet. Connected, smart devices are able to both send and receive data. They are typically equipped with sensors allowing them to pick up this data, and then must be able to send the data over a central connection for analysis. In the case of the health and fitness industry, this involves fitness trackers.

Existing Fitness Devices

Although it’s often talked about as a future technology, the Internet of Things is already here, and can be utilized with the wealth of fitness trackers on the market today. These use sensors to track your exercise activity, sleep patterns, and caloric intake to generate data each day. For example, the Nike Fuel band tracks your hikes, runs, or daily walks and uploads this data to the Internet where you can see how many calories you’ve burned. You can download apps like RunKeeper, which works with your mobile phone’s GPS to collect data based on your actions. You can choose to share this information with your social networks and keep tabs on activity with an online dashboard.

Do you want to track your activity and sleep patterns? Devices like FitBit, Basis, and Jawbone UP wristband are all capable of not only tracking your heartbeats, steps, and caloric intake, but also your sleeping patterns. This lets you adjust your activity for a more efficient, restful result. Some also send you notifications if you’ve been slacking on your usual fitness routine, serving as a motivational tool.

The Future of Wearable Fitness Tech

The wearable tech that we already have only scratches the surface of what the Internet of Things will ultimately be capable of. Major businesses like Nokia Networks are working on devising new ways to stay connected via the IoT, and as a result, in the future we’ll see even more functions from our connected, smart devices. Wearable devices are just one piece of the puzzle, because the IoT involves far more than the devices themselves. It will also impact the supporting infrastructure for these devices, which is an area we’re only seeing the beginning changes of.

Future devices will be able to take health monitoring to the next level. Imagine smart devices that can constantly monitor your health and fitness, sending automatic alerts to your doctor if any irregularities arise. Early disease detection, weight management, and blood sugar monitoring could lead to increased longevity and a reduced strain on our healthcare systems. The basic fitness trackers we’re already using will be amped up and connected to a holistic healthcare network, keeping you fitter than ever.

Simple Yoga Poses to Help Calm Anxiety

Let’s face it. It’s easy to get all worked up about nothing, whether it’s an annoying boss, a project deadline, or a fight with your spouse. Or maybe you have more serious circumstances going on in your life that are leaving you constantly anxious, stressed, and tired.

Whatever the case may be, it may be time to tap into your inner yogi. Here are three yoga poses you can do almost anywhere to immediately begin to calm your anxiety.

Corpse Pose

If you’re stressed about an upcoming event, like an important presentation or a first date, try the corpse pose for a few minutes. Many people think that this pose is used to relax after a long yoga class, but it can be used to promote relaxation any time of day. To perform the pose, lie on your back with your arms angled away from your torso. Keep your legs separated and extended in front of you. Focus on slowly breathing in and out through your nose, aiming for six counts per breath. Are you feeling Zen yet?

Forward Bend

If you find yourself in the middle of a stressful situation, like an argument with a friend of your spouse, this is the perfect time to try the forward bend. This pose is ideal for letting go of stressful emotions in the moment. Take a moment to yourself and practice this pose in the privacy of a bathroom or your office. Stand and fold forward at the waist, lengthening your spine. Focus on extending from your hips to the crown of your head. Inhale and exhale deeply through your nose for five minutes. Suddenly, you’ll feel like your old, calm self again.

Legs Against the Wall

If you’ve recently experienced a stressful or traumatic event, it’s important to let go of those pent-up emotions. Even if you find yourself beating yourself up over and over again for making a mistake at work, this pose will work wonders. Begin by placing your hips on top of a pillow for support next to a wall. Lie down with your legs propped up against the wall and your arms resting at your sides. Your head and shoulders should be on the floor. This yoga pose will open your chest, boost circulation, and calm your nervous system. Keeping your legs above your hips will also help to flush toxins from your lymphatic system. Hold the pose and breathe deeply through your nose for 10 minutes.

Use any of the above poses the next time that a crisis hits, whether you’ve been stuck in traffic all morning or have just received some bad news. They really work!