Tags Posts tagged with "fitness"


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For the uninitiated, an “anti-inflammatory” diet might sound as if it’s designed only for those with ongoing swelling feet, or perhaps abdominal bloating. But in fact, there is evidence that the increasingly popular eating plan can help reduce problems associated with a number of health problems, from aching joints to diabetes and cardiovascular issues.

How Changing Your Diet Can Help

Researchers believe that some people who are prone to chronic inflammation may be predisposed to a type of cell reaction that signals tissues to swell, when there hasn’t been an actual injury. For those people, certain foods can trigger damaging inflammation.

Among the disorders linked to chronic inflammation are diabetes, asthma, heart disease, Crohn’s disease, swollen gums, arthritis and other joint pain. In layman’s terms, it’s all a matter of where these affected cells are located in each individual, that dictates where chronic inflammation may do the most damage.

In addition, because the anti-inflammatory diet calls for lean proteins, healthy fats and vitamin-rich veggies — while eliminating bad fats and empty calories — many people also lose weight when following the general guidelines.

Is the Anti-Inflammatory Diet Complicated?

In a word — no. If you’ve heard of the Mediterranean diet — or practically any other diet based on lean proteins and plenty of healthy produce — the anti-Inflammatory diet certainly won’t seem foreign to you.

If you want to start with supplements, consider omega-3 fish oil capsules, flaxseed oil, green tea and devil’s claw — after checking with your doctor to ensure they won’t interfere with current medication.

Fish and nuts that are rich in Omega-3 are excellent anti-inflammatory foods, according to the Mayo Clinic. Specifically, include more tuna, salmon, trout, pecans and walnuts into your meal plan.

In terms of produce, look for rainbow” spices, fruits and vegetables known for their intense hues, such as avocados, berries, carrots, kale, turmeric and ginger. These antioxidant-rich plants protect you from the kind of tissue damage that can lead to inflammation.

What to Avoid

In general, foods that you already know you should limited or eliminate from your diet have inflammatory properties — among their other pitfalls. Red meat, sugary snacks and drinks, white bread and fried foods top the list of no-nos once you get serious about the anti-inflammatory diet.


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Paparazzi sit outside the fitness clubs that celebrities frequent in hopes to capture a ‘not so glamorous picture.’ Although paparazzi may not be of concern, you never know who you will see directly after your workout. You can avoid being caught off guard by packing the perfect gym bag. A well-packed gym bag can eliminate your need to return home before heading off to start your workday.

Choosing a Bag for the Gym

The gym bag you choose should be waterproof, must be able to carry all your workout necessities, be strong enough to handle being shoved in a locker and hold everything you need to transition from the gym to the office. Of course, your gym bag should also be stylish.

Hair Ties and Bobby Pins

It is difficult to work out when you begin to sweat and your hair begins sticking to your neck and face. Therefore, if your hair length is medium to long, place several extra hair ties and bobby pins in a zip lock baggie.

A Brush and Comb

You cannot create a great hairstyle to head off to work if you do not have a comb and a brush.

Dry Shampoo

Just in case you do not have time to take a shower, keep some dry shampoo in your bag. A few spritzes and your hair will go from greasy to chic.


Using a long-lasting antiperspirant and deodorant is especially important if you will not have time to shower before going to work.

Facial Wipes

Using facial wipes directly following your workout will help you feel refreshed and prevent your pores from becoming clogged.

Travel Versions of Your Toiletries and Hair Care Products

Travel versions of your shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, mousse, gel and/or hairspray are ideal for use at the gym. Keeping your toiletries and hair care products in a resealable bag ensures that in the event of a leak, your other items remain untouched.

Mini Versions of Your Daily Beauty Items

You cannot head off to work without ‘putting on your face;’ therefore, you should place travel-size versions of your daily beauty items in your gym bag. Remember to include foundation, eyeliner, blush, mascara, pressed powder, eyeshadow, lip liner, lipstick and perfume. Ideally, for the sake of convenience, keep your beauty items together in a fashionable makeup bag.

A Bag for Your Soiled Clothing and Shoes

Since you are heading directly to work, you need a bag that you can seal to store your soiled clothes in. Consider purchasing a reusable zip lock bag specifically designed for clothing. If you choose to place your work clothes in a reusable zip lock bag as well, make sure you label the bags ‘soiled’ and ‘clean’ with a permanent marker. You can use smaller zip lock bags for your shoes. Again, be sure to label these bags as well (‘workout shoes’ and ‘work shoes’). The bags you are using for your soiled clothes and shoes must be sealable, otherwise you are risking tainting your gym bag with undesirable odors.

Toothpaste, Floss and a Toothbrush

A trial-size toothpaste, travel toothbrush and container of floss ensure that you can keep up with your oral hygiene.

There you have it…now, you can head to the gym with everything you need in your gym bag before starting your workday. Just think, once your workday is done, you can be home in time for dinner!

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Combining ballet with more familiar fitness staples such as Pilates poses, barre workouts use a ballet barre as low-tech, high-impact tool for building muscles, improving posture and balance, and burning fat. If you cringe at the frenetic pace and loud music of a “soul cycle” gym, the simplicity of the barre workout may be just your speed.

How Barre Classes Work

An online search for a barre workout class is sure to uncover a nearby fitness studio with the name “barre” in it, or a gym with a barre workout room. But don’t worry — you won’t be required to stand on tiptoe for an hour, and you certainly don’t have to do any dancing!

In fact, a good portion of the class will be conducted away from the barre, with your instructor taking you through on-the-mat warmups and focused upper body drills. Once at the ballet barre, your core and lower body will be worked, using a series of isometric moves, while you use the barre for balance.

Barre Benefits

Like yoga, barre classes offer both cardio and strength benefits, with posture improvement and greater flexibility thrown in for good measure. Of course, standing with one only one foot on the ground — and the rest of your body contorting into new shapes — is also a great way to achieve greater balance.

During both the mat and barre portions of the class, the isometric movements (inspired not just by the dance world, but from yoga and Pilates as well) will be small and focused. The benefits of these precision position shifts? Muscles are forced to work hard to hold these poses, yet don’t swing so dramatically that they tear, as can happen with push-ups and squats.

What You’ll Need

The minimalist aspect of barre classes is a bonus benefit. Your instructor will either specify socks or bare feet as footwear, depending on the flooring. Sweats or yoga togs complete the ensemble.

As for equipment, the class may use yoga mats, light weights and/or resistance bands. If so, ask ahead of time if they’re provided with the cost of the class. All in all, the odds are good that you won’t have to invest in any gear or clothing for the barre workout.

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There’s no question that rowing machines provide a great all-over workout, while also burning calories. But in the warmer months, why not reap the benefits of Mother Nature — and actually get somewhere with all that rowing? Watercraft activities provide many of the same benefits as stationary rowing machines, with the additional boosts from enjoying nature and hanging out with friends.

Paddle Boarding

Perhaps even trendier than rowing machines, stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) is having a bit of a moment right now. And why not? With minimal equipment — just a board and paddle — you can hop on the water and explore lakes, oceans and even gentle rivers.

SUP is especially prized for its ability to engage the core. Unlike canoeing or kayaking, you’re standing as you move your craft forward. That means that all of the effort involved in keeping yourself upright engages your abs in ways you probably won’t even be aware of as you’re paddling. Your legs also get great toning, because they need to brace and shift continuously. And, of course, your back and arms are obviously working overtime as you paddle.

In terms of calories, you’ll burn around 300-400 calories doing a gentle pace — depending on weight and gender — and 600-700 at a moderate pace. If you become proficient at SUP, over 1,000 calories can be burnt off in a mere hour!

Kayaking and Canoeing

Sitting down in a craft to paddle a canoe or kayak might not give you quite as much all-over toning as paddleboarding, but the bracing actions your legs need to undertake actually does give them a bit of a workout. The real beneficiaries, however, include your core, which needs to be continuously twisting and dipping as you dip the paddle from one side of the kayak or canoe to the other, or pull the paddle forward. And, of course, biceps, triceps, as well as “lats and traps,” are all get vigorously worked.

In terms of cardio benefits, you won’t burn quite as many calories in a canoe or kayak as you would SUPing. But it’s still a great workout, burning up 300-400 calories per hour, for a moderate pace, and as much as triple that amount for racing or choppy conditions!

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On your journey to total health, it’s crucial to understand how your heart rate relates to your level of fitness. You may already know that your heart rate is one measure of your workout level. Most cardio machines today offer built-in heart rate monitors, but to help ensure that you’re getting the most benefit from your time at the gym without overtaxing your heart, requires some some understanding on the relationship between your heart rate and your overall health.

1. How Your Baseline Heart Rate Changes Over Time

If you’ve ever heard a baby’s heartbeat during a sonogram, you know that the rate is much faster than an adult’s. Even after birth, a newborn’s resting heartbeat is between 100-150 beats per minute. As humans grow, the maximum attainable heart rate declines with age due to size – not fitness.

2. How to Calculate Your Maximum Heart Rate

The absolute maximum that a young child’s heart can beat – which would be during strenuous activity – is 220 beats per minute. Now you know that with age, that maximum reduces. So to calculate your own maximum heart rate, you would take away your age from 220. If you’re 30 years old, your maximum heart rate is 190.

3. Why You Need to Know Your Maximum Heart Rate

You wouldn’t want to max out your heart muscle with every workout, or for very long periods of time, but you do want to give your heart muscle some exercise. If you constantly push yourself so you’re at maximum heartbeats for your age, your workouts will be brief and exhausting, not to mention potentially dangerous. A good rule of thumb is to aim for around 80 percent of your maximum heart rate, depending on your level of fitness. So if you’re 30 and your maximum heart rate is 190, multiply that by .80 to get your target, healthy maximum heart rate. The answer would be 152 in this example.

To safely workout your body and your heart muscle with this example, you would work up to a rate of 152 beats per minute, maintain that during your peak, and then slow down until you reach your normal resting heart rate. Knowing how your heart rate relates to your level of fitness will keep you healthy, fit and strong.

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Healthy employees have more job satisfaction, are less likely to miss work and even work better with others; you can help your team stay healthy by offering an employee wellness plan. Whether you plan a formal roll out, or add components over time, offering some form of corporate wellness plan pays off with happier, less stressed employees, and stronger community bonds with even lower costs for you.

Reduced Stress Levels

A report by insurance giant AFLAC reveals that employees who were actively involved in a wellness program at work were happier, more satisfied and less stressed than employees who opted out of the program. Moderate, regular exercise has long been recommended to ward off depression and stress. Encouraging employees to be active and participate in a wellness program naturally leads to a happier, healthier workforce.

Stronger Teams

Planning friendly competitions and coordinated activities that allow your employees to get connected and work together will naturally improve their teamwork abilities on the job as well. An employee wellness plan that everyone buys into also allows different departments and employees to work together in a positive way, even if these employees would otherwise rarely interact.

Lower Costs

From fewer sick days and lost time to a reduced risk of injury, offering an employee wellness plan results in savings for employers. Healthy employees who are invested in wellness have fewer injuries, fewer doctor visits and even take fewer medications. When your employees are, both focused on your wellness plan, either because of incentives you’ve made or because of the offerings and opportunities you’ve provided, their overall health will improve. People who work out are less likely to be injured in a fall, less likely to become ill and even less likely to become depressed or discontent. These benefits add up to savings for you, the employer.

Whether you want to boost the sense of community and teamwork felt by your staff, lower your costs or boost your retention rates with happy, satisfied employees, a wellness plan could be the answer.

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