SparkPeople Guest Blogger
Foam rollers are excellent, inexpensive tools that can be used both for muscular warm up and recovery. Most gyms have a few of them available in the stretching area, but if you are an at-home exerciser you may want to consider investing in one of your own (they usually run between $7-$20—here's a link to the one I purchased on Amazon).
Studies have shown that foam rolling (also known as self-myofascial release) can actually help reduce stiffness, pain, and even improve your range of motion (aka performance) during your workout. Think of it like this—when you first grab a pair of jeans out of the dryer and put them on, they are super stiff and hard to move in, so you do your squatting ritual to help ''break them in'' and fit comfortably again, right? Utilizing a foam roller can help loosen up your stiff, sore muscles again so you can move comfortably and efficiently. Try rolling as often as you like—before or after a workout, and/or on your recovery day.
Posted 8/24/2015 12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 9 comments 62,527 views
Some people loathe running in the hottest months of the year. For those springtime, fall and winter running enthusiasts, it might seem like a chore to survive a run during the searing summer heat. However, there are steps you can take to mitigate the sun exposure and make summer running an enjoyable experience.
Continue reading to learn all the essential tips you need to make summer running a successful venture.
Posted 8/22/2015 12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 4 comments 10,314 views
If you enjoyed a cup of coffee this morning, you have already started the day on a healthy (and possibly more productive!) note. Not only does a cuppa Joe deliver your trusty a.m. caffeine boost, but it also may reduce the risk for certain health problems and can improve bodily functions. Check out the top eight health benefits of consuming coffee.
Increased Alertness and Energy Levels
Coffee contains caffeine, which is responsible for the increased alertness you feel once your first cup has kicked in. Caffeine is a stimulant, meaning that it increases heart rate, respiratory rate and metabolic activity. As a result, more body cells respond to nerve impulses, which improves energy levels.
Stronger Cognitive Functioning
When consumed in small amounts over a period of time (such as two hours), the gradual increase in caffeine heightens the amount of impulses within the brain cells. As a result, the brain recognizes stimuli faster and with more resolve.
Posted 8/17/2015 10:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 7 comments 17,110 views
If you've ever experienced wrist pain during a workout, you know it's no fun and it could even be holding you back from seeing progress if it prevents you from completing your routine! This basic, wrist-focused routine is designed to help you build strength, range of motion and flexibility in the muscles that surround and support your wrists.
Posted 8/10/2015 12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 6 comments 38,220 views
You're preparing for your race when hunger suddenly strikes, but after months of training you're worried that a meal will slow you down during the big event. Trainers and friends give conflicting advice on what to eat, but your stomach is rumbling louder than they are. Luckily, there are tasty foods that you can eat before a race that will keep you full without harming your performance. In fact, these top foods will help you to harness all of your power during the race! First, let's look at the general timeframe of your pre-run meals before getting into the specific foods.
Posted 8/6/2015 12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 0 comments 22,761 views
Enjoying a healthy lifestyle doesn't mean reducing pleasures. In fact, one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself is simply adding a tasty drink to your daily routine. Black tea's numerous health benefits are scientifically sound, and along with the drink's rich taste and varied styles, you can't go wrong with a morning or evening cup! Here are the greatest health benefits that black tea has to offer!
Posted 8/1/2015 10:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 6 comments 17,319 views
The next time you get an upset stomach, you might be relieved to know that you don't have to down spoonfuls of gross pink fluid or chew chalky tablets. In case of bellyache, stock your fridge with one thing: Ginger. Hundreds of years ago, people sailed all over the globe in search of this natural soother of upset bellies. Ginger has been proven to reduce nausea and vomiting, even in chemotherapy patients. But that's not the only reason you should start consuming more of this spice.
Posted 7/28/2015 9:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 14 comments 29,652 views
Barre, the ballet-inspired workout that focuses on isometric strength training, continues to gain new fans around the country due to its quick results and unique, graceful movements. Get a taste of this increasingly popular way to work out with this routine developed by BarreAmped creator and fitness instructor Suzanne Bowen. The total-body barre workout can be done anywhere you have a ledge or some other support for balance. These six effective moves will have your muscles shaking and working. Grab your mat, some light hand weights and a stopwatch, then warm up for five minutes and try it for yourself!
Posted 7/27/2015 12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 7 comments 66,058 views
You might want to lose weight for a variety of reasons: to feel better, look better, or maybe because your doctor told you that it will benefit your overall health. One thing to keep in mind is that, like every other thing you put in your mouth, breakfast (or lack of breakfast) can really make or break your weight-loss efforts.
Posted 7/24/2015 10:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 3 comments 21,116 views
Many runners plan out their daily health routines down to the nth degree. However, even though you are seeing your desired results on the outside, you may not be doing everything you can to ensure your body is being properly cared for on the inside.
Eating the proper foods at the right times can mean the difference between a healthy body and one that isn't receiving the post run nutrition it needs to recover. Therefore, you should take some time to learn exactly what foods should be eaten before, during and after your running events, if you want to keep your body in optimal condition. Let’s take a look at some of the best post run recovery foods.
Posted 7/7/2015 12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 3 comments 14,132 views
What is one food that was eaten thousands of years ago, is still eaten today in probably the exact same form, and is just as good for you today as it was then? Honey! Some refer to honey as liquid gold because in the good old days honey was the only opportunity many people had to eat something sweet, so it was considered a great and rare treat.
Posted 7/1/2015 10:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 5 comments 21,704 views
The family that gets active together, stays together. Bringing the family together for a day or an afternoon of movement is both fun and offers an opportunity to stay connected even when schedules are hectic. Plus, you’ll be instilling great health and fitness values in your children. Make a commitment to unleash your inner child and spend valuable quality time with those you love by trying some of these family-friendly activities.
Posted 6/26/2015 12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 0 comments 13,510 views
Whether you have been walking for years or are just getting started with it, making your walking time more enjoyable can help you stay more motivated to stick with it over the long term, which is the key to lasting results!
Try these five simple tips to help you take your walk from good to great:
#1: Step in the right shoes.
This one may sound super obvious, but so many of us are walking around in shoes that are either the wrong size or aren't designed to support our unique needs. If your feet are in pain after you finish a walk, chances are you are in need of a sneaker makeover! The right footwear could be what's missing from your routine and could help turn your walking time into a more pleasurable experience that you'll actually look forward to.
If you regularly experience pain or tenderness in your feet, you may have issues with plantar fasciitis, overpronation (your feet rolling inward as you step), flat feet or even high arches that need to be addressed by either a specific type of shoe and/or orthopedics. Depending on what kind of issues you are experiencing, you may need the expertise of a podiatrist or orthopedist to best advise you on what type of shoe or orthopedics you should be wearing. Please don't wait until the pain is unbearable to make an appointment - do it today!
It's also important to find the right fit. Your sneaker size is typically (though not always) a half to one full size larger than your formal shoe size. If you aren't sure what your specific sneaker size is, take the time to get fitted properly in an athletic store. And don't forget that even the perfect sneakers wear out over time and mileage, so be sure to replace them as needed (like when you start to notice the support or tread wearing out in your shoes) to keep a spring in your step over the long term.
Posted 6/25/2015 10:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 5 comments 23,523 views
Life is full of ambiguity and challenges. Few challenges in life can be as complex as proper nutrition. Your body is your greatest possession. You owe it to yourself to find out all you can about staying healthy. Most diets imply giving up something. However, the diet we will discuss is about taking advantage of something. You will learn how to take advantage of fats by incorporating healthy fats in your eating habits. By making small changes, lasting results will come.
Posted 6/25/2015 9:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 0 comments 17,278 views
Did you know that simple things like standing taller, engaging your abs and even walking sideways can help you walk further and faster, all while helping you burn more calories?
Here are a few walking posture tips to help you make the most of every step (think of the word P.A.C.E. to help you remember these!)
Posted 6/4/2015 12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 2 comments 45,925 views