SparkPeople Guest Blogger

Optimize Your Performance with 9 Athlete-Inspired Moves

Athletes have careers that ride on every performance, game or competition. The majority of these athletes spend their entire lives training for their moment—sacrificing time with family and friends in order to make it to the top, skipping vacations for days in the gym, spending the off season training and perfecting skills in order to be better for when the next season comes around. The elite athlete mindset is focused on being the best. When the difference between gold and silver can be just a fraction of a second, a fierce dedication and attention to detail can give them the advantage.

No matter if you are an avid athlete or a weekend warrior, though, we have that desire to perform at our best in common. It is human nature to want to excel, and it is motivation, determination and the details that gets us to the finish line.

Posted 8/15/2016  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 4 comments   22,679 views

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A 16-Minute Workout You'll Feel All Over Tomorrow Morning

Abdominals, glutes and thighs--we're going after every muscle group on this dynamic and heart-pumping workout. Designed to avoid joint strain and muscular imbalances, this one-mile indoor walk varies your step and pace using simple, low-impact moves to get you sweating. Your core and leg muscles are in for a treat.

Posted 7/27/2016  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 11 comments   54,657 views

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7 Yoga Moves Guaranteed to Target That 6-Pack

The coveted six-pack is here to stay, but before you start doing a bunch of ineffective crunches, there's something you need to know. Aesthetics aside, having a strong core is essential for everything from balance and stability to preventing injury during other activities, according to Harvard Health Publications. Work on your core and you're also working towards better posture, comfort while you twist or lift items, a pain-free back and more.
There are four main abdominal muscle groups: The deepest muscle layer, the transversus abdominis, stabilizes your trunk. The internal and external oblique muscles work together to rotate the trunk. The final muscle in the group, the rectus abdominis, draws the ribs down toward the hips to create spinal flexion–and six-pack abs. If you're lean and do a ton of crunches you'll surely develop a six-pack, but crunches alone are not going to stabilize your core.
How can you stabilize your core and build killer abs? Three things: clean eating, cardio and smart strength training. With its challenging stabilization poses, yoga is a great place to start. Try these seven poses that target your middle and deliver in all the all the right ways. You'll be feeling these in a hurts-so-good kind of way tomorrow.

Posted 7/5/2016  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 9 comments   52,849 views

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A Guide to Growing Your Own Living Salad Garden

A refreshing summer salad starts with turning a bit of dirt right in your own backyard. There’s nothing more satisfying than a hearty, healthy bowl of greens and veggies handpicked from your own garden or back porch planter box. Whether it's a backyard barbecue at the neighbors, picnic or a perfectly grilled steak in need of a side, summer presents many opportunities to enjoy a fresh salad.

Luckily, the steps to establish your own garden filled with salad ingredients are simple: Use a raised or elevated bed to hold your potting soil. Tuck in baby vegetable plants and make sure they get plenty of sunshine and water. Apply a layer of mulch to the bed to help it retain moisture. Keep the soil nutrient-rich with natural fertilizers and you’ll be on your way to growing bountiful salads in a small amount of space! Follow this helpful infographic to get started today.

Posted 6/6/2016  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 8 comments   13,834 views

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A 30-Minute Barre Workout That Is Easy on the Knees

Barre is an amazing way to strengthen all the muscles in your body, but all those plies can be a killer on the knees. Not anymore. With this knee-friendly routine, you can enjoy the ballet-inspired exercise without the pain. Target your entire body with dynamic moves that will make your muscles shake as you get stronger and stronger.

Grab a set of three to five pound dumbbells, a sturdy chair and maybe even a furry friend for some encouragement, and get to work with this low-impact routine.

Posted 5/23/2016  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 8 comments   61,225 views

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Cumin Health Benefits

Cumin is not just another kitchen spice. Cumin has been used extensively in traditional medicine in the treatment of a number of diseases. The spice is also an ingredient in curries and other dishes. Indian and Middle Eastern dishes and beverages use cumin to impart a unique flavor and add additional health benefits within a meal.

Posted 5/11/2016  11:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 0 comments   1,224 views

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Hate Running on the Treadmill? Try These 8 Ways to Make It More Manageable

We get it: Running on the treadmill might not be the most enjoyable activity. However, treadmill workouts offer many benefits. They provide a more forgiving surface than pavement and thus, are better for your joints in the long term. Treadmill running gives you the ability to run in front of a mirror and check your form. The treadmill also makes it easier to see exactly how far you have run and at what incline.

Finding fun and manageable ways to get on the treadmill will increase your chances of reaping the benefits of these workouts. Fortunately, there are many ways to switch it up and get creative with the treadmill.

Posted 5/10/2016  10:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 0 comments   4,737 views

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4 Healing Health Benefits of Mint

Mint has long been enjoyed in culinary dishes and for its medicinal benefits. Not only is the aromatic plant easy to grow in many varieties, it is also know to produce beneficial effects on the body.

Posted 5/1/2016  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 2 comments   1,139 views

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Discover All That Yoga Has to Offer

Whether its Bikram or Hatha, Vinyasa or Ashtanga, it's a well-known fact that yoga has calming power. The popular exercise is also praised for a range of psychological and physical benefits, many of which can help people be more productive and more mindful, no matter their age or ability. 

Posted 4/2/2016  10:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 0 comments   468 views

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One-Mile Express Workout for Your Abs

Who says you need to get on the hard floor for an effective abdominals workout? In just 10 minutes, this high-energy, express-style indoor power walk works your whole core without ever having to get down on the ground. The standing routine targets all the muscles lining your waistline as you walk to get an extra mile's worth of steps for the day. This walking-based, core-centric routine can easily be done in a small space at home or on the road, making it easy to meet your daily step count goals, rain or shine.

Posted 3/17/2016  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 13 comments   69,892 views

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Walk Yourself to Fit in Just 10 Minutes

Arm yourself against the old "I just don't have the space to workout" excuse with a compact and engaging exercise routine.

Posted 2/23/2016  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 17 comments   119,124 views

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Four Healthy Changes That Start in Your Kitchen Cabinets

Keeping that promise you made to yourself to kick off your healthiest year yet becomes possible when you're armed with more than just good intentions. If you're one of the many people who committed to a healthier lifestyle, both for yourself and for your family, the key to success may just lie in feng shui-ing your kitchen. Making the right changes to your kitchen cabinets could be the extra push you need to eat healthier in the coming year. 

Posted 2/2/2016  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 8 comments   43,302 views

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The Amazing Avocado: Health Benefits You Need to Know

It's no secret that delicious avocados can be the shining star in guacamole, salads, sandwiches and as the creamy center of your California roll. But did you know that avocados are packed with nutritients and make a great diet food, even with their high fat content?

Hass avocados are the most popular variety in the United States, but you can choose from dozens of types. Whatever variety you select, avocados should earn a spot on your plate for both their unparalleled taste and their various health benefits.

Posted 1/20/2016  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 17 comments   24,855 views

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How Often Should I Replace my Running Shoes?

Running shoes cushion feet during jogging and other high-impact exercises, keeping them comfortable while also preventing injury. Fail to replace shoes when they get too old, and you expose yourself to unnecessary risk. Thankfully, there are a variety of methods you can use to determine whether it's time to hit up the local sporting goods store.

Posted 1/8/2016  10:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 2 comments   16,878 views

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4 Ways to Avoid Late-Night Snacking

Though it can be a source of comfort at the end of a long day, late-night snacking adds unnecessary calories to your diet and can lead to weight gain. Eating late at night means you're consuming calories at a time when your body is unlikely to burn them off before sleeping, which can lead to those calories being directed to your body's fat stores. To avoid this problem, it is important to think about what you are eating after the sun sets and rexamine why it is that you choose that time of night to munch. 

Posted 12/29/2015  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 3 comments   28,929 views

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