SparkPeople Guest Blogger
When it comes to healthy eating, most people tend to focus on eating more fruits and vegetables. However, herbs and spices can also provide astounding health benefits. Learn how herbs like sage can improve your health and delight your taste buds.
Posted 8/30/2015 2:00:00 PM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 5 comments 13,299 views
Having trouble staying fit while managing your career? A good workout doesn't require fancy machines or hours of free time. Lose weight, boost your metabolism and increase your energy with these six smart office exercise tips.
NOTE: To avoid injury, consult your doctor before beginning a new exercise routine.
Take Advantage of the Commute
For many, the morning commute conjures up images of congested roads, angry drivers and fickle stoplights. If your office isn't too far, why not leave the car keys behind and rev up your lungs? A refreshing morning jog or bike ride has numerous health benefits. While it may be a struggle at first, a cardiovascular routine reduces bad cholesterol, improves stamina, and cuts down on the risk of heart disease. It will also leave you feeling energized and focused throughout the day. If your workplace is too far, consider taking public transit part of the way and jogging the rest. Still on the fence? Even small changes like parking further away or taking the stairs instead of the elevator can make a difference.
Use Your Lunch Break Wisely
Instead of squandering your one hour browsing the web, use it to get in shape. If your office has a fitness center, sneak in a quick session of weight training or work up a sweat on the elliptical machine. If you missed your morning jog, now's your opportunity to make it up. If it's raining or there are no gyms close by, do some calisthenics (bodyweight exercises) at your desk. These include push-ups, sit-ups, squats, and jumping jacks. Studies also show that a midday workout refreshes the brain, keeping you productive through the rest of the day.
Posted 8/27/2015 2:00:00 PM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 6 comments 14,111 views
Cinnamon awakens the senses and makes people think of pumpkin pie, spiced coffee, and the aroma of the holidays. However, cinnamon doesn't just have a pleasing smell; many often fail to recognize how much of a positive impact cinnamon may have on health. Cinnamon carries many benefits, which include antioxidant and microbial properties. Take a look at how cinnamon can make you healthier.
Cinnamon and Diabetes
Cinnamon has been widely used throughout human history for a myriad of medical treatments. Among these ailments, cinnamon has been shown to improve the prognoses of those with diabetes. In October 2013, a comprehensive analysis of cinnamon and its effect on diabetes was conducted, reports the National Library of Medicine. Throughout the two-year study of 543 patients, the levels of fasting plasma glucose, total cholesterol, low-density lipoproteins, and triglycerides decreased with the assistance of a cinnamon supplement.
Posted 8/25/2015 8:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 10 comments 16,530 views
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 : 6 comments 35,263 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.
Plan Your Run for Cooler Times in the Day
During the scorching summer months, it makes little sense to run at the hottest times of the day. Skip the afternoon run, and opt for an early morning run instead. Typically, running just before sunrise is the ideal time to get in a workout at the coolest part of the day.
Not only will this help you beat the summer heat, but you will also enjoy a surge of energy that carries you through the rest of your day.
Dress for Warm-Weather Running Success
To survive warm-weather months, you need to gear up appropriately. Wear light-colored, breathable clothing that gives your body and skin plenty of room. Couple your running attire with a hat that will keep your face shielded from UV rays and keep you cool at the same time.
Posted 8/22/2015 12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 1 comments 8,229 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 15,141 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 : 5 comments 23,730 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 11,755 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 : 4 comments 12,098 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 : 11 comments 21,787 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 : 5 comments 35,326 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.
Mix It Up
It's important to have protein, whole grain carbs, and fruit at every breakfast, both to keep yourself from getting bored and to ensure you get a good balance of nutrients. This balance not only helps stave off hunger for a longer period of time, but the whole grains won’t make your blood sugar spike. When blood sugar spikes, eventually it crashes, and then you’ll be hungry and more likely to feel tired. A balanced mixture of foods is not only important in helping you lose or maintain weight, but it also keeps you from foraging for more food before lunch.Tea, Please!
Is coffee not your cup of tea? Green tea can give you the morning pick-me-up you need while providing healthy antioxidants and aiding in satiety.
Make Your Own
Many storebought products come with added preservatives or other ingredients for the sole purpose of expanding the shelf-life of those foods. Although a longer shelf-life is great for convenience and food storage, some of these additives aren't exactly the healthiest things you can put in your body. But you don't have to rely on the storebought stuff! It's plenty easy to make your own wholesome granola. Give this homemade granola a spin and see what you think!
Posted 7/24/2015 10:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 3 comments 15,179 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 : 1 comments 8,733 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 14,925 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 8,299 views