SparkPeople Guest Blogger

8 Health Benefits of Coffee

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   16,240 views

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A Do-Anywhere Routine for Stronger Wrists

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   30,820 views

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Best Foods for Runners before a Race

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   18,194 views

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Black Tea Health Benefits

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 : 5 comments   16,310 views

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The Natural Benefits of Ginger

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   27,577 views

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A 6-Step, Full-Body Barre Workout

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   58,268 views

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Breakfast, the Most Important Meal (for Weight Loss)

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   19,316 views

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The Best Post-Run Recovery Foods

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   13,568 views

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The Many Benefits of Honey

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   18,128 views

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9 Fun Family Fitness Activities

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   11,947 views

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5 Ways to Make Walking More Wonderful

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   22,238 views

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9 Ways to Get Healthy Fats Into Your Diet

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   13,610 views

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4 Essential Walking Posture Tips

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   42,801 views

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The 1-Mile Indoor Power Walking Workout

This one-mile indoor power walking workout will help you stick with your walking routine no matter what time of day or night it is--or what the weather is like outside! 
We'll use a mix of moves that can be done easily in a small space to help you prevent joint strain. We're keeping it simple to help you squeeze in some extra steps anytime, anywhere. Just a heads up, we'll be jumping right into this walk to make this mile short and sweet, so please be sure you are warmed up first. And be sure to stick around for the cool-down to find out more about our upcoming #5MileChallenge with SparkPeople and brand new DVD, "Walk On: 5 Fat Burning Miles".
 

Posted 5/24/2015  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 17 comments   77,119 views

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The 6 Best Foods for Runners

Running is a fantastic activity to help maintain a healthy heart and weight. But the real magic happens when you refuel after your run! To get the most out of running, it's crucial that you eat healthy foods filled with vitamins, healthy fats, plus carbs and proteins that aid in muscle repair and development. Incorporate the following foods into your diet to reap maximum running rewards. 

Posted 5/19/2015  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 6 comments   35,097 views

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