6 Health Benefits of Playing Golf

While golf is not seen as the most physically demanding sport, it is still a sport and has lots of health benefits people may overlook. The truth is that a day of golfing could allow you to burn as much as 2800 calories depending on the type of player you are. That’s about a pound of body fat. It’s also a low impact exercise, which can have many benefits for certain people. Let’s take a look at some of the health benefits of playing golf.

#1 It can Help Keep your BMI Under Control

One of the main benefits of golf is that it is a gentle way to keep your BMI under control. Proper diet and general lifestyle will also play a role but playing golf once or twice or a week is a great way to burn some energy. It’s also a lot more pleasant than spending an hour on the treadmill.

#2 Mental Health Benefit

Another benefit of playing golf is on your mental health. Golf is a very contemplative game, and the slower pace is great for people dealing with anxiety and stress. This also gives you the chance to reconnect with nature, which also has tons of benefits on the mood. Many studies have shown that being exposed to green areas could help reduce stress, anxiety, and relax the body.

It allows older people to stay active and have social bonds. Or you could bridge the gap with younger players. Everybody can get involved and age isn’t much of a factor, so that could be a great way for grandparents to connect with children or grandchildren in a fun atmosphere.

#3 Low Impact

Another health benefit of golf is that it is low impact, which is again perfect for seniors or people dealing with joint issues. People suffering from arthritis cannot do things like jogging, which can be one of the most amazing things for your joints. But golf can provide you with just the right amount of activity without risking an injury. You can play at your own pace as well, which reduces that risk even more.

You also could get yourself a golf monitor and indoor golf setup and get all the benefits from home. They provide the realistic experience that you need and will allow you to fine-tune your game whenever you want and at your own speed.

#4 Build Relationships

Golf is one of the most social sports there is. It is a great way to make friends, and some of the best friendships have been formed on a golf course. There’s a reason why so many business deals have been made on golf courses. The downtime and silence in golf games allow people to get into profound discussions. It can also give you a better idea of someone’s character.

#5 Strengthens the Bladder

You might be surprised by this one. It has been found that playing golf could help people dealing with incontinence issues. Since golf players have to regulate their bathroom visits, it forces them to work their pelvic floor muscles, which is essential for controlling the bladder. This is another reason why golf can greatly improve the quality of life of seniors.

#6 Great for the Brain

Playing golf can gently increase your heart rate, which has many benefits, especially for the brain. A higher heart rate means a higher blood flow to the brain, and more blood to the brain means better and stronger neural connections. More activity also means that your blood will be better oxygenated, which contributes to clearness of thought and focus. Golfing could also help you ward off the symptoms of dementia.

As you can see, golf has tons of health benefits that you should take into consideration. We suggest you give it a closer look and consider trying a game to see if it’s your speed.

5 Best Ways to Boost Your Workouts

If you’re new to the fitness scene or you’re passionate about staying fit and healthy, there may be times when you come away from a workout feeling deflated. Many people spend a lot of their time in the gym pottering about with little to no structure. If this sounds like you, you may not be getting the maximum benefits out of your exercise. To help, here are five strategies that can get you stronger and leaner, faster.

#1 Set Smart Goals

Before going for your next workout, you need to have smart goals in place. Doing so will add structure to your exercise and enable you to know what you are aiming to achieve. It can be easy to waste many hours in the gym without even realizing. So, your goals need to be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timebound. If you don’t set achievable goals, you won’t know when to stop exercising and won’t gain a sense of accomplishment.

#2 Keep Record

From the beginning, you must monitor your progress when working out. To do this effectively, purchasing a diary and taking notes will help you cross off your targets and give you something to work towards. Whether you want to build your weights, increase distance, or reps, a great way to measure your progress is by documenting your journey. When you look back in months to come, you will see a big difference from where you first were.

#3 Change Your Diet

One of the critical measures to boost your workout is by watching what you eat and making dietary changes if necessary. To get you psyched for the gym and increase energy levels, there are tons of pre-workout foods that can help, including Greek yogurt, blueberries, and protein balls. Supplements can also increase energy levels and help you get the most out of your exercise. Transparent Labs have one of the best comparison guides on the web you can check out. Once you’ve made changes to your diet and being to eat the right foods before working out, you should notice a difference.

#4 Get Plenty of Sleep

When you sleep, your body and muscles are given the chance to repair. A good night’s sleep is crucial for your health and wellbeing. So, if you’re struggling to drift off, there are many things you can do to improve your quality of sleep. Whether it’s by going to sleep and waking up at the same time, reducing blue light exposure before hitting the hay or avoiding naps, your sleep will hugely improve as a result. If you begin a workout feeling fatigued and rundown, you won’t get the full benefits, which is why you must make sleep a priority above anything else.

#5 Factor in Rest

In some instances, it’s better to rest rather than push your body to its limits. If you are passionate about exercise, you may find it difficult to sit still. However, the strain you put on your body, muscles, and joints can do more harm than good. When working on a particular muscle group, it can take up to seven days for them to reach full recovery. So, you should alternate what areas of your body you work on, otherwise, you run the risk of getting an injury which can slow down the recovery process. Having time to rest and relax will give your body chance to repair itself.

Making minor lifestyle changes and monitoring your performance can make all the difference and help improve stamina and increase energy levels. If you feel as though you’re getting nowhere with your current workout, making use of the tips above can transform your routine for the better.

How to Meal-Plan Like a Pro

Lots of people are daunted by the idea of meal planning, but when done correctly, it can be very rewarding. Meal planning is a brilliant way to save money by shopping for only the food items you need each week. Not only that, but it can also help you to feel more organized and it can help you to avoid any last-minute take-outs. If you want to know how to meal-plan like a pro, then follow some of our top tips below:

 

1.     Know What You Have in Your Cupboards

One of the very first things you should do before you start a meal-plan is work out exactly what you have in your cupboards, refrigerator and freezer. It’s a brilliant idea to keep a list of the different food items you have in your home. You should also note the use-by-dates of the products to ensure you don’t end up wasting any.

 

2.     Make a Plan Before You Go Shopping

The majority of people plan their meals once they’ve been shopping, but this is usually the wrong thing to do. Instead, you should plan your meals before you go to the supermarket. After looking in your cupboards to see what items you already have, you can then use this information to make a list of items you need to purchase. Creating a meal plan before you go shopping will not only save you money, but it can also reduce the amount of food you waste in your home. Knowing what items you already have is the key to successful meal planning.

 

3.     Plan Meals Around Your Life

No matter if you live on your own, or in a house with multiple others, it can really help to plan your meals depending on how busy you are each day. For example, if you’re at work all day, then a slow cooker meal may be a great idea; however, if it’s your day off and you’ve got nothing planned, then a more complicated meal could be a good option for you. Being intentional with meal-planning can help you to feel more organized and relaxed.

 

4.     Choose a Plan That Suits You

There are lots of reasons why you might consider creating a meal plan. Some people use them to try and reduce the amount of money they spend on groceries each week, while other people use them to help them stick to a diet. Choosing the right sort of meal plan for you is important.

If you’re interested in a meal plan that helps you to lose weight, then a low carb meal plan is a brilliant choice for you. These plans restrict the amount of carbohydrates you consume on a daily basis and instead focus on vegetables, proteins, healthy fats and low-sugar fruits.

 

5.     Check Your Plan the Night Before

It’s always a good idea to check your meal plan the night before. This allows you to work out if you have all of the ingredients and whether they’re ready to be cooked e.g. do they need defrosting? It also allows you to change your mind on a meal if you don’t have the correct ingredients or you no longer fancy it.

 

6.     Prep in the Mornings

Dinnertime in the majority of households can be quite a hectic or crazy time. But it doesn’t have to be this way. One way you can make this time of day more enjoyable and relaxing is by prepping your food in the morning. Prepping in the mornings will not only save you time at night, but it can also help you to feel more relaxed and in control. After all, nobody wants to have to come home after a long day at work and start cooking dinner from scratch.  

 

There are lots of benefits of meal planning. Not only can it save you time and money and allow you to feel more in control of your life, but it can also help you to avoid ordering any last-minute take-outs or cheat meals. If you want to meal plan like a pro and save money at the same time, then follow some of our top tips above.

6 Tips for Eating Healthy When You’re Super Busy

Never Skip Breakfast

Mornings are usually the busiest few hours of the day. It’s easy to forgo your first meal and move straight to work. Of course, this is no way forward. Take some time to think up a few healthy breakfast options that will fit into your routine. Here are some of the best foods to eat in the morning:

  • Eggs
  • Nuts
  • Berries
  • Bananas
  • Oatmeal
  • Flaxseeds
  • Chia seeds
  • Greek yoghurt

Most of these don’t require any major preparation and you can combine them easily. For example, some blueberries mixed into a bowl of granola with Greek yoghurt will suffice.

 

Portion in Advance 

Snacking is a common habit done as a means of getting something into your system when there’s no time to cook. But even if you avoid junk food, you risk losing track of just how many snacks you’ve eaten. Pre-portioning when you’re still in the kitchen can help, and it’s better to put your day’s snacks in a container than to take the whole box or bag.

 

Stick to Water

It should go without saying that water is the number one option for hydration. Coffee is relatively healthy as long as you avoid sugar, but try sticking to water when you can. This will reduce your dependence on caffeine and save a ton of money. Simply keep a water bottle nearby and throw in a lemon for flavor.

 

Invest in Proper Equipment

When you do decide to cook up a storm, you can save time by having the right tools. For example, ceramic pots and pans sets are very popular thanks to their non-stick coatings and dishwasher-friendliness that spares you the effort of having to scrub and scour in the sink for ages after every meal. Efficient kitchen appliances are also a wise investment.

 

Start Meal Prepping

Aside from snacks, you can also prepare lunches and even dinners at home to save time. If you work from Monday to Friday, for instance, then allocating Sunday evening to cooking meals for the week ahead is a great approach. All you need are a few non-toxic containers that will hold up in the freezer to keep your food fresh as the week goes by.

 

Keep it Simple

Most cookbooks and recipe sites will have you believe that every meal needs to look like it’s part of a tasting menu at a Michelin-starred restaurant. That’s far from necessary. It also doesn’t have to be the case that your food always lights off fireworks in your mouth.

Sometimes, you just need to eat what makes your body happy. Keeping it simple will save money, time and effort. It may also change your relationship with food to see it more as sustenance than a constant treat.

As you can see, eating healthy is possible even during the busiest of times. All you need to do is change your approach. Good luck!

It’s never too late: 3 great sports to pick up as an adult

Baseball – America’s Favorite Pastime

If you’re looking to pick up a classic sport that is played all across the country, then baseball is the one to go with. Dubbed as ‘America’s favorite pastime’, this sport has been around for well over a century and has only picked up in speed and popularity. Baseball is one of those sports that you can play in your own yard, at the park, the baseball diamond, or any other outdoor area where you have a little space to move around.

But how can you master the sport and learn all the basics? You may want to consider getting your own outdoor batting cage to work on your swing. The cage will ensure that all those balls you hit while learning don’t end up breaking a window or damaging property. It keeps everything safe and contained. You can even set up a pitching machine in the cage so you can practice on your own. These cages tend to come in a variety of sizes so you can find one that fits your yard best. You’ll also need to work on your throwing and catching skills, which means you will need a baseball mitt to work in and get used to. It can also help to have a family member or friend to practice with.

Soccer – A Fabulous Cardio Workout

Here’s an opportunity to learn a new sport and get in a fabulous cardio workout at the same time. Soccer is another traditional sport that has been around for ages, that is played around the world, and really is rather simple to understand from a rules standpoint. In order to excel in this sport, you’ll need to master your kicking and passing skills, as well as build endurance. There is a lot of running back and forth across the field, so your body needs to be able to keep up.

As for what you can do specifically at home in order to master the sport, you can start by purchasing a soccer net. This will help you to work on your aim. Passing drills are also great to do, but you’ll need a partner to pass too. Also, you can set up cones in the yard that you need to move the ball around, working on your maneuver skills.

Swimming – Feel Confident in the Water

If you’re looking for a sport that doesn’t require any type of equipment or teammates to practice with, swimming could be the answer. Not only is it an excellent full body workout, it can prove to be a lifesaving skill. In terms of learning, it’s best to sign up for private or public lessons so you can get a good foundation for the sport.

Keep a Positive Attitude

The final thing to keep in mind is that no matter which of these sports you decide to pursue, the key to success is to keep a positive attitude. Remember, they will all take practice, so you can’t expect perfection right out of the gate, but that doesn’t mean you won’t get there.

A quick guide to making your own supplements

Understand Your Needs

Understanding what you want or need to improve when it comes to your health is the first step to making your own supplements. Before you purchase anything, you should do your research into the potential ingredients you can purchase to support certain areas of your health. This will allow you to find the most sustainable, economical and effective products for your homemade supplements.

 

Get Your Ingredients

Once you know what you need, it is time to purchase the ingredients and any other materials required to process the materials for your homemade supplements. The great thing about making your own supplements is that you can add a range of ingredients that will benefit and support your health the way that you want it to. Bulk buying your ingredients will usually save you money in the future.

 

Choose Your Capsules

The next step to making your own supplements is choosing the capsules right for you. If you have specific dietary requirements, then you need to make sure you do your research into the capsules you are buying, and to purchase gelatin-free or vegetable-based capsules if you are vegan or vegetarian. It may be more expensive to begin with, but buying capsules in bulk saves money over the long haul.

 

Mix Your Ingredients

Now that you understand your needs, have your ingredients and have chosen your capsules, you will need to mix them. Certain materials will work better when taken with others and will improve the effects of the substances than if they were taken alone This is known as a synergistic reaction. The materials you buy will determine how to prepare them, so make sure you research this beforehand.

 

Filling a Capsule

As soon as your ingredients have been mixed together, you will need to fill your capsules, which is pretty simple. Before you start filling, you should open up the entire empty capsule first. This will make it easier to load them up later. Now they are all open, all you need to do is pour the powder or liquid into the capsule’s base. When joining the capsule together, press down on the top and lock it.

 

Capsules Vs. Tablets

This guide tells you how to make supplements in capsule form, but you can make them as tablets if you prefer to do so. The main issue with making your own supplements in tablet form is that you need a press in order to make it, which can be expensive. If you don’t mind paying for the equipment, but you can’t decide whether to make capsules or tablets, then you should explore the pros and cons.

Making your own supplements is easy enough as long as you have the time and energy to explore what is best for you. It may feel more expensive when you start, but with time, you will notice that making your own will save you money in the future.

5 Hacks for making your coffee habit healthier

#1. Cut down if your body tells you to

The caffeine in coffee can affect people very differently, so it is difficult to say how much is too much when talking about the maximum intake a day. It can depend on your weight, but even people of similar weight may experience caffeine differently. If your body is experiencing side effects that feel abnormal, it is important that you cut down and know what your limit is. Maybe try cutting down how much coffee you put in your drink, too, as this can also be a factor of having too much coffee and experiencing side effects.

 

#2. Stop drinking coffee at 2pm

If you have trouble sleeping, it may be due to your coffee intake. Sleeping problems can affect your body and mind in so many ways, so it is important to take all of the measures necessary to sort out the problem. As mentioned before, everybody experiences the effects of caffeine differently, so it is hard to say an exact time to stop drinking coffee, but 2pm is a good guideline. If you are still having a bad night’s sleep even when stopping at 2pm, it may be worth stopping earlier. It is also a good idea to visit a doctor if you are having issues with your sleep, even after taking measures to improve it.

 

#3. Drink good quality coffee

Drinking good quality, organic coffee is so important if you are an avid coffee drinker or not. Kopi Luwak coffee is known for being smooth and balanced; it is also 100% organic too. Drinking this kind of coffee will ensure that you aren’t putting any unnatural chemicals into your body, which some bad-quality coffees unfortunately have.

 

#4. Add less sugar into your coffee

Sugar is one of the worst factors in a diet. It is bad for you not only because it has lots of calories but also if you suffer from any condition diabetes-related, including diabetes itself, then it can be dangerous to your blood sugar levels. There are a number of different health problems that sugar could contribute to, so it is important to cut down wherever you can in your diet. If you are noticing that you are adding sugar into your coffee, make sure that you aren’t using too much. If you can, try using no sugar at all and let the coffee taste shine through by itself.

 

#5. Switch to almond milk or no milk at all

Cow’s milk can make your coffee quite high in calories, especially if you are adding sugar too so there’s even more. Almond milk has fewer calories and it also contains vitamins. Even though almond milk may be better for you than cow’s milk, try having no milk at all. There are far fewer calories in a cup of black coffee. The taste may seem too powerful at first, but over time, you will adapt to the flavor.

Drinking coffee does have its ups and downs. It is important to know the effects of coffee, even if you don’t drink it that regularly. Enjoy your warm, flavorsome cup of coffee whilst still making sure that it is as healthy as it can be.

7 Supplements That Help You Thrive on a Plant-Based Diet

#1. Calcium

Let’s start with calcium. There are many calcium-rich plant-based foods, but dairy is the main natural source, which means that vegans usually lack this essential nutrient in their diets. Calcium is required for the formation of bones, function of muscles, healthy blood pressure and nerve transmission. For your body to absorb it, you need to take it alongside vitamin D, which we will look into later. If you need to buy supplements, check out Future Kind as these are perfect for those living a vegan lifestyle.

 

#2. Iodine

Iodine is a trace mineral required for the optimal function of the thyroid. It is also a vital component of the thyroid hormone. This hormone is accountable for many enzymes, protein syntheses and the development of the nervous and skeletal system in babies. The main sources for iodine are dairy, fish and shellfish. If you follow a strict vegan diet, then you put yourself at risk of iodine deficiency. You can consume iodine through certain types of seaweed, but taking a supplement is recommended.

 

#3. Iron

Iron can be found in both animal and plant-based products. It is essential for carrying the correct levels of oxygen in your blood, creating new DNA, growth and is used in energy metabolism. There are two forms of iron; heme, which is from animals, and is more bioavailable in humans compared to non-heme iron (which is from plants). If you don’t consume enough iron, it can lead to fatigue and anemia, so as a vegan, you should definitely be taking iron supplements alongside cooking with iron-rich plant foods.

 

#4. Omega-3

Omega-3 fatty acids are important for the health and development of your nervous systems, brain and eyes. It is also a strong anti-inflammatory. There are many different types of omega-3s, but the three that we know the most about are docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Although some plant-based foods contain omega-3, the main source is oily fish. The human body cannot produce omega-3, so vegans must take it in supplement form.

 

#5. Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is naturally found in animal products, from meat, to eggs and dairy. This water-soluble vitamin supports the function of the nervous system and helps with the formation of red blood cells. Despite its water solubility, stores of vitamin B12 can circulate throughout the body for many years. This means that it can take up to five years to develop a deficiency. Even though it naturally occurs in animal products, vitamin B12 can be produced synthetically, so no cruelty needs to be involved.

 

#6. Vitamin D

When it comes to taking care of your immune function and bone health, consuming enough vitamin D is crucial. This vitamin is fat-soluble and acts as a hormone in your body. Its role is to promote the absorption of calcium, support the correct levels of blood pressure and a healthy heart. Vitamin D can be found in some food products, but its main source is the sun. Whether you eat meat or not, if you don’t spend 20-30 minutes in the sun each day, you should take a vitamin D supplement.

 

#7. Zinc

Zinc is an essential mineral that is required for the optimum function of the immune system. It also sustains your sense of taste and smell, growth and supports hormones. You cannot store zinc and your body needs it for over 100 enzyme reactions, so taking this mineral daily is critical. Zinc deficiency is fairly common in the US, especially amongst the vegan community. There are many vegan foods that contain zinc, but animal products aid absorption, so taking a supplement is advised.

Whether you do or don’t consume animal products, many people take supplements to support certain body functions and our health. If you are sticking to a plant-based diet, then taking daily supplements is more crucial, but in the grand scheme of things, it is not something that should put you off being a vegan. Always speak to your doctor or a nutritionist if you have any questions or concerns.

Getting Back on Track: Exercising After a Lower Back Injury

Assess Your Level of Motivation

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Where is your motivation originating from?
  • Are you keen to get back to an active lifestyle again after being sidelined?
  • Is extra weight gain something that distresses you and it is now time to tackle it?
  • Were you a reluctant exerciser before but now you know it’s important?

Depending on the answers, it’ll be clearer where you should begin.

 

What Exercises Do You Prefer or Are Best Suited to You?

Were you always good at certain exercises and made a beeline to those? Given your past lower back injury, will they still be possible for you, or are they best avoided? If you’re worried about a lower back injury reoccurring, then it’s best to avoid jogging, using a rowing machine, and doing other activities that will put the additional weight of strain on this part of your body.

You’ll also want to take it easy in the first few weeks. No speeding out of the gate now that your physician has cleared you to take up exercise again.

 

Take Care of Your Body Between Fitness Routines

As with any exercise, you’ll feel sore the next day if you don’t take care of yourself. We’d suggest a hot bath to relax the muscles before going to bed. This reduces the likelihood of waking up in the middle of the night with leg cramps. Also, sleeping well is particularly important. This way, your body can repair itself overnight from the previous day’s activities. You should use the best mattress for back pain to support your needs. Don’t make matters worse by ignoring the need for excellent sleep because it’s so restorative.

 

Lower Duration and Intensity to Start

Ignore the distance, duration, and weights that you were used to before. That was the old you. Refresh by removing ego from the equation and starting small, light, and keeping the duration limited. The most important thing is to not get reinjured. To avoid that, it’s necessary to begin at a low point and work back up. Not only will this help to prevent new injuries to your back or elsewhere on your body, but it reflects your lack of exercise in the last few weeks or months too.

 

Let Your Body Tell You When to Increase the Intensity

Exercisers coming off an injury need to listen to their body and how it reacts to a new fitness routine. There’s a big difference between being sore from working muscle groups that haven’t seen much action recently and feeling a twinge in your lower back in the most troublesome spot. So, learn to tell the difference because being sore is a common part of exercising. Essentially, you’re right back as a beginner again, even if you have advanced-level knowledge from experience. Only when you’re running through a routine perfectly without feeling soreness or physical pain should you consider raising the bar by upping the pace, adding more weights for the reps, etc.

We hope the message is clear that the goal of getting back on track is not about speed or setting new records but sustaining exercise pain-free. It’s critical to avoid hurting your back once again.

How to Recover Faster from Workouts

Eat Well

Eating well during workout and rest days is essential for recovery. To provide you with the right level of energy, you should make sure you are eating healthy carbohydrates. You should also be consuming a high level of protein before, during, and after a workout. Protein is a macromolecule that aids muscle growth and repair. You can consume protein through a combination of diet and supplements.

 

Get Plenty of Sleep

Getting the right amount of good quality sleep is one of the simplest yet most effective ways to boost muscle recovery. You should sleep between 7 and 8 hours every night. To get a comfortable night’s rest, you’ll want the best mattress possible. This will help you sleep and will reduce the risk of aches and pains the next day. Sleep is just as important as any other part of your training session.

 

Stay Hydrated

Whether you do or don’t work out, staying hydrated is essential for every function in your body and will make your body more efficient. Drinking water before, during, and after a workout will help your body get rid of any waste products and will prevent dehydration. When your muscles are dehydrated, you put them at risk of being injured. Dehydration can also result in painful spasms and cramps.

 

Stretch Out Every Day

Stretching out every day is one of the best muscle recovery tips out there and is something that you can follow out every time. It will also prevent injuries in the future. When you exercise, your muscles will become tighter. Stretching will decrease soreness by relaxing muscle tension. Using foam rollers to roll out sore muscles will also reduce inflammation and soreness the day after a workout.

 

Avoid Overtraining

Intense workouts may feel good, but it is important not to overdo it. If you spend most of your week performing high-intensity exercises and lifting weights, then you need to make sure that you use days off to supplement your workout. Rest days give your tired muscles the opportunity to re-energize and rebuild. By improving your recovery efforts, you will reach your fitness goals faster.

 

Take a Cold Bath

A thorough workout does not have to result in sore, achy muscles. Getting into a cold bath straight after an intense exercise session will reduce inflammation in the muscles, which will make you feel less sore the next day. This will allow you to perform at your best quicker, which will reduce the risk of missing out on your next training session. This will aid recovery and help you to achieve your goal faster.

For the best results and to ensure peak performance, giving your body time to recover from workouts is just as important as the workout itself. You just need to make sure you plan your routine out in the correct way and get the most out of your rest days.

7 Bedtime Habits That Will Make You Healthier and Happier

Set the Right Room Temperature

Making sure your room is at the right temperature before you go to bed is essential for a solid night’s sleep. If you wake up too hot or cold during the night, then your sleep will be interrupted, affecting its quality. Finding the right temperature for your bedroom will most likely require some trial and error, but a comfortable temperature is important.

 

Limit Your Caffeine Intake

Caffeine is a stimulant that is consumed by individuals to increase alertness, focus and make them feel more awake and energized. Limiting your caffeine intake late in the day is essential for a good quality sleep. When it is consumed late in the day, it will stimulate your nervous system, which will make it difficult for your body to relax naturally during the night.

 

Do Relaxing Exercises

Doing intense exercise an hour or two before bed is a great way to make yourself naturally tired and improve your sleep at night. You should not do intense exercises right before bed as it can actually make you feel more awake. If you would like to do some exercise before you sleep, then you should consider adding some relaxing stretches to your night time routine.

 

Block Out Any Sound

Waking up to noise during the night is common, especially if you live near a busy road or a populated area. Ear plugs are a great way to block out any noise that interrupts your sleep and you can block gaps in your windows to reduce noise getting through. If you sleep with a partner and they snore, you should do what you can to stop them snoring to help you get the best sleep possible.

 

Reduce Screen Time

Many of us are victims of spending too much time staring at screens. This can have a negative impact on our mental health and can cause issues to our eye health and posture. Reducing your screen time before bed is an effective way to improve your sleep quality. Ideally, you should cut screen time an hour before you go to bed, but benefits can be experienced just half an hour before.

 

Take Calming Supplements

There are a number of natural remedies that can improve sleep quality. Melatonin tends to be the most popular supplement to take before bed, as it helps you fall asleep quicker. However, there are several other supplements that induce relaxation to help you sleep. These include glycine, lavender, magnesium, L-theanine, valerian root and ginkgo biloba.

 

Get Yourself Relaxed

Optimizing your bedroom environment and doing this to make yourself feel relaxed before bed should be combined with the above tips to help you rest well during the night. To optimize your bedroom setting, you should make sure your mattress, bedding and pillows are comfortable, and eliminate external noise and light. To relax yourself before bed, you should take a warm bath or shower.

Incorporating these habits into your daily routine won’t happen overnight, but once you manage to make them part of your bedtime routine and your sleep quality improves, you will become a healthier and happier person.

Healthy Morning Routine Tips to Kick Off Your Day

Leave Your Phone Alone

Most people, as soon as their eyes open, go to check their phone to see any new messages and alerts. However, doing this doesn’t give your brain enough time to register itself. Seeing messages and being immersed in something that has nothing to do with focusing on waking up will immediately put stress onto yourself. Try waking up and focusing your mind on the little things, such as what the weather is like, and what you fancy for breakfast.

 

Cold Shower

Having a cold shower first thing in the morning has been proven to help the body and mind massively. It not only strengthens your immune system, but it makes you feel a huge sense of achievement. However, standing in a freezing cold shower is not an enjoyable experience, and the feeling of being comfortable and warm to then making yourself uncomfortable on purpose takes so much willpower. To ease yourself into this process, try subjecting yourself to cold water for a short amount of time at the end of your shower then start to build it up from there.

 

Fresh Air

It sounds so simple, yet it is so effective. Fresh morning air contains more oxygen because the sun has only just risen, helping your lungs to fully open and providing you with a break from the circulated air indoors. Taking a few seconds to sit with your window open or sit outside for a few minutes without a phone or any other distractions can help clear your mind, organize your thoughts and feel a sense of calmness.

 

Morning Coffee

A relaxing habit that many people live by is having a coffee while sat breathing in the crisp morning air and taking in the beautiful views. By treating yourself to a warm, decadent, invigorating cup of coffee outside, it feels like a treat with every sip. For Nespresso owners that also want to look after the environment, you can find compatible capsules that are eco-friendly from sites like Gourmesso. They are compostable, containing absolutely no plastic or aluminum. Choosing from their large range of intensities and roast levels, they can cater to your specific coffee requirements.

 

Exercise

Exercise at any time of day is extremely beneficial, but exercising in the morning has been shown to improve your performance for the rest of the day. It is a chance to fully switch your brain on and get your blood pumping! Exercising in the morning can massively improve your sleep at night, by waking up early and getting rid of excess energy that would otherwise be keeping you up at the end of the day. Exercising your brain releases more endorphins, which is good for tackling anxiety and depression.

 

Healthy Breakfast

Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. After not eating for hours on end while being asleep, your body craves nutrients to start it back up again. When eating breakfast and setting yourself up for the day, you’re less likely to eat more throughout the day. This can then result in less unhealthy weight gain and more energy in the mornings.

Although some of these tips may sound obvious, many people overlook them because it is easy to be sucked into having a fast-paced lifestyle. Do your mind and body a favor, and look after yourself. Ease into the day and start as you mean to go on.

6 Delicious toppings for rice cakes

I’m a big fan of rice cakes because they are a healthy alternative to bread. If you find rice cakes taste like cardboard, then I have a few delicious toppings for rice cakes so you can conjure up a delicious snack or lunch. Let’s face it: without toppings, rice cakes are not very tasty. But they do have some very good qualities: gluten free, vegan, one rice cake contains 25 calories, no saturated or trans fats, convenient to carry and inexpensive!

6 Delicious toppings for rice cakes


1. PIZZA RICE CAKE

The good thing about this topping is that if the tomato sauce soaks into the rice cake, it gets a more bread-like structure. Put the rice cake into the oven until the cheese is melted. Add another pizza topping of your choice now!

Traditional Greek dip tzatziki

2. TZATZIKI AND CHICKEN BREAST

This combination ensures that I get a taste of summer that cheers me right up. Yes, that’s what tzatziki makes me think of…even on rainy days.

3. AVOCADO AND SLICED ​​CHICKEN BREAST

This is my absolute favorite! If you like to, you can also add slices of chicken breast. I think this is the best combination out there!

 

4. MOZZARELLA, PESTO, TOMATO & BASIL

This divine Italian flavour tastes good served with anything, including a rice cake! Indulge your taste buds with this combo.

5. PEANUT BUTTER OR ALMOND BUTTER WITH BANANA OR STRAWBERRY AND CHIA.

Had a bad day? Fortunately for you, there is nothing that peanut butter and spoon can’t resolve. Add some banana or strawberry, and you have a delicious treat!

6. COTTAGE CHEESE WITH SALMON AND AVOCADO

You can create so many snacks and sides with cottage cheese! Try this combination with smoked salmon and avocado, it is so incredibly delicious.

And those are my favourite toppings for rice cakes! I try to eat as well as possible every day with the most simple ingredients … and sometimes luxurious ingredients. Do you have any tasty tips for me? Then go ahead and write them in a comment below! 

Best Pre-Workout Food

Now we know what to eat post workout, pre-workout food can’t be left forgotten! The right pre-workout food is just as important as post-workout food, maybe even more.

A lot of people think that exercising on an empty stomach is a good idea to burn more fat. In reality, your body will just use whatever energy there is available and this might not be fat but muscle. Another side effect of exercising on an empty stomach is that you might not have the energy for that killer workout and your exercise will be less effective and less fun.

 

Best Pre-Workout Food

About 1-2 hours before your workout, carbs are your BFF. The best is to have a mix of complex (like whole wheat products) and simple ones (like fruit) so that the release of energy during your workout is slow and steady throughout your routine. So if you are up for a great workout, try one of these pre-workout foods:

  • A granola bar
  • A slice of whole wheat toast with half a banana and cinnamon
  • Apple wedges with almond butter
  • Lisa’s banana muffins
  • A few whole wheat, or flax crackers
  • Greek yoghurt with trail mix or granola
  • 1/2 cup of oatmeal with some raisins or banana slices

For about 15 to 30 minutes before your workout it is important that the food is easy to digest. This way you won’t have to work out with a full stomach but you won’t be hungry either. These foods will provide you some energy quickly:

  • Fruit juice or smoothie
  • Banana, apple, or any other piece of fruit

So enjoy your snack and own that workout!

5 kitchen essentials you’re missing

Being a Fit Girl is hard work. Doing healthy shopping, planning your meals in advance, deciphering recipes on nutritious meals, working out, you know being you. It all takes time and energy and you could use a little help, especially in the kitchen. That’s why I’ve made a list of top 5 kitchen essentials you’re missing (probably), if not then well done! 

 

5 Kitchen essentials you’re missing

1. Apple divider 

You already know the story of how good apples are for you and occasionally even toss them in your salad. They make for a great snack and sometimes you just don’t feel like slicing one up. Lucky you, now you can do that in one go, woosh!

 

2. Cups. In all sizes.

There are a lot of healthy and potentially delicious recipes out there that require you to measure your ingredients in cups.  before getting all tangled up in transforming all the units, take a look at these bright babies and all their colours!

 

3. Carrot ‘sharpener’ 

Yes, a carrot sharpener. Because why not? The next time you make a salad, just think how handy this can come along! And how interestingly cute it will look! I mean, just having this thing sitting around on your kitchen table top is pretty cool, but the fact that it’s actually useful strikes bonus points! Warning: keep away from eyeliners and curious boyfriends.

 

4. Avocado slicer 

Alright, well, this thing looks pretty much like a broken egg beater, but don’t let its looks fool you! Slicing up a ripe avocado can be a tricky business sometimes, which is why this super handy utensil will come to your rescue. Invest in one, you won’t regret it!

 

5.  Unicorn sprinkles 

I’ve saved the best for last! Have you ever wondered where all those confetti looking, colourful and edible thingies on your ice-cream come from? This is quite self explanatory and you need to have it! It’s probably going to be our new office mascot, here on Unicorn Island. Yep, seems appropriate.

 

Which essential do we miss? Do you have something that we didn’t mention, let us know!

Honey hair treatment for healthy & shiny hair

These days a lot of people are committed to eating healthy. But what about the products you put ON your body, like shampoo, body lotion and deodorant? I discovered that all the beauty products we use on a daily basis contain a lot of ingredients we know nothing about. Most of the ingredients are no good. So I did a little research for healthy alternatives. I found some beauty product in the most natural way possible. It got me really curious and now I somewhat addicted to try new things. The latest thing I tried is putting honey in my hair instead of artificial shampoo.

 

The ‘No Poo’ movement
The more natural the better, is my opinion. A year ago I started trying bicarbonate (baking soda) to wash my hair with. My hair got a bit rough and dull, but clean. I wanted to try something new, so I decided to try pure honey to wash my hair with. What I read on the internet got me really curious. Normal shampoo is actually designed to clean you scalp of sebum. But did you know that your hair gets greasier the more you wash it? Daily washing may cause the oils to be stripped too quickly, encouraging them to come back even oilier to make up for the loss. If you have naturally greasy hair, it’s recommended that you only wash it every 2-3 days. Wanna know more about this subject? Try searching on the internet for ‘no poo’. You’ll find lots of information.

 

 

Shiny & clean hair
So, how does it work? Make sure you get real natural honey (no sugar, water or preservatives) for your hair treatment. I used organic honey from a beekeeper. Put one tablespoon of honey in an empty bottle or cup and add a few spoons of hot (if you use cold water it doesn’t blend well) and stir. Poor the mixture over your head and massage your scalp easily. No need to wet your ends, the water and honey will run down automatically. Leave it in your hair for a couple of minutes. Rinse your hair carefully. You don’t need to use conditioner anymore. The result: shiny and clean hair!

I washed my hair with honey for quite some time now, but I don’t want to state yet that this is the best way to treat your hair. First I want to try out other natural products. Although, if you want to experiment with natural products, honey or baking soda are good ones to start with. Please share your experience with me! I am really curious to hear your opinion about it! One more tip: try extra vergine coconut oil as body lotion. It makes your skin super soft and smooth!

 

Share your tips and tricks for shiny and healthy hair! Everything is welcome 😉 

From sneakers to heels and back

Either you’re getting back to your office job or simply getting ready for a night out with the girls, making the transition form flats, sneakers to heels and back can prove to be a difficult and even painful process. As a shoe shopaholic addict, I know… 

From sneakers to heels and back

As a #Fit Girl in progress, I love my heels as much as I love my sneakers and in order to prevent “stiletto related injuries” I’ve scooped up some useful fitness routines to smooth the transition. These types of injuries can go beyond blisters and into chronic static nerve pain, foot stress and even hip and knee tendinitis. Ouch!

1. Leg day! Oh yay! When you’re at the gym, don’t skip leg day and also don’t skip the leg press! This machine works up every muscle group in that is activated when you walk on heels, meaning quadriceps, hamstrings, calves but also gluteus maximus. Make sure you adjust the appropriate weight and do about 4 sets of 10 reps.

LEG-press

 

From sneakers to heels and back

2. On your tippy toes!  You can do this anywhere, anytime (almost). Doing floor calf raises improves posture, stability and mobility. You can either do them standing or sitting, with or without added weights. This exercise will help you generate more force in the joints and muscles in your ankle area as well. Try doing 3 sets of 20 reps.

CALF-raises          3. Raised standing hip abductor    First and foremost, avoid all eye contact while using this machine at the gym. Now that we have that out of the way, here’s how it goes. Normally you would do this exercise while sitting down, however, if you modify the position so that your bottom is raised about 6 inches off the seat,  it directly targets your glutes.  Having strong glutes helps prevent lower back injuries, that’s the area that supports your pelvis, which in turn is tilted slightly different when wearing heels. 3 sets of 20 reps should do it!

HIP-abductor

4.  The ABC of ankles  Yep, easy as that! Drawing the letters of the alphabet in the air with your ankles with a full range of motion boosts blood flow and loosens ligaments and tendons in the area! You can do this at home, from the comfy-ness of your  living room!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

5. Extensions, extensions…. extensions   So, about leg day again, don’t forget to add some leg extensions to your gym log! Stand a little bit closer to the front, so that pressure moves further from the knee and closer to the hip area. This will increase the strength of your hip flexors! Yup, those have a part to play in this stiletto affair too! Do 4 sets of 10 reps.

LEG-extentions

 

6. Arch rolls  That wooden rolling pin in your kitchen just got another part time job! Just roll the arches of your feet on it, this movement simulates a foot reflexology massage. This helps relieve tension and stress from your feet. Roll for 2 to 4 minutes on each foot. You can basically use and cylinder shaped object, a can or even an empty wine bottle!

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Are you ready to integrate these moves in your workout routines? Can’t wait to hear about the improvements! 

6x healthy snack bar recipes

In the journey to one’s summer body, snacking has to be sacrificed. Snacks… Those who are always there for us, those who never disappoint, and those who always get our moods up, how could we possibly just give them up? Well, guess what?! WE WONT! Fit Girls love their snacks and so they should. Yet, the usual go-to chocolate bar is not a perfect match with the healthy lifestyle, SO we need healthy alternatives. Luckily for us, there are many options. In order to give you some quick options I gathered 6 healthy snack bar recipes so that you can swap those twix and mars bars in for something your Fit Girl body will appreciate.

1. Apple-cinnamon fruit bar

Just look at it… ahhhhh! It’s calling your name! With its fudgy base and its sweet topping, it’s basically a healthy apple-crumble snack. How could anyone say no?!

Ingredients:

Crust

  • 1 cup Chopped nuts
  • 3/4 cup Whole-wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup All-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 4 tbsp Unsalted butter
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 tbsp Canola oil
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract

Fruit filling:

  • 6 cups Apples
  • 1/2 cup Apple cider
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract

Interested in the full recipe? Check it out here: Eating Well

2. Double-chocolate Peanut Butter Granola bar

No-bake, vegan, gluten-free, you name it! This snack bar will check the list. If you’re a chocolate addict and can’t even start to imagine a diet without chocolate then you’re in luck when it comes to this recipe. A double-chocolate HEALTHY snack bar almost sounds too good to be true. But no, you can make it in your very own kitchen. ?

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup Brown rice syrup
  • 1/2 cup Peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup Light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup Unsweetened natural cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 2 cups Quick cook oats
  • 2 cups Crispy rice cereal
  • 1 cup Dark Chocolate chips

If you’re in need of this snack and ready to get prepping, here’s the full list of instructions: Averie Cooks.

3. Raspberry Chia Bar

This is a breakfast bar that tastes as good as it looks. With a jammy, sweet topping and a solid, crunchy base, this breakfast/snack bar becomes unavoidable during your fitness journey.

Ingredients:

Raspberry chia jam

  • 1 cup Raspberries
  • 1 tsp Honey
  • 1 tsp Lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp Chia seeds

Bar and crumble topping:

  • 1 cup Rolled oats
  • 1 cup Walnuts
  • 1 1/4 cup Pitted Medjool dates
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp Sea salt

Are you a fan of the looks of this oh-so-good snack?! Don’t wait any longer, check Daily Burn‘s full recipe.

4. Blueberry Vanilla Greek yogurt Granola bar

For those who enjoy more subtle snack bars, this is the real underdog of granola bars. With just the classic combo of blueberries, vanilla and yogurt, this granola bar still manages to explode in flavour and kill any cravings.

Ingredients:

Bar

  • 2 cups Rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cups Brown rice krispies
  • 1/4 cup Shredded, unsweetened coconut
  • 1/4 cup Whole roasted almonds
  • 1 tbsp Chia seeds
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 cup Peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup Honey
  • 1 1/2 tsp Vanilla
  • 1 cup Dried blueberries

Yogurt coating

  • 1 tbsp Water
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp Gelatin
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp Honey
  • 1 pinch of Salt
  • 2 cups Powdered sugar

Prepare these granola bars at home and take them with you everywhere you go. Half Baked Harvest provides you with the easy recipe.

5. Blueberry oat bar

Here is another blueberry bar because blueberries are simply the best. This bar is however a lot fudgier than the previous blueberry-filled bar. This vegan, healthy snack bar is exactly what you need for those long hours between your breakfast and lunch. Grab 1 or 2 pieces from your stash, and get going. Snacking has never been easier or healthier!

Ingredients:

Blueberry filling

  • 2 cups Frozen blueberries (thawed)
  • 2 tbsp Ground flaxseed

Crust:

  • 2 Bananas
  • 1 cup Gluten free oats
  • 1 cup Gluten free oat flour
  • 2 tbsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 2 tbsp Maple syrup

That’s it for the blueberry oat bar, doesn’t sound too complicated does it? And if the gluten free ingredients are too difficult to find, and you’re not a vegan, then you can just buy the normal products. Follow the recipe here: Petite Allergy Treats.

6. Raw salted chocolate snack bar

I feel like this list of snack bars NEEDS to be concluded with a final chocolatey bar. By the looks of it, this snack bar will do just fine! Bringing a twist to the classic salted caramel bar, a chocolate version is exactly what we’ve been waiting for all these years. Fit Girls, grab your cooking gear and get started on this perfectly crafted chocolate snack bar.

Ingredients:

Crust

  • 1 1/2 cup Pecan halves
  • 1 1/2 cup Rolled oats
  • 8 whole Medjool dates (pitted)
  • 1/2 cup Coconut oil (melted)
  • 1 pinch of Sea salt

Chocolate filling

  • 1/2 cup Cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup Coconut oil (melted)
  • 1/4 cup Honey

In order to get your hands on this chocolatey, heavenly snack bar. Check the recipe by Pinch of Yum.

I sure have a lot of snacking to get done if I want to attempt at tasting all of these bars.? I think my favourite is either the blueberry oat bar, or the apple-cinnamon fruit bar. But then again, all the others also fit on my top snacks list, the struggle is too real. Which is your favourite? Do you maybe have any snack bars to add to the list? Share it with us in the comments! ?

Are you looking for a long lasting list of healthy recipes? Check out the Happy Healthy Guide >

Healthy pumpkin spice latte

Winter is here and baby it’s cold outside… There’s just something in the air that makes me curl up on the couch with a cup of healthy pumpkin spice latte and read a good book! Yes, you read that right, HEALTHY pumpkin spice latte! Without further ado, let’s get down to business and brew this right:

 

Pumpkin spice latte recipe:

 

Ingredients: 

– 1 or 2 espresso shots

– 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk

– 3 tablespoons of pumpkin puree

– 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice

– 2 drops vanilla essence

– a dash of stevia (or sweetener)

– cinnamon to top off

 

Method: 

Start by mixing together the pumpkin puree and the almond milk in a pan over the stove, on medium heat. After removing from the stovetop, pour it in a blender and add in the vanilla essence, spices and stevia. Process everything for 30 seconds, this should bring the mixture to a foamy consistency. Prepare the espresso shots in a big mug and pour the delicious contents of the blender on top. Top it all off with cinnamon powder, curl up on the couch and savour your healthy, home made, Pumpkin Spice latte!

 

Tip: I got fresh pumpkin from the farmer’s market and made the puree.

 

Are you going to swap the Starbucks PSL for a healthy home made one? Show us your photos! 

 

How to make time for exercise

One of the most used excuses for not working out, is probably ‘I don’t have time’. Oh yes, you do have time! It’s about making exercising a priority; you don’t need to workout 7 days a week, but try 3 times. Everybody can fit in those three hours a week; these three hours are only 1.8 percent of your week! So here are some tips that will help you get going!

How to make time for exercise

– When you get home after a long day, whatever you do, DON’T crash on the couch. You probably won’t get up anymore once you do. Lace up those running shoes first thing so you can’t change your mind!

Always have a gym bag ready, with gym clothes, shoes, a water bottle and a towel – this way, you can grab and go as soon as you get home.

– Even better; take this bag with you in the morning, so you can go to the gym directly after work/school/etc.

Schedule your workouts. Like I said, it is about making exercise a priority; it’s not about finding time, but making time. When you plan your workouts, you’ll be less likely to back out.

Get up half an hour earlier and try a morning workout (go for a walk, a run, or a yoga session) – this could be rough the first week, but the second week will be easier and the third week you’ll be hooked to your new routine. This is a super energizing way to start your day!

Go to the gym group fitness classes – the teacher and the group will motivate you to give your best, but perhaps even more importantly, you can’t walk out or quit before the class is over, you will have to finish it! No more backing out of that last rep anymore!

Try online workouts. This could have the same effect as a group fitness class; you don’t really have to think, just follow the instructions.

– Last but not least: remember why you want it. Exercising has so many benefits; you’ll look good and. So even if you have a rough week and you’re feeling sluggish and tired, try to get a quick session because this will actually give you more energy!

What is your motivation to go to the gym even after a long day? How do you make time for exercise? Share your tips and tricks with us!