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Marathon Race Day Preparation

May 24th, 2013 | Posted by nikki in Blog - (Comments Off on Marathon Race Day Preparation)

Whether you are a beginner runner on a 5km or 10 km run or a seasoned marathon runner, there are many things you need to do to get your body race day ready. Here are some tricks and tips from the experts to help you to do your best run ever.

Carbo loading

While it is essential to load up on carbs on the days leading up to a race, don’t overload your body the night before. You should be getting 65-70% of your calories from carbohydrates before the race. Start three days before the race day and eat regular-sized portions of healthy, whole foods that are high in carbohydrates. Avoid too much pasta the night before. Too many carbs the night before race day will lead to stomach issues and a bad night’s sleep.

High Fiber

While we would always recommend whole foods that are high in fiber, we don’t recommend them just before a run. Running gets the juices flowing and you may find that you need to go to the bathroom more than usual anyway. Eating too much fiber before a race can only encourage this and there aren’t always bathrooms when you need them on a run. Just for the last few days before a race, stick with low-fiber foods.

Don’t get Adventurous

While trying new dishes and restaurants is usually a good idea, steer clear of the unknown just before a race. You can’t risk getting a tummy bug or eating something that doesn’t agree with you. Keep your meals super simple and, where possible, eat at home to ensure that you don’t get sick.

Water, water everywhere

Hydrating isn’t about drinking water before or during the race; it’s a much longer commitment than that. For three days before the race, drink as much water as you can. You should be going to the bathroom far more frequently and, when you do, your urine should be completely clear. If there is any color in your urine, you need to be drinking more!

Geared up

Ensure that your gear is ready and that you have worn this gear before. Even a new running shirt can cause chaffing on race day if you haven’t tried it out. Keep your toe nails short and ensure that you have a groovy race mix on your MP3 player and that your heart rate monitor is set.

What you eat and drink before race day could make the difference between the best run of your life and the worst. Make sure you have enough energy, are well hydrated and avoid the ‘runner’s runs’ by using common sense and sticking to the things you know.

For the best selection of heart rate monitors, go to Healthcheck Systems. 

The Amazing Health Benefits of Ginger

May 17th, 2013 | Posted by nikki in Blog - (2 Comments)

Ginger is an amazing panacea for all kinds of ailments and it packs a health punch too. You can add ginger to your smoothies, stir fries, stews and soups or make a fresh ginger tea by slicing some ginger root into boiling water. Ginger cookies and ginger beer are great ways to include ginger into your day, but ensure that products contain actual ginger rather than ginger flavoring.

Here are some of the many ways in which ginger can make your feel so much better!

Nausea: Whether this is caused by seasickness, pregnancy, stomach flu or a bad burrito, ginger will cure your nausea in no time. A Lancet Journal study showed that 36 people who were very susceptible to seasickness found that ginger cured their nausea.

Cramping: From period pains to stomach ailments, or just aching muscles ginger is a great cure for cramps. A “Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine” study found that ginger was every bit as good at relieving pain associated with cramping as the over-the-counter painkiller ibuprofen. Ginger also encourages the stomach to release gastric acids which aid in digestion and help to relieve any bloating or discomfort.

Muscle and joint pain: Ginger is an excellent anti-inflammatory and it can also help with aching muscles and joint pain.

Antioxidants: Ginger is a great source of antioxidants which improve the immune system and help you to look younger too.

Ginger helps freshen your breath and lowers bad cholesterol. Ginger really is a cure-all miracle root that will help you to feel healthier. You can incorporate ginger into your daily routine as a preventative measure too. Products containing ginger are really delicious and way healthier than taking pain killers or anti-inflammatories.

Get your heart rate monitors from Healthcheck Systems

 

 

Why Pilates is Good for You

May 13th, 2013 | Posted by nikki in Blog - (Comments Off on Why Pilates is Good for You)

Pilates is the latest fitness craze to sweep the nation with many celebrities and fitness gurus touting its benefits. But what exactly is Pilates and why should you consider making it a part of your healthy lifestyle?

Pilates has actually been around for decades and was created in the 1940s by Joseph Pilates who devised the fitness program to help war veterans. The focus on core muscle strength helps to tone the body and relieve back and joint pain. Core muscles are the muscles that are responsible for posture. If you spend most of your life behind a desk or suffer from back and joint pain, Pilates will help you to strengthen the muscles responsible for posture and alleviate pain.

Pilates classes are great for an overall workout. They tone the body and help to develop muscle strength. From Pilates instructor Rebecca Ibrahim; “Pilates is a very intense stretching class that incorporates workouts for your abdominal, leg, arm and back muscles. Some movements are slow and controlled while others are very fast. The classes usually last for around 45 minutes and aim to work all areas of your body.”

The benefits of Pilates are legion. You can look forward to weight loss, toned muscles, greater strength in all areas of the body as well as increased flexibility (yes, you’ll finally be able to touch your toes!) Not unlike yoga, Pilates also focuses on the breath which improves circulation and brings oxygen to your muscles.

Gentle, stretching exercises like Pilates and yoga help to give the body a firm, toned appearance while reducing the risk of injury. Pilates is also responsible for reducing high blood pressure and combating cholesterol. As with all exercises classes, there are different kinds of Pilates classes from gentle stretching to rigorous workout. Find the right class for you and stretch your way to a healthy body. When you are doing a Pilates class focused on a cardio workout, use a heart rate monitor to ensure that you are working at the right pace.

Get the best heart rate monitors from www.healthchecksystems.com

Healthy Summer Snack Recipes: Granola Bars

May 6th, 2013 | Posted by nikki in Blog - (Comments Off on Healthy Summer Snack Recipes: Granola Bars)
granola_bars

Granola bars are a healthy, calorie-wise snack for the whole family. Unfortunately, many store-bough varieties are packed with sugar and artificial additives. Here are some recipes you can make yourself to ensure that your family is getting all the fiber and omega-3 they need. Granola bars are great treats to make with your kids so that they can learn about good nutrition.

Grab ‘n Go Granola Bars from Meal Makeover Moms

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 cup shredded wheat cereal
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 ½ cups dried fruit
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • ½  tsp. salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • ¼ cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Spray an 8 x 8-inch baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. Put the oats, shredded wheat, walnuts, dried fruit, cinnamon and salt into a food processor and pulse until the mixture is finely chopped (the fruit should be the size of a dried pea or lentil).
  4. Whisk together eggs, honey and vanilla in a bowl until well blended. Add the oat mixture and chocolate chips and stir.
  5. Spread the mixture evenly in the baking sheet and flatten gently with the back of a spoon.
  6. Bake about 18 minutes, or until the edges turn golden brown. Let cool completely in pan before slicing into 12, 2 x 2 ½ -inch bars.

These bars can be eaten as is, stored in an airtight plastic container for a couple of days or frozen. Wrap in foil, sealable plastic bags or plastic wrap and freeze.

 

No-bake pumpkinseed Caraway Bars from Keeper of the Home

 

This recipe is wheat-free and rice-free which is perfect for family members with allergies. This is a no-bake granola bar so it’s a great recipe to make with your kids.

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • ¼ cup sucanat (unrefined sugar)
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 2 cups oats
  • 1 cup puffed millet (find this in the cereal aisle)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • ¼ cup roasted pumpkin seeds

Instructions

  1. Place oats, pumpkin seeds and puffed millet in large bowl.
  2. In small pot over medium heat, melt oil, honey, and sugar until bubbly, for two minutes. Stir constantly.
  3. Let honey mixture cool for 2 minutes, then add vanilla and stir.
  4. Pour liquid mixture over oats, millet, and pumpkin seeds, and stir thoroughly.
  5. Spray an 8 × 8-inch glass pan with non-stick cooking spray then pour mixture into pan.
  6. Press down firmly. This step is just as important as the mixing. Packing down the granola helps the bars stay together!
  7. Place granola in freezer for a few minutes or let cool on counter until set. Once set, turn pan upside down on cutting board.  Slice into 12, 2 x 2 ½ -inch bars.
  8. Store in fridge or at room temperature.
For the best heart rate monitors, visit www.healthchecksystems.com

 

 

Six Habits of Healthy People

April 29th, 2013 | Posted by nikki in Blog - (Comments Off on Six Habits of Healthy People)

Staying slim and aging well is not only a genetic gift; it’s also a matter of lifestyle. It only take about three weeks for a new behavior to become a habit. The first week is hardest, but from then it becomes progressively easier. This means that in three weeks’ time, you could have all the habits of a healthy person. If you want to live long and prosper, adopting the habits of healthy people is a great way to live an abundant life.

Here are the six most important habits to adopt if you want to feel good and look great for the rest of your life:

  1. Give it up! If you are smoking, it’s time to quit. Yes, you can do it! There are a plethora of helplines and quitting aids to help you butt out.
  2. Eat at least seven servings of fruit and veggies a day: This may sound like a lot, but once you get in the habit, you will crave fresh produce. Buy organic where you can and supplement your diet with homegrown veggies in the summer.
  3. Keep tabs: Go annually for a checkup and record your blood pressure and cholesterol. Keep these numbers on file so you can compare your progress. If you have problematic results, then go for a checkup every 3-6 months. There are many organizations that offer these tests for free.
  4. Reduce sodium: Opt for less salt in your food and check the salt content of the foods you eat.
  5. Get moving: walk, run, swim, play, clean or cycle, but find something that helps you to improve your fitness levels. If you are exercising to lose weight too, get a heart rate monitor to help you to exercise at a level that burns more calories. Keeping your heart rate up is the secret to burning fat. If you want a more gentle workout, use a pedometer to ensure that you are walking 10 000 steps a day.
  6. Drink to it: a daily drink or two is fine, but limit it to two drinks as excessive alcohol consumption is bad for your health and adds a ton of calories too.

Monitor your exercise performance with the best heart rate monitors fromhealthchecksystems.com.

Reduce your Risk of Stroke

April 26th, 2013 | Posted by nikki in Blog - (Comments Off on Reduce your Risk of Stroke)

If you are overweight, have high blood pressure, high cholesterol or you’re a smoker, you have a higher risk of suffering a stroke. Strokes can be  debilitating and are a growing concern and a leading cause of death. There are steps you can take to mitigate the possibility of stroke by taking better care of yourself.

Stop smoking: especially if you have been smoking for ten years or more. Smoking contributes to the buildup of plaque on in your arteries and adds to the likelihood of blood clots which cause strokes.

Blood pressure: High blood pressure is a contributing factor to strokes. You can reduce your blood pressure by reducing stress, improving your diet and getting more exercise.

Cholesterol: When you lower your cholesterol, you dramatically reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. Cholesterol can be reduced by changing your diet and exercising more.

Overweight: More than 65% of adults in North America are overweight with half of those suffering from obesity. Poor diet is the biggest contributing factor to heart disease and stroke and the easiest to control. Ask your doctor or health care professional for advice on how to reduce your weight effectively.

Controlling your diet, getting exercise and quitting smoking can actually add years to your life. While you may have developed bad habits in your youth when there was little chance of stroke or heart disease, these habits become entrenched and may rob you of valuable years.

Changing your lifestyle need not cost a fortune or mean going to the gym; there are many ways in which you can effectively improve your health. The first is through being more active every day. Get yourself a heart rate monitor and start doing more around your home and neighborhood. Go for a walk every day, do more gardening and housework, take a short jog around the block. Your heart rate monitor will help you to exercise at an optimum level.

Your health is a real asset that is worth investing our time and energy into.

Get the best heart rate monitors at www.healthchecksystems.com

The Good, the Bad, and the Smelly; Natural Deodorants that Work!

April 22nd, 2013 | Posted by nikki in Blog - (Comments Off on The Good, the Bad, and the Smelly; Natural Deodorants that Work!)

Whether you use a spray on, roll on or stick deodorant, modern iterations of underarm protection really do work. You can rest assured that you smell great no matter how much you exercise or sweat. The trouble is, these deodorants contain many chemicals that are absorbed through the skin and may be harmful in the long run. While natural deodorants like patchouli or lavender do make you smell nice, they are no match for the rigors of a super summer workout.  What you need is a natural deodorant that keeps you smelling fresh no matter how much you do in a day. Well, that’s easy enough! You can make your own natural deodorant with ingredients that you get from your cupboard. Here’s how: Combine 2 tablespoons of corn starch with 2 tablespoons of baking soda and 2 tablespoons of coconut oil. Mix with a spoon to form a firm paste. Take an old stick deodorant container and spoon the paste in. Pack it until solid and leave in the fridge until its hardened. Now you have your very own homemade deodorant! The corn starch absorbs excess moisture; the baking soda takes care of the odor while the coconut oil keeps your underarms smooth and soft. Coconut oil solidifies when cold and turns to a liquid when it is warm. This means you may have to keep your homemade deodorant in the fridge during really warm weather to prevent leaking. Watch a video on how to make it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=vtEtVadGkes When you are working out, using homemade deodorant will help to keep you smelling good and feeling great. To get the most out of your summer workouts, pay attention to your heart rate. Operating within your optimal heart rate range will help you to burn fat faster and get the most out of your workout. Get the very best heart rate monitors from www.healthchecksystems.com

What are electrolytes and why do we need them?

April 19th, 2013 | Posted by nikki in Blog - (Comments Off on What are electrolytes and why do we need them?)

Electrolytes are electrically-charged atoms in your body. The most important electrolytes in your body are sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium, magnesium, bicarbonate, phosphate and sulfate. These electrolytes are important because they are what your cells (especially heart, nerve and muscle cells) use to carry an electric impulse.

When you exercise a lot, you lose electrolytes through your sweat. In order to continue to function at your peak, you must regularly replace these electrolytes. Since it’s your kidney’s job to regulate the amount of electrolytes in your body, you can replenish your supplies quickly when you choose drinks with electrolytes in them. That’s why so many sports drinks contain electrolytes.

Many people don’t like drinking sports drinks because of all the artificial additives. If you want to keep your electrolytes up, then it’s just as easy to make your own sports drinks! Here’s a couple of recipes:

  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon of natural, unrefined salt
  • 1 squeezed orange (you can use a frozen can of orange juice instead)
  • 1 liter of water

Mix together and use throughout your workout.

If you prefer something sweet, try this instead:

  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon of natural, unrefined salt
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 liter of water

Mix together and refrigerate for added refreshment.

This one is super quick and easy for when you’re in a rush:

  • 1 bottle or can of vegetable juice
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cup of orange juice

You can also use these drinks to replace electrolytes when you are suffering from dehydration (especially after vomiting or diarrhea).

You can measure your performance with a heart monitor. This will help you to gauge how well you are doing and help you to exercise within your optimal levels. For the best range of heart monitors, go to www.healthchecksystems.com

Bikini Butt Workout

April 15th, 2013 | Posted by nikki in Blog - (Comments Off on Bikini Butt Workout)

If you are cringing at the thought of getting into your bikini this spring, don’t worry. Getting your butt swimsuit ready is really easy with these quick workouts. You only need a couple of minutes a day; you can do these in your lunch hour or before your morning shower. In just ten minutes a day, you can have a bikini-ready butt in no time.

Simple Squats: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Squat down as though you were going to sit in a chair. Hold for three seconds, and then squeeze your glutes as you rise to stand. Repeat 20 times.

Leg Curls: Lie flat on your stomach with your legs extended. Bend your left knee and flex your foot. Now lift your thigh off the ground a couple of inches. Press your hip bones into the floor to keep your back straight. Do 20 lifts on each side.

The Bridge: Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet shoulder length apart and arms at your sides. Press your shoulders into the floor and raise your hips until your thighs and back are aligned. Hold for ten seconds then relax back down to the floor. Repeat 10 times. Add to this routine by raising your hips and then gently swaying from side to side.

Squats: Place a chair in front of your for support. Now hold onto the back of the chair with your left hand. Stand with feet wide apart, toes pointing out to the left and right, and squat down so that your thighs are parallel to the floor. Right hand is on your hip. Deepen your squat by pressing your knees back 1 inch, then release. Repeat 10 times.

Most of these exercises can be done in your office or at home, which means you don’t have to spend money or join a gym. You can have a great summer bikini butt in just a few minutes every day.

To optimize fat burning, wear a heart rate monitor to ensure that you’re exercising at your peak. Get the best heart rate monitors from www.healthchecksystems.com

Marathon Training Tips for Beginners

April 12th, 2013 | Posted by nikki in Blog - (Comments Off on Marathon Training Tips for Beginners)

Congratulations! Committing to a marathon or half marathon is your first step to a hobby that will make you healthier and fill your life with fun and new friends. The road to your final race day is a long and difficult one and you will have to run through rain and cold weather to get to your goal. Your progress will be noticeable and the benefits tangible and while these do provide motivation, here are a few tips and tricks I wish I had known when I started.

Tell EVERYONE

Talking about your new hobby will help you to connect with like-minded people and will set expectations among family and friends that will motivate you. Who knows, you may even motivate some of your nearest and dearest to join you too.

Get a goal

The winters in my home town are brutal and there’s just no way that I would have run through the last one if I didn’t have a race in the spring. Sign up to a race that’s a reasonable distance and pay for it too; this will give you a definite goal and a date to work towards.

Technology is key

When I started my running career, I didn’t even listen to music or mark my progress. When I got a phone app that tracked my course and a heart rate monitor which tracked my progress, a number of things changed for the better. I was able to listen to music on my phone which meant I was less focused on all the aches and pains. My phone app told me how far and how fast I was going and this helped me to track my progress from day to day; something I found motivated me immensely.

The heart rate monitor was invaluable to track my performance. When I was overdoing it, my heart rate monitor helped me to slow down to a manageable pace which meant that I was always able to meet my goals. When I felt tired going up a hill, my heart rate monitor would let me know if I was still ok so I could keep up the pace.

Keep up the good work! When you finish your first race, you will know that all the hard work has been well worth it.

Get your heart rate monitor from www.healthchecksystems.com