6 tips for a healthier summer

6 tips for a healthier summer

For a lot of us, summer is the time for barbeques, beer gardens and all round good times. At the same time, it’s important to look after ourselves and not reverse any hard work that has been put into creating that ‘summer body’.   If you want a happier and healthier summer, here are 6 ways you can achieve it…   Go outside!   As cliche as it sounds, nothing is better for you than fresh air. There is so much to see and do outside and it’s fair to say that everything looks 10 times more beautiful when the sun is out.   Choosing to exercise outdoors makes the whole process seem much less tedious. Finding somewhere pretty and warm can be a great distraction. You will find it much more enjoyable!   You may also find that within the summer months, more active programmes may be put on in your local area. Take a look to see what you can get involved in. Not only is it great for your health but it is also an opportunity to meet more local people and potentially make new friends.   Stay hydrated   While the weather is warmer, you will find yourself sweating more than usual, whether this is during exercise or just while you’re going about your day. The more fluids your body loses, the more likely you are to become dehydrated. Spending time in the sun while dehydrated can make you very ill and you could suffer from the likes of sunstroke.   Regularly drinking water is vital for the functionality of our body and aids in...
Health benefits of muscle building

Health benefits of muscle building

By focusing all of your energy on aerobic exercises, you will be missing a serious trick for incredible overall health and fitness.   Here are just some of the things that weight and strength training can do for you…   Increasing muscle mass   Obviously, the more strength training you do, the more muscle you build. Increasing your muscle mass makes it easier to burn more calories. You will also continue to do so for 3-4 hours after you have finished exercising!   This is perfect for those equally trying to lose weight. The more muscle mass you have, the more calories you will burn during rest periods. Every pound of muscle you gain means your body uses an extra 50 calories per day.   If you are dieting, up to a quarter of what you lose in weight could be from your muscles. This is why you need to take part in strength training to either rebuild lost muscle or to stop it from being lost in the first place. If you do not weight train, your lost muscle will slow your metabolism making it more difficult to lose weight from diet alone.   Over time, your muscles will become more and more toned. Keeping your muscles toned allows you to maintain a healthy weight. Having plenty of muscle mass also provides more stamina for physical activities as you get stronger.   Looking after blood pressure   Taking part in these exercises can help to make your heart stronger. The stronger your heart, the more blood it will pump with much less effort.   A heart working less...
Can the sauna aid muscle recovery?

Can the sauna aid muscle recovery?

If you exercise regularly, you will be no stranger to muscle soreness. When you work out, you will create tiny tears in your muscles. This is just part of the process when building them up. It is, in fact, the repair process that causes your muscles to grow.   You may notice acute muscle pain during or immediately after exercise but the most noticeable soreness comes 24 to 72 hours after your workout.   There is very little scientific research into the link between saunas and muscle recovery but there are plenty of reasons to suggest it can help with repairing.   What can the sauna do?   Spending time in the sauna does encourage the release of endorphins in your body. The North American Sauna Society claim this helps to relieve muscle soreness. Some advocates also explain that the likes of lactic acid and other toxins that are released during exercise can be eliminated within a session. The sauna can increase blood flow throughout the body, leaving your muscles feeling rejuvenated!   Increased blood flow also enhances the availability of fresh blood cells in your body. This can help more oxygen reach the muscles. Oxygen is essential for muscle function and is particularly important when it comes to muscular recovery.   The sauna has been proven to significantly increase human growth hormone levels. There was a study that found a 142% increase in the growth hormone IGF-1 during sauna use. This particular hormone is anabolic, which has the ability to burn fat and enhance muscle tissue.   A sauna is basically a form of heat therapy. It has...
Sauna tips for beginners

Sauna tips for beginners

If you’ve never visited a sauna or you’re looking to start visiting regularly, it’s important you know the basics.   Here are some great tips for getting you started.   Hydration Make sure you drink plenty of water both before and after entering the sauna. During your session, you will sweat quite a lot. This means that your body loses a lot of water, so you will begin to dehydrate. It is also a good idea to take some water into the sauna with you. If you get thirsty, you can keep yourself hydrated. If you are hydrated, you may be more comfortable and feel able to stay in the sauna for longer.   Test your endurance To make sure you’re comfortable, you will need to figure out just how much heat you can handle. In the beginning, 10-15 minute sessions are suggested. Your body will not be used to the heat if you are new to the sauna, so you want to test yourself without pushing yourself! If you feel comfortable, you can do multiple sessions in these shorter bursts too! Eventually, you may be able to stay in for much longer – everyone is different.   Know your limits If you find that for whatever reason your body does not agree, do not exert yourself. Any signs such as lightheadedness, queasiness or anything else out of the ordinary should be taken seriously. Don’t be embarrassed to leave – your health must always come first.   Wait one hour after eating a meal Once you step into the sauna, there will be an increased flow of nutrients in...
5 reasons you need to have rest days

5 reasons you need to have rest days

If you have the passion and the energy to work out every single day, that is incredible! But unfortunately, it may be doing you more damage than good. Here are 5 reasons why you need to include rest days in your weekly regime.   For sleep improvement There are a couple of ways to spot whether your exercise pattern is affecting your sleep. If you are struggling to sleep, no matter how tired you are, this is an indication that you have overworked your body. This is due to release of cortisol; your body’s stress hormone that comes with too much exercise. On the other hand, relying on excessive sleep to keep on top of your workouts should be an obvious indication that you are biting off more than your body can chew.   Fixing your appetite The more you train and work your body, the more energy you will need to consume to balance things out. When your body craves more energy, it makes you hungrier. If you have a lighter, more attainable workout schedule, you should notice a decrease in your hunger as your energy demand also decreases.   Overworking is not good for your mental health Due to the endorphins released during exercise, it is generally considered one of the greatest forms of antidepressants! However, it is important to know that too much exercise can have the opposite effect. If you have a strict and busy schedule you may develop anxiety over sticking to it – it’s important to be lenient with yourself. If you find yourself run down by all your hard work you could...
Take your workouts outside this summer

Take your workouts outside this summer

With summer approaching, it is about time we took advantage of any warm weather we can get! You don’t need to hide away in the gym all summer – there are plenty of exercises you can bring outdoors. Think about your surroundings. What can you use that local area has to offer? Are there benches around? You can use these for a variety of useful exercises. For a quick yet effective upper body and core workout, you can use a bench for a variation of push-ups. Start off by resting your feet on the bench and placing your hands on the ground. The number of push-ups you chose to do should be based on your own capabilities. We would recommend anywhere between 10 and 30. Once you have completed this round, swap the placing of your hands and feet and repeat. You can do one more round with regular push-ups on the ground next to the bench for maximum effect. If you feel as though you can repeat the cycle, do so until you feel fully worked! Using a bench, you can also target your glutes and quads by squatting. Again, you can vary your exercise by trying doing things such as sticking one leg out as you squat or by jumping up instead of just standing. There is plenty of room for imagination. You could use the bench for doing step ups. You can do alternate speeds to increase difficulty or you can use one leg at a time, bringing the opposite leg all the way up to your chest. As well as this, leaning on a bench...