Fitness Swellness: Running is antiaging

Nike Zoom Structure

According to new research published in the journal PloS One running can slow the aging process.

As we get older, our horsepower (or max aerobic capacity) declines, but when researchers studied a group of adults who ran or walked three times a week for at least half an hour each time over a period of six months, the ones who ran benefited from improved horsepower (or lower metabolic cost of walking), and easier movement and better quality of life.

So run on, runner, run on.

Leave a Comment November 28, 2014

Fitness Swellness: Champion fitness gear

Champion fitness gear

When it comes to fitness gear, style is what catches my attention first. But besides looking good, though, you also are calling for the apparel to function for you — wick sweat away from your skin, provide breathability where you need it, withstand numerous washes since you’re laundering them constantly. I’ve had some pieces for years that still look and work great and others that started pilling after one wear and wash.

For my upcoming workouts, I’ll be putting some Champion gear to the test. Champion sent me some key pieces that I’ll be running in and doing NTC workouts in (and maybe even stretching in — I still struggle with fitting in stretching into my life). This gear test has come at the perfect time as the grey and chilly weather in Toronto (plus the fact that this is currently my off-season) has me less motivated than usual — cozying up under a throw blanket is much more enticing lately!

Stay tuned for my full review on the Champion gear in an upcoming post. Have you tried their gear? It’s new to me so do share. I’m always game to hear what you love or hate when it comes to fitness!

(sponsored post)

Leave a Comment November 24, 2014

Healthy Swellness: Straighten Up app review

Straighten Up app

 

I cringe whenever I see photos taken of me that I haven’t posed for. Because I’m always slouching. In fact, if you go on my Instagram, there are few examples of my poor posture.

Sigh.

Besides being unsightly, poor posture is the cause of many musculoskeletal problems. So many of us sit for ours, hunched over our desks. And all of this sitting puts 30 percent more stress on your back than standing does. And lower back pain accounts for one-third of missed work days (second only to the common cold). Each year, more than 11 million (11 million!) Canadians will suffer from at least one muscuskeletal condition, yikes.

With my poor posture in mind (and honestly, these stats about musculoskeletal issues frightened me!), I  put the new Straighten Up app to use for a few days. Launched last month, the app includes exercises aimed to improve posture and reduce the risk of a musculoskeletal disorder. I’ve only tried it for a couple of days so far, but in a study, participants who practiced Straighten Up daily for at least five weeks reported improved posture, strengthened core muscles, and less back pain when sitting.

The app’s easy to navigate. And I love that the exercises only take three minutes to complete; I found completing them once I get up in the morning is a nice, gentle way to wake up my body. In terms of production value, it’s not the slickest, but you really only need to watch the video once or twice to learn the proper form, and then just a quick glance at the home page of the exercises is enough to jog your memory as you do the exercises to your favourite song. (Oh, btw, there’s a Youth series of exercises, too).

Also in the app is a handy “Find a Chiro” feature, along with a blog of articles about spine health, sports injuries and more. You can also log your exercises in the app, which is always satisfying, don’t you find, watching your good fitness work adding up over time?

The exercises only take three minutes to complete, so in theory, you could easily complete them in cubicle or office. You might feel a little silly doing ones like Bending Circles (a little bit like waving your hands in the air like you just don’t care), though. But when you consider the benefits of doing exercises that improve your posture, that might be incentive enough to looking a little silly. Five reasons why good posture is so important:

1.       Reduces wear and tear: Having a balanced spine decreases the amount of stress and pressure on your joints, reducing the risk of wear and tear that can result in a limited range of motion or arthritis.

2.       Breathe easy: By avoiding slouching and sitting up straight you are helping to open your airways and increase oxygen flow throughout your body.

3.       Decreases stress: Since stress causes your muscles to contract and become tense, stretching those muscles reverses the tension and the related stress.

4.       Increases energy: Slouching puts many of your muscles into overdrive as they work to hold you up, wearing your body out. Proper posture enables the body’s most efficient position, saving energy.

5.       Be better: Standing up straight with your shoulders back gives you the appearance of being taller and slimmer, making you feel more confident.

Just three minutes a day of the Straighten Up app’s exercises can help prevent you from experiencing lower back pain–think about it, you can complete it in the time of a commercial break as you watch The Good Wife. 

 (sponsored post)

Leave a Comment November 19, 2014

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