Find Time to Spare for Outdoor Fun

Find Time to Spare for Outdoor Fun

Now that the weather is starting to warm up, being stuck on the job or in a classroom can feel stifling. There’s a good reason for that: science shows being outside improves your mental health, reduces inflammation, improves concentration and might even boost proteins that fight cancer. Despite your busy schedule, you still can enjoy a few free minutes, hours or days outdoors and reconnect with your friends and loved ones in the process. Here are some ideas to infuse your day with outdoor fun. If You Have 15 Minutes, Walk Around the Block Some days feel like they’re never-ending. Those are the days that carving out even 15 minutes to spend time with work friends away from your desks. Keep a pair of walking shoes and with you so you’re always ready to take a stroll. On warm days, bring drinking water with you, too. It takes just a few minutes of exertion on a warm day before you need a bit of water. If You Have 30 Minutes, Try Yoga in the Grass You may not always think of yoga as an outdoor activity, but stretching and connecting to your body while you’re outside gives you a chance to center and soak up some Vitamin D while you’re at it. If you’re worried about messing up your work clothes, stick to gentle standing poses such as Mountain and Tree that improve your balance without working up too much of a sweat. If You Have 1 Hour, Steal Away for a Picnic This might take some planning, but the benefits of spending time outside with someone you care about...
Get Ready for Your First Century Ride

Get Ready for Your First Century Ride

If you’ve been riding a bicycle for your health or training for a race, you’ve probably heard die-hard riders talk about a century ride. This is a milestone for every adventurous rider, and it’s no easy feat. But with a little mental preparation, physical training and the right tools to aid your journey, you can be set to join the century club in no time. You Can Do What You Believe You Can Do First things first: When you’re starting to work toward a 100-mile-long bike ride, your mindset is crucial to your success. If you go into a challenge like riding a century with a negative mindset, you’re more likely to see challenges as roadblocks and setbacks as reasons to quit. Once you commit to the idea, believe in yourself. It also pays to bolster your confidence with knowledge and the right goals toward which to plan. Choose a Riding Event One major step mentally is to have a goal in mind as you train. When you sign up for an event, though, you don’t just get a deadline. You find out about the terrain you’ll be riding, including elevation and scenery. You also learn what time of day you need to prepare to ride. All this information gives you an image in your head of what you want to accomplish. Knowing is half the battle, right? So sign up early and train with the end goal in mind. Know Your Capacity Maybe you’ve ridden 60 miles pretty easily and want to move up to the next challenge. Maybe you’re a rookie and adore a challenge. No matter where you...
Delicious Dips and Healthy Chips: Tips for Low-Calorie Snacking

Delicious Dips and Healthy Chips: Tips for Low-Calorie Snacking

Many people in the U.S. are revamping the way they eat. As more and more shift their diets to lighter, low-fat proteins mingled with complex carbohydrates, mid-morning or late afternoon snack time is not only inevitable, it’s advisable. You should, in fact, be fairly hungry every three to five hours when you’re eating right. So, those hunger pangs that visit you around 2 or 3 p.m. every day are completely healthy. Turning your snack time into something colorful and creative will encourage you to keep your lunches light and your metabolism firing. A Primer on Healthy Snacking The key to any snack is one that it’s high in good things and low in bad things. Good things include protein, fiber and whole grains. Bad things consist of too much saturated or hydrogenated fats, refined sugar, and excessive sodium. Usually, the choices are obvious, but it’s best to avoid processed foods, salty fried snacks (sadly, this still includes potato chips), cookies, and sweetened soft drinks. Prepare a Stash of Healthy Chips The more you give yourself healthy, fresh alternatives, the less you’ll turn to the dark side of convenience stores and vending machines at work. Eating light at lunch, like a half sandwich with a small salad, is a lot more appealing if you know that there is a delicious and savory snack waiting for you in the fridge. You can store healthy chip substitutes and dips in the kitchen at work or home to have ready for your mid-afternoon cravings. Because anything fried is high in calories, embrace anything that’s baked and non-sweetened. Whole wheat or whole grain crackers and baked chips are fast and...
Four Ways to Manage Your Hydration During the Winter Months

Four Ways to Manage Your Hydration During the Winter Months

You know you need to drink plenty of water for your health, and it’s easy to think about hydration in the middle of the summer heat. In winter, though, a cold gulp of water is probably the last thing on your mind. That can be a problem. Even mild dehydration can dampen your mood and alter your ability to function at peak performance. Plus, without enough water, your metabolism slows and your heart is at risk. Your skin dries out, which causes painful cracking in cold air. You’re even more likely to develop a cold — not because it’s cold outside and you aren’t wearing a hat, no matter what mom said. Rather, cold, dry nasal passages are more susceptible to viruses and bacteria that are also looking for warm hosts. With all these potential troubles, you need to take care of yourself. Here are four ways to make sure you stay hydrated throughout the winter months. Drink Before You’re Thirsty Because you aren’t getting the summertime cues from your body, including dripping sweat or overwhelming thirst, you may not remember to drink water until you’re close to feeling the effects of dehydration. To avoid this, sip water throughout the day. If you’re going to be outside and prefer a warm beverage, try mulled apple cider or another natural, caffeine-free drink (more about that later). Either way, an insulated water bottle that keeps your drinks at the right temperature is essential. Of course, there is such a thing as over-hydration, too. If you drink too many fluids, you can throw off the equilibrium of sodium in your bloodstream. That...
10 Yummy and Healthy Waist Slimming Foods To Help You Lose Weight

10 Yummy and Healthy Waist Slimming Foods To Help You Lose Weight

Not all foods, calorically speaking, are created equal. The 100 calories you intake from french fries are quite different than 100 calories from an apple. This weight loss food list is not only healthy, it also fires up your metabolism and helps keep you trim. The Inevitable Disclaimer As much as we’d all like a magic pill or singular slimming food that melts away the extra pounds, no matter what you eat, you need to increase your protein intake (low fat, naturally, see below) and your fitness levels. Serious weight loss only happens when you burn more calories than you take in. So, while you’re swapping out chips, sugary sodas, and indulgent desserts with the list below, hit the gym at least 3-4 days per week, get plenty of sleep, and drink plenty of water for the best results. Green Tea Green tea has higher concentrations of polyphenols, aka catechins, than any other type of tea. Catechins, along with the caffeine in green tea, could help burn extra fat. However, to get the full benefit of their fat-fighting power, look for green tea extract tablets. Dark Chocolate The science is in: chocolate is a healthy food. At least, the darker varieties are. The flavonoids in dark chocolate are also found in dark leafy green vegetables. Those all-important nutrients are wonderful at staving off heart disease and can help reduce spikes in blood sugar, the very thing that makes you feel like snacking. The less processed the chocolate, the more fiber it has as well. Also: when you’re trying to lose weight, is there anything better than chocolate? Coffee While...
Bike Accessories Must-Have

Bike Accessories Must-Have

When you first get into bicycling, you know you need some essential accessories — an onboard pump and repair kit, good clips and maybe a gel seat to start — so you can enjoy your rides worry free. Once you’re ready to commit to the sport more fully, however, the options for improving your riding experience seem endless. Here are five of the top bike accessories for both road and mountain biking that have both your safety and sense of adventure in mind. Keep Your GPS and Music at Arm’s Reach with a Phone Mount Whether you’re taking a century ride on a country road or blazing a trail down the mountain, clipping your phone to your handlebars is vital for directions, your favorite tunes and, sometimes, emergency calls. Choose a universal mount that holds your smartphone securely in place even on rough terrain so you can maintain the added protection of your normal phone case on top of the mount’s cushioning. For extra security, look for a waterproof model that zips closed to stop dew, rain and mud from ruining your mobile device. Light Your Way with LED Bikelight If you’re riding in the early morning or at night, your bike needs a set of lights to help you see where you’re going and show cars where you are. The Best Sports LED Bikelight is waterproof for rainy weather excursions and mounts on almost any street or mountain bicycle. It has a range of up to 200 feet, which means you’ll never miss your turn. It detaches and doubles as a flashlight, so you can ride into your campsite and use...