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5 Tips for Choosing the Best Exercise Clothes

Whether you’re a workout fanatic or you are just beginning your fitness journey, it’s important to understand that your exercise clothes can have a massive impact on your workouts. So to ensure you have the best possible workout, here are 5 tips to help you choose the best exercise clothes for your specific needs.

exercise clothes,

5 Tips for Choosing the best exercise clothes (Photo by cottonbro from Pexels)

Choose Clothes Specific to Your Activities

Fitness brands usually offer pieces catered specifically to certain activities. Investing in a high-impact sports bra, for example, will provide the ideal support for activities that require a lot of movement such as cardio or running. Skin-tight clothing will be helpful if you’re doing yoga or Pilates because you’ll be able to observe and maintain your positions—something that will prove to be difficult with loose or baggy clothing.

exercise clothes

If you enjoy outdoor exercise, keep weather changes in mind when selecting the best exercise clothes for you and consider adding a light jacket or thermal. (Photo by Blue Bird from Pexels)

Considering your location is also important; if you enjoy outdoor exercises, you’ll also have to deal with weather changes, so having light jackets or thermal wear to throw on will be useful.

Look for Safe and Comfortable Footwear

Shoes with non-skid soles, good heel support, and a cushioned arch is always a safe bet, but you might want to consider special footwear depending on your activity.

For instance, runners need plenty of cushioning for their feet and should consider buying from trusted brands like Nike. One of the best shoes to buy for women is Nike’s React Infinity Run, as it is designed with injury prevention in mind. It uses the brand’s very own React Foam for cushioning, which ensures stability and comfort. The pair is also very versatile, as it can be used for general strength and conditioning training, too. But if you’re into powerlifting or weight training, many pros recommend footwear with flat soles such as Converse sneakers.

Another tip is to make sure you check your shoes’ condition on a regular basis, and to assess if there’s any discomfort in your shins, knees, or ankles, as it might actually be due to the wrong choice of shoes!

Pick the Best Fabrics

Investing in quality fabrics is beneficial to both the comfort and effectiveness of your routines. For example, nylon is one of the most ideal fabrics for physical activity because the material is stretchy, resistant to elements, and quick drying. It’s also highly breathable, unlike cotton.

Selecting the right material will benefit both the comfort and effectiveness of your routines. (Photo by Marta Wave from Pexels)

Also consider compression wear which can increase the circulation and blood flow to the heart. It also helps you reduce fatigue, and eventually improve your power and endurance. Aside from nylon, bamboo, spandex, polypropylene, and polyester are some of the most dependable picks when it comes to activewear.

Get the Best Bang for Your Buck

Quality workout clothes can be a little pricey, so you’ll want to make sure you’re investing in the right pieces specific to your personal needs. Assess whether or not the items you’re purchasing are well-made because when you’re out there pushing your limits to the max, you’ll also be pushing the lifespan of your clothing, too. Ask your workout buddies for brands that they’ve tried out, or do some research online and read up on reviews. It’s also a safe bet to invest in reputable brands as they come with the assurance that you’re paying for longevity. Other than Nike, Adidas and Under Armour are tried and tested when it comes to great quality athletic apparel. However, you might want sport-specific clothing. For instance, Alo Yoga and Lululemon are trusted for their yoga apparel, while Sweaty Betty is great for high impact exercises.

You might be interested: Hottest summer 2021 fitness trends to try 

Choose Between Comfort and Fashion

Why not both? What makes you look and feel good can motivate you to exercise more. Brands are constantly evolving, so you’ll have no problem finding pieces that fit your needs and your style. Science even tells us that the colors you wear directly affect your performance.

exercise clothes

Wearing the right clothes can boost your drive and self-confidence. (Photo by SHVETS production from Pexels)

Red increases your heart rate, which is perfect for high-intensity workouts, while pastels and neutrals give off a sense of calmness, which is suitable for activities like yoga. Wearing clothes that are flattering for your body can also boost your drive and self-confidence. 

Remember that everyone is different; you know your body the best, so choose whatever will make you safe, comfortable, and confident.

summer recharge

8 Relaxing summer recharge activities to try 

Summer is the season for rest, relaxation, and recharging. For parents and working professionals, it can still feel like a hectic time and you may find yourself putting off that much needed break. 

Burnout is very real, and can seriously impact your health if left untreated, so before you get there give yourself the time to relax this summer and indulge in self-care with some of our favorite summer recharge activities. You deserve it! 

summer recharge

Try these 8 summer recharge activities to give yourself an energy boost. (Photo by Max on Unsplash)

Feeling drained? Try these summer recharge activities to give you that needed boost! 

Physical recharge activities 

Bring the spa to your home 

Hydrotherapy, aka a bath or shower, is a great way to relax and indulge in some self-care. Take the time each week to give yourself a luxurious bath or shower. Try using Epsom salt in your bath or essential oils. Epsom salt can help to remove toxins, improve muscle function, and reduce inflammation linked to stress. Essential oils can give you many benefits as well which we explore more below in our aromatherapy section. 

Another pampering activity to add to your self-care routine is exfoliating. Exfoliating scrubs will give you that summer recharge by improving blood circulation which in turn will help reduce stress levels, boost energy, and keep you feeling healthy and refreshed. 

Experiment with food 

What you put into your body will greatly impact your energy levels. If you’ve found yourself in a food rut, consuming less-than-nutritious meals due to hectic schedules and stress, try changing things up. You don’t need to do a radical diet or set unrealistic goals, but incorporating a mix of complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains and starchy vegetables, with lean proteins and healthy fat at each meal is a place to start. 

Focus on building a balanced plate. Play with color and texture and try new and exciting recipes! Meal prepping and meal planning is also a habit to build and will help keep you eating healthy, nutritious meals all year long, especially when you’re too busy to cook daily. You can also get the whole family involved with cooking. Make meal prepping a family activity! Set aside a night to cook a family meal together. This is also a great way to teach children some practical skills and spend some quality time together. 

Move your body in new ways

It’s oh so tempting to just lay in bed when you’re feeling tired. You’re relaxing, right? Isn’t that what recharging is all about? Sometimes yes. But often, when you’re feeling exhausted or drained, sitting and lounging around can actually make you feel more tired. 

Instead, try getting up and moving your body. You don’t have to start an intense exercise routine or even do the same thing every day. Keep things fun and interesting by switching it up. Consider trying out some of the latest summer 2021 fitness trends. Take a walking or bike around your neighborhood. Go to the beach and walk along the shore. Start an outdoor yoga group with friends. Or even just dance around your living room in a spontaneous dance party with your kids. The key is to keep your body moving and get that blood circulating. You’ll be feeling energized in no time. 

Find your zen with aromatherapy

Research suggests that aromatherapy is beneficial for treating stress, anxiety, and improving sleep quality. Two scents that are believed to be beneficial for treating stress are lavender and sage. Some aromatherapy essential oils can be mixed with a carrier oil and massaged directly onto the body, rubbed on the wrists or diffused into the air. You can also add them to your baths or showers for extra relaxation. 

Mental recharge activities

Unplug from technology

Social media can be draining. People often seem perfect and it’s easy to forget that what they post are only a snapshot moment of their lives. We can get so caught up in comparing ourselves to others, measuring our successes and failures, and this can quickly bring our spirits down. On top of social media sapping our energy, spending long hours staring at screens, plugging in, and being on the clock can also contribute to burnout. 

When you start feeling like this, it’s time to unplug. Put social media on pause. Go outside and indulge in other activities. One great way you can kick your tech addiction is to create a summer reading list. Work your way through some of your favorite books while sitting out in the sun beach-side, pool-side, or at your local park. 

summer recharge, summer reading

Fuel your summer recharge with these 2021 releases by Latinx authors. (Image source: freepik)

You might be interested: 10 Books by Latinx authors to read summer 2021 

Refocus with meditation 

Studies suggest that meditation can help people find purpose in their lives in times of mental distress. Meditation has been shown to decrease anxiety and fatigue while improving attention and memory.

Some simple ways to incorporate meditation into your life can be to simply sit somewhere quietly each day and practice deep breathing. Even just a few minutes each day can help to improve your mood. Another option is to listen to a guided meditation. There are plenty of mediation and positive affirmation videos or audios available on YouTube and apps like Headspace

Release your inner artist 

While you’re taking your break from technology, get back in tune with your inner artist! Art is a great way to help soothe and relax the mind. Don’t worry about your skill level. Think about how kids express themselves through art. It’s often messy. Abstract. Let that inner child take over. Grab some art supplies and start drawing or painting. Another great relaxing art activity to reduce stress and recharge is coloring. You can find coloring books for adults with complex patterns or cool designs at most bookstores and art supply shops. 

Embark on a journey into journaling 

I bet you’ve had people tell you all about the benefits of journaling before. Have you tried it out, only to feel kind of silly writing out diary-like entries about your day or thoughts? Do you have a collection of discarded journals with only a few pages used? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. I’ve been there! And I like writing. But sometimes keeping a journal ends up feeling more like a chore and you think: where are those amazing health benefits I was promised? 

Instead of forcing yourself to write daily or pen diary-like entries, use your journal as a tool to help you destress and work through your thoughts. Sometimes when we have a problem, it helps to step back. Take some time to write out your thoughts. Others use their journals to express gratitude for what’s going well and celebrate the little things.

Whatever you’re writing about, don’t worry about making things sound nice and pretty. This is your personal journal, not a public blog. You can make lists, bullet points, fragmented sentences of thoughts or ideas. Make your journal a reflection of yourself. 

Some people like to decorate their journals or add art, mementos, and photos. But don’t feel pressured to have the “perfect” journal. Yours can simply be jotted notes. You can write daily or once a month or just, whenever you need a moment to put your thoughts on paper. 

morning exercise

When is the best time of day to exercise?

As we find ourselves nearing the end of February, many of us might be looking back on those New Year’s Resolutions and reconsidering. You might be wondering, is it really realistic to squeeze in a workout every day? After all, we’re busy women! Some days it might just be impossible between juggling work and family responsibilities. However, all you really need is 11 minutes a day to receive a boost in health benefits from exercise. But when is the best time to exercise? Is it better to exercise in the morning? What about night workouts? 

It really all depends on you. There are benefits for both morning exercise and night workouts, but the key to choosing any workout is: consistency. 

If you’re a morning person, or find yourself with lots of free time in the early hours of the day, then a morning exercise routine would probably suit you best. However, if you’re a night owl, you may benefit from night exercises. Or maybe you’re only free in the afternoons. 

That being said, morning workouts, afternoon workouts, and night workouts all have their advantages and disadvantages as proven by decades of scientific research, so let’s breakdown the pros and cons of each. 

morning workout, best time to exercise

Rise and shine with a morning workout. (Photo by Mor Shani on Unsplash)

Benefits of morning workouts 

Help you establish a fitness routine: People who exercise in the morning are often more consistent simply because morning workouts leave less room for excuses. If you workout first thing in the morning, you can’t skip it in the evening because duties piled up. 

May improve your sleep cycle: Waking up early might be difficult at first, but research suggests that a morning exercise habit can shift your circadian rhythm, making your body naturally more alert in the morning and more tired in the evening, so you fall asleep earlier and can exercise in the morning again. Morning exercise also seems to boost deep sleep more than evening exercise, according to some research

Might burn more fat: Exercising on an empty stomach — in the “fasted state” — has been proven to burn more fat than exercising after a meal. This happens because your body utilizes fat stores that already exist to fuel exercise, rather than use the food you just ate as fuel.

Can make you more productive: Research has found that exercising in the morning has a beneficial effect on energy levels, alertness, focus and decision-making, resulting in a more productive workday.

May boost your mood throughout the day: Morning workouts are a great way to start each day on a high note — the endorphins or “happy chemicals” your body produces in response to exercise can keep your mood elevated long past your hour-long workout. 

Drawbacks of morning workouts 

Running on low fuel: If you didn’t eat enough the evening before, you might find yourself battling serious hunger mid-workout. If you wake up hungry most days, try eating a larger dinner or a small, protein-dense snack before bed. You can also eat a small, carb-heavy snack before your morning workout, such as a banana, to help avoid hunger and hunger-related fatigue. 

Physical performance isn’t at its peak: Most of us don’t roll out of bed feeling ready to do an exercise routine. You might experience stiffness in your joints and temporary inflexibility. You should loosen up as you warm up, but studies actually show that certain strength markers, including peak power, are higher in the evening.

It takes longer to warm up: Speaking of warm-ups, there’s a key reason you might not feel as strong or powerful during morning workouts: Your core body temperature is lower. This makes warming up crucial for morning workouts — jumping into a workout, rather than slowly easing in, can result in injury. This is true all of the time, but especially when your body is cooler. 

Benefits of afternoon and night workouts 

night workout

Photo by Zac Ong on Unsplash

Improved physical performance: Research shows that most people function better physically later in the day. Muscle strength, flexibility, power output and endurance are all better in the evening than they are in the morning. Plus, people who exercise in the evening take up to 20% longer to reach the point of exhaustion.

Your body gets warmer as the day goes on: Since your core temperature is warmer later in the day, many people can get into the groove faster for afternoon and evening workouts. You should still warm up though!

Late-day exercise can relieve stress: Exercise is a great way to relieve daily stress, but working out at night can really help you blow off some steam. The surge of endorphins you get during and after exercise can help you wind down before bed after a long day.  

Might help replace bad habits: If you have some evening or nighttime habits you want to replace — like snacking, drinking, smoking or binge watching TV shows — exercise can be a good replacement. Once you get into the practice of exercising at night, you might find yourself surprised that you don’t even miss your old habits. 

Drawbacks of afternoon and night workouts 

Might interfere with sleep: It’s a myth that night exercises are detrimental to one’s sleep. In fact, scientists have found that exercising at night may have no effects on sleep at all, and some may even get a better night’s sleep. However, some people might experience jitters if they work out too close to bedtime, though this usually only applies to high intensity workouts like CrossFit or HIIT.  

May cause problems with consistency: For many, exercising at night does not work, simply because people are too tired after a long day. Afternoon and evening workouts might interfere with daily responsibilities, especially if things tend to pile up during the day. If that sounds like you, try shifting your daily routine to fit in a short morning workout. 

Ultimately, the right time to exercise is not about how many calories you burn or how much weight you lift — it’s more about how you feel while exercising and how exercise fits into your own personal daily schedule. The key to finding the best time to exercise, is to find a time you can consistently stick to. Consistency is key. So, don’t go throwing your New Year’s Resolutions out the window just yet. You got this!  

working out from home

Reach your New Year fitness goals with just 11 minutes of exercise a day

Every year we all make the same New Year’s resolutions. This year will definitely be the year you say, as you head back to the gym for the first time in months. However, this year, the gyms are closed, throwing yet another frustrating road block against our New Year fitness goals.

The COVID-19 pandemic has kept us all inside and sedentary for much longer than any of us would like, raising some concerns about the long term health effects of sedentary lifestyles.

We already know sitting at a desk for hours a day isn’t good for us, but it often seems impossible to squeeze in a daily workout, especially when for years we have been told to live by the “1 hour of exercise” rule. Some days, one full hour just isn’t possible. Luckily, a new study has found that we can still reap health benefits by exercising for just 11 minutes a day. Maybe we won’t have to scrap our fitness goals just yet.  

Benefits of just 11 minutes of exercise a day

In the study conducted by the Norwegian School of Sports Medicine, researchers found that just 11 minutes of moderate exercise per day can give you long-term health benefits, offset the effects of prolonged sitting, and add years to your life. 

The study sampled 44,000 men and women for a period between four and 14 and a half years, using activity monitors to measure “moderate-to-vigorous” physical activity. Researchers used these calculations and compared them to participant’s time while sedentary. Through their data they found that overall, people who exercised for 35 minutes a day saw the biggest results in terms of health, but the study also showed that those who exercised at least 11 minutes a day also saw benefits. 

Reaching your New Year fitness goals doesn’t seem so daunting when it’s just 11 minutes, right? But 11 minutes is much less than the “1 hour” previous studies have reported, so what’s changed? Well, nothing, except how researchers approached collecting their data. Previous studies relied on “self-reported exposure data,” meaning exercise times were based on people’s recollections of physical activity, rather than hard data. Human memory is flawed, as we all know, and many people are prone to either overestimate their exercise time and intensity, or underestimate the amount of time spent sedentary. 

You might be interested: Wheatgrass: How you can boost your health while working from home

Reaching your fitness goals: Exercises to try at home

So what can you do to reach your 11 minute exercise quota and stick to your New Year fitness goals? 

There are tons of options. Here are our top 5: 

office exercises

Photo by Kari Shea on Unsplash

Yoga: Practicing yoga is a great way to get your body moving while also relieving stress and fostering your mind-body connection. If you’ve been practicing yoga for a while, just unroll your mat, set a timer for 11 minutes and go through any number of combinations of your favorite yoga poses. If you’re new to yoga there are also many resources online. Just open up YouTube and search for some beginner yoga videos to get yourself started. 

Full body workout: When selecting your exercises, try to pick a sequence of movements that will engage your body in a workout of moderate effort. Mix in cardio and weights to reap the most benefits. There are plenty of great short workout routines to follow online, many of which require no equipment either. This 10 minute standing abs workout is one of my go-tos. 

Dancing: Who doesn’t love to dance? This one is pretty easy and requires no equipment. Just pop on some of your favorite upbeat tunes and get moving! Dance like no one’s watching. You only need about 3 – 4 songs to reach your 11 minute mark, but you’ll likely want to keep going once you get into it. 

A brisk walk: Many of us underestimate the power of a good walk. While winter months may make it more of a challenge or daunting task, a short brisk walk every day will do wonders for your health. Additionally, just spending time in nature while you move will also help improve your mental health. However, if you really can’t get outside for a walk, then try this indoor walking routine.

Bike riding: Lastly, like walking, bike riding often gets looked over. But again, the benefits of a quick bike ride are so worth it. Just take a spin around the block. You can even go on a social distance bike ride with friends or family. And being out in nature will boost your mood too.

virtual fitness

Virtual fitness community empowers women to reach their wellness goals

Personal trainer Brenda Green has created a virtual fitness community that empowers women to reach their fitness goals. Through a live streaming fitness class with certified trainer Brenda Green, the owner of Fit4aBetterMe and creator of Virtually Better Fitness, the virtual fitness community allows you to exercise from the comfort of your own home. 

virtual fitness

Brenda Green, creator and founder of virtual fitness community

Many of Brenda’s clients are women who understand the importance of exercise on their health but struggle to find the time, need motivational support, or are frustrated with programs that only produce short term results. 

“As a mom, wife, and business owner, I understand the difficulties with balancing it all,” says Brenda. “And as a breast cancer survivor, I also understand the value of being physically healthy.” 

Journey towards health
virtual fitness

Brenda Green, Founder, Fit4aBetterMe virtual fitness community

Founded in 2016, Fit4aBetterMe began as a part of Brenda’s personal journey as she battled Stage 2 breast cancer. 

“Those months were extremely difficult,” says Brenda, reflecting back. “There were many painful days.” 

During her short term disability, Brenda studied for her personal training certificate with the National Academy of Sports Medicine. She passed the test for her certification the day before she started chemotherapy. This small victory pushed her forward through the difficult times ahead. 

Determined to survive and live cancer-free for her young daughter, Brenda began focusing on her fitness. She made it a personal goal to exercise as much as possible from home. 

“It was my way of beating cancer each day I was able to,” says Brenda. “I didn’t realize how strong I was and how much my faith kept me alive, kept my mental toughness and focus to continue to push forward.” 

It’s this strong mentality that she now brings into all areas of her life including her business.

Empowering others with a virtual fitness community

Brenda’s mission now is to inspire other women to be healthier, fitter, and better versions of themselves, inside and out. 

Through her virtual fitness community, Brenda is able to offer women the tools and resources they need to reach those fitness goals, even when they are pressed for time. 

Fit4aBetterMe is innovative in its approach.  It is the perfect program for those who want to make fitness a priority but have limited time or need extra guidance and motivation. 

virtual fitnessDesigned to meet each person where they are on their personal fitness journey, Fit4aBetterMe offers a variety of live-streaming fitness classes in strength training, Zumba, cardio, and yoga. Virtual fitness group sessions, lead by a certified trainer, leverage video and audio technology to create a community environment that builds confidence and extends motivation. 

For thirty minutes, -no commute, and minimal equipment-, each member is able to enjoy unlimited fitness classes and get a well-rounded exercise program from the comfort of their own home. Clients may also add a nutritional coaching package to complete the formula that will support their fitness and health for the rest of their lives. 

Prioritizing one’s fitness is the first step to making lasting changes toward a healthier, happier life. 

You might be interested: Balancing wellness and your freelance work

Celebrating life’s victories

After surviving cancer, Brenda now celebrates all her victories. In 2017, a year after breast cancer, Brenda won two 1st place and 2 second place medals in her first bikini competition. 

“It was a perfect victory,” says Brenda. “It was also my 37th birthday.” 

This victory became a symbolic celebration of life. She had survived one of the hardest periods of her life. She was fit and healthy. Another year older. 

“I was able to celebrate life by standing in front of my daughter, husband, friends, and family as a winner, survivor, and a strong woman.” 

Now nothing feels impossible. With any dream or goal—both personal or professional—Brenda believes you just need to get started. 

“You don’t need to know all the steps to get there,” says Brenda, “you just need to know the first one and take it.” 

When Brenda began exercising from home as her personal way to beat cancer each day, she had no idea it would lead her to a flourishing virtual fitness community that would inspire other women. 

The journey may be uncertain, but all you need to do is take that first step and start something.