Category Archives: Health

Boxercise

Are you ready to try the hottest new workout trend of the year? Take a break from the pool and start boxing! Whether you are a lover or a fighter, this is the perfect workout for you. And, don’t worry, nobody is going to punch your lights out.

If you’re looking for something high energy and fun, this is the perfect way to get in better shape. Burn calories, improve your coordination and learn some self-defence tactics with one of our favourite new ways to get your heart pumping.

The Boxercise trend started way back in 1992 when Andy Wake started his first class in the UK. His goal was to create a class that everyone, of all fitness levels, could enjoy without having to worry about walking around with a black eye.

Before you go to your first boxercise class, you’ll want to know what to expect. First things first, you should know that there’s no boxing ring. You won’t need a mouth guard or headgear. Leave your Rocky dreams at the door and great ready to sweat.

Boxercise classes are based on the training techniques that boxers use to stay in great shape. The classes typically involve skipping rope, shadow-boxing, kicking punch bags, hitting pads and doing sit-ups. Most beginner classes are a mixed group of men and women of all fitness levels.

In most Boxercise classes, you will work in pairs to develop speed, agility, balance and power while mastering all of the important punches like jab, cross, head hooks, body hooks, and uppercuts. Of course, it’s all contact-free. To practice your moves, you’ll be punching pads.

During your Boxercise session, you will keep your body constantly moving. By skipping, punching, weaving and ducking during the entire session, you can burn up to 1000 calories in a single class. If you are bored with sitting on gym equipment and not seeing results, this is the programme for you.

If you’re looking for a fun way to lose some weight, this is the ticket. Because Boxercise is based on High Intensity Interval Training (HITT), you’ll be burning fat at a maximum rate. In fact, according to the latest and great fitness science, you can burn nearly 20% more fat with HITT than tradition workout routines.

Boxercise fanatics are always bragging about much they have transformed themselves through the programme. It’s a great way to release your aggression, de-stress and develop a sense of discipline. Of course, on top all the stress release that it provides, you’ll also improve your fitness level, increase your muscle tone and strength and become more flexible while increasing your coordination and stamina.

So, what are you waiting for? Boxercise is perfect for any fitness level so don’t be shy. Even if you feel totally clueless about boxing moves, you will definitely have a good time trying your hand at boxing.

As Boxercise becomes more popular, there are classes popping up all over the globe. Why not check out a local session and start boxing your way to fitness!

Cupping Therapy & Why Elite Athletes Love It  

There is one question that so many people had on their minds while watching the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro: why are those athletes covered in circular bruises?

The answer is cupping therapy. This ancient treatment from the east is suddenly taking the western world by storm. With so many world-class athletes jumping on the bandwagon, the cupping therapy trend is pretty intriguing. Thinking about trying it out? Here’s everything that you need to know about getting this crazy new body art and a potentially game changing boost.

What Exactly Is Cupping Therapy?

Cupping therapy is an import from Asia. For centuries, it has been popular across China, ancient Egypt and in cultures throughout the Middle East. In fact, it is so old that one of the oldest medical books on the planet, the Ebers Papyrus from ancient Egypt way back in 1,550 B.C, features instructions on how to do cupping therapy.

These days there are a few different ways to do cupping therapy and they all make use of these odd looking little cups made of earthenware, bamboo, glass or silicone.

Cupping therapy can be done on wet or dry skin. The basic idea is that a small fire is lit inside of each cup and then that cup is immediately placed upside down on your skin. By quickly getting it attached to your body, a vacuum is created. This vacuum creates suction and makes the cups adhere to your skin.

What Does Cupping Therapy Do?

Cupping therapy is said to work in a manner similar to deep tissue massage and is able to reduce pain and inflammation while increasing blood flow. According to the official Cupping Society, this treatment is able to help with conditions like anaemia, haemophilia, arthritis, fibromyalgia, eczema, acne, high blood pressure, migraines, anxiety, depression, allergies, asthma and varicose veins. Of course, that is a very wide array of conditions and the degree to which each is helped by cupping therapy isn’t all that clear.

Does Cupping Therapy Really Work?

The medical community is divided on the effectiveness of cupping therapy. While many see it as a cure to whatever ails you, others think it is a waste of time. Extreme views aside, the majority of experts believe that there is not enough information yet to make a decision of the effectiveness of cupping therapy.

Needless to say, no valid scientific studies were done while practising the art of cupping in ancient times so age doesn’t necessarily give an added credibility to cupping therapy.

However, there have been a few more recent studies showing that it could be a good treatment for a range of conditions. Teams of Australian and Chinese researchers recently reviewed 135 different studies on cupping therapy. Their conclusion is that it could be effective for a range of diseases and conditions when used in conjunction with other treatments.

What Are the Side Effects of Cupping Therapy?

Cupping therapy is generally considered to be quite safe however there are always some risks to any treatment. Possible side effects include bruises, burns, skin infections and discomfort.

Is it time for a Digital Detox?

Did you know that most of us spend more than half of our waking hours staring at a screen? It’s having a major impact on the way that we see the world and how we interact with each other. The Digital Detox is an international programme to get us to turn off our laptops, TVs, and phones so that we can remember what life was like in the pre-internet age.

So, what are about you? Are you spending more than half of your day starting at a screen? If that sounds familiar, it’s time to join the club! While you might love watching your favourite TV series, chatting with friends and reading the latest news, there is a whole world out there waiting to be explored!

What Is Digital Detox?    

The Digital Detox movement aims to connect people with the wider world and remind them of life’s simple pleasures. Whether you are chilling on the yoga mat or laughing with friends and family around the dinner table, there is life away from the warm glow of the screen. There are tons of different official Digital Detox programmes to help you disconnect. Ultimately, you don’t really need anything though. Just close your computer (but read these tips first!).

How Can I Do a Digital Detox?    

If you are social media crazy, it’s best to disconnect slowly. Rather than throwing yourself head first into a full weekend offline, take small steps. One of the best ways to get started is to introduce offline time one hour at a time.

Did you know that staring at a screen before bed interferes with your sleep? While you might feel well rested, the interruptions slowly add up. Start your digital detox by shutting down one hour before bedtime. Not only will you sleep better, you’ll suddenly find you have a lot more free time.

Make the most of that last hour before bed! Create a list of books you’d like to read. You will be surprised at how many pages you can get through in an hour a night. Rather than wasting time on Facebook, chat with family or housemates in person. Having real conversations and reading actual books will make your evenings a whole lot more memorable.

What If I Get Bored Offline?

One of the toughest things about a digital detox is that most of us have a pretty limited number of hobbies. While you might love to go swimming or head to the cinema with your friends, do you have any hobbies that you can do at home?

It’s good to have something fun that you can do anytime, anywhere. Think old school hobbies like puzzles and crafts. Try a few things and see what you like. Be creative but keep it relatively simple. Master classical oil painting if you want but also make sure you’ve got hobbies that take minimal time and supplies. Jump on the therapeutic adult colouring book trend. Try Sudoku. There are a lot of days when you’ll be too tired to run around so look for fun hobbies that you’ll always have the energy for.

7 Habits of Highly ACTIVE People

We all know someone who has a non-stop lifestyle. It seems like they can do it all and never burn out. Ever wonder how they keep their energy levels going 365 days a year? It is easier than you might think!

Check out these seven habits that we nabbed from the most highly active people around and get inspired to get moving.

#1 Active People Get Up Early

Swimming at sunrise

The early bird catches the worm. Photocred: @laurawood21

Sorry, night owls! It has been proven that the early bird really does get the worm so get up and get moving early in the morning. Working out first thing in the morning means that you’ll never have an excuse to skip the gym. By getting your blood pumping and your heart racing at the start of the day, you will get a boost of energy to keep you going all day long.

#2 Active People Know When to Chill

Rest days are so important! Whether you need a break from studying, working or training, giving yourself a day off actually means that you’ll get more done in the long run. Do whatever you need to do to make sure that you have at least one day each week that you can call your own – even it means saying “no” to a few things!

#3 Active People Know How to Set Goals

How many times have you made a New Year’s resolution only to forget about it before February? Goal setting is about so much more than just writing down wishes. If you really want to accomplish something, set a series of mini goals that you can monitor on a daily basis.

#4 Active People Stay Hydrated

Water is essential! Forget about energy drinks, coffee and soda. Good old fashioned H20 is actually the best thing you can drink to keep your energy level stable all day long. Keep a bottle of water on hand all day, every day. Investing in a refillable water bottle is one of the best health accessories you’ll ever buy.

#5 Active People Keep It Moving

When you’re ultra-busy, it’s easy to get stuck in front of your computer for hours on end. Unfortunately, spending too much time sitting is terrible for your waistline and your heart. The best thing that a serious student or dedicated worker can do is set a timer to get up for at least a couple minutes of every hour.

#6 Active People Plan Their Meals

Ditch the fast food and convenience store snacks. If you plan out your meals in advance, you won’t have to search around for healthy food or be stuck with so-so junk food. Pack your lunch the night before and keep easy snacks like bananas, nuts and baby carrots ready to go.

#7 Active People Get Their ZZZs

The single best thing that you can do for yourself is to get enough sleep! While early mornings can be great for your productivity level, late nights will crush your energy level. Stay energised and feel great all day long by getting a good eight hours of sleep each and every night. Not only will it keep you feeling great, it will have a major impact on your long-term overall health.

Do you know your ABCs?

If you want to be healthy, happy and fit, you’ve got to know the ABCs of the vitamin world. From A to K, every vitamin is essential for your well-being. Here’s a quick and easy rundown of everything that your body needs every day.

Vitamin A: Want to get an A+ in health? Up your Vitamin A intake! This essential vitamin is important for your vision, bone growth, proper cell division and cell growth as well as a healthy immune system. You ladies will definitely appreciate the boost that Vitamin A gives to your hair and nail while everyone can appreciate the hydrated skin that it’ll leave you with.

Hungry? Grab a sweet potato! A single sweet potato will provide 500% of your daily recommended intake while ½ a cup of spinach will give you 230%. Looking for a snack? A serving of carrots will give you 185% of your daily vitamin A. Cantaloupes, red peppers and mangoes are also great sources of Vitamin A.

Vitamin B: The Vitamin B complex, made up of eight different vitamins including B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9 and B12, works to keep your body healthy and energised. This vitamin family is essential in helping to convert food into fuel. They give your brain a boost too! From improved moods to better memory to reduced migraines, Vitamin B complex will keep every inch of your body at its best.

For a boost of energy and brain power, grab some almonds, red meat, mackerel, trout, salmon, hard boiled eggs, lean pork and mushrooms. They are all excellent sources of Vitamin B and will keep you powered all day long.

Vitamin C: You probably already know how important Vitamin C is to your body. This daily must-have vitamin protects you against immune system deficiencies and cardiovascular disease as well as everyday ailments like the cold and flu. You can get a healthy dose of Vitamin C by eating kale, kiwi, bell peppers, broccoli, berries, tomatoes, papayas and citrus fruits.

Vitamin D: Many of us are deficient in the elusive Vitamin D. Your primary source of vitamin D should be the sun but it’s hard to draw the line for how much is too much. Generally speaking, a person with fair skin should only get 15 minutes of unprotected sun exposure per day. That’ll give you all of the Vitamin D that you need for a day.

You can also get a healthy dose of Vitamin D from oily fish, egg yolks as well as fortified foods such as milk and breakfast cereals.

Vitamin E: As an antioxidant, Vitamin E removes free radicals, which are the unstable compounds that damage your cell structure. In simple terms, getting enough Vitamin E reduces your bad cholesterol and your risk of developing cancer.

You can get your daily recommended intake of Vitamin E by eating dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, avocados and shellfish.

Vitamin K: Essential vitamins, Vitamin K1 and Vitamin K2, play an important role in helping your blood clot. While deficiencies are rare, it’s still important to make sure that you are getting enough. You can get Vitamin from leafy greens. Vitamin K2 comes from meats, cheeses, and eggs so if you are vegetarian or vegan, it’s important to make sure you are meeting your daily recommended intake.

Why Hydration Should Be Every Athletes’ Top Priority

Want to know the secret that every top athlete in the world shares? It’s hydration! Believe it or not, staying well hydrated is the number one thing that you can do to improve your performance. It is such a simple thing but so many of us forget to stay on top of it.

Keeping hydrated at training

Photo cred: @clare_zappala

Whether you are working out at the gym or swimming laps, you absolutely must stay on top of your hydration game. Not only is it critical to your performance, it is also a health and safety must! When you exercise, you sweat. You might not really notice it when you are in the water but you are still losing fluids and you need to replace them to keep your body going.

Your body is always working to maintain a delicate balance and without water everything is out of whack. As soon as your body starts to get dehydrated, you are going to slow down. Your performance will suffer as fatigue starts to set in. And, not only does dehydration affect your body, it affects your brain. Your judgement and decision making skills immediately begin to suffer when you are parched. All of the things that are normally second nature to you suddenly start to seem like chores.

So, what is the solution? The easiest way to stay hydrated is to make it part of your normal routine so that you never even need to think about it. Every time you are planning to exercise, drink at least 0.5 litres about two hours before you plan to start sweating. When you start working out, drink at least another 0.75 litres per hour of activity. If you are working out for more than one hour, go for sports drink that will give you a boost of electrolytes and carbohydrates.

And remember, guys, these are the minimum amounts. If you are thirsty, drink! You really aren’t at risk of drinking too much water. Whenever you are swimming, keep a bottle of water right at the edge of the pool. Take a quick break at least once every 20 mins to rehydrate.

The best thing that you can do as an athlete is learn to pay attention to your body. Never ignore feelings of thirst, especially in warm weather and during workouts. If you aren’t really sure if you are getting enough water, check the toilet! The easiest way to check your hydration level is to look at the colour of your pee. Generally speaking, your goal is to create urine that is very pale yellow. The darker your pee is, the more dehydrated you are so pay attention regularly.

 

 

A Guide To Training When You Are Sick

 

AMANZI Girl Charlotte eager to get back in the pool

To train or not to train when you’re feeling sick? Photo credit @chardurand

When you get into the rhythm of a training schedule, a cold or another illness can throw a huge cramp in your style and many athletes are left with the question whether it is a good idea to train or not. Depending on who you ask, exercising when you are sick can either be the worst thing in the world to do for your body or the best. We came to the conclusion it really depends on the illness and the individual. This brief guide will help you decide whether to keep on training or to temporarily throw in the towel.

The Pros and Cons

The arguments for whether to train or not are not all that complicated: exercise can either make you better or worse! So which one is it? The answer is that it really depends on the type of exercise, illness, environmental conditions and the individual.

Exercise is a great way to boost our metabolism and immunity, and this ultimately can mean helping your body get better faster. Essentially there was a little bit of truth to the myth of sweating an illness off. It will also help you make sure your physical progress does not deteriorate as much during the course of the illness.

However, that doesn’t take into account the severity of the illness. If you are running a high fever, raising your core temperature with exercise is a terrible idea that will make you sick. Exercise also can leave you depleted of energy to fight off an illness if you are extremely weak.

Basically, you’ll need to use a little common sense to try to navigate the answer to this question.

To Train, or not to Train?

In this case it is sometimes best to go with how you are exactly feeling to determine whether you should exercise or not. If you don’t feel like you can get out of bed, going on a jog is probably not the best idea. However, if you feel like you have regular energy levels with a just few symptoms then you are probably ready to go.

One rule of thumb that many athletes go by is feeling where the cold is in the body. If your symptoms are the throat and up, then you are probably fine to train. If your symptoms reach down to the chest along with any aches or pains, it is best to sit it out.

One last thing to remember is that you should definitely not start anything new or difficult while you are sick. At most you should just do your standard training distance and time or even go a little less far and hard in order to not overwhelm your body.

Listening To Your Body

Obviously since you are sick, you are not going to be able to push as hard as normal. It is important to have body awareness. If you feel worse for the wear after exercise then you’ve probably pushed too hard, and you should take that as a learning experience. On the other hand, when your body feels a little bit better after exercise that means you’ve done the perfect amount.

Remember don’t feel like you absolutely must train during an illness. Sometimes taking a short break will help refresh your enthusiasm, so when you finally are feeling 100% again, you’ll literally be ready to hit the ground running.

The Truth about Juice Cleanses

Juice cleanses

Photo cred: @recoveryfortiffany

Ready to purify your body of all its nasty, dirty toxins? If you are thinking about doing a juice cleanse, there are a few things that you should know before you grab a kilo of oranges!

First things first, know that your body is fine. You aren’t overloaded with toxins. If you are eating a reasonably healthy diet and getting some exercise, your body is probably in great shape. Secondly, if you are having some issues, talk to a doctor. Whether it is aches and pains, fatigue or something more serious, juice isn’t going to fix it.

The vast majority of doctors are underwhelmed by juice cleanses and advise people to be wary of anything labelled “detox” that promises to purify or cleanse your body in some way. If you have got a liver, kidneys and intestines, you’re good to go. Your body is a powerful, self-cleaning machine!

If you are going to help out your body, do it by eating a balanced diet. While you could do that through juice, it is a whole lot easier to just have normal food. For the best results, skip the juice and eat fruit. Grab some vegetables, dairy and grain to go with it.

Your body simply isn’t meant to sustain itself on just juice. We need variety. While fruit is great, you need it in moderation. Having too much juice means way too much sugar. This will cause your pancreas to overproduce insulin and your blood sugar will be all over the place. Without protein and fibre, your metabolism is going to take a major hit.

At the end of the day, there is just no upside to a juice cleanse. While you might lose some water weight, it has been consistently proven that juice cleanses don’t produce long term results. So, your weight will stay the same and you will deprive yourself of nutrients and vitamins. You will have much more success losing weight and becoming healthier by introducing more fruit into your diet and focusing on making your diet more diverse.

Bottom line: In the short term, juice cleanses aren’t going to hurt otherwise healthy people. Your body can live temporarily without proper nutrition but you definitely aren’t going to gain anything from it. Do yourself a favour and let your body take care of itself! Save all the fruit and make yourself an amazing fruit salad for dessert.

5 Tips for the Perfect Night’s Sleep

AMANZI Girl Laura Dennis

AMANZI Girl Laura ready for bed? Photo cred @laurajanedennis

Want the secret to a healthy, happy life? Sleep! Sleeping is one of the best things that you can do for your body. Here are a few things that you can do to get the perfect night’s sleep.

  1. Always wake up at the same time. Keeping a consistent schedule can make all of the difference! Of course, sometimes life gets in the way but there is a lot that you can do to keep yourself on track. Don’t sacrifice sleep for a few extra minutes of staring at a screen and forget about trying to make up for lost time over the weekend. Keep on track every night.
  2. Only go to bed when you’re tired. Don’t waste too much time lounging around. If you can’t sleep after 30 minutes, get up. If you have a TV in your bedroom, get it out of there. Make your bedroom into a sanctuary for sleep so that your brain automatically makes the association and you feel ready to relax as soon as you walk in the door. Do whatever you can to make your bedroom a restful place. Invest in nice blankets, pillows and whatever other creature comforts make your time in the bedroom a little more enjoyable.
  3. Create a routine. Start preparing for bed one hour in advance. If you are running around the house until the moment your head hits the pillow, it will be hard to get to sleep. You need to slowly unwind. Get into the habit of shutting everything down an hour before bed. If you haven’t been able to finish it by that time, it can wait until morning. Follow your routine everyday of the week- including weekends! It may be a hard transition but it’s worth it. You will quickly find that getting enough sleep during the week means that you don’t need more sleep at the weekend and your cravings for it will slowly fade.
  4. Turn off the lights. Bright lights are incredibly disruptive. It is important to turn off all of your screens at least an hour before you plan to sleep and recreate the most relaxing environment possible. Get into the habit of reading real books rather than looking at your computer or TV. If you absolutely must be in front of a screen before bed, get a filter that blocks blue light. There are tons of apps out there that will do that for you and it can make a huge difference in your sleep quality.
  5. Put your body into neutral. Close off the kitchen. It’s better not to eat or drink anything too close to bedroom time. This is doubly true for alcohol and caffeine. While it might feel like a drink or two helps you sleep better, the opposite is actually true. Having alcohol in your system actually disturbs your sleeping patterns. The same is true for evening exercise. Like caffeine, the later you exercise, the more it wakes you up. Try to hit the gym in the morning or before dinner for the best night’s sleep. Your goal is to avoid having too much of anything in the hours leading up to sleep.

5 Reasons Sports Are Great for Girls

AMANZI Girls Reef and Tanya

AMANZI Girls Reef and Tanya. Photo credit @reefrodhe

Looking for another excuse to get your daughter involved in sports? Whether it is swimming or softball or soccer or sailing, sports are great for girls! From head to toe, there are countless benefits for athletic girls. While we have always been encouraging our boys to get out on the field, it is just as important to keep our daughters moving. Here are the top five reasons why every girl needs to fall in love with her own sport.

  1. Sporty girls do better in school. While you might think that sports are cutting into study time, there is still a major net benefit at the end of day. Young girls who play sports are much more likely to graduate than those who just spend their time hanging out with friends. In fact, regular exercise actually helps to improve your memory and concentration. These major mental perks translate to better grades. Girls who play sports are more alert in the classroom.
  1. Athletic girls learn valuable life skills. Being able to work as part of a team and set goals for yourself are major keys to a successful life. By working as part of a team and learning how to utilise advice from trainers and coaches, kids are better able to learn what it takes to be successful. These skills can give sporty girls a major head start when it comes to learning essential workplace skills.
  1. Active kids are much better at dealing with stress. School is a stressful business. Between exams, planning for university and just dealing with all the craziness of being a kid, life can get you down. Sports can change everything. Being active is a mood booster. Regardless of what sport she plays, activity helps to prevent stress and depression. On top of that, team sports can create essential bonds that will keep her feeling sane. Even if she goes for a solo sport, she will feel calmer after getting her blood pumping.
  1. Sports-loving ladies are more confident. Playing sports makes girls feel better about themselves. Athletic girls are more confident and better adjusted socially. Having a skill of any kind can totally transform a girl’s self-esteem. The network that is created through a team and supportive network makes girls feel like they have a role in life and supportive network.
  1. Fit girls are healthier. Any movement is always a good thing. While it is great to have low-key hobbies like playing the piano or to have lazy afternoons of just sitting around with friends and eating pizza, it is important to get into the habit of being physical on a daily basis. Girls who play sports are consistently found to be healthier than those who don’t play sports. Athletic girls are significantly less likely to smoke and are more much likely to maintain a healthy weight. And, even more importantly, these habits are likely to stick around. By keeping girls active when they are young and helping them to develop athletic skills, you can help them develop healthy habits that will last for a lifetime.