• This entry was posted in Fitness on April 08, 2016

  • Experts have been proclaiming physical fitness as the cure and a means of prevention to all kinds of illnesses since the beginning of time. From toning your muscles to losing the extra weight around your belly, to reducing your risk for fatal diseases, there are numerous physical benefits to staying active and incorporating exercise into your daily routine.

    But did you know that exercise can play a significant role in the way we view the world and ourselves? Did you know it can turn a bad or mediocre day into a great one? Exercise has powers beyond its physical ones.

    Here are a few ways exercise can benefit your mental health and improve your quality of life. You’ll be aching for a jog before you know it.

    Happy (and safe) chemicals. Exercise gives you a natural, 100% safe high. When you exercise, your body increases its production of serotonin or norepinephrine, low levels of which have been linked to depression.

    A better response to stress. People who live active lives often have bodies that are better equipped to handle life's everyday stresses. Do you want to be a better friend, spouse, boss, or overall person? Reduce your stress through staying active.

    Self-confidence. When you feel good in your body, that confidence often transfers over to your personal and professional life. When you’re in shape and toned, you carry yourself in a more assertive and positive way – making people admire and want to be around you. One of the most attractive qualities you can have is confidence.

    Better sleep. People who get 150 minutes of exercise a week are said to sleep better and be more alert when awake. Nothing helps your mood more than a solid night’s sleep – no sleeping pills needed.

    Challenges are put in perspective. When you’re training for a marathon, irritable coworkers seem like a breeze. Working your body hard and keeping it constantly challenged gives you a “can do” mindset, making you eager to tackle any problems that come your way. Physical fitness can ensure you get and stay goal oriented.

    Life is short – don’t make it shorter and less vibrant with a sedentary lifestyle. There are so many reasons to start incorporating exercise into your life. It can grant you better-fitting clothes, give you greater overall happiness, put a smile on your face, and reduce your risk for cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and more. What more reasons do you need to cut back on the couch time and get moving?

  • This entry was posted in Fitness on March 23, 2016

  • Low impact or high impact? What’s the difference? What’s best for me? Many people don’t know what to make of low impact vs. high impact workouts.

    Low impact exercises have one or both of your feet staying touched to the ground while you move. Walking and roller-skating are two examples of low impact exercise. Low impact often also describes activities in which a piece of equipment or water supports the body (using an elliptical, swimming, etc.). High impact exercises involve both feet leaving the ground. Examples of high impact exercise are jump roping and running.

    Both forms of exercise offer many benefits, but low impact exercise is best for beginners, people who are obese, or anyone with joint issues or an injury. Pregnant women and older individuals are also advised to stick with low impact over high impact workouts.

    Below are a few at-home machines you can use to get an efficient low impact workout that won’t risk injury or overuse.

    The elliptical machine. Tried and true, the elliptical machine is one of the most popular low impact choices around. Burn fat, get your heart rate going, and strengthen your lower body without the impact that comes from running on the treadmill. Elliptical machines are a great cardio choice for people beginning exercise for the first time or who may be suffering from injuries.

    The rower. The rower is a full body workout machine that strengthens muscles, improves endurance, and increases flexibility. Several of KETTLER USA's innovative rowers even allow you to do up to 16 different exercises.

    The exercise bike. Biking frequently can help you build strength and stamina, reduce the risk of heart disease, and lose weight. And with one of our exercise bikes at home, you won’t even have to leave the house to do so.

    Your body! One highly effective way to get a low impact workout is to go for a brisk walk. Walking is a form of exercise almost anyone can find a way to fit into their day, from first thing in the morning before work, to on your lunch hour, to with a friend or significant other in the evening after dinner.

    Low impact exercises are a great way to ramp up your fitness routine in a safe way as a beginner. Once you’re at a higher level of fitness, feel free to experiment with high impact exercises that can have a tremendous effect on bone health.

  • This entry was posted in Fitness on March 22, 2016

  • A strong chest can make everyday movements like pushing a shopping cart or tossing a basketball to your kid easier. Chest training should be a part of every full-body workout, and 10-20 quick push-ups aren’t enough.

    The chest is often neglected during beginner workouts focused primarily on cardio, but chest training can help everyone reach their optimum level of fitness, from fitness novices to pros. Here are a few fantastic exercises to make your chest – and you – stronger. Note: these exercises are best performed on a bench.

    The chest press. Lie on your back with your knees bent in front of you. Holding two dumbbells in your hands, with the front of your thumbs facing your head, keep your arms at ninety-degree angles, with your elbows by your sides. Slowly (with control) lift your arms up until they are only slightly bent. Hold for 1 second and then carefully come back down with control. Do not let your arms lower without resistance – coming down is just as important as going up. Repeat 10-15 times. If you’re up for it, pause for 30-40 seconds, and then do another set.

    The chest fly. Lie on your back again with your knees bent in front of you. Hold two dumbbells up with your arms at a ninety-degree angle again. This time your elbows should be raised just slightly above your chest. Slowly push your arms out to the side, aiming to make a cross with your body. Hold for 1 second and then move your elbows back in so your weights touch. Repeat 10-15 times, with the option to take a 30-40 second break, and then do another set.

    Around the world. Lie on your back, knees bent in front of you, with a dumbbell in each hand. Your palms should be facing the ceiling. Keeping your arms parallel to the floor, move your arms in a semicircle until the weights are above your head. Hold for 1 second, and then bring the weights back down to your original position through another semicircle. Repeat 10-15 times. If you can, pause for 30-40 seconds, and then do another set.

    The push-up. It shouldn’t be the “be all, end all” to your chest routine, but it should certainly be included. For the classic push-up, your hands should be placed firmly on the ground directly under your shoulders. Tighten your abs and keep your back flat. Slowly lower your body until your chest almost touches the floor. Make sure your butt doesn’t stick out. Slowly push yourself back up with control. How many push-ups you do depends on your fitness level. Beginners should aim for 15-20.

    You should be working your chest around two to three times a week. Remember to always keep form in mind to prevent injury and achieve the best results you can. Working your chest is a mandatory part of having a healthy, strong, and capable body.

  • This entry was posted in Toys on March 15, 2016

  • “Play” and “purpose” don’t get strung together in sentences often, but they should. Active play can nourish social skills, improve focus, and help kids learn how to manage stress from an early age. These aren’t benefits we should take lightly.

    Not all play and not all toys are created equal. Play should be fun, but there are ways to make it beneficial to your child as well. Here are a few of our favorite toys that can help your child develop strength, skills, mental health, and happiness - gifts we’d all love to bestow on our child.

    Rody Horse. This crazy fun toy (that comes in lots of different colors and styles) by Gymnic can help your child develop coordination, balance, and strength. It can also help with the transition between crawling and walking by serving as a pal your kid can lean on while they’re getting comfortable standing and moving on their own.

    Tricycles. Kids love the feeling of independence. Tricycles give them just that – but without the risks! Tricycles, unlike bikes, are very unlikely to tip over and injure your child. Other benefits that come from riding a tricycle? Strength, balance, and coordination – especially in the lower body.

    Balance bikes. Balance bikes help kids develop the confidence they’ll need to eventually ride a bike. Your kid won’t have to worry about falling or balancing – these bikes help them naturally develop skills and strength that will help them in their fitness later down the road. Balance bikes can prep your child for the transition into learning how to ride a bike.

    A different kind of chair. Teach your child the importance of incorporating health and fitness into their everyday life with this alternative chair (also by Gymnic) that encourages concentration, balance, and proper posture. Your child will love sitting in this active chair when drawing, practicing writing, and doing homework.

    Pedal vehicles. Pedal vehicles can help your child develop strong motor skills and independence all while exploring and having a blast outside. Encourage and nourish your little one’s sense of adventure!

    Play with purpose is the best kind of play. By kicking back, getting silly, and trying new things, your child can play in a way that will help them grow into the kind of happy, healthy, and active adult you want them to be. These are crucial years for developing healthy habits and creativity. The kinds of toys you choose for your child can have a significant impact on their skills, coordination, strength, and overall wellness.

  • This entry was posted in Fitness on March 14, 2016

  • Spring and summer are quickly approaching with outdoor walks, flowers, pool parties and lemonade stands in store. April-August is the time of year everyone looks forward to – when only a light cardigan is needed, when spur of the moment leisurely walks down the block are practical, and when popsicles and frozen yogurt cups become our go to after dinner treats.

    Warmer temperatures also mean it’s time to take our workouts outdoors where our bodies can stretch, strengthen, and explore the lovely landscapes the way they were meant to, no longer covered in snow.

    Here are a few of the vast health benefits that come from exercising outside (as long as you’re wearing sunscreen that is!)

    You’re more likely to stick with a routine. Exercising outside is infinitely more entertaining than logging hours on the treadmill. When you can try new trails every day and stroll through streets with lovely historic houses, fitness becomes less about work and more about fun and sightseeing.

    The benefits of exercise will make more of an impact. Being in top-notch shape means less when you’re covered in thick sweaters and scarves than it does when you’re wearing a swimsuit. Warm weather gives you a greater incentive to work out, as we all want to feel confident and attractive around this time of year.

    Vitamin D! Vitamin D, which can help prevent heart attacks, cancer, and depression, is difficult to get. One surefire way is to soak up 10-15 minutes of sunshine a day.

    Nature can ease stress. Did you know that certain spring scents are proven to significantly reduce the stress of everyday life? Studies show these scents can do everything from decrease depression to prevent insomnia.

    Improve creativity and focus. Studies show that exercising outdoors can have positive effects on our brains as well as our bodies. Stuck on a tough problem at work? A quick power walk could be just what you need to relax, strategize, and think outside of the box. Spending time outdoors can put things into perspective and help you see your problems in a new light.

    You might think sundresses and beach chairs when you think of warm weather, but one of the greatest benefits that comes from the changing seasons is the opportunity to exercise in the ultimate environment, away from mundane distractions and stress. Celebrate spring and summer this year by heading outdoors for your exercise. Outdoor fitness can emotionally, physically, and mentally regenerate you, while invoking a spirit of carefree adventure.

    Remember when you were a kid and spring and summer were the best time of year? Recapture that energy and reap outdoor exercise’s many benefits.