Tailgating: The NFL Season Game-plan for Your Health

Tailgating – let’s not make it a gateway for sitting on your sofa and growing your tail.

Instead, let’s make it a social celebration that can actually give benefit to your body. The NFL’s 2014-2015 season got underway last Thursday, also kicking off the season for one of our favorite activities – fall tailgating. However, fill it with too many six-packs (unless referring to the abdominal variety), and too much pizza (unless referring to these 8 versions), and it can quickly become one of our tail’s – er, booty’s – worst nightmares.

Instead, follow our LifeVest guide to tailgating this season so you can fill up on fun without letting your weight rival that of your favorite NFL linebacker. Below, find a game-plan that’ll coach you off the couch from time to time, while also letting chow down on some of your favorite celebratory food. We want you to wake up feeling like a champ all season rather than crap. Let’s get to it.

Buffalo Cauliflower Wings

Click here for the LifeVest Guide to Tailgating…


Enhance Your Exercise Endurance with These (Legal) Edible Aids

Whether you’re training for an Ironman or are simply hoping to make it past a 5-min. run without huffing and puffing, your endurance level is your ticket to a smoother, sustained workout. Build it up, and working out becomes less of an unbearable chore and instead more of a habit that’ll help you gain back some of that energy from your youth (without all the angst, awkward growth spurts, and bad haircuts that were originally paired with it).

The primary key to boosting your fitness endurance and exercise ease is simply to lace up your sneaks and make workouts part of your weekly routine. That means exercising preferably at least 3 times/week – no skipping weeks, no ifs, buts, or excuses.

VO2 Max

With repetition, you’ll begin to increase your VO2 max, i.e, the maximum rate at which your body can consume oxygen during exercise. (Research shows adding High Intensity Interval Training to your routine will help you do this even faster.) Increased VO2 max = increased endurance = a better feeling you.

Straight-up training, along with a healthy diet and sleep schedule, will be essential to your endurance efforts, but there are other added tricks too, all of which can fit into your grocery basket. Below, find our research-backed roundup of legal* – and tasty! – fitness performance enhancers.

*By legal, we mean no Lance Armstrong style funny business!

Beets

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Power Up Your Lunch Break – The Midday Workout

Lunch Hour Workout

Have you ever considered working out on your lunch hour? Between inhaling a quick sandwich, wrapping up emails, and finalizing deadlines, for many, that question seems almost comical. The thought of fitting in a workout and returning to your desk without being a sweaty mess can seem challenging.

Experts say, however, powering up your lunch hour may be one of the best ways to incorporate exercise into a busy lifestyle and boost your afternoon productivity “Depending on how quickly you refuel after you’re done, the boost can last for two to three hours,” says Dr. Darin Padua, director of the Sport Medicine Research Laboratory at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Lunch break workout

For me, client meetings and afternoon engagements have always steered me away from midday workouts. However as a mother of two toddlers, recently I’ve realized that this might actually be the best time of day to sneak in a quick and efficient workout. My other options are to sacrifice the two hours of me-time in the morning I allow by getting up at 5 a.m. – not happening – or working out after my two little ones go to bed. In the latter case, more often than not my workout gets skipped, and when I do manage to fit it in, the energy it gives me makes it difficult to fall asleep.

As a result, I’ve found my lunch hour has actually become the most appealing time to workout, especially with these tricks I’ve gained to avoid returning to the office in a disarrayed mess. Whether you’re a working mom like me, or a busy professional with an equally busy social life, use these tips to make the most of your lunchtime and ensure your fitness routine gets the regular attention it deserves.

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5 ways you could be sabotaging your sleep

importance of sleep

 

Sleep is a control freak.

Don’t give it enough attention, and it will show you who’s boss. From mood, to memory, to longevity, sleep dictates nearly all aspects of our health. So whether we like it or not, it begs us to befriend it, especially when taking efforts to lose weight.

Luckily, sleep can help make you feel your absolute best, so let it be one control freak you make an effort to keep happy. In doing this, you’ll need to remove its enemies from your life. Below, find 5 sneaky things that may be trying to sabotage your relationship with sleep, and get ready to bid them adieu. Then, say a happy goodbye to that flock of sheep you’ve been counting, or the twisted sheets you’ve been tossing and turning, and rest easy tonight.

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Music apps to help you pump up your running routine

Music meets movement.

We’re all about making fitness feel like fun, not torture. (Frisbee, anyone?) However, a new study reveals that there is some validity to the idea of “no pain push, no gain”, showing that intense exercise changes the body and strengthens muscles in ways that milder physical activity simply can’t match. The New York Times explains the details here, but in short, if you want to improve your fitness, you’re going to need to push yourself. That means, not just up and off the couch, but slightly beyond your comfort zone.

It’s suggested that during moderate exercise, you should be able to talk, but not sing, while during vigorous activity, you will not be able to say more than a few words without pausing for a breath. So while you might not be able to sing the songs these apps bring you, they are all designed to help you pump it up for greater workout benefits.

4 Music Apps for Pumping Up Your Running Routine

Click here for music apps to make you move…


5 tips for exercising in the heat

Exercising in the heat

The warm, sunny days of summer are here inviting us to step outside. However, venture out in a 90-degree heat stretch, and it often doesn’t take more than a few steps for our workout-motivation to hit a roadblock. Sweat-drenched and out of breath, the great outdoors can begin to feel not entirely too great when those hot waves start rolling in.

Why does it feel harder to workout in the heat? In summertime temps, your heart must do double duty to keep you up and running (biking, hiking, or even walking). It not only must pump blood to your working muscles but also sends blood to your skin so your body can release internal heat into the environment to help cool itself down. The latter process signals your body to sweat, and as those drops begin to evaporate into the air, will help you feel cooler. However, all of that sweating speeds up your heart rate. It rises three to five beats per minute for every 1% of water loss you experience, making you feel like you’re working out harder than you really are. Profuse sweating also increases your risk for dehydration and heat-related illnesses.

However, if you’re mindful, you needn’t let sizzling temps fizzle out your outdoor workout routines. There are tons of science-backed benefits of exercising outdoors, including everything from increasing energy levels to improving mood to reducing stress, which means you may not want to run inside just yet.

Use the tips below to keep those heat waves from crashing your summer exercise routine.

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Deskercise: Operation Arms

Last week we introduced you to deskercising as a way to fit more activity into your workweek. Being a desk potato is proven to be hard on your health, that’s why today we’re going in for round 2. We know you’ve been making us proud by diligently toning up your legs all week with our previous post’s deskercises, so today we’re hitting the other half. Pull out those bicep guns and get ready for Operation Arms.For triceps – The Desk Dip: Using a sturdy desk/table, sit at the edge and place hands on either side of the body with your fingers pointing forward. Plant the feet on the floor a step away from the desk, and straighten up the arms to lift the body. Begin to bend the arms to a 90-degree angle so that your body dips down in front of the table. Hold, and then re-straighten the arms.

For deltoids – The Post-email Pushup: Rather than checking Facebook or G-chat after knocking out a few emails, reward your body with pushups instead. For a modified version, stand at the side of your desk and get into pushup position, using the ledge as the starting point. Move your torso toward the desk until it reaches mid chest, then push back up to starting position.

For biceps – The Watercurler: Reading through an article or manuscript? Keep one hand on the page and multitask with your other arm. Fill up your water bottle (or keep a light dumbbell at your desk), and grip it with your unoccupied hand. Curl that arm into your body. Repeat as you read.Bonus – Snooze-preventing stretches: Keep those eyes from drooping by keeping your arms moving throughout the day. As you work, fit in a few shoulder shrugs and arm raises, connecting the movements to your breath. This keeps the blood circulating to keep your energy levels up.

Your game plan: Schedule a twice-per-day arm challenge. Actually put it in your Google calendar or calendar system so you get an alert that motivates you to action. See if you can do 15-25 reps of each of the above deskercises, and then add some snooze-preventing stretch time throughout the remainder of your day.
Muscle-strengthening exercises are important for bone health and preventing osteoporosis. In fact, 50% of fractures occur in those who have low bone mass, which can be partially attributed to inadequate intensity, duration and/or frequency of exercise. The CDC recommends engaging in muscle-strengthening activities at least 2 times per week to keep your bones strong. While the moves above aren’t likely to turn you into the incredible Hulk, every bit of movement counts!