Photo courtesy of Clare Wheeler Image by: Photo courtesy of Clare Wheeler
|This story was originally titled "The Clash Of The Coasts" in the July 2014 issue. |
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These supposedly healthy exercises could be hindering your fitness goals. Here's why you should ditch three common culprits for more helpful exercise habits.You put in a lot of effort at the gym and want your hard work to pay off. But some exercise practices could actually be sabotaging your fitness goals. We spoke to fitness expert Brent Bishop about three common things people do to get fit, how they can backfire and what to do instead.
Image courtesy of WalkTop/Fitneff Image by: Image courtesy of WalkTop/Fitneff
Use these tools to get moving at your desk and save yourself from sitting disease.Getting exercise at work isn't exactly easy. Many of us have day jobs that require long hours of sitting in front of a computer or standing at a counter, and that's not good for our hearts and muscles. In a 2015 analysis published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, Canadian researchers found that sitting for prolonged periods of time was associated with a higher risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes, and about a 15 to 20 percent increased risk of dying from any cause. And unfortunately, though exercising after hours is healthy, it doesn't counteract the effects of a long sedentary day.
Have you ever gotten so focused on something at work that you forgot to get up for three hours straight? Sometimes we all need a reminder to get up and stretch our muscles. This app lets you pre-program reminders to take short breaks for exercise. The one-minute workouts rotate through 45 different exercises, all of which can be done without even leaving your desk. Just select whether you want a workout for sitting or standing—there's even an option for in-meeting moves!—and follow along through the tension-relieving exercises. 1 Minute Desk Workout, available for iPhone and iPad, free.
Treadmill desks are destined to be office staples in the future, as we learn more about the dangers of long-term sitting. Why not ask your employer to invest in one now? Whether you work at home or in a professional space, switching from a chair to a treadmill is one of the best ways to prevent sitting disease. Plus, working while moving isn't the productivity killer you would expect; after all, the point of a treadmill desk is to avoid getting into a sedentary slump while you work, not to work up a sweat. You'll find it's easy to keep a steady pace while you prep for a presentation, and the movement may even boost your creativity. WalkTop Treadmill Desk (adjustable to fit most treadmills), $479, walktop.ca.
If you need to sit all day, the least you can do is perfect your posture and build your core while you do it. A stability cushion is slightly wobbly, so it requires you to engage your inner abdominal muscles for balance and use your back muscles to sit up straight. Whether you perch on the cushion for an hour or eight each day, your core will benefit from a little extra engagement. Stott Pilates Large Stability Cushion, $85.50, well.ca.
Wearable tech is making waves in the fitness world, and for good reason: When you have a physical reminder to move literally attached to your arm, it helps you carry your fitness goals into every area of your life—including the office. Wearing a fitness tracker can give you the initiative to take the stairs, go for a noon-hour walk or even just take more trips to the photocopier to get your daily steps in. Bands like the Fitbit let you chart your activity for the day, so you can see when you're sedentary and make a plan for improvement. Fitbit Flex, $100, fitbit.com.
Ginger may not be the first spice you think of to incorporate in your snacks, salads and dinners but it's one of the healthiest on the planet! Here's why:
1. It's healthy for your heart.
Research has shown that ginger may lower cholesterol and help prevent blood clotting, which could, in turn, help prevent blood vessel blockages that can lead to heart attacks or strokes.
A recent study out of Pennsylvania State University found that a meal made with a spice blend that included ginger (along with garlic, rosemary, oregano, cinnamon, cloves, paprika, turmeric and black pepper) reduced levels of triglycerides by 30 percent when compared to an identical non-spiced meal.
2. It helps your tummy!
Ginger has long been associated with relieving nausea and morning sickness, motion sickness, and even menstrual pain, as it's original use was for pain relief. A 2012 study shored up that wisdom, showing that ginger can reduce nausea after chemotherapy when taken as a supplement.
3. It can help you breathe easy.
Ginger tea is a classic remedy purported to ease cough and cold symptoms. And it turns out, there’s some science to its soothing powers when you’re sick. In 2013, research out of Columbia University found that ginger might help asthma patients breathe more easily.
4. It has anti-inflammatory effects.
Osteoarthritis causes joint pain and stiffness, but the anti-inflammatory effects of ginger can help that. In a trial done by the National Centre for Biotechnology Information, participants who took ginger extract had less pain and needed less pain medication than those who didn't.
*Although rare, too much ginger can cause heartburn, diarrhea and irritation of the mouth, according to the University of Maryland. There can also be interactions with medications, such as acetylsalicylic acid.
But most of us can indulge in ginger for its flavour and health benefits. Try it in:
Apple Cran-Curry Salsa
Apricot Almond Energy Bars
Asparagus and Orange Salad With Ginger Dressing
Broiled Tofu With No-Cook Peanut Sauce