Tag Archives: fitness

best_home_design_oct28_2019_fi

6 hot design ideas for your next home renovation

Latest News


6 hot design ideas for your next home renovation

Renovating and regenerating a space, any space, can be incredibly fun and exciting. It can also involve a great deal of challenges, as well as the pressure that comes with managing a project and changing a space that others will use.

If you take some extra time to plan, and use a few simple ideas, getting the right look in a home doesn’t have to be too challenging or expensive. Here is a quick guide to some of the best home design ideas we’ve found to make things a little easier.

Expose materials and structure to add depth and texture to space

You can achieve a fantastic look and give your space an interesting atmosphere and feel by taking things away, rather than adding them.

Exposing a beam or the brickwork along one wall or in an alcove is a great way to add character, depth and texture to a space that may be bland and boxy otherwise.

Integrate fitness and wellbeing into your home’s design

Health, fitness and wellbeing are becoming very popular pastimes that often benefit from having their own space. Fitness equipment in particular often needs a place to “live” in the home.

By using equipment that can be folded away to store, you can have a small home gym that can double as a yoga studio or relaxation centre when the exercise machines have been stowed away.

Use timber cladding and concrete for a modern yet earthy look and feel

A great look for the exterior of a home can be achieved with timber cladding and smooth concrete footings.

Exterior changes can be a lot of work for the home renovator, so you should always consult a professional design service like The Home Design Group, who can help you plan and execute work safely and in accordance with local planning and safety regulations.

Build a large and practical pantry for your kitchen

Kitchen cupboard space is always difficult to arrange, and will often take up a lot of space in a kitchen that could be put to better use.

More and more families are turning to dedicated pantry spaces, giving them plenty of space to store and arrange food, and will often put the fridge there too; making extra space in the kitchen.

Bring the inside out and the outside in

A popular way to add colour to your home is to bring outdoor materials inside, or to make usable living spaces outside.

Some people have used high quality plastic grass, or “astro-turf,” on interior spaces like dining rooms and children’s play areas. To take the inside out, why not have an area outside for cooking and dining when the weather lets you?

Use pivot doors to make a special entrance

Frameless doors that pivot to open, rather than swing on a hinge, make an impressive first impression on anyone entering a home that has one.

Doors that open this way can be very large and heavy, but will pivot effortlessly on their vertical axel to create a huge and welcoming entryway.

Hopefully this quick guide has given you some design ideas for your next home renovation, and you can make a space that is unique, stylish and welcoming for all.

SHARE  

Featured Products


Body & Soul - Side-to-side lateral movements matter

Side-to-side lateral movements matter

Latest News


Side-to-side lateral movements matter

Photography, bigstockphoto.com

Most workout moves have us moving forward and backward, and up and down. Rarely do we move from side-to-side, or in a diagonal direction. Abby Johnson-Bertan, from GoodLife Fitness, says that we tend to focus our eyes in front of us when we exercise, especially with running and walking. Lateral moves can help us to adapt to unexpected movements, which could possibly save us from falling when walking the dog or hiking on uneven ground.

By adding lateral movements to your exercise routine, you can correct muscle imbalances, improve stability, strengthen smaller muscle groups, stabilize your pelvis and hips, and reduce injuries. Lateral movements include side lunges, side shuffles, lateral bear crawls and jumping jacks.

Body imbalances

Not only do lateral movements help to reduce injuries, but they also help to improve mobility and even out imbalances as we age. “Forward movements, like running and biking, use the same dominant muscles – stressing your hamstrings, calves and quads,” says Tara Laferrara, founder of the TL Method and co-owner of Compass Fitness. “You stress the dominant muscle groups, causing them to become increasingly stronger as your smaller muscles stay the same. Working the muscles on the inside and outside of your legs, for example, helps to keep you injury-free.”

LATERAL EXERCISES

Include in your regular workout a couple of times per week.

  • SIDE LUNGES 12 repetitions per leg x three sets
  • SIDE SHUFFLES 20 yards per leg x three sets
  • LATERAL BEAR CRAWLS 20 yards in each direction x three sets
  • JUMPING JACKS OR STAR JUMPS 30 seconds x three sets
  • SPEED SKATER 10 repetitions per leg x three sets

Step aside

Laferrara says that she includes lateral exercises in all parts of her workout, including the warm-up, workout, and cool-down, but she finds them especially important when warming up. “You are preparing your body for any movement that will occur in the workout. Even as a trail runner, which is primarily a forward movement, at some point you’ll most likely have to jump to the side to avoid tripping. You have to get your body ready for that.”

There are two ways to perform a lateral movement. When you move a limb away from your body, it’s called abduction. And when you bring it back in, it’s referred to as adduction. “These movements stabilize your joints and your dominant muscles,” says Laferrara.


SHARE  

Featured Products


BODY & SOUL: Low Intensity - Steady State

BODY & SOUL: Low Intensity – Steady State

Latest News


BODY & SOUL: Low Intensity – Steady State

by Agnes Ramsay

Low intensity steady state (LISS) exercises are very effective for those who can’t do high intensity bouts of exercise. It’s low impact, so it’s easy on your joints and it can be done anywhere, at any time. In a previous article, I talked about HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), which has been trending the last few years. With this form of exercise, you combine periods of high intensity exercises, interspersed with low intensity breaks. While HIIT is extremely effective, it’s not for everyone.

You’re probably quite familiar with the LISS type of work out – walking at a steady cadence, light jogging or swimming. Basically, you can do any type of activity that increases your heart rate by approximately 60 to 80 per cent, for a maximum of 35 to 45 minutes.

Photo, bigstockphoto.com
Photo, bigstockphoto.com

WHO’S IT FOR?

Everyone can use LISS training. For those who are new to fitness, LISS can provide a gateway to getting stronger, and is less intimidating. Someone with no restrictions can do a HIIT training one day, then three days of LISS, and then back to HIIT.

However, if you have restrictions, such as back problems, arthritis, and/ or joint issues, stick to LISS. Your body will eventually adapt, and you won’t reap the benefits, if you do the same exercises over and over. Therefore, ensure that you vary your LISS training with different workouts.

Before you head out, do some dynamic stretching and finish off with some static stretching. For the most effective caloric burn, do it first thing in the morning before you eat. To ensure that you stay on track, schedule it into your day, ask a friend to join you, and switch up your exercises to keep it fun. If timing is an issue, break it up into 15 minute increments – two or three times per day.

TYPES OF LISS TRAINING

  • Fast walk
  • Slow jog
  • Moderate swim
  • Bicycle riding on a flat surface
  • Elliptical/rower at a steady state

WHY DOES IT WORK?

  • LISS can be done on a daily basis, as opposed to HIIT, which requires three to four days of recovery.
  • LISS takes less energy, therefore if you’re on a calorie reduced diet you won’t be starving after a workout.
  • It helps to increase your aerobic health.
  • It’s easier on the joints, which equals fewer injuries.
  • For some, LISS is more agreeable than HIIT, which helps with compliance.

KNOW YOUR TARGET

With LISS, the pace is steady, but constant. You can use a heart-rate monitor to stay in the moderate range or use the talk test. If you can carry on a conversation at the pace you are exercising, then you are in the moderate range.

HOW TO CALCULATE HEART RATE:

For example; if you are 60 years of age, your maximum heart rate is 220 minus your age (60), which equals 180.

Therefore, your LISS heart rate should be 60 to 80 per cent of that – around 108 to 144.

Don’t underestimate the power of getting outside. With LISS, you can do it anywhere, so take the time to smell the roses.

Agnes Ramsay is a Registered Nurse, Personal Trainer and Wellness Coach specializing in Electric Muscle Stimulation Training.

agnes.ramsay@xbodyworld.com


SHARE  

Featured Products


BODY & SOUL: Spring K.I.S.S.

BODY & SOUL: Spring K.I.S.S.

Latest News


BODY & SOUL: Spring K.I.S.S.

by Agnes Ramsay

Keep It Simple and Safe

The winter season, with its cold, icy days, tends to keep us indoors where its warm and cosy, and away from the gym. Spring is definitely in the air, and it’s time to get outdoors. With a heightened enthusiasm to get moving, be cautious that you don’t overdo it or injure yourself.

When it comes to spring fitness, the K.I.S.S. theory is a good guideline.

Photo, bigstockphoto.com
Photo, bigstockphoto.com

KEEP IT SIMPLE

Fitness is all about compliance, so enjoy it. You don’t need to go out and get extra equipment, and it should fit, seamlessly, into your schedule. Start slow with whatever activity you choose. Make a plan, and write it down. Indicate measurable markers for success, whether it’s by inches, weight or milestones. As an example, you might set a goal of walking three kilometres in 20 minutes by the end of the following month. If you stick to your program, you’re more likely to avoid the dreaded – I’ll start next Monday – as there’s nothing to hold you back.

START SLOW

  • For a jogging plan – start with a walk/jog combination
  • If lifting weights – begin with focusing on your form
  • If cycling is your preference – start with a flat trail that is dedicated to bikes.
Prior to physical activity, warm up your muscles with a set of Dynamic Stretching.

  • Arm swings
  • Alternate knees to chest
  • Swing legs front to back, and side to side
  • Long side reaches

KEEP SAFE

Dress for success. From cool mornings, to spring showers or hot afternoons, the weather conditions can vary greatly this time of year. As the saying goes – there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing.

On a damp, drizzly day, wear a good rain coat with reflective tape, grab an umbrella, and make sure that you have good tread on your footwear. If the temperature is hovering around freezing, you might want to avoid slippery sidewalks, so opt for walking around the mall. Rainy days can be invigorating, but take precautions to prevent a fall.

On those hot spring days, schedule activities early in the morning, or when the sun starts to set in the evening. And as a gentle reminder, if out and about between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., don’t forget your sunscreen and drink lots of fluids. Your skin will thank you.

If cycling, your bike will need a spring check-up to ensure that it’s safe and operating properly. If you feel a bit unsure, find a safe place to mount your bike so that you’re confident with your balance before going on the road and dealing with traffic. And, of course, don’t forget your helmet.

Agnes Ramsay is a Registered Nurse, Personal Trainer and Wellness Coach specializing in Electric Muscle Stimulation Training.

agnes.ramsay@xbodyworld.com


SHARE  

Featured Products


Body & Soul: Schedule in Fitness

Body & Soul: Schedule in Fitness …

Latest News


Body & Soul: Schedule in Fitness …

… For a more productive day

by Agnes Ramsay

It’s the time of year for celebration, and with that comes parties and get-togethers. As the days and nights get cooler, we long for comfort food and good company. It’s also the time of year when our stress levels rise, as we attempt to fit it all in.

Not only can it put a strain on our schedule and our finances, but also on our waistlines. Keeping health and wellness in mind may prove to be difficult, but it’s especially important during this busy time. Reframe your priorities, instead of stressing out and giving up on your fitness pursuits – give yourself the gift of time to do something that you enjoy.

Photo, bigstockphoto.com
Photo, bigstockphoto.com

FIT IN FITNESS

Just like scheduling a meeting or an appointment, make a plan as to when you can fit in fitness. On Sunday, take a few minutes to look at the week ahead, and drop in activities at specific times, so that you’ll stick to it.

Devote certain days to a specific exercise, like a walk in the woods, a Zumba or dance class, a visit to the gym, curling – whatever. On those days – no chores allowed. It may be wishful thinking, but having a timetable is very effective. It’s all about the activity and making the commitment to do it.

On chore and work days, or when at the mall or the grocery store, be conscious of parking further away so that you can add more steps to your day, and, of course, take the stairs when you can. Raking the leaves, and taking your dog for a brisk walk, most definitely count as chore-related activities.

If you find that your energy level has tanked by the end of the day, opt for a stroll around the mall, instead of a workout at the gym. It may be necessary to rework your schedule, if you think that starting your day at the gym (rather than ending it there) would prove to be more beneficial, and something that you’ll commit to.

Be realistic, keep yourself organized, stick to your schedule – and constantly remind yourself that you’re worth it.

FITNESS FUN FACTOR

Fitness compliance is substantially increased when you enjoy what you are doing. Get rid of the ‘shoulds’. If you think that you should go to the gym, because you have a membership, you’re putting more pressure on yourself. Perhaps the gym has other programs, like a dance or yoga class, that you’d like better than the treadmill. Look at other alternatives, and, supplement the ‘shoulds’ with ‘I’d rather.’ To up the fun factor, invite friends and family to join you – they’ll also help you to stick to that schedule.

FITNESS REWARDS

Setting goals, and then rewarding yourself, might be just the motivation that you need. Perhaps you want to lose five pounds by December and fit into that party dress. In order to accomplish goals, write them down, and then have a pre-determined reward in mind, like getting a new pair of shoes to go with that dress. Now shape your schedule in order to achieve your goal. It may require planning an additional fitness date, or changing the three-kilometre walk to a jog.

Of course, the biggest reward of all is how you feel, so give yourself the gift of health and wellness this holiday season.


Agnes Ramsay is a Registered Nurse, Personal Trainer and Wellness Coach specializing in Electric Muscle Stimulation Training.

agnes.ramsay@xbodyworld.com


SHARE  

Featured Products


Body & Soul: A Healthy Pleasure - Stay fit while travelling

Body & Soul: A Healthy Pleasure

Latest News


Body & Soul: A Healthy Pleasure

by Agnes Ramsay

Photo, (top) bigstock.com

Stay fit while travelling

Virtual Reality Technology is very realistic. I was amazed by its capabilities as it looked, and felt, like I was wandering around a beautiful vineyard in France. However, as good as the technology is, it still isn’t anywhere close to the real deal. Even when interacting with business colleagues, nothing, yet, has truly replaced real face time. And while the virtual vineyard looked lovely, I’d prefer to actually experience it, so that all my senses are stimulated.

FIND SOLUTIONS

I’m a big fan of travelling, but it can wreak havoc on your daily fitness routine. If you are traveling for pleasure, try to build your holiday around activities. For the more active, this may include hiking excursions, or simply walking around the cities that you’re visiting. Exploring different cultures is always best on foot. I’m never concerned when my clients go on this type of vacation as they don’t need to make an additional effort to exercise – it’s built into the trip by seeing the sights.

Pack your pedometer of choice and delight in all the steps that you’re taking. Make sure that you pack good walking shoes – heels are never your friend on cobblestone streets. And don’t forget the walking poles.

If you are going south for a much-needed R&R holiday, ensure that walking becomes part of your daily routine. Get up early for a brisk walk on the beach before it gets too hot. Don’t forget to take a bottle of water, and wear a hat and sunblock. Most resorts offer other activities like kayaking, beach volleyball and swimming. And many are so large that simply walking everywhere will give you a daily workout.

Personally, I tend to avoid the gyms when travelling south, because I’d prefer to be outdoors. However, if the heat is a concern, a short gym visit is a great option – you are on holidays, after all.

PLAN A HITT

HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is another possibilty. Dr. Martin Gibala, a professor of kinesiology at McMaster University, has done many studies on HIIT. She’s found that short bursts of high intensity exercise, followed by periods of moderate intensity, is remarkably effective – 10 to 15 minutes is enough.

When on business, HIIT training is highly recommended. Time is often at a premium, and you may not be booked into a hotel with a gym. Nor may you be in an area that’s conducive to walking. HIIT training can be done in your room.

HIIT TRAINING

  • Two- to three-minute warm up (light jogging on the spot).
  • High intensity activity for 20 seconds, then stepping on the spot for 40 seconds. Repeat circuit four to eight times.
  • Two- to three-minute cool down (stepping on the spot).

HIGH INTENSITY ACTIVITIES*

  • Jumping jacks
  • Mountain climbers
  • Squat jumps
  • Running man
  • Spider man
  • Burpees
  • Reverse lunges
  • High knee raise

*Check online videos for proper form.


Agnes Ramsay is a Registered Nurse, Personal Trainer and Wellness Coach specializing in Electric Muscle Stimulation Training.

agnesfitness.com


SHARE  

Featured Products


Body & Soul: Nordic Pole Walking

Body & Soul: Nordic Pole Walking

Latest News


Body & Soul: Nordic Pole Walking

by Agnes Ramsay

Reduce stress and stay fit

Walking improves your attention span and your outlook on life. According to researchers, walking outdoors can boost virus and tumour-fighting white blood cells. It’s free, and you can walk almost anywhere. It’s a great activity to do alone or with others. What’s not to love?

My husband teases me for being a tree hugger, but I don’t need any specialist to tell me how great I feel after a brisk walk. However, some of us have limitations due to bad knees, hips or lower back problems.

Nordic Poles to the rescue

A couple of years ago, my husband and I hiked through several State and National parks. Our first hike was six hours on the East Rim Trail in Zion National Park. Although we were fit 53-year-olds, the wear and tear of my husband’s professional hockey playing days had caused knee and hip problems. Hiking upwards wasn’t so bad, but heading back down became difficult. We found a sturdy stick that helped, and then I had a lightbulb moment – Nordic Poles.

After my husband iced his knees, we headed off to an outfitting store and chose a pair of collapsible, lightweight, aluminum, anti-shock poles. That night I researched pole walking techniques and the following day we hit the trails for a four-hour ridge climb. I was nervous, but my husband was determined. He barely struggled getting down the steep pathway, using the poles as though he’d been doing it all of his life.

At one point I borrowed his poles and couldn’t believe the zip it gave to my hiking, as well as the additional workout I felt in my upper body. I have since purchased a set of my own.

Nordic Pole benefits

  • Upper body assistance with overall strength, improving endurance and speed
  • Balance and stability are enhanced on uneven terrain
  • Shock absorption – reduces impact on hips, knees, ankles and feet
  • Helps to establish, and maintain, a consistent pace
  • Burns more calories than walking

Buying Tips

  • When looking for the right size, your elbows should be at a 90-degree angle
  • Ensure that they are collapsible for traveling
  • Check the comfort level of the hand grips and wrist straps
  • Anti-shock poles reduce strain on hands and wrists
  • Lightweight, carbon poles are more expensive, but aluminum poles are more flexible and better for running

USING YOUR POLES

  • Grip poles (firmly), with your elbows at 90 degrees.
  • Let your arms swing naturally – opposite arm to leg
  • Reach slightly forward with the pole, and push down on the ground and back
  • Upright posture when going forward
  • Lean slightly forward when going uphill
  • Don’t overdo it on the first day
  • Establish a rhythm and stretch afterwards
  • Poles assist with stability in the winter, but in icy conditions, wear appropriate footwear (i.e. boot traction slip ons) and use trails that are well-maintained.
Agnes Ramsay specializes in Electric Muscle Stimulation Training.

agnes.ramsay@xbodyworld.com.


SHARE  

Featured Products