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5 Ways to Get Active This Summer That Don’t Involve a Treadmill

5 Ways to Get Active This Summer That Don’t Involve a Treadmill

When exercising and staying in shape comes to mind, many people roll their eyes and think about some nasty gym down the street with rickety treadmills and old worn out elliptical machines. But what if we told you there are much more enjoyable ways to stay in shape?

Here are a few different activities and exercises you absolutely must try!

1. Dance the Day Away With Zumba

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    (Photo by JBLM MWR)

    Who doesn’t love to dance? Well, now you can dance and lose that annoying flab. Zumba is an aerobic exercise that combines choreographed footwork and various body movements from merengue, salsa, flamenco and a handful of other dances to burn fat and tone muscles.

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    The best thing about Zumba is that you’ll have so much fun, you won’t even realize you’re tightening up those abs, glutes, arms, and thighs. While there should be a local gym nearby with trained Zumba instructors and group classes, you can also purchase the DVDs to try at home.

    2. Go For a Bike Ride

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      (Photo by Solo, with others)

      Some people don’t like jogging because of the repetitive motion of pounding their legs into the pavement or ground. Well, you can get many of the same benefits by going on a bike ride.

      Bike rides increase cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength, and flexibility, while also decreasing stress, diminishing fat, and enhancing joint mobility. Not bad for something that’s also fun! Purchase a cruiser bike and mix up your terrain. Going from beach to pavement (and vice versa) will give your legs an extra workout.

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      3. Pick Up a Hula-Hoop

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        (Photo by ISKME)

        “This 1950s craze is no longer just child’s play,” says Rhea Seymour of Best Health Magazine. “Hula-hooping, or ‘hooping,’ has re-emerged as a great cardio workout to slim your waist, hips, buttocks and thighs while toning your abdominals and lower back muscles.”

        Hooping is also a great social exercise, as many people join groups and practice together. While you can technically find your old childhood hula-hoop in the attic and use it, these hoops aren’t the greatest. You’ll want to find one that’s a little larger and heavier – like this.

        4. Climb Some Rocks

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          (Photo by Yusmar Yahaya)

          One of the best all-around anaerobic workouts is indoor rock climbing. Not only does it burn hundreds of calories an hour, but it also builds incredible strength and balance in those muscle groups that don’t always get targeted with other exercises.

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          Rock climbing is also a pretty intense mental workout. For example, in bouldering you have to identify the correct route and then use problem-solving skills to choose the best path for your skill set. To find a rock climbing gym near you, check out this list of gyms from around the world.

          5. Go Paddle Boarding

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            (Photo by John Coley)

            If you’ve ever seen an advertisement for some beach resort in the Bahamas, you’ve probably seen a picture of someone standing up on a paddle board in front of a majestic backdrop. Well, what they’re not telling you is that paddle boarding is actually an incredibly intense workout.

            Paddle boarding not only improves your balance and provides a cardio workout, but it also gives you a full body workout – especially your core. And who doesn’t love to be on the water?

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            Ditch the Gym!

            While there’s nothing wrong with having a gym membership for those rainy days or cold winters, summer is made for spending time outside. Whether it’s cycling or paddle boarding, you don’t need a treadmill to get active. Gather a few of your friends and aim to be active while also having a great time.

            Featured photo credit: E’Lisa Campbell via flic.kr

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            Larry Alton

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            12 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory

            12 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory

            Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

            But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

            I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

            Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory:

            1. Nuts

            The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

            Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

            Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

            Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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            2. Blueberries

            Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

            When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

            3. Tomatoes

            Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

            4. Broccoli

            While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

            Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

            Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

            5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

            Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

            The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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            Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

            6. Soy

            Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

            Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

            Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

            7. Dark chocolate

            When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

            Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate:

            15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

            8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

            Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

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            B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

            Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

            Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

            To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

            9. Foods Rich in Zinc

            Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

            Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

            Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

            10. Gingko biloba

            This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

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            It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

            However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

            11. Green and black tea

            Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

            Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

            Find out more about green tea here:

            11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

            12. Sage and Rosemary

            Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

            Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

            When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

            Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

            Reference

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