Category: Health

Making hydration a habit.

We all know we need to drink more water. From digestion, energy, and brainpower, water is key when it comes to having a healthy mind and body. 60% of our body is made up of water, even though most of us already know this, we still struggle to keep on top of our daily hydration. 

As with everything in fitness, the best way to make sure we keep on track with water intake is by forming a habit. Here we have some great tips on making hydration a habit.

  1. Start with a water goal

The traditionally recommended eight glasses of water is a good place to start. But it’s important to remember goals should be suitable for you as an individual. So if you are doing a lot of exercise or sweating you may want to increase the amount, or if you are just starting out on increasing your water intake, it might be too much to jump straight to eight glasses, so it’s better to make your goal achievable each day. Drinking too much water is not good for you, so it’s important not to overdrink the recommended amount and listen to your body.

  1. Add flavour

Whilst nothing beats pure water in terms of health benefits, if you really hate drinking it, it can be difficult to stay hydrated. To make something a habit you have to enjoy it. Sugar free cordials or infusing your water with fresh fruit to add flavour are a good way to enjoy the taste of water. If you are wanting to form a habit, drinking flavoured water is better than no water at all. A good way to do it is start with the water as flavoursome as you like, then gradually over time reduce the amount of cordial or fruit you add into it to get your pallet used to the plain taste.

  1. Find a water bottle you love.

Finding a way you like drinking water can make all the difference. Whether you prefer a cup, a sports bottle or a bottle with a straw. Sometimes you want to sip, sometimes you want to chug, but having a bottle that suits your needs can help to incentivise you. You can even get bottles that fit your entire daily recommendation of liquid in so you can know exactly how much you need to drink. It’s also handy having a bottle that’s easy to carry around with you as a reminder to drink wherever you go. 

  1. Track your intake 

Whether you use your bottle or an app, tracking your hydration is a really important thing to do. Not only does it help you reach your goal, but it feels like a great achievement at the end of the day to look back and reflect on how hydrated you are. Another handy tracking tip is to plan what time of day you want to hit a certain amount of water intake, eg by 10am drink 0.5litres, by 12pm drink 1litre. This can be a more realistic way of meeting goals as it’s broken down into manageable chunks. 

It takes about a month to really have a habit stick, so do this for a few weeks, and before you know it, you’ll be drinking your water regularly throughout the day without even thinking about it. You won’t look back once you notice your energy levels increasing, your workouts feeling better and your skin is looking clearer. 

Why you should go on a winter walk.

It might be more tempting to stay cozy indoors and difficult to find motivation, but there are huge benefits to wrapping up warm and heading out for a brisk winter walk.

1. You burn up more calories when it’s cold

You may have noticed that you tend to eat more in winter than in summer, this is so that you have enough calories to keep your body warm. Similarly, because your body is working overtime to keep warm, you burn up your calories much quicker.

2. Exercising when it’s cold gives your heart a more intense workout.

When it’s cold, the body seeks to maintain its internal temperature at a constant level of about 37°C, by increasing the flow of blood. The heart will, therefore, pump more quickly and become stronger when you take a cold winter walk.

3. It strengthens your immune system.

Being out often in the cold means your body will gradually get used to the weather and you will get ill less often because of the strengthening of your body against the attacks of winter germs.

4. It benefits your mood

During a time when people suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD), exposure to fresh air and Vitamin D from the winter sun can help improve mental health.

Convinced yet?

6 Reasons Why Women Should Lift Weights

For many, the image of weightlifting conjures up images of male bodybuilders with muscles bulging at every angle. It can be daunting for women to start lifting weights, but it has huge benefits to your health and wellbeing. Here we list 6 reasons why women should lift weights. 

1. Lose Body Fat

Weight training builds muscle and as your muscle mass increases so does your metabolism. This means that the higher your metabolism, the more calories you will burn throughout the day. Studies have found that for each pound of muscle you gain, you burn 35 to 50 more calories per day. 

2. Gain Strength Without Bulking

Building muscle doesn’t mean bulk. This is one of the most common misconceptions that women have when it comes to weight lifting, women have 10-30times less testosterone than men so it is much harder (near impossible) to gain and bulk to the size of men, from strength training alone. Instead, women develop muscle definition, tone, and strength without size.

3. Decrease Risk of Osteoporosis

Weight training not only strengthens muscles, but it also strengthens your bones. Weight training increases bone density, which reduces the risk of fractures and broken bones. Research has also shown that weight training can increase spinal bone density to create a strong and healthy spine. For women, especially as they get older and oestrogen levels lower, there is an increased risk of osteoporosis, so weight training can help to prevent this.

4. Reduce Risk of Injury

Weight training can also increase the strength in your connective tissues and joints. By improving joints, ligaments, and tendons you can prevent injury and can even relieve pain from osteoarthritis. Strengthening muscles and connective tissue will make injury from daily tasks and routine exercise less likely, and can even improve performance in sport.

5. Improve Posture and Reduce Back Pain

Weight-training will strengthen your core, back, and shoulders, helping to improve bad posture so that you can stand taller, with shoulders back and spine straight. A stronger back and core will prevent lower back pain and will help you in the future as you age.

6. Enhance Mood and Reduce Stress

Exercise and weight-training release endorphins. Endorphins are neurotransmitters that prevent pain, improve mood, and fight depression. An increase in endorphins naturally reduces stress and anxiety. Endorphins also improving alertness and boost energy. Weight-training can improve your entire day or help you combat a bad one by drastically improving your mood. 

 

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Why are rest days important?

Physical activity is essential for our health and for the achievement of our personal fitness goals. However, few people understand that being too active can actually damage your chances of developing your muscles, defining your body and smashing your fitness goals, which is why rest days are so important. 

Doctors, trainers and physiotherapists… they all agree on the importance of rest after exercise. It is a common mistake to think that doing sports every day, to the best of our abilities, is the best option out there to obtain quick results – this really is not the case.

The body needs a period of recovery after extended effort. If we do not respect it, all the benefits that sport brings are no longer present and training loses its main objective: to improve health and well-being.

It does not matter what your area of exercise is. Whether you practice an aerobic sport such as cycling, swimming or running, or if you lift weights in the gym, rest days are as important to your success as workouts.

Rest reduces the risk of injury 

Many of the common exercise injuries occur due to over-exerting yourself, and believe it or not – rest really is the most effective preventive measure in this case. Giving your body some time to relax and get used to the tension is especially important when you start a new training program, because during this crucial period, you still do not know what your limits are and how far you can truly push yourself. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t just have one or two days of rest between workouts, but also take short breaks during your exercises.

Too much exercise can interfere with your sleep 

sleep

Physical activity stimulates blood flow, which means that every cell in your body receives nutrients faster and works better. The downside of this is that it can upset you and interfere with your regular sleep schedules and patterns. Sleep is essential!! So you should always make a strong effort to get around 7-8 hours of daily rest.

Rest allows your muscles to grow 

This is an important fact that is often overlooked by workout-a-holics. Exercise not only works the muscles, but also damages them. Rest days are necessary for tissues to heal and grow. This is the reason why any professional bodybuilding program is based on the exercise of different muscle groups every day.

Relaxing helps you stay motivated 

Training regularly is good, but over time it may seem boring, allowing you to get distracted or it can just stress you out too much to continue. With that being said – there are always some new and exciting techniques that can help you rekindle your passion for exercise. More relaxation periods can help you eliminate stress, allowing you to have more motivation and do the exercises much more calmly, with greater concentration.

Resting is necessary to protect your immune system 

Too much exercise does a lot of damage to the muscles, tendons and ligaments. Your immune system is forced to go full steam ahead in order to cure all these micro-fractures. This causes your body to overheat and increases the risk of injury, because your natural protections from the body cannot keep up.

As you have read, rest days are important not only because they are necessary to allow muscles to grow, but this time of inactivity also allows you to stay alert and focused without slowing down progress which ultimately enables you to stay healthy and achieve your goals.

Learning a new sport in lockdown

It’s always a good time to learn a new sport. With the easing of the rules but with gyms yet to open, here are a few government approved ideas if you fancy learning a new sport in lockdown.

Golf

Golf is the ultimate social distancing sport and with the gorgeous weather we’ve been having, it’s a perfect time to hit the green. The rules state that you can play golf with an individual outside of your family so long as you abide by the two-metre social distancing rule at all times. Most clubs are running by appointment-only, so call your local club to book a spot. There are also longer tee-off times between each game to make sure you don’t come into contact with other players.

 

Tennis

By its very nature, tennis is an activity whereby close person to person contact can be avoided, with the UK Government saying tennis is a good example of an activity that can be undertaken in a way compliant with restrictions. However, if you are from different households, you still have to adhere to social distancing, so it may be worth sticking to singles rather than teams. Get your heart pumping with a game of tennis, we are missing out on Wimbledon season this year after all. 

fishing

Fishing

Fishing is a rewarding sport that can be exciting and relaxing at the same time. With so many things going on in the world right now, sitting quietly by a lake is quite the luxury, and it is seen as an effective means by which to improve your mental and physical wellbeing. As fishing is a relatively solitary sport, it can be done safely whilst adhering to guidelines. However, cafes usually found at fisheries may still be closed, so you will need to take a packed lunch. 

Watersports

Swimming in the sea is now allowed as daily exercise in England along with paddle boarding, surfing, windsurfing, rowing, kayaking, and canoeing. After being cooped up indoors for so long, a refreshing day out at the coast could be the perfect time to try your hand at a watersport. If you’re a novice make sure you have safety equipment and check the beach has lifeguards on patrol.

 

 

How to eat healthily in lockdown

At WriteUp Fitness Reviews, we are passionate about keeping you informed, to ensure your fitness journey is a success. We are going through a strange period of time, where our usual fitness priorities have changed, and our routine isn’t so easy. So here we provide you with some tips on how to eat healthily when you are at home in lockdown, so you can maintain your healthy habits.

Pre- Planning your meals for the week

When access to the shops isn’t so easy, and you can’t just pop out to buy the ingredients for a meal that takes your fancy. To make sure you still reach your health goals, planning ahead is crucial.

Planning out a weekly food schedule means you can precisely count your calories, macros, and nutrients so you don’t have the dilemma of what to eat and end up raiding the cupboards. When you do your big weekly shop you can buy the correct ingredients needed for your chosen healthy meals and you won’t have any waste.

Get a wide range of nutrients

During the lockdown, unless you have an allergy, of course, its important to avoid missing out particular food groups. Getting a wide variety of nutrients is key to a healthy diet, especially when you need to keep your immune systems strong. Vitamin A, vitamin C, and Zinc are 3 of the most important nutrients and are all needed to boost your immune system and they are found in carbs, vegetables, fruits, and dairy.

Snack healthy

Being bored in the house, it can be easy to find yourself snacking all day for something to do, whether you are hungry or not. Keeping the right snacks in the house, prevent you from reaching for crisps and biscuits every time.

These again can be planned into your weekly big food shop so you know you have staple snacks in at all occasions. A good rule of thumb when it comes to snacking is pairing ‘protein and produce’ to make sure they aren’t just empty calories and are nutritious and filling. This can be things such as nut-butter and apple, yogurt and berries, hummus, and carrots. 

Use your freezer

When you think of healthy meals, freezer food isn’t exactly what comes to mind. During the lockdown, it’s a great idea to stock up your freezer. Frozen vegetables, meats, and fruits are just as nutritious as fresh, and they won’t go out of date as quickly. As we mentioned earlier, planning meals is really useful, and dishes such as curries, chillis, and stews can all be made in batch and frozen so you have on-demand, home-cooked meals, packed full of vegetables.

Why you should listen to music when you work out.

Why you should listen to music when you work out.

We’ve all been there when you’re in the middle of a run and the perfect song comes on and gives you an extra spring in your step. But there are actual scientific reasons why you should listen to music when you work out. 

 

Music is a mood booster.

It has been proven that music, especially our favourite songs, have the power to make us feel good. Listening to music when you work out can dissociate you from the pain or effort of exercise, and instead, tune in to good feelings and happy memories meaning that you don’t give up so easily. 

 

It can enhance performance.

It is in our human nature to sync our movements up with a beat. You will probably have noticed this if you are running and your steps match the song.  By listening to a high tempo song (120 beats per minute or more), we will increase our output more than we would without music, to match the fast beat.

Reduces perceived exhaustion

Music promotes internal motivation that makes vigorous exercise seem easier and less arduous. By creating a positive association with music it makes the whole process of deciding to work out easier in the future, as we don’t have those negative associations holding us back. 

 

Optimises Oxygen usage

Music improves physiological efficiency by increasing blood flow and reducing the amount of oxygen intake required to perform at the same intensity without music. Meaning our body can work harder without paying the price.

So put your headphones on and get moving!

 

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6 Tips For Exercising Outside In Winter

It’s that time of year again. The temperature has dropped and the dark nights are here, but that doesn’t mean you should give up your outdoor exercises, no matter how tempting the sofa and a hot water bottle might be. Exercising outside is good for your body and mind no matter the time of year, and let’s not forget the benefits of fresh air and vitamin D.  Here we give you some tips to help you carry on your routine even in the cold.

1. Dress with dry layers.

Avoid clothes made from cotton which hold moisture. Choose synthetic fibers instead, such as polyester or nylon, as these are designed to dry quickly so you won’t get cold in the winter rain. You also need to wear layers to trap warm air next to your body and keep out the winter elements. First, put on a thin base layer made of synthetic fabrics to help keep sweat away from your skin. If it’s really cold outside, wear a middle layer, such as a fleece, for extra warmth, then, add an outer layer to protect you from the weather such as a lightweight nylon windbreaker. As soon as you start to feel like your body temperature is at about baseline, then start discarding layers so you don’t overheat.

 

2. Go Bright

Bright clothes are better for exercising outside in winter when the nights get darker earlier. Poor visibility from the lack of light and bad weather makes it tougher for others to see you. Wear brightly colored clothing whenever possible and consider adding reflective gear or lights to your outfit. Apart from helping others see you, wearable lights are great because they improve visibility for you, too, to help prevent missteps and falls as you can see where you are going.

 

3. Do a Warm-Up First

Warm-ups are needed no matter the season, but it’s especially important for exercising outside in winter. Dynamic warm-ups increase the blood flow and temperature in your muscles which helps to decrease the risk of injuries as you head out into the cold.

4. Check Your Traction

Exercising outside in winter can get slippery if any rain, snow, or ice has fallen. It’s important to try and stay on salted surfaces. Back roads and trails may not be as well maintained and may have hidden obstacles under the snow or leaves that could lead to ankle injuries. If you do plan to run on snowy, icy surfaces, attaching snow or ice spikes to your running shoes will help you maintain traction to reduce the risk of falls.

5.Breathe Right

Cold air is dryer and can often hurt to breathe in. The cold makes airway passages narrow, which makes inhalation more difficult. Breathing in through your nose can help warm and humidify the air, but that’s not always feasible when you’re really exerting yourself. Wrapping a bandanna or scarf around your mouth can help trap water vapor to keep the air moist as you continue to breathe.

6. Cool Down and  Warm-Up

Once you have stopped moving after a cold-weather workout, you’ll get chilled fast from the wet and cold air. But that doesn’t mean you don’t need to cool down. Whatever the weather, a cool-down is important to eliminate exercise by-products and reduce potential muscle soreness. Then it’s time to get out of your damp workout clothes, which can suck away warmth. A warm shower and dry, clean clothes help keep that chill away.

 

5 reasons why rest days are important

We all want to see results from the gym, and it may be tempting to go hard every day in hopes that those all-important goals are reached quicker. But it is important to schedule rest days into your weekly routine. Here we explain 5 reasons why rest days are important.

 

1. To rest your muscles

Most of you will already know that when doing strength training and lifting weights, you are tearing your muscle fibers with the strain. The mending of these torn muscles builds them stronger. Without a time of rest between sessions for this repair to happen, you aren’t going to see results. This is also why is best to vary the muscle groups you are working on, on separate days, so they have a chance to rest, heal and grow. 

 

2. To prevent injury 

Rest days are important for injury prevention, and it’s better to choose to rest to prevent injuries than be forced to rest for weeks because you have caused yourself damage.  Whether you lift weights, run or play tennis, extended use of a particular muscle, puts a strain on your body and the repetition without a rest day can cause muscle and joint damage and that is when injuries occur. In order to avoid any long term problems and avoid injury, schedule in rest and allow your body to recover. 

3. Improve sleep

We all know exercise is excellent for your health and overall wellbeing, but too much exercise can put your body in a constant state of adrenaline and endorphins, causing restlessness and difficulty sleeping. If you have a high resting heart rate, this is a sign that your body is in a high alert state and may be causing you difficulty in getting to sleep. Taking rest days is important to calm down your heart rate and alertness which can help get you a night of sound sleep. Getting a night of good solid sleep on a rest day will also help you to do a stronger workout the next day as you won’t be fatigued. 

 

4. To strengthen the immune system

During periods of intense or daily exercise, our immune system is constantly working to repair the muscles and joints that are being used. Your immune system is not only having to fight off everyday viruses but also work extra hard to make the repairs your body needs. Without a rest day, your immune system is under constant strain and will struggle to catch up on the repairs. A low immune system can lead to you getting colds, flu, and injuries, which will put you out of your routine for much longer than a rest day. 

5. For your mental health

It can be hard to let yourself take a day off. Rest days can feel counterproductive when you could be working on your goals, but it is important to know that you can take days off and that it is good for you. From a psychological view, exercise can become all-consuming, a rest day allows your mind to take a break from the focus of exercise. Mental tiredness can be every bit as problematic as physical, and taking a rest day helps to recharge your brain. Also take the day to catch up on other hobbies in your usual gym time such as seeing family, reading a book or getting ahead with work. 

 

It is important to note that you should not worry that you will lose your your performance by taking a rest day.  It takes almost two weeks of non-activity for your performance to start dipping, so one or two days off will not set you back, it is only beneficial!

 

 

 

 

The Importance of Meal Prepping

Are you struggling to keep up with your healthy eating routine alongside your busy lifestyle? The key to stopping bad eating habits and keeping on track with your diet is simple. Meal prepping. 

Here are 5 benefits of meal prep.

1. Time management 

Let’s face it, we don’t all have extra time in the morning to make a nutritious breakfast, and how often does it get to 7pm and you’re hungry so end up going to the drive-through? Sometimes the quickest option is to grab a high fat, calorie-dense fast food meal when you’re in a hurry. By spending a few hours on a Sunday, preparing your breakfast, dinner or both for the upcoming week, you can guarantee that you have healthy food options available to you. In the morning you can have breakfast ready to grab and go, and skip on those sugary cereal bars and at dinner time, meal prepping is like creating your own healthy microwave meals, they are easy to heat up, and you know exactly what’s in them. Meal prepping means the time you would spend deciding what to eat, sourcing your ingredients and cooking every day, is already done for you, so you can guarantee you are still eating healthily, even though you have a busy lifestyle. 

meal prep

2. Save money

One of the most common misconceptions is that buying fast food on the go is cheaper than cooking healthily from scratch. Meal prepping ahead of time is going to save you money. You can decide on your recipes based on price and how much you want to spend per portion, if you are prepping the same meal for 5 days a week, buying in bulk is going to save you a huge chunk of money. You are also likely to be saving money because you aren’t ordering out every lunch. Grabbing food on the go is often cheap if you are buying unhealthy fast food, but good quality healthy food to go is often much more overpriced than it would be if you make it yourself. Lose weight instead of your money out of your wallet. 

3. Achieve your fitness goals.

Fitness trackers are a great way to track your calories, macros, and intake. The problem comes when putting together a quick unplanned meal, or buying food out, it is hard to determine what nutritional amount is in each meal. We’ve all been there, searching on a calorie tracking app and not finding the exact meal we have bought, so having to do guesswork. Meal prepping can help you achieve your daily goals as you are in control of exactly what goes into your meals. By having your meals measured and counted in advance it makes tracking your food intake so much easier.

fit food

4. Mental focus

If you want to succeed, especially when it comes to fitness and nutrition, you need the mental focus and will power. If you’re not mentally prepared to put in the hard work, you aren’t going to reach your goal. By spending a few hours meal prepping and planning your nutritional intake for the entire week, you are mentally preparing yourself for the week ahead. Deciding what you are going to eat, and when you are going to eat it are tasks that have already been completed so you can put that energy elsewhere. The key to long term progress is always consistency, and meal prepping is the way to add that consistency to your diet every week.

5. Eliminate waste

We all want to do our bit for the environment. Once you have established your meal-prep routine, you’ll know exactly how much of each ingredient you need so you can buy the exact amount for your recipes, which cuts down on food waste. You’ll never again have to witness your fruits and vegetables going moldy, and being thrown in the bin before you’ve had time to eat them. Meal prepping is also a great way to save dishes. You cook once a week and after that, all you have to worry about is a few pieces of Tupperware every day. Not only that, it is helping stop the use of nasty non-recyclable packaging that is on so many ‘on the go’ foods you can buy. 

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