Showing posts with label fitness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fitness. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Super Comfortable and Flattering Yoga Pants for Women

I finally discovered the joy of wearing comfortable yoga pants and workout leggings as an alternative to jeans or pants after beginning a successful ketogenic diet journey that culminated in a nearly 60–pound weight loss. After purchasing several different styles and sizes of yoga pants over the past 21 months, there have been three (so far) that I can recommend highly, each for different reasons. The pair I've chosen to feature in this product review, the IUGA high-waisted workout leggings, are by far the most comfortable yoga pants for women I've tried. 

They not only feel wonderful and are available in a choice of several, they're also flattering, even on those of us who aren't blessed with model-perfect bodies. 

Photo of IUGA yoga pants on model with superimposed text "The Most Comfortable Yoga Pants Super Soft Fabric That Doesn't Bag or Bind for a Flattering Fit
There's no bunching, bagging, or binding with these ultra-soft, ultra-comfy workout leggings! 

Yoga Pants and Workout Leggings Have Become Wardrobe Staples

The fashion experts at Vogue magazine just released this year's Vogue Wardrobe Essentials Guide. and black workout leggings are one of the editors' 34 wardrobe staples for 2021. (Who knew?)

Originally, yoga pants and workout leggings were made specifically for yoga practice and working out, respectively, and had different fabric and design features. But as they have evolved from fitness-only to fashion, those distinctions have gradually eroded, and now the terms "yoga pants" and "leggings" are often used either together or interchangeably in product descriptions.

Yoga Pants Provide Greater Comfort and Freedom of Movement Than Pants or Jeans

My first time buying a pair of yoga pants wasn't until shortly after my 65th birthday, when I began a health-driven weight loss journey and switched to a clean, ketogenic approach to eating. I completely eliminated sugars, grains, and highly processed foods from my diet, and between May 2019 and August 2020, I lost 59 pounds and went from a size 16-18 to a size 6-8. Every two to three months (even less, at the beginning), I was dropping a size, and boxing up my almost-new clothing to donate. Having to buy them again in a smaller size every few months meant limiting my clothing purchases to a few, basic wardrobe staples—underwear, jeans, black pants, shorts, and a couple of tops—until I reached my weight loss goal.

As you may have noticed, neither yoga pants nor leggings were on my initial list of wardrobe staples. I had always associated them with much younger, slimmer women and girls, with taut, toned bodies and cute figures, so they weren't even on my radar at that point! However, my attitude toward this type of clothing changed significantly once I accepted that my commitment to healthier living would require becoming more active, in addition to nourishing my body better.  

One of the most important benefits of losing weight and follow a clean, ketogenic diet was the amelioration, and eventual elimination, of the chronic, acute pain in my knees, hips, back, and feet that I had been living with for decades. Being able to go for a walk or a Segway ride with my husband  without being in agony was not just liberating, but life-changing! As I was searching online for a new, smaller pair of classic, high-waisted, basic black pants (which I wore more often than anything else I owned), I was surprised to see more high-waisted leggings and yoga pants than regular pants in the search results. It occurred to me that it might be a good idea to expand my list of wardrobe staples to include a couple of pieces of activewear, to support and encourage my efforts to make physical activity part of my new, healthy lifestyle. In fact, it might even be time for me to consider a pair of workout leggings a try.

Of course, I could wear them...but should I? Would it be possible for yoga pants to look attractive (or, at least, not unattractive) and age-appropriate, on this out-of-shape senior? I debated with myself for a while, but finally acknowledged that I couldn't see myself objectively, and decided to ask my husband what he thought, knowing he would give me his honest opinion. He encouraged me to order a pair and try them on. 

When I did, I was surprised and delighted at his reaction, which was more positive than I could have imagined! You could have knocked me down with a feather. I also was thrilled to discover how much more comfortable and less restrictive those yoga pants felt, compared to the jeans and tailored pants I had always worn, Before long, I found myself wearing them several days a week, not only for walks and Segway rides, but also for routine, everyday activities, like working, reading, cooking, or watching a movie. They quickly went from being completely off my radar to becoming a staple in my new wardrobe. 

I'm pulling my hamstring and calf muscles together as far as I can, the fabric doesn't bind or cut into them, it simply conforms to the compression I'm creating

Since that first pair, I have purchased other pairs from different brands and with slightly different features, and my IUGA high-waisted workout leggings have been the most comfortable yoga pants I've owned to date. 

What I Love Most About My IUGA High-Waisted Leggings

Ultra-Soft, Opaque Fabric

  • The first thing I noticed about these yoga pants was the extremely soft, silky, luxurious fabric, which gave these a totally different feel than any of my other leggings. The best word I can think of to describe it is "touchable," with a lovely, tactile quality similar to that of microfiber. 
  • The "non see through" fabric is completely opaque. 

Flattering Fit

  • The fiber content blends polyester for shape retention with spandex for excellent stretch and recovery, as well as abrasion-resistance.*
  • The 4-way stretch provides good compression and support. 
  • The high-waisted silhouette, seamed front and back yoke construction, and increased compression around the lower torso are designed to "contour your curves" and "pull in your tum and bum." 
  • They are made in six sizes, ranging from XS to XXL, and there's a size chart to help you determine which one will fit you best. (I followed the size chart when I ordered mine, and they fit me perfectly.)
* Note: The description on the Amazon product page states that the fiber content of these workout leggings is 80% polyester and 20% spandex. However, the fiber content printed inside my light blue IUGA yoga pants is 87% polyester and 13% spandex. Sometimes, a product's fiber content may vary slightly different from one color to another, which is one possible explanation for the discrepancy, but your guess is as good as mine.

Extremely Comfortable

  • The smooth, soft, supple polyester and spandex fabric also wicks moisture away from the body to keep you dry and comfortable while working out.
  • These yoga pants provide less compression around the the legs than around the lower torso, so they don't bind or cut into your legs, but also enough to remain conformed to your legs and prevent the fabric from bunching or sagging as you move, bend, and stretch. 

Waistband Pocket

Photo of built-in pocket in the waistband of the IUGA workout leggings/yoga pants
  • The built-in pocket is completely hidden, and remains undetectable unless or until you decide to place something inside it.
  • Although I haven't had to use it very often, I'd guess it could easily hold a couple of keys, a lip balm, and a few tissues, for example.  
    • According to the product description, "You will be able to stash your phones and keys safely." Keys? Probably. But unless your phone is quite small, I wouldn't consider the waistband pocket a secure place to stash it. 
  • Access is easy and convenient.

Excellent Quality

  • I purchased my IUGA High Waisted Leggings three months ago, and I machine wash and then hang them over a clothes drying rack to dry. After having laundered them quite a few times so far, there appears to have been no fading, pilling, or changes in the fit or performance of these yoga pants. 
  • At the time this post was published, they had more than 5,400 5-star ratings from Amazon customers.

A Choice of Colors and Lengths

  • Currently, these yoga pants come in black, dark coffee (dark brown), dark violet, dark blue, gray, light blue, pale red violet, carnation purple (lilac), maroon, and tranquil green. 
    • Note: The ones I own are the "light blue" shade. In real life, the color is a bit less aqua than it appears in the Amazon product page photos.  
  • Most of the colors (but not all) are offered in both regular and capri lengths. 

Very Affordable

  • These IUGA workout leggings retail for $24.95 and, at the time of publishing, were priced at $19.95 on Amazon with Prime free one-day shipping and free returns for Amazon Prime members.

Super Comfortable and Flattering Yoga Pants for Women review by Margaret Schindel


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Tuesday, January 5, 2021

The Benefits Of Using A Rebounder For Health And Fitness Reviewed

What is Rebounding?

The Benefits Of Using A Rebounder For Health And Fitness Reviewed.


Rebounding is effectively bouncing or jumping up and down on a mini trampoline. This exercise can be done very gently or it can be a serious aerobic workout.

As it is a low impact cardiovascular form of exercise, people from older children to older adults can use a rebounder, as long as their healthcare team approves it. 

I started using my rebounder 2 months ago. I was looking for something where I could exercise safely indoors during our cold winter months and something that would help me to get fitter and lose some weight. 

As I have had an ankle injury and severe back pain with two herniated discs in the past, to the point I could barely walk without pain and numbness, I am always wary of any new exercise. 

Exercises like jogging and running put too much pressure on my joints and back to be healthy for me. I love swimming but cannot always have access to a pool.  

After checking with my doctor that it was OK to use this piece of equipment I started very slowly and with very short sessions.


Stepping slowly and gently on Rebounder


Safety And Rebounding 

It is important that wherever you use your rebounder that you make sure you have enough clearance above your head to use it safely. You do not want to be hitting your head on the ceiling!

It needs to be placed on a strong stable floor that is even. You do not want the rebounder to be on an uneven surface. 

Also, ensure there is enough room around the rebounder to get on and off safely without bumping into or having to step over anything. Please take care that children and pets are not too close to you when using it. 

Also as it is a form of cardio exercise make sure the room is well ventilated and open one or more windows to let fresh air in.

From my personal experience, I would say to get a rebounder with as large an area of use as possible to make it easier for you. Some have very small areas to bounce onto and I think I would personally find that difficult and annoying.  

Then it is just a matter of making sure it is all fixed securely and you are good to go!


Bouncing On Rebounder. 


Who Should Not Use A Rebounder.

Rebounding is a pretty safe form of exercise for most people especially as if you need to, you can take it at a very gentle pace. 

However, If you have not exercised for a long time and are over 50 years of age please do check with your Doctor first.

If you are very overweight or have heart or lung conditions or any illness or previous accident or injuries, especially to your back or legs or have joint issues or circulatory problems or just feel generally unhealthy or very unfit you must check with your doctor before using a rebounder. 


What Are The Benefits Of Using A Rebounder? 

I wanted a rebounder to help me to increase my fitness and to lose weight. So far both are improving slowly. 

I wanted to be able to exercise effectively and easily indoors in the colder, rainy weather without having to go to a gym or pay gym membership prices. It certainly fulfills these criteria. 

I am also looking forward to taking it out onto our Patio in the summer and using it there. 

It certainly works the leg muscles and I have noticed my muscles, especially in my legs, are much firmer.

Rebounding apparently helps to strengthen the bones in terms of strength and density. This is especially important as we get older and at any age is healthy. 

It is said to help improve coordination and balance. My balance was Ok before I started but I do think it has helped me become more stable and hopefully less likely to have balance issues in the future as I age. 

As my husband had a major operation on his right leg several years ago, we have noticed some minor balance issues and they are gradually improving as he uses the rebounder more often.  

I understand it may help pelvic floor strength and help to prevent urinary incontinence. I cannot vouch for that but if it does that is a good thing as well. 

It certainly works the core abdominal muscles which I really need to be strong to offer support to my back. As I am unable, due to my back condition, to do many core exercises like sit-ups this is great to work my core muscles while standing up. 

It also works the large back muscles and I know having been told by my health care team that if I can keep the back muscles strong and flexible that will help my back long term. I am supposed to swim at least twice a week but have been unable to do that at all these last 10 months and so rebounding is useful for me. 

There are lots of videos on the internet that will show you exercises to do from the very gentle to the most advanced strenuous workout. Many exercises incorporate using your arms as well so you do get a great full body workout. 

Like any other piece of exercise equipment, it is of course only as good as how often you use it.


 


What I Found Difficult About The Rebounder. 

It is quite a large piece of equipment and takes up a good amount of space in a room.  At first I would carefully fold all its legs in and store it under the table. However, as I was using it every day for a short period of time it got to be a pain getting it out then putting it away all the time, so I just left it out. Now we are both using it, it's not worth putting it away, so we leave it propped up on its side in a corner and we do not notice it too much. For us seeing the results from the exercise it is worth it.

The one we bought does not have a stabilizing handle. Now we are used to it that does not matter so much, but at first, it would have been helpful to have that security there. If you know you may have some balance issues or would like to feel more secure on a rebounder I would strongly recommend a handle. 

You can buy rebounders that fold away easier and do have handles so both these can be overcome. 

Ours was not too bad to put together as it just meant putting each of the six legs on which once we got the hang of was doable. Some rebounders are more complex to put together so depending on your level of skill and patience do watch out for that. 


 

 

What I Like About The Rebounder

It is a sturdy piece of equipment that so far is still looking and operating as well as it was the first day of use. 

While it is an investment it is not overly expensive for exercise equipment and as most in the family can use it, does work out very cost-effective. 

It is fun to use! This is key for me as I would otherwise get bored and then not use it. 

I miss it when I do not use it! 

I am starting to see results! I especially like to see my tummy core muscles improving!  Bear in mind when I started I was literally using it only for 5 minutes a day for weeks so I could ascertain how it was affecting my back. It is only in the last 3 weeks that I have built up to 15 minutes a day. If you don't have health issues you would build up to 15 minutes or more much more quickly. 

People of any age can use a rebounder as long as approved by a doctor. I would advise that if used by children they are supervised. If used by an older person it may be a good idea to buy one with a stabilising handle and if possible have someone around if assistance is needed.     


 


What To Wear When Rebounding.

You can exercise in specific exercise clothes and that is advisable if you are doing a long serious workout. Usually, I just wear joggers or leggings, bare feet and a loose T-shirt or top.

I have often just hopped onto the rebounder for 5-10 minutes in my leggings and top in between working sessions on the computer. I would advise wearing a stretchy, forgiving material though just so you can move freely. 

I exercise in my bare feet. I think it would be Ok to wear trainers if that was more comfortable for you. However, footwear would need to be very stable and have a good grip. If you are not sure perhaps try to out both ways and see what you feel is best for you. Clearly do not use a rebounder wearing slippers or normal shoes as that is not safe.


Summary Of What To Bear In Mind When Buying A Rebounder

I have shown a few rebounder choices throughout this article. No one rebounder will suit all people. You will need to carefully consider all factors and what is important to you personally. 

What is a key factor for one person or family may not be important to another. It really does depend on what you are wanting from this piece of exercise equipment including your fitness, your skill level and experience of exercise equipment, the room you have and why you want a rebounder. However, there are a few things to bear in mind that I wish someone would have mentioned to me.


You can see the size of the surface area to bounce on in relation to my foot. 



1. Size.

I would suggest buying the largest surface area you can. I personally would not feel comfortable on ones with a very small area though these are often easier to transport and fold away. It depends on what is most important to you and is a choice to weigh up.  

2. Safely handle or not.

 I do not have a safety handle and now I would not feel the need to buy one. However, in the early days, I would have felt happier with one. As I get older I might buy another rebounder with a handle just for safety.  I think there are also some exercises you can do easier with a handle so a detachable handle would perhaps be useful. This is a very personal choice. 

3.Price. 

Rebounders vary quite a bit in price and often depends on durability and what comes in the kit with them. Usually, the wisest advice is to buy the best you can afford. You need to think how you will use the rebounder and the demands you will place upon it. I would always look for safety, reliability and sturdiness in a rebounder. You do not want parts of it breaking within months. However, do not feel you have to buy the most expensive when actually a less expensive model may fulfill all your needs.   

4. Noise level.

 Some rebounders are noisier than others. You will see some are sold on the fact that they are quieter. You may decide to choose on this basis alone if noise levels are important to you. For me, it was not an issue as I play music anyway when rebounding and I use it on the ground floor of our house and do not disturb anyone, but for others, this may be a key issue.  

5. Storage.

If you are going to leave your rebounder out then storage issues are not such a consideration. However, If you feel you will need to put away your rebounder every time you use it check carefully the packing away and storage requirements. Does it fold up easily and quickly, do the legs fold up or do they need to be taken off, can it slide under a bed without much effort or do you need to disassemble it before storing. In my experience the more difficult it is to get out and set up a piece of equipment the less you will use it. 

 
Gentle jumping on Rebounder

Using A Rebounder

With any piece of exercise equipment that is new to us it is best to start off slow and steady and gradually build up so you can monitor the effect it has on your body. You do not have to bounce high in the air even gentle bouncing with your feet hardly leaving the mat will give benefits. 

If you feel unsure do have someone with you when you first start using your rebounder for security. Children should be supervised and older people may wish to have someone with them especially at first. 

It is important to maintain the correct posture keeping a nice line from your ankle to hip to shoulder and your head held straight and tall. Do follow the instructions for the exercises so you are rebounding safely and effectively. 

In terms of how I built up time on my rebounder as I have known back issues, I first checked with my doctor that it was Ok for me to use this form of exercise for my specific condition. 

Once I had the medical go-ahead I literally tried bouncing for 2 minutes very gently then got off. When that was Ok for me 2 days later I tried it again for 2 minutes. All that first week I did a couple of minutes every other day. 

The following week I increased to 5 minutes every other day.  The week after as I had not had any pains I increased to 10 minutes every other day.

I dropped back to 7 minutes when I got a bit of backache and gave myself a few days off, then started gradually increasing again. I have now built up slowly to 15-20 minutes 4 days a week. Sometimes I do the 20 minutes in one session. Other times I split it into two 10 minutes sessions. 

I think as I want to lose weight I may need to increase to 30-minute sessions 5 days a week next.

At first, I needed to concentrate a lot on what I was doing to get the form and balance right but now I put on some great music, which for me is often a Queen track and rebound away !! I find, 20 minutes flies by so quickly! 


Higher stepping on Rebounder


Most of all I just love using my rebounder and enjoy the exercise! 

In the end that really is the key factor to improving fitness and losing weight through exercise. Choose something you feel you will enjoy and just go have fun!

   

 

 




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Sunday, October 25, 2020

High Protein Chocolate Waffles for Bodybuilding or General Fitness

Chocolate Protein Waffles

Waffles are a popular daily choice for one of my bodybuilding sons. Our waffle maker gets used daily, and on occasion, several times a day.

You can review similar single-use waffle makers to ours here on this product page.

For this article, my son Jesse has offered up his favorite high protein breakfast waffles. He makes them every day before his workout. 

He has, on occasion, modified the recipe for me (his Ketogenic mom), and I personally approve. Yum.

 Chocolate Protein Waffles

( Recipe makes 2 waffles)

1/2 cup cottage cheese

1/2 cup egg whites

1 scoop of protein powder (Preferably a casein protein blend or at least non-vegan. The consistency of certain vegan proteins can make the mixture not thick enough to make fluffy waffles).

1/2 cup oatmeal OR coconut flour (for low carb/keto waffles)

1 tbsp cocoa powder

1 tbsp powdered peanut butter (PB2)

1 tbsp stevia

1 tsp cinnamon

1 cap full of vanilla extract

          1 tsp baking powder 

Nonstick cooking spray for the waffle iron

Directions:

1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl until batter holds a thick consistency

2. Spray the waffle iron with nonstick cooking spray or brush with butter/coconut oil

3. Measure out 1/2 cup of mixture onto waffle iron and let cook for 45 seconds (1 minute for each waffle)

4. Top with your favorites - nonfat greek yogurt, chia seeds, bananas, and/or sugar-free pancake syrup

Approximate Macros (With Oatmeal):

60+ grams of protein

35+ grams of carbs

7+ grams of fat

Approx. Macros (With Coconut flour)

60+ Grams of protein

8-10 grams of carbs

14 grams of fat


Whether you make the recipe with coconut flour or oatmeal does not affect the waffles' protein content since most of the protein comes from the protein powder, egg whites, and cottage cheese. As mentioned above, coconut flour makes it keto-friendly.

This is a great recipe for bodybuilding, general fitness, and overall health. You'll get a ton of protein from clean sources, and my son says it's very satiating. He also says this waffle recipe keeps him full for the better half of 6-8 hours, which, according to him, is quite the diet hack.

If you're interested in a single-use waffle maker, you can check out the product page here.




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Monday, February 17, 2020

Reviewing the Muscle Max Massage Ball

The Muscle Max Massage Ball looks like a gimmick. It looks like an over-sized, hard rubber tennis ball with grooves. However, it is somehow much more than that and has helped me immensely with pain relief. After the first time I used one I knew I had to have one of my own. 


Reviewing the Muscle Max massage ball on ReviewThisReviews.com


The Backstory


I have had migraines and a constant daily headache since the late 1980s. Relief has been elusive. And costly. The causes of migraines are as individual as each person that has them. In my opinion, that is what makes them difficult to treat. I have recently found pain relief with treatment and the Muscle Max Massage Ball by Epitome Fitness is a part of that treatment. 

I have started treatment that has included chiropractic, dry needling, stim/heat treatment, stretching and exercise. With this treatment, I'm experiencing greatly reduced pain and actually have some days with no pain at all.


The Muscle Max Massage Ball


The physical therapy portion of my treatment began with the initial focus of loosening me up and increasing range of motion. The pain over the decades had kept me in a constant state of gritting teeth and shrugged shoulders. When the PT staff handed me this little rubber ball, I was so skeptical that I nearly laughed. But I did as instructed.

Standing against the wall, I placed the ball between my back/shoulders area and leaned back. As I moved my body up and down or side to side, the ball gave a deep muscle massage. I could adjust the pressure by how hard I leaned back. Finding a knot in my muscle, I pressed back and rubbed until I could feel the knot loosening.

It was so effective that I left my appointment and hopped on Amazon to order my own Muscle Max Massage Ball.  

A few descriptive blurbs from the Epitome Fitness site:

  • high density rubber
  • trigger point massage grid
  • provides Myofascial Release therapy (MFR)
  • relaxes contracted muscles
  • improves blood circulation

The Epitome Fitness site also highlights a few different ways to use the ball.

Clearly, the Muscle Max ball is only one piece of my recovery. I would not say that it alone cured my migraines. I would say that it immediately feels good and I can feel improvement each time I use this strange rubber ball. With daily use, the tension in my shoulders has released dramatically and my range of motion has increased noticeably.

Important Note: I am not a doctor or physical therapist. If you have chronic pain or health problems, as always, consult your provider before beginning a new treatment or exercise. 





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Thursday, September 6, 2018

Ryka Devo Plus 2 Walking Shoes - Review

Ryka Devo Plus 2 Walking Shoes Review
As a lifelong athlete and former coach, I have learned there is one thing we should never skimp on: our footwear.  This is true for anyone with an active lifestyle.  If your feet aren't happy, it's almost impossible to enjoy such simple pleasures as a revitalizing walk in a beautiful park.  Recently, when I began preparing with my dog, Finn, for a charity walking event, I could tell it was time to replace my worn-out running shoes.  My knees and hips were sore after every three-mile workout.  Fortunately, I was able to quickly alleviate my joint pain and discomfort by switching to a new pair of Ryka Devo Plus 2 walking shoes.  I'd like to share with you why this is my fifth purchase of Ryka shoes.

If you haven't discovered the Ryka brand yet, you are in for a treat.  First and foremost, Ryka is a company specializing in footwear for women.  It makes all the difference in the world when such an important product is customized for the female anatomy.  Until I found Ryka, my super sensitive feet suffered when forced into shoes that were essentially men's footwear sized down for women.  For a long time, that was really the only option we had.

Imagine my delight, then, when I tried on my first pair of Ryka training shoes.  My feet were ecstatic.  For the first time in, well, forever, blisters, sore heels, and aching arches were a thing of the past.  Fast forward to today — nearly 15 years and thousands of miles since buying my first Ryka fitness shoes.  Having previously owned four pairs of their running and cross-training shoes, it was time to purchase a pair specifically geared towards walking.  In case you are wondering, yes, it does make a difference when you wear shoes made for a particular activity.

It was easy to choose the Ryka Devo (Devotion) Plus 2 walking shoes.  They are wildly popular and are a best-seller on Amazon.  As I skimmed through a sampling of hundreds of five-star rated reviews, it was apparent why so many women are totally devoted to this particular Ryka shoe.  As soon as my new shoes arrived, I joined the legion of fans.

Right out of the box I experienced something quite rare: no break-in period with the Devo Plus 2 shoes.  Amazingly, I was able to immediately walk for miles without my usual knee pain.  What a relief!  Here are a few additional things I love about my new Ryka walking shoes:

  1. Luxurious cushioning.
  2. So lightweight I barely know I am wearing shoes.
  3. Breathable mesh that keeps my feet perfectly cool.
  4. My feet feel refreshed even after a 12-hour day on the go.
And did I mention all the great color options?  I went with the navy/teal combo, which goes so well with my typical casual wardrobe.  I have a feeling you will be drawn to one of these pleasing color choices: black/purple, blue/pink, white/blue, grey/coral, plum/turquoise, grey/teal, black/pink, or navy/teal.  I like several of these combinations.

As you can probably tell,  I highly recommend the Ryka Women's Devo Plus 2 walking shoes.  I am completely satisfied with their value, excellent quality, and the great deal I got on Amazon (25% off retail and free two-day shipping).  When you check out additional buyer comments, by following any of the links in this review, you will learn that many women have made this shoe their preferred everyday work shoe (like nurses and other professionals who spend a lot of time on their feet every day).  Having worn these shoes daily now for about a month, I am not surprised.  Have you tried the Ryka brand?  If so, I hope you will share your experience.  Thanks for stopping by!





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Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Amazing Swim Fins to Help You Get Fit (A Review)

Did you know that water exercises are some of the best exercises to do, especially if you have issues with mobility?  Let's Review How to make that exercise even better!





Over the years I have found that I am just not as mobile as I once was.  That's no surprise really as many people find that aging can be hard on the body.  One thing that I always enjoyed was swimming and when arthritis came knocking on my door, my doctor recommended water activities to keep my joints in shape.  

I have spoken to many people who are suffering from arthritis in their joints.  Some have gone the route of knee  and hip replacements to ease their pain.  I'm not ready to go that route yet.  So in trying to keep knee replacements at bay, I have taken up swimming again. 



To make my swimming even more of a challenge and a workout, I have been given these Swim Fins to use in the pool. When you put these on, your swimming is more challenging than just swimming with your own feet doing the kicking.  I was amazed at the difference I felt after swimming a few laps of the pool.  Without the fins, I could feel my legs working, but when the fins went on, I could really feel the "burn" happening in the thighs and the muscles around the knee.

The fins add just that little bit of resistance that makes your workout even better.  Gliding through the pool is easier in a way and harder too!  You can cover a greater distance with less effort. The real trick is that with the swim fins on, your muscles are actually working quite a bit harder even though it doesn't feel like it.

 Now if you are just swimming for relaxation these are probably not what you might want, but if you are swimming for fitness, I can tell you without a doubt they are a great asset.  Swim fins for the pool have a much shorter blade on them than the fins used for snorkeling and scuba diving.  These shorter blades make them perfect for a pool.

When you know that these fins make the difference that they do, you are much more likely to try them out yourself.  They are not a "big" investment either.    Water activities are one of the best ways to keep in shape and do something good for yourself and your body.  At public pools, they have waiting lists to join in the Aqua Aerobics classes and it seems that even when they add more of these classes they fill up as quickly as they are started.  The water helps us keep active without adding extra stress to our already sore joints.

Its a win-win situation, you get the exercise you need to stay healthy and at the same time the water and activity makes you feel better about your overall ability to exercise.

I'm not a doctor and you should always consult with your family physician before undertaking a new fitness routine, but I can assure you there would be very few doctors telling you not to go swimming.  It's one of the easiest and best exercises around.  It is also one of the main reasons we moved from a house to a condo that has a swimming pool indoors for my use.  Being an indoor pool, there is no need to stop my activities in the winter months.  As a matter of fact, I kind of like looking out the windows at the snow covered ground while I swim my laps. I may be wet, but I'm also warm!

My fins are coming with me to Jamaica next week and I will give them a work out in the bay as well as the pool.  I'll let you know what I think.  Right now, I am so happy that my Santa saw fit to give me these for Christmas this year.  This is a gift that will be used all through the year and will travel with me too!




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Thursday, January 7, 2016

Improve Your Health With a Simple Rebounder Workout

When you use a mini trampoline for exercise, every cell in your body benefits from each brief, simple rebounder workout, making you healthy and stronger.

Several years ago when I was recovering from cancer treatments, a friend recommended that I start using a rebounder for exercise. That way, every cell in my body could be oxygenated in one brief, simple rebounder workout, helping rebuild my strength quickly. She was right. With just a few minutes a day of gentle bouncing, I began feeling better quickly and, in no time, my strength and endurance were back to normal.  I'm well now, but I still enjoy my mini-trampoline workouts. Not only are they good for body and soul, they're lots and lots of fun!

You don't have to be recovering from an illness to reap the benefits of using a rebounder for exercise. It's a great workout for just about anyone who can stand upright and maintain a fair amount of balance. If you're not sure that's you, check with your doctor first!

Advantages of Rebounder Exercise


The advantages of rebounder exercise are many. First, you can exercise by yourself, in the comfort of your own home. No gym membership necessary which brings us to our second point: it's cheap exercise. The only piece of equipment that you need is the rebounder or mini-trampoline (the names are used interchangeably). I'll give you some recommendations about that below.

Next advantage, rebounding is a great choice whether you're totally out of shape, in perfect shape and want an additional cardio/oxygenizing workout, or anywhere in between. If you fall into the first category, your workouts will start out short, just a few minutes as your body tolerates.  If you fall into the totally-fit category, you'll just bounce for a longer period of time and add plenty of upper body movement to your workout.

One of the most important advantages of exercising using a rebounder is the oxygenation aspect that I mentioned above. What that means is that as you work out, breathing faster and deeper, your respiratory system absorbs more oxygen and your cardiovascular system pumps that oxygen-rich blood through every cell in your body. You know that oxygen is essential if you're a living, breathing human being, but what you might not know is that high levels of oxygen have been shown to fight disease, including cancer. In fact, it has been proven that cancer cells can't exist in the presence of oxygen. While we obtain oxygen from drinking lots of water and eating the right foods, exercise that makes us breathe more deeply also provides our bodies with a live-giving fresh supply of oxygen. That's why, simply put, exercise is so important in maintaining, or rebuilding, a healthy body. Breast cancer patients and others with lymphatic system issues, consult your doctor about using a trampoline to help rid your body of those toxins.

There's one more important advantage of rebounder exercise and that is the effect the workout has on your overall well being. While your body is getting its workout, your mind is having the time of its life! It is so much fun to exercise using a lively workout music playlist. As you bounce, dance, and jump to the music, you can't help but be in a better mood when it's all said and done!

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Workout Music for Rebounding


Choose something moderately fast with a steady beat. Most importantly, pick music that you like.  My current favorite is Motor City Hits, a workout mix from The Biggest Loser.

How to Use a Rebounder


Wear comfortable, sturdy shoes or go barefoot if you prefer. If you're a beginner, place the rebounder within reach of a counter or sturdy chair to grab just in case you start feeling a little unstable (or choose a rebounder with a stability bar). Start by stretching, then bounce "slow and low," keeping your feet on the deck of the trampoline. Personally, I like to just do my own thing, walking, marching, or jumping to the music, adding arm movements as I pick up the pace. If you've never done any rebounding at all, I'd recommend starting with a video such as the excellent one below in order to learn some basic moves. Stick with your comfort level, pushing yourself only when you feel ready, and you'll do fine.

Watch the simple rebounder workout on this video, highly recommended, so you can see just how simple, effective, and fun a rebounder workout can be.



Reviewing Mini-Trampolines: Which Rebounder to Buy


The price range for rebounders is wide, starting at less than $30 and going up to over $300. The choice is yours and I'd recommend starting on this page at Amazon.com for a quick overview of what's available. The more expensive fitness trampolines are generally very highly rated, but then so are many of the cheaper models. 

Besides your budget, keep in mind your state of health. A stability bar is a feature that you'll find helpful if you have an issue with balance. When I was sick, having the bar to hold onto while I bounced was very important. These days I'm comfortable going without the bar and leaving more space around me. 

I've never used resistance bands like the ones included on this inexpensive but well-reviewed Gold's Gym Mini Rebounder, but customers seem to love this model. 

My bottom line advice? Read the reviews and choose the best model you can afford. As many reviewers say, you get what you pay for. As for me, I'm fine with my 36-inch, non-folding model with elastic bands (not springs) and no stamina bar. Your mileage may vary. 

So, should you rebound? 


The answer is a resounding, "Yes!" unless your doctor tells you otherwise. It's simple, cheap to get started, it will improve your health, and it's the most fun exercise to do day or night, rain or shine, in the privacy of your own home.  What's not to like about that!

Like the idea of improving your health by using a rebounder for exercise? I'd love if you'd share your thoughts on the subject in the comment section below.

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Saturday, August 29, 2015

What Makes Olga Run Book Review

What Makes Olga Run
As a blogger and an eBay seller, I spend a fair bit of time sitting at my computer in my chair. Maybe you do, too. My mind and my body know that this is wrong and I do try to work fitness into my life by getting to the gym at least a couple of times a week and walking daily. That last element becomes difficult but not impossible in the deep cold, snow and ice of our Canadian winters.

At my gym class there is an older woman who puts me to shame. She gets to the gym at least four times a week and sometimes more often than that. When she told me that she was reading a book called What Makes Olga Run? The Mystery of the 90-Something Track Star, and What She Can Teach Us About Living Longer, Happier Lives by Bruce Grierson, I was intrigued.

By chance, the next time I was out shopping I stumbled across it. Because my friend had mentioned it, I opted to take it home. I carried it to my book club, which for whatever reason is populated by women of my age. I guess we could be called middle-aged though I am not sure of the definition of that age group. Most of us have raised families and are empty nesters. A couple still have teenagers at home. Some still work and others are retired. Physically I would say they are an active group of ladies. Whatever our similarities, we are definitely all interested in the process of aging and we took up Olga's story as our next book club assignment.

What Makes Olga Run? is the story of Olga Kotelko, a retired Canadian school teacher who went looking for something active to do. She started with baseball but did not like it when she was almost run down on the baseball diamond. She then found track and field and went on to became a 90-something year old super star.

As the book says on page 2, "Just how good is Olga?" Well, she holds 26 world records. She enters more events than others her age and than others much younger. She often does as many as six throwing events, three sprints and three jumps at one track and field meet. She beats records in her age group by leaps and bounds, pun intended. In 2009, she threw a javelin 20 feet farther than her nearest rival and her 100-meter dash time would have beat competitors two age brackets younger than she was.

Writer Bruce Grierson took up with admitted difficulty the job of following Olga around as she went through her days and as she allowed science to look at and into her body. The question that the book looks into is whether Olga is a superstar because of genetics, because of lifestyle choices or because of a combination of those factors? A subject that intrigues most of us.

The book looks at all of the pieces that we know and think go into healthy living from sleep and diet patterns to personality, exercise and genetics. It is 228 pages of easy-to-read information about Olga and what makes her tick. It closes with a summary called Nine Rules For Living. I will not list them here because I believe you need the explanation that comes with them that is included in the pages of this book. I will admit that I have work to do in numerous areas and I do intend to try to embrace some of the ideas in this book in order to live a bit better. They are not all, by the way, about fitness.

This book comes HIGHLY RECOMMENDED by me, a 50-something year old empty nester though I believe that anyone who cares about their body and how and why we age will enjoy this book. I particularly appreciated the fact that the book was very readable. I think you will, too.

How about it? Are you curious about What Makes Olga Run?

Brenda
Treasures By Brenda

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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Review of Skechers Women's Go Walk Impress Memory Form Fit Walking Shoe

Reviewing a Great Walking Shoe


All Black Women's Walking Shoe



When you are traveling around the world like I am, you do a lot of walking and that means you need good walking shoes for travel!  So before I left the USA, I researched women's walking shoes, and decided on this brand:  Skechers Women's Go Walk Impress Memory Form Fit Walking Shoes.

I am so happy I did, as they have made my trip so much more comfortable than I thought possible. You see I have a back injury and I was worried about walking but didn't want to miss all the monuments and cool sights I went there to see in the first place. Because of these shoes I haven't missed a thing.

* All of the following shoes are available at Amazon.com by just clicking the photo. 

Black and White Women's Walking Shoe


So why do I love the  Skechers Women's Go Walk Impress Memory Form Fit Walking Shoes?

Well you have probably heard of memory foam because it is used in mattresses and pillows worldwide for its comfort.  It is very comfortable in shoes too! The memory foam extends to the heel so the whole shoe is very light! They have rubber soles, and are so well made that my feet have not gotten wet at all even though it has rained a fair amount on our trip. The midsole is cushioned too so that adds to the comfort level.  These shoes are so lightweight and flexible that it's like walking on air.  I love them!

Grey Women's Walking Shoe

I also love that they are slip on, as opposed to ones that you have to tie. People ask me if they are hard to keep on. No, they are easy to keep on. I have worn slip on shoes for years and  have never had a single problem. Now some people would rather have walking shoes that tie, so if that is you, check out my friend's review of walking shoes here: Inexpensive Home Fitness .


Skechers Walking Shoe Colors


I got mine in blue with a white sole, and believe it or not, the white still looks white! You can see it below. But if you like black,  the shoes are available in all black (meaning the soles are black too) or black with white soles. They are also available in 2 shades of gray. Funny that they call one of the shades gray, and the other one grey. One of these colors is sure to go with your travel wardrobe. I have shown a few of them in this review of women's walking shoes.  Mine also still look almost new and I have worn them every day for more than 3 months now!

Blue Women's Walking Shoe

So if you want walking shoes for travel that you don't have to tie, I highly recommend these wonderful women's walking shoes!

To read about my travels, you can visit Peace, Love, Travel Light.

Bon Voyage!


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Monday, January 26, 2015

Inexpensive Home Fitness at 50

I am not a fitness expert. Nor have I had any formal physical education training. So why am I writing a workout review?  Because I am like many other busy women who want to be fit but have a really hard time committing time and energy to working out. If we share what works for us we will all be more apt to be healthier people. 

I want to be a healthy person.  I don't want to gain more weight.  In fact, I'd like to lose a few pounds.  But at age 50, it becomes more difficult to not only lose weight but to remain toned.  My muscles seem to be turning to jelly.  Everything sags.  My muscles jiggle.  I can feel that I'm losing strength and stamina.  And I don't like it.

I am very busy. By the time I end each day at my job it is often all I can do to get home, walk the dog, make something to eat, and wander off to bed. The lack of time and energy is my biggest excuse to avoid exercise.

My second biggest excuse is cost.  My budget doesn't allow a gym membership. Besides that, I don't want to work out around people. I am not a social sweater.  I want to sweat in private.

Those reasons to avoid exercise are excuses.  I know it. You know it.  We all know it. There are quick, easy and inexpensive ways to get some exercise, at my age and at home.  I'm going to share  three of my favorites with you.

Walking

I have always been good about parking a little farther from the front door of a store. Or walking the dog farther than I have to.  The nearest bush for the dog to potty on is about 12 steps from my front stoop. Instead of walking those 12 measly steps,  I always make sure I walk him to at least the end of my parking lot.  I have no excuse for not walking a bit more each day. Walking is free.  However, I should be walking around the entire block. At least.


New Balance Women's Walking Shoe
When I spend a little bit of money on walking, it is to buy a good walking shoe.  I have had good luck with New Balance walking shoes. I find that they seem to fit my feet well - my high arch, wide foot, and narrow heel. You may or may not have the same luck with New Balance. There are plenty of shoes to choose from that will meet your walking needs and the important thing to focus on is having a comfortable pair of appropriate shoes. 


Hula Hooping 

I enjoy hula hooping and now that I have my own grown-up hoop, I have no excuse for not hooping.  I'm not very good at it. But it is a great aerobic exercise and excellent for strengthening my core.  It is also a lot of fun.   It doesn't seem as though it would burn calories but it does. 

"An average woman can burn about 165 calories in 30 minutes of hula hooping, and an average man can burn about 200 calories in 30 minutes of hula hooping" - an article by the Mayo Clinic

Hooping doesn't seem like work. It seems like fun. So it isn't very difficult to hoop for 15 to 30 minutes at a time.


Yoga

Yoga is great for both strengthening and for relaxing.  The thing that triggered the writing of this article was getting back to my yoga DVD on a regular basis. I feel such a difference.  I enjoy this workout immensely and wanted to share it with you.

YOGA BURN with Rodney Yee
There are many things about this workout that I like.  My job is a high stress situation.  I become tense physically and mentally.  I love my Yoga Burn DVD by Rodney Yee.  It is not easy yoga and is called Yoga Burn for a reason.  It makes me sweat (in the privacy of my own home).  I cannot do all of the moves fully, hold them for the entire time, or get to the end of the workout.  But I modify.  I take breaks. And I do as much of the workout at one time as I can.  Little by little I can hold the poses and make it farther through the workout.  I like Rodney Yee's instruction, the pace of the workout and the difficulty.  It is not so difficult that I feel like it is impossible and end up quitting. But I definitely feel that I am working out. 

I ALWAYS feel better when I do this workout.  I can feel my spine re-align (as I loosen up and work out, I actually feel it pop back into place) and I feel my muscles strengthening.  I also feel more relaxed mentally when I am finished.

If you are looking for a way to become more physically healthy and relaxed, this workout may be a good choice for you too.

Photo Credit - photograph courtesy of Pixabay CC0



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