No One Gives A Shit That You Didn’t Go To The Gym Today

CrossFit cult members are often knocked for their propensity to incorporate Facebook status updates and Tweets into their cool downs. I’ve never taken a CrossFit class but I can only assume posting a complete overview of their just-completed work out is essential to their recovery time. It’s as if all the burpees and pull-ups don’t count unless Aunt Sue from Seattle is notified in her news feed.

And it’s not just the CrossFit crew. Runners posting miles and splits of completed runs and hikers can’t go an day without cell phone shot images along the trail. “Smile and a wave to the groundhogs on my morning hike!” There are currently over 17 million Instagram photos labeled #exercise. Probably more posted in the middle of writing this column.

Every exercise and it’s pre and post workout social brag are equal in their narcissism. If there’s one possible positive to take from every weekend 10K warrior, biker and out of college but still rower on the lake at 5am like he’s trying to keep a scholarship it’s that perhaps these posts work as motivation for another workout AND prompt social media lurkers to get off their ass and complete an athletic endeavor.

There’s one status update, however, that’s not only pointless but absolutely unnecessary and seem to be popping up in my FB feed and Instagram browsing more frequently and it’s all the reasons a person missed a workout, decided not to go to the gym or just flat gave up in the middle of exercise.

Alright, enough of this shit. You want to brag about air squats and pre-dawn HIIT routines you’re more than welcome but the last thing anyone needs to know is why your lazy ass didn’t feel like working out.

Unless it’s “didn’t get to exercise today because I’m ever closer to curing almost every form or cancer” or “didn’t make it to Zumba because I’ve got cancer and I’m still waiting on a cure”, I and the rest of the world are completely uninterested in your cries for approval or to play mom and dad to your grade-school level commitment to anything in life. “It’s alright you didn’t make it to Crossfit today, Steph. Not remembering to toss your ‘too cute’ yoga pants in the wash last night is a more than legit reason. You sit home and Netflix the fuck out of Kimmy Schmidt and give a try again tomorrow.”

And here are my personal favorites — “I didn’t do this good thing today so I’m going to compound it with doing something awful on top of it.”

Brilliant strategy. You know what I didn’t do today? Rub one out. But you don’t see me running to Facebook to beg people to get me back on track or shame me into doing it when I get home. I don’t need that type of feedback from strangers.

5 Gym Trends That are Gaining Steam

As anyone who regularly works out knows, the exercise plateau is a real and awful thing. You’ve worked so hard to improve your fitness level and now the same work isn’t producing the same results. The only cure for the plateau is variety. You have to mix up your workouts to keep your body in top form.

Which is why boutique fitness have become so popular in recent years. In addition to your running routine, for example, you should be working on strength and balance (how about a barre class?) and remain mindful of your upper body (how about SurfSet?) while you’re at it. By continually introducing new exercises and varying your routines, you can avoid the dreaded plateau.

To make this work, you need to get organized. I like to buy 10-class passes at a couple of different exercise venues. I spin and do barre, as well as run and hike. You could also consider signing up for FitReserve, MoveUSA or ClassPass, which are great if you’re not sure what other exercises you want to do and you’d like to explore. The big caveat with these services is that studios only set aside a few spots per class for these companies, so for popular classes, you have to sign up early to get a spot, which can be a challenge. This is why I prefer to do the 10-class pass instead, which means it’s much easier to get a spot since I’m going directly through the fitness center and not a third party.

Whatever you choose, here’s the low-down on what to expect from some of the most popular boutique fitness trends around. I hope this motivates you to try something different!

Indoor cycling

Indoor cycling classes, like those offered by FlyWheel, Torq, SoulCycle and others are the most popular of the boutique fitness trends. Maybe it’s because they hit the trifecta of a fun, group workout along with a relatively short duration and a smidge of competition. Cycling classes also torch calories — it’s not uncommon to burn 500-600 calories in a 45-minute class, and cycling is pretty accessible to almost anyone. Some classes include a bit of arm and core work, but it depends on the teacher.

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Orange Theory

This is a group interval fitness class that incorporates all the gym machines you are already familiar with, including treadmills and rowing machines, and adds TRX suspension training and free weights to create a 60-minute workout that’s designed to “keep heart rates in a target zone that spikes metabolism and increases energy,” according to the company.

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Barre

Barre classes have a few different iterations: There’s Bar Method, Barre3, Physique 57, and more, and each has its own take on the practice. The gist of all of them is to combine ballet-training moves with Pilates moves and strength training. Barre exercises are designed to create long, lean muscles, and to tighten and firm.

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SurfSet

SurfSet classes came about when the founder of the company, Mike Hartwick, wanted to keep his “surf body” year round. (As the name implies, he got in his best shape in the summer, when he was surfing.) The workout combines surf movements and uses modified boards, to get in shape. How? According to the SurfSet site: “Paddling builds shoulder definition, strengthens the lower back muscles, and increases cardiovascular fitness. Duck-diving through waves builds arm strength: tricep strength in particular. The pop-up maneuver engages the core and pectoral muscles, and helps to build explosive power. And the actual process of standing and riding the wave increases leg strength, flexibility, and engages all the postural muscles.”

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Aerial Fitness

This has been described as Cirque du Soleil meets Pilates meets ballet. Using yoga mats and hanging-from-the-ceiling hammocks (these are NOT the kind for napping in), the workout is a low-impact, core-focused practice and stretches and tones. Since you’re hanging from the hammock in many of the movements, you can access muscles and stretch in ways that are impossible to do while you’re standing or sitting on the ground.

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Why Six-Pack Abs Are a Waste of Time

As you’re reading this, thousands of people are trying to crunch their way to visible abs. And why wouldn’t they? Having six pack abs has become a badge of honor in the fitness community. Honestly, what’s the point of even working out if you don’t have a midsection that fitness models are jealous of?

Well, other than the fact that you’re not a fitness model (something we’ll discuss more later), there are plenty of reasons you should stop obsessing over this status symbol and chill out.

You’re probably not built for it (and that’s okay)

Here’s something that most personal trainers and ‘fitness experts’ on YouTube won’t tell you: whether or not you have visible six pack abs has a lot more to do with your genetic makeup than how much work you put in. Now, could the average person get six pack abs? Probably. But even if they could, it certainly wouldn’t be easy; developing visible abs with average genetics takes a pretty intense amount of work to achieve (more than you would expect, actually).

So, first thing you’re going to have to do is drop that body fat percentage. It’s basically common knowledge these days that your abs are hidden under a layer of fat and that, with a proper diet and enough exercise yada yada yada. You’ve heard it before.

Diet and Exercise

But here’s the issue: proper diet and exercise take on a whole new meaning the moment you decide to get a ripped midsection. If you’re going to aim for that 10% body fat (18% if you’re a woman), you’re going to need to be in a constant ‘caloric deficit’.

Basically, you need to figure out how many calories you need to stay alive without working out. Then…you work out. The caloric deficit shouldn’t be particularly high, but even a small caloric deficit can be rough, especially if you’re going to be working out while on it. The idea here is that your body will end up using your fat storages as a way to keep itself alive while you’re doing this whole ‘kind-of-starving-yourself’ thing.

Oh, and remember that whole ‘exercise’ idea? Best of luck with that; one of the first things that gets downsized when trying to develop a six pack is carbs. Now, in its simplest terms: low carbs means low energy. So after about the first 10 minutes of your workout, you’re going to suddenly run out of energy. Oops.

Well, thank goodness that’s ove — wait, what’d you just say? You’ve never been much of an athlete? In that case, you probably don’t have a particularly large abdominal wall. So, you’re going to have to work your core multiple times per week to develop ‘hypertrophy’ (which basically means ‘size’) while you’re burning fat. Unfortunately, this won’t result in any truly massive growth because your muscles can’t develop that much hypertrophy in a caloric deficit.

You’re Not a Fitness Model (so stop acting like one) 

Here’s the reality of the situation. A six pack has nothing to do with how ‘in shape’ you are. Sure, having less fat can help minimize your risk for certain illnesses and improve your overall quality of life. No one is arguing otherwise. Hell, there are plenty of people that have six packs and live perfectly healthy lifestyles. There’s certainly nothing inherently wrong with having one. But working yourself to the bone for a defined midsection does little for the rest of your body.

Having strong core muscles is something everyone should strive towards. It’s the difference between a decent athlete and a great one. Squats, deadlifts, overhead presses and tons of other exercises rely on your core being powerful and stable. But obsessing over your body fat percentage, ditching the concept of functional strength and diving into the deep end of the definition isn’t something the average person should subject themselves to.

See, abs aren’t the problem (plenty of powerful athletes have them). Using something as superficial as abdominal muscles as a one-size-fits-all fitness benchmark is.

How To Be More Productive Every Day

Sure, women are bringing home the bacon in record numbers these days, but what if you’re still not reaching your maximum earning potential? Enter: DailyWorth, a destination that supplies financial decision makers (that’s you!) with both indispensable money expertise and a serious dose of entrepreneurial confidence.

Ever notice how coffee can sometimes give you the jitters, while other times you can drink a whole pot and still stifle yawns? Or how you kill your to-do list with ease some days, and other days find it hard to get through even the easiest tasks?

You can thank (or blame!) your biological clock for those times you feel really “on” and the times when you’re feeling a little off, according to productivity research. There are teams of scientists, researchers, and doctors who are studying “chronobiology,” or how to get the optimal performance out of your body’s natural rhythm. Here’s how to capitalize on the best times of day to knock to-do items off your list.

Daybreak: Pay Bills (Or Clean The Bathroom)

Ideally, you should tackle any task that you really don’t like doing when you wake up, because we’re at our happiest and most optimistic, first thing in the morning, according to Cornell research. After tracking worldwide usage of the Twitter conversations of 2.4 million users, the study authors found that people are the most cheery and tweet their most upbeat statuses in the morning.

So, capitalize on your feel-good mood by doing the things that can make us grumpy (like paying bills). By the way, scientists, Scott A. Golder and Michael W. Macy, writing for Science Magazine, have also identified which days give us the most smiles (and it’s no surprise): “People are happier on weekends, but the morning peak, in positive affect, is delayed by two hours, which suggests that people awaken later on weekends.”

Early Morning: See Your Doctor

It may mean you’ll have to skip the gym or show up at work a little late, but if you have to see the doctor, aim to be the first appointment of the day. According to a study in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, doctors are less likely to detect warning signs, like cancerous polyps, later in the day because of fatigue. You’re also likely to spend less time waiting with an early appointment.

Mid-Morning: Check Off Detail-Oriented Tasks

According to a Pennsylvania State University study on alertness, you’ll be able to execute more accurate work and focus better if you get to it early. The study authors also found that optimal accomplishment happened around 8am and declined between noon and 4 p.m., especially after eating a meal.

Late Morning Or Late Afternoon: Drink Coffee

Maybe that wakeup cup of joe isn’t the best idea. According to scientists who study chronopharmacology — the study of how time of day may affect drugs’ impact on your body — you may be wasting your caffeine on the mornings when you’re naturally the most alert. Instead, save it for after 9:30 a.m. and after 2 p.m., two times of day when you naturally begin to feel lethargic.

Late Afternoon To Evening: Do Creative Work

After knocking out your detailed-oriented tasks in the morning, how do you deal with fatigue in the afternoons? Is there nothing else you can work on? Turns out, this is the best time to explore more open-ended problem solving. Fatigue makes us come up with more creative solutions, found an Albion College research study, published in Thinking and Reasoning. When you have what their researchers called “reduced inhibitory control,” then your “results showed consistently greater insight problem solving performance during non-optimal times of day.”

Early Evening: Take Your Medicine & Work Out

Researchers found that if you or someone you know is taking medications to help reduce the risk of a heart attack or stroke, it may be better to take those pills at night and not in the morning. The study, published in Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, found that those who took their blood pressure meds at night had better results and possibly fewer side effects. The reason? You’re optimizing the drug’s impact on your body’s natural biological rhythm.

Generally, blood pressure rises naturally before you get out of bed and peaks midday. It then gradually falls, reaching its lowest between midnight and 4 a.m. So when you take pills in the morning or at lunch you may not actually be managing the hours when your blood pressure is at its peak. Popping the pill at night, however, will keep the morning rise down.

Something else to do in the early evenings? Work out. Turns out that just showing up to the gym isn’t enough. Aim to work out in the late afternoon to early evening for peak performance and to prevent the feeling that you’re dragging your heels, according to research published by the American College of Sports Medicine. Since body temperature is higher during that time frame, it is believed that muscle mobility increases, allowing you to get more out of your workout. Plus, warm muscles are less susceptible to injury. Another reason to sleep in and get to the gym after work instead.

Every 90 minutes: Take A Break

Even when we’re getting enough shut-eye at night, we can’t work endlessly on projects without getting fatigued. Florida State University researchers found that thanks to the constant shifts of our biological clock — which adjust our levels of hormones like adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol — we need to take breaks throughout the day. Ideally, we should work in 90-minute intervals for best productivity, found the authors who studied high performance players in music, sports and chess.

adidas Partners with Spotify to Introduce adidas go

adidas has partnered with Spotify to launch adidas go, an app that works with a runners iPhone to match their favorite music to their workout.Using the iPhone’s accelerometer, adidas go calculates the user’s stride rate to identify and play tracks with matching bpm from Spotify’s music library. Users will then have the chance to review and save their distance, time and pace and will be given the option to share their results on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Describing the ground-breaking and intuitive app Adrian Leek, General Manager of adidas Running, claimed “adidas go lets your energy level control the music that plays during your run, so you’re always in control. For the first time, instead of runners listening to music, music will listen to runners.” adidas go will be available for iOS via the App store from April 10 and you can read more about it here.

4 Reasons to Take Fitness Outside

Now that it’s finally warm enough to be outside (even up North), you should definitely take your workout outside with you.

Fitness in a natural, outdoor environment is one of the foundational backbones of the “Indigenizing fitness” movement. Heading from the gym to the ground will benefit you in more ways than meet the eye. Here’s why:

1. Open Skies = Open Minds

This means that when you go outside, no matter the weather, you’re more likely to feel clear-headed and relaxed. Nature will work wonders on your mental health, which will set you up for a more holistic and enjoyable physical workout. It works fast, too. Studies show that within five minutes of walking outdoors, stress levels visibly decrease. Finding ways to clear your mind is just as critical to a wellness routine as anything – especially if you sit in front of a computer screen most of the day (which many of us do).

2. Challenges of the Elements

Whether it’s heat, cold, cacti, water, tall grass, or big trees, when you go outdoors, you will face some type of added challenges and obstacles from your surroundings. It’s something that simply cannot be experienced under a roof. Studies show that even slight winds can up the intensity of a run or bike ride. Walking or hiking along rough, uneven terrain will work small muscles that would never be touched on the smooth ground of a track or treadmill. Even though these obstacles might seem tricky or unnerving at the time, you’ll feel so good about your workout once you’ve overcome them. Embrace the elements and remember that your ancestors stayed fit by living and working outdoors nonstop. You can do it for an hour or two.

3. Mother Earth Gym

One of the primary components of the Well For Culture movement is to utilize rocks, logs, sand, or other things found in nature as fitness equipment. We call it a Mother Earth Gym, and we use it as often as possible. Imagine doing pull-ups off the edge of a rock ledge or squats holding a giant rock instead of a dumbbell. It can be done- and it’s fun! Go out and find natural fitness equipment, but don’t forget to show respect, ask permission, and put things back where you found them.

4. Fun and Energy

We don’t need science to tell us that playing outside is as fun in adulthood as it once was as a kid. As much as I love going to the gym sometimes, there’s no doubt that it gets to be a little monotonous and gloomy surrounded by the sterile, cold energy of machinery and electronics. As much as I love the rowing machine, I would take any opportunity to row in a canoe or kayak instead. The energy of an outdoor workout will inevitably be more alive. Not to mention, the variety of things you can do outdoors far surpasses what’s possible in a gym. Whether it’s hiking, running, basketball, swimming, or just chasing around your little cousins, you can find all kinds of ways to work up a sweat under the sky.

Stay Hydrated: How To Drink More Water

Chances are, you know exactly why you need to drink plenty of water every day and keep hydrated. Chances are, you procrastinate on it anyway. Drinking water, much like doing the laundry or studying for an exam, has turned into a chore for so many of us, especially when you remember that you’re drinking nowhere near the amount you should be. But the key to drinking more water lies in making it a habit to do so, and that’s not as hard as you might think!

Here’s a few ways to get you drinking a bit more water than you used to.

ALWAYS MAKE SURE YOU HAVE WATER AROUND YOU

If you’re lazy like me and can’t be bothered with a seven second walk to your kitchen, keep some water in your room — a bottle, a jug and a glass, a pyramid of mineral water — around where you normally perch yourself. Whenever you’re travelling, be it to class, work, or just chilling with friends at the mall, carry a water bottle with you! Make sure you keep that bottle in your sights as much as possible. When you sit down, pull it out. Remember it’s there. Let it haunt you.

INVEST IN A GOOD WATER BOTTLE

When you’re chilling at home, you can do whatever you want. Take shots of water from a little vodka glass, drink it straight from the jug, or even the tap — whatever motivates you to get that water intake. But while travelling, you’re going to want to make sure you’re making the most of what you have. First off, you’re going to have to be willing to invest in something good quality. You’re going to want something at least twice the size of the palm of your hand — this way, you’re prepared for any dry spell, no matter how long. Also, invest in a bottle with thicker walls, because you do not want to fill your bottle up with some ice cold water on a summer day, and find that the frost as made its way onto the other contents of your bag.

WRITE YOUR GOALS ON YOUR BOTTLE

This isn’t something I do personally, but I’ve come across it on the internet a lot. This tutorial here explains it better than I ever could.

Now for the fun part: how to make it less of a chore.

SPICE THAT WATER UP SOME

Let’s face it, water is boring. Do you really want to be drinking seven litres of boring liquid every day? Hell no. Add some excitement to your life by:

  • Infusing water with fruit or herbs.
  • Turning it into sparkling water.
  • Drinking a water-based hot tea. (Be careful of black tea. It’s got added caffeine that you probably don’t need.)

EAT WATER

Don’t conform to society’s standards. Be the rebel you always wanted to be. Fruits and vegetables are a natural source of water, and they absolutely count towards your water intake! Too expensive? Treat yoself to this sweet fruit parfait, or drink a nice (non-alcoholic) fruit punch.

USE A STRAW

The bottle I use on my desk at home as a straw, but I never noticed the benefits of it until I read it about it on Buzzfeed. Straws aren’t just fun or great for aesthetic, they get you drinking faster and quicker. This means you’re already consuming more water with less effort.

TECHNOLOGY IS YOUR FRIEND

You’re definitely not the only person not getting enough water, and there are plenty of apps to help you keep track of things (disclaimer: not all of these apps are available on Android):

  • Waterlogged – This is the one I saw around the internet the most. It’s simply, easy to use, and doesn’t take too much out of your time.
  • WaterMinder – If you’re willing to put some money into something more comprehensive, this is a great one. Definitely recommended for people serious about getting fit.
  • Plant Nanny – Absolutely adorable. A cute tiny baby plant reminds you to drink that drunk, and it does this for free.

Use your phone’s alarm! Make the alarm tone really annoying, like your mum complaining about how no one helps around the house in a tone that means she is 100% talking about you.

I’ve packed this post up with quite some meat, so I can guarantee you at least one of these will work. Remember, the key to improving in anything is giving it your all, and treating it like your life depends on it. (In this case, it pretty much does.) Stay hydrated, kids,

The Evolution of Exercise: What Kind of Fitness is Best?

Over the decades, fitness regimens have had their fads and discoveries. One of the latest controversies over fitness however is Evolutionary Fitness.

Evolutionary Fitness calls into question our paleolithic ancestors and the way our first homo sapiens cousins exercised on a daily basis. Trends that have manifested out of these analyses include barefoot running (and likewise bizarre barefoot running shoes), carrying lighter weights while walking as if carrying home a kill from a day of hunting, long-distance running, and even cross-fit as a routine-breaking mixture of cardio and strength training.

The basic viewpoint being that our lives would be better off if we moved as people did many thousands of years ago. This argument is two-fold, one part being practically inarguable and the other more controversial.

The first inarguable part being that the modern and all-too-frequent sedentary lifestyle has serious repercussions and health risks including higher rates of mortality, depression and other mental ailments, and physical wear and tear like blood pressure, heart health, muscle density, etc.

The distinction here is that there’s a difference between “too much sitting and too little exercise”— aka the active couch potato. In this case, working out in brief intervals is better than nothing, but if the rest of the day is spent at an office desk and then transferred onto an elevator, into a car, and then in front of the television for the rest of the night, then the exercise hardly impacts your health style.

The pandemic of obesity is of course largely affected by what we eat in our modern life (the paleo diet and other fads as such is a whole another topic of discussion), but many studies have shown that participating in “non-exercise activity” can make a huge difference in cardiovascular health and obesity ratings. Non-exercise activity being exercise and movement not actually classified as ‘exercise’, like mowing the lawn, taking the stairs, cleaning the house, etc.— these little activities add up throughout the day and burn a significant amount of calories by bedtime.

The second more controversial side to paleo-fitness is questioning whether or not our bodies are the same as they were 200,000 years ago and whether or not, our forms of exercise in the paleolithic era were even best suited for us. The problem with paleo-fanatics is that they seem to assume our bodies 200,000 years ago were perfectly fit for their environment, and that now we are no longer behaving in the ideal human setting— a naive assumption given that our paleolithic ancestors, too, were in the midst of evolution— just as we are evolving now we were evolving then. Would it then be better to exercise and eat like a chimpanzee?

See where this gets complicated? Its all on a continuum and there is no determined moment in history when humans and their environment were perfectly suited for one another. Why select the hunter-gatherer lifestyle as the one to follow? Given it was a lifestyle that lasted for so long, do you chose to follow the hunter-gatherers who used bow & arrows, spears, or just rocks? The tool use, the knowledge of fire, etc. all developed in the period we were hunting and gathering which all greatly affect the sort of exercise and types of food we were eating then. Less running with bows and arrows, bigger game kills which means heavier lifting, etc.

So we suppose to have the unsatisfactory answer that there is no one best form of exercise. Our ancestral heritage greatly affects our genes when it comes to the enzymes, bacteria, endurance, etc. that is within in bodies. Therefore someone with Northern European heritage may not be as good as long distance running but better at digesting lactose than another individual from East Africa or South America. There is no universal human being— there never has been— so when people say that everyone’s diet and workout should be personalized, there really is something to that.

We would general suggest that variety is important between strength training, intensive cardio, and endurance cardio. Remember to stretch, to rest your muscles, to do different exercises, and to eat well— even if its not like a caveman! Rapid evolution does occur and we cannot assume that exercising and eating like homo sapiens did thousands of years ago is what our bodies today need the most.

Study: All That Cardio Is Actually Making You Fat

For those that hate spending hours on the eleptical or the treadmill pounding away the miles, your excuse to step down has arrived. The Denver Post breaks down exactly what’s wrong with your boring and time consuming running routine.

Doing the same intensity aerobic conditioning, or cardio, will make your body more efficient at burning calories at that pace. Your body adapts and becomes smarter in how it uses its fuel.

That’s right, that boring cardio you hate doing despite the lies you tell others about your “runner’s high” is actually keeping you from losing weight, the exact opposite of what the entire point is for those trying to trim down.

But wait, there’s more. Another study claims that jogging long distances at the same time every day does the following:

  1. Causes a stress reaction (cortisol release) right before you go running that makes your body grab onto fat and hold it cause stress means your body is afraid.
  2. Makes you hungrier after you run. People usually then “end up eating an average of 100 calories more than they just burned off.” Not good!
  3. Causes your body to literally burn muscle instead of fat. Fat is for survival and the body is willing to burn muscle in order to save up fat. Less muscle means a lowered metabolism!
  4. Makes you super efficient at burning calories so that you can do the same exercise while burning fewer calories. Again, the total opposite of what you want for losing weight.

Okay, okay, so what are you supposed to do? I mean, this is exactly the opposite of what everyone says about running. If my monotonous running routine is causing me to create cortisol, become super efficient at burning fewer calories, and making me hungrier than I should be all while destroying my joints then what do I do?

Simple answer, you need to lift weights and run intervals, high intensity sprints that are short and hard. This builds muscle while avoiding the fat holding stress reaction and muscle burning nightmare that is long term jogging. It’s also better for your joints and takes less time. Best of all, it’s far less boring!

Yes, you can do this on the treadmill. Just understand that it’s the gain in muscle mass from lifting that will help increase your metabolism. Sprints do the same thing. Remember, intervals are meant to be sprints not just sort of faster than a jog.

You will lose weight doing this.

Hidden Health Benefits of Swimming

Swimming is great for your physical health by providing a low-impact cardio workout. Yet there are many other significant health benefits which have remained relatively unknown and unpublicised … until now.

Research into these hidden health benefits supports the idea that swimming is more than just another way of working out – it’s a transformational activity capable of integrating our mind/body experience.

However, in order to accrue these hidden benefits, the swimmer must have a positive relationship with the water and be able to swim sustainably at a moderate pace for 20 minutes or more, three times a week.

Swimming with poor technique (with the face out of the water or a screw kick in breaststroke, for instance) can do more harm than good.

Let’s have a look at the hidden health benefits of swimming:

It Buoys You Up

It’s not just the sight of water that makes us feel better. New research from Harvard Medical School has found that immersion can actually improve your mental state.

So next time you feel a bit stressed, try going for a swim.

It’s A Screen Antidote

So many of us spend several hours hunched over a screen every day. Swimming a combination of strokes can significantly improve your posture.

Front and back crawl strengthen the muscles responsible for good posture and help you walk tall.

Swimming helps you lose That Belly Fat!

When most people think about swimming, they think about toning the arms and legs, but swimming with good form provides an excellent workout for your abs – and it is much more enjoyable than doing hundreds of crunches.

It Counters Arthritis & Back Pain

The buoyancy of the water supports your body and takes the strain off painful joints so that you can move them more fluidly when you get out of the water. It also mobilizes the spine.

It Boosts Your Sex Drive

Recent research for men and women over the age of sixty, reports that people who swim at least three times a week have reported an increase in their libido levels: swimming is sexy!

It Improves Your Concentration

The way in which swimming requires you to coordinate mind and body is extremely helpful in improving mental functioning.

Swimming Is Mindful

Health professionals are increasingly aware of the benefits of mindfulness training for stress reduction and improving our general health and wellbeing.

Research in Israel has found that swimming is the most mindful of all popular activities.

Swim Backstroke

When you swim backstroke you burn more calories than you realize. Our legs tend to sink when we swim on our back, and therefore we need to kick them much more vigorously than when we swim on our front.

A bonus for swimmers who prefer to keep their face dry, or enjoy looking at the sky!

Keeps You Supple

Swimming keeps you supple and helps you maintain a good range of motion.

Boosts Your Self-esteem

Learning a new stroke or taking up swimming regularly has been shown to boost your confidence and self-esteem.

The great thing about swimming (in contrast to many other sports) is that it’s never too late to learn. Many people take it up for the first time in their seventies, eighties or even their nineties! So don’t waste any more time – get into the water and swim!