Category Archives: Food & Nutrition

Sports

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16 Surprising Benefits Of Playing Sports

The health benefits of playing sports include proper weight management, efficient functioning of the heart, controlled diabetes, lower cholesterol levels, improved blood circulation, lower hypertension and stress levels. It helps in the toning of muscles and strengthening of bones. It also brings positive energy, discipline, and helps in building self-esteem and mutual respect.

Playing Sports is More Than Fun!

Playing sports is a favorite activity for many people around the world. It provides us with enjoyment and also freshens up our mind. However, playing sports is actually more than mere running, jumping, or kicking a ball on the field. Indulging in sports helps our body to function smoothly and more efficiently. Sports involve the activity of each and every muscle of our body. This strengthens the body and promotes good health.

Health Benefits Of Playing Sports

Playing sports is not only for fun but has many health benefits like weight management, strong muscles and many more. Let’s have a look at the benefits in detail.

Healthy Heart

Playing sports helps with stretching ability. The heart benefits the most from playing sports and there are fewer chances of malfunctioning of your heart. Playing sports help the heart in pumping more blood as it is a type of workout for the body.

Control Diabetes

Playing sports helps the insulin to perform in a better manner. This helps diabetic people to make most of the insulin present in their body. Also, physical activity helps in reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes. It can also help in weight management since it burns excess calories.

Weight Management

Obesity is a big issue faced by millions of people across the world. This issue can be dealt by indulging in loads of sports or similar physical activities. Fat gets burnt and calories are shed through rigorous physical activity involved in sports. People who regularly play sports are naturally leaner and fitter.

Lower Hypertension

Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, may result in a stroke or heart disease. This makes the control of hypertension absolutely necessary. Hypertension can be prevented by being physically active or by playing sports.

Lower Cholesterol Levels

Sports also help in maintaining lower levels of bad cholesterol. Some experiments showed that compared to athletes, bad cholesterol levels in sedentary people were much higher, while good cholesterol levels were significantly higher in athletes.

Improved Blood Circulation

Blood circulation gets better when you start playing sports. The body remains well oxygenated. Thus, it remains more healthy and active. Apart from blood circulation, being physically active can also increase the amount of hemoglobin and the volume of blood.

Stronger Immunity

Regularly indulging in exercise and sports makes the body immune to many diseases that usually affect a person due to weak immunity. When a person exercises, the rate at which white blood cells reach every body part increases significantly. Playing sports increases sweat production and also removes toxins. Due to the rise in body temperature, the chances of bacterial growth also lessen.

Muscle Toning

Sports are actually the best form of working out for muscles. Toned muscles are always desirable and that’s what you get when you play sports. The endurance of muscles also increases with time and this helps you in gaining a stronger body. Both inner and outer muscles get toned up when one plays any sport. For example, running involves working out both the inner and outer thigh muscles.

Stronger Bones

Playing sports is beneficial in strengthening not only the muscles but also the bones in your body. Bones get their strength from bone density and aging decreases bone density, which can result in osteoporosis. Taking up sports is perhaps one of the easiest ways to maintain bone density and strength for people of all ages.

Positive Attitude

Sports can bring positive attitude into your life if played in a healthy manner. It refreshes the mind and helps in developing a positive and fresh outlook towards life.

Self Esteem

Playing any particular sport helps in building self-esteem. When one improves in any particular sport or skill, one feels good about it.

Discipline

Discipline becomes a natural part of life when you start spending time playing sports. This is because sports inspire people to live life by certain rules and regulations and move towards a positive end. Children who indulge in sports feel healthier, develop better and healthier relationships with other people because a positive, team-based outlook is instilled in them.

Mutual Respect

Playing sports builds mutual respect. It helps you to respect people even if they have a negative attitude towards you.

Inducing Calmness

Sports train your mind to think calmly and find new strategies to deal with problems without getting too hyper.

Teamwork

Playing sports helps you build good relationships with people from diverse backgrounds and traits. It encourages teamwork and thus helps in preparing you to work with different people in a harmonious manner.

Goal Setting

Goal setting means that every person needs to have an idea about what he/she wants, whether it is in a game or in life. Sports may help in goal-setting and will improve performance levels in other areas of life.

Being Careful and Healthy!

Play under expert supervision: It is very important to be careful when participating in physical activities like sports. Playing them by implementing the wrong techniques can have harmful effects on your health. Try playing sports under the supervision of experienced players in the beginning and take their advice on how to play the game without getting hurt.

Stretching and warm up exercises: Stretching and warm up exercises are a must in order to prevent cramps and sprains. Stretching prepares the body, brain, and mind for the physical activity involved in the sport. The blood flow increases in the muscle when one stretches and this increases the elasticity of muscles, which prevents muscle injuries.

Stay hydrated: It is very important to remain well-hydrated in order to prevent dehydration from affecting the quality of your performance and your health. One must carry sufficient amount of water if any sport is planned somewhere away from home. Drink water throughout the session in small quantities.

Acclimation: Acclimation is an important factor to be considered while playing in hot and humid conditions. There is a chance of developing heat-related illnesses, wherein the body struggles to bring down its body temperature. Under such conditions, one must stop the game, drink plenty of water, and try to cool down.

Avoid playing on rainy or stormy days: Playing any kind of sport on a rainy or stormy day is not advisable due to the risk of lightning, while the slippery ground can also result in injuries.

Concussions: One should be very alert about concussions. Every minor injury should be paid equal attention. Ignorance and arrogance are both harmful when you are playing sports.  Consult your doctor immediately if you feel unwell.

Relax after the game: It is important to rest after playing any sport. It helps the body to become calm again. The heart rate normalizes and the muscles relax. Cold fluids should be consumed after playing an intense sport. They help in cooling down the body and also in preventing heat-related illnesses. These types of illnesses are serious issues that affect many people, even professional athletes. It causes nausea, unsteadiness, and in certain instances, it can even make a person collapse completely. Prevention is the only way that this kind of situation can be dealt with, so make sure you drink plenty of water and keep your temperature down.

Older people: People who are not used to being very active physically should not indulge in intense sports sessions right away. This will adversely affect their health, especially obese and elderly people. Older people should actually start with small sessions because the body tends to lose its muscle capacity with age. Consulting a physician from time to time also helps in remaining updated about one’s body and helps check any adverse effects of the physical activities you may have planned.

Obese people: Obese people should indulge in sports in a controlled manner. This is because they are more susceptible to sports injuries. Injuries can lead to soft tissue damage, infections, and can cause serious problems that can have long-term effects. Several research studies suggest that people who are obese are more prone to ankle injuries because of excess impact weight on the joints.

Playing sports is definitely a very helpful means to remain healthy and having fun at the same time, so choose a sport of your own and make your lifestyle a whole lot healthier and a lot more fun!

Sports in Today’s World

The United Nations Sports for Development and Peace can be regarded as one of the forerunners in sports all over the world, along with the International Olympics Committee and various other sports development authorities across the globe. The main motto of organizing sports by these organizations is to promote peace and brotherhood among nations. The United Nations Sports for Development and Peace believes that sports are not just leisure activities, but a fundamentally enforceable right all over the world, as well as a very effective tool in promoting humanitarian, developmental, and peace-building activities.

The United Nations Sports for Development and Peace invites sports celebrities or sports superstars to act as goodwill ambassadors to promote awareness about various troubling issues. According to the United Nations, the mass appeal of the players is particularly helpful in bringing attention to various issues such as HIV/AIDS, education, food and agriculture, drugs, crime, and refugees.

Some Facts About Playing Sports

According to the United Nations Sports for Development and Peace, physical activity plays an important role in the development of overall health and prevents various diseases. Apart from preventing diseases, playing sports is an excellent physical activity and thus aids in improving the functional capabilities of the body. Sports are not only beneficial to young people, but also for older generations. However, it is always good to start early. Kids should be encouraged in participating in playing sports at school or at social events.

Make Sports a Part of Your Lifestyle

Playing sports should not be limited to the field of your school, college, or community. Even when you’re at home or working, sparing at least 30 minutes for any sport you love can be very helpful. It is not advisable to only see sports as a strenuous activity that you are doing for the sake of health. Instead, take it as a hobby and enjoy it. Encourage your family members to be a part of your sport too. This will give a boost to the overall health of the family. Activities such as cyclingswimming, running, and even walking are some of the physical activities that can be done on a daily basis. It must not be forgotten that playing sports alone will not give you a healthy body and mind. Many other factors such as nutritional intake, the stress levels in your life, or even the clothes or shoes that you’re wearing must also be considered. In many countries, playing sports has become a part of the treatment for certain diseases.

Original article: Benefits of Taking Up a Sport

 

Being a lifelong martial artist, sparring enthusiast, swimmer, hiker, climber, gym barnacle and other…

All the above is true.

Barbados

barbados map

Isolated in the Atlantic Ocean, 100 miles (161 km) due east of St. Lucia, Barbados stands apart from its neighbors in the Lesser Antilles archipelago, the chain of islands that stretches in a graceful arc from the Virgin Islands to Trinidad. It’s a sophisticated tropical island with a rich history, lodgings to suit every taste and pocketbook, and plenty to pique your interest both day and night.

Geologically, most of the Lesser Antilles are the peaks of a volcanic mountain range, whereas Barbados is the top of a single, relatively flat protuberance of coral and limestone—historically, the source of building blocks for many a plantation manor. Some of those “great houses,” in fact, have been carefully restored. Two are open to visitors.

Bridgetown, both capital city and commercial center, is on the southwest coast of pear-shape Barbados. Most of the nearly 300,000 Bajans (Bay-juns, derived from the British pronunciation of Barbadian) live and work in and around Bridgetown, elsewhere in St. Michael Parish, or along the idyllic west coast or busy south coast. Others reside in tiny villages that dot the interior landscape. Broad sandy beaches, craggy cliffs, and numerous coves make up the coastline; the interior is consumed by forested hills and gullies and acre upon acre of sugarcane.

Without question, Barbados is the “most British” island in the Caribbean. In contrast to the turbulent colonial past experienced by neighboring islands, including repeated conflicts between France and Britain for dominance and control, British rule in Barbados carried on uninterrupted for 340 years—from the first established British settlement in 1627 until independence was granted in 1966. That’s not to say, of course, that there weren’t significant struggles in Barbados, as elsewhere in the Caribbean, between 17th- and 18th-century British landowners and their African-born slaves and other indentured servants.

With that unfortunate period of slavery relegated to the history books, the British influence on Barbados remains strong today in local manners, attitudes, customs, and politics—tempered, of course, by the characteristically warm nature and Caribbean style of the Bajan people. In keeping with British-born traditions, many Bajans worship at the Anglican church, afternoon tea is a ritual, cricket is the national pastime (a passion, most admit), dressing for dinner is a firmly entrenched tradition, and patrons at some bars are as likely to order a Pimm’s Cup or a shandy as a rum and Coke. And yet, Barbados is hardly stuffy—this is still the Caribbean, after all.

Tourist facilities are concentrated on the west coast in St. James and St. Peter parishes (appropriately dubbed the “Platinum Coast”) and on the south coast in Christ Church Parish. Traveling north along the west coast from Bridgetown, the capital city, to historic Holetown, the site of the first British settlement, and continuing to the city of Speightstown, you can find posh beachfront resorts, luxurious private villas, and fine restaurants enveloped by tropical gardens and lush foliage. The trendier, more commercial south coast offers competitively priced hotels and beach resorts, and the St. Lawrence Gap area is known for its restaurants and nightlife. The relatively wide-open spaces along the southeast coast are proving ripe for development, and some wonderful inns and hotels already take advantage of those intoxicatingly beautiful ocean vistas. For their own vacations, though, Bajans escape to the rugged east coast, where the Atlantic surf pounds the dramatic shoreline with unrelenting force.

Perfect Face

Barbadians (Bajans) are a warm, friendly, and hospitable people who are genuinely proud of their country and culture. Although tourism is the island’s number one industry, the island has a sophisticated business community and stable government; so life here doesn’t skip a beat once passengers return to the ship. Barbados is the most “British” island in the Caribbean. Afternoon tea is a ritual, and cricket is the national sport. The atmosphere, though, is hardly stuffy. This is still the Caribbean, after all. Beaches along the island’s south and west coasts are picture-perfect, and all are available to cruise passengers. On the rugged east coast, the Atlantic Ocean attracts world-class surfers. Rolling hills and valleys dominate the northeast, while the interior of the island is covered by acres of sugarcane and dotted with small villages. Historic plantations, a stalactite-studded cave, a wildlife preserve, rum distilleries, and tropical gardens are among the island’s attractions. Bridgetown is the capital city, and its downtown shops and historic sites are a short walk or taxi ride from the pier.

barbados

Benefits of Swimming: 10 Reasons Every Woman Should Get in the Water

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It Counts as Both Cardio and Strength Training

In swimming, if you aren’t moving constantly, you’re sinking. (Forced cardio!) Plus, water is about 800 times denser than air, says swimming and triathlon coach Earl Walton, owner of Tailwind Endurance in New York City, so your muscles are under constant resistance. Finally, no more trying to decide if today is going to be a strength or cardio day. (We suggest this pool workout for every skill level.)

It’s Easy on the Impact

Yes, the low impact means swimming is a great workout for injured athletes, who need to take it easy on their joints. But it may also mean more results: “You can swim at higher intensities on a regular basis without feeling wear and tear on your body,” Walton says. You could have a super-hard workout one day and still be in the pool the next, he says. Bonus: Research in the International Journal of Sports Medicine shows swimming is better than straight-up rest for exercise recovery, for when you want to take it easy.

It’s Great for Your Lungs

When your face is under water, oxygen is at a premium. In turn, your body adapts to use oxygen more efficiently, Walton says. Plus, it learns to take in more fresh air with every breath, and expel more carbon dioxide with every exhalation. A study in the Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology even found that swimmers had better tidal volume (the amount of air that moves in and out of the lungs during relaxed breathing) compared to runners. This results in lower resting heart rates, lower blood pressure, and, as you’ll see next, better running performance.

It Makes You a Better Runner

By increasing your ability to take in and effectively use oxygen, swimming increases your endurance capacity like crazy, Walton says. That’s great news if you’re hoping to complete your first half-marathon this year. It also means you can run faster mile after mile without getting winded. In a 2013 Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports study, swimmers who followed a controlled breathing technique (taking two breaths per pool length) improved their running economy by 6 percent after just 12 swim sessions. Air-fueled benefits aside, swimming trains your glutes and hamstrings, your core, and your shoulders—all of which are needed for improved running form and performances, Walton says.

Anyone Can Do It

Whether you’re recovering from an injury, pregnant (Walton has trained women in the pool on their due dates), a new mom, or an Ironman competitor, swimming can give you a great workout (um, as long as you—you know—know how to swim). You control the pace, intensity, and what you get out of every session, he says.

It Slashes Major Stress

While exercise-induced endorphins will do wonders for your stress levels, getting in the water for your workout may have its own special brand of mood-boosting benefits, Walton says. Being submerged in water dulls the amount of sensory information that bombards your body, helping to bring on feelings of calm, according to a study published in Pain Research & Management. Researchers found that regular flotation tank sessions were effective at relieving symptoms in patients suffering from conditions related to chronic stress. No wonder you love soaking in the bathtub.

It Turns Back the Clock

Regular swimmers are biologically 20 years younger than their driver’s licenses say they are, according to research from Indiana University. Scientists say that, even up until your 70th birthday, swimming affects blood pressure, cholesterol levels, cardiovascular performance, central nervous system health, cognitive functioning, muscle mass, and blood chemistry to be much more similar to that of your younger self. Who needs night cream?

It Hits Otherwise Underworked Muscles

“You don’t sit at your desk with your arms over your head,” Walton says. But when you’re in the pool, your arms are all over the place, meaning you need to work your often-neglected lats, deltoids, and traps, he says. And we know you aren’t targeting those when you’re on a bike or pounding the pavement. Plus, since so much of swimming is about staying balanced and level in the water (while both your arms and legs are moving, mind you), swimming helps you develop the deep stabilizing muscles in your core and lower back that women often miss.

It Makes You Smarter

Blood flow to the brain increased by up to 14 percent when men submerged themselves in water up to their hearts, according to a Journal of Physiology study. Researchers believe water’s pressure on the chest cavity may have something to do with it, and they are now studying whether water-based workouts improve blood flow to the brain better than do land-based ones. Stay tuned.

It Opens You Up to Awesome Experiences

Want to hop off the back of a boat? Swim across the San Francisco Bay? Go snorkeling in the Bahamas? Win every game of Marco Polo? Mastering swimming will help you do all that, Walton says. “Swimming’s a life skill. It opens the doors to a lot of fun stuff.”

Original article: 10 Benefits of Swimming

 

Swimming, especially alone and at midnight, is my favorite thing to do — period.

Nothing else even comes close.

Pure joy.