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5 fantastic energy-boosting snacks for fitness success

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As marathon season approaches, many people are focused on training. Building up endurance is key, but you can’t do that without the fuel your body needs. Wholesome energy-boosting snacks are essential for keeping up the pace, whether you’re focused on a 5K or full marathon.

There are a variety of runs across the country to suit every type of runner. Fun runs vary in size and can be found in communities from coast to coast. Themed runs are also plentiful.

Whether you’re a new or experienced runner, completing your goal will make you feel accomplished. To help your body feel and perform at its best, you need to give it the right foods. These smart, tasty snacks will help give you sustained energy with loads of nutrients important to any fitness practice.

Bananas: The cheerful color and built-in packaging are just the start. Bananas are a good source of potassium, which helps prevent cramping. Plus, they are a wonderful source of natural sugars (the good kind) and carbohydrates, which help provide sustained energy. It’s a common misconception that bananas aren’t as healthy due to the higher sugar content; however, the natural sugars in bananas come with fiber, which slows digestion and gives the body time to use it as fuel instead of storing it as fat. Grab a bunch of Chiquita bananas at the store and you have a convenient pre-workout snack or perfect addition to your recovery shake.

Cottage cheese: Scoop up some of this white wonder and enjoy with your favorite fruit or a sprinkle of your preferred herbs. You can also add a satisfying crunch by sprinkling in omega-rich cashews or almonds. Cottage cheese is packed with protein, so it helps you feel full longer, essential for long runs (or simply long days full of to-dos). For fitness folks, this protein helps assist in rebuilding and repair of muscles during training periods.

Smoothies: Refreshing, energizing and perfectly customizable, smoothies feel more like a treat than a healthy snack. Yet these cold concoctions are perfect as pre- or post-workout foods or even as a meal replacement when on the go. You can use milk or juice as a liquid base and then add in fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables as desired. For a lip-smacking smoothie with just four ingredients, follow this recipe:

Quick Protein Power Chiquita Banana Smoothie

Ingredients:

1 whole Chiquita Banana, sliced
1.5 ounces low-fat Greek yogurt
1/8 cup fresh pineapple juice
1/4 cup orange juice

Directions: Place all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Makes one serving.

Edamame: More than just a delicious appetizer at your favorite sushi joint, edamame is an ideal workout snack. The tasty green soybeans you pluck from the pod are a good source of protein, iron and B vitamins. What’s more, the heart-healthy isoflavones support bone health. So dig in and enjoy with a dash of sea salt and a big glass of water. It’s perfect when you’re craving a salty snack so you can avoid the junk.

Chocolate milk: If you don’t run, you probably think chocolate milk is just for kids. In reality, chocolate milk has almost a cult-like following in the endurance sports world. It’s rich in calcium to keep bones strong, particularly important for runners. Plus it has protein and carbohydrates to keep you fueled. Reward yourself with this sweet treat after a run and you’ll feel satisfied all around.

With these snacking tips top of mind, you’ll be fueled and feeling your best to start aiming for your personal records!

Health & Fitness

Centre and Calm Yourself and Spirit on Restorative Yoga Energy Trail

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Bring oneness to your yoga experience, Landaa-style, with the Yoga Energy Trail at Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru, an inspiring exploration of self and surroundings against myriad mind-blowing UNESCO Biosphere Reserve viewpoints.

Weaving through the Resort’s jungle interior and dazzling beachfront, guests can opt to explore the trail themselves or join a daily class, guided by the Resort’s yogi. The experience? A 75-minute study of strength, flexibility and endurance – suffused with all the energy-boosting benefits of the tropical surrounds.

Wooden signs at each of the 15 stations guide guests of medium fitness, aged 12 and above, around some of the island’s most scenic vantage points – enabling them to see, feel, smell and hear nature, thus stimulating the senses while challenging the body.

“Each station targets various areas of the body – focusing on balance, strength, agility, flexibility, stretching and toning,” explains Dr. Shylesh Subramanya, Director of The Spa & Ayurvedic Retreat. “The idea is to engage guests in an energetic exploration of themselves via the island’s most inspiring settings: from ‘tree pose’ overlooking the lagoon to ‘sun salutations’ on the jetty to ‘hanging firefly’ beneath the island’s largest Banyan tree.”

Developed in conjunction with the Resort’s Ayurvedic physicians, yogis and recreation team, the trail was designed by Nigel Clark – of UK-based Leisure Logs – a former Olympian who combines his passions for wellbeing and environmentally friendly materials to craft creative, timber wellness trails.

Commenting on the added benefits of the Yoga Energy Trail over a more traditional mat-based approach, Dr. Shylesh said: “Each location triggers a different chemical reaction within the body, from the oxygen-absorbing and seratonin-balancing benefits of the sea breeze to the deeply calming properties of the dense jungle greenery. Practising yoga in this way, immersed in a variety of inspirational locations, guests will feel an enhanced boost of energy and restoration to a naturally connected state, where self and surroundings merge in unifying oneness.”

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Health & Fitness

Meditation on a Full Moon

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Every month, the striking impression of a moon in its illuminated fullness has held a profound space in marking the passage of time as well as in matters of spiritual and religious importance. Many Eastern religions follow ceremonies to coincide with the moon’s phases. The spiritual development of the Buddha, for example, is believed to track with full moon days.  From the fullness of the tides to the deeply held religious beliefs across cultures, the full moon continues to inspire as a time to reflect and receive clarity on internal conditions.

Located among all the exciting happenings in Central, and facing the stunning Victoria Harbour, the Spa at Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong offers an authentic and relaxing Full Moon Meditation experience. A natural sanctuary of peace, guests can feel an extra release of tension when entering its soothing environs on full moon days.

Director of Spa Shoshana Weinberg has crafted a unique full moon ritual ideal for newcomers or seasoned practitioners. Weinberg leads the full moon meditations, channeling a universal energy that is both soothing and powerfully healing. The meditation is broken in two parts: one is a guided deep meditation, or savasana, while the other is a seated meditation in silence. Using aromatherapy oils, authentic Tibetan singing bowls, crystals and organic copal, a sacred resin from Mexico, guests can get in touch with a higher sense of focus and consciousness.

Weinberg says, “We call our authentic self to join in ceremony with others in our community to illuminate the deep meanings and messages that life has to offer. The Full Moon Meditation is a safe place to find a quiet moment to discover the silent world that lives in all of us.”

Guests wishing to extend the sense of community are invited to linger over a delicious spread from Executive Chef Andrea Accordi. Chef Accordi tailors dishes to the theme of the full moon and the rhythms of the seasons sourcing the highest quality ingredients from the most trusted, sustainably suppliers.

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Health & Fitness

Don’t have time to walk and meditate? Try them together

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The mental and physical merits of walking are well established, from helping ward off depression to preventing heart disease. Meditation, likewise, can help reduce anxiety symptoms and improve sleep quality. Have you considered combining these seemingly very different activities?

Walking meditation, which doesn’t take much of an investment in time or money, can be a good way to reap multiple benefits.

Walking meditation isn’t a stroll in the park or an hour in the lotus position, rather something in between. The goal is to be self-focused and mindful of your body in motion. To get started, consider these steps from UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center:

* Find a place that’s relatively free of distractions and where other people won’t make you self-conscious. Your path — whether it’s a hiking trail or a little-used hallway — doesn’t have to be long; the whole point is to go nowhere, slowly — and safely.

* Relax your hands and arms, stand up straight and take a few deep breaths. Take 10 to 15 small, deliberate steps, counting them in your head. Be mindful of the way your feet feel as they rise and land on the ground, weight shifting from heel to toes.

* If your mind wanders, try to push out extraneous thoughts and focus on your breathing or the sights and sounds of your surroundings.

* Pause for a breath, turn around and start again.

Why meditate in the first place? Meditation may help cancer patients by relieving their stress and fatigue. It may reduce blood pressure and alleviate some symptoms of menopause and IBS. There is also evidence that it improves the quality of life for female patients struggling with fibromyalgia by helping them deal with depression and conflict, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Meditation can be good for people of all ages. A Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease study found that meditation may help slow the cognitive decline that leads to Alzheimer’s and dementia. When college students added meditation to walking, they had lower levels of anxiety than when they merely walked for exercise, according to a study in the American Journal of Health Promotion.

As you take a moment to slow down and practice walking meditation, keep in mind that the results can also be slow. Studies have shown benefits after as little as 10 minutes per session, but most were based on practicing four to six days per week for several weeks.

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