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The Sun, The Tan, The Burn?

With summer upon us, everyone should be thinking about sun protection. In fact, those of us who spend many hours outside during the early day walking, running or hiking those deep wood trails, should already be ahead of the curve.

Still, many people misunderstand both the dangers and the necessary steps to protect their skin from sun damage, which includes skin cancer and acute damage like sunburn and sun poisoning.

There’s no ‘safe’ tan
Probably the biggest misconception people have about sun care is that suntans are healthy. The fact is, a suntan is the body’s response to damage. When the sun’s rays are absorbed by the skin, cells called melanocytes produce melanin, a pigment that gives the skin color. The added melanin offers increased protection for future exposure.

However, it’s important to emphasize that if skin tans, damage has already occurred. Moreover, sunburn is a severe response to excessive sun exposure, which exceeds the skin’s melanin production response.

What’s a little burn?
We hear all the time, “I got a little sunburn, but it’s no big deal.” Unfortunately, while tans and burns are signs of damage, each time we burn we greatly increase our risk for skin cancer — one blistering sunburn doubles your risk for malignant melanoma, the most dangerous and ever-increasing form of skin cancer.

Athletes, everyday people exercising in the hot sun in particular should keep in mind that sunburns and acute sun poisoning can cause headaches, nausea, fever and fatigue. Nevertheless, a ‘healthy tan’ is often popular,

Sunscreen, clothing ?
The human body can be considered a near-perfect black radiator, absorbing 97 percent of radiant energy directed at it, regardless of skin color. So while it may sound implausible, wearing both sunscreen and clothing can actually enhance performance by reducing the amount of radiant energy absorbed by the skin; even small increases in body temperature can adversely affect performance.

Additionally, wearing sunscreen on covered areas during hot and sunny days can be beneficial too, since those great wicking fabrics are also great at letting more sun in.

Sun block or sweat block?
While use of sunscreen can reduce radiant heat absorption, people  are concerned that sunscreen will also hamper sweating. However, data from a 2000 research study published in the Journal Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness showed that use of sunscreen doesn’t affect thermoregulation — in fact, it may actually enhance overall body cooling. This data, while preliminary, should convince those who believe sunscreen will compromise their performance to start protecting their skin.

Managing your risk
Take advantage of the early morning or early evening hours when the sun is not as intense as it is during the hours of 10a.m. and 5p.m.  Don’t forget to put on your sunscreen even at these times, the sun may not be as intense, but you can still get a burn if not treated.

The bottom line is that we all need to do the best we can to reduce our risk while we go about our daily exercise routines.  The most important thing to understand is that sunscreen can actually improve your performance by protecting against burns and keeping you cooler in the heat.

 

 

 

Heart Rate Monitors for Horses: Taking Training to a New Level

Learn about our two most favorite features of our monitors for equine!

Yes, the title says it all: we now carry a line of heart rate monitors from Polar for horses! These monitors for equine take training for your next race or event to a whole new level. By getting the best reading of your horse’s heart rate, you’ll be able to optimize practice times, as well as better monitor their heart during resting and recovery periods as well. HRM USA has put together just a few of our favorite features within our monitors for equine below.

Speed and distance – Tracking your equine’s exercise exertion throughout your training sessions is important, especially to see if they’re fit to even withstand a rigorous training process. You can also track your horse’s distance throughout the training period as well.

Equine Inzone – Perhaps your horse is recovering from an injury and you’re working towards another event. Tracking specific information through the Polar Equine Inzone can actually let you see just how hard your horse is working when training. This is really important because over-doing it might set them back in training.

Want to see more of our monitors for equine? Visit us today at HeartRateMonitorsUSA.com!

 

The Green Juice Formula and why it’s fool-proof

Find out about the new healthy living craze - green juice!

Looking to try out the new green juice craze? If you’re taking steps towards healthy living and a fit, active lifestyle, this new craze is perfect for you! We have the fool proof formula for Green Juice so that you can have a tasty drink and all the health benefits too!

First, pick your base – A base would be a juicier more hearty fruit or vegetable. We recommend carrots, celery, cucumbers, or apples as your base, but you can pick any one that you have in your fridge – just make sure it’s full of liquid.

Next, pick your leafy greens – This is the green in green juice, people, so make sure at least one of these guys makes it in! You can pick from really any dark green – kale, romaine, dandelion, cabbage, or spinach – to add for some extra calcium and other vitamins. This is what makes green juice so powerful in fighting off diseases.

Lastly, pick your fruit – This is where the flavor of the juice comes in! You can pick a variety of fruits depending on your taste preference or what you’re looking to get out of the juice. Blueberries, apples, bananas, grapefruit, and pears are all really great choices for your fruit. You can ever pick more than one if you’d like!

Have any tips to help us green juice our way towards healthy living? Leave it with us in a comment below!

Shed the Pounds with Fun Group Exercise Classes

Regular cardio exercise is important for your heart, body and mind. Not only does it help reduce body fat, but it also helps lower cholesterol, keeps your heart healthy and is an overall mood-booster. However, a problem many people encounter is that they find their workout routines to get dull and mundane. The thought of having to drag yourself to the gym every other day for the same jog on a treadmill can be a big roadblock to reaching your fitness goals.

So what is the solution? Group exercise classes are fun, social, challenging, and some are very new and unique to the fitness industry. So skip the stationary cardio machines, and try attending some of these top group exercise classes at your local gym.

  • Zumba classes are designed for everyone, even if you’re not a dancer! The combination of Latin music with a fun and effective workout, will surely make you break a sweat.
  • Water Aerobics includes classes such as Yoga, Kickboxing and Pilates that have moved into the pool. These classes are varied, exciting, and many may use props that help with strength building, as you resist each move you make against the water.
  • Kickboxing includes a series of repetitive punches, kicks and other self defense moves to give you an effective resistance training and cardio workout.
  • Z-Box Fitness is one of the newest fitness crazes around. It blends hip hop dance moves with boxing moves. The class ends with Z.E.N., for the perfect relaxation experience.
  • Hot Yoga classes are taken in a 95 degree Fahrenheit room. The heat promotes intense sweating, which will loosen your muscles and help cleanse the body.
  • CrossFit group classes will give you a full body workout with its varying exercise routines. Whether you are jumping rope, weightlifting or utilizing gymnastic rings, this strength and conditioning class can help improve your overall fitness.

With the holidays coming up fast, many gyms and fitness facilities may be offering discounted memberships. This makes it the perfect time to sign up and experience some of today’s most enthusiastic group exercise classes.

Gear Up with the Polar RCX5 Training Computer: Coming Soon!

Back in March, we were very excited to hear about the upcoming release of the new Polar RCX5 Training Computer. You can check out the full press release with all of the details here, but if you want to start preordering, be sure to stay tuned. HeartRateMonitorsUSA.com will soon be offering the Polar RCX5 training computer for preorder soon, but until then, we wanted to keep you updated with the new item’s features and package offerings.

Polar RCX5 Training Computer G5

Polar RCX5 Training Computer G5

In terms of features, the Polar RCX5 is going to have it all. As the news release states, it’ll have:

  • A brand new, personalized ZoneOptimizer feature
  • Sport-specific training data based on personal settings
  • Updates on PolarPersonalTrainer.com to support multisport athletes
  • Two color options: smart black (available June 2011) or striking red (available September 2011)
  • Four different product sets with different sensors to suit your sport

For more details, see the official product release. Now, on to the exciting stuff. As we mentioned above, there will be four different product sets with different sensors to suit your sport and each one will feature the new WearLink Hybrid transmitter that can give heart rate data anywhere – even in water!

Here are several options of Polar RCX5 training computer that you’ll be able to choose from once the item is released:

The RCX5 Basic: This order contains a RCX5 training computer, WearLink Hybrid transmitter, and Datalink, plus, all of the Polar features that you need to train smarter. No matter what your sport, the Polar RCX5 Basic package is the perfect fit.

The RCX5b Bike: Are you a cyclist? Then be sure to order this option to get the RCX5 training computer, WearLink Hybrid transmitter, Datalink, CS Speed Sensor W.I.N.D., universal bike mount, and accessory attachment kits. Every cyclist has to have this hot new item from Polar.

The RCX5sd Run:
Runners need this RCX5 training computer package, which includes the RCX5 training computer, WearLink Hybrid transmitter, Datalink, s3+ stride sensor, and a comfortable holder. A must for any runner.

The RCX5 G5:
Need the ultimate in training? Then trust the Polar RCX5 G5 package to get the Polar RCX5 training computer, WearLink Hybrid transmitter, Datalink, G5 GPS sensor, armband, and USB cable for high tech training that takes you to the next level. A great option for hardcore athletes, marathoners, or triathletes.

For more details, check out our product page for the Polar RC5 Training Computer. Which one will you be ordering?

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Rev Up Your Energy Levels with a Blueberry Boost Shake

At Heart Rate Monitors USA, we get questions about nutrition a lot, especially pertaining to pre and post-workouts. While you should always stay well hydrated before, during, and after your workout, it’s also important for you to nourish your body with the right fuel to start building muscle. This is where shakes come in.

Shakes can be a great way for you to recharge and give your body the best nutrition possible after a workout, especially if you’re looking to sustain energy or build muscle. Here’s one of our favorite shake recipes, perfect for enjoying as a snack or as post-workout recharge.

Blueberry Boost Shake
1 cup blueberries
2 cups cold milk
a few ice cubes
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
A pinch of ground cinnamon

In a blender, combine all ingredients on high until smooth and creamy. Serve and enjoy!

Beating High Blood Pressure – With Dr. Oz!

Omron Blood Pressure MonitorsOn a recent episode of Oprah, Dr. Oz reveals foods, supplements, and even his #1 method for lowing your blood pressure. Want to know his secret? It’s at home monitoring with products like the Omron Home Blood Pressure Monitor.

Monitoring your blood pressure at home is one of the best ways to keep your BP in check, no matter what your current level of health. If you’ve struggled with blood pressure issues, monitoring is absolutely critical for managing your health. Get in the habit of testing your blood pressure once a month at least, or more often if you find yourself at risk for conditions like high blood pressure.

Pay particular attention to the top number – the systolic pressure – as this is the number that indicates the pressure when the heart beats while pumping blood. Systolic pressure can be the best lifelong measurement for hypertension or high blood pressure. If you see a systolic read above 140, be sure to speak with your doctor immediately.

Get the info and watch Dr. Oz in his video series to find out more about at-home blood pressure monitoring.

Energy Chunks: A Marathon Must-Have

When you’re running a marathon, working out, or are just simply on the move, your body needs energy to keep going. So, to help you stay energized, Heart Rate Monitors USA wants to share a recipe for simple Energy Chunks that give your body just what it needs to keep moving.

Here’s what you’ll need to make this pre and post-workout snack:


Energy Chunks

1 cup honey
1 cup natural peanut butter
1 cup carob powder
1 cup sesame seeds
1 cup sunflower seeds
Dried fruits, nuts, or chocolate chips of your choice

Start out by heating the honey in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once it’s warmed, add the peanut butter slowly until just mixable. Then, stir in the remaining ingredients and press the energy chunk mixture into a greased (use a bit of oil instead of butter) baking dish. Chill for one hour and then cut into small squares. Store in an airtight container for up to one month, or freeze for up to 6 months.

Enjoy!