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Over the last few weeks, I have come across quite a few different articles promoting physical fitness to increase the brain, and decided to look into this a little bit more. Sure, working out will make you feel better about yourself, look better, and maybe even boost your confidence, but does it really make the brain more “fit?”
Exercise benefits the brain in a number of ways. One of the main examples of this is that it increases the heart rate, which in turn pumps more oxygen to the brain. Physical activity also releases hormones which “participate in aiding and providing a nourishing environment for the growth of brain cells.” USNews.com recently posted an article in which a team, led by Laura Chaddock-Heyman researched this exact subject. “We know from previous work that higher fit children outperform lower fit children on tasks of attention, memory and school performance,” Chaddock-Heyman says. “Thus, it is possible that white matter structure is another pathway by which fitness relates to improved cognition.”
Physical fitness, to promote a healthier brain, is now making its way around the world. In Iowa, gym students will now be required to wear a heart rate monitor in order to pass the class. Livermore Elementary School has also implemented a special fitness element into their classrooms in the form of desk cycles. Children will be able to cycle, at their leisure, as they sit at their desks. The desk cycles keep track of distance and calories burned. Regular physical activity boosts memory and ability to learn and retain new information. An added tidbit of information for you, Studies show just one hour’s exercise a week can reduce the chance of Alzheimer’s disease by almost half, according to a landmark study which ranks the seven lifestyle threats fuelling rising levels of dementia. Although the brain is an organ, it’s safe to think of it as a muscle. Use It or Lose It!

Never Be In The Dark Again!

Ok, you’re camping, throwing an outside party or just having a get together with friends on your deck. When the sun starts to set the one thing that all of the above have in common is that you’re going to have to turn on some lights.

A great way to provide a light source for every occasion is the Luci Lux Inflatable Solar Lantern

Luci Lux Inflatable Solar Lantern

There are various models of the Luci Lux from straight white led light to a model that provides various colors that fade in and out for a soothing mood that can help set the tone for any gathering or celebration.

The Luci Lux is very portable, lightweight and can be used indoors and out! It’s great for taking on a hiking/camping trip in that it only weighs 4 ounces and collapses to only 1 inch. Contains a solar charged lithium ion battery, which makes it a great energy saving alternative to candles or conventional batteries. This solar battery can be charged from either sunlight or incandescent light and produces light from 10 led bulbs, this will provide you with up to 12 hours of illumination.  It will easily provide enough light for a 10 sq. foot area.

Another great feature is that the Luci Lux is also completely waterproof.  So you don’t have to worry about any rain events or possibly dropping it in a body of water while you are camping!

With the Luci Lux, you will never need to worry about not having enough light at hand for any outdoor function.

 

High Blood Pressure and Exercising, Why You Need It!

Adopting a regimen of exercising into your daily life style can help lower your blood pressure! Not only can it lower your blood pressure but it can also provide the means to lower your stress levels, which in turn can make your day a happier one!

As always, before starting any exercise program, check with your doctor to make sure you are ready to begin an exercising program.  If you currently are not physically active they will make sure you are in good shape to begin one.  Since an active lifestyle is good for your blood pressure, your doctor will likely be all for it.

You can do any activity you like, and you don’t need to go to a gym. As long as you’re moving around and making your heart beat a little faster. That includes brisk walking, jogging, swimming, biking, lifting weights, or doing yard work.

Know Your Numbers: Whatever exercise program you choose to do, make sure it will be something you are happy doing.  This is a “Key Factor” in keeping you committed to your new exercise routine.  If you don’t like what you are doing you’re going to have a hard time keeping to it!

Keep in mind, blood pressure does increase with age. So it is important that you ask your doctor what blood pressure numbers are right for you at this time in your life.  There are many portable devices today to help you keep track of your numbers.

To help monitor your blood pressure, check out the ADC 6015 Automatic Advantage Wrist Digital Blood Pressure Monitor  It enables very fast and reliable measurement of the systolic and diastolic blood pressure as well as pulse. It’s very portable and has an easy to read screen.

When starting your exercise program you will also want to track your overall performance.  One way to do this is by the use of a daily monitor like the Lifetrak Move C300 Activity and Heart Rate Monitor The LifeTrak Move C300 automatically tracks your calories burned, steps taken, and distance traveled. Your data displays right on your wrist for easy viewing. No extra parts or charging required! The Move C300 can also sync to some of your favorite health and fitness apps using Bluetooth Smart technology.

How Often Should You Exercise?

Go for moderate activity, like brisk walking, at least 30 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week. If you’re short on time, vigorous activity, like jogging, gives you the same benefit in 20 minutes, 3 to 4 days a week.

If you’re not active today, gradually work up to this amount of exercise. If it takes you a few weeks to get there, that’s absolutely fine.

Remember the key to staying committed to an exercise program is to make it a part of your daily routine.  Make a plan to schedule it.  Keep sight of the overall goal of getting your blood pressure numbers down to where your doctor recommends them to be.

Most of all look at the time that you spend exercising, as your “personal time”.  If you do this, you will not have to push yourself to exercise, you will be looking forward to doing it.

Lowering your Blood Pressure, Lowering your Stress = Happier Days and better Health!

Pear Training Intelligence and Your I- Phone

Never second guess at a workout routine again!  Pear Training Intelligence uses the advanced Bluetooth heart rate monitor to measure your body’s response to a workout and provides real-time audio coaching through the Pear Stride earphones to ensure that you train at the right intensity.

The Pear Stride Earphones feature the exclusive “Earlock” by Surefire Retention System used by Special Forces, utilizing seven contact points to ensure a secure and comfortable fit, even for long workouts.

 
Plans from the Pros
With a wide range of unique workouts and training plans from world-class coaches, PEAR has something for everyone and is continuously adding new content. PEAR lets you train efficiently and effectively, whether you’ve started running for the first time, or if you’re a Boston Marathon qualifier. Choose your favorite activity and let your coach take it from there.


Personalized
Unlike any other heart rate monitor or exercise device, PEAR guides you step by step, telling you when to speed up or slow down, provides useful tips to improve your form, explains the purpose and benefits of the workout, and keeps motivating you. Using PEAR Stride earphones, advanced Bluetooth heart rate monitor and PEAR’s fitness assessment workout, PEAR will learn your fitness level and create custom heart rate zones that ensure you do every subsequent workout at the right intensity.

 
Train Smart by Heart Rate
Training effectively by heart rate requires customized workouts based on how your heart responds to exercise. Using five narrow heart rate zones, based on your calibration, and PEAR’s advanced Bluetooth® heart rate monitor, PEAR helps you dial in the intensity of your workouts very precisely to get the maximum intended benefit. With PEAR, you don’t have to calculate or remember any numbers to perform your workouts effectively. PEAR does it all for you.

 
Real-Time Audio Coaching
With PEAR, forget the nagging uncertainties of “Am I pushing myself enough?” or “Am I in the right zone?” or “What are my zones anyway?” PEAR interprets your biometrics for you, delivering you an effective and efficient workout. After choosing your workout, whether it be a kettlebell workout or a 5K training plan, PEAR will coach you from start to finish, telling you exactly what to do. PEAR will also deliver real-time stats like time, distance, heart rate, current zone, pace, calories burned, and more, with the simple touch of a button.

 
Track Your Stats.
PEAR makes working out not only fun, but also rewarding. Track your progress and review your stats within the PEAR Sports app or online through the PEAR web portal. Over time, as you build speed and endurance, you will start to see improvements such as your average speed increasing and fitness level improving. Proud of a particular workout? PEAR lets you share your stats with your friends via social media and email.

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!