Getting Fit with Hula Hoops

Fun activities that also help burn calories can be good options for a fitness regimen. It can make a workout feel less stressful and more enjoyable thereby increasing your chances of sticking to your routine. Toys and play often come to mind when people hear the term fun – add some workout techniques, and you got yourself a fun fitness routine.

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One classic toy that found its way to the fitness world is the Hula Hoop. Swinging your hips around to keep Hula Hoops from falling on the floor can actually help you meet your fitness goals. There are plenty of fitness benefits that can be gained through hula hooping. It can help strengthen the core and tone the muscles in your arms, thighs, butt, and stomach. Aside from burning calories and toning the body, hooping also helps improve your cardiovascular endurance and joint health.

Both traditional and weighted hula hoops can be used for your exercises. Just remember that lighter hoops require more energy to keep it spinning while heavier ones are a bit easier to handle. Those who simply want to have fun can start with traditional hoops and just have a go at keeping the hoops spinning as long as they can. Once you get a hang of it then you can play around with weighted hoops and try to keep the hoop going for at least 10 minutes at a time. If you want more challenge then look into programs like Hulafit, Fitness Hoop Dance, and the likes. Even if it is just for fun your body can benefit from improved balance, coordination, flexibility, and posture that come with hula hooping.

Hula Hoops have gone a long way from being a child’s plaything. Today, both kids and adults can get into hooping to enjoy a more fit and healthy body while bonding together. Hula hoop fitness classes that incorporate music and dance moves in the routine also provide a fresh and exciting hula experience.

Top 5 Cardio Exercises You May Try at Home

If you’re looking to shed some kilos, improve muscle tone and your overall fitness, you need to get into some cardio work. But you don’t have to pay a fortune for a gym membership you’ll probably not use, there are lots of different cardio workouts you can do in the comfort and privacy of your own home. Tee up with some awesome training supplements (check out and you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it before. Here are five top cardio exercises to try at home.

1. Skipping

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Skipping ain’t just for kids, it’s one of the most cardio-intense workouts you can do. The beauty of skipping is you can easily adjust the intensity of your workout. It’s also great to toning your arms, your calves, thighs, buttocks and will seriously improve your core stability and strength as well. Chuck on some great beats and get skipping, the results will amaze you.

2. Stairs

If you’ve got a set of stairs at your place, consider them your new cardio training partner. Climbing stairs repeatedly is one of the best ways to increase core strength and stability, improve cardio fitness and to seriously build lean muscle mass in your gluts, hamstrings and quadriceps. The benefit of building up these large muscles is they’ll continue to burn fat, even after you finish exercising. Because the amount of muscle we have affects our metabolism and therefore weight distribution, focus on the big guys (such as the thighs), and get better results more quickly.

3. Yoga and pilates


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To increase your lean muscle mass and therefore tone, you don’t need to lift heavy weights in a gym, especially if you’re a woman. Yoga and its modern offshoot pilates are fantastic ways to strengthen, tone and redesign your physique. In addition, you’ll have an amazing core which will ensure your spine is well looked after and avoid back pain through improved posture, balance and strength. There are so many online yoga and pilates and instructors, that you’ll easily be able to find a style and instructor that appeals to you and your training goals.

4. Aerobics

While the word ‘aerobics’ might conjure up images of lycra and Olivia Newton-John’s infamous ‘Let’s Get Physical’ music video, it shouldn’t. Aerobics has come a very long way since its debut in the 1980s and has now evolved to include different workout styles. For example, you can choose to do a high intensity workout such as a boxing or martial arts-based session. Just like yoga and pilates, there are now loads of online workouts available to buy and use at home.


It might be an oldie, but it’s a goodie – cycling. For some serious fat-burning, high intensity cardio – get on your bike! Whether you cycle the streets or on an exercise bike, you’ll quickly build muscle in your thighs and gluts and will work up a serious sweat at the same time.

Increasingly, more and more people are choosing to develop home-based training regimes. Many of the exercises you can do at home, cost little or nothing and you have the added convenience of being able to work out when and where you want to. You don’t have to wait for machines, put up with unbearable music and best of all, you can work out in complete privacy.

Ten Must-know Tips to Relieve your Knee Pain

The human knee is one of the most underappreciated parts of the human body. We need it to walk, run, sit, kneel, jump and to do just about everything else. Yet we hardly know it is there – until we injure it and it is no longer functioning as it should. Many people, especially sports men and women, believe the best thing to do with a knee injury is to carry on. They call it ‘running through’ the pain. This can do more harm than good. Instead, you need to take action to relieve the pain before more damage occurs. Here are 10 tips to help you relieve pain in your knees.

Knee support

More often than not, knee injuries are caused by strain and overuse. If the injury is relatively minor, it can be relieved by wearing a knee support or brace at certain times, such as during exercise. There is a wide variety on the market. Check out sports injury relief specialists Optomo Australia for some options. They also have a great competition out at the moment for any budding fitness gurus, which you can check out at their Optomo Competitions page.

Cold treatments and warm showers

Ice packs in the first 72 hours after a knee injury are highly effective in relieving pain. Once you have taken the pain away, a warm shower will help relieve any associated swelling.

Pain relief ointment and spray

Another option is to coat the knee with an over-the-counter menthol treatment. They come in ointments, sprays and patches. If you are not sure what is right for you, check with the pharmacist.

Physical therapy

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If a supportive bandage isn’t providing enough relief, try physical or occupational therapy from a physiotherapist or sports doctor. The specialist will develop an exercise program to suit your abilities and provide tips on how to avoid similar injuries in the future.

Look at your feet

People who roll their feet inward when they walk will often find themselves with knee problems. This can easily be fixed with supportive shoes provided by sports medicine specialists, chiropractors or orthopaedists.

Lose weight

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The additional burden placed on the knees due to weight problems is a growing issue. If you feel you are a little above what is considered a healthy weight and it is affecting your knees, talk to your doctor about a healthy diet and exercise program.

Knee-friendly exercise

Look for a workout program that avoids stress on the knee such as easy walking and swimming. Do not go running or jumping if your knee is already causing you pain.

Get Enough Rest and Relaxation

It might be in the mind, but doctors say patients who are relaxed after an operation require less pain relief and heal faster than those who are agitated and stressed. Take time during the day to rest and recover.

Make Sure You’re Getting Enough Sleep

Similarly, a lack of sleep can increase aches and pain in all parts of the body, including the knees. Get a good night’s sleep and you will be feeling better in no time.

Prescribed pain relief

If the pain gets too much, you may be forced to see a doctor and seek some prescription medicine in the form of tablets or even injections. This should be a last resort after trying other possible remedies.

These are just a few ideas to both prevent and relieve knee pain. Start with the simplest option and move up the list until you find something that works. If pain persists, it might be time to see a doctor.

The Pros and Cons of Having a Swimming pool

Summer frolicking, mouth-watering BBQs and refreshing relaxation; the backyard pool offers so much during those hot, sticky months when swimsuits and air-conditioning swing back into fashion. Are you thinking of adding a pool to the charm of your family home? While the benefits may jump to mind easily, there are other considerations to take into account. Below you will find a list that will help you decide once and for all whether a pool is right for you.

Pro: A Pool Adds Significant Value to your Home

backyard pool, benefits of swimming poolAs with any significant decision or lifestyle change, you only get out what you put in. Owning a pool requires time, money and organisation, but the eventual payoff can be worth it. Not only will you get to enjoy the pool yourself, but your property’s market value may increase. House buyers are willing to pay more for a house with a pool already installed; keeping in mind the overall property market at the time of selling your house, you may even cover the costs of your pool with the right buyer.

Con: Cost and Maintenance

Whether you add a pool for selling purposes or for personal benefit, there are unavoidable expenses beyond its installation. The basics of cleaning, including chlorine, automated vacuums, scooping nets and brushes, all the way through to heating mechanisms, lighting, covers and accessories are costs that cannot be skimped on, and need to be considered alongside the costs of the pool itself. Should cracks appear, drainage prove faulty, tiles need to be replaced, or maintenance tools need repairs, the added expenses of a pool can add up. For a better idea on pricing, check out specialists such as Alliance Pool Stores.

Pro: Convenience of Entertainment

Once you have installed your pool, the entertainment possibilities are limited only by your creativity. From a simple dip with the kids to a luau-themed birthday party, social gatherings, weekends and holidays become a breeze when you have a pool as a centrepiece. The little ones can practice their skills acquired in swimming lessons, while the bigger kids can get in some extra laps when swimming practice is cancelled for the week. Read a book in the sun, your toes dangling in the cool water, or take the dog in for a dip on the extra hot days. The pool can be used by anyone at any time, with the convenience of simply stepping outside, towel in hand.

Con: The Added Essentials

With convenience comes extra consideration. Picture this: you’ve got your friends around for a barbeque, everyone is chatting away, the kids are running around in the backyard and suddenly, your eldest child wants to show everyone the new pool and all the toys. Won’t you be thankful when they have to come to you for permission to unlock the gate, rather than going into the pool without supervision? Lockable fences, sometimes signage, and a practical knowledge of CPR can be priceless when making the swimming pool a safe environment for everyone.

Pro: Exercise!

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Even bobbing around in the pool, drink in hand, under the sun, is a boost for your health unlike any other. After all the safety precautions are taken—sunscreen, floaties for the inexperienced swimmer, correct supervision—the light exercise of swimming and a boost of Vitamin B can leave you feeling relaxed, rejuvenated and with a healthy glow, no matter your age, fitness or swimming ability.

While there are many things to consider when installing a pool, there are also many things to be gained; in the long run, your finances, fitness and freedom will thank you! What do you think? Will you be installing a pool in the near future?

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Ride the Tour de France: How Anyone Can Take on the Ultimate Bike Challenge

Tour de France

Stage One of Tour de France 2013

You don’t need to be a world-class cyclist (or take steroids) to complete the Tour de France. If you have the passion and dedication to conquer this ultimate bike challenge, then it’s completely in your grasp. Below we’ve listed the three general areas that you will need to prepare in.

Equipment & Training

An ordinary, run-of-the-mill bike isn’t going to get you through these grueling tracks. So make sure you grab a professional, well-equipped bike from a store like 99 Bikes . Do this as early in your preparation as you can, because you want to get comfortable and familiar with your race bike before the big event. You need to train frequently and intensely. If you push yourself about 30% harder during your training than you plan to do in the actual ride, the challenge will be just that little bit less difficult and intimidating when you get to it. Make sure to also mix up the routes you use for training and include a variety of steep climbs and tights turns to prepare yourself for some of the most difficult cycling tracks in the world. No matter how hard you push yourself on flat ground, this won’t prepare you for the steep uphill cycling that makes up a significant aspect of the Tour de France.

Exercise and Diet

If you have the time and capacity, you’ll want to add non-cycling exercise into your daily (or at least weekly) routine. Cardio, core strength, and weight training will all come in handy for boosting your general fitness and for building up the endurance that is so vital for making it to the finish line in the Tour de France. Your diet is another crucial element of preparing for this challenge. If you’re not in your best shape when you begin your training, chances are you will be by the end; to help your body on this journey, it’s important to watch what you eat. Nobody likes giving up their favourite foods, but if you can go without any high-sugar and high-fat snacks just in the lead up to the tour, you’ll reward yourself by getting the best times and results possible – well worth the temporary sacrifice!

Mental Discipline

For many people, the mind gives up on finishing a race before the body does. During your training, monitor your thoughts carefully. Every time your brain says that you can’t go any further, recognise that your body should determine whether that is true or not, and keep going. Eventually, you’ll develop the habit of pushing yourself beyond the limits that your mind places around your potential.

There are simple techniques you can work on to distract yourself from thoughts of anxiety and despair (e.g. ‘I’m not going to make it, it’s too far.’) These include concentrating completely on something simple like your breathing or leg movements. You can also practise thinking of your progress in terms of what you’ve already achieved, rather than what remains to complete (and vice versa once you hit the halfway mark).

Taking on the Tour de France challenge is a big step and you should feel proud of yourself just for entering and doing your best. Following the advice in this post should help you get to the finish line with your head held high.

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