5 Ways to Improve Your Walking Workout5 Ways to Improve Your Walking Workout

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Improve Your Walking Workout

Walking is an effective exercise, but it’s easy to get into a rut with your routine. When you continue to walk for the same time and distance at the same intensity, your fitness is no longer challenged and you may no longer see results. This doesn’t mean you have to stop walking. Add some of these creative variations to your workout to get the heart pumping and to continue improving your fitness.

Add intervals

By varying your speed throughout your walk, you can boost calorie burn without overexerting yourself. Start at a leisurely pace, walk a little faster for 60 seconds, and then walk as fast as you can for 30 seconds to 60 seconds. Return to your leisurely place for 60 seconds and continue to repeat the intervals throughout your entire walk. If you’d rather not keep time, use landmarks for your intervals. For example, walk quickly to the stop sign and then recover until you get to the fire hydrant.

Alter your environment

A boring walk feels like it lasts forever and your lack of interest could slow you down to a shuffle. Choose walking environments that energize you or those that relieve your stress, and alternate where you walk to avoid boredom. Take time to investigate what types of walking environments you have access to. You might be surprised to find nature trails, beaches, paved trails around lakes, high school cross-country courses, and quaint downtown streets, which all provide enjoyable places to walk.

Find an incline

Whether you are on a treadmill or outside, increasing the grade on your course is a quick and easy way to increase the intensity. On the treadmill, instead of changing the speed during intervals, try increasing the incline. If you are outdoors, find a hilly route or stairs to instantly challenge your fitness.

Incorporate circuits

Your workout doesn’t have to be limited to walking. A 30-to-45-minute walk provides a great opportunity to work in some strength training. Walk for 5 minutes, stop and do a set of lunges. Walk for 5 more minutes and do a set of bicep curls with an exercise band. Adding some different activities will make your workout go faster and you’ll have both your cardio and strength training completed in one session.

Beat your time

Turn your walks into a competition with yourself. Stick with the same course and distance for two weeks. Record your total time on your first workout. On each walk that follows, try to beat the time before it. Not only will you increase your pace and challenge your fitness, you will gain a sense of accomplishment from achieving your goal.

Sources

Egg White Breakfast Tacos with Spinach Pesto RecipeEgg White Breakfast Tacos with Spinach Pesto

Source: MyFoodDiary.com

Egg White Breakfast Tacos with Spinach Pesto Recipe

These easy breakfast tacos are filled with protein-packed egg whites. A pesto made with fresh spinach, basil, and olive oil provides vitamins with heart-healthy fat. Fiber from whole grain tortillas will keep you feeling full throughout the morning.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 2 tacos
Amount Per Serving
352
Calories
% Daily Value*
27%
Total Fat 17.8g
11%Saturated Fat 2.3g
Trans Fat 0g
0%
Cholesterol 1mg
17%
Sodium 398mg
11%
Total Carbohydrate 33.2g
17%
Dietary Fiber 4.8g
Sugars 3.5g
Protein 16.5g
*
The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

Yield: 4 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup fresh spinach leaves
  • ½ cup fresh basil leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbsp raw walnuts
  • 1 tbsp freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp fine ground sea salt
  • 10 large egg whites
  • 8 whole grain taco-size tortillas, warmed
  • 1 cup sliced grape or cherry tomatoes

Directions

  1. Place the spinach and basil in a small food processor. Add the garlic, walnuts, and parmesan cheese. Pulse in 10-second intervals until all ingredients are finely chopped.
  2. Reserve 1 teaspoon of the olive oil. Add the remaining olive oil to the food processor with 1/8 teaspoon of the pepper and the salt. Puree for 20 to 30 seconds until the pesto is blended and almost smooth. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, add the egg whites, 1 teaspoon of olive oil and the remaining black pepper. Whisk for 15 to 20 seconds. Preheat a medium non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the eggs and cook. Stir often for 3 to 4 minutes, until they are fully cooked, but still soft.
  4. Place two tortillas on each serving plate, and fill each taco with an equal amount of scrambled egg whites. Top each with an equal amount of pesto and sliced tomatoes before serving.

How to Pack a Healthy LunchHow to Pack a Healthy Lunch

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How to Pack a Healthy Lunch

Committing to take your lunch to school or work every day is just one step in the right direction. Once lunch time arrives, the meal needs to be appealing so that you won’t pass on it in favor of going out, and it should also be balanced in nutrients to keep your energy up throughout the afternoon. Here are a few tips to help you pack a healthy lunch that you will enjoy eating.

Pack a filling meal.

Taking a small lunch in an effort to save calories is a plan that can backfire. Your hunger may overwhelm you soon after the meal. Take enough food so that you feel comfortably full after eating. Choose foods that supply protein, fiber, and healthy fat. They will take longer to digest, keeping you full and satisfied. They will also help to sustain energy levels longer than a meal filled with simple carbohydrates.

Add variety.

Include something new in your lunch at least once per week. Try an exotic fruit or splurge on a infused-olive oil for your salad. Eating healthy food should be something you look forward to. Adding variety to your meals makes you less likely to be tempted by unhealthy options.

Keep it balanced.

As you pack your lunch, keep a mental list of all of the components of food that benefit your health -- protein, carbohydrates, fiber, healthy fat, vitamins, minerals, and plant phytochemicals. Select combinations of foods that will supply all of these beneficial nutrients. The more balanced your meals, the greater your food variety and the more nourished your body will be.

Satisfy cravings.

Include some foods that will help satisfy cravings and keep you from mindlessly snacking throughout the afternoon. Include a small square of dark chocolate or a mixed fruit salad for dessert. Instead of chips, satisfy your craving for something crunchy and salty with lightly salted air-popped popcorn or roasted chickpeas.

Make it interesting.

Most importantly, pack a lunch that you want to eat. A bland salad may make you feel like you are being good, but if you don’t enjoy it, a coworker’s offer to split her high-calorie take-out may be difficult to pass up. Pack food that is interesting and appealing. If you want to stick with a salad, dress it up with shredded cabbage, bok choy, fresh fruit, beans, colorful heirloom cherry tomatoes, and sunflower seeds. If you feel like you are in a lunch rut, try some of these ideas.

  • Make a wrap with bean spread.
  • Prep a burrito bowl the night before and reheat it at the office.
  • Load up a pasta salad with all your favorite vegetables and beans.
  • Hollow out small tomatoes and fill them with tuna salad.
  • Make a sushi bowl with brown rice, vegetables and smoked salmon.
  • Make a stew with white beans, quinoa, vegetables and your favorite herbs and spices.

Using a Foam RollerUsing a Foam Roller

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Using a Foam Roller

The foam roller is a dense cylinder-shaped piece of foam used to give muscles a mini-massage with big fitness benefits. Foam rolling muscles lengthens and stretches the muscle, increasing blood flow.

Benefits

According to the American College of Sports Medicine, recent research shows that regular foam rolling can help decrease muscle soreness and improve range of motion. A reduction in muscle soreness may increase the likelihood that a person will stick with an exercise program. Improvements in range of motion (flexibility) may improve exercise form and overall performance. Research also shows that foam rolling can help prevent injuries.

Foam rolling can be used for myofascial release, which is a deep massage technique that reduces muscle tension by breaking down scar tissue and adhesions that form in the muscle. The tissue and adhesions can be caused by regular exercise, but they also develop due to stress, overuse, or low levels of physical activity. Foam rolling may also help relieve the pain associated with common conditions like IT band syndrome and shin splints.

Getting started

The foam roller can be used to massage most muscles including the upper back, quadriceps, inner and outer thighs, hamstrings, and calves. It’s important not to jump into foam rolling without some instruction. Massaging a muscle with the foam roller isn’t always comfortable, but it is important that you perform it correctly so that you achieve the mild discomfort that works the muscle and do not risk aggravating injuries.

If you plan to use the roller at a gym, ask a trainer to provide basic instructions and evaluate whether you are performing the moves correctly. If you purchased your foam roller for home use, read the instructions carefully and review exercise examples or DVDs that are included. You can also seek out instructional videos or articles online from accredited fitness organizations like the American Council on Exercise.

Making it a part of your exercise plan

Foam rolling should be an addition to your workouts and not replace other components of your fitness plan. Warm up, cool down, and stretching exercises are all still important. Foam rolling should be incorporated with these activities to stretch and massage the muscles further and to reduce muscle soreness, help improve mobility, and reduce the risk for future injuries.

Carrot Cauliflower Pasta Salad RecipeCarrot Cauliflower Pasta Salad

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Carrot Cauliflower Pasta Salad Recipe

This pasta salad recipe uses less pasta and more vegetables to create a dish with fewer calories than the traditional recipe, and it doesn’t skimp on flavor. The cauliflower and carrots are also loaded with fiber and disease fighting antioxidants.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1/4 recipe
Amount Per Serving
118
Calories
% Daily Value*
6%
Total Fat 3.9g
2%Saturated Fat 0.5g
Trans Fat 0g
0%
Cholesterol 0mg
7%
Sodium 152mg
6%
Total Carbohydrate 18.1g
8%
Dietary Fiber 2.2g
Sugars 2.6g
Protein 3.3g
*
The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

Yield: 4 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups grated cauliflower
  • 1 cup dry bow-tie pasta (about 2.5 oz.), cooked according to package directions
  • 1/3 cup shredded carrot
  • 2 tbsp finely diced red onion
  • ¼ cup light mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh chives
  • ¼ tsp honey
  • ¼ tsp smoked paprika

Directions

  1. Add the cauliflower, pasta, carrot, and onion to a medium bowl. Stir to combine the ingredients.
  2. In a small dish, whisk together the mayonnaise, water, chives, honey, and smoked paprika until smooth.
  3. Just before serving, pour the dressing over the salad and stir to coat all the vegetables and pasta. Serve immediately or refrigerate up to 30 minutes.
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