If you’re breaking your fitness monotony this winter, with runs and yoga in the park, expect a slight change in routine. Carrying out cardio and resistance training in the open will come with its own challenges that you may have not encountered in the gym. You’ll be concerned about keeping hydrated, dealing with sweaty activewear, storing personal belongings, tracking important metrics and more.
It takes a bit of preparation on your end before you hit the beach or the neighbourhood park, but fret not – you’ll find the transition much easier with the right gear and tips. Kirti Thakur, a Dubai-based fitness trainer of seven years and co-founder of the coaching app Last Fitness, tells us that the ideal ambient temperature for working out lies between 23 to 24 degrees Celsius.
“It’s good to get the outside air, and it also gets pretty nice at night for walks. Your choice of exercise depends on what temperature you can handle or are used to. At an intermediate level, people can jog, run, do bodyweight exercises, like jumping jacks and jump squats,” advised Thakur.
Exercising outdoors begins with keeping muscle cramps at bay. “If you’re a beginner, never go outdoors without a light meal or else, you can experience cramps and dizziness. Have a peanut butter sandwich, apple, banana, some walnuts or dates 45 minutes prior. I’d also recommend carrying a water bottle in a waist belt for sipping throughout a session,” she explained.
Always start off slowly with enough time dedicated to warming up. Thakur suggests walking for 10 minutes and then moving to mild jogging to gradually increase the heart rate. Choosing the right sports footwear is just as crucial for a sustainable and cramp-free run.
Even in pleasant, cool weather, humidity can be a constant phenomenon. “My personal outdoor challenge is facing a lot of sweating, especially with all the humidity if you live near Dubai Marina,” said Thakur, who has added dry shampoo, sweatproof sunscreen, and a water-resistant sports band for her fitness tracker, in order to combat moisture in her outdoor routine.
We’ve taken down Thakur’s tried-and-tested solutions to common outdoor problems, and added other helpful workout gear for you below. Join the many fitness fanatics taking to the streets in Dubai this season, and shop with an Amazon Prime membership for free, fast delivery.
1. Best Fitness Tracker: Fitbit Sense 2
- Six months of free membership with guided sessions and training
- Tracks sleep, stress, heart rate, daily acitivity and more
- 40-plus exercise modes with GPS
- High visibility in the sun
- Water-resistant in up to 50 metres
- Battery doesn’t last six days as stated
- Some advanced features work with a premium subscription
You’ve stepped out to work out but have no idea where to begin – a fitness tracker lets you carry training apps on the wrist, offering guided sessions. “You can set timers on sports watches and sync your data with free training apps. For instance, if you want to run a 5k (5km), you’ll get guided sessions on the app on how to do it,” said Thakur. The Fitbit Sense 2 is a tracker most of her clients opt for, and substitutes well for metrics tracking on gym equipment. Compatible with iOS 13 or higher and Android OS 8.0 or higher, the tracker measures heart rate around the clock, comes with built-in GPS and lets you choose from 40-plus exercise modes, including yoga and bike rides. It also helps you prepare with relaxing breathing sessions, a readiness score and advanced stress management. After purchase, you get a bonus sneak peek into Fitbit’s premium membership for six months – that’s free guided sessions and exclusive workout plans tailored just for you, which reviewers love. Do note that Sense 2 doesn’t allow access to third-party apps, however.
Bonus: Buy with 0% instalments and pay Dh64.80 for 12 months with select banks.
Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh46 and two years for Dh75.
2. Best Workout Planner: WorkoutLabs Exercise Cards: Bodyweight
Another great way to overcome an exercise block is by keeping a handful of workout flashcards on your person. A deck full of guided movements and rep counts not only reduces unnecessary screen time, but lets you create your own routines for the entire season. The WorkoutLabs Exercise Cards packs contains 60 easy-to-challenging moves with anatomical illustrations, tips and intensity levels. These cards target the upper body, core muscles and lower body, so there’s something for everyone. Reviewers find them easy to follow, especially with the colour-coded target areas on each card. They’ve been able to put together simple routines, which can be switched up to keep things interesting.
3. Best for Cramps: Scivation Xtend Original BCAA, Strawberry Kiwi Splash, 90 Servings
With proper hydration, you’ll be able to extend your sessions and train for longer. Thakur recommends mixing BCAA powder (branched-chain amino acids) into your water: “I’ve tested it out personally for three-hour intensive workouts, and it’s helped me lengthen my total training period.” If you suffer from frequent cramps, try out our expert-picked BCAA. The Scivation Xtend is a sugar-free, zero-calorie branched-chain amino acids powder with 3.5 grams of leucine for muscle protein synthesis. Sip on this solution before, during and after workouts to replenish electrolytes and support muscle recovery.
4. Best Running Belt: G-Run Hydration Running Belt
An invaluable gear for walking, running and jogging, a hydration belt fits all your on-the-go necessities, including water. Everything you need, from your smartphone to protein bars, has a space on the waist in this G-Run running belt. It comes with two 295ml bottles that are secured on either side of the waist with a main zippered compartment in the centre, big enough to fit a seven-inch phone. Sure enough, a waist contraption could raise doubts about comfort levels on a run – the G-Run belt is fitted with elastic nylon straps to keep it from bouncing and being disruptive. Runners in the reviews test it out on long 15km races and confirm that the belt stays true to the description, staying put even with filled water bottles. Others also add that the bottles don’t leak.
5. Best Anti-Chafe Balm: KT Health Chafe Safe
Don’t let the dreaded thigh and underarm chafing stop you from clearing that last kilometre. While it’s not a common complaint during strength training, Thakur says that painful friction of the thighs can occur on runs, since “we carry more fat in the lower part of the body” and the constant leg rub in sweaty conditions could cause further irritation. Just glide an anti-chafing stick along the inner thighs and elsewhere to prevent blisters. The KT Tape Chafe Safe works for up to 24 hours and is formulated for high-activity performance. Its gel formula is sweat- and humidity-resistant, making reapplications less frequent. Reviewers who’ve been sprinting for 30 years pin this stick down as an essential. It’s non-greasy, washes off easily and lasts longer than other brands.
6. Best Outdoor Sunscreen: Heliocare 360 Spray Invisible SPF50+
We still need protection against the winter sun, but your regular sunblock might not fare well in the face of sweat and humidity. Heliocare 360 spray is our number-one sunscreen for outdoor exercise, as recommended by our dermatology expert, for its convenient aerosol dispenser. It’s specially formulated for an active lifestyle with broad spectrum protection of SPF50+ (PA++++) against UVA and UVB rays. The spray applies clear without feeling sticky on the skin. The best part is that this sunscreen is water- and sand-resistant, great for hot yoga on the beach.
7. Best Activewear Shirt: Under Armour Men’s Tech 2.0
Finally, invest in a couple of reliable moisture-wicking T-shirts for training. The best fit for a sprint must be “neither extremely tight nor loose”, says Thakur, and the ideal fabric should soak up sweat. This Under Armour men’s training shirt is made from UA Tech polyester, the brand’s own quick-drying, anti-odour material. The fabric is stretchy with a longer back hem, which prevents the T-shirt from riding up during large movements. It also has no-pluck shoulders to avoid any uncomfortable chafing at the seams. According to reviewers, they’ve come across no sweat stains or odour. It wears airy and light throughout any activity.
Our recommendations are independently chosen by Gulf News editors. If you decide to shop through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission, as we are part of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.
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Groundbreaking Review: Impact of Menstrual Cycles on Women’s Exercise and Nutrition
A Groundbreaking Review
A new review conducted by a multinational team of scientists is challenging the conventional wisdom surrounding women’s menstrual cycles, exercise, and nutrition. The team found little evidence to substantiate many commonly held beliefs, such as what to eat, how to train, or what supplements to take during menstruation. This lack of hard evidence points to a significant gap in scientific research on women and exercise, particularly concerning how menstrual periods affect sports performance, physiology, and overall fitness.
The Lack of Evidence
The review relied on various investigative methods, including a systematic review and meta-analysis, narrative interpretation, and a previous umbrella review. Despite this comprehensive approach, the team found sparse research on the impact of menstrual cycles on women’s exercise routines and performance. The few studies that do exist offer limited insights into the effects of menstruation on sports performance, physiology, and fitness.
Hormonal Variations and Individual Differences
One key finding of the review was the substantial hormonal variations between women during their menstrual periods and between cycles. This suggests that there is no ‘standard’ version of a menstrual cycle. Similarly, the review found few differences in exercise results across the cycle phases. These discoveries underline the need for a more individualized approach to training and nutrition during menstruation, as opposed to a ‘one size fits all’ strategy.
Challenging Long-Held Beliefs
This groundbreaking review challenges many long-standing beliefs and myths about menstruation and exercise. It calls into question common practices that many women follow, such as adjusting their diet, exercise routine, or supplement intake based on the phase of their menstrual cycle. Moreover, the review highlights the absence of scientific backing for phase-based exercise regimens and advocates for individualized training plans.
The Role of Other Stressors
As the next step, this work will focus on determining whether symptoms associated with menstruation are cycle-related or due to other stressors. This will provide further insights into women’s experiences during their menstrual cycles and help to inform more effective and individualized strategies for exercise and nutrition.
The Need for More Research
The authors of the review are calling for more high-quality, standardized research on women’s menstrual cycles and exercise. They hope that these future studies will provide the evidence needed to support more effective and individualized recommendations for women during their menstrual cycles. In the meantime, women should consult with health professionals and consider their unique experiences and needs when developing their exercise and nutrition strategies during menstruation.
7 Reasons why exercise, not medication, is your best bet for longevity
Choosing exercise over medication for longevity isn’t just a health trend; it’s a lifestyle choice backed by science.
This blog delves into seven reasons why regular physical activity could be your secret weapon for a longer, healthier life.
You’ll discover how exercise, more than any pill, enhances heart health, mental well-being, immune function, and much more.
Perfect for anyone aiming to improve their health, these insights will highlight the profound impact of incorporating exercise into your daily routine, showing that sometimes, the best medicine is a good workout.
7 Reasons why exercise is the ultimate longevity booster
1. Improves cardiovascular health
Integrating regular exercise into your lifestyle can lead to substantial and lasting improvements in cardiovascular health, often going beyond what medication alone can achieve. It’s a holistic approach, benefiting not just your heart but your entire body and mind.
Here’s how it fortifies your heart and circulation:
Strengthens the heart muscle
Just like any other muscle, your heart becomes stronger with exercise. Regular physical activity helps the heart pump more efficiently, reducing the strain on this vital organ .
Improves blood circulation
Exercise enhances blood flow, ensuring better distribution of oxygen and nutrients throughout your body. This can lead to reduced blood pressure and a lower risk of heart disease.
Exercise vs. medication
- Reduced dependency on medication: While medications for heart health are essential for some, regular exercise can reduce the reliance on these drugs. It can naturally lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels , reducing the need for medication.
- Long-term benefits: Exercise offers long-term improvements in heart health without the side effects often associated with pharmaceuticals.
- Holistic health: Beyond just cardiovascular benefits, exercise improves overall health, including weight management, mental health, and immune function, offering a more comprehensive approach to wellbeing.
2. Enhances mental health
A regular exercise routine can significantly enhance your mental health, offering a holistic and sustainable approach to managing stress, anxiety, and depression .
This natural method can work in tandem with or sometimes even replace the need for medication-based treatments, depending on individual circumstances. Here’s how it makes a difference:
Natural stress reliever
Physical activity increases endorphin production, reducing stress and promoting well-being.
Regular exercise has been shown to relieve symptoms of depression. It stimulates the release of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, which play a key role in mood regulation.
Exercise vs. medication
- Long-term effects: Unlike medication, which often treats symptoms temporarily, exercise can improve mental health.
- No side effects: Exercise comes without the side effects commonly associated with antidepressants or anti-anxiety medication.
- Holistic approach: It improves mental health and enhances physical health, creating a positive feedback loop that further boosts overall well-being.
3. Boosts immune function
Incorporating regular exercise into your lifestyle offers a comprehensive approach to strengthening your immune system.
It’s a natural, effective way to enhance immune resilience and overall health, often providing broader and more lasting benefits than medication alone. Here are the distinct advantages of exercise over immunity-boosting medications:
Enhances immune surveillance
Physical activity improves the circulation of immune cells, making the body more efficient at detecting and responding to pathogens .
Regular exercise can lead to a long-term decrease in inflammation, a key factor in immune response.
Exercise vs. medication
- Sustainable immune health: Unlike certain medications that offer temporary immune support, exercise contributes to lasting improvements in immune system resilience.
- No adverse effects: Exercise strengthens the immune system naturally, without the side effects sometimes associated with immune-boosting drugs.
- Overall health benefits: Beyond immune enhancement, exercise improves cardiovascular health, mental well-being, and more, contributing to a stronger, healthier body capable of robust immune responses.
4. Aids in weight management
Exercise is a more holistic and sustainable weight management approach than weight-loss medications.
It not only helps in shedding pounds but also builds a foundation for a healthier lifestyle. Here are the advantages that weight-loss medications often can’t match:
Regular physical activity increases calorie expenditure, which is crucial for weight loss and management .
Exercise, especially strength training, builds muscle mass, which enhances metabolism, helping the body burn more calories even at rest.
Exercise vs. weight-loss medications
- Sustainable results: While weight-loss medications may offer quick results, exercise leads to longer-lasting weight management by promoting healthy habits.
- Holistic health benefits: Exercise not only aids in weight control but also improves overall health, unlike medications which can have side effects and don’t necessarily contribute to overall wellness.
- Addresses root causes: Exercise tackles the underlying issues of weight gain, such as sedentary lifestyle and poor fitness, rather than just the symptoms .
5. Strengthens bones and muscles
Regular exercise offers long-term benefits for musculoskeletal health, mobility, and overall well-being . Here are the benefits that often surpass those from medications and supplements:
Weight-bearing exercises, like strength training and walking, stimulate bone formation and reduce the risk of osteoporosis and fractures .
Combats muscle atrophy
Regular physical activity helps preserve muscle mass and strength, crucial for mobility and overall health.
Exercise vs. medications and supplements
- Natural approach: Exercise strengthens bones and muscles through natural physiological processes, unlike some supplements and medications that can have side effects.
- Comprehensive benefits: While certain medications and supplements target bone density or muscle strength, exercise improves both, along with other aspects of health like balance and coordination.
6. Improves sleep quality
Regular physical activity provides a holistic approach, addressing sleep issues without the potential downsides of medication. Here’s why it stands out as a natural alternative to sleep-aid medications:
Promotes deeper sleep
Engaging in physical activity can lead to more restorative deep sleep phases , crucial for physical and mental recovery.
Regulates sleep patterns
Regular exercise helps synchronize your body’s natural circadian rhythms, contributing to more consistent sleep patterns .
Exercise vs. sleep-aid medications
- Sustainable solution: Unlike sleep medications, which can lead to dependency or have side effects, exercise offers a long-term, natural solution to sleep problems.
- Additional health benefits: Exercise not only improves sleep but also boosts overall health, offering benefits that sleep medications cannot, such as improved mood, reduced stress, and enhanced physical fitness.
7. Enhances brain health and cognitive function
Exercise offers a natural, effective way to enhance brain health and cognitive function, surpassing the benefits of medication alone.
It’s a proactive approach to maintaining mental sharpness and overall brain health. It offers unique benefits compared to cognitive-enhancing medications:
Boosts brain health
Regular physical activity increases blood flow to the brain, delivering essential oxygen and nutrients that are vital for maintaining brain health. This, in turn, can lead to improvements in memory, attention, and processing speed .
Slows cognitive decline
Regular exercise has been shown to slow down the natural decline in brain function associated with aging, reducing the risk of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.
Exercise vs. cognitive-enhancing medications
- Holistic benefits: Unlike medications that may target specific cognitive functions, exercise benefits the entire brain, improving various aspects of cognitive health.
- Long-term effects: Exercise provides lasting cognitive benefits without the side effects or dependence risks associated with some medications.
What exercises are best for longevity?
Incorporating the right exercises into your routine can significantly impact longevity. Here are key activities best suited for promoting a longer, healthier life:
Engaging in activities like walking, jogging, swimming, and cycling can enhance cardiovascular health, increase lung capacity, and improve stamina . It is recommended to aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week.
Building muscle through weight lifting or bodyweight exercises like squats and push-ups helps maintain muscle mass, supports metabolism, and strengthens bones.
Flexibility and balance exercises
Practices such as yoga or tai chi enhance flexibility, reduce the risk of falls, and improve joint health.
Incorporating exercises that mimic everyday activities can maintain the ability to perform daily tasks, contributing to independence in later life.
Combining these exercises offers a comprehensive approach to maintaining physical health, crucial for enhancing longevity .
This blend ensures cardiovascular, muscular, and functional fitness, each contributing to a longer and more active life.
Embracing exercise as a key component of your lifestyle transcends mere physical fitness; it offers a comprehensive path to enhanced longevity and overall well-being.
As shown, the benefits of regular physical activity reach far beyond those of medication, positively impacting heart health, mental wellness, immune function, weight management, musculoskeletal strength, sleep quality, and cognitive health.
By choosing exercise, you’re not just investing in a healthier body, but also in a more vibrant, fulfilling life.
It’s a natural, sustainable approach that nurtures both the mind and body, paving the way for a longer, healthier future.
Does exercise help longevity?
Yes, exercise significantly contributes to longevity. Regular physical activity improves cardiovascular health, strengthens muscles and bones, enhances mental well-being, and boosts immune function, all of which are key factors in extending lifespan and improving life quality.
Is cardio best for longevity?
Cardiovascular exercises are excellent for longevity as they improve heart health and overall endurance. However, for optimal benefits, it’s best to combine cardio with strength training and flexibility exercises to address all aspects of physical health and wellness.
How can I improve my body’s longevity?
To improve your body’s longevity, engage in regular physical exercise including both cardio and strength training, maintain a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and ensure adequate sleep and stress management. Additionally, avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption is crucial.
Is it better to exercise longer or more frequently?
It’s generally better to exercise more frequently rather than for longer durations. Regular, consistent exercise sessions, even if shorter, are more effective for sustained health benefits, injury prevention, and habit formation, compared to occasional, longer workouts.
The information included in this article is for informational purposes only. The purpose of this webpage is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.
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