Exercise – Ritualize https://ritualize.com/main Health & Wellness Software as a Service (SaaS) with Mobile App Fri, 15 Dec 2017 03:50:22 +0000 en-AU hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.2 Move Snacks https://ritualize.com/main/move-snacks/ https://ritualize.com/main/move-snacks/#respond Mon, 27 Nov 2017 01:24:18 +0000 https://ritualize.com/main/?p=6211 Most of us think we need to sweat it out at the gym or go for a long run to be active and if we miss those opportunities due to our busy lives, we beat ourselves up.  What counts as exercise has been institutionalised to the point that if it’s not a dedicated chunk of […]

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Most of us think we need to sweat it out at the gym or go for a long run to be active and if we miss those opportunities due to our busy lives, we beat ourselves up.  What counts as exercise has been institutionalised to the point that if it’s not a dedicated chunk of time in a dedicated place, it doesn’t count. There are a lot of ‘should’s’ going on – I should exercise, I should go to the gym.  It’s these ‘should’s’ that can set us up to fail, over and over again.  Sound familiar?

At Ritualize, we  want to challenge the notion of what being active is and change how we view exercise.

What’s important is you find something you enjoy, not something you ‘should’ be doing.  The research is showing that if you enjoy your choice of activity, you are more likely to stick with the healthy behaviour over the long-term.  

A great way to rewire your brain around what counts as exercise is to discover what we call Movement Snacks.  If you don’t like exercise or are simply too busy to get to a gym class, you will be surprised how active you can be throughout the day.  Some suggested Movement Snacks are:

  • Housework (it counts!)
  • Meet for a coffee and a walk rather than sit in a cafe
  • 30 second on the stop sprint
  • Gardening
  • Running around with the kids
  • Squat while brushing your teeth
  • Have a walking meeting rather than in a boardroom
  • Walk while you talk on the phone
  • Park the car in the furthest car park from the shops
  • Ritualize ZUU workout at home

Of course, if you love your gym classes or your runs, keep doing it. I love to run because it makes me feel good, but if you are someone who doesn’t like it, don’t do it.  Choose something you actually enjoy.

I love this approach to how we think about physical activity because it allows those who think they are not active to discover they either are or they can be.

Think about what Movement Snacks can be incorporated  into your daily life and make them count.

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6 motivational quotes for inspiration https://ritualize.com/main/5-motivational-health-quotes/ https://ritualize.com/main/5-motivational-health-quotes/#respond Thu, 16 Nov 2017 03:42:34 +0000 https://ritualize.com/main/?p=6010 If you need some words of wisdom to inspire you, motivate your mind, achieve your goals, or overcome your fears, read on…   It can be overwhelming trying to make lifestyle changes. Your goal can feel so far away and almost impossible to achieve, and this can dissuade you from staying on your journey. Thoughts […]

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If you need some words of wisdom to inspire you, motivate your mind, achieve your goals, or overcome your fears, read on…

 

It can be overwhelming trying to make lifestyle changes. Your goal can feel so far away and almost impossible to achieve, and this can dissuade you from staying on your journey. Thoughts in your head are telling you “this is too difficult”, “you’re not strong enough for this”, “what’s the point”, “I don’t have the time”, “I’m too old”.

 

Instead of letting this negative thoughts cloud your mindset, find quotes that inspire you. Jonathan Fader, psychologist and motivation expert says the message that someone else believes you can achieve what you want to achieve can be a powerful incentive to try harder. “There’s a little bit of implicit coaching that’s happening when you’re reading [motivational quotes]. It’s building that self-efficacy in that kind of dialogue that you’re having with yourself,” Fader says.

 

Here are some of our favourites:

 

 

  • “It’s not about perfect, it’s about effort. And when you bring that effort every single day, that’s where transformation happens. That’s how change occurs” – Jillian Michaels, Well-known American Personal Trainer, author and presenter.

 

 

 

  • “Little by little, a little becomes a lot” – Tanzanian Proverb and a bit of a mantra of ours here at Ritualize. Think of change as small steps you repeat over time to that you don’t feel overwhelmed.

 

 

 

  • “Become a priority in your life” – Lori Bregman – Author of  The Mindful Mom-To-Be: A Modern Doula’s Guide to Building a Healthy Foundation from Pregnancy Through Birth

 

 

 

  • “When life puts you in tough situations, don’t say “Why me?”, say “Try me!” – John Assaraf, spiritual entrepreneur, philanthropist and teacher.

 

 

 

  • “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” —Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

 

  • If you quit once, it becomes a habit. Never quit— Michael Jordan 

 

 

Do you have a favourite quote? We’d love to read them, so share them with us in the comments below!

 

Thinking about your why can also be a motivation to reach your goals. More on that in our next blog post…

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5 Steps to Reprogram Your Genes https://ritualize.com/main/5-steps-to-reprogram-your-genes/ https://ritualize.com/main/5-steps-to-reprogram-your-genes/#respond Wed, 01 Nov 2017 02:03:41 +0000 https://ritualize.com/main/?p=4398 There are fixed, heritable genes (such as skin and eye colour) and there are genes that can be influenced daily according to our lifestyle. These genes are continually directing the production of proteins that control how your body functions at every second of the day. Genes turn on or off (sometimes at a rapid rate) […]

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There are fixed, heritable genes (such as skin and eye colour) and there are genes that can be influenced daily according to our lifestyle. These genes are continually directing the production of proteins that control how your body functions at every second of the day. Genes turn on or off (sometimes at a rapid rate) only in response to signals they receive from the surrounding environment – signals that you provide based on the food you eat, the exercise you do (or don’t do!), your quality of sleep, sun exposure and so on. Genes are like light switches that turn on and off and influence every element of body function. So, you are in the drivers seat to take control of your genes expression. Here are some tips for you:

  1. Awareness Start thinking about your everyday lifestyle and how your genes may be responding to it. Each day your genes will respond positively or negatively depending on how you are living your life.
  1. Exercise – The activity level of skeletal muscle modulates a range of genes that produce dramatic molecular changes, and keep us healthy (Neufer & Booth, 2005). Even one single vigorous workout can set off a chain reaction of health benefits through activation of key genes. Exercise can suppress the expression or genes that contribute to chronic diseases, whilst up-regulating healthy gene expression almost immediately. So, next time you’re sweating it out in a workout, know you are having a positive affect on your genes. It maybe the motivation you need to go that extra mile!
  1. Nutrition Studies have shown that different intakes of food can affect your gene expression through a process called methylation. Methylation reactions are critical for many bodily functions and need significant amounts of methyl groups from food to function optimally. We have known for many years that certain foods which are high in B vitamins help with methylation, such as cooked vegetables (especially green vegetables & beets), unprocessed meats and quinoa – but we also need other foods to make up a healthy, balanced diet.

CARBOHYDRATE AND GENE EXPRESSION

Recent research from the University of Science and Technology in Norway has shed light on the gene, expressing effects of certain types of diet. “We have found that a diet with 65% carbohydrates, which often is what the average Norwegian eats in some meals, causes a number of classes of genes to work overtime,” says Berit Johansen, a professor of biology at NTNU.

This has significant implications for people who follow recommended dietary guidelines and eat a diet that has 55-65% calories from carbohydrate.

“Genes that are involved in type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease and some forms of cancer respond to diet, and are up-regulated, or activated, by a carbohydrate-rich diet,” says Johansen.

The researchers concluded that both high and very low carbohydrate diets were wrong, but carbs should be capped at 40% calories.  “A healthy diet shouldn’t be made up of more than one-third carbohydrates (up to 40 per cent of calories) in each meal, otherwise we stimulate our genes to initiate the activity that creates inflammation in the body.”

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?

The Ritualize 80/20 food pyramid will give you a great balanced diet that is lower in carbohydrate and higher in fat and protein than traditional government guidelines. Eat plenty of fresh, locally grown vegetables and a moderate amount of fruit, as well as grass fed, free range meat and chicken, sustainable fish, legumes, nuts and seeds and drink plenty of water. Most of your fat should come from extra virgin olive oil and avocado, with moderate amounts of coconut oil, dairy and other animal fats as well as minimal amounts of processed fats and commercial vegetable oils. The big key is to avoid processed foods and eat mostly stuff that has been alive. Home cooking is always the best, but for the time poor, there are more and more healthier choices in supermarkets and grocery shops for a quick, easy meal.

  1. Stress – we have known for many years that chronic stress can have detrimental effects on your health, and we now know the biochemical pathways behind such negative effects. Even negative thoughts can stimulate the production of genes that increase our chances of chronic disease, but we need to understand the ‘Goldilocks effect’ of stress – we need a certain amount of stress to stimulate us and help us to adapt. This process is known as ‘hormesis’ and enables us to develop stress resistance. Just like an athlete can either under-train or over-train, we can get too little or too much stress. Athletes optimise their training by paying close attention to volume, intensity and duration, and so should we. During a period of prolonged and more intense stress, our recovery needs to be optimal – just like an athlete.
  1. Psychosocial – a number of other areas are emerging that can affect gene expression. We know that being socially isolated or rejected can up-regulate genes involved in dangerous metabolic inflammation, but being socially connected can have a positive effect on our wellbeing. Meditation has recently been found to suppress inflammatory genes and can even increase grey matter density and the practice of gratitude can enhance your mood and wellbeing. Doing a daily gratitude ritual, practicing a few 1-minute meditations throughout the day and taking time to connect socially will pay huge dividends over time.

The bottom line is that a range of interacting lifestyle behaviours affect our gene expression and our overall health. Eating well will give you the energy to exercise and exercising regularly will help you to manage stress and enhance your focus, as will regular 1-minute meditations and a daily gratitude ritual. This will put you in the right frame of mind to cultivate social relationships, which will make you more positive – a very positive lifestyle loop!

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Not a runner? Six reasons to enter a fun run anyway https://ritualize.com/main/not-runner-six-reasons-enter-fun-run-anyway/ https://ritualize.com/main/not-runner-six-reasons-enter-fun-run-anyway/#respond Thu, 12 Oct 2017 01:35:38 +0000 https://ritualize.com/main/?p=4911 Spring is when we see a flurry of fun runs and walks of short and long distances take-place around the country and if you've ever watched a Fun Run you'll have noticed the buzz, the pride and yes - sense of well-earned celebration as people cross the finish line.

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Spring is when we see a flurry of fun runs and walks of short and long distances take-place around the country and if you’ve ever watched a Fun Run you’ll have noticed the buzz, the pride and yes – sense of well-earned celebration as people cross the finish line. (See below for a list of events you can still sign up for over Spring).

If you’re not an avid runner, you may wonder how the words FUN and RUN could possible go together but for most people you talk to after their first run – they just want to do it again and again. It’s not just about the running. Here’s a few reasons why you should consider signing up:

1.You don’t have to run!

Many fun runs have a variety of distance options, some going down to just a couple of kilometers where you have the option to jog or walk if you can’t keep going. Worried you might look silly if you can’t finish? If you can’t continue – stop. Nobody will think any less of you and in fact, you’ll find that many people you meet on the day will be new to running events and are there, just like you, to see how far they can push themselves.

2. It’s social

Research tells us if we exercise with others (we call them ‘accountability partners’) we are more likely to achieve our goals. You’ll also be spending quality time together, you will inspire each other and be more motivated to see it through.

3. It’s fun!

They don’t call it a fun run for no reason.  The atmosphere and energy at fun runs can be amazing. Many organisers have music playing, entertainment and someone with motivating words blaring over a loudspeaker.  People even run in fancy dress and others push prams. It’s a wonderful experience, whether you’re a long-time runner or not.

4. It’s motivating

Most of us need goals to keep us motivated and fun runs are a great goal to have. Most fun runs give the option of getting sponsored to raise money for charity, so not only are you motivated to get fit and healthy, you are also motivated to support a worthy cause. Motivation has been shown to increase when you have a purpose or a ‘why’ behind it. Read our article ‘Find Your Why‘ to find out more about this.

5. You’ll get fit

Whether you’ve signed up for the 5k, 10k, ½ marathon or even a marathon, you’ll want to train and the more train, the more fitter you’ll get. The fitter you are, the better you will feel.  

6. You will feel great afterwards

Crossing that finishing line with hundreds of other people simply feels great. Not only have you achieved your goal, but you have helped raise money for charity and are a part of huge group of people all there for the same reason.


Upcoming fun runs across Australia

ACT

Run for your Lifeline, 4 Nov, Canberra

Grapest 5km Run, 2 Dec, Lake George

VIC

Homesglen Run for Change, 24 Oct, Chelsea

City2Sea, Sun 12 Nov, Melbourne

Carmans Womens’ Fun Run, Dec 3, St Kilda

NSW

Climb ‘n Dine stair climb, Sydney

MULTI-STATE

Run in the Dark, 15 Nov; Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney

SA

Glenelg Classic, 12 Nov, Glenelg

Grapest 5km Run, 18 Nov, Langhorne Creek

TAS

Walk for Prems, Sun 29 Oct, Hobart

Beach to  Bay, Strahan, Sat 4 November

WA

Color Run, 5 Nov, Perth

Trialthon Pink & Fun Run, 12 Nov, Perth

Images: © Anita Welsh Photography for Hobart Fun Run

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Ice Ice baby – 4 days of cold exposure https://ritualize.com/main/ice-ice-baby-4-days-cold-exposure/ https://ritualize.com/main/ice-ice-baby-4-days-cold-exposure/#respond Fri, 29 Sep 2017 02:24:05 +0000 https://ritualize.com/main/?p=4836 Cold emersion and mindset has shown to influence the sympathetic nervous system and immune system, once believed to be systems that could not be voluntarily influenced.

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Take a cold showerIncreasingly, we hear about athletes who believe that immersing the body in very cold water can speed recovery by reducing the blood flow and inflammation in muscle tissue.

Last August I had the opportunity to attend a one of a kind 4 day ‘retreat’ to learn what is known as the Wim Hof method, lead by the Dutch daredevil – Wim Hof (the ‘Iceman’) himself. The retreat covered the 3 pillars of his method: breathing techniques, cold exposure and mindset. It was one of the most unique and empowering experiences I have ever had.

My reasons for going were a mix of curiosity and timing. My kids were old enough for me to take a few days off and I needed some ‘me time’. My husband and I had dabbled with the Wim Hof online course, so I jumped at the chance when I heard he was going to be in Australia.

Wim is an incredible man holding over 20 world records for his ability to withstand extreme cold, all pushing himself both physically and mentally beyond what anyone would think possible.

Meeting Wim was quite surreal. I was well aware of the mind-blowing things he had achieved in his 57 years and I was fascinated by him. These include:

  • Climbing to 6,700 meters (22,000 ft) altitude at Mount Everest wearing nothing but shorts and shoes
  • Running a full marathon (42km), above the arctic circle in Finland, in temperatures close to −20 °C dressed in nothing but shorts
  • Holding the ice endurance record in by standing fully immersed in ice for 1 hour and 52 minutes and 42 seconds
  • Running a full marathon in the Namib Desert without water.

What interested me the most about the Wim Hof method was the science behind it. The method, involving breathing techniques, cold emersion and mindset has shown to influence the sympathetic nervous system  and immune system, once believed to be systems that could not be voluntarily influenced. (1) Some of the benefits, even the short term are:

  • Increased endurance
  • Better quality sleep
  • Increase pain and cold tolerance
  • Improved cardiovascular conditioning
  • Increased white blood cell count
  • Suppression of inflammatory cytokines
  • Reduced stress levels
  • Mood improvement
  • Weight loss

There were 60 people on the course and I was one of eight women. Needless to say, the girls bonded quickly. We were all there for different reasons. Some wanted to use the method in their work, others had chronic conditions such as autoimmune diseases and cancer, others with depression and anxiety. Everyone was there for some level of self-improvement, so with a common cause we all became close very quickly.

On day one, after a late breakfast, we headed into a small hall and sat facing Wim who was strumming a guitar, chanting and singing his message. It added to the atmosphere and anticipation of what was to come. When we were settled, we lay down on the floor and followed Wim’s instruction to focus on our breath. Wim’s voice gained momentum and encouraged us to breath ‘Fully in! Let go!” His voice encouraged us to breathe harder and deeper each time.

Not long into the breathing, the tips of my fingers tingled and my head felt light. After three rounds of this controlled hyperventilation technique, we concluded by doing as many pushups as possible while holding the out breath. My normal full push-up number is around 8 but after this breathing I easily managed 20.

That afternoon, the ice baths were set up outside (it was in the middle of winter too!) and after another round of the breathing I spent 5 minutes in a 2 degree celsius ice-bath. I must add, I hate the cold so I was completely out of my comfort zone! By doing the breathing beforehand and breathing deeply while submerged, my pain receptors were shut down and blood flowed to my inner core to keep me warm (my belly actually felt like I had a pleasant warm fire burning in it). My extremities were cold, but I felt a sense of control and calm.  I felt energised afterwards.

Over the next four days we practised the breathing, the ice-baths along with yoga and lessons from Wim. Many of us tapped into childhood pasts (it can go deep) and we able to let go of any past experiences holding us back. There was often heightened emotions over those four days, and at the end we all felt amazing.

It’s important to emphasise that this doesn’t have to be something you practice in ice baths at a retreat There is evidence to suggest that cold showering, something you can do regularly at home, will reduce your susceptibility to sickness. A recent Randomised Controlled Trial conducted in the Netherlands showed that 30 days of cold showering (hot, followed by either 30, 60 or 90 seconds cold) resulted in a 29% reduction of self-reported sick leave from work.

There are now universities around the world doing research on the Wim Hof method, revealing  that we can now influence much of our physiology that we once thought was not possible. When anyone in our family feels like we’re coming down with something, we practice the Wim Hof Method to tap into our immune system. If we’re stressed, have trouble sleeping, it’s a go-to practise. It’s incredibly powerful. All you need to do is be open, practice regularly and be comfortable with feeling uncomfortable. You’ll be left feeling amazing afterwards!

If you’re interested in the Wim Hof Method, you can download Wim’s APP, which is called “Wim Hof Method” from the APP store or Google Play.

by Carly Taylor

(1) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4034215/

www.bbc.com/future/story/20161209-do-athletes-need-to-take-ice-baths

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Exercise for Maximum Reward in Minimum Time https://ritualize.com/main/exercise-for-maximum-reward-in-minimum-time/ https://ritualize.com/main/exercise-for-maximum-reward-in-minimum-time/#respond Wed, 27 Jan 2016 02:07:27 +0000 https://ritualize.com/main/?p=4401 This week we’re going to talk about HIIT, or high intensity interval training. HIIT is on the rise and for very good reasons – firstly, traditional endurance training is known being shown to be bad for our health when performed excessively (more on that in the next blog), and HIIT training has been shown to […]

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This week we’re going to talk about HIIT, or high intensity interval training. HIIT is on the rise and for very good reasons – firstly, traditional endurance training is known being shown to be bad for our health when performed excessively (more on that in the next blog), and HIIT training has been shown to improve many of the same things as traditional endurance training, with some extra benefits – and all in a fraction of the time. HIIT has been shown to:

  • increase aerobic and anaerobic fitness
  • reduce blood pressure
  • increase mitochondrial biogenesis (the ‘powerhouses’ of your cells)
  • improve cardiovascular health
  • enhance insulin sensitivity, protecting against diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease
  • improve cholesterol profiles
  • reduce abdominal fat and body weight while maintaining muscle mass
  • burn more calories in less time than traditional workouts

HIIT involves repeated bouts of high intensity effort followed by varied recovery times. The intense work periods may range anywhere from 10 seconds to 8 minutes long, and are usually performed at high intensity (see below for more detail). The recovery period usually lasts for less time than the work periods and are either total rest or low intensity exercise (see below) and the workout continues with the alternating work and relief periods, usually taking anywhere from 8 to 60 minutes.

Why is HIIT Training so Popular?

HIIT training can easily be modified for people of all fitness levels and special conditions, such as overweight and diabetes. HIIT workouts can be performed on all exercise modes, including various forms such as resistance training (using weights or bodyweight), traditional cardio training (cycling, swimming, running etc.) or a combination of all of them.

HIIT workouts give you a much better ‘bang for your buck’ because they tend to burn more calories than traditional workouts, especially after the workout. This critical post-exercise period is called “EPOC”, which stands for excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, which means that you continue to burn extra calories for a couple of hours as your body restores itself to pre-exercise levels. Now, that’s good news!

HIIT also leads to much quicker metabolic adaptations, which are driven by upregulated gene expression in response to the intense work. What does that mean? Basically, the body realises that it needs to ‘up it’s game’ and responds accordingly. So if you do long duration steady state runs, your body will respond appropriately. Up the intensity, and the body ups its’ response.

Practical Guidelines for HIIT?

Before you do a HIIT program, consider the duration, intensity, and frequency of the work intervals and the length of the recovery intervals. If you know your max heart rate, ≥ 80% is your desired target, or use a ‘perceived exertion’ of between 7 and 9 on a 10-point scale. Using the talk test as your guide, that range of 7 to 9 goes from ‘it’s difficult to carry on this conversation’ to ‘I can’t talk right now’! The interval should either be rest (for shorter workouts), or 40-50% of your estimate maximal heart rate (around 3 to 5 out of 10) for longer work periods. This would be a physical activity that felt very comfortable, in order to help you recover and prepare for your next work interval.

The relationship of the work and recovery interval is important. Many studies use a specific ratio of exercise to recovery to improve the different energy systems of the body. For example, a ratio of 1:1 might be a 3-minute hard work (or high intensity) bout followed by a 3-minute recovery (or low intensity) bout. These 1:1 interval workouts often range about 3, 4, or 5 minutes followed by an equal time in recovery.

Another popular HIIT training protocol is called the “spring interval training method”. With this type of program the exerciser does about 30 seconds of ‘sprint or near full-out effort’, which is followed by 3 to 4.5 minutes of recovery. This combination of exercise can be repeated 3 to 5 times. These higher intensity work efforts need to be shorter bouts, but can increase up to 60 seconds as you get fitter.

One of our favourite ways to do HIIT workouts at Ritualize is ZUU HIITS – these a variety of bodyweight exercises that we program in a certain sequence (targeting different muscle groups) so that you keep the intensity high without having to stop due to muscle fatigue. Check out Ritualize for these ZUU exercises and try using a work:rest ratio of 20:15 seconds (for beginners), increasing up to 30:10 work:rest for 12 exercises for advanced. That will give you a supercharged 8-minute workout (shown at Ritualize.com under the exercise section) that targets all of your muscles (including ones you didn’t know you had), has a high cardiovascular load (as it’s anaerobic), uses strength throughout range of motion, and increases mobility – no other workout that we know of does this!

How Many Times a Week Can You do a HIIT Workout?

HIIT workouts are more exhaustive then steady state endurance workouts. Therefore, a longer recovery period is often needed. Perhaps start with one HIIT training workout a week, with your other workouts being steady state workouts. As you feel ready for more challenge, add a second HIIT workout a week, making sure you spread the HIIT workouts throughout the week.

A Word of caution!

If you have been living asedentary lifestyles or haven’t been exercising regularly, make sure you get a check-up before starting HIIT training. A family history of heart disease, cigarette smoking, hypertension, diabetes (or pre-diabetes), abnormal cholesterol levels and obesity will increase the risks.

Prior to beginning HIIT training, it’s a good idea to create a base fitness level by doing some more traditional steady state exercise such as running, or only reaching about 60-70% of your maximum intensity during the work periods. Safety in participation should always be primary priority, and you should focus more on finding your own optimal training intensity, rather than trying to keep up with others.

It’s a good idea to go through the Pre-exercise screening questionnaire on the link below – especially if you are over 40 or haven’t been exercising regularly!

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