Global Bike to Work Day: 4 Reasons to Cycle

Little changes in our routine can guide us to better health in the long run. One simple change is ditching the car for the bike seat and getting a little extra activity on the way to school or work. Strava, the social network for fitness enthusiasts, invites cyclists around the world to join the Global Bike to Work Day Challenge on May 10th to become a part of the largest bike to work day to date.

Biking.jpg

More than 100,000 people have already pledged online, and by participating you open the doors to not only helping yourself but also helping the environment with the benefits of cycling.

1. Live Healthier, Live Longer

For those looking to shed a few inches, ramping up your cardio by biking to work is a great place to start. Biking to work for a year can help the average person lose 13 pounds. Doing aerobic exercise accelerates your breathing and heart rate, which helps to stimulate the contraction of intestinal muscles and keep you on a path to wellness.

Other health benefits can include lower blood pressure, boosts of energy, muscle building, and improved coordination. Riding a bike for three hours a week can already cut your risk of heart disease by 50 percent.

2. Save Money and Time

It’s a no-brainer that biking to work is much cheaper than fueling up your vehicle and driving every day. It costs about $400 a year to keep a bike in shape, while it takes thousands of dollars to own and maintenance a vehicle. If your commute involves tolls and daily parking fees, you’ll be putting away even more dollars when you put away the car.

The time saving benefits will put a smile on every big city driver’s face. These days it feels like we spend more time sitting in traffic than we’d like to, but cycling skips the whole thing. If you don’t already drive because you live walking distance from work, a bike ride is still about three times faster than walking.

3. The Environment Will Thank You

Bikes have long been a poster child for green transportation because it substantially helps clear our air. A solo driver in an average vehicle releases about 1.2 pounds of C02 per mile, while the average cyclist releases only 0.7 grams through respiration. Cycling significantly reduces transportation emissions while also reducing traffic congestion and the need for harmful fuels.

Bonus: it takes only about five percent of the materials and energy used to make a car to manufacture a bike, and cycling produces zero pollution.

4. Happiness Production

Aside from feeling better from the fitness-friendly benefits of cycling to work, spending more time outdoors is guaranteed to cheer you up. The release of endorphins and vitamins from the sun are working together to boost your levels of feel-good hormones and make you happier. Soon enough, you’ll find yourself wishing your commute were longer.

Exercise can improve your mood, while sitting in rush hour traffic does the exact opposite. By commuting on your bike, you’ll be happier when you step into the office and when you get back home. Biking helps you to create that simple feeling of exhilaration as you zoom through your neighborhood knowing you’re helping yourself and those around you.

Since its inception, Strava has helped cyclists and runners track their activities and engage with other athletes in a fun, motivational way. Each week 150,000 new athletes around the world sign up to Strava, and last year Strava athletes uploaded an average of 5.3 activities every second. StravaMetro anonymizes and aggregates the millions of human-powered commutes uploaded to Strava every week, and then partners with urban planners and departments of transportation to improve city infrastructure for cyclists and pedestrians.

Cyclicts can participate in Global Bike to Work Day by uploading and tagging their commutes on Strava, and use the hashtag #CommutesCount on their social media channels to show global support for better cycling and pedestrian infrastructure.

Every pedal has the potential to make cycling better in communities all over the world. Whether you ride one mile or 50, if you bike to work on May 10th you can be a part of a global movement to make cities better for cyclists.

Wearable Technology Contributing to the Sexual Assault Awareness Conversation

Sexual Violence is a crime of power and control. It affects people of all ages, genders and cultures. April is dubbed Sexual Assault Awareness Month - an observance that serves to build momentum around the conversation of rape culture and those being affected by shocking statistics. It’s a month that celebrates survivors while working to use education as a tool for prevention.

While harassers and victims are both men and women, victims are predominantly women. Of the 12,510 charges of sexual harassment received by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2007, 84% were filed by women. A study by the National Victim Center finds that 1.3 women (age 18 and over) in the United States are forcibly raped each minute. That translates to 78 an hour, 1,871 per day, or 683,000 per year.

Revolar and ROAR for Good are just two companies looking to slash these statistics with wearable technology. Both companies were founded by women ready to disrupt the pattern of rape culture and change the way people keep themselves and those they love safe.

ROAR for Good built Athena as a simple device with a big mission: to protect women with the touch of a button. The coin-sized discreet device emits a loud alarm and sends your location to friends and family during an emergency. It’s GPS-enabled, rain and splash-proof to make it easy to tag along with you during exercise or while on a vacation.

How does it work? A recessed button, to prevent accidental presses, is held down for 3 seconds to emit a loud alarm and simultaneously text your location to pre-selected friends or family. Your loved ones can then opt to give you a call or get 911 on the line. The alarm can serve as a deterrent to an attacker, but Athena also has a SilentROAR™ option if you’d rather hide your alert from them. All messages and help alerts are sent without the invasive alarm. You can clip it to your clothing, bags or wear as a necklace.

Philadelphia-based entrepreneur Yasmine Mustafa created Athena after personal realizations of the urgency to protect women from sexual assault. She returned from a solo trip across South America, during which she was repeatedly warned of the risks of a young woman traveling alone, only to find someone had been assaulted in her neighborhood. Since then, she paired with co-founder Anthony Gold to launch their startup to help empower women.

Athena’s Indiegogo campaign was recently 667 percent funded - with more than $300 thousand raised to get it to market. 10 percent of proceeds from their campaign were allocated to raising awareness about the warning signs of abuse and helping end relationship violence. You can now pre-order the device at $79.99 and expect it in the mailbox this Fall. Available in black, rose gold and silver.

Revolar was born out of a passion to keep our loved ones safe in a smart, modern way. Founder and CEO Jacqueline Ros created Revolar out of love for her little sister who was assaulted as a teenager. Jacqueline found herself wishing her sister had been able to simply press a button to call for help, so that’s exactly what she built. Jacqueline and her team are a dedicated group of allies and survivors, who are all committed to building safety technology to empower people to keep themselves and those they love safe.

Similar to Athena, Revolar uses a discrete button to signal a personal emergency alert to loved ones via text message or e-mail. Emergency contacts are then provided with a web link that provides them with alert severity level (yellow or red), up-to-date location information, and path traversed since the alert was triggered. Their battery lasts up to year and the device itself is waterproof, which means you don’t have to worry about getting caught in the rain or using it near the water.

The startup recently raised $3 million from The Foundry Group which is also a backer to Fitbit. Revolar plans to build other wearable devices for use in fields such as solo running and travel, and adding features to Revolar itself. It’s available at www.revolar.com for $99. Their Give One Get One campaign asks for $119 to send you a Revolar and donate one to a woman in a domestic violence shelter on your behalf.

There have been overwhelmingly positive responses to wearables like Athena and Revolar, as well as other gadgets in the market seeking to prevent sexual assault. While these short-term strategies do not reach the core of the problem, they arm men and women with tools do defend themselves against becoming another number.

April is a month for action, but innovations like these are helping to push the conversation further and closer to positive, sustainable change on rape culture. They’re making safety “as easy as pressing a button,” because it is pressing a button.

If you’ve experienced sexual assault, please visit: www.notalone.gov for resources or call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE.

Juicing: A Beginner’s Guide

If you live life on the go, it gets difficult to incorporate fruits and vegetables into your diet. A great way to sip your nutrients while you run out the door is with a bottle full of nature’s gifts through juicing.

Time and time, we hear about the benefits of juicing and juice cleanses while the likelihood of investing in a juicer or program is ridiculously small. An apple a day might not keep the doctor away, but eating two whole fruits and three to four veggies a day will help keep your immune system in line and leave you energized throughout the day. An easy way to achieve this is through sips of a freshly made juice.

What is juicing, really? Separating juice from its fruit or veggie parent provides a way to access digestive enzymes and other important nutrients that are typically locked away behind the fiber. Commercial juices are often processed and lacking the nutritional benefits, while making your own – or getting it from a fresh source – gives you a dreamy concoction packed with an abundance of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.

Where art thou juice? The most convenient way for beginners is taste-testing your local fresh foods stores, juice shops and other healthy digs. In Miami, I swear by my local jugofresh at least once a week. If you’ve got the funds and time to dig deeper, you should definitely invest in your own juicer. The process of getting your own will feel a little like buying a car but it’s well worth the research.

Masticating vs. Centrifugal Juicers

If you’re taking the plunge toward making your own fresh sips at home, you’ll be wondering what you need to buy. Juice expert and best-selling author, Cherie Calbom, says “getting a juicer that is easy to use and clean is the best way to get started.” The less work on your part, the more time you have to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Centrifugal juicers are some of the most common and less expensive of the two. They extract juice by spinning pulp around in a chamber while being pushed through a mesh that separates the juice from the rest of the fruit. These are quick and perfect for beginners looking to start with basics and those using less leafy greens. The downside? The increased speeds will break up the nutrients faster, meaning you’re getting fewer goods in your cup than a Masticating counterpart.

 WWW.OMEGAJUICERS.COM

WWW.OMEGAJUICERS.COM

A Masticating juicer, sometimes labeled a cold-press juicer, is the more expensive of the two but trumps in quality. The system works by “chewing” the fruits and veggies to separate the juice from the core. The Omega Vertical Slow Juicer is an example of a system that brings produce to life by creating juice that’s full of flavor and more nutrients. This one rotates at 43 revolutions per minute (RPM), one of the slowest you’ll be able to find. This slow rotation keeps nutrients more intact and leaves room for a seamless rinse and repeat.

Don’t forget the fiber! When you juice, the machines are removing the skins and other pulp material full of healthy fibers that you’ll also need in your diet. You can opt to drop in some pulp into your juice or use it in another cooking recipe to keep your body fortified.

Calbom also mentions that the top health benefits to juicing include “an improved immune system, better and happier moods, clearer thinking through better cognition, recall and memory, healthier looking skin, better sleep cycles and lots of more energy.” She says, “One of the first things people are usually surprised by is how much energy they have!”

What do you say, are you going to give juicing a spin?

5 Misconceptions of Buying Eyewear Online

We live in an era where consumers can buy anything at the click of a finger. Even items that once required touching, testing, feeling or tasting such as mattresses, fresh produce, and cars have found a market online. If shopping for essentials is now as easy as a tap of a button, why is it that only 4% of consumers buy glasses online? It’s possible that we feel more comfortable seeing ourselves with a product that becomes an essential part of our lives; or we seek the validation of a white coat professional as we make the buying decision.

GlassesUSA.jpg

Whatever it may be, there are multiple companies offering quality, affordable glasses online and it’s time to bust the myths surrounding these purchases. Here are the top five misconceptions about buying eyewear over the Internet:

Myth #1: Not able to see what the glasses will look like on me.

Reality: Virtual Mirrors, like this one, make it possible for consumers to upload a photo of themselves to test out different models. This gives shoppers a chance to pick the best frames for their face without having to leave the home. Even better, you won’t be embarrassed to try the risky pair you always wanted to see without the pressure of strangers surrounding you.

Myth #2: I won’t get my money back if I’m not happy with the product.

Reality: Quite the contrary! Most online sites such as GlassesUSA.com offer free returns and exchanges on products. Many web-based stores are carefully dedicated to customer service and making the process as seamless and comfortable as possible, and that service extends to the time after you receive a pair. The same cannot be said of stores and optometrists with customized prescriptions.

Myth #3: It will take longer to receive my glasses in the mail vs. purchasing in-store.

Reality: By cutting the middle man, online retailers are able to process orders immediately. Time between placing an order and receiving product is typically 10 days compared to 14 at a brick and mortar. And the bonus is you don’t have to spend time traveling back and forth between the optometrist’s office every time there’s an adjustment to be made.

Myth #4: I’m afraid to get my prescription wrong.

Reality: Prescription errors are actually more common in stores because they have to send out the selected frames to various vendors to get customized. Meanwhile, many of the digital shops produce the lenses in-house, minimizing the risk of error. Many of these lenses undergo multiple stages of production and quality-control inspections. But in the event that someone does get your prescription wrong, remind yourself of Myth #2.

Myth #5: I need to test the glasses to see if they will fit properly.

Reality: Glass fitting is actually a service offered to compensate for the hundreds of dollars spent. The vast majority of glasses are flexible and anyone can easily bend them to fix the height of the temples to fit. When a lot of these are measured by millimeters, it’s likely that being a couple of points off won’t make a huge difference.

There you have it! The savings, convenience and endless selections alone are worth it. If you are among the 96% who either hadn’t considered buying glasses online or were too concerned with the risks, give online retailers a chance and I bet you’ll never see the same again.

Jab, Cross, Uppercut, #MELT: An Inside Look At The BOX MIA

Originally published on StayFit305; connecting fitness enthusiasts in SOUTH FLORIDA with inspiring trainers, gyms and healthy eating options.

When you’re planning your next workout, chances are boxing has been at the bottom of the list of activities. For a long time, boxing got a bad rep for being a “too-difficult-to-even-attempt” sport that does nothing but build a bulky upper body. Not only is boxing actually a full-body physical challenge, it’s also an exercise in mental coordination and self-discipline.

Boxing builds strength, agility, hand-eye coordination, stamina and power. It’s the perfect blend of the cardio your body needs, while providing the strength training your muscles crave. For Miami locals, the days of limiting boxing experiences to Rocky re-runs are coming to an end. The BOX Mia, located in Midtown, opened early this year to make boxing great again by providing a space for newcomers and pros alike to enjoy a complete workout filled with energy to last through the whole week.

The Box MIA 2.jpg

As you step into The BOX Mia, the dimly lit studio and the powerful vibrations from music’s latest hits recreate the thrill of that famous walk into the ring. The studio has a boutique-sized feel with all the amenities of a full boxing studio; including a training ring, black lit group room, smoothie bar, refreshing bathrooms, and more.

Facing off with your personal heavy bag recreates the intensity of staring across the ring at your opponent, while your “K.O. SCORE,” located directly overhead, acts as the judge’s scorecard. Each punch – real punches, not taps – is recorded throughout the workout for post-workout analyzing. The BOX MIAcombines the glamour, grittiness, and benefits of the sweet science in a group fitness setting where you can choose to either compete with yourself or any of the 30 other boxers in the class.

The BOX Mia uses a unique technology that allows boxers to see quantifiable results during each class. This “K.O. SCORE” brings out each participant’s competitive nature and helps them improve with every class. This added touch makes it feel less like you’re aimlessly working out and more like you’re a part of something. Whether it’s you vs. you or you vs. that dude that shows up for every 6 a.m. class, the friendly competition and measureable results keep you engaged the entire class.

The BOX MIA 3.png

For myself, it was the first time actually boxing and not another “cardio party” kickboxing or barre box class. I was a little terrified of embarrassing myself – especially when I received boxing gloves and wraps for the first time of my life and didn’t have a single clue where to start. Their staff and regulars were so eager to help that once I stepped foot into the room and slipped on the gloves I instantly let go of all reservations.

We kicked it off with a warm-up jog around the room and went straight into freshening up our technique in front of a mirror. Our instructor, Angelica Segura, went through the jabs, cross, uppercuts, leg movements and pieces that made up the boxing routine. She tossed a couple of burpees in between to keep our heart rate moving. We then went straight into combinations against the boxing bags putting our practice to work and starting to work our numbers to get higher and higher.

There was something about being able to look up and seeing how close you were to the next set of a hundred, for example, and turning something on within yourself to get you there. I remember losing myself in a minute of “rapid punching” and coming out of that feeling extremely refreshed and accomplished. We finished the class off with a couple of strength exercises for the whole body: crunches, planks, push ups, more burpees, and other workout favorites. We ended with a quick cool down and stretch before everyone raced to the screens to log their K.O. score and set their next goal.

THE BOX MIA 5.jpg

#MELT Challenge

One of the lead trainers, Angelica Segura, created a summer challenge to help revive the workout routine and get boxers excited to sweat again. Here’s how it works: Sign-up for 3 classes in a week, collect a punch card, participate and kick ass in each challenge, write your name, date, time, and score, get the card hole punched, and wait for your average score at the end of the 3 classes. The individual with the highest challenge score wins!

PRIZES: 1 Free Class, 1 Free T-Shirt, 1 Pair of Wraps

NEXT CHALLENGE DATES: AUG 15-20

The BOX Mia is located at 3301 NE 1st Ave #104, Miami, FL 33137. For more information visitwww.betheknockout.com.

When to go: Monday through Friday starting at 6 a.m., Saturday and Sunday starting at 8 a.m.

What to bring: Light clothing (you’re going to sweat), comfortable shoes, water bottle and boxing gloves (if you’ve got them)

How much you’ll spend: 1 Class ($27), 3 Classes ($81), 5 Classes ($130), 10 Classes ($250), 20 Classes ($480), 30 Classes ($660), Unlimited 30 Days ($350), Unlimited 12 Months ($300),Personal Training Sessions Available