When House Of Pain exhorted the world to jump around, jump around, jump around, jump up, jump up, and indeed get down, they were almost certainly not lauding the benefits of adding plyometric exercises to your training regime. But that doesn’t stop the song being great workout advice.
Throwing a few jumps into your workout builds speed and strength, and is especially useful for people hitting the gym to improve their performance in sports. Plus, jumping as high or as far as you can is also fun and a great way to break any monotony that has crept into your workouts.
The box jump is a plyometric move that strengthens your main lower-body muscles – glutes, quads, calves and hamstrings. Box jumps will help make you faster, more powerful and springier than ever, and if you do them for more than a few seconds, they’ll raise your heart rate and burn calories like nobody’s business.
It’s a versatile move, too. “The beauty of box jumps is that you can adjust the height of the box so you can use it for a wide variety of fitness goals,”says personal trainer Joe Spraggan. “ So you can build explosive power and speed using a high box for low reps, or use a lower height to work on foot speed and improve cardio endurance with higher-rep sets. They can also be used, after a proper warm-up, as a great way to fire up your central nervous system ahead of a big legs session.”
“To build explosive power use a higher box and focus on quality reps over quantity. Do up to five sets of five reps – resting for three to five minutes between them – but stop as soon as your form fails,” says Spraggan. “To burn fat and build cardio endurance, use a lower box and do three to four sets of up to 20 reps, resting for up to 60 seconds.”
How To Do Box Jumps
First things first: find yourself a box. Start with a height of around 50cm while you work on getting the form right. Smashing your shins into the top of the box because you’ve aimed too high is no-one’s idea of fun.
Stand in front of the box with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend into a quarter squat and swing your arms back, then swing them forward and explode up off the ground. Land on the box as softly as possible. You’re aiming to mimic your take-off position on landing – feet flat and knees slightly bent (don’t let them collapse inwards). If you land in a deep squat rather than a quarter squat, it’s a sign that you’ve picked too high a box.
Then jump back down. Again, you’re aiming to land as softly as possible. You can also opt to step down slowly one leg at a time, which will work the glutes even more and safeguard your joints.
To build power with box jumps aim for one to three sets of three to five reps, using as high a box as you can jump on without sacrificing good form.
To use box jumps for conditioning lower the height of the box. Try jumping up and down continuously for five minutes, maintaining good form throughout. You can also build them into a HIIT workout, as your heart rate will rocket if you keep jumping. For the ultimate challenge try doing box jumps until you can remember the name of another House Of Pain song.
If you’re going to use box jumps to improve your power output, make sure you limit the number of reps you perform each set. Study subjects who did ten sets of two reps with a ten-second rest between sets demonstrated greater power production, take-off velocity and jump height than those who did two sets of ten reps with 90 seconds’ rest between efforts. If your aim is to develop power endurance then higher-rep sets may still be useful – but if it’s all-out power you want, keep it short and explosive.
Box Jump Variations
One-leg box jump
Halve the number of legs involved in the exercise and the box jump becomes a whole lot tougher. You can take off and land on one leg, or just land on both if it’s proving too tough. The one-legged version is especially good when training for sports involving running, or indeed just running – because unless you’re doing it wrong, you don’t land on two legs when running.
Rotational box jump
Box jumps with a twist, literally. Stand with the box by your side. Leap up and turn to face the box as you go, landing on both feet. Then step down from the box and repeat. Do all your reps facing one way, then turn to face the opposite direction and do your turning box jumps from that side. The rotation movement makes this an excellent exercise for anyone who does sports involving twists and turns of the torso, and it’s especially good for golfers looking for extra power in their swing.
Two-step box jump
Stand about a metre away from the box. Jump forwards once to get closer to the box and then go immediately into another jump up onto the box. This is a more challenging version of the box jump and it can be made even harder by starting further away from the box so you have to take a longer first jump. Don’t get too cocky with the size of your box when doing this variation, especially when you first try it, because it’s easy to go too far forwards with the second jump and rattle your shins on the way up.
Box jump burpee
For those who really want to turn this plyo move – or any exercise – into something that belongs in a house of pain, add a burpee. Because you’re dramatically upping the demands of the move, choose a lower box than usual – your legs are going to tire out quickly.
Once you’ve stepped off the box, drop into a squat, placing your hands on the floor outside of your feet. Jump your feet back and drop your chest to the floor. Reverse the move to standing and prepare for another box jump. If your pulse wasn’t going like a jackhammer before, it definitely will be after this.
Seated box jump
If you’re doing box jumps to build your explosiveness, consider adding this variation to your schedule, because starting from a seated position removes the benefit of the momentum and power generated by squatting before the leap. Set up a bench next to your box – we recommend starting with a box that’s the same height as the bench until you get used to the exercise. Sit down on the bench and swing your arms back behind you, then bring them through and jump onto the box. When you’re sitting facing the box for the first time this will feel like a very bizarre thing to attempt, but once you’re over the mental hurdle of your first jump you’ll quickly get a feel for it.
Weighted box jump
Don’t use a lot of weight. That’s the first thing to say, because you don’t want your body shape to be pulled out of position mid-jump. Use a weighted vest if you can, or hold a light dumbbell in each hand, then perform the exercise as normal. This is a good way to increase the difficulty of the exercise if you don’t have higher boxes.
Millets: Types, Benefits and Recipes
More and more people around the world are waking up to the uses of millets and consuming a diet rich in them. Speak to any fitness enthusiast, and they will vouch for the miraculous benefits of eating millets. They boost your health and improve weight loss, besides being gluten-free.
Eating healthy can seem like a task with the easy availability of junk food all around us. However, consumption of junk food on a long-term basis, as we are all aware is incredibly harmful to our health. A good way to get on the path to good health is to replace your unhealthy eating habits with healthier options. Millets are available in a variety of types, with each having its own health benefits. You can walk into a supermarket at any time of the year and still be able to find whole grain millets in stock. Why? They are cultivated across seasons.
Consuming millets as part of your daily diet is not a new concept. In fact, the population of central and southern India would consume millets almost regularly as a staple food until the Green Revolution made rice and wheat more accessible. They became sidelined as a staple food grain in India due to the government’s lack of recognition. The government proactively pushed rice and wheat in the subsidised public distribution system, deincentivising farmers from cultivating millets.
However, ditching rice or wheat bread completely for millets would not be healthy for your body. Practice grain diversity in your diet for wholesome nutrition.
Table of Contents
What are millets?
Millets are coarse grains which have been traditionally grown and eaten in the Indian subcontinent for the last 5000 years. They contain high nutritional value and are rich in proteins, vitamins, minerals and fibres. Unlike other cereals, millets require little water and ground fertility. They have long enjoyed the tag of “poor man’s food grain” due to its sheer affordability. However, of late, it has come into the notice of fitness-centric youngsters who are learning the wellness potential of this humble food.
Millets are generally divided into two broad categories –
Naked grains refer to the three popular millet types which are devoid of the hard, indigestible husk that some millets have. Namely, Ragi, Jowar and Bajra. These millets don’t require processing after harvest; they can simply be used after being cleaned. These are the major millet types which are largely cultivated and quite popular because of this ease of use.
Foxtail millets, Little millets and Kodo millets belong to this second type. These millet types consist of an indigestible seed coat. The husk on them needs to be removed before they are fit for human consumption. Once done by hand, these millets soon fell out of favour since the processing of these grains was never mechanised the way it was done for rice and other types of cereals.
Millets contain a host of micronutrients such as iron, calcium and phosphorus. Also, they take time to digest, which don’t cause the blood sugar spike associated with easily digestible food. Introducing millet into your diet can help you control diabetes for the same reason.
Millets are not only good for us but the environment too, as they are largely rain-fed crops and do not put pressure on our already diminishing water resources. Additionally, these grain crops do not attract pests and so, can grow perfectly well without the use of pesticides.
Types of Millets
Millets come in different shapes and sizes. The two broad categories of millets discussed above contain numerous kinds of millets. We will take a look at some of these different types of millets below –
Foxtail millet, or as it is indigenously called, kakum/kangni is commonly available as semolina or rice flour. Foxtail millet contains blood-sugar balancing healthy carbohydrates. Its iron and calcium content also helps strengthen immunity. What more? It helps regulate your blood cholesterol and increases HDL cholesterol levels in your body.
Finger millet, i.e. Ragi, is used as a healthier cereal substitute for rice and wheat. The millet variant is gluten-free and rich in protein and amino acids. Finger millet is supposed to aid brain development in growing children.
Pearl millet or bajra is incredibly nutrient-dense. It contains minerals such as calcium and magnesium, protein, fibre and iron. Practising daily consumption of pearl millet can be very beneficial for your health, such as helping you fight against Type II Diabetes.
Buckwheat is the millet type you should consume if you want to lose weight. It makes for a healthy food option for diabetics, helps lower blood pressure and improves cardiovascular health. Buckwheat also fights against diseases such as gallstones, childhood asthma and breast cancer.
Little millet is also a great millet option for those looking to lose weight. You can eat it as a rice replacement. It is high in fibre and filled with numerous minerals such as potassium, zinc, iron and calcium. It is also packed with the health benefits of vitamin B and works as an antioxidant for your body, once consumed.
Millets are rich in several beneficial nutrients such as phosphorus, magnesium, copper, manganese, and so on. Incorporating millet into your diet can help because of the following millet benefits –
Aids weight loss
The calorie content of millets is incredibly low, and so, they are a great food product for weight loss hopefuls. Not just those looking to lose weight, millet benefits people who are conscious of their fitness too. It helps them maintain their energy level throughout the day without having to keep eating constantly to refuel themselves.
Millets also keep you satiated for longer than other carbohydrates which are digested within a couple of hours of being consumed. When you consume millets, you feel fuller for longer as they take some time to get digested and absorbed into your body. You don’t have to reach out for unhealthy snacks, as a result.
Keeps your blood sugar levels low
Consuming millets can pre-empt people from developing diabetes, because of its low glycemic index.
It boosts your immunity
Our body’s immunity is built on the protein we consume. Millets provide a great source of protein and can help build and strengthen our immunity. The stronger our immunity, the less disease-prone we will be.
Reduces cardiovascular risks
Millets contain essential fats, which provide our bodies with natural fat. It also helps excess fat from being deposited over our muscles, which then effectively lower our risk of high cholesterol, strokes and other heart complaints. The potassium content in millets regulates your blood pressure and optimise your circulatory system.
The magnesium contained in millets can reduce how frequently you experience migraines and bring down the severity of your asthma complaints. Unlike wheat, millets don’t contain the allergens which lead to asthma and wheezing.
Helps your digestion
Millets are a rich fibre source which can benefit digestion by helping alleviate bloating, gas, cramping and constipation. Good digestion keeps digestive complaints like gastric/colon cancer and kidney/liver complaints away.
Acts as an antioxidant
Millets can help your body detox because of its antioxidant properties such as quercetin, curcumin, ellagic acid and other useful catechins which help flush out toxins from your body and neutralise the enzymatic actions of your organs.
The uses of millets are diverse. You can cook millets for breakfast, as lunch serving or for dinner. You can use millet rice instead of white rice in your recipes, and your food preparations will be significantly healthier. Below we share a rice-substitute millet preparation recipe. Hope you like it!
Vegan Millet Sushi with Roasted Root Vegetables and Broccoli Cream
Serving Size – 5 sushi rolls
Preparation Time – 45-50 minutes
For the Roasted Root Vegetables
- 1 tbsp oil
- ¼ tsp salt
- 100g each of carrot, turnip, root celery and beet strips
For the Broccoli Cream
- 50 g each of peeled sunflower seeds and broccoli florets
- 180 ml cold water
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
For the millet
- 250 g uncooked millet
- 1.2 l water
- ½ tsp salt
You will also need 5 nori sheets and tamari sauce for serving.
- You will have to bake the vegetables first. Preheat the oven to 400F and then put your vegetable strips onto a covered baking tray with a sprinkling of oil. Sprinkle some salt over the vegetables and bake the vegetables in the oven for 35 minutes or until lightly browned. Take the tray out of the oven and allow the baked vegetables to cool.
- Now, prepare the millet by mixing the millet with water and salt and bringing it to a boil. Boil this mixture on medium heat for about 15 minutes. Once the millet has softened, keep it aside and let it cool down.
- Boil the broccoli florets and sunflower seeds in water for 15 minutes and then drain and rinse these boiled vegetables with cold water. Add this boiled broccoli and sunflower seeds to a blender along with cold water, soy sauce and vinegar. Blend for a handful of minutes until you obtain a smooth mixture and set aside.
- Take a rolling mat and your nori sheets and prepare to make your sushi! Add about a tablespoon of millet and spread it out, then add some roasted veggies and a little of that broccoli cream. Moisten the top of the nori sheet with some water and then, roll it into a tight sushi roll. Repeat it five times. Use a sharp wet knife to cut the sushi into pieces. Serve this sushi with leftover broccoli cream and tamari sauce. Enjoy your millet rice sushi and don’t forget to pass on the recipe!
Millets are a coarse grain, cultivated in the Indian subcontinent, for ages now. Yet, it always flew under the radar with the presence of more popular cereals like rice and wheat. Suddenly, health and fitness aficionados from across the world have sat up and taken notice of the immense health benefits that this humble food grain offers.
Millets, once a staple in India, fell out of favour as the government popularised the cultivation of other cereal grains. Unlike wheat and rice, millet cultivation is incredibly sustainable. Millets can grow in any climate; they are mainly rain-fed and are not prone to pests. So, millets can be grown in areas where water resources are not easily available too. They are not expensive to farm as they do not require expenditure on pesticides.
The world has recently realised the wealth of nutrients that millets contain. It is being hailed as a superfood, even called as a miraculous food product. Why? Millet benefits our bodies by strengthening our immunity, keeping diseases in check and also aiding weight loss. Unlike other cereals, millets take longer to break down in the body and so, keep us satiated for longer.
Millets are available in a range of options. Each type of millet carries its own health benefits. Largely, all millet types promote good health and wellness. They contain antioxidants, micronutrients, protein and a host of other beneficiary vitamins for our body.
If you are planning to introduce millets into your daily diet, you don’t need to worry about how. You can use millets as a cereal substitute, prepare lunch out of it, make porridge, infuse it into your cupcake – the uses of millets in cuisine can be endless.
Don’t be taken in by health fads. If you’ve spent money on Quinoa, know that millets will provide you with much the same health benefits for a much lesser price. Also, millets are far more versatile and can adapt itself to more dishes than quinoa. Why wait, include millets into your everyday diet and notice the little positive changes it brings to your life.
Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)
A: Millet are carbohydrates, not protein.
A: Both of them are high fiber grains. However, rolled oats being processed may take the second place compared to whole millets as they are not processed.
A: Millet are goitrogenic, that means it might interfere in the iodine absorption in the body. Hence it is necessary to limit millet in people suffering from Hypothyroidism condition.
A: All varieties of millet have their own positives. Consuming them in the right amounts can only help improve your overall health.
Endometriosis Support Online | POPSUGAR Fitness UK
Image Source: Unsplash
After my endometriosis diagnosis, I honestly didn’t know where to start when it came to alternative treatment options. I’d already had surgery, which did help my symptoms, but I was by no means cured. I found myself needing more than what doctors were offering. There was very little information given to me, and after being told by a specialist to just return when my pain got “bad enough for another surgery,” I realised I was going to have to do some research for myself and figure out how to minimise my symptoms in other ways.
If you’re unfamiliar, endometriosis affects 1 in 10 women, but despite being a common condition, it’s under-researched and very often misdiagnosed — so much so, the average diagnosis time is a staggering 7.5 years.
I’ve had multiple appointments with doctors about my endometriosis, and although I couldn’t survive without the NHS and absolutely appreciate it, after asking my consultant what dietary changes I could make to ease inflammation, I was told “there is no scientific evidence to prove diet makes a difference, so that won’t help.” FYI, a specific endometriosis diet exists, and this book helped me. I knew I had to take matters into my own hands. But it wasn’t private healthcare or specialists I turned to, it was strangers on the internet.
I found support groups, personal blogs, and Twitter accounts dedicated to supporting women with endometriosis and sharing experiences. I followed these accounts, read up on their stories, and realised that I wasn’t alone in my unpredictable symptoms. I got in touch with women while researching ways to cope day-to-day with the condition and ended up communicating with many on them on a semi-regular basis.
Their conditions vary, some also have adenomyosis, some are unable to continue working, and some are sadly sharing their experiences with infertility. These women share their struggles, their triumphs, and their experiences with different treatments. This offers support that you probably won’t find in a doctor’s office. Fortunately, I am still able to work and my endometriosis isn’t as severe as a lot of these women, but they still offer support in a way that others many not understand. I am still trying to figure out how to adapt my life to not “overdo it,” this means finding exercises that don’t aggravate my pain, but still allow me to be active. One of these ladies suggested yoga and now it’s an integral part of my routine to keep my pain minimal.
The online community is a also great way to communicate with other women about their experiences with treatments that aren’t yet widely researched. I asked a few women what their experiences were with zoladex infections, as this is a treatment I was offered. I came to the conclusion that, actually, despite what doctors were suggesting, it wasn’t a path I was ready to go down yet. Thanks to first hand advice from women really going through it, I was able to make an informed decision.
So here’s to all the women on the internet who literally help each other to get through a day at a time, despite the difficulties and pain that get in the way. The internet offers a support system that wasn’t available to the generation before us and I’m so grateful to have it. I’ve included some blogs below that may help you if you’re looking for first hand experiences, advice, or just want to read up on the condition.
Vans and CoppaFeel! Create Breast Cancer Collection
In honour of breast cancer awareness month, which kicked off on Oct. 1, Vans partnered with UK-based breast cancer-awareness charity, CoppaFeel! to create a supercute collection that we need in our wardrobes immediately. The line includes clothing and footwear, and each piece is decorated with one of four breast-themed illustrations, or the positive affirmation, “You’ve Got This,” which is a subtle nod to the the charity’s message that stresses the importance of self-examinations.
CoppaFeel! is dedicated to educating people on the signs and symptoms of breast cancer, promoting early detection, and encouraging young people to get to know their bodies. The charity was founded in 2009 by Kristin Hallenga and her twin sister Maren, after Kris was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 23. At the time, she was unaware that the disease even affected people in their twenties. This campaign with Vans will help them spread their message further.
Every piece in the line, which includes Vans’ classic slip-on shoe, lace-up shoe, a cap, and denim jacket, feature one of four breast-themed illustrations — all hand-drawn — showing women of all shapes, colours, and sizes. “The illustration style uses simple shapes and minimal line work to highlight the bold use of colour and the unity of interlocking figures,” says Vans footwear designer, Diandre Fuentes. “Breast Cancer is a disease that affects everyone regardless of their race or status, and we wanted the women in the illustrations to reflect this reality.”
One of the designs is a literal blueprint, showing people how to check their own breasts at home, tying in with CoppaFeel!’s early detection ethos. “This partnership will allow us to tell more people why checking their boobs is so important, and in return, save lives,” says Kris Hallenga. “CoppaFeel! exists to stamp out the late detection of breast cancer by educating everyone — girls, boys, and non-binary pals about their boobs and encourage them to get anything abnormal checked out.”
The collection goes on sale in Vans stores and their website from today, and will raise over $200,000 USD for CoppaFeel! If you’re based in London, you can also support CoppaFeel! this breast cancer awareness month by purchasing a ticket to their annual Festifeel (get it?) on Saturday Oct. 12. There’ll be live performances (from James Bay, for one), and comedians throughout the afternoon, and it’s all for a good cause.
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