EIGHT REASONS TO STRETCH BEFORE AND AFTER EXERCISE

Whilst working out over the years we’ve noticed there are people that don’t stretch before or after working out. This is one of the worst things you can do when exercising as it can result in muscle tear and injury.

Stretching should be an essential part of your every day workout. Below we have listed reasons why you should always take the time to stretch.

1. Stretching before exercise allows your muscles to loosen and prepares your body to take on the impact of exercise you have chosen to do.

2. Your muscles are less likely to become injured by sudden movement when undergoing an activity. Whilst stretching you reduce the risk of injury.

3. After working out, stretching your muscles helps loosen the tightness effect that can lead to post-workout aches and pains.

4. Stretching actually improves your posture. When you stretch the shoulders, lower back and chest it helps keep your back in alignment which will improve your posture.

5. Tense muscles can cut off circulation which can result in a lack of oxygen and essential nutrients. Stretching allows your muscles to relax and increases blood supply to your muscles and joints.

6. Stretching reduces and manages stress. Well-stretched muscles hold less tension and can help you feel less stressed.

7. Regular stretching routines can help prevent future back pain by strengthening your back muscles and reducing the risk of muscle strain.

8. Stretching not only increases flexibility, but can also calm the mind. When stretching focus on mindfulness and meditation exercises which is done during yoga and pilates.

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Shelley & Michelle xx

OUR GO TO GYM WORKOUTS

Exercise is great for your health and fitness and is also a good way to clear the mind. If you make new year resolutions and one goal of yours is to keep fit and healthy, then to stick to it is to not be in the gym from January 1st and give up by March. The best thing is to wean yourself into working out slowly and mix up your workouts so you don’t get bored. It’s always great to push yourself. So if you start by going to the gym once a week, the next week try twice a week, then three times a week and see how you get on.

Below are a few of our favourite gym workouts. We hope you enjoy and Happy New Year!

Boxing

If you want to have fun whilst working out and change up your routine then boxing is the one for you. Boxing requires strength, endurance and power. Boxing isn’t just for the hard-core athletes, it’s a great way to strengthen and tone the entire body.

Running Machine

Running outside or on a running machine is a good way to strengthen and tone your legs and glutes. If running is too much for you then begin walking, jogging and gradually start to run.

Seated Cable Row Machine

The Seated Cable Row develops the muscles of the back and the forearms. It is an excellent all-around exercise for developing mainly the middle back while offering useful arm work as well.

Air Walker Machine

The Air Walker Machine provides a total body, calorie-burning workout that is low-impact and is a great aerobic exercise. The machine is an alternative to walking or jogging. This form of low-impact aerobic exercise can burn a surprising amount of calories.

Skipping

Who would have thought that a skipping rope had so much benefits. Skipping is simple, easy and a whole lot of fun, plus you get to burn a lot of calories while doing so. It’s one of the best ways to shed fat as well as improving your heart rate and building stamina.

Exercise Ball

There’s nothing quite like stretching your spine on an exercise ball after a strenuous work out. The benefits of using an exercise ball is to improve back and spine health, core stability, posture and muscle balance. Training with an exercise ball, whether during Pilates, yoga or simple stretching is an excellent way to work your abdominal, back and lower-back muscles.

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Shelley & Michelle xx

Sea Sand Sunsets And Smiles Travel Guide: Our Trip to Aruba

We travelled to one of the most beautiful islands in the Caribbean….Aruba ‘One Happy Island’ and had a week relaxing and exploring in paradise. The sea is crystal clear and made up of different shades of blue. You could literally bathe in the sea all day. But don’t be mistaken…Aruba has so much to offer, from stunning beaches, to rugged landscapes and tasty authentic cuisine. We can certainly say that Aruba was the perfect getaway for the sister duo!

Where We Stayed

We stayed at the all-inclusive resort, The Hotel Riu Palace Antillas (here) that is located directly on Palm Beach. It is an adults-only hotel that boasts a gym, spa, casino, swimming pools, nightclub and a variety of restaurants and shops. All hotel guests also have access to their sister hotel, The Hotel Riu Palace Aruba situated next door which is more family friendly (here). This was not our first time staying in one of the Riu hotels but this particular hotel is definitely top of the list! The staff were friendly and we felt very looked after. There was so much to do within the resort there was never a dull moment!

Things To Do

Aruba is the perfect destination whether your a couple or on a single girls/boys trip and has something to offer everyone. From submarine tours, to horse back riding on the beach to deep sea fishing you can be as busy or chill as you desire.

One of our favourite trips has to be the Baby Beach Safari tour. You have your own personal tour guide (shout out to Sherman!) who takes you in his jeep on the bumpiest off-road adventure through the Arikok National Park of Aruba. You drive through what looks like a desert land, made up of lava formations, quartz rocks and fossilised coral at full speed. So buckle up and be prepared for windswept hair, dust and a crazy ride. Perfect for any thrill seekers!

Our first stop was the east coast of Aruba to the California Lighthouse, followed by a pit stop at the Natural Bridge, then headed onto the donkey sanctuary (where Shelley fed the donkeys), onto the Fontein Caves and ended our day at Baby Beach that is located in the south east of the island where you can clearly see the coast of Venezula across the waters which was very cool to see.

Natural Bridge
California Lighthouse
Shelley feeding at The Donkey Sanctuary
Fontein Caves

We also recommend other ways to spend your time on the island from taking a cruise across the sea in time for the sunset on a catamaran, watersports and going on the karaoke party bus (which is a lot of fun).

 Food we ate

We ate so much delicious foods on the islands, from fresh fish to tasty soups, with our favourite dish of the menu being steak and lobster. The combination of the two foods work so well together!

Also, you have to try the cream of conch soup, finished with two stuffed pastry’s. A very tasty, Aruban dish that should be finished with the famous Aruban rum punch. This was certainly our favourite cocktail on the island.

Aruba is an expensive place and is certainly an island that appeals to honeymooners and retired people. However, it is still a great place to experience no matter your age as there is so much on offer, including the incredible scenery.

We would certainly suggest having a budget so if you are renting an apartment and eating out daily you will probably have a daily spend of 130 USD. If you are staying at an all-inclusive resort (like we did) your daily budget will be a lot less. So bear that in mind.

Daily activities such as the Baby Beach tour will cost around 110 USD, water sports vary from 20 USD up to 85 USD and sailing on a catamaran is around 65USD.

Aruba is also known for their designer shops located in Oranjestad, so if you want to fit in some shopping, make sure you have enough spending money to splash out a little bit.

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Shelley & Michelle xx