How Many Calories Does Running Burn Compared to Other Activities

I have such a backlog of blog posts right now which I’m trying to get finished, but for the moment I have this article from Amelia Higgins. I hope you enjoy!

Running is one of the best ways that anyone of any fitness level can burn calories. It doesn’t matter if you are running a marathon or taking part in a local parkrun event, there is no better way to improve your health and fitness levels.

Image Credit: Pexels

The problem is that not enough people run (and they should). So in this article we decided to look at how running compares to four different activities in the number of calories burnt. Our base line for the comparison was Very Well Fit’s calculation for a 10-stone person running 3.1 miles. They calculated that a 10-stone person running 3.1 miles at a 10-minute mile pace would burn approximately 328 calories. With that number in mind here are 4 activities to compare running to.

Brisk walking

Why run when you can walk? At around 130 calories burned per hour, brisk walking doesn’t burn nearly as many calories as running, but it is easier on your feet and knees. Walking, not to mention, is also something we do everyday. In other words it’s a good way to burn calories without necessarily doing anything out of the ordinary. Up the intensity, and number of calories burned, by going on a brisk walk a few times a week.

Chess

You can actually burn calories even while doing something as mundane as playing board games, like chess. Even more surprisingly a game of chess can actually offer a good calorie burn, considering you are seated for the duration of the match. The reason being is that thinking uses up energy, and thus burns calories. Professor of medicine Marcus Raichle explains that mentally taxing tasks require more energy to be completed, and no board game requires more concentration than chess.

It’s no wonder then that elite level chess players are said to burn some 6,000 calories in a day when playing competitively. Those numbers can compare to the amount of calories burnt by those who run seriously. While you won’t burn nearly as many calories playing chess, it does show how physical exercise isn’t the only way to burn calories. So get your thinking cap on.

Poker

The calorie burn involved with playing cards is comparable to that of playing board games. Based on computations by CalorieLab, a woman weighing 11 stones will burn as much as 34 calories in an hour playing cards. Total calories burned goes up to 102 if you account for the 68 calories you burn from just being at rest.

But say you play something a little more intense, like poker. Players can get worked up really fast during the game. That is especially true when the stakes get higher, like in a tournament. The players featured on PPPoker’s Instagram feed show the full range of emotions playing a tournament has on a person — ranging from absolute concentration to pure elastic joy. Due to these ups and downs it might be fair to surmise that poker players burn more than 34 calories an hour.

While playing cards can’t come close to the benefits of going for a run it is reassuring to know that you are still burning some calories while having a night of fun.

Cooking

Now let’s move on to something most of us do on an everyday basis: cooking. Figures by Captain Calculator show that a 10-stone woman cooking with light effort will burn around 134 calories in an hour. This is likely the kind of cooking we do when we prepare our daily meals. If we are cooking for a party the calorie burn goes up to at least 234 calories per hour. It rises to 388 calories if we have to serve the food and walk about while doing so.

While this list shows that even activities where you don’t move much can still burn calories, running is still the best way to get fit. If you don’t run regularly we suggest starting small and working your way up. Who knows, in a few years you may even want to take on a challenge like the Dubai marathon.

I mean, I personally would choose a different marathon than Dubai 😉 but each to their own, eh!

Do you enjoy cooking? I really love it!

Do you play any board games or card games? It’s usually a Christmas thing for me. But I always think game nights should be more regualr!

Tips on How to Start Eating Healthy

I have a collaborative post for you today on some starter points for eating healthily. Enjoy!

Our health heavily depends on the food we eat. We have all heard that saying “You are what you eat”. That’s completely true and here’s why.

Healthy food, such as fruits, vegetables, eggs, and cereals, has a positive effect on our health. It’s because they contain nutrients that give us more energy, maintain the chemical balance in our, and improve the overall work of our organism. On the other hand, unhealthy food, such as conserved food, sugary drinks, and sweets, has the opposite effect.

Therefore, if you want to improve your health and rejuvenate your body, you have to change your eating habits and start eating food that’s rich in nutrients. Here are some of the main tips to help you start.

Copyright: Pixabay / author: RitaE / I License: CC0 Public Domain

1. Avoid Sugar

We are all aware of the fact that sugar isn’t healthy. In fact, it has many negative benefits for our bodies. If you regularly intake foods and drinks high in sugar, you will gain weight, increase the risk of obesity, and cause tooth decay.

Thus, avoid foods and drinks that contain sugar such as cakes, chocolates, soft drinks, sweets, etc. As a matter of fact, it would be best to replace them with their healthier versions. For example, instead of eating regular chocolate, you could eat vegan chocolate that’s made of tiny-chopped dried fruits and cacao.

2. Avoid Saturated Fat

It’s true that you need fat to stay healthy. However, you don’t need saturated fat because it increases the level of cholesterol in your blood. That might lead to developing heart disease.

Saturated fat is found in sausages, cream, cakes, butter, and fatty cuts of meat, among others. So, you could eat food that contains unsaturated fats, such as oily fish, olive oil, and avocados instead.

3. Eat Food That’s High in Starchy Carbohydrates

Things like potatoes, rice, and cereals are high in starchy carbohydrates. You should include at least one with each meal. Optionally, you can choose whole grain food, such as brown rice and whole-wheat pasta. They are going to make you feel full for a longer time.

But, be careful when combining them with other items because it increases the calories. Hence, you should avoid eating white or black bread with butter or putting sauces on pasta. Let’s face it, that’s not healthy food anymore.

4. Eat a lot of Fruit and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are as healthy as food can be. Being rich in vitamins, they give your organism everything it needs for proper functioning. In fact, some of them prevent some diseases and health conditions or help when fighting one.

The best way to start eating lots of fruits and vegetables is by including them in your everyday meals. For example, you can chop a banana over your cereals for breakfast or eat a veggie salad with your main dish for lunch. Additionally, you can eat dried fruit or make juice which you can drink all day.

Copyright: Pixabay / author: JillWellington / I License: CC0 Public Domain

5. Drink a lot of Water

Water is the most important thing for our health. The main reason for this is the fact that around 70% of our body is water. Therefore, we need to maintain that percentage by a regular intake of water.

Although there are no official sources of how much water we should drink each day, nutritionists and doctors recommend around 2 or 3 liters per day. It’s because water improves your metabolism, refreshes your body, and detoxifies your organism. Therefore, you should make sure you drink at least 8 cups a day.

As a plus tip, we recommend you have 3 main meals and 2 snacks between. We also recommend reducing the amount of salt you use in preparing food. And, the last, but no less important is exercising. Being fit is equally important for your health as eating healthy.

What are your tips for healthy eating?

Do you eat a lot of sugar? I can’t say no to a cake! But I do believe you can fully incoporate sugary food into a healthy diet 🙂

How I try to be injury-free

2017 has been my best year running. No I haven’t PB’ed in every distance (in fact, I’ve only achieved one PB this year, at the Great South Run). But I’ve had a great year of CONSISTENTLY running and side-stepping injuries.

This year I’ve only had two injuries, both lasting a short period of time (for me this is VERY good). One of those was ankle related and probably down to throwing myself back into running too soon after a marathon and going on a ridiculous seven mile off-road trail run. The second was upping my mileage from 25 miles a week to over 50 miles a week on an Austria run camp – lots of downhill running causing my knee to say ENOUGH. So in terms of those pesky over-use injuries I used to get ALL the time, I’ve done very well.

I thought I’d do a post on some of the things I’m doing that I believe might have helped me. I will obviously preface with this with: 1) I’m not a physiotherapist, coach or anyone of any notable qualifications or intelligence, 2) this might all be fluke. That said, let’s get to it.

Gaining weight

I used to be about five-six pounds lighter. Yes, yes lighter usually means faster when it comes to running but as I don’t particularly care about speed in the great scheme of things I don’t mind (that said, I’ve managed to almost reach my 5k PB from my lighter days).

I’ve put in some solid effort at the gym and gained muscle and, yes, fat. Ladies, FAT IS NEEDED. We need fat to be healthy. Boobs, bums, hips, thighs… fat is a good thing to have. Obviously there is a limit, but being ridiculously skinny is not that healthy. Embrace those love handles, jiggle those thighs and be proud of your lumps, bumps and curves. I realise I’m still a relatively slim jim, but I am definitely not as slim as I used to be and I’m very happy. I love my body and I love food. I have an insane appetite and the thought of giving up anything to be slimmer genuinely brings sadness to my heart. Happily, I truly believe that carrying a bit more jiggle has given my body more strength and the ability to endure higher mileage.

Strength training

I bang on about this all the time I know. It took me a while to get this. I’d get injured, I’d end up at the physio, he’d assess and treat me and send me away with a list of exercises I needed to do. I’d do them for a period of time and eventually be back running, forget the exercises… and then get injured again. This was quite the cycle for me. Until I finally realised I needed to keep doing the exercises. Sadly I’m not as hardy as other people and I require that added extra work in order to keep me running healthy and strong.IMG_0965So I go to the gym four times a week. Two of those sessions are focused on my legs and glutes. For legs I do squats (lots of variations from heavy low reps, to high reps with resistance bands, etc.), lunges, single leg work, leg presses, deadlifts… And for glutes I do hip thrusts, kickbacks, bridges, step ups, etc. And every day at the gym I always do at least five minutes of focused glute resistance band work, such as monster walks.

I’ve also found when I start to feel something “not right” (like my hip the other week) I focus on that area and the areas around it. I make sure I don’t cause pain or discomfort, but I aim to strengthen that area. I’ve found it also helps to get the blood flowing in that area to help keep it healthy.

Bit of stretching

I don’t really stretch after running and I don’t tend to do much warming up (unless it’s super cold or I’m waiting for someone – then I’ll do some token squats and leg swings). What I do do is stretching first thing in the morning. This is usually at the gym. I go through a sort of mini-yoga routine opening up my back and my hips. I try and make sure the movements are dynamic and not just static holds. I don’t know if this has helped me much with running but in general I feel better for it.

And nutritional things…

Now take these with a punch of salt. I thought I’d mention them because they’re something I personally like to do and in my head I think they make a difference but really I have no idea and no direct proof.

  • Turmeric: I eat a lot of turmeric. It’s gotten to the point now that most of my dinners have a slight orange tinge to them because of the turmeric. I really like the spice (I wouldn’t eat it if I didn’t, believe me!) and I’ve heard some good things about it helping reduce inflammation. So I chuck it on my meals. In my most paranoid moments (the day before a long run or a marathon for example) I might even go as far as having a turmeric latte. Yep.
  • Omega 3 supplements: I take these every single day without fail. I do try and eat fish regularly through the week but I like to fully ensure I’m getting my omega 3 anyway.
  • More protein: And in general I eat a solid amount of protein. I much prefer protein to carbs (#allthemeat) so I don’t find this too difficult. With every meal I’ll have a solid source of protein. Easy protein sources: tinned tuna (I eat this every day for lunch in a salad), protein powder (I add this to my porridge), Greek yogurt (or Skyr yogurts are really good), chicken, turkey and meat/fish in general, eggs, cottage cheese, beans, chia seeds…

Like I said, I have no idea if the above has significantly contributed to me staying uninjured but it’s a lifestyle I’m going to continue. Hopefully this has been somewhat useful to you! Now excuse me while I sip my orange-tinged coffee… 😉

How do you stay injury-free?

Do you take any supplements?

Do you go to the gym?

Trying to keep up

On Friday my work, Wiggle, had another ‘sports day’. They happen on the last Friday of every month at 2.30pm, with several options you can get involved in.

There were two different bike rides, tennis, swimming and two different runs. There was a “slower” 5k and a 15k. The 15k didn’t mention speed but I didn’t think it would be that fast. I saw who was signed up for it and there was a girl doing it who was a little bit slower than me so I felt comfortable.IMG_0151I decided to wear a suitably sporty outfit to work to embrace the day (plus, leggings are just SO comfortable and honestly I’d wear them every day if I could… well, I probably could at Wiggle but I need to maintain some level of smartness in life I think! Plus I really don’t need to give myself an excuse to buy any more leggings).

Before 2.30pm I swapped my leggings for shorts and got myself ready for the run. I met the others downstairs in the lobby and realised the group was actually made up of entirely speedy people. The girl who I’d spotted on the list had decided not to run at the last minute. I mean, I didn’t know for a fact that these guys were speedy but you know when you can just tell? There was also the 2.39 marathoner girl as well. I MEAN SERIOUSLY.I nervously said, “I think I might be in the wrong group here…” but they all politely assured my I’d be fine and they wouldn’t go too fast. Hmmm.

Well, as soon as we started running it was clear their concept of fast were quite different to my concept of fast. As we about to do around nine miles I decided to just keep at the pace I was comfortable with and not feel pressured to run faster. I was running 8min/miles and they were already stretching ahead of me. I resolutely stuck to my guns. If they wanted to leave me behind then fine, but I wasn’t going to risk injury or exhaustion trying to keep up with them.

It did make me a little sad though. I had so much enjoyed the last Wiggle run… it was fun and social and there were no egos or speed dictatorship involved. It was the first time since joining Wiggle where I felt left out and not good enough (entirely in my head I know but still a feeling I felt).

After a mile they waited for me to catch up. I said to them did they think it was better if I just went back and did the 5k instead? But again they assured me it was fine. They slowed down a little and I managed to keep in the group. Though they were chatting away and I was just focusing on keeping up. Again, not an overwhelmingly fun experience.

The route was nice. We went along Farlington Marshes (which is where I got the idea to go walking there on Sunday). It was flat, not too windy and soft underfoot so at least there was that.

There were only five of us and as we settled into the second mile one of the guys started slowing down and drifting behind us. In the end for most of the run he was far behind and we’d wait until he caught up at sporadic moments. I felt mean leaving him and a little angry that as a group we weren’t adjusting our speed to keep as a group.

Right at the end the two faster runners dashed off for a final sprinty mile and I ran to the end with one of the other guys who, despite being naturally fast, was starting to feel the miles. We’d completely left behind two other guys and they ended up going the long way round, unsure of the route. To be honest, it didn’t scream of comradeship or team building but there we go. I’ll know for next time when I see who’s signed up to what!9 milesIn the end it was a solid run in terms of the speed and distance – a good tempo run. But enjoyment factor? Minimal. Constantly feeling like I’m not fast enough or worried about people behind me being left behind isn’t my idea of fun.

Wiggle had also arranged for a pop-up bar with a tent serving sausages as well (with a guy dressed in lederhosen…). The 5k’ers were back so I chatted to them for a bit while enjoying many glasses of Diet Coke. It was so warm and sunny. Ahh here was the fun part – no more egos or feeling left out. Instantly I felt miles better.I know this sounds so corny, but I’ve made friends with a nice group of people at work and I don’t feel like the newbie or outsider anymore (like you do at the beginning). Everyone is around my age or a bit younger so it feels very natural and easy (unlike the run perhaps…).Anyway, onto a review! A few weeks ago I was sent a Sonic Chic Deluxe toothbrush. Now, I used to own an electric toothbrush but…eh… I kind of gave up on it. To be honest, it annoyed me having to charge it with a great stonking cable and unit in my bathroom and it seemed a faff. Yes, yes I know electric toothbrushes are better for you tooth and blah blah…

Anyway, this toothbrush is charged using a USB – which is quite dinky and cute. No long cables or annoyingness. It’s actually a very slimline and attractive toothbrush (is that weird? It’s very travel-easy is what I mean). It’s slimline and has a nice case to it to fit easily into a wash bag.

Despite it’s size, it’s really quite powerful. The vibrations of the bristles are quite intense (32,000 strokes a minute)! And I really like how after 30 seconds it pulses so you know to change the quadrant of your mouth. And the brush head is quite small so it can get to the nooks and crannies of your mouth – like behind your bottom teeth (always a problem area for me my dentist tells me). It also contains a replacement brush. Remember to change those brush heads fairly regularly!You do have to physically move the brush though yourself – if that makes sense? A regular electric toothbrush you might just need to guide it along your teeth as it’s head spins and circles, but for this one you gently do the circular actions as the head only does the sonic vibrations rather than any actual movements. It also doesn’t come with a plug, just the USB connector. I really like it. It’s marketed as a travel toothbrush but it’s now my regular one. The battery is also really good. You get a substantial number of uses before needing to charge it (maybe once per week?). My mouth definitely felt SO much cleaner after using this, fully recommend! You can buy from Boots for £19.99.

Do you use an electric toothbrush?

Do you have friends at work?

**Dull Disclaimer: I was sent the toothbrush for free in exchange for a review on my blog. All opinions are my own honest ones.**

My marathon plans for Sunday and charcoal beauty

My 11th marathon is on Sunday. The Bournemouth Marathon. The only marathon I’ve previously done before.

I don’t tend to like to do the same marathons again as I think that, because they’re so epic, it’s nice to do different ones. Experience a new place, carve out new memories from the blood, sweat and tears… but Bournemouth is a little different for me. I have a few “heebie jeebie” feelings about it because it’s the only marathon I’ve done where I’m not proud of my performance and I really didn’t enjoy.Bournemouth marathon 5I felt something not quite right in my knee around mile eight and by mile 12 I was really uncomfortable, and mile 16 in pain. By mile 22 I was run-walking and mile 24 just walking. Barely. I was crying as I crossed the finish-line. Not out of happiness or relief, but out of pain. I was then injured for a significant amount of time after that race. To continue running the race was a stupid decision. One I hope not to recreate in any race going forward.IMG_5016So I have some bad vibes with this race. I wanted to re-do it to erase those bad memories and, well, unfinished business and all that. Like I’ve said in previous posts, I’m not sure how I’m going to run it (one foot in front of the other’s a good start…). In terms of paces…ack, I don’t know. I want to have an enjoyable experience…but I also want to see where I’m at. I’ve had a *fairly* good lead-up to this marathon (albeit with the snaggle of an injury) and I do feel like I have some good endurance strength in me. Speed? Not so much.

One day I promise I’ll actually train with the intention to go into a marathon and bravely say, “I’m going to go for a time near my PB” but, being 100% realistic here, that is not this marathon. I would blow up by 14-16 miles. So I have a conservative approach of aiming for around 8.20-30s to start and see how I feel as I get past half-way and towards the 18-20 mile area. If I feel like it’s too hard, I’ll drop the pace back (by mile 10 for definite) but if I feel good I’ll give it some welly in the last 10k and hang on for dear life.

But, as I always say, you never know with a marathon. I may not even finish. I may crumble. A marathon can chew you up and spit you out, however well or badly you’ve trained. Such is its beauty. So I’ll go into it giving it the respect it deserves. I’ll take nothing for granted and listen to my body, my heart rate, my breathing and mentally what I’m feeling. The rest is in the hands of the running gods.

Activated Charcoal Products Review

So it seems that charcoal products seem to be very “in vogue” right now. Activated charcoal sounds all rather posh and interesting. Basically charcoal becomes activated when acid or steam are combined with carbon rich materials such as wood, coal, rye starch or coconut shells and then these “unlock” the billions of tiny pores within the carbon materials. This makes it really absorbent and helps pull impurities from the skin and remove bacteria effectively. I was recently sent some “home-made” charcoal supplements, charcoal toothpaste and a charcoal face mask.

Ecodenta Extra Black Whitening Toothpaste with Black Charcoal & Teavigo 

I’ve tried charcoal toothpaste before and though it wasn’t unpleasant and I did get on with it, the taste was something I needed to get used to. Happily this brand tasted far better! Very much more similar to regular minty toothpaste.My teeth felt and looked lovely and clean after brushing. It’s hard obviously to compare to regular toothpaste but my mouth felt clean. What I will say, however, is that the blackness of the toothpaste has slightly coloured my toothbrush’s white bristles a grey colour and it can make a bit of a mess in a white sink. But it doesn’t stain, it just requires a bit of care.Sukin Oil Balancing + Charcoal Anti-Pollution Facial Masque 

I was also sent a face mask. I’m really not that great with beauty or skincare regimes. Literally all I do is wash my face in the morning and evening with water. I don’t cleanse, tone, moisturise or wear make-up. Actually that’s a lie, I’ve recently been using an eyebrow pencil to keep my eyebrows tidy (they’re quite dark so if I’ve been a bit too keen in the eyebrow plucking department then filling in the gaps makes things a bit neater). So a face mask isn’t really something I use. However, it is something I always think looks quite fun and my skin would probably benefit from doing once in a while. A “once in a while” style regime is my kinda bag for beauty.It’s also ridiculous therapeutic and fun to apply. It goes on lovely and smooth and dries quite quickly. Then you just leave it on and go about life for 10 minutes (in the confines of the safe environment where no one will witness). It’s got a great natural looking list of ingredients as well, which I always appreciate.It easily washes off as well which is a relief. I used a flannel and only took about five minutes to get off. My skin did feel cleaner afterwards and “fresh”.

Holland & Barrett Charcoal Supplements

I was also sent some charcoal supplements.I literally had no idea what these were for. I Googled it to find that apparently they can help treat flatulence… well, what do you know eh! They absorb the excess gas apparently and can reduce bloating. OK then!I don’t have bloating problems (or excessive gas, just to be clear here) but I was intrigued. I will hold my hands up and say that though I don’t bloat or fart excessively, when I’ve had maybe a few too many sprouts or vegetables in general (onion really does a number on me weirdly) I do bloat. I think this is normal for most people, right? Anyway, I’ve been taken these tablets regularly and those sorts of moments of vegetable over-consumption have produced less bloating than ordinarily would. I mean, I’m no scientist but I do  think it helped a little. I can’t promise it would work though for people with chronic bloating issues or after a mammoth curry. WHO KNOWS.

All these items can be found from Holland and Barrett.

Have you ever tried charcoal products?

Do you always a strategy going into a race like a marathon?

Have you ever done a race again to erase the bad memories you’ve had before?

**Full Disclaimer: I was sent these products for free in return for a review post. All opinions are my own honest ones.**