Father’s Day Gift Guide + Giveaway!

With Father’s Day right around the corner, we have the ultimate gift guide for last minute shoppers, plus a chance to win him a gift! Dad’s can be difficult to shop for, but we searched the internet to find some gifts that every dad will love and use! Plus, one lucky winner will bring home a BrightLife Direct gift card for their dad this Father’s Day – giveaway details & entry below.

Father's Day Gift Guide

Instead of going out for dinner, prepare a nice barbecue for your dad this Father’s Day. Pick up his favorite snacks, grill some burgers, and sit back and relax. If your dad is a sports enthusiast, throw around the football or play some backyard baseball. If you really want to surprise him, pick up some tickets to see his favorite sports team, or head over to see that movie he’s been talking about.

When it comes to getting presents, for my dad I always find my mind blanking. I want to get him something that I know he will love and use. Every dad always tells you it’s the thought that counts, but every now and then it’s nice to get him a gift that “wows” even him! For the fitness-friendly dad, pick him up some accessories for his next game or workout, like a golf bag or weightlifting gloves. You can even cheer him on from the sidelines in a customized beach chair.

SIGVARIS MICROFIBER SHADESFor the dapper dad, think of Mad Men’s Donald Draper, and ask yourself what he would like for Father’s Day. If your dad has a beard, introduce him to beard oil or conditioner – it’s all the rage in the beard community these days. No beard? No problem. The Art of Shaving has you covered on travel accessories, aftershave and all the shaving essentials your dad could want. When it comes to grooming, you can’t really go wrong and your dad will appreciate one less stop on his list of errands!

Let’s face it. All dads can use a watch. Whether it’s to be on time to that board meeting or to pick the kids up at school, time is of the essence. If your dad frequently says “if you’re not five minutes early, you’re late,” a watch is a great present for him. Or on the other hand, if your dad tends to run a little late, a watch is a perfect Father’s Day gift to help him keep track of time. You can even get a watch with a built-in GPS and fitness tracker if your dad is focused on being healthy or active. Another practical gift he’s sure to love is a new wallet. Hopefully your dad isn’t rocking the George Costanza wallet from Seinfeld, but if he is, definitely do him a favor and help him get organized. He will be very thankful!

Another thing every dad will be thankful for? Compression socks! If your dad has a bold style, pick him out a pair of Sigvaris Microfiber Shades compression socks. Available in four striped colors and two new shades – heather navy and heather graphite, these socks provide 15-20 mmHg compression to prevent fatigue and swelling while energizing legs. Microfiber is moisture-wicking, so it will keep him cool and dry. These socks are great to wear while exercising, or afterwards to promote muscle recovery.
Sigvaris Shades compression socks in pink  sigvaris shades compression socks in onyx  sigvaris shades compression socks in graphite heather  sigvaris shades compression socks in graphite  sigvaris shades compression socks in navy heather  sigvaris shades compression socks in navy

Give your dad the gift of comfort. The Allegro Milk Socks aren’t your average compression socks. These socks are ridiculously soft and come in a variety of solid colors to pair with suits or jeans. The Milk Socks provide 15-20 mmHg of compression for travel and everyday wear. If your dad sits at a desk all day or is standing for long periods of time, these socks will prevent his legs and feet from being sore and tired at the end of the day.
milk sock in black  milk sock in navy  milk sock in white  milk sock in grey

Lastly, don’t forget a personal touch. A handmade card or nice picture frame goes a long way. Handmade gifts are always worth more than any present. A nice dinner at home, swapping old stories and spending some time together will make a memorable Father’s Day. Plus, it will give him a chance to reminisce about the “good ol’ days.”

And finally, the part you’ve been waiting for – enter below to win a $50 gift card for Father’s Day! Share the giveaway on social media or leave a comment on this blog post to win. The winner will be announced on Friday so you can surprise your dad with a gift card on Sunday. Good luck!

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Shop These Gifts For Father’s Day:

Compression Socks for Athletes

TheraSport Athletic Compression Socks

A growing trend among competitive athletes is the use of compression socks to help improve performance. Compression therapy is a hot topic in sports media right now as a growing number of triathletes, marathon runners and professional sport athletes are trying compression socks to improve their performance and recovery.

However, compression socks aren’t just for the professionals. Tons of weekend warriors and gym-goers swear by them. Whether you wear compression during your workout to keep your legs energized, afterwards to promote muscle recovery, or even while traveling, athletes are making graduated compression socks part of their everyday attire.

A number of sock manufacturers are claiming to offer “compression” socks for athletic use. Unfortunately, many of these so-called “compression” socks do not have true graduated compression. Instead, they may feature a tight foot band, bright colors or vertical stripes, plus a wide variety of other useless features meant to imply foot or leg support. Make sure to look for a compression level, measured in mmHg (millimeters of mercury) when you’re buying compression socks. Compression socks should also be knee high length to get full benefits of compression.

Compression Socks For Performance

Athletic compression socks are designed to improve circulation, reduce fatigue and prevent injury like shin splints. For performance, athletes tend to wear 20-30 mmHg compression socks for longer endurance and to support muscles and ligaments. Many athletic performance socks are made from moisture-wicking fabric to keep your feet cool and dry. Socks that are woven with copper or silver are anti-microbial to prevent odor and bacteria so your feet smell fresh after your workout.

Here are some of our favorite athletic performance socks:

Sigvaris Merino Outdoor Compression SocksThe Sigvaris Outdoor Performance Sock is made with Australian Merino wool, which is anti-microbial, itch-free and absorbs moisture to keep your feet dry while exercising. Despite popular belief, compression socks made with wool are very soft and not only keep your legs warm in the colder months, but will also keep your legs cool in the summer too!

 

Jobst Sport Compression SocksJobst Sport Compression Socks for men and women are lightweight, breathable and soft. These socks also provide moisture control and help to prevent odor to keep your legs fresh and comfortable. Made with a padded foot to absorb impact, these socks are especially great for runners.

 

 

TheraSport Compression Leg SleevesIf you’re looking for lots of color options, the TheraSport Performance Compression Socks are designed with moisture-wicking, anti-microbial fabric and features a cushioned heel and foot to reduce impact. These socks are made for men and women for maximum endurance and energy. TheraSport Compression is also available in calf sleeves.

 

Compression Socks For Recovery

After a grueling workout, put on a pair of 15-20 mmHg compression socks to flush out lactic acid from your muscles. This speeds up muscle recovery and helps to reduce fatigue and swelling. After a marathon or tough gym workout, compression socks will have your legs feeling great the very next day. Wear compression socks for at least a couple of hours after physical activity, but do not sleep in compression socks unless your doctor tells you otherwise – not all compression garments are safe to sleep in.

Here are some of our favorite compression socks for recovery:

Allegro Recovery Compression Socks in BlackThe Allegro Athletic Recovery Sock is one of our best selling athletic socks. Designed for men and women in 4 colors from a super soft material that will sooth your legs and make them feel better in no time – even after a tough workout! These socks feature a ribbed pattern so you can wear them to work or while running errands for continued recovery.

 

 

TheraSport Athletic Compression SocksTheraSport also makes an Athletic Recovery Sock and Recovery Leg Sleeves for men and women. These come in a variety of colors and provide graduated compression to increase circulation and reduce inflammation to help your muscles heal faster.

 

Sigvaris Recovery Compression Socks
Sigvaris Athletic Recovery Socks are made with DriRelease and FreshGuard to eliminate odor and moisture. These compression socks are great to wear during your workout or afterwards to relieve delayed muscle soreness. Designed for men and and women to flush out lactic acid to reduce fatigue and swelling.

 

 

Athletic Leg Sleeves

Sigvaris Performance Leg SleevesCalf sleeves are also great to wear while exercising if you want to wear your favorite pair of ankle socks or shoes. Compression leg sleeves come in a variety of colors and patterns in 15-20 and 20-30 mmHg. These are also great to wear everyday with a pair of open toe shoes or flip flops for continued recovery. Many athletes wear calf sleeves while working out to stabilize and support muscles and to prevent shin splints.

Who can benefit from athletic compression socks?

Performance socks and sleeves are great for marathons, triathlons, biking, golfing, crossfit, and working out at the gym. Compression socks also benefit skiers and snowboarders who are on the slopes for long days. A study in the Journal of Sports Sciences found that 86% of participants reported NO muscle fatigue and soreness after extended strenuous activity when they wore compression socks, compared to only 7% that felt no muscle fatigue after wearing regular socks.

Athletic compression socks are the new fitness essential for everyone from dedicated competitors to the occasional exerciser. Whether you want to get in shape or are looking to gain a competitive edge, compression will help you surpass your fitness goals in no time.

Check out BrightLife Go for more athletic compression socks and sleeves.

Pete@BrightLife Direct
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Mothers Day Gift Guide

Mother’s Day is almost here! Get her something she will love (and use!) this year. Besides a tear-jerking card and a gorgeous bouquet of flowers, here are our top picks for the special mom in your life.

Mother's Day Health and Fitness Gift Guide

Health is extremely important to moms. More often than not, mother’s focus on their kid’s health more than their own. This mother’s day, remind her to take some time to herself to use her new gifts! Encourage her to take a break from her busy schedule to finally get to that yoga class she’s been talking about by getting her some great fitness gear. Get her a nice water bottle or some comfortable shoes so she can workout at the gym in style. You can even pick out a resistance band or yoga mat, so she can exercise at home!

For the athletic mom, you can’t go wrong with a pair of Zensah compression socks to energize legs, speed up recovery and prevent injury, like shin splints. Zensah Tech compression socks are made with a lightly cushioned toe and heel, and provide targeted arch and ankle stabilization to improve endurance. These comfortable socks provide graduated compression to support your muscles and are made with seamless technology to prevent skin irritation. Wear these socks during or after working out, while traveling or running errands for fresh and energized legs.

Another great gift every mom will love is a beauty gift set. Give her a spa day at home with Philosophy’s Amazing Grace Mother’s Day Set, complete with the Amazing Grace fragrance, moisturizer and shower gel. Or for the fitness-minded mom, Sephora offers a “I Don’t Sweat, I Sparkle” fitness kit, filled with all the essentials you need in your gym bag, like dry shampoo, emergency socks, ear buds, folding brush, hair tie, lip balm, pain reliever and more.

Lastly, for the mom-on-the-go, the new must-have item this year is a Fitbit. This will help her keep track of her fitness goals, send her notifications to remind her to get moving and help her track her sleep patterns. This tool is the key to staying active and getting a good night’s sleep. This is great for moms constantly on-the-go. You can even pick out a nice gym bag for her so she can head straight to the gym without missing a beat.

Have more ideas? Comment below and share your favorite Mother’s Day gifts!

 

The Anatomy of Compression Socks

How do compression socks work? What is a sandalfoot or a balloon toe? What’s the difference between a reciprocated and reinforced heel? This blog post covers aspects of compression socks to help you find the most beneficial compression sock for you.

The Basics:

Sockwell Compression Sock Diagram

Here is a diagram of a Sockwell compression sock. This sock uses triple zone graduated compression, which means you feel the most pressure at the ankle and decreases moving towards the top of the leg. Sockwell compression socks are made with Merino Wool for moisture management and natural thermoregulation, which is great for working out or for those with sweaty feet. The seamless toe closure is designed to prevent irritation and is ideal for diabetics or people with sensitive feet. These socks feature a reinforced heel and toe for durability.

What features should I look for in a compression sock?

Ease Compression Socks by Therafirm

The features you want in a compression sock depend on what you find most comfortable and beneficial to you. There is a large variety of options to choose from, including the fabric material, color choice, sheer or opaque styles, open or closed toe, and so on. Start by measuring to determine what size you need. Some socks and stockings are available in short and long lengths, petite, wide calf and plus sizes for the best fit. Depending on the fabric material and compression level, some garments can be softer and more stretchy than others.

If you are worried about wear and tear, look for socks with a reinforced toe for durability. These socks are designed to prevent your toes from sticking through or holes appearing from rubbing against your shoes. However, socks with a reinforced heel or toe may be visibly darker in these areas in order to be stronger to provide more protection to the stocking.

Allegro Essential - Sheer Support Knee Highs 15-20mmHg - # 16The Allegro Essential – Sheer Support Knee Highs (#16) feature a reciprocated heel and balloon toe for added comfort. A reciprocated heel is knitted in to the stocking and contoured for a better fit. This is so the garment feels more natural and and doesn’t wear out as fast. A balloon toe gives you more wiggle room, which is great for those with sensitive feet.

 

 

Allegro Essential - Sheer Support Knee High 08-15mmHg - #81

The Allegro Essential – Sheer Support Knee Highs (#81) feature a sandalfoot, meaning the reinforced area does not stand out from the rest of the stocking. Compare this knee high to the #16 stocking above. This extremely sheer stocking is perfect to wear with flats or sandals since there is no dark toe or heel area.

 

What is a silicone top band?

Most knee high compression socks feature a wide knit top band that sits comfortably below your knee without digging in or squeezing.  If you have trouble with your compression socks falling down or rolling, you can choose a sock that is made with a silicone top band that gives a bit of extra grip. The Juzo Soft 20-30mmHg Knee High features a silicone band at the top to comfortably keep them in place all day. This is a great option for people with larger calves or if you move around a lot throughout the day.

Jobst SoftFit Top BandIf you want the strength of silicone without the feeling, check out the Jobst SoftFit and Sensitive Bands. These high-tech, breathable bands are made by cleverly knitting silicone threads into the top band to give you the power of silicone with the comfort and softness of a knit band.

How do compression socks benefit athletes?

Coresport Athletic Compression Socks by Therafirm

The Core-Sport Compression Sock is made with a high-tech fabric that’s antimicrobial to prevent odor and also wicks moisture away from the skin while exercising. Core-Sport by Therafirm features arch protection for added support and a cushioned heel and foot to reduce impact. This sock provides 15-20mmHg graduated compression, which helps to increase circulation to reduce muscle fatigue and recovery time.

What’s the difference between compression socks and sleeves?

If you want the benefits of compression with the freedom to choose any shoe you want to wear, compression sleeves may be for you. However, to get the full benefits of recovery, compression socks are your go-to. Socks more effectively increase circulation to prevent and provide relief for swelling and fatigue, whereas sleeves only cover your ankle up to your knee. But for a nice run or when you hit the gym, compression sleeves are great to wear. Check out this great Zensah infographic to see what’s best for you:

Compression Socks or Sleeves?

Still have questions? Comment below!

BrightLife New Year’s Resolutions!

The end of every year is a time for reflection. As we look back, we set new goals for the next year of things we want to change or improve. This year, we asked the BrightLife family what their resolutions are. Take a look:

Resolution 1:

My resolution is to be able to take on leg day at the gym and actually be able to walk the next day…without limping or feeling like my legs are Jello. TheraSport Recovery Socks are the key to success here.

resolution

Resolution 2:

It’s time to stop kidding myself. My real resolution is to embrace the amount of time I spend on the internet. Sitting there for hours isn’t as bad if I’m wearing compression socks…right??

Resolution

Resolution 3:

My resolution is to wear jeans less often! Good thing I can stock up on Allegro sheers & stockings during the January Buy 3 Get 1 Free sale! 🙂

new year resolution joke

Resolution 4:

My resolution is to be more bold and outgoing this year. Check out these hot new colors! I’m really going to stand out at the gym wearing these Sigvaris Performance Calf Sleeves. The compression helps to enhance performance and speed up recovery, so I can lap all the other “Resolutioners” at the gym.

Sigvaris 412 Compression Calf Sleeves - BrightLife Direct

Resolution 5:

My resolution is to stop spending time sorting laundry by color, what’s machine washable vs. hand washable etc. and to start living life on the edge and just throw it all in. Good thing Juzo is machine washable!

New Years Resolution

Resolution 6:

LOSE WEIGHT. But seriously, just need the time/energy. I have the compression!

Calvin and Hobbs

Resolution 7:

Instead of dreading traveling, my resolution is to start looking forward to new adventures. Between the hassle of flying and the stress of driving in traffic, there’s a lot of time spent sitting around. It’s time to start traveling comfortably and in style. These Sockwell compression socks are a must have!

Sockwell On the Spot Compression Socks

Resolution 8:

This year, I’m going to take it upon myself to spend more time in the kitchen and really learn how to cook. Now, this could take all year, so there’s going to be a lot of standing involved. Compression socks anyone?

Funny New Year Resolution

What is your New Year’s resolution? How do you plan to stick to it?

Must-Have Socks of 2015: Best Sellers

Allegro_horiz_generalWith the end of the year rapidly approaching, it’s time to take a look at our customer favorites this year. Allegro continues to be our most popular brand – with consistently great prices and styles, it’s hard for customers to pass up! Jobst, Medi, Sigvaris and Juzo also make appearances in our best-sellers list.

Check out our best selling socks, armsleeves and braces below!

Best Selling Sheer Compression Lines

  1. Allegro Essential Sheers
  2. Jobst UltraSheer
  3. Medi Sheer & Soft

Best Selling 20-30 mmHg Compression Socks

  1. Allegro Essential – Unisex Cotton Compression Sock 20-30mmHg – # 111
  2. Allegro Essential – Mens Ribbed Support Socks 20-30mmHg – # 102
  3. Allegro Surgical Knee High 20-30 mmHg – # 200/201
  4. Jobst Relief Knee Highs 20-30 mmHg
  5. Medi Assure Knee High 20-30 mmHg

Best Selling Compression Accessory

  1. It Stays – Body Adhesive
  2. Hosiery Mate Revitalizing Washing Solution
  3. Sigvaris Ridged Donning Gloves

Best Selling Diabetic Socks

  1. Jobst Sensifoot
  2. SmartKnit Seamless Diabetic Socks
  3. Juzo 5760 Silver Sole Socks

Best Selling Lymphedema Armsleeves

  1. Jobst Bella Lite Armsleeves
  2. Juzo Soft Armsleeves
  3. Juzo Varin Armsleeves
  4. Mediven Harmony
  5. LympheDivas Stylish Armsleeves

Best Selling Athletic Compression Socks

  1. Allegro Athletic Support Sock in 15-20 and 20-30 mmHg
  2. Allegro Athletic Recovery Sock #387 (15-20mmHg)
  3. Sigvaris Merino Outdoor Sock in 15-20 and 20-30 mmHg
  4. Jobst Active Socks
  5. Sigvaris 401 Athletic Recovery Socks

Best Selling Knee Braces and Supports

  1. Medi Seamless Knit Knee Support
  2. Therall Joint Warming Knee Support
  3. Solidea Silver Compression Knee Support

What were your favorite products from 2015?

Introducing Apex Shoes!

Apex shoes are made with the highest standards of performance and comfort. These shoes are designed for men and women to be flexible, protective and supportive. If you are looking for customized comfort, you’re going to love these shoes. All Apex shoes include two removable inserts to increase depth by 5/16″ for fitting flexibility. Choose from athletic running shoes, walking shoes or the lightweight women’s pedals to keep your feet comfortable all day. These orthopedic shoes are available in three widths in a large variety of sizes.

Athletic Shoes

mens-apex-shoeswomens-apex-shoes

Apex Athletic footwear is designed to provide pain relief and prevent injuries. These shoes are great if you have diabetes, arthritis or sensitive feet to help you lead a healthy, active lifestyle. These breathable shoes are made with padded interiors and a biomechanical footbed for stability and shock absorption.

The X-Last styles feature slip resistant rubber soles for increased traction, Carboplast footbridge for motion control and stability, and X-Last for superior motion control. The V-Last Styles are made with a multi-density midsole with a supporting EGX footbridge and V-Last for superior stability.

The Apex Men’s Sierra Trail Runner Shoe is made with a padded collar and tongue for additional comfort and to prevent heel slippage. The Trail Runner shoe features a toe and heel guard and is protected with Scotchguard for water resistance, making them perfect for hiking! This V-Last shoe provides exceptional stability and support for men.

WOMEN’S PEDAL SHOES

apex-w-pedal-shoesThe Apex women’s pedal shoes are designed with your comfort and protection in mind. These therapeutic shoes are extremely lightweight and provide excellent support. Apex women’s pedal shoes are designed with soft fabric moisture wicking linings and feature a roomy toe box, which is great for sensitive toes. These shoes are made with a new non-slip rubber outsole for traction and stability and heel counters for additional stability and control.

SHOP APEX

Workout Essentials – TheraSport, Solidea and Dr. Comfort

As the weather starts to cool off, check out your ultimate workout guide to get you through the Fall without skipping workouts.

BLD Workout Essentials
Workout Essentials featuring:

First things first, make yourself a killer gym playlist filled with all of your favorite songs. Nothing gets you motivated like music! Get yourself a pair of comfortable headphones. The B&O Play headphones pictured feature a detachable cord, microphone and great sound quality. If you and your workout buddy both have these headphones, you can use the daisy chain functionality to link your headphones so you’re both listening to the same thing.

Another great piece of technology to help meet your fitness goals is the Everlast Sport Watch. This high-tech bracelet keeps track of calories burned, steps taken and how many miles you walk or run each day. The Everlast Sport Watch is a great way to see how much progress you have made. It even tells you the time so you can stay on track.

When you get to the gym, make sure to stretch. Using a foam roller is ideal to target specific muscles to work out kinks. It also works well for physical therapy, yoga balance and strength training. During your workout, it is extremely important to stay hydrated. The Camelbak water bottle featured in this guide has a loop to clip it to your bag or carry with your finger so you don’t misplace it at the gym. This durable bottle is spill-proof so you never have to worry about it leaking. The Camelbak water bottle is made BPA free and is available in a large variety of colors.

Now for the most important workout essentials: compression socks. The new TheraSport Athletic Performance Sock provides 20-30mmHg graduated compression to improve circulation to energize your legs. Once you put these on, you’ll finish your workout strong. These socks will have you feeling better than ever, even after pushing yourself through a grueling workout. Check out this TheraSport product review on the and see for yourself! These socks are made with tons of cushioning to support your feet and reduce impact. TheraSport socks are anti-microbial to prevent odor and are made with moisture-wicking fibers to keep your feet cool and dry. After your workout, slip on TheraSport Athletic Recovery Socks to reduce fatigue and heal faster than ever.

The only thing that’s worse than sore legs is sore feet. Make sure to wear comfortable shoes that don’t rub or irritate your feet. Nothing’s harder than trying to run with a blister! Our recommendation is the Dr. Comfort Women’s Athletic Refresh Shoe. These lightweight shoes are great for people with sensitive feet. These shoes support side-to-side movement unlike regular running shoes, making them ideal for kickboxing, Zumba, weight training and stretching. Choose from a variety of colors and two different lace options. They even come with a gel shoe insert for maximum comfort.

Say goodbye to cellulite! Last but not least, the Solidea Strong Advanced Micro Massage Compression Bike Short is made with a breathable fabric that reduces bacteria and odor to keep your skin clean, dry and healthy. This bike short smooths the silhouette helping to shape mid-thighs and to reduce scar formation, fibrosis and the ever so dreaded cellulite. It also helps to sooth symptoms of lymphedema, edema and swelling by using 3D wave knit fabric to stimulate the lymphatic system. As you move, the fabric expands and contracts creating a massage affect.

SHOP WORKOUT GEAR:

SHOP ALL ATHLETIC COMPRESSION SOCKS

The US National Field Hockey Team Wears Compression Socks!

WNT 14_15 poster

The U.S. Women’s National Hockey Team is one of the most hard working teams out there, training twice a day for five days a week. This year, they are utilizing athletic compression socks to get a competitive advantage. These socks provide medical grade compression to help prevent leg and ankle injury, reduce the time it takes to recover and to increase circulation to keep legs feeling energized and fresh.

Dave Hamilton, the USA Field Hockey director for performance science explains that these are not your average socks; “They are individually knitted using measurements obtained from a 3 dimensional scan of both legs.” The idea is to help athletes train more effectively. Unlike most compression socks, the ones the U.S. National Team wear come complete with an electrical stimulation device (firefly) that stimulates the body’s natural calf pump.

Compression garments without all the bells and whistles still give athletes a competitive advantage. Professional sports players like LeBron James and Kobe Bryant are widely known for their use of compression garments. Compression socks and sleeves are designed to increase blood flow to enhance performance. For the most part you’ll find that athletes and fitness enthusiasts swear by wearing compression socks post workout to flush out lactic acid from the muscles, which speeds up recovery. Most athletes who use compression for recovery are able to perform at the same level of intensity within a day or two.

Athletic compression socks help athletes reach their full potential without experiencing muscle soreness afterwards. Both the Men’s and Women’s National Field Hockey Teams have been wearing compression socks for years. Compression socks are becoming more and more popular in the sports world with good reason. Whether you want to run farther, train harder or recover faster, athletic compression socks can help you achieve your goals.

SHOP ATHLETIC COMPRESSION SOCKS

Looking for flashy athletic compression socks? Check out BrightLife GoS14_Campaign_Urban_Run_Underpass_RGB-smaller

Have a Happy, Healthy Fourth of July!

Dehydration can lead to muscle cramps and fainting, which is the last thing you want to happen right before fireworks. During the summer months, it is extremely important to take care of your body, especially when you’re getting blasted with the heat from the grill or running around with the kids.  Here are a couple of delicious Fourth of July inspired drinks and foods to keep you and your family happy and healthy.

bb7440_6fbed6e909dd992004f242e0d3f5ee40.jpg_srb_p_630_945_75_22_0.50_1.20_0It’s not the Fourth of July without watermelon!! This delicious fruit is 92% water, which is extremely important during the summer to avoid dehydration.  Some other foods that are great for hydration are celery, cucumber and iceberg lettuce. You can get dehydrated from not consuming enough water, eating foods high in sodium and running around in the heat for a long time. To keep your body in check, make yourself some Fourth of July inspired fruit infused water.  Add pineapple, strawberries and blueberries for a fun Fourth of July drink that everyone will love.

Do’s and Don’ts

DO: Go ahead and indulge!!! Chocolate has been scientifically proven to have cardiovascular benefits and can help prevent heart attacks.  According to a study from the University of Aberdeen, “Researchers discovered that those people who had a higher intake of chocolate were 11-percent less likely to suffer a heart attack than people who ate no chocolate at all. People who regularly consumed chocolate were also 25-percent less likely to die from a heart issue and 23-percent less likely to suffer a stroke.”

DON’T: It’s only natural to cheat on your diet a little bit on the weekend or when you’re on vacation, but the important part is making smart choices. According to a new study, eating a lot of trans fats can negatively affect your memory. Trans fats are known for raising the levels of  “bad cholesterol” and lowering the “good cholesterol” in your body. If that’s not enough to curb your cravings, trans facts may even cause inflammation in the body, which can lead to problems with memory loss. “The researchers discovered a fascinating link between trans fats and memory: for every gram of trans fats consumed on a daily basis, the memory performance of the men dropped significantly. In fact, men whose diet included a lot of trans fats (16-grams or more) were able to recall 12 fewer words than men who ate less trans fats.”

Make sure not to overhydrate your body, especially if you are playing sports.  exercise-associated hyponatremia (EAH), or overhydration, prevents the kidneys from producing enough sodium, which results in the cells swelling. Although it is rare, some athletes have died from overhydration, yet no one has died on the field from dehydration. For the athletes in your life, make a dish with cabbage, artichokes, Brussels sprouts or turnips. They are great to boost cell renewal, aid in bone health, regulate blood pressure and for muscle performance.

red-white-blueberry-smoothie-550-3

For a real breakfast of champions, make a Firecracker Smoothie with bananas, blueberries, strawberries and raspberries to get tons of nutrients in a quick and easy breakfast that tastes amazing. Bananas have lots of Vitamin C and Potassium, which are good for managing your blood pressure and for your muscles. Blueberries help with memory loss, eyesight, and help relieve dry skin. Strawberries are filled with Vitamin C and are great for strengthening your immune system. Raspberries are also a great source of Vitamin C and fiber and are beneficial for diabetes management because they help to keep your blood sugar stable.

Have a happy Fourth of July!!