Turn Up the Beat and Your Health with Heart Pumping Tunes

Regular exercise has many positive effects on your heart health and overall well-being. From reduced stress to improved cholesterol and fat levels, studies continue to show that a little physical activity can go a long way. And it doesn’t take much!

The American Heart Association recommends individuals aim for at least 30 minutes of moderately-intense exercise on most days of the week. Whether it’s pick- up basketball, training for a local 5K or riding your bike to work, we’re all about exercise being fun. One way to make your favorite heart-pumping activity a little more enjoyable is by turning up the beat. In fact, listening to music not only helps make exercise more fun, but it can also improve your workout. Here’s why:

Music Improves Your Mood 

We’ve all rolled out of bed or ended a long day at work and tried to talk ourselves out of going to the gym. Sometimes all we need is a little mood booster to get motivated. A study published in the Journal of Positive Psychology found music can improve your mood and outlook on life. So create a killer playlist, lace up your sneakers and push play before you’re even out the door.  It won’t take long before you’re enjoying a heart-healthy workout and a boost to your overall happiness.

Music Puts You in a Zone

From studying for a big exam to pushing out that last rep of squats, we all have go-to music for different situations. The right music can help you tune out distractions and get you in the right state of mind to push through your workout. Find songs that get you in your heart-pumping zone and let the music carry you away. Focus on the beat and you may run those three miles before even realizing you’re tired.

Increases Intensity

Studies show that runners and cyclists tend to step or pedal to the beat of music. Because of this, a good playlist with upbeat tunes can push you to work harder during your workout. “Music can reduce the perception of effort significantly and increase endurance by as much as 15 percent,” says Costas Karageorghis, PH.D., from London’s Brunel University School of Sport and Education. Maximize your next workout with songs between 120 and 140 beats per minute (bpm).

Keep your Pace

Next time you go for a bike ride or run, leave your watch at home and let your playlist be your pacer. Use tools like jog.fm or RockMyRun to set your pace based on the song’s beats per a minute. Get lost in the beat, take in the scenery and let the music be your guide.

These are just a few of the many benefits you’ll find when you mix heart-healthy cardio with your favorite tunes. Ronny Turiaf shared his favorite cardio songs above and now we need your help. Comment below with your favorite gym songs so we can build a 30-minute playlist and get moving!

A Fraternity of the Heart: Charlotte Observer Feature

There are but a few select NBA players that qualify to join the “Fraternity of the Heart”, as coined by Charlotte Observer writer, Jon Krawczynski.   While membership is not desirable — in order to qualify you must face open-heart surgery — once a member, the support of this brotherhood is difficult even to put in words.

“It’s definitely a brotherhood,” said Ronny Turiaf. “It’s something that’s hard to put into words. We don’t have to talk all the time. But when those instances happen, we talked, each and every one of us, some way, somehow, was linked with the other. And whenever we see each other, it’s like, we made it.”

Chris Wilcox, Etan Thomas, Fred Hoiberg, Ronny Turiaf, Jeff Green, Channing Frye all carry the signature mark of a the club — a zipper like scar on their chest.   As such, Hoiberg affectionately refers to the clan as the “Zipper Brothers”.   The growing group was recently featured in the Charlotte Observer.   Read the full article here.

Timberwolves FitMonth

In addition to being Heart Health Awareness month, the Minnesota Wolves have deemed February to be FitMonth.   Teammates Ronny Turiaf and Robbie Hummel took the mission to the community this past week when they participated in a fit clinic at the YMCA.  The two forwards led a group of enthusiastic children in fitness and health activities designed to share the benefits of exercise and the importance of being mentally and physically fit.


Ronny Encourages Kids with Heart Challenges

Ronny Turiaf hosted a group of children, each affected with their own heart health challenges, for an evening of professional basketball fun earlier this week as the Timberwolves took to the court for a regular season game. In Ronny’s own words, “This February, it’s very important for me to give back for Heart month. We have kids. . . who basically all of them underwent some or are going through some heart problems, so it’s definitely important for me to invite them and show them that I underwent some heart problems and I am here healthy, ready to go, playing in the NBA, so I am just trying to give them some kind of encouragement. . . ”  The kids and their parents enjoyed a great evening of basketball topped off by a meet and greet with Ronny himself.


Turiaf Dons Number 32 in Honor of His Bond with Fred Hoiberg

Ronny Turiaf and Fred Hoiberg share a common history that few would envy – an aortic aneurism.  The two NBA players both overcame surgery and the painful recovery process just four weeks apart in the summer of 2005.   When Hoiberg, who was the first of the two to discover his health condition, saw the news of Turiaf’s impending surgery, he called the fellow player to offer encouragement and help Ronny through the difficult process.   Over the course of the coming months, in Ronny’s own words, Hoiberg became almost a father figure.   Hoiberg was there through every step of Ronny’s surgery and recovery process.

“He told me what would happen right ahead of me,” said Turiaf. “Anytime I had a question, he was there for moral support.”

In honor of the special bond that the two share and the support Hoiberg offered Ronny during a difficult time, Ronny chose to wear the number 32, Hoiberg’s number, as he heads into his first season with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

When asked about the news, Hoiberg commented, “I was honored . . . It’s great to see him out there. I’m honored he’ll wear that number.”

Read the full story at NBA.com

Superfood: The Mango

A favorite fruit of Ronny’s, we came across a feature on mangoes that breaks down their top 10 health benefits via Care2.com.

The almighty mango almost sounds too good to be true as it:

1.  Prevents Cancer:
Research has shown antioxidant compounds in mango fruit have been found to protect against colon, breast, leukemia and prostate cancers. These compounds include quercetin, isoquercitrin, astragalin, fisetin, gallic acid and methylgallat, as well as the abundant enzymes.

2.  Lowers Cholesterol:
The high levels of fiber, pectin and vitamin C help to lower serum cholesterol levels, specifically Low-Density Lipoprotein (the bad stuff)

3.  Clears the Skin:
Can be used both internally and externally for the skin. Mangos clear clogged pores and eliminate pimples. (Read more on page 5.)

4.  Eye Health:
One cup of sliced mangoes supplies 25 percent of the needed daily value of vitamin A, which promotes good eyesight and prevents night blindness and dry eyes.

5.  Alkalizes the Whole Body:
The tartaric acid, malic acid, and a trace of citric acid found in the fruit help to maintain the alkali reserve of the body.

6. Helps in Diabetes:
Mango leaves help normalize insulin levels in the blood.  The traditional home remedy involves boiling leaves in water, soaking through the night and then consuming the filtered decoction in the morning. Mango fruit also have a relatively low glycemic index (41-60) so moderate quantities will not spike your sugar levels.

7. Improved Sex:
Mangos are a great source of vitamin E. Even though the popular connection between sex drive and vitamin E was originally created by a mistaken generalization on rat studies, further research has shown balanced proper amounts (as from whole food) does help in this area.

8. Improves Digestion:
Papayas are not the only fruit that contain enzymes for breaking down protein. There are several fruits, including mangoes, which have this healthful quality. The fiber in mangos also helps digestion and elimination.

9. Remedy for Heat Stroke
Juicing the fruit from green mango and mixing with water and a sweetener helps to cool down the body and prevent harm to the body. From an ayurvedic viewpoint, the reason people often get diuretic and exhausted when visiting equatorial climates is because the strong “sun energy” is burning up your body, particularly the muscles.  The kidneys then become overloaded with the toxins from this process.

10. Boosts Immune system
The generous amounts of vitamin C and vitamin A in mangos, plus 25 different kinds of carotenoids keep your immune system healthy and strong.

Superfood: Dark Chocolate

There are more important reasons to add dark chocolate in your diet other than the fact that it tastes great!

Check out the top six as per FitDay.com:

1) Dark Chocolate is Good for Your Heart

Studies show that eating a small amount of dark chocolate two or three times each week can help lower your blood pressure. Dark chocolate improves blood flow and may help prevent the formation of blood clots.

2) Dark Chocolate is Good for Your Brain

Dark chocolate increases blood flow to the brain as well as to the heart, so it can help improve cognitive function. Dark chocolate also helps reduce your risk of stroke. Chocolate contains phenylethylamine (PEA), the same chemical your brain creates when you feel like you’re falling in love. PEA encourages your brain to release endorphins, so eating dark chocolate will make you feel happier.

3) Dark Chocolate Helps Control Blood Sugar

Dark chocolate helps keep your blood vessels healthy and your circulation unimpaired to protect against type 2 diabetes. The flavonoids in dark chocolate also help reduce insulin resistance by helping your cells to function normally and regain the ability to use your body’s insulin efficiently.

4) Dark Chocolate is Full of Antioxidants

Dark chocolate is loaded with antioxidants. Antioxidants help free your body of free radicals, which cause oxidative damage to cells. Free radicals are implicated in the aging process and may be a cause of cancer, so eating antioxidant rich foods like dark chocolate can protect you from many types of cancer and slow the signs of aging.

5) Dark Chocolate Contains Theobromine

Dark chocolate contains theobromine, which has been shown to harden tooth enamel. That means that dark chocolate, unlike most other sweets, lowers your risk of getting cavities if you practice proper dental hygiene.

6) Dark Chocolate is High in Vitamins and Minerals

Dark chocolate contains a number of vitamins and minerals that can support your health. Dark chocolate contains some of the following vitamins and minerals in high concentrations:

  • Potassium
  • Copper
  • Magnesium
  • Iron

The copper and potassium in dark chocolate help prevent against stroke and cardiovascular ailments. The iron in chocolate protects against iron deficiency anemia, and the magnesium in chocolate helps prevent type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.