What are inversion tables and how can they help you in and out of the gym?

Are you always in the gym, but somehow never have time for stretching? Are you looking for a new way to perform the same stretches, or a completely new way to decompress after training or work? Inversion therapy may be the answer you are looking for. Simply put, inversion therapy involves being suspended and hanging upside down with the aim of providing added release after training or as a way of dealing with back pain and discomfort.

Using an inversion table is one way to achieve the desired upside-down position. So, what exactly is an inversion table?

The typical design is based on a sturdy yet lightweight metal frame the backrest and headrest are attached to. This is where your upper body is resting on while suspended. Your ankles are secured with padded ankle straps or restraints, thus preventing slipping. Your arms rest on ergonomic handles (they can also be used for actively getting in and out of an inversion), while your desired end position is secured with a system of safety pegs or pins, again preventing accidental slipping or overstretching.

Inversion tables also come with many additional features (you can opt for a more expensive model that will have them from the start or buy accessories for your inversion table later on, once you decide you need them):

  • no-slip mat (to further secure the frame of your inversion table and protect sensitive floors from damage)
  • heating and/or vibrating cushions specifically designed for the lower back (lumbar spine)
  • neck support (ergonomic neck massager)
  • storage caddies (for water bottles and other sport equipment)

When can you use an inversion table? Adding inversion therapy to your training regime is always beneficial, but it is also encouraged in cases of more serious back pain and conditions such as:

    • sciatica: pain in the lower back, buttocks and back of the leg caused by pressure on the sciatic nerve
    • muscle spasms: involuntary contractions of one or more muscles
    • herniated discs: this condition occurs when a damaged spinal disk puts pressure on a surrounding nerve. This causes pain in the extremities associated with the affected nerve
    • osteoarthritis: the degeneration of joints and bone tissue caused by aging
    • scoliosis: deformation of the spine caused by putting excessive pressure on the spine
    • various autoimmune conditions, such as fibromyalgia

The positive effects are many. Including relief from painful conditions mentioned above, they also include:

  • spinal decompression and increased flexibility
  • improved sleep quality
  • improved posture
  • improved circulation
  • hormonal regulation
  • less severe symptoms of PMS

You can get an inversion table to use at home and easily reap all the benefits this simple yet effective device provides. If you spend a lot of time working out, gravity boots may be the perfect accessory for you: they provide added decompression of the leg muscles while used during inversion therapy. Used in the gym, they assist you in performing inverted exercises for increased core and leg strength. They are lightweight, which makes them an ideal on-the-go gym accessory for a busy schedule.

Balance bike: the best first wheeled toy for kids

Kids just want to have fun, and nowadays there are more ways than ever to keep them entertained. Old-school dolls and stuffed animals will never go out of style, and modern toys have become more and more relevant to prepare them for the ever-advancing world of technology they will live in. However, all great childhoods share one important element in common: spending time outside to play. Regardless of the time we grew up in, we can all agree that some of our fondest memories are of the times we just played the day away in the sun with siblings or friends.

One of the best ways in which you can introduce your kids to outdoor play and give them a greater sense of independence is getting them some wheeled toys. Toys on wheels and sports equipment come in all shapes and sizes, and can be used since babies are a few months old up to their late childhood. Letting children ride on these toys will help them greatly when it comes to engaging in formal physical education in school or as an extracurricular activity.

Luckily for us as parents and them as kids, nowadays there seem to be more and more toys of this kind. Bikes, skates, and ride-on vehicles of different types are all available for babies as young as just a few months old and for kids in their late childhood. If you worry about the safety of letting your kids ride these toys, don’t. Most modern toy sets that include any sort of wearable or rideable equipment on wheels don’t get sold without a matching set of protective equipment.

Balance bikes: a great first choice

With that many options being available out there, it is only natural that parents get overwhelmed and concerned about both the appropriateness of the toy for a certain age and the safety risks for their children. However, there is one choice that stands among the rest for the best toy on wheels you could get for your children, and that is a balance bike.

Balance bikes are small bicycles for kids that rely precisely on the kids’ balance to stay rolling. Children need to have learned how to stand and how to walk, since basically their seats just support them so they make the bike advance as they walk. While it may sound counterintuitive or even dangerous, it is a more responsible way to introduce kids to wheeled toys than letting them use baby walkers when they are babies, for example.

What’s more, these bikes don’t have breaks or pedals, which means that they can only go as fast as the toddler can walk or run. Kids need to wear protective gear at all times, of course, but they don’t run any major risks unless left unsupervised and rolling down steep hills or stairs, for instance. Parents should be aware of their little ones’ whereabouts at all times, even when letting them roam somewhat independently outside the house. A balance bike is a great vehicle to awake kids’ interest in other sports and wheeled toys, so don’t hesitate to get one from these balance bikes here for your child when the time feels right.

Bath bombs for self-care and gifting

Perhaps there is no image that says self-care better than that of a frothy bubble bath, a glass of wine and your favorite slow tunes as the only sound that catches your attention. A bath bomb is like a cherry on top of an amazing bath: it’s there for decoration and pop of color, but it’s also more than just something that looks pretty. It changes your entire bathing experience and it’s packed full of ingredients that can take you higher or prepare you for a blissful sleep.

A bath bomb goes a long way to provide more than just cleansing: it can replace your creams and lotions because, with the help of the right ingredients, it’s super nourishing and takes care of your skin. Not only that – it can also boost your mood with its playful selection of colors and scents that quickly and effortlessly take over any space.

You can’t go wrong if you decide to treat yourself or someone else to this simple luxury. The variety of bath bombs is limitless. Here’s how to narrow down your selection.

How to choose?

Making bath bombs relies on a bit of science, but you don’t need to have a scientific approach when choosing the one for you. In general, bath bombs are usually divided into energizing and relaxing, with ingredients that compliment each category.

Energizing ingredients: think of citrus fruits, peppermint and eucalyptus oils. Some bath bombs contain glitter or fizz into many different colors.

Relaxing ingredients: herbs such as lavender, chamomile or rosemary (in the form of essential oils or as dried herbs added to your bath bomb). Epsom salt can also be added into the mix and is a perfect antidote for sore muscles.

Nourishing ingredients: different butters and oils that are good for the skin – shea butter, coconut oil, sweet almond oil, cupuacu butter.

Something special: some bath bombs are made to take it a step further and reveal a small surprise when they dissolve, usually a small toy or a motivational message.

Buyer’s guide

LifeAround2Angels Bath Bomb Set of 12: this set is perfect as a gift. Each bath bomb is individually hand-wrapped and you have a selection of colors and scents to experiment with. With names such as Black Raspberry Vanilla, Fun on the Beach and Victorian Rose, who wouldn’t?

Gaea Miracle Bath Bombs Gift Set of 6: another set of carefully selected natural ingredients. Enjoy exquisite scents such as coconut milk, honey and bamboo.

Sink or Swim Bath Co. Set of 6: a simple set that relies on nourishing and no-fuss ingredients – these bath bombs contain no glitter, dried herbs or artificial colors, so cleaning your bath after you’re done is made as easy as possible.

Purelis Gift Set of 30 Bath Bombs: this is one of the most generous gift sets you can find. With 30 different bath bombs, it comes at an amazing price, while still maintaining quality. The bath bombs are paraben and sulfate free and handmade with natural ingredients.

What you need to know about: Seal, Hinder, Michael Buble, Weezer, Kelly Rowland, Chingy

Seal

Seal was born Seal Henry Olusegun Olumide Adeola Samuel on February 19 ,1963 in Paddington, London, United Kingdom. Seal first came to public attention as vocalist on the Adamski single “Killer” in 1990. The single eventually reached number one in 1990 in the UK. Seal subsequently signed to ZTT Records and released his self title debut album in 1991. Then he released his second studio album in 1994, also entitled Seal. It spawned several hit singles “Prayer for the Dying”, “Kiss from a Rose” and “Newborn Friend”. Seal has since gone on to release four more albums which include Human Being in 1998, Seal IV in 2003, System in 1997 and Soul in 2008. He is currently married to super model Heidi Klum.

The couple have two sons together, Henry Günther Ademola Dashtu Samuel (b. September 12,2005) and Johan Riley Fyodor Taiwo Samuel (b. November 22, 2006). Seal is also the adoptive father of Heidi’s daughter, Helene “Leni” Klum (b. May 4, 2004), whom Heidi had with Renault Formula One team director and Italian businessman Flavio Briatore. On Thursday April 16, 2009, Seal confirmed to the press and his audience at Radio City Music Hall that Klum is pregnant with their fourth child who is a girl.

Hinder

Hinder is an American rock band from Oklahoma that was formed in 2001 by drummer Cody Hanson, guitarist Joe Garvey, and singer Austin Winkler. In April 2003, before making it big, Hinder entered the March Bandness contest for Oklahoma City radio station KHBZ-FM (94.7). They made it to the Final Four out of a field of thirty-two, ultimately losing to the OKC group Falcon Five-O. They released their first EP titled Far from Close in 2003 on an independent record label, Brickden Records.

It sold about 5,000 copies. The three members then began working on new material in 2004 for their next independent release. These demos caught the attention of several major record labels. After being offered record deals by Atlantic, Roadrunner, and Universal Records, Hinder signed with Universal Records in 2005. They released their debut album, Extreme Behavior, later that year. As of July 11, 2007, the album has sold 2,789,275 copies in the US. In 2008 they released their second studio album, Take It to the Limit. The album has been certified Gold by the RIAA US. In early 2009 Hinder will embark on Motley Crue’s Saints of Los Angeles Tour which will also include Theory of a Deadman and the Guitar Center contest Winners The Last Vegas.

Michael Buble

Michael Buble was born on September 9, 1975 in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada. He is the only son and eldest of 3 children with two younger sisters, Crystal (an actress) and Brandee. In 2000, Michael Buble’s career breakthrough came from a surprising chain of events. Michael McSweeney saw Buble’s performance at a business party and received a copy of Bublé’s self-financed independent album from Michael. McSweeney, an aide to former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, showed the album to the former Prime Minister and his wife. Subsequently, Bublé was invited to sing at the wedding of Mulroney’s daughter, Caroline, where he sang Kurt Weill’s “Mack the Knife”.

In 2003 he released his self titled debut album. It reached the top ten of the album charts in the UK, Canada and going all the way to #1 in Australia where it reached seven times platinum for sales of 490,000 copies. Michael Buble has gone on to release 11 singles, two studio albums and two live albums. Michael Bublé has sold more than 20 million albums worldwide. On December 11, 2008, Michael Buble became part of the ownership group for the Vancouver Giants, a major junior ice hockey team.

Weezer

Weezer was formed in 1992 in Los Angeles, California. The band consisted of Rivers Cuomo on lead vocals and guitar, Patrick Wilson on drums, Matt Sharp on bass, and Jason Cropper on guitar. Cropper was later replaced by Brian Bell. Matt Sharp was subsequently replaced by Mikey Welsh who was later replaced with Scott Shriner. Weezer’s first gig was opening for Keanu Reeves’ band Dogstar. Weezer recorded their self titleddebut album with producer Ric Ocasek at Electric Lady Studios in New York City. As of December 2007, the album had sold 3,146,000 copies in the United States where it peaked at number 16. It is currently certified triple-platinum, making it Weezer’s best selling album.

It has also sold over 200,000 copies in Canada where it has been certified double-platinum. Weezer has since released five more studio albums, with their latest being entitled “Weezer”. The first single from the album, “Pork and Beans” spent 11 weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart. This made the song the fastest rising song ever for the group as the song hit number one after only three weeks on the chart. The second single from the album, “Troublemaker”, debuted at number 39 on the Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart. Weezer has sold more than eight million records in the US to date.

Kelly Rowland

Kelly Rowland was born on February 11,1981 in Atlanta, Georgia. Kelly Rowland rose to fame in the late 1990s as one of the founding members of the girl group Destiny’s Child. During the hiatus of the group, Rowland collaborated with rapper Nelly on the single “Dilemma”, a worldwide number-one hit, and released her rock pop-influenced debut solo album Simply Deep in 2002. It became a commercial success, selling more than 3 million copies worldwide, and garnered three more or less successful singles, among “Stole” and “Can’t Nobody”. Kelly Rowland branched into acting with a guest stint on the sitcom The Hughleys in 2002, before appearing in other UPN shows such as Eve and Girlfriends in the years of 2003 and 2006 respectively.

Following the formal disbandment of Destiny’s Child in 2005, Kelly Rowland’s often-delayed second album, Ms.Kelly, was released in 2007. The album scored medicore commercial success, debuting with the top ten on the Billboard 200 chart, but underperformed internationally, missing the top forty on most charts elsewhere. To date, Ms. Kelly has sold more than 1.2 million copies worldwide. In early 2009, Rowland ended her professional relationship with both manager Mathew Knowles and former label Columbia Records in order to explore other ventures.

Chingy

Chingy is the stage name of Howard Bailey, Jr. He was born on March 9, 1980 in St. Louis, Missouri. Chingy grew up in the historic Walnut Park section of St. Louis, a neighborhood known for it’s gangs and drugs. The middle child with two older brothers and two younger sisters, Chingy became a music fan at an early age citing Run-DMC and Ice Cube as his early rap heroes. Following in the footsteps of his heroes, Chingy began writing lyrics at age nine and was recording raps at age ten. He originally considered the stage names H. Thugzy and H Thugs, before settling on Chingy, a slang term for money. With the quick release of the party rap track “Right Thurr,” Chingy became an overnight sensation.

The track gained immediate popularity in the clubs, especially throughout the South, and quickly infiltrated urban radio in the midst of summer while simultaneously climbing to the upper reaches of the Billboard Hot 100 chart, peaking at number four. On July 15, 2003, he released his debut album Jackpot. Fronted by the smash single “Right Thurr”, this album also spawned two other top 3 hits, “Holidae In” featuring Ludacris & Snoop Dogg, and “One Call Away” featuring J-Weav. Chingy has since released four more albums.

Bruce Springsteen

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Bruce Springsteen was born on September 23, 1949 in Long Branch, New Jersey. His full name is Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen. Springsteen signed a record deal with Columbia Records in 1972, with the help of John Hammond, who had signed Bob Dylan to the same record label a decade earlier. His debut album, Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J., was released in 1973 and sold about 25,000 copies in the first year. It was also in 1973 that he released his second album, The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle. As with his first album, it was well-received critically but had little commercial success at the time.

Then on August 25, 1975, Bruce Springsteen released his third album, and what many consider to be his breakthrough album, Born to Run. It peaked at number three on the Billboard 200 and reached high positions on charts worldwide. Two singles were released from the album: “Born to Run” and “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out”. Bruce Springsteen has since released fourteen more studio albums, five live albums and sixty-six singles. He has sold over 65 million albums in the US and 120 million worldwide. He has also earned numerous awards for his work, including nineteen Grammy Awards, two Golden Globes and an Academy Award.