Health & Fitness

Recent posts

Why it’s important to Save the Drome

Rumours have abounded for some time now that the city of Cape Town was considering demolishing the Bellville Velodrome but a document published recently has now confirmed their intent.

In the “Draft Broader Tygervalley Urban Design Framework” the city provide details of what the plans are for the area, which indicate that the Tygervalley Precinct will be upgraded to a “secondary CBD”, including high-rise office space, shopping centres, public transport initiatives etc. A multi-storey shopping centre called “Galleria” is to built on the site of the current Velodrome – though there is no direct mention of what exactly will happen to the Velodrome.

Upon hearing the news, and after chatting with Jeanne Nell, (South Africa’s National 1km Time Trial & Keirin Track Cycling champion) Cape Town cycling enthusiast Ridaa Ismail felt strongly that the plans should not go ahead and started the Save the Drome campaign to try and give the facility and those who use it a voice.

X: What makes the Drome so valuable to the Cape Town cycling community?

R: The Velodrome is not only valuable to the Cape Town cycling community but the entire South African track cycling community. Bellville Velodrome is the only Olympic standard velodrome on the African continent and is the training base for all our Olympic and Paralympic track cyclists.

There are plans for a velodrome to be established in Potchefstroom but that will take a while to be constructed. If the Bellville Velodrome is demolished it would mean that there is no training base for our Olympic and Paralympic track cyclists training for the 2014 Commonwealth Games and 2016 Rio Olympics. These sportsmen and women have sacrificed their lives to fulfil the dream of winning Gold, and if the Velodrome is demolished, their dream of representing South Africa on the biggest stage will be gone. Continue reading

Pretty as a picture at Petticoat Parlour

You would think that every woman adores a day at the beauty parlour or spa, but surprisingly, that’s not true.
Astonishingly, there are those among us who go their entire lives without a mani or a pedi – and unfortunately that shows quite hideously sometimes. I can’t tell you how many times I have stood behind someone in a queue who is wearing sandals, displaying nasty dry, cracked heels. There is no excuse, ladies! Your feet work hard for you, it’s only right that you look after them.

Perhaps you’ve been for a treatment and it hasn’t been the best experience of your life, and that can be a bit off-putting. Yes, it has happened to me too…the environment is not comfortable, the therapist is over familiar or disregards your request for more (or less) pressure while massaging your shoulders, or you have hygiene concerns. There isn’t anything much worse than walking out of what should have been a wonderful, relaxing – and let’s face it, not inexpensive – few hours not feeling, well, wonderful and relaxed.

I have been to many spas and had many different treatments over the years – I consider regular visits to be a necessity rather than a luxury – and luckily most have been good, with a few dodgy ones in between. It’s take a while, but I have finally found my favourite to which I will now remain ever loyal.

Petticoat Parlour is not only utterly gorgeous to look at but every time I have been there I have felt completely pampered in every respect. It’s owned by Wendy Chait, model, mother, businesswoman and a walking advertisement for the benefits of proper beauty regimen – the woman is breathtakingly stunning. Continue reading

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Cape Town Super Spas – Regal Rejuvenation!

Even a bad spa experience can sometimes be good! Ok, maybe not if it involves waxing…

Spending the day being lathered in oils and creams, soaking and steaming in serenity is something we all wish we could do a little more of!
But when it comes to spa days, there are some venues that make most others pale in comparison. Cape Town is renowned for enjoying the finer things in life, from food to fashion and nightlife. It’s no surprise you’ll find some of the country’s top spas there too!

Get a massage with a mountain view, a pedicure with side of gourmet cuisine, a facial with rare, imported creams and concoctions! The luxury spa life is definitely one we could get used to…

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Vital Vegan – Cuisine that Cares

Making the choice to embrace a vegan lifestyle is not easy or simple. Choosing to forgo all animal products and by-products means that you have to get seriously creative with what you do choose to eat!

It also means having to more discerning about where you can eat out. The vast majority of restaurants and cafes have little or no vegan options on their menu. At best, many include a vegetarian dish or two.

Luckily, with the rise of global health consciousness, more and more vegan specific dining options are becoming available and, although SA is still lagging behind a bit, vegan eating out is becoming a lot more interesting!

We put together this collection of restaurants and cafes in the hope of giving South African vegans a quick and easy way to find places to eat in and out of their home cities. While some of the places offer only vegan options, others offer a full menu, but go out of their way to accommodate vegans!

Go to the Vegan SA website to keep up to date with new dining options as well as product advice and recipes.

Top 5 Vegetarian Restaurants in Joburg

Vegetarians often feel left out in the cold when it comes to dining out. Very few restaurants cater specifically for vegetarians and those that do often don’t put much thought into their veggie options. We felt it would be a great idea to take note of those venues that are producing top quality meat-free nosh and, at the same time, point the vegetarians in their general direction!

1.Shayona

The web is abuzz with compliments for this simple diner in Mayfair. Run by devotees of the Hindu Guru Swarmi Narayan, you’ll often find Hare Krishnas frequenting this spot to indulge in their wide range of vegetarian curries, pastas and pizzas, not to mention the sweetmeats they are famous for!

2. Greenside Cafe

Greenside Cafe’s name is almost synonymous with vegetarian and vegan cuisine in Johannesburg. This is food prepared with love, not only for the ingredients but for the environment. The cafe has won the ‘Best Vegetarian Menu’ twice in a row in the People’s Choice Awards and it’s said the non-vegetarians are just as crazy about the food as their counterparts!

3. Gingko

Apart from the bustle of the city in peaceful Parkview you can truly relax in the natural space & enjoy a wholesome meal. Nourishment is the core focus of their menu, but there is a real element of artistry in their preparation & presentation. You can feel comfortable eating in the knowledge that they are doing all they can to limit their environmental impact. Read the story behind Gingko here.

4. Fresh Earth Food Store

Health & sustainability are once again top priority at this quaint Emmarentia shop and cafe. It’s said that chef Matthew Ballenden can transform the most dour sounding ingredients into chic, mouth-watering deliciacies like raw chocolate mousse cake, made with avocado! The mezze platters and meat-free burgers are also popular!

5. In the Raw

A unique additions to the health food scene in Joburg, In the Raw is aims to make 80 percent of it’s dishes raw, with a few less raw options. The idea behind it is one that’s been gaining in popularity worldwide in recent years – that raw food & juices are the ultimate way to ingest maximum nutrients directly into your bloodstream. Expect fun combinations of fresh, natural ingredients like veggie sushi handrolls & flaxseed base pizza.

Get the Support your Body Needs

Professional athletes and sports people understand all too well how an injury or strained muscle can set them back. For them, it’s a matter of livelihood to protect their bodies.
It’s for this reason that many of them choose to use compression equipment while training and competing.

As Durban-based supplier BodyHelix will tell you, there’s real science behind these products and they are continually being improved through research and development.
“BodyHelix was originally formed in the US and was born out of the
observation that current compression equipment for muscular and joint problems has minimal effect, is uncomfortable and decades behind the advances of fabric science,” explained Bradley Buck, one half of the BodyHelix SA partnership.
Athletes based in Charlotte, North Carolina brainstormed with Medical Specialists who,through determination and teamwork, have developed alternative products that are cutting-edge.

Bradley and his partner Sean Temple, of Flux Motion, both have extensive experience in the fitness and sporting world.
Both are passionate sportspeople who have competed as athletes in the disciplines of bodybuilding, cycling and rugby respectively.
“As BodyHelix is a product aligned to sports and sports therapy an
understanding of the body is paramount. Our team are supported by doctors and physiotherapists to be best equipped to provide guidance on the right product choices,” says Bradley.

Still, compression support products do come under a lot of scrutiny from those who feel there’s not enough evidence to suggest they work, or those who’ve tried them unsuccessfully in the past.
But, Bradley says, BodyHelix is different. While most compression garments are made from lycra or neoprene, which can be uncomfortable, hot or inflexible, the BodyHelix products are made of latex-free rubber and the most advanced fabrics available. Continue reading

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Trim n Toned in Cape Town – Look good in the Mother City!

Winter is never the easiest time to start or even continue a hardcore workout regime! Winter in Cape Town is even worse! Contending with gale force winds and driving rain when all you want to do is go for a run or cycle is just not fun!

We’ve put this little collection together to give fitness enthusiasts (and the not so enthusiastic) some options! Sweat it out in a dance class. Do your laps in a heated pool inside Virgin Active. Try pole-dancing or pilates to take the mundane element out of your fitness routine!

Before you know it, the Summer sun will be peaking over the mountain and you can go back to fitness business as usual – or maybe you won’t…?

Prepare for Inner Peace!

Robyn Fergus describes her transition from corporate life to a career in healing as ‘a gentle push from the universe’.

At first she only knew that she wanted to spend time travelling around South Africa and taking photographs. After resigning in 2007, she did just that, completing a field guiding course and spending time in the African bush.
“During that year my sister and I went to a retreat outside of Sydney. I was introduced to alternative therapies, yoga in qigong. It took me till early 2009 to find a qigong teacher. During and after the classes I became very aware of the energy in and between my hands. I felt that I had to share this energy. Once I acknowledged that fact it all seemed to fall into place,” Robyn recalled.

Robyn spent time getting to know the fundamentals of the healing world and different modalities – learning about meridians, chakra systems,various ways to cleanse and charge crystals – before she started Inner Peace Healing.
Experience gave her the confidence to trust her intuition and guidance to give each client what they need for their highest good, she said.
“I love feeling how a person’s energy changes as they release old emotions and beliefs that no longer serve them,” Robyn explained, “Their energy feels so beautiful and the whole face softens. Seeing how their eyes sparkle and a whole change is the way they hold their body. And I love that when doing any of the energy healing (reiki, quantum touch etc) it feels like a glorious meditation – one is so focused on the client and their healing energy that nothing else matters.” Continue reading

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Durban Fitness Fundi – For a healthier Lifestyle

Maybe you’re the type of person who leaps out of bed at 5am & can’t wait to get to the gym for your energising morning workout. Or, perhaps you’re on the other side of the scale (like us) and find the whole experience of getting fit rather daunting at best and torturous at worst.

In the Durban Fitness Fundi collection, we’ve got solutions for both types of exercisers. We’ve compiled a group of almost 30 fitness institutions, clubs, organisations and experts to suit any need and to service a variety of areas.

The idea is that, whatever type of workout you’re looking for – from Zumba or pilates to hard-core weights training, you should find a place that will give you what you need.

If you’re looking for even more fitness inspiration in the Durbs area, check out our Top 5 Durban Gyms list!

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KZN Organic – for more choice

It’s becoming very trendy nowadays to drop the word, ‘organic’ into everyday conversation. But fashion-trends aside, there really are benefits to consuming organic products.

Whether you prefer to shout your lifestyle choice from the rooftops, or whether you prefer to get on with the business of living a more eco-friendly, healthy life, you will find some interesting resources in our KZN Organic collection.

Once you’ve decided to make the move to organic food and other products, it’s not always easy to find what you are looking for – though this is changing! We’ve made some headway for you by listing some of the KZN organic suppliers, but we’ll be continually updating this collection, as well as creating ones for other areas.

Wherever you are in the country, we want to give you the option of a healthier, more ethical lifestyle that doesn’t involve trawling the web looking for answers!

Top 5 Durban Day Spas

Sometimes it’s important to step outside of the busy world for a few hours and simply let time slip away while you lapse into a state of total relaxation. While, for some of us, it’s a rare treat, for others, a trip to the day spa is a regular journey that soothes the body and mind. Whether you’re the kind that has the luxury of everyday pampering or someone who saves for a special day, these are the day spas most Durbanites recommend.

1. Teremok
Classy, upmarket and located in the heart of Umhlanga, Teremok is a true luxury experience. The hotel is ranked No 1 in Umhlanga by Tripadvisor and ideally, you want to complete your pamper experience with a night stay. If not, you day spa experience will consist of top quality service and products in a plush, welcoming environment.

 

2. The Spa on Fairway
With uninterupted seaviews in every treatment room and a glorious outdoor area where you can soak up the sun, The Spa is a treat any time with Durban’s all-year Summer weather. Lounge in the jacuzi or sauna in between treatments or enjoy a healthy breakfast. The treatments are reasonably priced and you’ll feel as though you’ve been transported away to another time & place.

3. Mangwanani Sibaya
For those that have already enjoyed a Mangwanani day spa experience, you will know that it’s a unique and fu-filled treat.At Sibaya, it’s all taken to the next level in an incredible setting that leaves you feeling like an African princess. It’s the special touches like hand-made local products, singing and dancing and gorgeous, peaceful treatment huts that make for a truly delightful and relaxing day.

4. African Sensations
Hidden in the suburbs of Morningside, African Sensations is also a lodge but welcomes day spa guests. The professionalism and skill of their therapists is well known and the setting is surprisingly serene. Stay over the night to complete your relaxation experience.

 

5. The Square Boutique Hotel & Spa
Conveniently positioned in Umhlanga’s New Town Centre, The Square is popular with business travelers and holiday-makers. It’s new, modern and classy and Three Cities put plenty of thought into the finishing touches. Enjoy the magnificent view from the rooftop pool and a breakfast that comes highly recommended before heading to a professional and spotless spa area.

The Serious Business of Laughter

There can be no greater satisfaction than making someone laugh and Hendrik Visser gets to do that all day everyday. No, he’s not a clown or a comedian. He doesn’t have to worry about entertaining people. He’s more of a laughter facilitator.

Laughter therapy is a fairly new addition to the wellness field. Though some people are sceptical, there’s no denying that laughter is, and has always been…the best medicine.
“Few people think about what happens when they laugh, but laughter actually causes a number of physical and chemical changes in the body,” Hendrik tells us, “The act of laughing decreases the level of stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline while simultaneously increasing levels of endorphins and neurotransmitters. Antibody producing cells increase in number and T-cells, which fight infection, become more effective–boosting your immune response.’’

A good laugh can also leave you feeling like you’ve had a good workout!
‘’Something as simple as laughing 100 times provides the same amount of exercise as 15 minutes on a stationary bicycle–and it is a lot more fun too! Laughter works all of your muscles: respiratory, facial, legs, abdomen and back, while increasing blood oxygenation and flow. Best of all, even fake laughter offers the same benefits, so you can “fake it till you make it” and still reap the rewards!’’

Hendrik studied as a RAD ballet teacher, where he first came across laughter exercises. He loved to see how they positively affected everyone involved and decided to make a career out of laughter therapy & started Laughter 4 Executives South Africa.
“After all my certifications, I decided to work with everybody that needs laughter in their life and especially in the business / corporate world, where there is a lot of stress-related absenteeism and depression. I have designed a few special programs for the business world. The top programs are the team-building and de-stressing laughter coaching workshops and then the conference ice-breakers. People need unconditional laughter in their lives and need to be trained how to laugh without humour, comedy and jokes,” Hendrik says. Continue reading

Luscious Locks fit for a Goddess

Elanie Basson never dreamed that she would own a hair salon. It was thanks to her self-confessed addiction to hair extensions that the Pretoria mom of two ended up opening the doors to Goddess Creations in April this year.

“I have been wearing hair extensions myself for the better part of two years. I think the salon owner where I always get mine done saw my passion for hair extensions and she offered to help me open my own salon. To this day I still don’t know why she decided to help me, of all people but I regard her as a wonderful angel and a true blessing in my life,” Elanie explained.

Elanie put in long hours of training before she could open her salon and discovered that, in addition to her passion for beautiful things, she had a natural talent for creating them!
“Doing extensions and doing them great, is an art. So on top of good professional training, a good eye, a steady hand and some artistic sense are essential. Experience can only be gained through practice so I believe, with the proper training and a little bit of something special inside, you can enter the field with very little experience and still do well.”

Elanie takes great care to remember that she’s dealing with a precious and personal element of a woman’s image every day and is proud of her unique product & service offering.
“We offer the best quality product at the best price,” she said, “We use only 100% human hair, AAA+ grade (the highest grade in the international market) double drawn virgin remy Indian hair and we get this hair directly from the only supplier in Africa, which means that we can give this quality to our clients at almost half of what other salons charge for the same quality.” Continue reading

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Baby on Board – for the expectant Mom

Being pregnant is one of the most challenging, yet exciting times of a woman’s life. Nothing can compare to the feeling of knowing that you are bringing new life into the world. But it doesn’t come without stresses and concerns about your changing body and impending responsibilities.

This collection is dedicated to all pregnant women. We searched for some of the country’s best & most unique suppliers that can see to all your preggy needs – from decorating your baby room to stocking up on essentials and planning your labour. There are listings that address the practical issues – for instance ‘Moms UIF Assist‘ & others that will allow you to simply celebrate your pregnancy experience like, ‘Memory Moulds‘.

Lastly we touched on the newborn period with listings like, ‘Tiny Hands‘ – that will allow you to better communicate with your baby, ‘Mothers & Miracles‘ to help with early development.

We hope we’ve created a useful resource for expectant moms that they will want to share with their friends and families.

Babies with Healthy Bodies & Brains

When you hear the word ‘BabyGym’, you may start picturing teetering tots, clad in lycra doing bicep curls to Whitney Houston – or not.
Perhaps you’ve heard of the BabyGym® phenomenon and are considering taking your own bundle to class as soon as they have greeted the world. If research is to believed, you may have just the right idea.

Developed and founded by Dr Melodie de Jager in 2003, BabyGym® aims to stimulate a baby’s brain development and give new parents the tools to engage and relax their child in the crucial early developmental phases.
Dr de Jager was concerned that children were not achieving optimum school readiness and spent several years researching and studying which culminated in BabyGym®, the book – a self help guide for new parents. Eventually she developed a hands on stimulation programme that would demonstrate the simple yet effective BabyGym® massage and exercises for mom, dad, baby and/or caregiver. Today there are over 70 branches countrywide & Melodie still heads all research at the Institute and BabyGym®.

She was nominated for the Shoprite Checkers Women of the Year award in the Educators category last year and in 2007 BabyGym® won the DSA: VISIONS OF THE FUTURE award.

BabyGym® Instructor, Janet Wilson has been running her own centre in Hillcrest for the past three and a half years.
“I have always been a teacher! I think it is the only thing I “know’ how to do,” she said, “I studied to be a pre-primary school teacher. After I had my first son I already knew I wanted to work with moms and babies. But it was only after my third son was born that I actively started looking for a business opportunity where I could do what I love, teach and help moms with the development of their babies. I came across the BabyGym® website in 2007, I applied to be an instructor, I completed the course in January 2008, qualified in April 2008 – and the rest is history as they say.” Continue reading