Pictured: Rachel Grunwell at Rotorua’s Polynesian Spa
ROTORUA, Thursday 25th January 2018: Health and wellness expert Rachel Grunwell, who grew up in Rotorua, has been announced as the new brand ambassador for New Zealand’s leading hot spring and luxury spa experience, Polynesian Spa.
A mother of three, Rachel is a yoga and meditation teacher, wellness magazine columnist, keynote speaker, healthy recipe creator and runs the Inspired Health website and social media channels with a combined fan base of around 20,000 Kiwis.
Polynesian Spa chief executive Gert Taljaard says they selected Rachel to be their ambassador because of her influential health and wellbeing background, but also because Rotorua is very close to her heart. She was born and raised in Rotorua and even once worked with the complex as a massage therapist.
“It’s great to have an ambassador who has had a lifetime relationship with Polynesian Spa having spent her childhood years growing up enjoying our pools and her early career working as part of our team. Having authentic ambassadors on board is very important to us” says Taljaard.
As brand ambassador, Rachel will be inspiring people to lead a naturally healthier lifestyle by integrating the benefits of mineral bathing, spa treatments and mindful moments into their wellness regime.
“I’m excited to be part of the Polynesian Spa family. I can’t wait to share real-life and science-backed wellness wisdom to help people to be healthier and happier. I’m looking forward to being back in Rotorua more regularly and it’s great to be collaborating in an industry which I am passionate about” says Grunwell.
Ironically one of the two exclusive alkaline and acidic springs that feeds into the 28 pools that Polynesian Spa boasts onsite is named the Rachel Spring and the new ambassador has been excited to rediscover the history of the therapeutic and rejuvenating waters.
“What makes Polynesian Spa so unique is the access it has to these two wonderful springs. The alkaline spas from the Rachel Spring are hot and relaxing and leave your skin with a silky feeling while the Priest Spring relieves and rejuvenates tired muscles, aches and pains. It is very uplifting for the soul,” says Rachel.
Rachel’s first job is to assist with developing a wider range of healthier choices for the new 88Ra Café menu and will host the highly successful Mindful Moments Retreats during the year.
Mindful Moments Retreats will be held on the following dates:
Saturday 9th June – Sunday 10th June
Saturday 11th August – Sunday 12th August
Saturday 10th November – Sunday 11th November
To find out all the details check out the Polynesian Spa website. Click HERE
Rachel Grunwell is a wellness magazine writer, yoga teacher, health blogger, healthy recipe creator for Good magazine and an ambassador for the Achilles charity which helps Kiwis with all kinds of disabilities to participate in events.
Column by Rachel Grunwell: Marathoner, yoga teacher, Good magazine’s wellness columnist and professional blogger. Follow Rachel via Inspired Health’s Facebook & Instagram for more tips, recipes & giveaways
Why You Should Stretch & How…
Runners are renowned for wanting to skip the ‘warm up’. I get that. All we want to do is lace up our shoes and pound the pavements – or trails – for training. The sooner we get that incredible fix of movement, escapism, freedom and that scientifically proven “runner’s high” the better.
But there’s good reason for warming up and warming down…
Firstly I recommend doing a dynamic warm up routine before you run. This could include controlled, smooth ‘walking lunges’ (10 times on each leg) and then ‘hamstring leg swings’ (10 each side too). Dynamic stretching means a stretch is performed by moving through a range of motion repeatedly and not holding a stretch for a long time. Why do this? This warms up the body to prepare it to move well and ultimately helps with your performance.
A lot of people avoid warming up because they’re impatient. But it’s worth taking just a few minutes of moving, dynamic stretches before a run. You will feel the difference. Your body will feel less tight and function better.
Now, I bet you’re keen to know why a ‘warm down’ is important? The idea behind stretching post-workout is to help lengthen your muscles out. A roller is an amazing self-massage tool for this too. I personally use one after every run.
If you want some step-by-step instructions for some warm down examples of ‘stretches for runners’, then you can find some on my blog.. Click HERE. X X
Blog by Rachel Grunwell: Marathoner. Yoga teacher. Good magazine’s wellness columnist. Director of InspiredHealth. Follow Rachel via Inspired Health’s Facebook, Instagram & Twitter for inspo, recipes & giveaways. ps there’s a marathon entry giveaway coming up on the Facebook page soon!
Yoga Tips For Runners
Runners can be reluctant yogis. We think our time is better spent continually pounding the pavements.
It’s usually an injury that will force us into finally doing a stretch routine. But if you’re smart, then incorporate stretching (and strength work) into your training programme now.
Here are some yoga tips for runners:
Gently ease into stretching. You would never run a half-marathon overnight without training well or run too fast, too soon. So, have the same approach to stretching. Do a little bit and, slowly over time, you will improve.
Use yoga exercises to strengthen your core. The slouchy-look is uncool – and a sleepy middle limits your power.
Yoga can help to re-balance your body. If you’ve got a niggle, then you can end up compensating in another area and then injury is inevitable.
Avoid burn-out with the de-stress elements of yoga. Forget the body benefits for a moment; this stuff comes up trumps for the mind.
Yoga incorporates some great breathing exercises so you can better learn how to harness your breath. Maintaining steady, calm breathing in those last miles can give you an edge. While, shallow breathing will leave you breathless, steal energy and slow you down.
Sharpen your focus through yoga by using a mantra. Yoga can help you to silence distractions and truly focus on race day. In those final miles of an event, lots of runners want to give up. This is when your mind drives your legs.
Yoga will improve your range of mobility. This will help you move well and run well.
Your posture and alignment can be improved through yoga. So, you’ll look better, and run better too.
Lastly, make sure you stretch “smart”. See a yoga teacher or personal trainer so they can check your alignment and technique is correct.
Meanwhile, here’s another blog with 7 easy stretches for runners – Click HERE.
Achieving your goal – no matter what!
By Rachel Grunwell
Can you imagine being legally blind and running fast? Well, Maree Carson does this. The 32-year-old Wellington travel agent refuses to let her disability stop her from running.
Maree’s next event is Cigna Round the Bays on 19 February, 2017. Her goal is to step up her speed so she can beat her time of 1hr 46mins from the same event earlier this year.
“I’m quite competitive and so I’m looking forward to doing it again and trying to do it better,” she says.
To achieve her goal she will join the Wellington Harrier Athletic Club to help with her training. Maree also runs with Achilles New Zealand, who support her by teaming her up with a guide to help her along new and unknown courses.
Next year’s event will be Maree’s fifth half-marathon following her completion of the New York Marathon last month with the help of Achilles guide Josh Thomas, from Wellington. He will also volunteer at Cigna Round the Bays, an event he is a big fan of.
“It’s an easy and flat course, the water views are beautiful and there are good vibes,” he says.
Maree loves the event too and has always run. “I love it. I feel quite free and it gives me a clear head. It makes me feel better. It makes me so happy,” she says.
Maree started losing her sight aged 16 through a degenerative eye condition, Retinitis Pigmentosa. She has less than 5 percent vision including no depth of vision or peripheral vision. She cannot see in the dark, in shadows, and sometimes “floaters” affect her central vision.
Her commitment to running is an incredible inspiration.
Achilles is the official charity partner of Cigna Round the Bays. Want to help? If you would like to guide an athlete, or have a disability and would like help to take part in Cigna Round the Bays, contact Achilles at achillesnewzealand.org. Or fundraise for this worthy cause. You can set up a fundraising page as part of your registration.
❚ Register for the event at cignaroundthebays.co.nz and join #stepitupnz.co.nz to be in to win a prize worth $2500.
❚Column by Rachel Grunwell, an award-winning writer, magazine wellness columnist, Cigna Health and Wellbeing Ambassador, runner, qualified yoga teacher and director of InspiredHealth.co.nz. Follow Rachel on Inspired Health’s Facebook & Instagram pages.
ps go into the draw to WIN a health and fitness book on facebook at the moment by fitness phenomenon Kayla Itsines!
By Rachel Grunwell
Now is the time to step it up for training for the annual Wellington event – Cigna Round the Bays.
The family-friendly event is 14 weeks away – on 19 February 2017 – so there is plenty of time to train well and make the most of this health journey.
This way, you’ll reach your health goal with ease and be proud of your efforts at the finish line. If you haven’t registered, then do so now so you can get the maximum health benefits from becoming a stronger runner.
There’s a distance for everyone – whether you want to walk with your baby in a buggy, do the fun run, tackle 10km, or go the distance with the mighty challenge of the Cigna Achilles Half Marathon (21km).
To help kick-start your training, I’ve listed some tips below which helped me on my run journey. They are tried and tested and I know they work.
Only a few years ago I’d puff while merely walking and pushing my youngest son in a pram, but I slowly built up my fitness with a gentle walk/run routine to now being able to run longer distances with ease. So if this mum can, you can!
TIPS FOR RUNNERS
Start with an easy walk/run around your neighbourhood for 10-20-minutes in these early weeks. Walk for two power poles, run the next two, then repeat. Over time, you will run more and walk less. Do this two or three times weekly. Keep it fun.
Don’t run too fast to avoid getting injured.
Run with good posture. A trick
is to imagine a string above your head pulling you upright.
Try to keep your arms by your
side. Flapping them wastes energy – and looks a bit uncool!
Look both ways before crossing any roads and don’t have your music up too loud. Safety is
important – and be particularly watchful if you have little ones with you.
Drink water, not sugary drinks.
❚ Column (week 2) published in newspapers throughout Wellington.
Enter by registering HERE & join #stepitupnz.co.nz to be in to win a prize worth $2500.
Column by Rachel Grunwell, Cigna Health and Wellbeing Ambassador – a magazine wellness columnist, runner, qualified yoga teacher and director of the InspiredHealth website. Follow Rachel via Inspired Health on Facebook and Instagram.
By Rachel Grunwell
Registrations are now open for a favourite annual Wellington event – Cigna Round the Bays.
But don’t just enter yourself for race day on February 19.
Step it up by entering with friends, work colleagues and family.
Together you can support each other’s training and get fitter and healthier.
Having a specific and achievable health goal on a set date like this event can help with keeping you all motivated on your health journey.
There’s a distance for every age and level: the Mitre 10 Mega buggy walk, the 6.5km fun run or walk, Bluebridge 10km, and the Cigna/Achilles half marathon (21km).
I’m stepping it up by getting my family involved, including husband Damien, and our kids Zach, 11, Lachie, 9, and Finn, 5.
Zach is especially excited about tackling his first 10km distance alongside me.
Actually, his speedy, young legs may leave me in his dust! The rest of my whanau will do the fun run.
Damien will likely be piggy-
backing little Finn near the end. The focus for our family,
training-wise, is to keep fitness fun and at the kids’ pace.
I’ll sneak in building a base fitness with my younger kids by doing things like scooter or bike rides, family walks, light jog at the weekend and walking to school sometimes.
Zach and I are doing run training, which we will build up slowly.
Meanwhile, tell your kids they are helping you to train for the event too.
Give your kids the title of chief coach. Remember to foster a can- do mind-set, with fitness and health in general around kids and be a positive role-model on this journey.
Inspiring your kids to be fit, healthy and happy is the ultimate gift, I reckon.
Lastly, visualise the red-faced, smiling, excited faces of your loved-ones at the finish-line and a shared feeling of success.
❚ Enter by registering HERE
❚ Column published in newspapers throughout Wellington.
Column by Rachel Grunwell, Cigna Health and Wellbeing Ambassador – a runner, qualified yoga teacher and director of the InspiredHealth website. Follow more of her personal journey to get her family ready for the event on Facebook and Instagram.
By Rachel Grunwell
Want something memorable to do with the kids? Well, doing the Auckland Bridge Climb would be an absolute ‘high’-light, I promise you.
It’s an incredible adventure that can give your kids a new perspective on Auckland city. Some folks travel the world to do this. If you are lucky enough to live in Auckland (like me) then it would be a crime not to experience this! Or wherever you are in NZ, put it on your bucket list if you are ever in Auckland. It’s a lot of fun.
Here are 10 reasons why you should do it:
- It is the one and only bridge climb in New Zealand
- A tour guide tells you about the history of the bridge which is super interesting. Learn about the architecture, the stories around when it was built, how it works.
- The views are AMAZING including sea, boats, the Auckland skyline, the Auckland Skytower…
- See Bungy Jumping up close (or do it if you are a thrill-seeker)
Here are some picture highlights of when I did the climb with my hubby Damien, son Zach, aged 11, and his mate Alex, also aged 11. ps kids have to be aged 10-years-old and weigh a minimum of 35kg to do this.
Wearing onesies and ready to climb!
Hard-hats on. Game-faces on….
That’s the mind-blowing view we climbed for! It’s even amazing when it’s raining. Not even a drizzle could dampen this experience.
The hard-hat team. What an adventure.
We did it. We feel on top of the world up here whoop. Yeeeeees!!
We looked down on traffic, boats, sea… and a 360-degree view of Auckland City.
Here’s the team we climbed with. We all gave the experience the big thumbs up.
InspiredHealthNZ is run by Rachel Grunwell: Blogger, magazine wellness columnist, yoga teacher, marathoner and adventure-seeker.
By Rachel Grunwell
Halloween is a fun time for my family. The kids love to dress up all scary or witchy and go trick-or-treating around our neighbourhood on October 31. We’re in the Auckland suburb of Mt Eden where families are used to little ghostly and ghastly costume-wearing kids turning up at the door!
Instead of lollies, these gluten-free gingerbread men are a yummy treat to give the kids – or to give other little trick-or-treaters. Or just to make up anytime for fun!
My youngest witchy – son Finn, aged 5 (pictured) – gives these the thumbs up. He loves helping in the kitchen – and of course, taste-testing the bats, pumpkins and legless gingerbread men.
Your kids will love making these too and so give them a whirl! Or if you have a cool and creepy recipe then share it with me too!!
Spooky Gluten-Free Gingerbread
3 tablespoons Chelsea Golden Syrup
½ cup Chelsea Organic Coconut Sugar
1 teaspoon each of mixed spice and cinnamon
1.5 teaspoons ground ginger
1 tablespoon water
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ cups rice flour
½ cup potato flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
(add 2 teaspoons xanthum gum if you have it in the cupboard as this helps with binding the ingredients, but it’s not absolutely necessary)
Place Chelsea Golden Syrup in a pan, along with Chelsea Organic Coconut Sugar, mixed spice, cinnamon, ground ginger and water.
Heat until the sugar dissolves and then switch off the heat place the butter in the pan to melt.
Let the mixture cool a little and then add the baking soda.
In another bowl, put the sifted gluten-free flour and baking powder. Then add the heated ingredients from the pan and mix until a workable dough. Add more rice flour if you need it (i.e. if the dough is too sticky). Then sprinkle a generous amount of rice flour on your bench and use a roller to roll out the dough. Press Halloween-style cookie-cutter shapes in this. Use a spatula to lift the shapes up from the bench and onto the trays (so they stay in one piece).
Bake these on a greased tray, 180-degrees for about 10 mins.
Note: Use a spatula to lift the shapes from the tray onto a cooling rack and then pop them into a container.
150g dark chocolate
110g of coconut cream
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler (keep stirring throughout). Add the cream and mix. Leave this to cool to room temperature. Then pop it into an icing bag and pipe onto the biscuits. I used edible glitter too for an extra cool effect.
Find more delicious recipes for these school holidays at chelsea.co.nz
This post was made possible thanks to Chelsea.
Rachel is a recipe creator and wellbeing columnist for two magazines. She’s a yoga teacher, marathoner and director of the InspiredHealthNZ website, which inspires Kiwis to live a life they love. Follow Rachel on Facebook and Instagram.
By Rachel Grunwell
Seeing penguins at a zoo is great. But seeing blue penguins (korora) up-close in their natural habitat on the stunning Otago Peninsula is an awe-inspiring sight you’ll store in your memory bank forever.
I’m on a mum-and-son ‘adventure vacation’ with Zach, aged 11, and seeing the world’s smallest penguin delight in a world-famous reserve at the Royal Albatross Centre is something we agree is a pinch-yourself-kind-of-experience.
It’s dusk, the stars are overhead, we’re rugged up warm with eyes-wide-open at Pilot Beach as we gaze out over the pond-like sea with tiny waves lapping ashore.
I don’t know who is more excited. My kid, or this self-confessed big-kid.
I expect to see a couple of penguins way off in the distance. But incredibly we see 60 penguins over about 60-minutes – just merely a couple of metres away.
These penguins religiously come in nightly here to feed their chicks in nests on the hillside.
And wow, what a sight: They are dumped by the waves into shore in groups (called rafts). They waddle, drunk-like, out of the tide and onto the beach and then hot-foot it up the grassy hill.
By the way, they couldn’t give a toss about us nosey-parker humans. Actually, we must be a pretty funny sight for the penguins. We are among a tour group of about 30 people quietly huddled on a giant, lit-up wooden platform.
You don’t tire seeing these cute little birds. Every time a new bunch of blue-and-white bodies pops up out of the water, either my son or I nudge each other or whisper excitedly “there’s some more”. Zach and I now long to return to see the colony of royal albatross.
The New Zealand International Science Festival showcases a long list of events and experiences to inspire curiosity over the nine days (during the first week of the July school holidays) of the biennial festival. And with Dunedin now New Zealand’s first GigCity, technology (in all its glorious manifestations) is a big part of the offerings. You can dip in, or out, of as many of the events as you wish. Zach and I loved walking through a giant inflated brain and learning about its different parts and functions. And while Zach enjoyed witnessing the dissection of a sheep’s brain, I looked the other way! We could use computer technology to see underneath our skin and there were even real human body parts to marvel at. You name it and you can likely experience it here: Think microscopes, psychology investigations, dentistry workshops (Zach loved making a shark tooth from a mould) and even a workshop on how to ‘fight like a physicist’ (that’s learning how to win against a bigger opponent through physics ie understanding centre of mass, gravity and equilibrium etc). Another of Zach’s highlights was the music/explosions show by Dr Graham Walker and DJ Sixfootsix. Picture fireballs, explosions, marshmallow cannons, and liquid nitrogen clouds, mashed up to music.
Be star-struck by real stars at the Otago Museum’s Perpetual Guardian Planetarium. You get to sit back in a comfy chair and journey to the edge of the universe and back in a 360-degrees immersive theatre experience. You can’t beat the prices either. Children aged 4-18 pay $7, while adults are $10.
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An unexpected highlight was a two-hour Street Art Tour, called ‘Small City Big Walls’, through Dunedin city by guide Victoria Gilliand. I’m pictured underneath one of the artworks, playing around doing a yoga pose and pretending to be the bird’s prey…
About 25 colossal murals by world-famous artists are hidden on buildings throughout the city. Artists from places like Belgium, LA and Europe have been paid to create unique artworks that now make Dunedin an edgy and hip place.
It’s hard to choose a favourite artwork that stretch the imagination including a giant tuatara, to a mythical creature with Kakapo-like features, and even fish swallowing boats. It’s wonderful to experience the artwork, but hearing the stories about them from the guide makes this even more than just a colourful tour.
I heard a professor lecture on the topic of superfoods at Dunedin’s Technique Training Restaurant. I loved hearing about the super powers of certain superfoods, while I ate a three-course superfoods meal here. The lecture and topic was part of a unique event – part of the Science Festival – but anyone can reserve a similar dining experience here for crazy cheap prices. This fully licensed restaurant was established by the Food Design Institute to train future chefs, hotel managers and restaurant staff by industry professionals. So it’s a training environment, but a great night out that will hardly stretch the purse–strings. Check out the below link to find out when you can book a meal.
Find more to do in Dunedin https://www.dunedinnz.com
(This article was published in seven newspapers nationwide)
Rachel Grunwell is a magazine columnist & director of Inspired Health. Follow Inspired Health for giveaways and lifestyle inspiration:
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