Too Much TV

Too Much TV

Kids love to watch television. They can become engrossed in it, and if we're not careful it can take over their lives. Children can become too addicted to it that…

Too Much TV
Heart Smart

Heart Smart

Heart disease continues to be the number one cause of death in many countries. Excess weight and obesity are among the major contributing factors in heart problems. It is extremely…

Heart Smart
Add a Little Yoga

Add a Little Yoga

You may already have a well developed training schedule that includes weight training, cardio/aerobic exercise and resistance training, but have you thought of adding some yoga. Because of its perceived…

Add a Little Yoga
Hiking for Fitness

Hiking for Fitness

Hiking is a great way to get outside, get some fresh air, enjoy your environment and get in some excellent exercise. It's an easy, inexpensive addition to your workout at…

Hiking for Fitness
Tea Time

Tea Time

For centuries, tea has been used in alternative medicine to treat everything from cancer to constipation. Recent research supports these claims: Studies have shown that tea may protect against heart…

Tea Time
Berry-goodness

Berry-goodness

Berries are tiny, tasty, and tantalizingly colorful - and they're also powerful allies for your health, protecting everything from your head to your heart. Berries are loaded with fiber, which…

Berry-goodness
Crunch Time

Crunch Time

There are many exercises for developing your abs muscle. Crunches are probably one of the most common exercises done to tone up your middle. An effective way to tighten and…

Crunch Time
Say Goodbye to Flabby Arms

Say Goodbye to Flabby Arms

Are you embarrassed by the way your arms look? Do you have that extra piece of skin under your arm that flaps when you wave? The female body is highly…

Say Goodbye to Flabby Arms
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Too Much TV

Kids love to watch television. They can become engrossed in it, and if we’re not careful it can take over their lives. Children can become too addicted to it that they will avoid meals, throw a tantrum if taken away from it, and even believe that what they see on TV is real life. It can be very scary if limits aren’t established in the household.

Television isn’t bad. There are many positive reasons to have it on in your home. When your children are young, the shows that they watch are useful for teaching and for their development. They teach our kids how to count, spell, language and especially certain life skills, such as, manners and politeness. They also show values such as love, what is right and wrong, and trust.

As parents we need to set specific times for watching television. Some kids turn the television on as soon as they get in the house after school. On weekends it may also be the first thing to do as soon as they get out of bed. If left unregulated, TV can take over your child’s life.

During the week, television viewing should be kept to a maximum of two to two and a half hours. Focus on getting your kids involved in other things when they come home, finishing homework and chores, helping out with dinner, taking the dog out for a walk, or playing outside with friends are all great ways to keep your kids busy and away from the television set.

Try turning off the TV during dinner, use this time as family time. It’s a way to communicate with the family and take interest in what happens in their lives every day. Maybe something really exciting and out of the ordinary happened that you now get the opportunity to hear about. We sometimes miss out on getting to know each other if we don’t spend time talking to one another.

Obesity and being overweight is becoming more of a problem in our kids today. Sitting and watching TV hours on end cause over-eating. With over-eating and the sedentary behavior it is a recipe for unhealthy living. By turning the TV off and giving them this time to get outside and do something active can help eliminate this issue.

Television is meant to be entertaining, but not to take over your life. Children need to be active and not sedentary. Regulate the amount of TV time for your kids and promote outdoor or other mental development games and exercises. After all, real life is much more interesting than anything on TV anyway.

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Heart Smart

Heart disease continues to be the number one cause of death in many countries. Excess weight and obesity are among the major contributing factors in heart problems. It is extremely important to have a heart smart diet such as one that is low in cholesterol, sodium and trans fats.

A Heart Smart diet works by helping you reduce your consumption of saturated fat and dietary cholesterol. These two are replaced with lots of fiber-rich foods that are famous for lowering LDL. Foods such as whole grains, vegetables, fruits, beans, and cereals are great for heart smart options. Also, heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats from food such as olives, fish, avocados, and nuts are great for eating heart smart. Equally important is the low amount of salt to help defend the health against high blood pressure. This diet ensures 50-65% of calories from carbohydrates, 20-25% of calories from protein, and less than 30% of calories from fat. Out of the fat content, saturated fat makes up less than 10%.

Here’s some tips on eating heart smart:

  1. Eat complex carbohydrates such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and rice. They fill you up, help increase your fiber intake, and make you less prone to eating sugary desserts and fatty meats. They also do not clog your arteries.
  2. Chicken and turkey skins contain a lot of saturated fat, and should definitely be avoided if you do not want coronary artery disease.
  3. Grill, Broil or Steam your food. Avoid frying your meat.
  4. Eat less egg yolks and organs. Egg yolks are more that 50% fat and have high amounts of cholesterol. Organ meats, like liver, may be rich in iron and protein, but they are extremely high in fat and cholesterol. Limit these items in your diet.
  5. Reduce meat portions and eat more fish. Eat 3-ounce of meat instead of 6-ounce or choose a fish option instead of steak.
  6. Pastries should be only a once in a while treat. They are usually high in saturated fat because they are made with shortening or butter. Choose healthier heart options such as whole grain breads or rolls.

Here’s a delicious heart smart sample meal plan for a day:

Breakfast: cinnamon banana toast, served with 125ml of low-fat yogurt, 1 tbsp of raisins, and 1 chopped apple.
Lunch: roasted beef pita with mango chutney and yogurt, cucumber, mixed salad leaves, and 1 small granola bar of about 21g.
Dinner: grilled fish with lentils and rice, 75g of steamed broccoli, and 1 apple.

Take care of your heart and your heart will take care of you for years to come. It is the starting point to a healthy you.

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Add a Little Yoga

You may already have a well developed training schedule that includes weight training, cardio/aerobic exercise and resistance training, but have you thought of adding some yoga. Because of its perceived gentle nature, yoga is often overlooked as an extremely effective complement to a regular exercise routine. Adding a little bit of yoga to your training/workout routine will offer many benefits. Ultimately, it will help you strengthen and tone your muscles evenly as you work out. The poses and meditation also enhance your flexibility, balance, and contribute to a happier training routine.

The postures of yoga target all the joints of your body even though you rarely use some. The exercises also strengthen joints you regularly work out such as hips, knees and ankles. It straightens and strengthens the spinal cord as well as tightens the core. These will in turn lower chronic pain on your lower back. It also lubricates your joints, which means they will hurt less while you are working out.

Adding some Yoga to your workouts can have several benefits:

  1. Core Strength – Yoga’s slow, focused movements demand a strong midsection, which creates a perfect foundation for strength training and bodybuilding. The isometric contractions that are part of many of the yoga positions tap into a new level of resistance training that cannot be accomplished with exercise equipment alone.
  2. Range of Motion and Flexibility – Yoga training will help improve performance and prevent injuries during workouts and athletics by gently increasing your range of motion and flexibility.
  3. Balance – Athletic training and weight training effectively develop certain specified muscle groups while some other may get ignored causing an imbalance in the mechanics and muscular system. Yoga training can help improve your body’s balance by addressing some of these underdeveloped areas.
  4. Effective Breathing – Breathing supplies your body and muscles with essential oxygen. During athletic events and workout routines, it is easy to forget to take in full breaths and deliver the proper oxygen levels to all required areas. Yoga helps to train your body how to effectively take deep full breaths.
  5. Downtime Exercise – Too much of something is not a good thing. It is important to take downtime when working out. Use your downtime days to stay active and by doing yoga. There are many yoga styles that are relaxed and less intense to offer the ability to exercise during off days (or even injured, with physicians approval).

Doing a few yoga moves before your workout will minimize or prevent injuries during the workout. Doing yoga after a workout will help your muscles recover and get ready for the next day. Yoga is also beneficial for your internal organs since it stimulates them and prevents various diseases. Get your trainer to help you out by adding some moves into your regular routine or in addition to your workout sessions, add some yoga on the off days. Adding yoga to your workout routine will add a whole new dimension to your total fitness that will serve you well for a lifetime. There are many styles and intensities that you can find one that is perfect for you and your fitness goals.

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Hiking for Fitness

Hiking is a great way to get outside, get some fresh air, enjoy your environment and get in some excellent exercise. It’s an easy, inexpensive addition to your workout at the gym. Find a local Conservation Area, National/State Park, or just a trail in your neighborhood.

It is wise to be prepared for your hike. Be sure to check your physical condition and limitations with the condition of the trails. Consider factors such as weather, terrain and altitude before you go. Preparation for the trip is very important, the more tough the terrain is; the more training may be required ahead of time with your trainer. Work with your trainer and let them know your plans. They can maybe even suggest some exercises to help warm you up before your hike. Hiking involves a lot of up and down hill and other terrains, each of these can put different strains to your body. Start small then slowly build yourself up to something more challenging.

It is important to prepare for your hike so you don’t end up with sore, blistered, tired feet. To start, pick a trail that best suits your own fitness level. Don’t be afraid to start on more level terrain and a short hike. Any type of hike is a benefit to health. If you plan on hiking over hilly or difficult terrain, make sure you take the right gear with you. Maybe a walking stick, hiking boots, a backpack with snacks will all be required. Whichever distance and terrain you choice, it is important to warm up and stretch before heading out.

Eating right is very essential if you want your hike to be a success. Make sure you have a diet that is rich in vitamins, minerals, proteins and all the good stuff your body needs to keep it fit and healthy and to keep you going throughout your hike. Bring some yummy, healthy treats along with you.

Here are 3 great reasons to start hiking:

  1. Experience Nature: The only way to truly experience the outdoors is by walking. It puts you in a hands-on situation and allows you to absorb every nuance of natures’ beauty. You will get to enjoy the sounds, smell and feel of the seasons.
  2. Get Great Exercise: Hiking provides the steady exercise that doctors recommend for weight loss and heart issues. Walking or hiking, unlike jogging, will not jar your joints or cause undue stress on your legs and back.
  3. Hike to Relax: Hiking allows you to let go of your stresses. Take a deep breath and get away from it all for just a little while.

Plan your hiking route, get some friends and family together and go out and enjoy what nature has to offer all while getting a great workout.

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Tea Time

For centuries, tea has been used in alternative medicine to treat everything from cancer to constipation. Recent research supports these claims: Studies have shown that tea may protect against heart disease, Alzheimer’s and many types of cancer. There is a wide range of tea flavors within every type of tea and a host of different preventative health benefits.

Black tea, green tea, and white tea are all made from the same plant, the Camellia sinensis plant, but they all undergo different processing. All three types of teas contain significant amounts of catechins, a type of disease-fighting flavonoid and antioxidant that help to fight off cellular damage in the body. As a general rule, the longer you steep the tea, the more flavonoids you’ll get in your brew.

Most Common Teas

Black tea: The most common type with the highest caffeine, made with fermented tea leaves.
Green tea: Made with unfermented leaves, it has a high concentration of catechin, EGCG.
White tea: It is the least processed and made with the new growth buds and young leaves. Uncured and unfermented.
Oolong tea: Made with partially fermented leaves. Oolong teas are full bodied in flavor and aroma.

Benefits of Tea:

  • Tea can boost exercise endurance.
  • Drinking tea can help reduce the risk of heart attack.
  • The antioxidants in tea might also help against cancer.
  • Tea helps fight free radicals as it is high in oxygen radical absorbance capacity – helps destroy free radicals in the body.
  • Tea is hydrating to the body.
  • Drinking tea is linked with a lower risk of Parkinson’s disease.
  • Tea might provide protection from ultraviolet rays.
  • Tea helps with weight loss and Type 2 diabetes.
  • Regular tea drinking might also counteract some of the negative effects of smoking and might even lessen the risk of lung cancer.
  • Tea can help the body recover from radiation.
  • Green tea has been found to improve bone mineral density and strength.
  • Tea might be effective in the prevention and treatment of neurological diseases, especially degenerative disease (Alzheimer’s).

So, sit back in the morning, at break, or after dinner and relax with a nice cup of tea. The benefits are worth it.

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Berry-goodness

Berries are tiny, tasty, and tantalizingly colorful – and they’re also powerful allies for your health, protecting everything from your head to your heart. Berries are loaded with fiber, which helps you feel full and helps you eat less. Many berries are full of antioxidants, protecting your body against inflammation and free radicals, molecules that can damage cells and organs.

Here are 8 benefits of eating berries:

  • Berries can also keep you mentally sharp. A study showed that women who had the highest berry intake postponed cognitive decline by about two and a half years.
  • People who eat at least two servings of berries a week have a 25% less chance of developing Parkinson’s disease than their peers.
  • Berries can boost heart health. Reducing the risk of having a heart attack.
  • With their high fiber and liquid content, berries give us a sense of fullness – helping with weight control.
  • Berries can help fight high blood pressure.
  • Flavonoid-packed berries, such as blueberries and raspberries help fight cancer.
  • Berries’ antioxidants might be allies in the fight against the effects of age on the brain that might be behind changes leading to the cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer’s.
  • Cranberries are the usually the best berry to help with urinary tract health.

Probably the most common berry choices in your fridge are strawberries, blueberries and raspberries. They are all excellent choices in added benefit to your health.

Strawberries – contain more vitamin C in a one-cup serving than one orange and are also high in folic acid.

Blueberries – contain 20 types of anthocyanin – antioxidants that give berries their blue-violet and red colors. Other berries contain only three or four types.

Blackberries, Raspberries and Boysenberries – each contains 8 grams of fiber in one cup – one third the daily recommended amount (25 grams).

Cranberries – not only combat urinary tract infections by preventing Escherichia coli bacteria from sticking to cells in the urinary tract, but they also are a natural probiotic, supporting healthy bacteria that grow in the gastrointestinal tract and aiding in digestion.

Berries are low in calories, high in fiber, and they contain vitamins and minerals your body needs to function normally. Add berries into your meals and snacks to get 5-6 servings a day – not only are they delicious, they are full of healthy benefits.

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Crunch Time

There are many exercises for developing your abs muscle. Crunches are probably one of the most common exercises done to tone up your middle. An effective way to tighten and strengthen your abdominal muscles is to do the traditional abdominal crunch exercises. They are very versatile and convenient because they can be performed basically anywhere whether it is lying flat on the floor, using a weight lifting bench, a Swiss ball or an abdominal exercise machine. It is important you work with your trainer to make sure you have the right balance of exercises to get the best workout, and to make sure you are doing it properly to avoid injury and get the best results.

The basic crunch is a vital part of any crunches workout. If done correctly, this exercise will help flatten and tone both your lower and upper abdominal muscles and you will be able to get hard rock abs. The key to getting the flat abs you want is to do the crunch correctly, making sure that you are really working those abdominals.

  1. Lie your back flat on the ground with your knees bent at a 90 degree angle, then place your hands behind your head or across your chest.
  2. Pull your belly button towards your spine, and flatten your lower back against the floor.
  3. Slowly contract your abs while bringing your shoulder blades just an inch or 2 above the ground.
  4. Exhale as you rise up. Your neck should be straight, chin up.
  5. Hold that position for a few seconds while breathing continuously.
  6. Slowly lower your back down to the floor but don’t fully relax.
  7. Repeat for 20 to 25 times with perfect form.
  8. For more variety, bring your knees and upper body towards the torso to perform a full body crunch.
  9. To make it more challenging, try the crunch while balancing on an exercise ball.

There are three main mistakes people make when trying to perform the crunch. The first is that they pull on their neck to get them up, rather than lift with the abdominals. In this instance, the best you can get is a sore neck instead of strong abs. Another big mistake people make is not breathing through the exercise. When performing the crunch, always exhale up and inhale down. Finally, many people attempt to just lift themselves straight up rather than perform the crunching motion. In a proper crunch the torso should be rolled up to the top of the movement, using your abdominals to do the lifting.

Other ab exercises to add to your workout routine include:

  • Planks – laying on your stomach raise the body up supporting on your feet and forearms. Hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute, rest and repeat. Planks are an excellent core exercise and will strengthen your stomach muscles and your back.
  • V-sits – while laying on your back with your arms above your head, lift your torso up keeping your back straight. At the same time bring your legs up until your hands are almost touching your feet. Lower your legs and upper body back to the mat and repeat.
  • Knees to Elbows – hang from a chin up bar, keeping your stomach tight bring your legs up and lean your body back until your knees touch your elbows. Stay controlled while performing the exercise to prevent swinging.

There are many other great core exercises including moves and poses from Pilates and Yoga. Many machines in the gym can be used to strengthen your abdomen. To achieve that six pack abs or a flatter stomach, work with your trainer to work all the angles of the abdominal area. You must work different muscles with different exercises by using various resistance levels.

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Say Goodbye to Flabby Arms

Are you embarrassed by the way your arms look? Do you have that extra piece of skin under your arm that flaps when you wave? The female body is highly vulnerable to sagging because fat is deposited in the female body in three areas; the tummy, buttocks and the back of the arms. It’s time to get a great arm workout to remove that annoying double wave.

Tricep workouts will focus on that problem area. The triceps are the muscles that are on the back of the arm and this is the area that most women (and men) want to tighten. There are many different exercises to work the triceps, including anything that causes you to straighten your arm or push to extend your arm. Push ups, dips, tricep extensions, and tricep pushdowns are all great exercises to work the triceps. Here are some great exercises to help tone the troublesome spot.

Close Grip Push Ups
A great way to train your triceps at home or even on vacation is with close grip push ups. They are similar to regular push ups, except your hands are close together. If you have trouble performing these or standard push ups, try them with your knees touching the floor, or even standing while pushing on a wall. The further away that you are from the wall, the more resistance there will be. Don’t be afraid to do these wall type of push ups at first until your strength increases. Once you do them consistently for a while, you will soon be able to do them from your knees, and then eventually full close grip push ups.

Resistance Band Tricep Extensions
Tricep extensions are another great exercise and they work the triceps in a different way than what push ups do. Get a band that has an amount of tension that you can comfortably do around ten reps with. You can stand on the center of the band and have one of the handles in each hand. Extend your arms up alongside your head with the elbows pointing up and your arms bent. Keep your elbows up and do not move your arms at the shoulder joint. Extend your arms by straightening them at the elbows and keeping the shoulder joint locked. You should be able to feel the tension in your triceps or the back of the arm. Do your reps slowly and controlled at all times, pausing slightly at the top or lockout position.

Triceps Kickbacks
Stand straight next to a bench or a paddled chair. Place one arm and one leg folded on the bench. Your upper body will be bent over so it is parallel with the ground. Hold a dumbbell (or weighted object). Raise your elbow so your upper arm is also straight (parallel) to the ground while the other arm is supporting the weight of your body. The elbow must be at a right angle. Repeat for several repetitions. Switch over to the other arm.

Flabby arms are a curse restricted mainly to women. Men gather fat in their biceps, but for women it’s all in the triceps, and after a certain age, no matter how thin a woman may be, they inevitably get saggy arms. Ladies, don’t be afraid to build up your arms. Women lack the testosterone that causes triceps and biceps to bulk up. Instead women get fine toning and light definition in their arms. The list above are just some of the simpler arm toning exercises you can do. There are many more, both cardio and resistance that will help tone your upper arms. Talk to your trainer to set up the right workout for you to get the desired outcome you are looking for. Combined with a healthy diet and workout routine, you’ll get rid of that embarrassing excess wave and get the sexy arms you have always wanted.

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Unforgotten

What is dementia? It is simply the loss of cognitive ability. It can be a result of Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, brain trauma, a brain tumor or other medical issues. It manifests as a loss of ability to remember and function with the severity of the symptoms slowly increasing over time.

Dementia is a tough condition for a person to deal with. Realizing that you are losing your faculties is not a comfortable situation to say the least. That being said, the silver lining of dementia is that you lose the ability to recognize what is going on. It can be a little comforting to know that people with dementia do not suffer. There is no pain. The same unfortunately cannot be said for their family members.

Coping with a loved one’s moderate dementia is bound to be one of the most challenging endeavors you have ever taken on. This condition typically hurts the loved ones of the sufferer due to the fact that they have to witness the entire progression of the illness. Watching a loved one progress through the stages of dementia is extremely tough. It is heartbreaking when you realize that your mother or father or close family member no longer recognizes you. It is painful to have to watch and go through this.

The best way to cope, is to research what to expect and where and who to get support from. Get to know in advance the stages, the symptoms will be experienced, you will be better prepared for events to come. Learn about the symptoms that are beyond the sufferer’s control. The symptoms are a direct result of the impact that dementia has on the brain as a whole. Learn what you can so you can understand the disease.

Some of the following symptoms may be exhibited by your loved one:

  • The sufferer may reach a point where they are unable to recognize their relatives, friends, and other individuals that they know.
  • Many may develop what is referred to as Sundown syndrome. This is the name given to the confusion and often inappropriate emotional outbreaks that may occur at sunset or during the night hours. For many, this will occur in the early evenings as well.
  • You may find that your loved one experiences many different challenges when it comes to keeping their thoughts organized, thinking on a rational and logical manner, and coming up with the right words to fully express themselves. As a result, they may simply create stories in order to fill in the areas that they are unable to appropriately recall.

When you have done the research about the disease, you’ll find that there are many support groups out there to help you cope and get through the stages of the disease. Groups will help to find a long term facility when more professional care is needed then you can give. Take the help and support offered by other family members – it is all about balancing your own needs with those of the dementia sufferer.

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20s Mom vs 40s Mom

All first time expectant and new moms whether they are 22 or 42 have the same emotional and physical challenges created by pregnancy and by raising an infant. There is also a growing trend to have babies later in age after education is finished and careers are established. There are many pros and cons for having children early in life, or waiting till 35 or 40 year old.

Women who are above 35 years of age are prone to various pregnancy risks as age and the health of the mother plays a very important role during pregnancy. The older a woman is the less chances of being fertile as fertility may decrease with age. Older expectant moms are at risk as they have greater chances of suffering from health problems such as hypertension, diabetes and diseases of the heart, kidney and reproductive organs.

Older moms have a higher chance of giving birth to low-weight, pre-term babies. Miscarriages and still birth are more common as well. Placental problems may arise such as placental pervia which may require a C-section. Babies with chromosomal birth defects and other congenital abnormalities are other risk factors.

New and expectant moms over 35 and 40 face other unique challenges. Many older moms are facing the challenge of caring for aging parents while trying to raise a toddler. They can be experiencing postpartum and menopause issues at the same time.

However, there are other benefits to having babies at an older age. A definite advantage to having children in your late 30s or in your 40s is that you’ve likely had a lot of life experiences, whether exotic, or romantic holidays or simply experiences that have given you the opportunity to learn something that has made you a even more mature, responsible and knowledgeable.

Financially the family may be more stable as careers have been established – you’ll have had two decades to develop your career. This also means that taking a break to become a mother isn’t likely to have as great of an effect as if you were to do so when you were starting out your career. A family home may already be established with enough room to raise a family.

In terms of your relationship, chances are you’re in a position whereby you feel extremely comfortable with your partner and as if you can face anything together, including bringing a new life into the world.

By the time you hit 40, you’re likely to have got all of your partying and particularly late nights out of your system, making it less of a problem making the transition into a mother, whereby your focus shifts from yourself and your friends to your baby.

It is important remember, a parent offers love, support and guidance and age has no factor in being able to do that. Being healthy at any age is the first step in having a healthy pregnancy and childbirth.

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