Jul 27

Staying Healthy Together, Exercising With Your Children

Exercise With ChildrenMaking exercise a priority is a challenge for everyone. And for parents it can be especially difficult to find time to workout because of the full plates that they often juggle. When summer arrives the juggling act becomes even more tricky with children home from school and involved in extracurricular activities.

But, finding time for regular physical activity is so important that it should be a priority placed on your calendar, just like your kids’ softball game. A parent needs to exercise not only for themselves, but also for their kids benefit. It’s important to set a good example.

If your children never see you engage in fitness or if they hear you complain about working out, then they are going to have a negative image of exercise. Let them know that you workout to stay healthy, to be strong and to have more energy and stamina (so you can keep up with them)!

The big question is how to make it a priority that fits in your schedule. Well, it’s actually easier than you may think. With a little planning you can find ways to incorporate workouts into the time you spend with your children. Regardless of what age your children are, there’s a way to find time to workout (often even with your kids)!

Here are some tips that you can use when exercising with your children based on their age.

Age: Infant through pre-school

Fit in exercise time while they are napping. Try a home exercise video, walking or jogging (if you have a treadmill), jumping rope.

Occupy them for even 15 minutes with a video or toy while you do some toning exercises like squats and triceps dips.

Grab your stroller and go for a brisk walk*. Or, buy a jogging stroller for more flexibility. With a jogging stroller you can walk faster, jog or even run at a fast pace. And, for veteran rollerblades, you can even use the stroller for some skating time.

For younger children, you can use a back carrier to transport them while walking. This can burn even more calories as the extra weight makes it more challenging.

Turn on some music and dance together. Toddlers love dancing, especially when their parents joins in.

Push your kid on a swing. And, after every push complete one squat.

Use an infant carrier or bike trailer to enjoy a bike ride together.

Age: Grade School

Try rollerblading or skating together.

Spend an afternoon at a park with a playground, but don’t spend the whole time relaxing on the sidelines – join in on the fun. Spend some time swinging to help workout your legs. Try making it across the monkey bars – even just once (it’s a great upper body workout and you’ll be amazed that your kid does it with such little ease). Try some pull-ups using a bar on the playset. Do some tricep dips on a nearby park bench.

Play catch with a ball or get a small group together for a kickball or softball game.

Make Saturdays family bike outing day.

Involve your kids while you strength train. Let them count your reps out loud for you and/or clock your rest time in-between sets.

For pool outings, don’t just spend time soaking up the sun. Walk back and forth in shallow water while your kids have fun splashing about.

On rainy days that force you inside, walk or run up and down the stairs. You might even make it a contest to see who can finish 5 complete rounds first.

Age: Teenagers

Register for a fun run (or walk) event and spend time together training for the event.

Purchase a family gym membership and workout together weekly.

Play tennis or basketball together.

Consider joining a community volleyball or softball team that includes enthusiasts of all ages.

Don’t just sit and cheer your kids at their sporting events. Every few minutes do some walking or jumping jacks or squats.

Implement a daily family walk each day before or after dinner.

Work together in the yard raking leaves, planting flowers, trimming trees.

 

So, with all the above recommendations, you no longer have the “I’m a parent – I don’t have time to workout” excuse. If you implement these activities for just 30 minutes three times per week, you can easily burn an extra 450 calories or more! Plus, working out sets a great example for your children that will teach them at an early age how important (and easy) it is to make physical fitness a part of daily life. Exercising with your kids also provides the extra bonus of spending quality time together.

Jul 20

Get In Shape in the Fun Way with Inline Skate

Inline SkateInline skating is a fun way to get in shape and stay fit especially on warm sunny days when it’s a lot more enjoyable to exercise outdoors than on a treadmill or exercise bike indoors at the gym. These days most cities have nicely paved paths through parkland, beach and waterfront areas to make your rollerblading experience more enjoyable. Unfortunately depending on where you live, you may not be able to or want to rollerblade all year round.

There are many benefits to be derived from inline skating. It’s much easier and safer on the knees and back than jogging since your legs aren’t taking as much pounding against a hard surface. You don’t have to travel as far as cycling to get maximum benefits. Along with a great cardiovascular workout, blading provides you with a fantastic lower body workout by strengthening and toning your thighs, gluteus, calves and hamstrings. It’s like doing thousands of lunges using your own body weight without even realizing it or getting bored!

You should try to combine blading with strength training exercises with weights such as leg extensions, leg presses and calf raises to name a few. This will ensure that your muscles and bones remain strong and it helps to prevent any possible injuries from occurring.

Warming up

Before you begin inline skating, you may want to do a little bit of light stretching particularly focusing on your thighs and hamstrings. Right now there is debate over whether or not to stretch before exercising. I believe you should do what feels best for you. Also, the first few minutes should be done at a slower pace as a warm up for your muscles.

Safety

Rollerblading is extremely safe once you get proficient at it. Rarely will you fall by yourself. If you do, it’s usually a result of your surroundings. No different than cycling or walking on a sidewalk. To prevent injuries and scrapes, you may wish to purchase elbow, wrist and knee pads plus a helmet.

If you’re new to this sport, I suggest you either borrow a pair from a friend or rent a pair just to try it out, get a feel. When you’re ready to buy a pair there are a few things to look for. If you’re going to buy a really cheap pair I’ll guarantee you that you will not enjoy inline skating. What I suggest that you buy a pair in the mid-price range.

Boots

What should you look for in a pair of inline skates? The obvious being that the boot fits your feet properly in a pair of sports socks. If you feel the boot rubbing against your ankles or your toes rubbing inside the boot, try another pair because ill-fitted boots will result in blisters and sore feet. Just like a badly fitting pair of running shoes.

It will be better if you use laces for the boot with one plastic or Velcro strap at the top and soft boots with plastic heel and bottom moldings for extra support. Soft boots with no plastic molding support usually give way to your ankle over time. Wheels should be in the 76-78mm range. 80mm is too big a wheel for most people. Look for bearings with ABEC 4-5. Most quality inline skates come with ABEC 5 bearings nowadays anyway.

Maintenance

Inline skates are easy to maintain. The wheels need to be rotated every once in a while to prevent uneven wearing out. So if you use them 3 times a week, monthly is fine or take a look for how much wear there is on the wheels. The bearings need to be lubricated too.

You can do it by removing the wheel bearings assembly and wiping the surface of any dirt and then spraying the entire wheel bearing assembly with lubricant. You don’t have to remove the bearings from the assembly casing because usually there is only very little dirt gets in there and it’s a lot of work to completely remove and put it back together again.

Jul 13

How to Stretch Safely

Stretch SafelyKeep in mind that although stretching before performing an exercise or sport as preparation is very important, overstretching can increase your risks of being hurt during exercise. Here are some tips to help ensure that you are getting the maximum benefit out of stretching before or after exercise:

Start gently. When you’re first starting out, you may not be able to stretch your joints very far. Don’t push it or you may end up damaging your tendons, ligaments or muscles

Stay gentle. The American College of Sports Medicine had make important notes that the “no pain, no gain” method of stretching may destabilize your joints. Try a gentle stretch of the muscles you use for 10 to 30 seconds. If it hurts, there’s a reason.

Match stretches to exercise. If you’re an avid dancer, make sure that your legs and ankles have been gently stretched; if you lift weights, stretch your arms and legs.

Accommodate your exercise and health history. If you’ve had a previous injury, make sure that your stretches accommodate rather than exacerbate it. Your doctor or a sports medicine practitioner can help you to finding the right stretches and will often have handouts showing you how to perform them.

Remember, before starting any exercise program, you should consult with your health care practitioner to tailor it to your needs, particularly if you are 40, have existing health issues or a prior significant injury, or have suffered in the past from heart disease or stroke.

Jul 04

The Appeal of Extreme Sport

Extreme SportExtreme sports are the latest craze in our culture and kids as young as four and five years old are fascinated with it. It does make you nervous when they do the crazy tricks. Some people hate extreme sports and some people think they are a blessing, let’s take a closer look.

The positive side of kids being involved in extreme sports in that they are out getting exercise and the television in your living room is starting to collect dust, plus your electric bill is lower. You have probably been hoping for this to happen for a while but you aren’t sure about the choice of sports. Although skateboarding is probably the first of the extreme sports, it is only the beginning. Some of the others that kids are really getting into these days include BMX biking and trickblading.

BMX bikes are like a regular bike on steroids, they are built heavy and tough to be able to take the punishment of all the jumps and tricks, plus they have special pegs for the feet and padding to protect the biker where they are most likely to come in contact with the bike. These bikes are designed mainly for tricks and racing and are mostly used on dirt tracks and courses.

Trickbladers use the same parks as skateboarders and wear specially designed roller blades with smaller thicker wheels and have an added feature called a grind plate to help them do tricks like sliding down rails. I know, it makes my skin crawl just thinking about it! The idea is to be able to do a lot of the same tricks performed by skateboarders.

Skateboarding is thought of as the original extreme sport beginning in the 1960s when surfers put wheels on short boards to give them a way to cross train when the surf wasn’t up. These early skateboarders are probably amazed at the way the sport has developed with the huge half pipes and long rails that you see skateboarders riding today. It just makes me cringe to watch as they slide down a handrail while standing on a skateboard but incredibly my son has done it for over nine years and never broken a bone.

The first time that you watch your child go sailing through the air on a jump or paddling out in eight foot surf you will feel like your heart is going to pound out of your chest and you will be cringing every time they fall but as long as they have the right safety gear and are always with a buddy they will be fine, injuries are far more common in traditional sports. Encourage your kids, these days it’s hard to get them to like anything.