Outdoor Fitness Basics

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Do you enjoy outdoor fitness? These warm, sunny days offer a beautiful invitation to get outside and be active. Why not tone up, boost energy, mood and wellbeing while also enjoying an infusion of revitalizing fresh air and sunshine?

The great outdoors offers numerous fitness pursuits, like cycling, jogging, surfing, kayaking, hiking, rock climbing, skateboarding, and horseback riding, to name a few. To ensure a healthy, safe, fun experience, consider these points: Read the rest of this entry »

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How to Reconnect Kids with Nature

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Does your family spend much time outdoors? Sadly, it’s nearly a lost art for many of us, with parents and kids indoors all day for work and school. Once home, we may simply trade computers for TV─between managing phones, iPods, and iPads, of course. According to a Kaiser Family Foundation study, some kids spend as much as 60 hours a week involved in electronic media! Read the rest of this entry »

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Best Outdoor Vacations: USA

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Since many of us spend the majority of our waking hours in classrooms, offices, or other indoor work zones, it’s no wonder we periodically dream of getting away from it all. That’s the beauty of a vacation, especially one that offers a perfect balance of activity, nature, fresh air, sunshine, and relaxation. Outdoor vacations are a fabulous way to rejuvenate your mind, body, and spirit! Ready to create your dream itinerary? These fun ideas are sure to inspire: Read the rest of this entry »

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Autumn Health Essentials

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Fall is a favorite season for many people who love the fresh, crisp air, the vibrant colors of changing leaves, and the feeling of approaching winter holidays. However, cooler temperatures, shorter days, reduced sunshine, and more time indoors may call for some wellness adjustments. These tips can help ensure your autumn is both happy and healthy:

Eat seasonally

Autumn offers a bounty of delicious, brightly colored produce, including broccoli, apples, butternut squash, pears, cauliflower, cranberries, sweet potatoes, and that annual favorite─pumpkin. How about updating your menu with innovative dishes like Brussels Sprouts with Walnut-Lemon Vinaigrette, Warm Red Cabbage Salad, or Riesling-Baked Pears? For these and many other healthy, delicious fall recipes, visit here.

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Summer Health & Wellness─For Life!

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As summer draws to a close, you may find that many of the fun and healthy aspects of your warm-weather lifestyle are simply too positive to abandon as the seasons change. How can you weave the golden threads of summer joy, health and exercise into the coming year?

Embrace “back to school” fitness
While adjusting to the back to school routine can be challenging, outdoor fun and daily exercise don’t need to fall by the wayside. If you’ve improved your fitness in the summer months, why lose that hard-earned muscle tone and stamina that makes you feel like a million? You don’t have to! Your kids will likely be thrilled to continue walks, hikes and bike rides as well. Once you acclimate to new schedules, see how you can regularly incorporate that class, jog or family park frolic─especially on weekends.

Extend summer eating
For many families, summer meals are lighter and healthier, partly due to the heat and the availability of warm-weather produce. You can extend this trend by emulating the French and making a first course a regular dinner standard. Starting with a colorful salad or light soup is an ideal chance to build in fruits and veggies, as well as boosting the odds of them being happily consumed─when people are at their hungriest. Remember healthy snacks too. For an active metabolism, eat light, eat often.

Ward off holiday weight gain
Another benefit of maintaining healthy summer eating habits “off season” is that the longer you do so, the more ingrained they become. So when heavy, rich foods re-enter the picture─especially with the approach of the winter holidays─your body will be so accustomed to eating moderate amounts of fresh, whole foods that you’ll be less likely to stuff yourself on fattening items. It’s a question of balance. With regard to high-calorie party fare, Dolly Parton once said, “try everything, finish nothing.”

Tame fall stress
Anytime vacation ends and “real life” begins, we seem to forfeit relaxation mode, but getting busier doesn’t have to include unhealthy stress. It’s all about planning ahead. The more organized you are─and empower your family to be─the more you reduce tension for all. Breaks help too. How about designating one day weekly to resume that vacation mindset? Enjoy a leisurely brunch, go for a hike, take a nap, assemble a cold buffet so no one cooks, or get healthy take-out. This day you pamper eachother─mind, body and spirit.

While it may not happen overnight, you can modify your life so that you experience each day in a more relaxed, healthy “summer” state of mind. Along with boosting your daily happiness, you may just extend your lifespan as well.

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5 Healthy Summer Habits to Maintain Year Round

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As you enjoy the last weeks of summer, do you wonder if you might extend that happiness in the coming months? While warm weather may not be a year-round option, much of what brightens summertime can be applied to any season. For example, many people tend to live healthier lives in the sunny months. So why let go of those behaviors as the temperature drops? You’ll optimize both daily joy and wellness by sticking to these 5 healthy summer habits─all year long:

Fresh, seasonal foods

Bountiful, dewy-fresh produce is a definite summer highlight─think vine ripened tomatoes, sweet basil, and succulent berries─but every season has special fruits and vegetables just waiting to be appreciated. Make it a point this year to maximize them all. You’ll be inspired by this guide to the best seasonal produce throughout the year:

http://americanfood.about.com/od/resourcesadditionalinfo/a/seasonalprolist.htm

Proper hydration

While hot weather calls for icy coolers, drinking enough healthy fluids is essential every month of the year. Staying well hydrated will help each and every organ in your body function more efficiently, promote healthy digestion, boost energy─and even help you stay svelte. Studies show that since your body often mistakes thirst for hunger, drinking your 8 daily glasses helps you confine eating to when you’re genuinely hungry.

Play time

Summer and romping go hand in hand. But you needn’t let “back to school” mode close the door on play time. How about dedicating one day each week or month to just plain fun? You can enjoy those park frolics, picnics, beach visits, and family hikes while weather permits, then experiment with some new cool weather activities and indoor games when that time comes. Play all year long? Great idea!

A fit lifestyle

While some games and sports are summer-friendly, you can be active throughout the year virtually anywhere. Refreshed fitness is one reason people feel so much better in summer, so give yourself that gift every day of your life─regardless of weather. Yoga or Pilates classes, health clubs, outdoor family play and cold weather sports are all great options. Why not maintain a trim physique and healthy vitality all year?

Mini-vacations

Summer may be vacation season, but you can “escape” for mini-vacations any month of the year. Since time away helps you decompress, release tension, and refresh your perspective, it makes sense to avail yourself of those benefits rain or shine. You can take advantage of long weekends and kid’s school breaks to visit family in other areas, explore new sights and cultural events in your region─or even access some tropical splendor if your budget permits.

Ideally you now feel like you have a whole new lease on a fit, happy lifestyle─in any season. Live it up healthy! You and your family deserve it.

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Healthy Summer Time Activities

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For many parents, summer vacation can be both fun and challenging. While more shared family time is wonderful, kids also have a whole lot of unharnessed energy, which is usually well tapped during the traditional school day. So, how can you keep them happily occupied all summer? The trick is cultivating healthy activities the whole family can enjoy, plus some that children can pursue on their own. For example:

Summer Programs

You don’t have to join a country club to access great summer programs. Most communities offer a comprehensive range of options for both kids and adults through the Parks & Recreation Department. Best of all, they tend to be far more affordable than private lessons. Check out swim and tennis classes, team sports, cooking, painting, languages, sewing, horseback riding, and more.

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American Bike Month

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May is American Bike Month, compliments of the League of American Bicyclists, the national sponsor of Bike Month and this year’s Bike to Work Week─May 16-20. There is even a Bike to Work Day: Friday, May 20. For 55 years, National Bike Month has been the perfect time for new─or returning─riders to get back on the saddle and cycle to work. Bike Month stresses not only cycling but above all, safe cycling.

How can you get involved? That could be as simple as getting on your bike, though some communities lend themselves to safe cycling more than others. Read the rest of this entry »

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Baby, It’s Cold Outside Tips to Keep Your Heart Warm

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The winter season brings colder temperatures and ice and snow. And, unfortunately, it also brings an increased risk of having a heart attack, especially for those who already have cardiovascular disease. It’s important to take care of your heart all year long, but it needs a little extra TLC during the colder months.

Cold Hearted

Many people aren’t aware of the toll that outdoor activities can take on your body, or the dangers of being outside in the cold. Just walking through snowdrifts can put stress on your heart, so imagine how much strain shoveling snow produces, especially if your heart is already weak. Those with heart disease and all older people should also be mindful of hypothermia. Hypothermia, which can be fatal, includes signs such as clumsiness, confusion, sleepiness and shivering. Also, people with coronary heart disease often suffer angina pectoris (chest pain) when they’re in cold weather. Some studies suggest that winter weather can increase a person’s risk of heart attack due to overexertion.

Be Smart—Take Care of Your Heart

If you absolutely have to go outside and brave the cold weather, be sure to keep warm by wearing layers of clothing and wearing a hat (most heat is lost through the head). If shoveling snow is on your agenda, try to shovel fresh snow—it’s lighter than packed snow—and only fill your shovel half way. Most importantly, listen to your body! Some heart attacks are sudden and intense, but most heart attacks start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Here are some signs that may mean a heart attack is happening: Read the rest of this entry »

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Protein & Weight Loss: What’s the Connection?

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January 18-24 is Healthy Weight Week, celebrating positive, diet-free living habits that help prevent eating/weight problems. This is worth noting, especially as a recent Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index indicates that Americans are increasingly overweight or obese, exercising less, and eating unhealthy foods. In fact, over 63% of adults in the U.S. were either overweight or obese in 2009.

While people clearly need help, many fad diets only seem to compound the problem. Fortunately, one natural key to healthy, lasting weight loss is as simple as it is effective. Did you know that the amount of high-quality protein you consume can significantly affect your metabolic rate and promote weight loss?

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