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Archive for the ‘fitness’ Category

May 9th, 2014 at 9:34 am

Conquering Diet and Exercise Hurdles

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One thing that plagues me day after day is weight loss. What I have realized is identifying the biggest hurdles helps you gain control, so you can actively acknowledge and work on them.

Only eat when you are hungry.
You don’t have to eat just because food is in front of you or the rest of your family is eating. Pay attention to whether you are really feeling hungry or if you’re just craving taste. If you aren’t really hungry at dinner but want to eat with the family, choose vegetables with low carbs, low calories and low fat.

You aren’t respecting your portions.
Watch how big your plate is and how much food you are putting on it. Use a scale or measuring cup to see how much an actual portion is. Check out food labels to determine the portion size. As a rule, your plate should be half vegetables or salad, a quarter carbohydrates, and a quarter protein.

Watch what you drink.
Watch what you have in your cup. Remember that things like alcohol, juice, and soft drinks all contain calories and sugars. Sometimes a cup of these things may be as much as an extra snack.

You have no motivation.
Set some goals to give you something to work towards. Keep track of your food in a food diary, get up and move by using a pedometer, or even reward yourself for working out.

Failure isn’t your enemy.
A day of failure or even a moment of failure doesn’t mean that you should quit. Start over and tell yourself that you will do better next time.

What do you feel are some of your biggest hurdles?

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April 25th, 2014 at 6:52 am

Get Your Family Moving!

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Life is different for kids these days – between video games, television, busy schedules and long car rides confined to car seats, there isn’t as much time for physical activity. We have to think about making our lifestyles more active and making physical activity a part of our everyday life. Here are some ideas to get your whole family moving more.

Have a Dance Party. Turn on some music and go crazy. The kids love doing this especially when parents are involved.

Set Up An Obstacle Course.

Take A Bike Ride. Add a bike carrier for little ones that can’t ride themselves. Take a ride to the park or a long ride around town. In summer we love to take a ride to the nearby ice cream shop for a treat at night.

Take Walks. Strap your little one in the stroller and take a walk. Not only is the fresh air great, but the change of scenery can be a good change of pace. Go to a nearby trail and have everyone walk along.

Exercise During Commercials. Make commercials fun for the whole family with some of these great ideas.

Make Exercise Challenges. Kids love challenges. In January, I was practicing my plank, increasing my time every night. My kids loved to do it along with me and try to beat me at it. Do this with sit-ups, push-ups, and even flexibility. We love to race to the car or house door when arriving home from outings as well.

Do Yard Work As A Family. A great workout can be achieved by raking, shoveling, or even pulling weeds. Work together as a family to get stuff done around the house.

Hold A Sports Night. Do you often have a game night? During nice weather switch to a sports night. Play tag, jump rope, soccer, tennis or any other fun game that involves activity.

Take The Stairs or Park Farther Away - Park at the back of the parking lot or take stairs when they are available. Your kids will think this is the norm!

What do you do to help your family be more active?

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February 24th, 2014 at 8:31 am

Keeping Your Kids Active When Stuck Inside

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This winter has been an extremely long one for my family.  Living in Wisconsin, most days the temperatures aren’t even hitting zero, so playing outside isn’t always an option and we have had to get inventive to help rid the boys of their never-ending energy.  I want to share some ideas with you to get some physical activity into your children’s day when you are stuck inside.

Do you have a room big enough to blow up that bouncy house inside? We move all our furniture out of the way and on our “cold” days when school was canceled we ran the house inside. The boys had hours of fun jumping up and down.

My parents have a heated sunroom that is covered with tile. When the kids were infants and toddlers we would sometimes blow up a baby pool on a sunny day and fill with some warm water. Stick on the boys swim trunks and its time to go swimming, or at least splash around.

If you have a basement in your house, there are so many great things you can do!  Hang some swings from the ceiling joists and bring outdoor fun inside. Also, if you have a lot of empty room in the basement bring in bikes, scooters, or even roller skates. I used to love roller skating through our basement growing up. The basement is a great place to practice dribbling a basketball and if you have decent ceiling height you may even be able to perfect your jump roping skills! Also, if you have a cement floor and accessible floor drain play with sidewalk chalk or even draw a hopscotch or foursquare area.

As moms, we like to limit our children’s electronics time. I don’t mind a little extra time though when they are playing active games. My kids love to use the WiiFit or play Just Dance. If you don’t have these it is just as easy to find some Just Dance videos on You Tube or run a family exercise class using online exercise videos. One night we had a competition to see who could plank the longest. Needless to say, I did not win.

Get inventive when trying to keep active and wear out some of that energy while the Polar Vortex takes over. We are in the home stretch; Spring is right around the corner.

How do you stay active inside?

Kim Ross also writes at  A Little Bit of This and That ~ The Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom.

 

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January 9th, 2014 at 3:36 pm

Mommy and Me Exercises

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Pregnancy is synonymous with “change.” When you have a child (especially your first), everything changes…and that includes your body! Once new moms settle into a routine, one of the most common sentiments is, “Now, how do I get my body back??” When you have kids, especially young babies, it can be difficult to find the time or opportunity to get a decent workout in. Here are some “Mommy and Me” exercises you can do with your little one!

*Keep in mind, you should always ask your doctor what types of exercises you’re allowed to do (depending on the type of birth you had, your personal health, etc.) before starting.

Other great ways to exercise with your baby are jogging/walking with the stroller, dancing, and hiking with the baby in a carrier.

Share your postnatal exercise routine with us on our Facebook wall…what worked for you?

Photo Credit: Parenting.com 

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July 24th, 2013 at 10:17 am

Pregnancy Fitness

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It’s important for both you and your baby to stay fit and healthy while you’re pregnant, but your growing belly and dietary and exercise restrictions will likely prevent you from sticking to your typical routines. The right exercises can actually prevent or lessen common pregnancy discomforts, such as backache and fatigue. Here are some pregnancy exercises that will help you feel your best during this special time! Remember to drink a lot of water, and not push yourself or your body too hard.

Keep in mind, you should always consult your doctor before you start any type of exercise during pregnancy.

Swimming

The best part about swimming is you’re not burdened by any weight gain, no matter what trimester you’re in. This gentle exercise can relieve swollen ankles and back pain. Stick to easy, fluid movements… no butterfly stroke!

Yoga

Prenatal yoga is hot right now. Many studios offer classes and there are a number of DVDs available for you to use at home. It’s the perfect way to help you relax your tense muscles and mind. Avoid any type of hot yoga and use your best judgment, avoiding any moves that don’t feel right or seem too aggressive.

Walking

An easy and convenient exercise for pregnant women. This is something most people can do throughout their pregnancy, even up to the day of labor!

Kegal Exercises

This “invisible” exercise will strengthen the muscles that help you during labor and delivery.

Light Strength Training

Light weightlifting workouts, modified for pregnancy, can be an excellent way to keep your “problem areas” at bay while your bump grows. Avoid heavy weights, lying flat on your back, and overdoing it. Check out Babyfit.com for some great exercise demonstrations and instructions.

What type of pregnancy fitness do you engage in?

 

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November 29th, 2012 at 5:00 am

Holiday Health

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The holiday season is officially in full swing, and while we are busy shopping and preparing for the next month, it can be easy for our own physical and emotional health to fall to the bottom of the priority list.  We make it a point to take care of everyone else, but it is so important to take care of yourself – not just for the sake of your family, but for you too.  Here are a few tips on how to stay healthy during the holiday season:

  • Exercise This one is tough but it is important to try to fit it into your day – all you need is 20 minutes.  Something as simple as pushing a stroller around the neighborhood can make you feel more energetic during an exhausting month. Sounds great, doesn’t it?  An added bonus to exercise is that it also is a great way to control your weight.
  • Hydrate Drink lots of water!  Sometimes we confuse being thirsty with hunger, which can lead to some unhealthy choices.  The next time you feel hungry, try having an 8-oz. glass of water and see if that makes you feel better.  There’s no such thing as “too much” when it comes to drinking water – you’ll stay hydrated AND be guilt-free since you chose not to have that snack instead.
  • Make some “me” time.  This is a tricky one for moms, but let’s face it, we need to recharge more than anyone. Don’t allow yourself any excuses.  Find the time, even if it’s only 15 minutes, and do whatever you want for that block of time.  Read a book, sit down with a cup of coffee, take a bubble bath – whatever!  This is your time to recharge.
  • Be realistic.  You’re going to cave and indulge in those delicious holiday sweets occasionally.  And you’re going to be stressed out because you want to have the perfect holiday with your family.  It’s okay to not be “perfect”.  If you can accept this you’ll have a much more enjoyable holiday.

Happy Holidays!

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July 18th, 2012 at 5:00 am

Exercising with Pets

We’ve all read about the obesity epidemic here in the US, and how it affects not only humans, but animals as well.

The good news is that pet ownership can be a great tool for losing weight and improving your health. Pets make great exercise pals: they’re always available on your schedule, hardly ever complain, and are willing to listen to your problems—a free therapist and fitness guru all rolled into one.

The most obvious and easiest pet-related exercise is walking your dog. One 30-minute walk a day or two 15-minute walks will get you both on the path toward a healthier lifestyle. It may take a little time to develop the habit in a sedentary animal. Choose a comfortable time of day for both of you, and you’re more likely to stick with it.

Don’t have a dog, or live in a building that doesn’t allow pets? No problem. Check out programs like Walk a Hound, Lose a Pound, a non-profit organization that pairs homeless dogs with willing walkers.

Lots of exercise facilities are providing classes for pets and their humans, like Doga (yep, that’s dog + yoga = Doga). Check with your local vet or gym for pet-related exercise programs. The ASPCA offers these great kid/pet activities divided into age groups.

Dogs aren’t the only pets that are leash-friendly. Your local pet shop can outfit you with the right kind of harness to walk your rabbit, ferret, or iguana.

Any cat lovers out there? I thought this idea was great: attach a laser light or a string with a pompom to you while you do step aerobics or similar exercise at home to get your kitty moving, too. Our cats can’t resist the laser pen.

This Arthritis Today article encourages cat owners to observe emulate cat stretches to improve health and flexibility. How often do you stretch compared to your cat?

Catch and Frisbee are great games to get both you and your animal more active. Or set up a bubble machine and see who can pop the most bubbles—your pet, your kids, or you. Here are a few more exercises designed to do with your pet.

Things to remember when exercising with animals:

  • Be very careful to keep all animals away from mechanized exercise equipment, such as treadmills.
  • When out for a walk or run, keep your pet on a short leash.
  • Avoid blacktop and concrete on hot days, which can burn your pet’s paws.
  • Don’t forget to provide water for your pet, as well as yourself.
  • Watch for signs of over-exertion. Start slowly and build endurance.
  • Be extremely careful when biking or blading with your dog. A Springer or Walkydog device attached to your bike can make cycling a much safer activity for both of you.

Exercising with your pet is fun and beneficial for both of you. Make a play date today.

Related Books for Kids
Having Fun with Your Dog — ASPCA Books for Kids
You Are a Lion! And Other Fun Yoga Poses by Taeeun Yoo

Susan Bearman also writes at Two Kinds of PeopleMike&Ollie: 24-weekers Who Beat the Odds and The Animal Store Blogas well as being a regular contributor to The Chicago Moms and Technorati.

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April 3rd, 2012 at 5:00 am

Food, Fitness and Healthy Living at Livestrong.com

Does your diet and exercise routine need a little support? Would it help to have a site that gives you good information, inspiration, encouragement and a place to record your accomplishments? Oh and by the way, a free resource at that?

I recently was referred to a terrific website that does just that. It’s livestrong.com and it’s chock full of tools, ideas, articles, and resources that can help you get, and stay, on track with good nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle choices.

My favorite app on this site is myPlate. It has a huge database that includes the nutritional information for thousands of foods, from generic to brand- and restaurant-specific items and entrees.

We all have heard how beneficial it is to keep a food diary. Enter what you’ve consumed during the day, and myPlate calculates the total calorie, carbs, fat, protein, sugar and sodium content. Graphs and tables allow you to compare these totals with recommended daily allowances in a way that is both informative and eye opening. It really encourages you to think about what you eat and drink and see how even small changes can add up to better nutrition and even weight loss.

Set goals for yourself and use the data to help yourself reach them. Need to tip the balance from too many carbs to more protein? Recording your choices and paying attention to the nutritional numbers empowers you get smarter about what you eat and make that happen.

And then there’s the fitness app. Prefer gardening to push-ups? Use the guides to help you get the most out of your planting and weeding chores, and at 281 calories burned per hour, you can make it count as a workout. Just click the “I did this” and indicate for how long. It records what you’ve burned.

Once you’ve seen the data, you’re naturally going to be inspired to keep going. Knowing that much of your normal daily activity like walking, climbing stairs, chasing after your kids and doing housework does actually count as exercise, and knowing how much it’s worth on the calorie-burning scale is a real boost. And it may even inspire you to do more.

The tools are really comprehensive. If you’re a walker or runner, you can use the loops option to plan your route and let the app calculate distance and calories burned. It just makes it so easy for you to succeed.

Currently there is an iPhone, Blackberry and Windows Mobile app for the Calorie Tracker application but no Android app just yet. Hopefully that will be here soon. In the meantime, I’m bookmarking livestrong.com.

You can also find Paula on LinkedInFacebook and Twitter @techsmart319. Feel free to reach out if you have questions.

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