Garanimals Blog

Archive for the ‘exercise’ tag

May 9th, 2014 at 9:34 am

Conquering Diet and Exercise Hurdles


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?

Pin It

April 25th, 2014 at 6:52 am

Get Your Family Moving!


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?

Pin It

February 24th, 2014 at 8:31 am

Keeping Your Kids Active When Stuck Inside


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.


Pin It

January 9th, 2014 at 3:36 pm

Mommy and Me Exercises



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: 

Pin It

July 24th, 2013 at 10:17 am

Pregnancy Fitness


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.


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!


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.


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 for some great exercise demonstrations and instructions.

What type of pregnancy fitness do you engage in?


Pin It

February 3rd, 2013 at 5:24 pm

Exercise for Kids in Winter Weather

Every week we have to fill out a calendar for my oldest sons gym class spelling out ways that he exercised for 100 minutes each week. In the dead of winter I feel like I need to get creative to make those 100 minutes happen. It’s so good for kids to get exercise, so here are some ideas for your child to get moving:

  • Jump Rope
  • Create an Obstacle Course
  • Bring the scooters inside to use in your house or basement
  • Roller Skating inside
  • Mount some swings on the Basement rafters
  • Inflate a jumpy house
  • Tag
  • Hide and Go Seek
  • Hopscotch
  • Catch
  • Balloon games
  • Set up an Olympic Challenge with games like push ups, sit ups, jumping jacks and more
  • Indoor Dodgeball
  • Wii game that involves dancing or high activity
  • Hula Hoop
  • Hopper Ball races
  • Nerf Gun Battle
  • Beginner Gymnastics
  • Dance Party

Remember to use items that won’t break things inside or to clear out an area they will be playing in. If you are playing Dodgeball use foam balls or balloons to make it less intense. Punching balloons are sturdy and less breakable which are a great addition to all sorts of indoor fun. Plus, there are many toys you use outside that can be moved inside in the winter. Hula Hoops, foam balls, and mats are great things to have inside to make exercise a little more fun! When I was a child it was so fun to roller skate around the basement or Hula Hoop in the middle of the living room.

Every month I look at the calendar and think how are we going to accomplish all this exercise this month, but truly it is easy when you get a little creative.

What fun things do you do inside to make your kids wear off some energy?

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

Pin It

August 28th, 2012 at 5:00 am

Get Rewarded for Working Out with Earndit

Working out is always a challenge. We know it’s good for us but even when it’s fun, it’s still work, and easy to come up with reasons to skip it.  So how would it be if we got something other than personal satisfaction from our walks, runs or swims? A bonus for getting it done.

That’s the idea behind Earndit, which syncs with your fitness device or location-based workout app and rewards you with points for your activities. Back in June I wrote about the Fitbit workout device, which I always wear, that tracks my steps and workout activities. This device is supported by Earndit, so of course I was intrigued and signed right up. Other devices include Nike+, RunKeeper, Garmin and Foursquare.

The points you earn by doing your workouts can be redeemed for gift cards that can be used at such retailers as Starbucks, Target, Amazon, or discounts at various  apparel and fitness-centered stores. Freebies are always a good motivator, so since I workout anyway, why not get a little extra for my effort.

If you’d rather give than get, your points can be redeemed for charitable giving to organizations such as Heifer International and Rotary, as well as for care packages for our troops. I like that a lot.

Need even more motivation than that to keep up with your workouts? Earndit posts various challenges that you can participate in with others and earn extra points for reaching specific goals. Refer a friend and you can earn 100 points.

It feels good to exercise. It feels even better when you get points for it.

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

Pin It

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.

Pin It

May 4th, 2011 at 5:00 am

Fat Cats and Pudgy Pooches

Obesity is a huge problem in America — and not just for humans. It’s estimated that more than half the dogs and cats in this country are overweight or obese. The health risks of obesity in animals mirror those in humans:

  • osteoarthritis
  • diabetes
  • high blood pressure
  • heart disease
  • joint problems
  • kidney disease
  • cancer
  • shortened life expectancy

Studies show that most people with overweight pets aren’t even aware of it, but it’s the humans who are responsible, not the animals. Overfeeding, feeding table scraps or unhealthy treats, and lack of exercise are the primary culprits. And chances are, if your vet tells you your pet is overweight, you could probably lose a few pounds, too. That’s the dirty little secret of the veterinary industry — the taboo of talking about overweight animals for fear of offending their owners.

All that’s changing, though. The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) was founded in 2005 by a group of veterinary professionals to help humans help their pets stay healthy. They have a great website, including a page on how many calories your pet really needs.

OK, so that’s the bad news. The good news is pets and people can help each other in the battle of the bulge. Instead of showing Fido how much you love him by giving him a treat, play with him. A good game of fetch and catch in the back yard, or a nice long walk says “I love you” better than any food treat ever could.

A recent article in the New York Times was called “Forget the Treadmill. Get a Dog.” Seems owning a dog is a great motivator to get us humans up off our butts and out exercising. The article cites a Michigan State University study of dog owners, noting that 60 percent of those who took their dogs for regular walks met federal criteria for regular (human) exercise, as well.

The weather is getting warmer. Bathing suit season is just around the corner. Get out there and take a walk. And take the dog with you. It’ll do you both good.

Photo by Vandelizer via a Creative Commons License.

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




Pin It