Monthly Archives: August 2012
Is your workout starting to bum you out? Has your interest in it gone out the window? Is it just not “doing it” for you anymore? Sometimes when pursuing our fitness goals, we become bored, burnt out, or disenchanted with what we’re doing. It’s probably not you, you know. The fault lies with our choice of exercise routines. Here are some signs you may need to reconsider what you’ve been doing:
- You no longer feel challenged by your workout. It’s become too easy, or you’ve progressed past its usefulness.
- You no longer feel motivated by your workout. The same old-same routine is, quite frankly, boring even though in the beginning, it was something to look forward to doing.
- You find yourself making excuses for not working out. Anything and everything suddenly become a greater priority than your exercise time. You’re not exactly certain why this is happening, but the cold, hard truth is you just don’t want to do it anymore, no matter how good your initial incentive or motivation for beginning might be.
Now, if any of this sounds familiar, you need to do something to put the challenge back into your workout routine. Here are some suggestions on how to liven up your workout (and your life!).
- If you no longer feel challenged by your workout, give it a rest. As you develop your skills, as you lose weight, as you become more fit, the exercises you began with SHOULD become easier to do. This is a good thing! Continue to progress to the next level. Athletic performance training has various levels and skills to master. Learn a new technique, push for a few more laps or miles, add some more weight or reps. Keep climbing the ladder of exercise success.
- If you find that your routine is no longer inspiring, you may have become bored with it. Your routine may be just, well, too routine for you. Try mixing things up. Add some agility training or balance exercises. Run or bike a new route. Try working out at a different time, like early in the morning to start your day off right. Trade your morning swim for an evening walk. Hit the tennis court or golf course or gym with some friends instead of always going solo. Relieve the boredom and bring back the spark and challenge by getting rid of the routine in your routine.
- If you find yourself making excuses not to exercise, first try to figure out why you no longer have the drive or desire. It could be that you’re bored, or no longer feel challenged. It could be that you’ve taken on more than you were ready for. We often jump into new routines and exercise programs with both feet, only to find out we’re in over our heads. We want to look good, lose weight, get in shape, but we’re too hopelessly out of shape for the program we’ve chosen. I’ve seen this happen even to those with doctor’s clearance, so don’t think that is always the answer. Just because you are physically capable doesn’t necessarily mean you’re physically or mentally ready. If this is your case–if you’re tired of aching muscles and sore feet, running in the rain or sweating it out in public the gym every night–you may have to go back and start over again. This time, choose something less demanding, less public, less mentally aggravating. If you’re not a people person, work out alone. Forget the fitness class. If you’re not an outdoorsy kind of person, drop the jogging and try a treadmill. There are lots of ways to exercise. You don’t have to admit defeat just because you tried something and couldn’t do it.
Whatever may be the reason your routine has lost its spark, you can get it back. Use your brain how you’ve been using your body and the answer will come to you. And then you’ll be on fire for fitness once more!
It’s that time of year again. Right around Labor Day, summer ends and school once again commences for students young and old. Readin’, writin’, and ‘rithmetic take center stage while the fun and frolic of the summer holiday melts into memory. (Oh sure, students can find some fun in curriculum like music, PE programs, school sports, and all the extra-curricular activities that each new school year brings. Those are the real reasons kids tolerate school, of course. (But for the parents and teachers reading this, we’ll pretend otherwise.)
For the newest, youngest scholars just entering preschool, these are heady times. New clothes, new shoes, new experiences. And those preschool teachers are ready and waiting for them, bright-eyed and excited to introduce them to the world of education. While they haven’t got much readin’, writin’, and ‘rithmetic that they can handle just yet, preschool programs often take advantage of preschoolers’ natural energy and willingness to play to introduce academic skills through active play.
Physical activities for preschoolers often incorporate PE equipment and fun with academic learning. Want a peek at a preschooler’s day? Here are some fun learning games they just might be playing at a preschool near you:
- Find It – The teacher makes large laminated shapes, colors, numbers or letters and places them in the corners or around the edge of the playing area. Smaller versions of the same shapes, colors, etc. are made and scattered in the center. The children begin by moving around the outside perimeter. (Skipping, jumping, hopping, etc. can be used to foster physical, as well as academic skills development.) At the teacher’s cue, the students race to the center, find the appropriate match and then proceed to the larger matching base on the perimeter.
- Which Way? – An important pre-learning skill is to understand directional concepts–left, right, up, down, over, under, between, beside–and Which Way? is a great way to develop these important concepts. The students begin by simply walking or moving around the space. Each one has a card or piece of ribbon in hand. In the center of the room, the teacher stands next to a small table or chair or traffic cone. The teacher calls out directions to the students. “Skip with the card held up.” “Hop with the ribbon in your left hand.” “Johnny, come and place your card under the cone.” The students have a fun, active time practicing both physical skills and developing important cognitive ones, as well.
- Hokey Pokey – I’ll bet you thought the good ol’ Hokey Pokey was too old fashioned for today’s high-tech post-modern world, didn’t you? Guess again! It’s a fun, safe way to get little ones to remember which is left and which is right, which is their elbow and which is their knee. As a teaching tool to help pre-schoolers learn body parts as well as left and right, the Hokey Pokey dance is perfect!
Have a lot of weight to lose, but no money for the gym? New baby or job taking away workout time? Do you lose your motivation once things start getting rough and tough? Have friends in the same situation? There’s a simple solution–start your own fitness class!
You don’t need a group exercise certification, or even a personal training certification. You don’t need to have training from the NCCA to gather with friends and work up a sweat (obviously you would need these things if you were charging people!). All you need is some room to move, some motivated (and motivating) friends, and some time to get together. You can put together your own DIY fitness class using the following tips:
- Make it cooperative. You like to run, your best friend does yoga and your sister in-law is a circuit training honey. Put your efforts together. Teach them how to gear up for a 5K. Let them teach you some asanas and really cool circuits. Does someone have an awesome new workout DVD that they want to share? Or how about all of you trying the same recommended program together? Meet twice a week in someone’s living room or basement or back yard and get sweaty together. Trade off meeting places too, so one of you isn’t playing hostess all the time. Babies are welcome in the DIY fitness class, especially if they don’t have to leave home to get there!
- Make it competitive. A little friendly competition never hurt, and if you can use it as a motivating tool to get everybody striving after a common goal, the more the better. Have everybody chip in for a gift certificate to a local boutique, or a mani-pedi date at the salon. Then, set a goal to reach that all can agree on. First one to lose ten pounds wins. The one with best time in the race gets the prize. Or maybe the first one to regain a lost dress size should take home the trophy. That way, regardless of starting point everyone has a chance to grab the brass ring. (You might want to stay away from food as a reward, since you’re trying to lose weight and get in shape!)
- Make it comfortable. Sometimes, the thing that keeps people out of the gym is their low self-esteem. They don’t want anyone to see what they look like “for real.” Or they’re embarrassed by their lack of ability. This is where the cooperative nature of a DIY fitness class really pays off. Everyone has the opportunity to be really good at something or have something to offer the rest of the class. Who cares what you look like in a leotard or pair of shorts? These are your BFFs, and if they can’t accept you and your cellulite, no one can!
A DIY fitness class may not be for everyone. But it can be a fun way to create a challenging workout while having fun and making memories with friends at the same time.
It doesn’t matter which side of the political fence you’re on, or who you voted for, or whether you’re in the 99 or the 1%, let’s face it–We’ve got a money problem here in the U.S. Cities and even states all over are hurting. And we’re not alone. Europe’s in a mess, too. Along with the mess comes the efforts to stop it–the cleanup, if you will. Many of those efforts involve cutbacks, or restructuring–taking money from one budget and putting it to use somewhere else. And sadly, all too often educational budgets are hit hard and fast. “Extras” like art, music, physical education, and after school programs are often the worst and first affected when the budgetary axe falls. So how can your child’s school maintain PE classes on lower budgets this year?
- Durability – One nice thing about a great deal of PE equipment is its durability. The fact that balls, bats, cones, scooters, mats, ropes, and other PE resources are made for long-lasting wear will help keep some of the bad budget news at bay. Last year’s new purchases will just have to do again this year. They’re still going strong, after all.
- Flexibility – PE class is supposed to be all about fitness and teaching certain skills. The possibilities for fun fitness activities, especially with children, are nearly endless, and many of them don’t require any equipment at all. Many fitness and sports skills can be taught in more than one way, both with and without equipment. The sheer flexibility of the thing and opportunity this flexibility affords make it perfect for good, solid, creative teaching, even without all the latest bells and whistles.
- Grants – Grants specifically designed to aid in the funding of PE programs exist. The PEP grant is one such grant. Show just cause to be a recipient of the grant and you could have the cash in hand for those new climbing ropes, instructional DVDs or complete lesson plans that leave all the prep work out of the equation.
- Fundraising and Volunteerism – With all the emphasis on fitness, better health, better nutrition, and overall better lifestyle choices in society today, it’s a sure bet that if you went to your PTA or school booster program and said, “Look, we need $X for new PE equipment” you’d most likely succeed in gaining their support in raising the necessary funds. Entire playgrounds have been built by the schools’ parents. Equipment fundraisers have ultimately resulted in the purchase of new equipment, new uniforms, new facilities and providing the best possible for the students who not only need it the most, but would have done without otherwise. Involve the community and watch your program thrive!
PE resources may be few and far between this fall, but that doesn’t mean that your child’s PE class has to suffer the consequences of a smaller budget. There are plenty of options open to the PE department. If you’re concerned about the state of the program since last spring’s finance committee dropped the axe yet again, speak with the teachers, coaches, or administrators. I’m sure they’ll be happy to discuss alternative funding options with you!
Your home could be infested with bugs and you might not even realize it.
Many homeowners ignore the warning signs of an infestation, whether that infestation is by ants, spiders, cockroaches, or rodents. The earlier you discover these pests, the better your chances of avoiding major issues later on, which includes expensive home pest control remedies and insect extermination.
Here are some of the biggest warning signs that you could have an insect, woodland critter, or other type of infestation in your home.
Many insects and critters leave traces of their existence with their droppings. This is most obvious with squirrels, mice, and bats, since they are relatively larger than ants and cockroaches.
If you find leavings in your attic or basement, don’t write them off. Even if you think you only have one mouse in your house or one squirrel in the attic, it’s only a matter of time before the rest of the family moves in.
When rodents take up residence in your attic or garage, they usually come in through holes in your siding or around your window frame. By maintaining your property well, you’ll prevent these holes from opening and letting the wilderness in.
The other types of holes you’ll find are much tinier. Termites, carpenter ants, and carpenter bees all burrow into damp and decaying wood, causing structural damage if not exterminated early on. These bugs often leave many holes in wood, along with tiny piles of sawdust on the floor (except for termites, they eat their way through wood, sawdust and all).
Ants are phenomenal when it comes to colony planning. At first, you might see an ant or two probing their way around your kitchen. You could think nothing of it and squish them, thinking you’ve ridden yourself of the nuisance for good.
Unfortunately, that’s not the case. To truly control ants, you must apply a comprehensive barrier around your home. It’s never just one ant colony you’re dealing with; there are millions upon billions of ants just lining up to crawl into your home and bring back a morsel of food to signal to other ants that a goldmine lay just ahead. The moral of this story is to never write off the first ant sighting of the year.
Though spiders have benefits—trapping and eating bugs around your home and yard—they can have negative impacts on your family’s health. Spiders generally aren’t aggressive, until you inadvertently threaten their own well-being. Black widows, brown widows and desert recluse spiders can bite humans and cause horrible medical problems, including necrosis and muscle spasms.
If you see a spider web in the dark recesses of your basement, think twice about swatting at it with a broom. Instead, call your local pest control company and ask about their options for spider removal.
Obesity has become a big problem in the United States. Recent reports show that 1 in 5 people is obese in every U.S. state. In Mississippi and Louisiana, more than 1 in 3 people is obese.
Becoming healthier and stronger is something we should all try to do, but there are many dieting myths floating around that will ultimately become a roadblock to weight loss success. For the most part, don’t give in to hype–health is very simple: regular exercise, wholesome food in the right portion sizes. Here are 5 myths to avoid:
1. All carbohydrates are bad.
Carbohydrates tend to get a bad rap because the most common carb of all is sugar, and we’ve all been told how bad sugar is to the average diet. The fact is that carbohydrates are found in everything, including fruits, vegetables, grains, and milk. Avoiding carbohydrates completely would be ignoring some of the most important foods for your body. Moreover, your body needs carbohydrates to make glucose, which is the basic fuel that keeps you going.
The truth is that not all carbs are created equal. Avoid refined carbohydrates that add sugar or use processed grains. Instead, aim for complex carbohydrates full of fiber and nutrients. This includes whole grains, brown rice, and your usual fruits and veggies.
2. Some foods help you burn calories.
Different foods certainly offer different health benefits and nutrients, but the fact is, a calorie is a calorie, regardless of the source. No foods will increase your basal metabolic rate, and the few that are purported to do so at an utterly insignificant amount.
If you want to increase your metabolism, consider lifting weights. Your body burns more calories maintaining muscle than fat.
3. Weight loss surgery requires a long period of recovery.
Many people turn to forms of weight loss surgery, such as liposuction, gastric banding, and surgical laser procedures. Many are reluctant to seek these procedures out for various reasons, but the technology used in weight loss procedures has improved greatly over the past few decades.
In terms of recovery, many people return to their daily activities within two weeks, with some even returning to work within days. Weight loss and breast augmentation laser procedures allow patients to return almost immediately to everyday activities, because cosmetic laser treatments are completely noninvasive. These procedures aren’t recommended for those that are significantly overweight, and are intended to help healthy-weight people ditch those last stubborn pockets of fat.
4. Snacks are never good.
You should never starve in order to lose weight. Starving yourself isn’t healthy and, in some cases, will cause you to gain weight. Snacking between meals is a good way to stave off the hunger, but what you snack on is the most important part. Most people equate snacks to potato chips, cookies, candy, and other junk foods.
Use snacks as an opportunity to incorporate healthy foods into your diet. Instead of diving into a bag of chips, pack yourself some fruits, veggies, and nuts. Eat snacks that you might not have during mealtime. If you don’t drink much milk, for example, use snack time to eat some low-fat yogurt or cheese.
5. Eating and exercising constantly means you’ll never gain weight.
It’s true that diet and exercise are the foundations to maintaining your weight, but you must be willing to make lifestyle changes as you grow and age. Metabolism slows down as you age, which means you have to follow a stricter diet or exercise more. The biggest change occurs around the age of 40, when your metabolism takes a significant dip and continues to slow down gradually over the years.
Emergency situations are rarely by-the-book. More often than not, you’re rushing into a dynamic situation where you aren’t always sure what you’ll see, what you’ll have to do and what kind of danger lies therein.
Therefore, the better prepared you are for all kinds of emergency situations, the better you’ll do when it comes time to save lives or prevent damage to property.
Here are some items that will help you be prepared for a variety of emergency rescue situations.
Unfortunately, many rescue situations end up with the victim receiving medical care of some kind. To best protect yourself, the patient and the other personnel around, bring a portable triage tent in your emergency bag. This item will help protect you from the elements while giving you a private place to use medical tools like syringes, defibrillators, and anesthetics.
Many pieces of water rescue equipment can be used in other scenarios as well: confined space rescue, inclement weather rescue, and others.
For example, water rescue scenarios almost always involve high quality ropes that won’t fray easily or get logged with water and weighed down. These types of ropes are synthetically made and come in handy when you need to pull someone from a confined space, or help secure an incapacitated victim on a mountainside or in a canyon.
Though you may not have answered a call for fire rescue, you never know when a situation can turn dire and dangerous to all emergency rescue personnel. Car accidents, industrial accidents and even seemingly run-of-the-mill house calls can turn into infernos very quickly, especially when inflammable fluids leak and spread to other areas.
For these types of scenarios, carry a mask with you that filters smoke, ash and harmful environmental contaminants like carbon monoxide and other biological agents. This piece of equipment is also extremely useful when answering environmental hazards, like when a tractor-trailer carrying toxic substances crashes and leaks out harmful substances onto public roads or land.
And then there’s the stuff you can’t really label: mass-casualty incidents, extreme environmental phenomena, or hostage situations where you could have many injured persons on-site. Ensure you have emergency medical equipment in your first-aid kit so you can provide assistance to those who need it.
All it takes is a little preparation and knowledge about the area in which you live and work; if you can judge what type of situation you will run into, the better you’ll be able to plan to bring the right equipment.
If you live and work as a first-responder in an area prone to lots of wildfires, home fires and commercial business fires, you need to keep up with the maintenance of your equipment.
It’s easy to get home after a call and toss your bag into the corner and forget about it. But get into this habit and you could be responsible for failing to provide adequate treatment to victims on your next call.
Here are a few tips to stay prepared during fire season, whether you experience a uniquely busy season or you’re uncharacteristically sitting around, waiting for a call.
A great way to ensure that all your equipment is up to par is to use it often. Set aside a little bit of time each week to brush up on your skills, whether you practice applying a tourniquet to a pretend patient losing blood or you set up your triage tent in your back yard.
This is a great time to make sure your firefighter tools aren’t broken or damaged. Since you caught a problem early on, you’ll be able to replace or fix the problematic piece of equipment before you need to use it in a real life-threatening situation.
Mind Expiration Dates
Check your emergency medical supplies each month and remove anything that shows signs of wear and tear, as well as medications that are expired or dried up. Bandages, tape and other types of gauze are generally good to use for a long, long time, so it’s okay to keep those things around if the box shows an expiration date that has since passed.
However, pay attention to certain medical tools that use batteries. Defibrillators, for example, need to be taken care of so that they’re actually useable when it comes time to apply that all-important electric current to a victim or patient.
Stay Neat and Tidy
No matter how often or how little you use your equipment, it can collect dust and dirt that can damage mechanical and electronic devices, sour medical equipment, and ruin the integrity of cloth and other synthetic materials. Wash and dry your clothing often, including the bag you use to carry all your equipment.
If you don’t pay attention to the wet spots on your items, they could easily grow mold and need replacing before you know it. Save money, time, and lives by ensuring all of your equipment is well taken care of before the next emergency call comes in.
As we age, we often see things differently, and I’m not talking just a change in our viewpoint or looking at the world with the wisdom age and experience bring. No, what I mean in this sense is that we see things differently. Time and living take their toll on our eyes, and our eyesight pays the price. Keeping your eyesight healthy as you age is not a complicated process. It involves regular visits to the eye doctor, but otherwise, it’s not a big deal. Keeping your eyes healthy and your eyesight crisp and clear is.
How often should you see the eye doctor?
That depends on your age, but since we’re talking about getting older, let’s address the over-40 crowd. You should see you optometrist or ophthalmologist when you hit forty, regardless of when you went last. That’s because 40 is the right age for the start of some of the more insidious eyesight problems, like cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration. The earlier low vision therapies can begin, the more successful they tend to be, and the longer your eyesight will go unaffected. Believe it or not, the early screenings of your eyes can also give you a heads up for other health problems that may not be showing up in other symptoms yet. Risks for conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease can all be indicated by examining the blood vessels in the eyes themselves. So, not only can you save your eyesight by seeing the optometrist, you might just save yourself from one of the 4 biggest causes of death in the Western world.
After your 40th birthday visit (you don’t really have to go on your birthday–just go sometime that year) you should see the eye doctor at least once every year or two. If you wear some sort of corrective lenses, you’ll want to make sure you receive an annual checkup. If something does show up at your Fabulously-40 visit, you’ll want to follow up as your doctor recommends. They know what’s best, after all.
How can an eye exam predict my risk for heart disease or stroke?
Glad you asked! A confocal microscope can actually see inside the blood vessels of your eye. By examining the condition of these tiny little blood vessels, you optometrist can see if any damage or blockage have already occurred. Being some of the smallest vessels in the body, the vessels in the eye react sooner to harmful conditions, giving you a heads up well before other symptoms appear.
What happens if a problem is found?
That depends on the problem. Diabetics often have to have laser coagulation, because the disease causes the blood vessels to break and leak blood into the eye. This is done with an ND YAG laser. It’s a simple procedure done in the office. You’ll be able to drive yourself home afterward; it’s that uncomplicated. If you are diagnosed with glaucoma, another form of laser therapy can relieve the pressure in the eye and alleviate your symptoms. Again, this is usually performed in the doctor’s office. You may need some help getting home if both eyes are treated at once, but it’s not a big to-do either.
So, as you can see, the proper care and keeping of your peepers isn’t anything to lose sleep over. Just keep a clear head and a plan of action in place and you’ll be seeing things in a whole new light!