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We encourage everyone in our family to keep moving even if it means just getting on the treadmill for 20 minutes. It’s so much easier to get kids moving if they’re doing something fun. I chose an up dog/down dog flow for this installment in our Yoga for Kids series because it’s an allover body exercise that feels good and is enjoyable to do. Get on the floor with your child and do this pose flow that offers many benefits:
- encourages blood flow
- stimulates organs
- relieves sinus stuffiness
- improves posture
- stretches entire front and back of body
- builds core and upper body strength
- develops flexibility
Kids learn so much about us by what we take time to do. Do we show them how we appreciate and take care of our wonderful bodies? Spend just one minute a day on the floor with your child doing a yoga pose, and not only will you both will receive healthful benefits, but you’ll be setting a powerful example.
Here’s the second post in a series to help you and your child find more strength, flexibility, balance and focus. This week, we look at Slide, also known as Reverse Plank. When performed regularly, this posture offers many benefits:
- increases strength in the back, glutes, hamstrings, calves and triceps
- improves core strength
- promotes discipline
- develops balance and focus
- opens and stretches chest and shoulders
If you’re looking for one simple move to increase your core strength, this is it. Boat Pose, a staple both in yoga and Pilates classes, is a great alternative to performing dozens of crunches which can be hard on the neck or planks which can stress the wrists. Do this posture with your child and try to maintain it for a minute, but listen to your back. If you feel any strain, bend your knees or lower both feet to the floor. This go-to core move has many benefits:
- builds core strength
- improves balance
- develops focus
- cultivates discipline
Finally, many people find this pose more comfortable when performed on a mat or blanket to cushion the tailbone. Give it a try!
We see all the studies that report about the rise of diabetes in our communities. Kids and adults alike. According to the American Diabetes Association over 29 million children and adults have diabetes. I am one of them.
Several years ago, I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. Not the end of the world, but it did require attention. Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States. In 2016, I experienced a year of good health and better blood results, but I wonder if I can continue on this path. The jury is still out.
Follow me on this journey and share your thoughts on what helps you lead a better, healthier life.
Sugar was my comfort food
As a child I always loved sugar. My mom would buy a six-pack of Milky Ways, Mounds Bars or Snickers for my brother and I to have as snacks. Within a day, or maybe two, all six of the chocolate bars would be gone.
“Did you eat them?” my mom asked. “Not me! Must have been my brother,” I insisted. It was the same script week after week. I love most foods but especially cookies, candy, cake and ice cream. The more the better.
When I was in college, my diet consisted of the “wonderful” choices in the college dining hall: pasta and more pasta, sandwiches and tuna casseroles. You get the picture. (This was back in the 60s before food vendors were required to provide healthy options.) I attended SUNY at Albany which was in downtown Albany at the time. And they did not serve dinners on Sunday night. The kitchen staff were off, and we were on our own. With little money to spend my roommate and I would head over to Stewarts. They served ice cream sundaes with all you can eat toppings. Dinner ended up being 3 scoops of ice cream and heaps of hot fudge, marshmallow sauce and sprinkles.
But all this crazy eating style never daunted me. When I choose to wear a fitted dress or tight pants for an upcoming date, I would begin an exercise regimen . You’d be surprised how sit-ups and side bends tighten your waist as well as your stomach muscles…and in a short period of time.
Then I got married and at 24 and 27 I became pregnant. Who worried about anything other than getting through those nine months. I was sick most of the time and actually lost weight while continuing to satisfy my sugar cravings. After all, I was pregnant and felt I was entitled to give in to every food urge you could imagine.
Running gave me a false sense of security
Now I’m in my 30s and my kids are growing up. I became a running nut. Six days a week you could find me out on the roads. That lasted about eight years, until my knees gave out. During those eight years I could eat anything and everything and still maintain a slim figure. That was a period of pure delight because I could give in to my sugar cravings and not feel the weight gain consequences.
Why the emphasis on weight? According to my endocrinologist, there is a direct correlation between weight and Type 2 Diabetes.
40 pounds later I am a diabetic
It is now 40 years later and I have permanently added 20 pounds, hence the diabetes. At the beginning of the year it was 40 pounds but I lost 30 pounds over the last 12 months.
You may wonder what I think the problem is.
The problem is simple. In five months I gained back 10 of the 30 pounds I lost. So the real question is, ‘what does it take for a Sugarholic to change her spots?’ After all, I could just take medication to “cure” the effects of diabetes. Or could I?
Follow me on this journey and let’s see where it leads.
One of the things I love about yoga is that it reminds us of when we were children and turned upside down, rolled around, balanced on our hands and twisted ourselves into strange shapes just for fun. When I teach yoga to kids, they take right to it because they intuitively understand the playful aspect of the poses.
This week starts a series of vlogs highlighting various yoga postures you can share with your children, and you’ll all benefit. To kick it off, let’s try Crow Pose. This arm balance is always a hit with the kids and offers many benefits:
- develops the ability to focus
- increases upper body strength
- improves balance
- cultivates coordination
- builds confidence
If you’re frugal like I am, you’re always looking for ways to cut costs on household bills. We want to feed our families good, healthful meals, but organic food can be costly. Starting a garden is a great way to save money, but not everyone has the space. Fortunately, you can grow many vegetables indoors. Better yet, you can regrow them from organic veggies you already bought. Regrowing vegetables is incredibly easy and a wonderful project to undertake with your children.
In this video, I’ll show you some celery, scallions and romaine lettuce I’m regrowing. Here’s how:
- Slice off the vegetable base.
- Place the base in water in a transparent container where it will get sunlight. Don’t submerge it.
- Change the water at least every other day.
- After you see significant root growth in about 3-4 weeks, transfer to soil in a pot.
Good luck growing your indoor garden!
If your back aches after standing, you are among many who turn to pain relievers, muscles relaxers and other means to soothe tired muscles. Many back conditions require medical attention, but if your back just hurts, you can definitely ease that pain with stretches and exercise. Standing pelvic tilts not only stretch tight back muscles, they engage your core and develop abdominal strength at the same time. If you incorporate this one move into your daily home life, you will find relief from backaches. And you’ll look taller and slimmer in the process! Stand up and give this a try.
Do you find it hard to carve out time to get to the gym or take a class? You’re like many of us juggling work, home responsibilities, parenting and a myriad of other tasks. Fortunately, you do not need to leave your home to get a good workout. Body-weight only exercises are the rage. Not only are they challenging and effective, they can be done anywhere in the house. Even if you only have 5 minutes to spare while you’re cleaning, you can make it work with an intense, focused move like this Dip & Lift that targets your chest, arms, butt and hamstrings. Start off with a few, work your way up to 3 sets of 10 reps, and come summertime sleeveless weather, you’ll be glad you did.
Vacations are also notorious for packing on a few extra pounds. Head off the vacation weight gain in just minutes a day. Do these five hotel pool moves for three minutes or more to burn calories and work your total body:
- Shoulders, biceps & triceps: while jogging in place, keep your arms straight and move them forward and backward as rapidly as possible
- Shoulders & chest: Jog in place and cross and extend your straight arms.
- Abs & thighs: alternate lifting one knee at a time to your chest as quickly as possible. Stay nice and tall during this movement.
- Hips & inner thighs: stand with your feet together, jump up while extending your straight legs out, then bring your feet together before landing.
- Back, butt & hamstrings: hold on the edge of the pool and flutter-kick straight legs behind you.Be sure to engage your abs and keep you back from arching.
You can increase the difficulty of these moves by performing them more quickly or in deeper water. This will result in even more total calories burned. Even your kids will have fun doing this workout with you.
The biggest complaint I hear from my yoga students is tight hips. Hours of driving, sitting behind a desk or lounging on the couch makes for shortened, overworked hip muscles. These muscles in turn pull on your pelvis and lower back causing aches, pains and stiffness. Fortunately, you can reverse the effects of tight hips with focused stretches. Although you can do this posture alone, when done with a partner or against wall, Seated Pigeon pose is even more effective in loosening your hips and bringing relief to overly tight pelvic muscles:
- Sit on the floor, lean against your partner, and stretch your legs out in front of you.
- Cross one ankle above the opposite knee to make a Figure Four shape.
- If you can stretch further, pull the bottom leg into a bent position.
- Take turns gently pressing your back against your partner for a deeper stretch.
- Switch legs and repeat.
You will experience immediate relief in your hips after performing this pose. Get your children involved to prevent hip pain later and help them move freely.