Keeping Your Kids Active and Save During the Summer

Your kids might not look as retro as this, but they should have just as much fun!

Your kids might not look as retro as this, but they should have just as much fun!

School’s still out for your kids right now, are they enjoying their summer? We’ve all seen the commercials encouraging the children to go outside and play, but some kids just don’t want to deal with the unbearable summer heat. As a result, a lot of parents worry that their kids will end up being couch potatoes, just loafing around and playing videogames and watching TV excessively. So how can we fix this? How can we make our kid’s summer more enjoyable? There are a lot of different activities that parents can do with their kids that can keep them healthy during the summer.

The most basic thing you can do to keep  your kids active is implementing an active indoor activity. Instead of relying on your back or front yard, try making household activities, like cleaning, more fun and active for your kids. Try to incorporate your kids toys as well to keep them going in the comfort of the home. Video games have significantly improved over the years, with the video game consoles supporting body recognition and movement recognition. In fact, there are several games on consoles like the Wii/WiiU and the Xbox 360 that incorporate a camera/sensor with their games to create a fun workout. Games like the Wii FitU or the Kinect Adventures on the Xbox 360 will have your kids jumping, running in place, and moving through a variety of fun activities that will keep them entertained. Dancing games also exist for these consoles for your kids who enjoy that as well.

For the parents who just do not allow video games in the house, consider being active with your kids and take fitness courses at your local YMCA or swimming center. There are several summer programs at your local Y that you can experience with your child that will keep both of you active and enjoying each other. Family classes are available for anyone who want to take advantage of the bonding opportunities with their child.

If you can’t quite find the time to do family courses, you can always go for the classics: Buy your kids toys that will keep them active. Jump ropes are great and don’t need a whole lot of space outside or even inside to use. Buying some balls will also keep your kid active because there are many games such as handball, that your child can enjoy with their friends or other siblings. Having a mini workout area indoors can also promote good workout habits too. I’m not saying have your children bench press or do weighted squats, but having resistance bands and some very light dumbbells can be used to have a small workout session that everyone can enjoy.

You can also consider doing either morning exercises or evening, both avoiding the potentially hot day. Going for a walk in the parks help curb the heat with the presence of the trees blocking the sun’s rays. Also having a good walk is healthy for any age.

While considering all this, remember to keep your kids hydrated and well fed. Consider giving them healthy snack alternatives between their physical activity and make sure that you are providing adequate supervision during their exercises. Hydration is also crucial during your children’s workout. Just with any adult, children need to be properly hydrated, so make sure to give them lots of water or fresh juice.

Summer Hydration

Is there anything better than a cool refreshing water for your summer workout?

Is there anything better than a cool refreshing water for your summer workout?

When it comes to summer, you always have to worry about keeping yourself nice and hydrated. After all, our bodies do consist of 75% water, right? Even though we know that our bodies need that life sustaining water, we sometimes hate drinking it. At the same time, we can’t be drinking all those juices and sodas that have all that fat producing sugar and high fructose corn syrup. You might consider having those sports drinks, but an excess of that stuff will lead to more salt and sugar your body doesn’t need. Of course there aren’t any real substitutions to water, but for those who want to mix up their summer hydration while they’re working out or just plain working, here are some healthy suggestions for you.

1. Iced Tea- We’re not talking about your high sugar Lipton or Brisk teas, but rather some good ol fashioned iced tea. Tea isn’t normally sweet, only when you start putting in those sugar packets in your drink. Since we’re looking for healthy drinks to hydrate yourself in the summer, sugar packed tea is not the business. However, there are ways to naturally sweeten your homemade tea without needing to worry about adding the bad synthetic stuff. Adding a small amount of honey and throwing a mint in your tea will give it that extra refreshing and naturally sweet taste without the worries of adding any bad synthetically sugary products to your drink. Not only will you feel refreshed, but you’ll also reap the benefits of all natural tea. Different kinds of tea offer different kinds of health benefits from a better night’s sleep to cancer prevention.

2: REAL Juice- A lot of store bought juice claim to be all natural and healthy, but when you look at their ingredients, they’re anything but healthy. These supposed healthy juices are often made with high fructose corn syrup, as with most sodas and juices in a can, which is not the healthiest thing to intake consistently. That being said, even all natural juice in excess can be bad, as the natural sugars in the fruits you use can cause a belly to grow if you’re not careful enough. Regardless, naturally squeezed juice mixed in with some veggies will give you the energy and vitamins you need to have a healthy rest of the day.  These vitamins and antioxidants help keep your immune system strong and help prevent deadly diseases from developing. One of the best things I’ve had for juice is a combo of freshly squeezed oranges mixed in with some strawberries, carrots, and celery. It’s a bit bitter, but you can always add complimenting fruits to add a bit more sweetness to the mix.

3. Water Mixed with Fruits and Stuff- I know, I know, we’re trying to find alternatives to boring old water, but honestly there are some fun things you can actually do to water that don’t involve adding those flavor blasters in them. tossing in some oranges or herbs in there give the water a bit of a twist in flavor. I’ve had water with sliced cucumbers in them, and the water tasted great. Mix that with some freshly cut lemons and you’re set to have a delicious drink on a hot day. Considering that mixing water with sliced fruits, veggies, and/or herbs is probably the simplest form of making fresh drinks, you won’t have to worry about straining any fruit drinks and make a huge mess. Not just that, but things like cucumbers in your water can alleviate stress and adding fruits in your drink just add more antioxidants to give you a healthier kick to your boring old water.

Of course, nothing can truly replace water this summer, or any summer for that matter. However, these alternatives can still keep you hydrated and give you the nutritional kick that you’d want in your drink minus the nasty gunk that can cause a gut to stick out of you.

 

A Warning on Dietary Supplements

People like Doctor Oz promote not so effective supplements.

People like Doctor Oz promote not so effective supplements.

So I was watching Last Week Tonight with John Oliver last night and I saw his episode about Doctor Oz. Now I don’t know if you know this guy, but Doctor Oz is a guy who host’s a TV show about health and fitness things, usually introducing supplements that will help shed fat away. However, John Oliver showed a clip of Doctor Oz being grilled by the senate regarding his claims about “magic pills” that will “shed the fat away” on his show. Oliver then started giving his two cents on Vitamins and Supplement regulation via the FDA and honestly, there is an issue he did bring up.

A lot of people like myself will take several vitamins and supplements so long as they help benefit my health and weight loss plans. Of course, I don’t believe in a magical pill that will make me instantly skinny, but I do take what I have done enough research to deem beneficial to my health. However, the issue here isn’t “Are you taking the right thing for you?” but rather “Do you know exactly what you’re taking and how much you should be taking?”. As you know, the FDA has very little authority when regulating vitamins and natural supplements. What does this mean exactly? Well, essentially, it means that anything you purchase may or may not have the things you want to take in. In fact 1 of 3 dietary supplements that claim to have some kind of extract do not, in fact, contain that extract at all. Not just  that, but some of these supplements, such as Melatonin, are horrendously unregulated to the point that you can potentially buy bottles with ten times the required dosage of these natural products.

So why do we allow this? Well back in the 90’s, there was this whole movement to prevent the FDA from regulating and potentially restricting the vitamins and supplements that people take on a daily basis. The result is the over exaggerated inflation of bogus diet pills that claim to make fat disappear within weeks, but may potentially harm you. Realistically, nothing will happen-  you might just lose your cash. But the problem here is that supplements are so unregulated that we’re not really relying on anything but what the label tells us. And if what’s on the label isn’t even correct, then how can we get the most out of our diet with our supplements? Well one of the things is to find natural alternatives to these supplements we consume. Instead of popping some Vitamin C chewables or pills, squeeze out some oranges or eat some guavas. If you really want to stick to your pills though, really make sure that you’re taking the right thing. Don’t rely on pseudo medical professionals either or those healthy living websites; make sure you’re verifying the evidence instead of taking them to be true.

Research is always the most important thing anyone can do when making sure what they’re taking is actually working. You’ll save a lot of money and time weeding out the bad stuff with the actual beneficial stuff. If you guys want to know more about this FDA issue with your supplements and/or the heat that Dr. Oz got, check out this link, which has the entire segment.

 

 

 

Want Something Sweet and Good for your Health? CHECK THIS OUT!

Check out this list of tasty and sweet superfoods!

Check out this list of tasty and sweet superfoods!

Super foods are seriously one of the best things you can eat with all the crazy nutritional content a significant amount of these foods have. However, are there sweet foods out there that are essentially “sweet super foods”? Can we actually eat something sweet that actually is healthy for us?

Unsurprisingly, there are many foods that are sweet to the tooth and good for the body. Super foods, by definition, are foods that are extremely nutrient rich and greatly contribute to one’s health. The following super foods will not only satisfy your sweet tooth, but give you the nutrients your body needs to carry on through the day.

1. Kiwi- I personally love eat these fruits, despite their weird fuzzy skin. These fruits are juicy and sweet and are always a good treat, especially during this summer heat. However, kiwi’s aren’t just your typical sweet fruit, they are packed with stuff that are good for your body. Kiwi’s have all your daily requirements of Vitamin C you need and are jam packed with antioxidants that help prevent cancer and other potentially dangerous diseases. Among other things, kiwi gives you a heaping serving of other vitamins such as vitamin A and E as well as potassium. They’re also juicy and sweet, which is the perfect package for this healthy and delicious super food.

2.  Cooked Sweet Potatoes, No Extra Sugar- Sweet Potatoes are always a delicious side to your dinner, but sometimes, some recipes call for some additional sugar to be added. Honestly though, this super food is sweet enough once fully cooked. Not only is it naturally delicious and sweet, it has a ton of nutrients that benefit you. Sharing the same nutrients as kiwis, baked sweet potatoes also save you in calorie consumption when comparing it to eating a regular baked potato. Not just that, but having a baked sweet potato helps prevent high blood pressure and bone density loss.

3. Mangosteen- Mangosteen is a bit of an exotic from all the way from Indonesia. Don’t worry though, this fruit is actually pretty delicious and sweet. It looks a bit weird, being purple with a creamy white inside, but the inside actually has  hearty amounts of Vitamins A and C as well as tons of antioxidants. It might be hard to find at your local stores, but these fruits have recently become increasingly popular for their nutritional value, so expect to get easier access to these great fruits.

4. Figs- Figs are amazingly sweet and surprisingly good for you. These things are packed with fiber, which help with your digestion. They also contain a lot more calcium, potassium, and iron than your typical fruit. As the other foods listed above, figs contain antioxidants, but they also contain something called pectin, which helps the production and growth of bacteria that help your body.

These foods are definitely great for your summer workout. Not only do they tickle your sweet tooth, but they also keep your body in tip top shape without the fear of eating something that tastes bad. Not just that, but your body will also get a boost of protective vitamins that will help prevent disease in the future. So, consider these foods for your diet, you’ll be happy you did.

 

Elevation Training

Just one of the many trails Griffith park has to offer

 

Elevation training might be intimidating to a lot of up and coming fitness enthusiasts and runners, but LA has some pretty relaxing and forgiving trails for runners of all kinds. The most well known place for its trails is Griffith Park. Griffith Park has several varying trails, all of which have different altitude changes, which can be a great asset for people who want to adjust their runs for certain trails. Some trails have leveled elevation, such as the LA river trail, which boarders the park. However, if you’re looking for an intense run with high elevation shift, try out the mount Lee Road. Though the trail is less than a mile in distance, you can work on some quick elevation sprints, which can definitely burn you out. You can also check out the Hollywood sign, which the trail overlooks. Of course, I must add that though tempting, you might want to refrain from sneaking into the Hollywood sign, unless you want to get some heavy fines on you. There are some trails in Griffith Park that have some small hills you can sprint up to. It may not seem like much, but for beginner runners like me, those sprints are brutal, especially since you’re still adjusting to the elevation change.  If you’re more of the adventurous type for your train, consider trying out the California region’s Pacific Crest Trail. Now depending on where you go, your trail might not have too many elevation changes, but the sheer scenery might compensate for the elevation. You can also get some good endurance training on the leveled areas of the trail, but if you hike (or run) far enough, you’ll be able to feel the work out.

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