Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A Nightmare Tamed: How to Exercise With Young Children

When it comes to exercise, most people start the summer with good intentions. Longer days and better weather mean jogging in the street is a more viable (and appealing) option, while the thought of putting on a swimsuit is more than enough encouragement to head to the gym to shed a few pounds! However, if you have a young child or children, you might find your good intentions fall by the wayside... buried beneath a mountain of diapers and wet wipes.

There’s no doubt about it; children are a full time job and then some. If you’re a stay at home parent you can’t simply clock off for the evening, and if you work, you’ll likely want to spend your free time with your little ones. Either way, if you’re able to get down to the gym three times a week, you’re actually one of the lucky ones.

If you’re feeling the urge to get active this summer, don’t let your children become your excuse. There are a variety of activities you can get involved in with your children by your side, helping you shed that baby weight, filling your body with endorphins and encouraging your kids to live a healthy life as well.
Here are a just a couple of ways you can exercise with your kids around, keeping them happy in the long holidays and preventing you from tearing your hair out – hair loss prevention being just another one of the many benefits of exercising with your children.


Ditch the car, it’s sunny outside and get those legs moving. According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for America, published in 2008, the average adult needs to do 2 hours and 30 minutes of brisk walking every week, combined with muscle-strengthening activities on two or more days, just to stay healthy. In terms of walking that’s 30 minutes, five days a week.

Walking is good for the heart, lungs and bones, improving the cardiovascular system and boosting circulation too. It can have all the same benefits as jogging but without the potential for injury.
During the fine days of summer, it’s much easier to drum up the enthusiasm to get out there and start walking. So make it your mission, every morning or after work, to get outside and get moving – kids in tow. The beauty of walking is that it’s suitable for children of all ages. If you have a young baby, try using a carrier and think about the extra calories you’ll be burning off along the way; this is also an opportune time to bond with your baby. Toddlers can be pushed along in a stroller – either using the opportunity to see the world or have a little snooze. Older children can walk, skate or scoot alongside you, using up their own boundless energy. Try to vary your walks to give your kids something new and interesting to look at.

If you don’t have 30 minutes to spare, five days a week, you can break it up even further. If you have to go to the convenience store don’t jump into your car, get your walking shoes on and boost your health while saving fuel too. Three 10-minute bursts of exercise a day adds up to 30 minutes.


Kids love to dance, so put on their favorite CD and dance along to the tunes. Some of the best exercises can be done to nursery rhymes, which involve a lot of bending and stretching – ideal for toning up those muscles. If you don’t know the moves, simply make up your own; march, jump up and down, skip and hop – do whatever you please, just keep that heart rate up and those muscles moving.


Yoga helps stressed out kids, more here.
[Photo credit]
Yoga is extremely beneficial for building strength, promoting good balance and improving posture, and kids can do it too. There are now a range of children’s yoga courses available where you can exercise alongside your child while picking up tips from the experts. If you can’t find a kids’ yoga venue near you, there are plenty of videos of simple poses available on YouTube to help you get started.

Key Note is to Stay Active

Even if you’re not into formal activities like those listed above, you can get healthy and active in the sunshine. Have a water-fight, skip around the garden, trampoline in the back yard and climb trees – just get out there, get moving and get healthy!


Guest post by Lily Alberts

Lily Alberts is a writer and health fanatic who works with a licensed online pharmacy as well as a number of nutrition and fitness sites. She's written on everything from hair loss prevention to the sports physiotherapy, and tries to promote good health within her own family.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Traveling this Summer? Watch Out for the 'Economy Class Syndrome'

If you're traveling economy class this summer, you gotta know more about Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), also known as Economy Class Syndrome (ECS)! According to the WHO, 3 to 5 % of those who travel economy class for long hours increase their risk of developing DVT. 

So what is DVT? It's the formation of blood clots in the lower limbs - calves and thighs. DVT and clot formation risk are increased due to many factors such as genetics, advanced age, hormonal disturbances, obesity related factors, pregnancies and prolonged sitting such as bed rests. Clot formation may also increase during long flight hours -  it is largely affected by the fact that you're not moving as well as by airplanes' cabin pressure and oxygen state. The risk increases when you resume activity! The clot may break off, move through the circulation, reach the heart of lungs and obstruct their pathways, leading to death. This has actually happened back in 2000, when a passenger died due to DVT!

So to avoid leg, feet and thigh-swelling, bruising and numbness:

  • Make sure you are wearing very comfortable and loose clothes and shoes. The point is that when you are sitting for a long time, the effect of gravity restricts blood from flowing back from the legs' veins to the heart. Therefore, blood circulation slows down to your lower body and excess blood may accumulate forming clots. So wear loose clothes to decrease any circulation restriction.
  • It's OK [more like recommended] to take off your shoes during long hour flights, this will ensure normal blood flow into your lower limbs.
  • Do circular moves with your feet and ankles and flex both feet and knees at least every 15 to 20 minutes. You can also slide your feet forward and backwards
  • Don't just sit/sleep the whole flight, move around the plane at least every hour.
  • Stretch your whole body whenever you get the chance and don't cross over your legs while sitting, it will only impeded circulation more.
  • Hydrate yourself properly with water. People tend to forget to drink water during flights so have a small cup within reach at all times.
  • Now even though alcohol might be complimentary on the airplane, keep in mind that alcohol is a diuretic so it draws water from your body so limit its intake.
  • Caffeine is also considered a diuretic so limit large intake of any caffeinated beverages whether from coffee, energy drinks or soft drinks (like cokes).
  • You can also consider wearing compressing stockings, to aid proper circulation.

The risk of dangerous clotting is, in fact, minimal but it increases by 18 % for each 2-hour increase in your flight duration! So drink more, move as much as possible, and now after you have a 'healthy' flight, make sure you're in excellent shape to enjoy your vacation by reading Nadine Issa's "5 ways to stay fit while on vacation" article to make the best out of fun!