Rock Climbing with Kids – Reasons Why the Whole Family Should Give it a Try

At first, rock climbing may not feel like a safe sport but it really is- at least at beginner level. These days most climbers start off at an indoor climbing gym, in the care of an experienced and qualified instructor. Kids are welcome at most rock climbing centers from about age five and up. Some are a little frightened at first but many take to it like ducks to water. Like being on a roller coaster, the fear quickly becomes more of a thrill, and there are obvious benefits- climbing gets kids active and even if they start off indoors, it gets them excited about being outside (far away from the TV and the computer). It builds physical strength and flexibility, but there are other, more compelling reasons to encourage kids to start climbing.

  1. Self-esteem. Climbing teaches kids (or adults, for that matter) that they can do far more than they first thought they could. The first time a climber tries a route it may seem far too hard but a week later they’ll go straight to the top. A tremendous sense of achievement will come with that.
  2. Fosters cooperation between siblings. Even the most bored, cynical teenager will find the excitement of watching their 10 year old brother climb up his first route hard to ignore. It usually doesn’t take long for kids to start offering advice to one another and start shouting encouragement while they wait for their turn.
  3. Builds mutual respect and real love. There is a kind of bonding that only comes with a shared challenge. If a brother and sister try rock climbing together they’ll feel the same nervousness and encounter the same difficulties. They’ll both feel supported by the encouragement of the other and they’ll both see each other failing, but really trying to reach the next handhold. The experience breeds mutual respect and real love.

That’s why mom and dad should give it a try too! It’s ok to be scared- almost everyone is when they first start out. Letting children see their parents dealing with situations that obviously challenge them is valuable. It shows that parents feel just the same fears as kids do. Anyone who keeps trying, learns from their mistakes, laughs when they fall off, and eventually conquers their fears gives kids a great example to follow.

About the Author

Jess Spate is a former climbing instructor who now works for Appalachian Outdoors, one of America’s best online sources for kids outdoor gear – when not on a rock somewhere!

The Benefits of Cardio vs. Weight Training

Cardio and weight training are two very different types of exercise. One is designed to help you lose weight (and improve cardio-pulmonary function) while the other is meant to build muscle (and reduce fat). But whether you’re looking to shed the freshman fifteen (or the long-since graduated thirty…we’ve all been there) or you want to bulk up, there are benefits to both types of exercise. And often, a combination of the two will deliver better results no matter what your end goal is. So if you’re not sure how you can put cardio and weight training to work in order to get the body you want, here are just a few benefits of each that might set you on the right path.

Let’s start with cardio, which is recommended for everyone regardless of how they’re trying to manipulate their musculature. Doctors agree that an average of 30 minutes of cardio 3-5 days a week (depending on intensity) is advisable for everyone. It could be something as simple as walking around the block a few times to engaging in a heart-pounding Zumba class; whatever floats your boat and accounts for your physical limitations. And if you do enough cardio, you will lose weight (it’s a simple matter of burning more calories than you consume).

But even more than that, this type of exercise has the potential to shrink fat cells, tone muscles, increase cardiac function, and generally help you to breathe easier every time you walk up a flight of stairs (hey, don’t knock it…sometimes that’s what it takes to make people realize they need to exercise!). In addition, your body was meant to move. Cardio will loosen tight muscles and increase range of motion (along with circulation), which will help you avoid injury and make you feel energized and happy (hooray for serotonin!). Plus, it’s a great way to reduce stress and regain focus.

So cardio is great. But what about weight training? Certainly it is necessary if you want to bulk up. But did you know that it can help even those who are trying to lose weight? As you may or may not be aware, muscle is actually heavier than fat. So most people in weight-loss programs eschew the use of weights. But this is a mistake. Muscle also burns more calories. So adding some light weight training to your cardio routine, in essence turning your fat into muscle, might make you gain a little initially, but it will help you to lose more (and faster) in the long run, along with creating the lean body you probably crave.

But there’s more. When you start using weights to increase your muscle mass, you don’t just strengthen muscles, you strengthen your whole body and protect it from possible injury. Stronger muscles, ligaments, and joints (the result of weight training) will improve posture and better support your skeletal system, preventing bone loss and even osteoporosis. It has the potential to increase balance, endurance, and stamina, as well. In short, it does a body good. And don’t forget that adding cardio to a weight-training regimen will keep you from adding fat along with muscle when you increase your caloric intake (effectively helping you to cut while you bulk).

So whether your end goal involves losing weight, gaining muscle, or some combination of the two, you should really consider including both cardio and weight training in your exercise routine. The benefits of both cannot be overestimated, not only for longevity, but also for quality of life.

About the Author

Sarah Danielson writes for AdvanceMe, the nation’s leading business cash advance provider.

Why Every Parent Should Encourage Their Child to Surf

Some people see surfing as just another sport, a leisure activity that is one among hundreds you can choose to take up. For others, however, it means so much more. To them surfing isn’t just something undertaken to pass the time on sunny days but a way of life that helps define their well-being and very outlook on life.

For my friend, it is the cornerstone of the strong relationship that he now enjoys with his daughter 10 years after taking her out on the water for the first time. Even today he can still remember the look of excitement and accomplishment on her face when she caught her first wave.

“It’s something that stays with you always” he told me “and knowing that you were the one who helped put that look on her face was a great feeling. Surfing isn’t just about riding a board on water, it’s about being part of a community that every parent should encourage their child to embrace.”

The Benefits are Many

While surfing is fun it also offers so many practical benefits that your son or daughter won’t even think about once they’re in the water.

What a lot of people don’t recognize is that the sport is one of the best forms of exercise there is today. Consider for a moment the amount of paddling involved trying to battle the power of the ocean or the balance and dexterity required to master the art of riding and you quickly get a feel for just what a work out is involved.

By getting your child into the sport at an early you can pretty much guarantee a healthy lifestyle for years to come which is a blessing in itself if you consider modern rates of obesity in the West.

For one of the great things about surfing is that you can be doing it for what seems like 10 minutes, only to find out it’s been 2 hours. I don’t know about you, but I can sometimes be running for what seems like an hour only to realize it’s been 2 minutes (is there anything more depressing?). For me, this is why surfing will always remain a winner.

Mental Health and Serenity

As well as the physical challenges involved the sport also provides a welcome mental health benefit. Whilst the initial learning process, like most things, can be frustrating the pay offs are literally never ending.

To be in the water with friends, away from the stresses of modern life is to give your child a unique taste of tranquillity in our ever faster paced lives.

And Finally…

Most parents would tell you that they’re lucky to see their teenage child for 5 minutes at a time due to the heavy social lives that generally exclude embarrassing mums and dads.

Surfing, however, provides a compelling reason to spend more time together while offering the chance to build an even stronger relationship. This is something I have seen first-hand on many occasions. The opportunity to be silly together, to laugh together, to discuss and to experience together are the kind that will last a lifetime.

After many years spent surfing with his daughter, my friend is in no doubt that it remains one of the best decisions he’s ever made, and when I see them together, in and out of the water, I know without a doubt that he is right.

About The Author

Josh writes about beach life, surfing, travel and more. His passion for surfing takes him to amazing places around the World and comes through in his regular articles as he explores all aspects of the sport. He sells Havaianas Flip-flops and Animal Flip-flops to help fund his travels.

The Best Foods to Fuel Your Cardio Workout

As a busy mom with a busy schedule, it may be difficult to muster up the energy to pound out a grueling cardio workout. Still, exercising regularly is the key to maintaining a healthy weight and keeping your energy levels boosted all day long.

Fortunately, there are a few tips that you can use to boost your energy and maximize your next cardio workout:

  • Eat Carbohydrates and Fats: Regular cardio activity, like running, biking, and walking, requires carbohydrates and fat to burn energy. If you change up the intensity of your exercise, like running intervals, or hiking uphill, your body will use both fats and carbs to maintain your energy levels.

It is best to eat healthy carbs like fruits, whole grains, vegetables, and dairy paired with healthy fats like avocado, olive oil, nuts, eggs, and salmon.

  • Pre-Workout Snack: It helps to have a pre-workout snack consisting of healthy carbohydrates. However, since many carbs contain large amounts of fiber that may take a while to digest, you don’t want to eat too heavily before exercising.

3 to 4 hours before working out, have a regular meal, like a turkey and cheese sandwich on whole grain bread, grilled salmon and brown rice, or whole-grain pasta. Roughly an hour before working out, have a low-fat, low protein, and high carb snack, like a piece of fruit, pretzels, or a granola bar.

  • Post-Workout Snack: Your post-work out time is the opportunity to replenish your energy and provide nutrients to worn-out muscle groups. This is the time to eat healthy carbs and protein.

If it has been over four hours since you have eaten, it’s time to have another balanced meal, like a protein bar, half a whole-grain turkey sandwich, or peanut butter and whole-grain crackers.

By choosing the right foods to eat before and after your workout, as well as choosing the right times to eat, you will finally be able to have the energy to workout harder and stronger.

As an added tip, research has also shown that drinking a cup of coffee prior to a workout boosts stamina and increases endurance by up to 15%. Eating healthy, balanced snacks prior to a workout and grabbing a cup of Joe may give you the kick you need to complete your regular workouts and maintain a healthy weight… even with the busiest of schedules.

About the Author

Bethany Ramos is a beauty and health writer that co-owns her own website, The Coffee Bump. For a great selection of the Bunn Coffee Maker, check out Bethany Ramos’ website today!

Feeling Bloated? Here Are a Few Quick Tips to Slim Down Fast!

If it’s that time of the month, or if you’ve just overindulged, you may feel bloated, puffy, and cranky. Sound familiar?

We’ve all been there, but luckily, there are a few quick tips that you can use to reduce bloating and water weight and feel your best right away:

  1. Hydrate by drinking more water. Drinking extra fluids will help to flush sodium out of your system and ease water retention that causes bloating associated with PMS.
  2. Cut sodium out of your diet. By avoiding fast food, canned soups, and deli meats, you will be able to reduce your sodium intake and eliminate fluid retention as a result.
  3. Stay away from refined carbohydrates. Stop eating white pasta, white bread, and chips, which are easily broken down into glucose and stored in your body for energy. As these carbohydrates are stored, water molecules will attach to the glucose to make you feel bloated and heavy.
  4. Focus on your fiber intake. Eat natural and fresh high-fiber foods like vegetables and fruit that will quickly pass through your digestive tract and flush your system of water.
  5. Get moving! Exercising regularly boosts your metabolism and flushes excess water from your system. As you exercise, you will stimulate muscles that push water and food through your digestive system. Breaking a sweat will ease fluid retention and bloating, and moderate exercise can also reduce headaches, cramps, and lower back pain associated with PMS.
  6. Be cautious in your use of diuretics. Although a diuretic may temporarily ease bloating, when you stop taking it, your body will retain more water. This can cause bloating side effects for one to two weeks afterward, and it can also lead to a dependency on diuretics.
  7. Consider using a natural diuretic. Drinking dandelion or chamomile tea, or enjoying noncarbonated water with lime or lemon, will help to naturally detoxify and flush your body. This is a natural and gentle alternative to over-the-counter diuretics to help minimize bloating around your period.
  8. Stop drinking soft drinks. Sodas contain caffeine that can dehydrate you, and they also contain phosphorus, which can cause inflammation in your intestines to make you feel even more bloated.
  9. Cut back on eating dairy products. Dairy products that contain the milk sugar lactose can often worsen symptoms of bloating. Try cutting back on dairy temporarily to see if it helps reduce water weight gain, and minimize dairy accordingly around your period.

By making a few simple changes in your diet, you can greatly minimize some of the most uncomfortable symptoms associated with PMS – bloating and water weight gain. Finally!

About the Author

Bethany Ramos is a beauty and health writer that co-owns her own website, The Coffee Bump. For a great selection of the Bodum French Press, check out Bethany Ramos’ website today!

10 Little Known Ways to Burn Extra Calories Outside the Gym

While regular exercise is important to maintain your weight and protect your overall health, there are a few creative tricks that you can use to burn extra calories on a daily basis. Burning extra calories definitely adds up, meaning that you may be able to naturally shed a few pounds each year.

  1. Run your afternoon errands. Carrying groceries or heavy dry-cleaning while walking briskly can burn more than 100 calories in a half-hour. Bet you didn’t think that an afternoon of errands would provide a benefit in burning extra calories, did you?
  2. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Every minute of climbing stairs instead of taking the elevator will burn a whopping 7 calories.
  3. Fidget more often. If you have been accused of fidgeting recently, that may be a good thing! Studies have shown that fidgeting, like tapping your toes or walking around the house, will burn up to 800 more calories per day.
  4. Work out to your favorite music. Exercisers who listen to their favorite music are likely to work out for 25% longer, meaning 25% more calories burned.
  5. Pace when talking on the phone. If you pace back and forth while talking on the phone at home or in your office, you could actually burn 100 extra calories per day.
  6. Make out like teenagers. Every moment that you kiss burns one extra calorie – what a great reason to reconnect with your significant other today!
  7. Play games with your kids. Playing a game like hopscotch can burn several hundred calories within a half-hour. For the greatest burn, tap into your inner child and play with intensity!
  8. Dance like you mean it. Not only is dancing a wonderful stress reliever, but dancing for an hour could burn several hundred calories. This is the perfect excuse to head out for a ladies night with your girlfriends and go dancing.
  9. Get some much needed rest. When you sleep for a full night of seven hours, you burn 200 calories in the process. Additionally, making sure that you get the sleep you need will make it easier to stick to a regular exercise and healthy eating plan.
  10. Take up the hula hoop. If you’re looking for new and interesting ways to burn calories, a hula hoop just might do the trick. Using a hula hoop for 10 minutes will burn almost 50 calories; when you engage your core while using the hula hoop, it will also tone and shape your midsection.

Bethany Ramos is an aesthetician that co-owns her own website, The Coffee Bump. For a great selection of Bunn Coffee Makers, check out Bethany Ramos’ website today!

Eco-chic ladies who want to get fit in style will fall in love with Restore® Clothing! Designed for the lifestyle that crosses over, this planet-friendly line offers a variety of gorgeous sustainable clothing items that are made from organic and earth-friendly materials.

Mom’s” favorite? The stylish Draped Front Top, which flows easily from the office to the gym after work, offering practicality and glamour infused with comfort. Made of Repreve® Recycled Nylon, the top is touted as a versatile little “glam” gem.

What does Restore® stand for?

Responsible

Earth-friendly

Sustainable

Technological

Organic

Recycled

Ergonomic

For more information on the entire line of eco-friendly and versatile clothing, visit www.restoreclothing.com.

*Company generously provided samples and images for this review.*

Get Fit Quick Tips for Busy Moms

Motherhood is a joy, but not if you’re feeling overweight, rundown, and pressed for time to fit in a good workout several days a week. Sound familiar?

As a mother, it is your primary concern to take care of your children, but you also need to give back to yourself by focusing on your health. Exercising several times per week will not only help you to maintain a healthy weight so that you feel attractive, but it will give you more energy and protect your health for the future.

Here are a few helpful tips to keep in mind to fit in a quick workout for a busy mom-on-the-go:

  1. Choose a gym that is kid-friendly. If you’re thinking about joining a gym in your area, make sure that it has a fun childcare center that will keep your kids entertained while you’re working out. Even if you just want to squeeze in 30 minutes of treadmill activity after work, it is important that your gym has a daycare that will take young children and keep them entertained with quality activities. By doing a little bit of homework, you can easily find a gym in your area with a reliable childcare center to ease the burden while you workout.
  2. Workout with your kids. What a novel idea! If you take your young children running, walking, or hiking with you, you are not only getting in a good workout yourself, but you’re teaching your kids the value of fitness. The childhood obesity epidemic is definitely on the rise, and you will be establishing wonderful habits for the future by teaching your children to get active every day. As an added bonus, you’ll be burning calories at the same time. Win-win!
  3. Invest in a jogging stroller. If you have a baby or an infant, a jogging stroller will allow you to take a jog or brisk walk while she is napping. If you time your workouts correctly, you could get in a good 45 minute walk while your baby takes her morning nap. On top of that, many moms find that the soothing motion of a jogging stroller helps lull their little bundle of joy to sleep…
  4. Try a dance game for the family. It’s no secret that your kids are probably addicted to video games, so why not turn it into a fun and interactive workout? Using a new game like the Kinect allows you to count the calories that you burn while you dance by sensing your body’s motions. Believe it or not, these dance games are fun and extremely challenging as you progress to the harder levels. You can also get your kids in on the action to have a family fun night that will work up a sweat at the same time…

About the Author

Bethany Ramos is an aesthetician that co-owns her own website, The Coffee Bump. For a great selection of Bunn Coffee Makers, check out Bethany Ramos’ website today!

For minimalist mamas – the new kigo curv gets high marks in cuteness but is built to be tough, too! Designed for athletic pursuits, commuting, or just everyday wear as you chase after the kiddos, this adorable Mary Jane was developed specifically for women as a stylish, flexible and oh-so comfortable shoe. Light as a feather at a mere 4 ounces per shoe and made from post-consumer and eco-friendly materials, the kigo curv features a durable rubber outsole with feminine details. Plus, the kigo curv is anti-microbial and extremely versatile, packing easily for travel for spur of the moment outings.

What are the key features of the kigo curv?

  • Minimalist weight of approximately four ounces per shoe
  • Traditional shoe styling for versatile minimalist comfort
  • Flexible, thin (1.5mm) rubber outsole with non-slip grooving
  • Breathable, stretchy upper made from post-consumer and eco-friendly materials
  • EPA approved water and stain resistance
  • Anti-microbial, removable EVA insole
  • Eco-friendly and post-consumer composition, including water-based adhesives, CYCLEPET uppers, recycled nylon lining and non-toxic dyes
  • Protective rubber toe cap
  • Fixed webbing loop on the heel for quick and easy on and off
  • Stretchy fixed strap and open top design
  • Six color combinations

To learn more about the kigo curv, or to view the other styles available, visit www.kigofootwear.com.

*Company generously provided images and samples for this review.*

Be sure to stop by the wildly popular SheKnows.com to see the top eco-inspired picks in time for Earth Day! “Mom’s” article on Must-Have Eco-Friendly Fitness Gear was featured this week! Visit SheKnows.com.

*Image provided by Cushe.*