How To Get Your Kids To Exercise

How To Get Your Kids To Exercise

Every parent wants a healthy child, but unfortunately, modern childhood doesn’t promote it. Instead of running outside playing, kids spend hours in front of a computer screen, watching videos or playing games. Kids need to move to develop muscles and build strong bodies. Teaching kids to be active at an early age can be the groundwork for a healthier life. There are ways to get kids to exercise that are fun and every parent can do.

Kids learn what they live.

Are you a good role model for your kids or are you also a couch potato that’s addicted to streaming videos or social media? Do you drive the kids to school when it’s just a few blocks to walk them? You set the pace and determine many of the options for activity. Do things that increase activity levels for both you and your children. Put away your phone or close your computer and make it time for active play. Start an exercise program and invite the kids to join you. Make it fun, so they’ll want to do it.

Start early and build on it.

You don’t have to wait until kids are ready for school to encourage them to be more active. If you’re working out, get your toddler involved. Toddlers can do some simple moves like walking lunges and deep knee bends. You need to focus on your form, but don’t worry about theirs. Just make it fun and give your child attention. Keep your child’s attention by changing exercises frequently and doing circuits. When the child is older, make exercise time part of every day.

Have fun while you’re staying active.

Forced exercise is a big turn-off. Make an active lifestyle fun. Ride bikes together, go for walks, or play a game of basketball. Get the neighborhood families involved with a hula-hoop competition or just have one for your family. An old favorite, jumping rope, can find renewed life when kids realize how much fun it can be. Take the kids to the playground and supervise their play, joining them occasionally by pushing the merry-go-round or swinging.

  • When purchasing gifts, make the gift lead to an active lifestyle. Get a bike instead of a PlayStation. Give a treat for the whole family, with bikes or a trampoline, or an active vacation.
  • Make your active lifestyle educational. Spending a whole day walking in a museum or through a botanical garden provides both. Take the kids rock hunting or looking for shells on the beach.
  • Eating healthy, getting plenty of sleep, and hydrating regularly are also healthy habits to develop. Make sure the hydration is water or infused water, not a sugary drink. Even fruit juice can spike sugar levels.
  • Change your habits and it will rub off on the kids. Park further from the store and walk or take the stairs instead of the elevator. Spend less time on the computer or watching TV.

For more information, contact us today at Team Worx Fitness

Is Yoga Good For New Moms?

Is Yoga Good For New Moms?

I hear new moms in Alexandria, VA, bemoan the fact they can’t get their shape back overnight. Having been a new mom, I understand the frustration. However, pushing your body too hard or expecting immediate results can set you back. Your body needs healing time. It also took nine months for the change, so you won’t see it change back overnight. How do you protect your body, waiting at least six weeks or longer for health reasons, and still start the process of getting back into shape? You can start with walking or pelvic floor exercises, and then move to gentle exercises like yoga.

Yoga can help reduce the potential for postpartum depression.

Yoga can be strenuous or gentle, but either way, you’re getting exercise, and exercise can help prevent depression. It helps quiet the mind, allowing it to clear and provide deep relaxation. When the session ends, people find they’re calmer and have more clarity. Yoga provides the mother with time for herself to nurture her body back to fitness. If it’s group yoga, it provides the new mother with social interaction and time to share with other mothers. The deep breathing and meditative state of yoga brings calm at a time when many new moms feel out of control.

Yoga gets the body back to normal more quickly.

Yoga builds muscles. It doesn’t build the type of muscles on a bodybuilder, but strong, lean muscle tissue that builds the strength to get through all the tasks of a new Mother’s Day. It improves energy levels so moms get more done in less time. That’s a real blessing with all that new mothers have to do. It also helps posture to improve.

Not all poses are beneficial initially.

Right after childbirth, the body is subject to diastasis recti—abdominal muscle separation. It leaves women with a Buddha belly or mummy tummy that makes them look like they’re still pregnant. To avoid that, postpone doing exercises like crunches that put pressure on the abs or stretch them, like twisting exercises. Exercises with the belly facing down can also cause a gravitational tug on the loose muscles and stretch the midsection. Save yoga poses like the plank, cat, or cow exercises for later.

  • A child pose is an excellent yoga pose to reduce chest, neck, or head pain. It also strengthens the pelvic floor. Combine it with Kegel exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor.
  • Is back pain a problem/ Try the bridge pose. It’s the same in yoga as it is in traditional workouts. Lay on your back, knees bent and arms to the sides. Lift your buttocks off the floor until the body forms a straight line.
  • Another yoga pose that can be done as soon as exercising is allowed is the cow face pose. The cow face pose stretches the neck, shoulders, and upper back muscles. It also stretches the hips and reduces tension all over your body.
  • No matter what type of postpartum exercise program you do, take it easy at first and always follow the recommendations of your health care professional.

For more information, contact us today at Team Worx Fitness

Ways To Keep Mentally Fit

Ways To Keep Mentally Fit

It’s just as important to be mentally fit as it is to be physically fit. If you’re not mentally fit, attaining physical fitness is almost impossible. The two are interlinked. When you improve your body, it helps your mind and the reverse is true. Exercise helps burn off the hormones of stress and sends oxygen and nutrient-laden blood throughout the body. It causes the body to release endorphins that make you feel good. Depression and anxiety can reduce your energy and even cause you to be bedridden. That’s not good for physical or mental fitness. When both the mind and the body are healthy, both function better.

Take it to the gym or dance your night away.

It doesn’t matter what physical activity you do, staying physically active helps your brain. If it’s a social physical activity, like a team sport or a visit to the gym, it promotes social interaction, which is both mentally and physically beneficial. Studies show that people with rich social lives live longer, healthier and happier lives.

Take a mental vacation, and get more sleep.

If you’re under stress and feel ready to explode, take a mental vacation for your mental health. Walk away from what you’re doing if possible and divert your attention. If it’s a project that has a deadline, getting away from it for a half hour can refresh your brain and make you more efficient. Getting adequate sleep is another way to help maintain good mental health. When you sleep, the brain reorganizes, repairs and gets rid of the waste accumulated during the day. You’ll have more energy when you have adequate sleep and can accomplish more.

Learn something new.

Getting out of your comfort zone and trying something different can be exciting. It can be as simple as going to a new restaurant or eating food you’ve never tasted. Making changes keeps the brain connections strong while stimulating the creation of new brain cells. Expanding your knowledge and trying new things can help keep you mentally and physically younger.

  • Laugh more. Scientists found that laughter can help trigger the immune system, and some groups even use laughter as an adjunct therapy. It helps reduce stress, increases oxygen intake, and improves your immune system. Laughter is an excellent coping mechanism for those with chronic disease.
  • Fake it until you make it. It doesn’t matter if you break out in a belly laugh or a chuckle. It will initially feel silly, but the more you practice laughing, the realer it will become.
  • Be more positive. Handle the things you can control and accept those you can’t. Know you can handle anything, regardless of the outcome. Working toward an outcome helps you reach that outcome, worrying about an outcome just stresses you.
  • Look on the bright side and be grateful. When you look for the bad things in life, you find them. The same is true when you look for all the blessings you have. An attitude of gratitude goes a long way in boosting your mental fitness.

For more information, contact us today at Team Worx Fitness

Sneaky Ways To Lose Weight

Sneaky Ways To Lose Weight

There are some sneaky ways to help you lose weight that you’ll love. While they won’t replace your hard work at Team Worx in Alexandria, VA, they can boost your results. By simply changing a few things in your daily routine, you can burn a few extra calories. For instance, did you know that drinking ice water, instead of regular water, can burn a few extra calories? That’s because it makes your insides cold and it takes extra calories to warm the body.

You don’t have to change your habits with this one, just change your dishware.

Several studies found that putting food on a smaller plate can deceive the eye into thinking you’re eating more! Some restaurants use this trick to make their entree look bigger. In a world where supersizing everything has led to supersizing the population, smaller plates might be one answer to the obesity epidemic. Smaller plates mean smaller serving sizes. If you’re using smaller plates, go for presentation to make that plate look full and attractive. Use larger servings and a variety of colors of vegetables to add eye appeal.

Chew more.

This is one of the easiest ways to help cut the calories you consume. Just chew your food longer. Digestion starts in the mouth, so the longer you chew your food, the easier it is on your digestive system. While you’re chewing, use mindful eating techniques by savoring the flavor, texture and how pleasurable the food is. If you’re just wolfing down food, you’re missing half the reason for eating, the sensual pleasures. All the extra chewing and savoring takes extra time, which gives your stomach a chance to signal the brain that it’s full, so you don’t overeat.

Start meal planning.

When you plan meals ahead, you have individual serving sizes already created and there’s no second guessing. You also make sure you create healthy meals. Plan your meals one day, shop the next and spend the weekend preparing all the meals for the week, you’ll not only save money and time, but you’ll also eat less. Don’t forget to include healthy snacks as part of your plan. Meal planning makes getting dinner during the week quicker than sitting in a drive-through line.

  • If you want to burn calories, plan ways to do it. Take the stairs one or two flights instead of using the elevator. Park further from the store. Get up and walk in place during commercials when watching TV.
  • Drink more water. Carry a bottle of water with you and sip on it frequently. Often people eat because they think they’re hungry when in reality they’re thirsty. Drinking water before a meal can make you feel fuller sooner.
  • Stick with whole foods and avoid processed food. Check labels and instead of dieting, just cut out processed food and food with added sugar. Combined with a program of exercise, it can make weight loss easier.
  • Pile your plate full of salad, or fruit and vegetables, then eat those first. When you eat a higher volume of vegetables, you’ll eat less of higher-calorie items. If you’re eating in a restaurant with big servings, split your order with a friend or eat half and take the other half home for another meal.

For more information, contact us today at Team Worx Fitness

Commit To Drinking More Water This Year

Commit To Drinking More Water This Year

It’s never too late to start a new good habit or to make a resolution. If you find that you seldom drink water, maybe it’s time to include more water in your future. Severe dehydration has dire effects, but even mild dehydration can take its toll. Your energy level drops, you might get a headache or even search through your refrigerator for something to eat, since the body often mistakes thirst for hunger.

Instead of getting ibuprofen for achy joints, drink a glass of water sans the pill.

If your joints are aching, it might come from dehydration. When you’re dehydrated, it can cause inflammation which settles in the joints. Dehydration also causes other problems that can create that ache, like low lubrication. When you have adequate hydration, your body functions at its best. It has the appropriate blood volume and good circulation that sends oxygen and nutrients to all parts of the body, including the joints. To avoid aching joints, stay hydrated throughout the day by sipping on water frequently.

Drinking more water can help you lose weight.

The extra energy water provides can help you move more and burn more calories. The water also fills you up without adding extra calories. Ironically, drinking more water can help you lose water weight. Your body retains water when your sodium level is higher. When you drink more water, you help flush your system, lowering that sodium level. When the sodium level is lowered, your body ceases retaining water. Drinking more water can also boost your metabolism by up to 30%. One study showed that consuming two liters of water a day caused an extra 96 calories to be burned.

Keep your teeth white and your brain and digestive system functioning properly.

You need ample water to create saliva and moisten the eyes, mouth and nose. That saliva not only helps remineralize teeth and clean them, but it also prevents tooth decay and gum disease. Flush your mouth with water after you eat acidic foods or sweets, instead of brushing immediately. The acid in the food softens the teeth, making it easier for the toothbrush to cause abrasion. The water also helps keep your breath fresh.

  • You can lose focus and concentration if you aren’t adequately hydrated. Water not only cushions the brain, but it also helps create neurotransmitters and hormones. It’s necessary for brain functioning.
  • To increase your water intake, have bottles of water ready in the refrigerator. You’ll be more likely to drink it when it’s cold and easy to access. If you don’t like plain water, try infused water.
  • Dehydration can cause either high blood pressure or low blood pressure, depending on the individual. It causes lower blood volume, which makes the heart work harder.
  • Instead of grabbing a soft drink, drink a glass of water. It saves calories. Teach your children healthy habits by giving them water instead of juice or soft drinks.

For more information, contact us today at Team Worx Fitness

How Do You Lose Weight During Menopause?

How Do You Lose Weight During Menopause?

You might feel like it’s an impossible task to lose weight when you’re going through menopause, but it’s not. Even if you’re doing everything right, it’s still a bit harder than it was when you were in your twenties. During menopause, sex hormones are out of balance and HGH is lower. Muscle mass is also dwindling, making weight loss even more difficult. The hormonal changes can also affect how weight is distributed.

Start simple.

A few things can help that take very little effort. Eating more fiber is one of those. Fiber fills you up and helps you eliminate it easier. Drinking more water is another important part of weight loss, like fiber, it can fill you up so you eat less. Your body also dehydrates faster, so you’ll rehydrate, boosting your energy, while making your skin more youthful. Getting adequate sleep is important. When you don’t get enough sleep, it interferes with the balance of the hunger/satiety hormones, while reducing the potential for insulin resistance.

Choose a low carb or keto diet to help maintain blood glucose levels and reduce insulin resistance.

Choose foods higher in protein, which also helps keep you feeling full, while aiding in building muscle mass. If you’re still having problems with weight loss, give up all foods with added sugar or restrict consumption or try intermittent fasting, where you reduce the window where you consume food. You start by eating later, say starting at 11:00 a.m. and don’t eat after 7:00 p.m., narrowing your food intake to an eight hour window.

Exercise, exercise, exercise!

Your body needs all types of exercise. You need flexibility training, endurance, balance and strength training. Strength training is particularly important for preventing bone loss. The more muscles you have, the more they tug at the bone and the more calcium the bone uptakes to maintain strength. HIIT—high intensity interval training—is also exceptional for weight loss.

  • Try yoga and meditation. The simple stretching of yoga can also build strength. The breathing exercises and meditation can help reduce stress, which can cause weight gain by increasing insulin resistance.
  • Cut out the alcohol and switch to water. Alcohol is notorious for weight gain. It’s digested first and eliminated from the body, leaving the other calories to go to fat. Get rid of processed snack foods and opt for fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Switch out foods that are inflammatory, such as highly processed foods or foods with added sugar. Inflammation can lead to oxidative stress, insulin resistance and weight gain.
  • Find active pastimes you enjoy and do them. Getting exercise isn’t all done at the gym. Just walking more can be a big benefit to your body. Find ways to add steps to your days.

For more information, contact us today at Team Worx Fitness

How To Meal Prep Healthy School Lunches

How To Meal Prep Healthy School Lunches

Not all school lunches in Alexandria, VA, are healthy, which is why many people include them in their meal prep plans. By making the lunches at home, you can ensure that your child will at least be given a healthy option, even if he or she doesn’t eat everything. You can boost the potential by creating healthy options for kids that taste delicious and are fun. You also can make ones the whole family will love.

Planning the meals is a step toward success.

If you preplan all the meals, you’ll be using food more effectively with little or no waste. Leftover chicken can be a chicken salad or a salad in a jar. Did your child love the meal? You can use leftovers for school. Make roll-ups for a unique option. Use the protein source, such as chicken, turkey or beef roast and if dice it fine. Mix with some chives and cream cheese and spread on whole wheat bread that had the crusts removed. Put a midget or baby gherkin at one end and roll the bread around it, making a log. Put in toothpicks about an inch apart and slice the log for pinwheels. It’s a fun meal and you can vary the recipe to suit your child’s taste.

Always include a container of fresh fruit with nuts, cheese or peanut butter.

Keep it simple and let them assemble a healthy lunch. It makes it more fun. Include the utensils for spreading peanut butter or cream cheese on sliced fresh fruit or veggies. A plastic spoon works well. If you want to assemble something fun for a treat, make ants on a log. Fill the center of a piece of celery with peanut butter and top with a line of raisins, to look like ants crossing a log.

For older children, assembling tacos is a treat.

Include all the fixings and several soft taco shells. Include leftover taco seasoned meat in one container, chopped lettuce, tomatoes and onions or other taco fixings mixed in others. Include a spoon and it’s ready to assemble. You can make healthy muffins that contain all the nutrients of a meal, which include veggies. A hard-boiled egg, hummus dip, fresh fruit and veggies can all be the basis to build a meal. You can even include salsa and chips for scooping.

  • To keep fresh cut fruit like pears and apples fresh, toss in a 1:1 mixture of lemon juice and water. Then store them in an airtight container. Topping sliced avocados with lemon juice can also prevent it from browning.
  • You can make sandwiches ahead, but always seal in the freshness of the bread, so it doesn’t get soggy. Use a fatty spread like butter or mayonnaise. Toast the bread lightly before assembly, add the spread and assemble,
  • If your sandwich tends to be wetter, with ingredients like saucy condiments or tomatoes, store it in parchment paper wrapped deli-style to prevent it from getting soggy. If it’s a drier sandwich, make it ahead and store it in a plastic bag to prevent drying out.
  • Make lunches fun. Include pita pockets and containers of ingredients to stuff them. Flat bread roll up sandwiches are also more fun. You’ll be amazed at how your kids will eat a salad with chicken bits when it’s stuffed in a pita pocket.

For more information, contact us today at Team Worx Fitness

How Exercise Helps Mental Health

How Exercise Helps Mental Health

If you’re feeling down and discouraged, go for a walk or a run. Any type of exercise can boost your mental health. It helps calm you down and burns off the hormones of stress, while boosting the hormones that make you feel good. It does more than just help alter your mood or improve longer standing mental issues, it can improve your cognitive functioning and make you more alert.

Exercise increases circulation.

Increased circulation also means it increases the oxygen and nutrients sent to all parts of the body, including the brain. That can feed and protect the brain cells. Exercise also helps create new neural paths, which can increase mental acuity. Until recently, scientists didn’t know about the plasticity of the brain or the ability to raise IQ. Exercise boosts neurogenesis, the creation of new brain cells. It can boost overall brain performance, including memory.

Those stress hormones serve a purpose.

When man lived in caves, hunted and gathered to survive and had to face dangers that few of us ever encounter, stress hormones prepared him to run or fight. Today, the stressors are quite different, but the fight or flight response remains. You can burn off those hormones of stress and get your body back to normal by exercising. In addition to that, exercise also encourages the body to produce hormones that make you feel good.

Exercise can increase the beneficial belly bugs.

Your body has more microbes than it has cells. It’s your microbiome, and important for your survival. Your microbes help digest food and produce enzymes that can control your mental processes. Some scientists believe that certain mental conditions, such as schizophrenia, ADD and depression can occur due to an imbalance of beneficial microbes compared to harmful ones. While your diet plays an important role in the microbiome and the type of microbes that are most prominent, so does exercise. Studies show it can improve the benefit of the microbes in the gut.

  • You’ll sleep sounder when you exercise. Quality sleep is important for reorganizing the brain and doing repairs. It’s also a time when waste in the brain is removed. If you get sound sleep, it helps prevent mental decline.
  • Many mental health experts are using exercise as an adjunct therapy. It’s been found to be as effective as some medications and has only beneficial side effects.
  • You’ll have an improved self-image once you start exercising, even before you see results. Once you workout for a while, it can improve your posture, making you look and feel more confident.
  • Exercise can be a great coping mechanism and replace ones that are more destructive. It can replace overeating, excess indulgence in drugs or alcohol or smoking and make you feel more in control.

For more information, contact us today at Team Worx Fitness

Can Certain Fruit Kill Cholesterol?

Can Certain Fruit Kill Cholesterol?

If you live in Alexandria, VA, you’re lucky. You can eat local fruit, while lowering your cholesterol. Cholesterol isn’t necessarily bad. Your body needs cholesterol to function properly. If you have too much or the wrong type of cholesterol, it can cling to the artery walls and clog the arteries. That can increase the risk of heart disease. Luckily, a change in diet can make a difference and one of those changes is including cholesterol lowering fruit.

What’s the best fruit to lower cholesterol?

You probably already know that apples are good for you, but did you realize they’re the number one cholesterol lowering fruits? While some foods that lower cholesterol do it via their high omega-3 content and others lower it with high fiber, apples lower cholesterol because of high fiber and the specific type of fiber it contains, the soluble fiber pectin. It reduces the amount of cholesterol that’s absorbed in the bloodstream. Apples contain the best pectin for lowering cholesterol.

Oranges and avocados lower cholesterol.

While oranges don’t grow in Alexandria, VA, you can easily find them at the grocery store. They contain nutrients that can improve your health, particularly heart health. Studies have shown that even drinking orange juice can help lower LDL—bad—cholesterol levels. Consuming the whole orange increases dietary fiber and pectin, which boosts the cholesterol busting ability. Avocados, which most people don’t realize are fruits, contain monounsaturated fat that raises good cholesterol and lowers bad cholesterol. It also contains beta-sitosterol that reduces the amount of cholesterol absorbed.

Watermelon can help you lose weight and lower your cholesterol levels.

Watermelon can fill you up without packing on the pounds. It’s a diuretic and can help lower your cholesterol levels. It contains a carotenoid called lycopene that is an antioxidant. Antioxidants protect the body from free radicals that have the potential to raise cholesterol levels. Whether you keep watermelon cubes in the refrigerator so you can grab a few when you’re hungry or keep watermelon juice ready to drink to lower your cholesterol.

  • Other antioxidant fruits that can help lower cholesterol levels include berries. They’re loaded with antioxidants, no matter what type you choose. Berries help prevent the oxidation of LDL—bad–cholesterol, which can stick to the artery walls.
  • Prunes do more than keep you regular, they’re also good for increasing the good cholesterol that helps your heart stay healthy and can reduce inflammation and act as an antioxidant. You can eat them plain or use them when cooking your favorite dishes.
  • Have a glass of cranberry juice or add cranberries to your favorite salad or smoothie. They’re packed with healthy benefits that extend beyond urinary tract health. They can also help lower bad cholesterol levels.
  • Have some grapes to reduce your triglyceride and cholesterol levels. Grapes contain pterostilbene. Pterostilbene affects the enzyme that controls blood fat levels, much like medications do.

For more information, contact us today at Team Worx Fitness