Humans have had pet canines for thousands of years, and there's a reason why this perennial "world's best pet" is human's best friend around the world. In fact, 47 percent of households in the U.S. own at least one dog. Everyone that has a pet dog knows that they're loyal, loving creatures that are always happy to see you when you get home. And recent research furthers the cause of having a pet dog – as it turns out, whether you're a child, adult or senior, there are some major benefits of having a pooch by your side. Aside from an abundance of love and loyalty, here are some of the reasons that dog ownership is good for your health:
- Get more exercise. As a dog-owner, you'll get a great workout every day by taking your little Fido out on his walks.
- Live longer. Research has shown that people with dogs tend to live longer than others, which is likely due to the fact that they get more exercise than others and gain the emotional benefits of having a pet.
- Stave off loneliness. Dogs as companions can help us feel less lonely. This is especially important for people who live alone, such as seniors, according to recent research. Aside from being good company, pets can also help you meet new people. Dogs serve as an easy topic of conversation: when you are out walking your dog, people are more likely to come up and talk to you, and if you go to parks you can meet other dog owners. The reduction of loneliness is a very important benefit because loneliness has been shown to decrease overall health and longevity.
- Keep your heart healthy. Though surprising, research has shown that simply petting and talking to a dog or cat can lower one's blood pressure noticeably. Petting an animal can induce relaxation and calm people, which is why dogs are often used in hospitals as therapy animals.
- Learn empathy. Having a pet dog can teach children empathy. It allows them to learn to care for something and recognize others' needs if they are involved in the feeding, brushing and other care of the animal.
If you're considering adopting a pet, make sure you will have ample time and energy to care for that animal first, but know that, aside from being loved on by a furry friend, you'll benefit in so many other ways.
Kids' lives these days seem almost more busy and scheduled than ours are or ever were. Whether you're chasing a toddler around the living room, playing t-ball with your preschooler or chauffeuring your pre-teens to after-school soccer practice, your life probably couldn't get much busier. Here are some exercises to boost your energy, get you ready for the day and help you keep up with the kids:
Kids are flexible little humans, so if you're going to play backyard soccer or tag with them, you need to keep up. Start your morning off right with these energizing stretches:
- Cat-Cow yoga pose: Lay a mat down on the floor and get on your hands and knees, with your knees in line with your hips and your hands aligned with your shoulders. As you inhale, lift your tailbone and head and push your stomach toward the floor. Exhale and drop your head, tuck your tailbone and arch your back toward the ceiling. Do 10 reps for a good back stretch, and remember to breathe deeply.
- Hamstring stretch: If you often have tight hamstrings, give them a nice stretch so you're ready to rock for the day. Lay on your back with your legs straight and your lower back and hips pressed into the mat. Then, lift your leg with your knee bent and hold it parallel to the floor. Stretch your leg straight up, keeping your hands behind your knee to make sure your leg is now perfectly perpendicular to the floor. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds before switching to the other leg. Do three repetitions.
- Neck and shoulder stretch: Sit on the floor with your back straight and your legs crossed. Keep your shoulders straight and tilt your left ear toward your left shoulder, feeling a pull. Hold for 20 seconds before doing the right side. Then, roll your shoulders back and forward to loosen up tight muscles.
Feel the burn
Some of the best exercises to keep up with the kids are squats. Here are two excellent variations:
- Split Squat: This gets your hips and thigh muscles ready for a long day. With feet shoulder-width apart and hands at your sides, take a step backward and drop into a lunge, moving slowly into it until your front knee is at a 90-degree angle. Hold it for a few seconds, then push yourself back up with your knees slightly bent. Do 20 reps on one side before switching to the next leg.
- Squat thrusts: These are good for your chest, triceps, hamstrings and quads. With your feet hip-width apart, squat and put your hands on the floor in front of your feet. Jump backward so you're in a pushup position, don one pushup and then jump back toward your hands and stand again. Do 10 reps on each side and this will surely get you ready for the day!
So you've got a big conundrum: Your favorite show is on TV tonight – and come to think of it, there are shows you've been dying to see tomorrow and the next night, too. But you've committed to hitting the gym at least four nights a week to get in tip-top shape, even though it puts a squeeze on your busy schedule. So, should you miss your shows or suck it up and head to the gym? Turns out, you hardly have to leave the couch to get a workout, so do both! Here are some tips for exercising while you watch TV:
- Triceps dips: Using the couch for support, place your hands on the edge and walk your feet out. Bend your elbows to "dip" down toward the ground and come back up. Complete two sets of 15.
- Couch push-ups: Kneel on the floor 2 feet away from the couch but facing it. Put your hands on the edge, shoulder-width apart, and do a push-up, lowering your chest until it just touches but does not rest on the couch cushion.
- Boat Pose: Sit on the floor with bent knees and hands by your side. Lean back onto your tail bone and slowly lift your legs until they are at a 45-degree angle with the floor. Lift your arms at the same time so that they are parallel with your knees in a way that helps you keep balance. Keep your back straight and hold the pose for 30 seconds. This is a great core-builder.
- Sit-ups or crunches: These are self-explanatory and are a great workout to do anywhere that will tone your core. This is a good exercise to do during commercial breaks as it's hard to focus on the TV when your head is bobbing up and down and you're focusing on your abs.
- Planks: Get in the push-up position, pull your stomach in and make sure your butt is in line with the rest of your body, rather than sticking straight into the air. Hold this position for 30 seconds then lower slowly to the ground.
- Baby Cobra Pose: This one gives you a good stretch and – even better – you can do it while watching TV. Lie on your stomach and put your hands flat on the ground next to your chest. Use the tops of your feet and your hands to lift your upper body, keeping your elbows close and your hips downward pressed flat to the ground. Hold it for 30 seconds to get a good stretch in your lower back.
Fall is a great time to get out and have some family fun in the crisp air. Also, it's a time to look forward to some of the year's best holidays. Here are some great ideas for fall activities that both parents and kids will enjoy:
- Run a 5k that also has a children's fun run. It's a great way to bond, get some exercise and practice sportsmanship. Plus, autumn weather is a runner's dream!
- Go to a local farm for warm apple cider, pumpkin picking and a jaunt through the corn maze.
- Take the kids apple-picking and then bake a pie or crisp together using the fruits you've picked.
- Have the kids help rake the leaves – great exercise – and then make big piles that they can jump and play in. Don't forget to take pictures!
- Organize a neighborhood game of soccer, kickball or flag football with other families. It can even be a kids versus adults game.
- Bike to a local park for a family game of Frisbee, tag or catch.
- If Halloween is a big deal at your house, make it a spooky wonderland in preparation for the trick-or-treaters with spider webs, tombstones and other frightening decor.
- Organize a Halloween parade for all of the neighborhood families.
- Take a bike ride or walk through a local forest preserve and have a scavenger hunt, which you can organize ahead of time. Have the kids look for certain leaves and little critters.
- Head to a fall farmers market and have the kids help pick out ingredients for that night's dinner. You can cook together later, and turn up some music to make it less of a chore and more of a dance party.
- Be brave and check out a haunted house together!
For some of us, exercising is the cherry on top of an already wonderful day, or the thing that makes a bad day good. For others, working out just feels like another task added to an already busy day. Maybe you'd rather be spending precious hours with your kids, spouse or other family members, or perhaps they could all use a bit of exercise too. Get everyone off of the couch and make it more fun with these family-friendly workout ideas:
- If the weather isn't optimal, do a fitness DVD together, which will likely be entertaining and prove to be a good work out.
- Turn on some music and clean the house together, which will burn a lot of calories between dancing and scrubbing the floor. You will also be doing three important things at once: keeping the house clean, getting some exercise and spending time with family.
- Train for a race together. Sponsored walks, half-marathons and various fun-runs are all the rage right now, and they often have shorter distance events for kids. Choose a race or walk for a good cause and train with your kids and spouse to get some quality family time.
- Head to a new public park that you've never visited before. Spend the day walking and exploring together.
- Celebrate special days like birthdays or holidays off from school with fun physical activities. You can bike together to get frozen yogurt or head to a local wilderness site for camping, hiking and connecting with nature.
- Visit a working farm together. As we become more urbanized as a country, we are less connected to where our food comes from. Many farm owners are trying to remedy this and get a little help by offering opportunities to work on a farm for a day. You and your kids can volunteer your services – cleaning up, pulling weeds, caring for animals or working in the garden - and also learn more about our food system. You'll burn some serious calories from all the walking and working, and your kids will learn respect for animals and nature.
- Organize a neighborhood-wide or extended family sporting event like a soccer, softball or kickball game. This will be a lot of fun for everyone and you'll hardly know you're getting a workout!
Multivitamins are dietary supplements that contain a combination of vitamins, which are organic substances in plants and animals that our bodies depend on. As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in an April 2012 study, the majority of Americans get enough vitamins every day in their diets. However, there are plenty of people who can benefit from a multivitamins. It's important to talk to your doctor first, but here are people who might really need to take a vitamin supplement to support their daily diet:
- Adults who are 50 or older could benefit from a multivitamin that contains vitamins B-12 and D, especially if they don't eat enough B-12-foritified foods. It's common for older adults to be deficient in B-12 for various reasons, and they often can't absorb as much vitamin D as their bodies need.
- People who have several food allergies, are lactose intolerant or are limiting foods from their diets for other reasons will often need a multivitamin.
- Strict vegetarians with limited diets should consider a multivitamin, especially because it can be difficult to get vitamins D and B-12 from vegetarian meals.
- Doctors will often recommend a multivitamin for those with an acute or chronic medical condition who are unable to absorb adequate nutrients from their foods, such as going chemotherapy.
- Pregnant and lactating women will need to take a special prenatal multivitamin.
Whether you want to get a workout and some quality family time in, or you just need a way to get your couch potato kids out of the house, exercising together as a family is a great idea and it can be done – it just takes a little patience and creativity! Here are some great family-friendly ways to get some exercise and spend quality time together:
- Take a bike ride! If you don't have bicycles already, you can likely find them on the cheap at garage sales or resale shops. Make sure everyone is strapped into their helmets and hit the pavement on two wheels. If you have little ones, you can tote them along in an kiddie trailer or attach a trailer bike to yours so they can tagalong easily. You can map out your route and miles on different sites like Map My Ride beforehand.
- If you're stuck in the house on a rainy day with toddlers, pop in one of their sing-along DVDs and dance your hearts out. They're young enough to think your "moves" are cool, and they'll happily join in. Or, if your kids are older and stuck inside, play a dance game on the Wii or Xbox to get the blood pumping.
- Go on a nature walk at a local trail, or go hiking if you happen to live in a hilly or mountainous area.
- Plan a scavenger hunt or obstacle course around the neighborhood or at a local park. Kids love these and it will get them moving.
- Hit the mall – as long as you don't eat anything greasy at the food court, do some window or actual shopping at the mall for some exercise. Make a point of parking in the back of the parking lot and hitting the stores even at the farthest end of the shopping center.
- If you exercise at home, create modified exercises that the kids can do with you. For example, if you do yoga, look up some easy poses for children and teach them. Yoga is also a good way to get a little peace and quiet. If you use weights, give the kids beanbags or filled water bottles to use as their own weights. Or, if you are doing pushups, teach your kids how to do modified versions on their knees.
Bread has been consumed in some form by people for ages – you could say it's a staple of human culture as a whole. Though bread has played a major role in our collective culinary history, it's a much maligned food form by various healthy folk. But it isn't all bad for you! Whether you're enjoying buns, biscuits or rolls, we have some tips and basic information for choosing the healthiest bread:
In the past – and indeed, in many European countries today – bread was made fresh daily either at home or by a local baker. This is because after more than one day, the bread became as hard as a rock and inedible. Back then, the dough typically contained only four basic ingredients: flour, water, yeast and salt. But today, most people don't make their own bread due to lack of time and patience. Instead, we buy it at the grocery store and expect it to stay fresh for up to two weeks. However, this means that extra ingredients are added to keep the bread soft, edible and mold-free. Here's what to look for when grocery shopping so you can buy the healthiest bread:
- Look for whole grains. Your bread should say "100 percent whole grains" and the first ingredient listed should be "100 percent whole-wheat flour." The words "made with whole grains" don't mean much. Whole-grain bread is better for you than whole-wheat bread because of the variety of grains included.
- It's also good to look for actual grains or pieces of grain in the bread, rather than just on top. This is also helpful when you're eating out or ordering from a deli and don't have the benefit of seeing the label.
- Double-fiber breads aren't necessarily better. The extra fiber is added from soy, cellulose or oats. There's no evidence that this is either harmful or beneficial. But, whole foods, rather than those reconstructed from various parts, are usually seen as better options in any food scenario.
- You should avoid anything that says "enriched" – this means that it's refined white flour, not really wheat flour.
- If you're trying to restrict your intake of carbs, pay attention to the serving size listed and the weight of the bread. This varies according to brand but can throw some people off if they don't read carefully.
- Avoid breads that have trans fats, hydrogenated oils or vegetable shortening.
- Don't purchase breads made with dyes, high sugar content and high-fructose corn syrup.
- If you try to avoid wheat due to Celiac's disease or low-gluten tolerance, there are many non-wheat options on the market so you can still enjoy bread.
- Sprouted breads are an emerging trend because they're actually better for you. It's a bit complicated, but breads made with sprouted grains are easier to digest and have more B vitamins, amino acids and minerals because sprouting converts the proteins and starches into more digestible, smaller molecules.
Going vegan can be an excellent choice because it makes you more conscious about the things you're eating. Here are some of the biggest health benefits of choosing to eat a vegan diet:
- A healthy vegan diet is typically rich in whole grains and legumes. These foods have a low glycemic index and are high in fiber, meaning they are digested slowly and thus keep blood sugar steady. This can help reduce cholesterol and, in turn, improve one's heart health.
- Vegans do not eat red meat (or any meat, of course), which the World Cancer Research Fund announced in a 2007 report is good for colon health.
- Vegans often have – but not always – less processed foods in their diets. Several studies have affirmed the unhealthy attributes of processed foods.
- Adherents to a vegan diet avoid all animal products, including meat, eggs, dairy and gelatin-based products. Thus, they are likely to eat less saturated fats and are more likely to have a lower cholesterol, meaning a vegan diet can boost your heart health and potentially help with weight issues.
- Vegan diets are often very high in fiber – beans, lentils, whole grains and various vegetables all pack in plenty of fiber, which is good for the body's digestive system.
Aside from the various health benefits that vegans acquire from their diets, veganism also has several more benefits for individuals and society as a whole:
- You'll save money, as grains, beans, soy and similar foods are fairly inexpensive compared to animal proteins.
- You'll do your part to reduce pollution and environmental deterioration because factory farms take more energy and resources to produce animal meats and runoff can pollute local water sources.
- You'll be contributing to animal wellbeing.
While there are clearly several individual and societal benefits to eating a vegan diet, making this change can require a lot of work at first. It takes time to plan meals that meet all of our bodies' important nutritional requirements, and restricting your food sources means you'll have to get creative. Many vegans choose to supplement their diets with a nutritional shake to make sure they are getting adequate amounts of calcium, iron, vitamin B12, vitamin D and Omega-3s, nutrients that are available in a vegan diet but not always in large enough amounts to meet the bodies' needs.
Despite doing exercises and going to the gym regularly, losing those stubborn belly fat can be an uphill task. But you have to try to lose belly fat, as how much flabby you are around your belly is likely to have a huge impact on your health. Usually, you store fats in two ways, one of which is visible, under the hips, thighs, abdomen, buttocks etc. and the other, which you cannot see, gets stored in some of the most vital organs of your body, like heart, liver, lungs, digestive tracts etc. However, the later, known as visceral fat, leads to most of the crucial diseases like heart diseases, obesity, type 2 diabetes, dementia and certain cancers like colon cancer, breast cancer etc. Hence, having a flat stomach is important not only to look chic and smart, but also to have a healthy, disease-free life.
There are a number of foods as well as supplements for weight loss that can help you to burn belly fat naturally. For men and women of all age groups, such supplements, when complemented by a healthy diet and regular exercises, can work wonders.
Let’s take a quick look at the list of fat burning foods, so that you can include some of them in your diet today!
- Apples – According to the common adage, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”. No wonder why apple works wonders for weight loss. As researches have shown, people who made it a point to consume an apple daily lost more weight than those who didn’t. Packed with rich nutrients, as well as lots of vitamins and minerals, this fruit also contains pectin, which prevents colon cancer.
- Oatmeal – Oatmeal is a fiber rich content that stays in your stomach for a long period of time and thus cuts your craving for food, leading to weight loss. Moreover, it’s a great source of selenium and boosts the immune system in your body. Oats also absorb the LDL cholesterol, which is known to be the “bad” one and wash it out from your body.
- Almonds and other raw nuts – You might be shocked to see this in the list! But yes, while having with the skin intact, almonds act as a good food that helps in weight loss. They help to slim down your belly by keeping it absolutely full. In fact, these nuts are rich in fats, which are good for your body and attack the bad fats.
- Whole grains – Though carbohydrates and fats are completely a no-no, especially while you’re on a diet, good carbs are actually required for your health. They are rich in nutrients and the fibers keep you from getting hungry, thus leading to a lesser amount of food intake. Make sure the groceries you buy clearly say “100% whole grain” instead of just “whole grain”.
In case you think that you’re too busy to buy these foods regularly and include them in your diet, supplements for weight loss would be a smart alternative solution for you. Most of these supplements have no side effects, and work wonders to help you get rid of belly fat. Let’s take a look at some of the most effective ones:
- Green coffee bean extract – Being derived from the coffee beans, which are not roasted, green coffee bean extract contains huge level of chlorogenic acid and helps improve the glucose tolerance in your body. It also reduces fat accumulation in your body and speeds up the fat burning process. Because of these salient features, it is extremely popular as a weight loss supplement.
- Green Tea – Just like green coffee, green tea, too is known to be a popular weight loss product. This product is full of antioxidants, and works as an excellent metabolism booster as well as a fat burner. Since this type of tea contains a huge level of polyphenol, which dissolves triglycerides, it helps to burn fat to a great extent. Moreover, it also contains epigallocatechin-3-gallate, which helps reduce the level of low density cholesterol in your body that’s largely responsible for blocking the artery walls. Thus, it plays an important role in preventing cardiovascular diseases.
- Raspberry Ketone – Largely available in red raspberries, this aromatic compound is highly recommended for weight loss. This is so because raspberry ketone is a natural phenolic compound that enhances fat loss and has a number of anti-oxidant proponents within it.
- Creatine powder – It is another well known weight loss supplement that helps increase the strength of your body as well as improves the muscle mass. You can get the best results of creatine powder when you consume it in combination with a resistance training program.
- Garcinia Cambogia extract – Due to the presence of HCA (Hydroxycitric Acid) – a natural ingredient that promotes you to burn fat faster, this extract helps you to lose weight faster, even from problem areas like your belly.
So, if you are looking for belly fat burning solutions, try these foods and natural supplements for weight loss to notice faster and effective results.
Written by James Hundson. James isa fitness expert that researchs & writes reviews on health, fitness, muscle building, exercise, weight loss, massage, yoga, diet, alternative medicine, sports, etc. If you are looking for better and easier option to lose your Weight, than Green coffee bean, Garcinia Cambogia, Raspberry ketone, Green tea are the perfect choice for you.