WHAT MAKE THE BEST DOWN COMFORTER

If you are a comfort seeker and a sleep fanatic, you may have paid a lot of attention to your bedding. Apparently, good bedding is an essential part to have a sound sleep and great dream. It is really worthy of your investment as the Guardian suggested.

down-comforter5

1. The importance of comforters

Beside the basic items such as bed bases, matresses and pillows, comforters play an key role in making your bed fantastic too. According to WebMD, when it is unconfortably cold, you are very difficult to be put into sleep. Thick blankets may not give you enough warmth in the winter and that is when you should think of a comforter. It is can be used in other seasons as well since there are year round comforters to choose.

2. What make a great comforter ?

The first advice is not to save your money by purchasing cheap synthetic comforters. They do not have as high qualities as down comforters’s. Plus, you can actually have it economically with lower heating bills.

• Duck or Goose Down ?

down-comforter6Once we have determined to choose down comforters only, we have to consider whether it should be a duck down or goose down comforter. A goose is bigger than a duck thus to make it warm enough they must use a larger amount of duck down. Therefore, goose down comforters are more expensive because they are softer and lighter and they trap more air making them warmer. However, some people prefer their comforters to be thick and heavy to have a more tucked-in feeling.

• Year round use

Except the case your place is extremly cold that you need a comforter with warmth level 3 or 4, it is recommended to choose year round products. Furthermore, there are dual warmth products (one comfort with two separated warmth levels) on the market which lessen your worries. Year round comforters are still the most popular anyway.

• Baffle box construction

Instead of box stiching, you should look for a comforter with a baffle box construction. It prevents the comforter from being shifted or clumpped after a long time.

• High fill power

Fill power is the measurement of how much space one ounce of down takes. It indicates quality, loft and how warm the comforter is. Simply put, the the higher fill power the better comforter to be.

3. Suggestions on the market

With the standards mentioned above, here are two goose down comforters which we think they are excellent. We hope this make a good reference for you to find your best down comforter:

• Pacific Coast Luxury White Goose Down Comforter

It is a year round comforter of 700 fill power. This product is 100%
made in USA. The features ensuringthis is a luxury product are
600 thread count 100% cotton cover and baffle box design.

• Royal Hotel Collection White Goose Down Comforter 750 FP

This comforter use 100% Egyptian cotton. It goes with 500 thread
-count cover Sateen solid. Its fantastic 750 fill power and allergy free
feature make it worthy of a postion in the list of the best.

Hoop dreams

gymThere seem to be two alternatives when it comes to the gym: complete obsession or complete noncompliance. And I can understand why. Pounding away on the various calorie-burners-cross trainers, treadmills, StairMasters, et cetera is so excruciatingly dull that only self-induced zombiedom can get you through it. After my first baby, I would dutifully crank up the requisite reps per minute on the step machine and stare out of the gym window onto Broadway for 35 minutes. Besides counting sheep in any language I could think of, I became intimately acquainted with the entire inventory of the bead shop across the street. The pleasure, and sense of achievement, when my workout was finished were purely negative: Thank God that’s over.

Having finally lost the extra weight and invested in a new wardrobe to celebrate, I became pregnant again. This time, post-baby, I wanted to be more creative. I remembered a coach at a spa once telling me that you should pick up a sport as an adult that you enjoyed as a child. If you never liked running, he suggested, don’t punish yourself on the treadmill now.

So I thought back to my teens, when I played netball, an obscure, polite game taught in English girls’ schools that involves passing the ball up and down a court and shooting into a hoop. Kind of like basketball, minus the dribbling, running with the ball, and the general rough-and-ready style. Besides, I have two little boys. How cool would a basketball-playing mom be?

basketballI sign up with Sean Green, a trainer at Chelsea Piers and, until three years ago, a professional player for a list of teams as long as his very long arm (the Indiana Pacers, Philadelphia 76ers, and Utah Jazz among them). Sean is six feet six inches tall and looks like Denzel Washington with smaller teeth. He also looks more than a little stricken at the challenge to get a postpartum mother into shape in six weeks and teach her basketball to boot.

Observing the culture of Chelsea Piers at lunchtime, on its windy river outpost, is a trip in itself. Office bees like myself are far away, and the place is taken over by actors, models, restaurateurs and bewhiskered artists whiling away the middle of the day. (“I love training models,” Sean tells me. “They just want to run and run.”) I’m heartened to see the somewhat portly young actor Philip Seymour Hoffman being put through his paces by Sean on the basketball court when I first arrive: Hoffman has more to lose than I have, and he’s picked Sean to help him do it.

Sean sizes me up. Being a novice at one sport with experience in another can be either positive or negative. He’s happy that I have the netball background, as long as my habits aren’t so entrenched that I can’t adapt. Basketball, he explains, is a really good full-body workout, with a large cardio element. We start shooting some baskets. Thank God for my secret past as Goal Attack: I actually make a few. I run back and forth-he notes that I have “a very proper run,” not quite the loose-limbed hoop-dream style. I try to dribble, left hand, right hand, but feel a little uncoordinated. “You’ve got to love the ball, caress the ball,” he says.

As the session progresses, a horrible realization strikes me: There’s a lot of running in basketball! Frequent walks to the water fountain are required to get me through the hour, with only my ability to shoot to stop me from feeling like a loser. Worse, with all the unaccustomed throwing overhead, I pull a muscle in my shoulder, and spend the next two sessions on the massage table instead of the basketball court.

After this setback, things start to go a little better. We do an exercise-bike warmup and sit-ups and an overarm machine before hitting the court for drills. I’m learning a whole new vocabulary: layups, rip-throughs, put-backs, around the world (shooting from a semicircle of positions around the hoop), suicides (running back and forth), which he doles out as penalty-he calls it “reward”-for not making baskets. Sean comments, about three weeks into my training, that I’m lighter on my feet and moving faster. And a curious thought dawns: I actually quite enjoy the running. After a session I get a sensation very different from that of moonwalking off a treadmill, when you feel just dead tired. This new feeling is familiar from my days of team sports in school: of having really challenged my body, and of my body rising to the occasion.

A couple of weeks later, bored by the endless drills, I beg for the chance to run up and down the court with him doing layups and jump shots, more like an actual game. And Sean, whose style is laconic, starts dishing up some compliments. Once, after I sink a ball, I hear him call me lazy. What did you say? I ask indignantly. “Blazin’!” he repeats. We’re in the comfort zone of basketball jargon: Anything hot is good.

Sean has the perfect trainer personality: amusing to talk to, without being overly familiar. As time goes on, I pick his brains for weight-loss tips. He believes in the “breakfast like a king” school of eating and suggests a workout at night, so you burn off all the calories from the day. If he wasn’t restricted by this assignment to just doing basketball, he says, he would mix in more core strengthening and some different workouts to keep the body interested.

Having conquered my initial resistance, I’m pretty interested right now. Even more than fitting into those old-new clothes (and being in the mood to shop again), I’m enjoying the sensation of springing up stairs and feeling that I’m not completely inert from the head down. Basketball, with its stealth component of running, mitigated by the real reward of shooting hoops, turned out to be a great motivator for me. And I realize there are two types of energy: the kind you eke out of yourself on a gym machine, which frequently merely plateaus, and the kind that comes with interaction and, surprise, playing a game that keeps you guessing. The kind that comes from fun.

Some workouts without equipment

Doing exercises every day is good for both your health and physical body. For some people, they do not have enough time to go to fitness centers and they absolutely don’t have any equipment at home. However, working-out doesn’t mean that you must practice with various types of equipment. If you still confuse about this problems, we will suggest some work-outs for you to do at home.

sit-upsTake a look at these exercising guides to pick up some workouts for yourself.

JUMPING JACKS

For people who want to try cardio workout but don’t have a treadmill for running at home in their free time, jumping jacks are the great choice. First, let your hands at their right side and stand up with your legs touching each other. Then jump and move your hands until they are straight up above your head, don’t forget to spread the legs apart. Lastly, bring them back together and try to do as many as you can.

SQUATS

Squats are great type of work-out for your upper legs and your buttocks. This type of activity has a lot of benefits for shaping a great body. In fact, when doing in the right way, this helps releasing the testosterone and hormone inside your body to improve all the muscular parts. The way to do this work-out is very simple. Stand near a couch or a chair in your house and let it almost touches the calves of your body. Squat until you feel that the cushion on your rear then stand back. That’s it!

SITS UP

sit-ups2Among those work-outs at home, sit ups are the most effective. To illustrate, you don’t have to find a great space or a big room for doing this, just find a clear floor then where you can put your feet on it. Lie down on the floor with your knees in a V-formation, tucking your knees in a V-formation. Then pull your head up and down on the knee. However, remember to keep the arms behind your head in order to rely on your abdominal muscles.

MOUNTAIN CLIMBERS

moutain-climberDo you want to try climbing the mountains inside the house? For people who love climbing mountains, they also try this practice at home. They are great for building the muscular parts; however, it also affects the whole body. Read and follow these steps in order to practice this mountain climber’s exercise:

  1. Stay with the whole body facing the floor include your hands and toes. Besides, your arms and knees must be straight.
  2. Place the right leg toward your chest. Remember to keep the left leg straight.
  3. Bring the right leg back into the beginning position and then repeat with the other leg.

For people who love mountain climbing and don’t have time for it. Don’t worry! You can try one practice which is similar to this sport by using an effective machine. DiamondBack Fitness is well-known for its diversity of stationary bike. For instant, the diamondback fitness 510ic indoor cycle gives you the best way for achieving your target and specific training in the safety of home. Take a look at some reviews for best spin bikes for home at http://exercisebikesexpert.com/the-best-spin-bikes-for-home-2015/ so you can choose the best one for your need.

In conclusion, there are various workouts that you can do at home. All you have to do is understand the way to do and give them a try! You can find out more exercises on the Internet or ask your coach for some suggestions. And remember to stick with this habit of doing exercises, you will be amazed with the results in the future, trust me!

The busy mom: Keisha Nash-Whitaker, cocreator of kissable couture, 30s

“I have a very balanced attitude toward food and fitness. I work out two or three times a week and try to eat organic as much as I can, but I’m not neurotic about it. My husband and one of my daughters are vegetarians, so I often cook two main courses, and I don’t eat a lot of beef or pork.”

6:45 A.M. I wake up and give my oldest daughter a hug goodbye. Then I do some stretching, throw on some sweats, and talk to my publicist.

7:20 A.M. I rarely have caffeine in the morning. I usually drink cranberry juice mixed with sparkling water or maybe mint tea.

cranberry-juice10:00 A.M. I get hungry for breakfast at around 10:00. I’ll have half of a plain or onion bagel with smoked salmon and cream cheese. I take a Whole Foods women’s multivitamin and lots of vitamin C.

aaa11:00 A.M. I don’t work out every day, but when I do, my yoga teacher, Natalie Lewis, comes to the house, or I’ll go to a Pilates class. I like to have my workout done by noon. Some days, I just go for a hike. And I walk up and down the stairs all day long. I’m never a couch potato. I’m genetically thin, but I think it’s good to be toned, and just recently I started lifting weights on my own.

1:30 P.M. Lunch is either a tuna melt, a turkey burger, grilled cheese on wheat or rye, or a nicoise salad with Briannas Dijon honey-mustard dressing. Also, I drink Vitamin Water all day, or I’ll dissolve some Emergen-C into water and drink that.

4:00 P.M. I always get hungry around 3:30 or 4:00. My weakness is cheese, so I’ll usually eat some string cheese, a Trader Joe’s granola bar, or a banana. If I’m on the run, I might grab a handful of pistachios. I prefer salty snacks over sweets.

6:30 P.M. Lately, I’ve been traveling and eating out a lot. But when we’re at home, we have a family dinner every night. It’s a good habit; we do it for the fellowship. I like to cook, and I try to make a meal for the vegetarians similar to the one I make for the rest of us. For example, I’ll make grilled-chicken burritos with refried beans and corn as well as vegetarian burritos. I also make a lot of fish for the nonvegetarians. I’ll have something like salmon with a green salad and rice pilaf. The kids have to have their salad every night.

grilled_chicken9:00 P.M. I rarely have dessert. A few times a week around 9:00, when everyone’s quiet, I have a glass of chardonnay and some Cotswold cheese and Carr’s table water crackers. Otherwise, if I just need a snack, I might have one English-muffin pizza or some chips and dip.

11:00 P.M. I’m in bed by 10:30 or 11:00.

keishaWHAT THE EXPERTS SAY

Nutrition Penny Geller, R.D., director of nutrition for Nu-Kitchen; nu-kitchen.com: “Keisha’s routine is excellent overall, but she goes from dinner until 10:00 the next day without eating on the days when she doesn’t have an evening snack. If she ate something when she got up, it would jump-start her metabolism and give her a boost of energy right off the bat. She’s very good about keeping three to four hours between meals; she just needs to start earlier. Also, it’s all right to eat cheese a couple of times a day as long as it’s low fat. But if it’s a soft cheese like Brie, which is high in saturated fat, she should cut back. Also, while white bread isn’t higher in calories than whole grain, it doesn’t have any fiber. If Keisha were to swap her white-bread bagel in the morning for whole grain, the fiber would make her feel more satiated.”

Fitness David Kirsch, personal trainer and founder of David Kirsch Wellness: “Keisha should continue to add weight-bearing exercises to her routine. Your 30s is a great time to start lifting weights, as it will keep the body lean and maintain strong bones. Keisha should try to cut back on sugar and eat more protein, which will give her more energy in the afternoon. I would also recommend incorporating some exercise into her afternoon, at about the time she gets her midafternoon cravings. As a snack after her workout, she should skip the cheese, which isn’t energizing, and instead opt for a protein shake or some fruit and a plain yogurt.”

The happy-making mini workout: Alison Sweeney has the tricks for jamming exercise into a busy schedule, even at lunchtime. This is how she makes midday fitness happen–with time for a sammie, too

I would love nothing more than to wake up each morning and start the day with exercise– but between getting the kids to school and heading off to different jobs, sometimes I have to take my workouts when I can get them, during my lunch break. For a long time, I had the mentality of “I don’t have enough time to do a sweaty SoulCycle class, so I’m not going to do anything.” But studies show that even short bursts of activity can make us happier, better at handling stress, and more productive. (Won’t your boss be glad to hear that?) Here’s how to squeeze a mini workout into your lunch hour.

1. Plan ahead:

plan-aheadThe night before, take five minutes to pick out the right clothes and sneakers. Pack a snack–I like Greek yogurt with some blueberries– to have around 10:45 a.m. so you’ll have energy but not a full stomach by the time your moment to exercise rolls around at 12:30 p.m. You’ll want to eat a real lunch after you’re done.

2. If you have 20 minutes:

circut-trainingGo hard. Circuit training–targeting different areas of the body with a rotating routine of fast-paced movements–is a great option for any location (like your tiny office, or even a stairwell). Mentally timing yourself can be tricky, so use a stopwatch or the timer app on your smartphone. Start with push-ups for one minute, take a 20-second break, do the same with leg lifts, then keep that up with other moves. To work your abs without lying down on the floor for crunches, try doing a wall sit: Brace your back and arms against the wall, squat down, then get even more of a workout by lifting your knees toward your chest one at a time. And there’s no better butt exercise than running stairs. Time yourself doing 10 or 30 flights, and see if you can beat that by next week. If you’re a little sticky afterward, give yourself a quick once-over with a washcloth.

3. If you have 50 minutes:

outside-walkingGet outside. Maybe you’re not the girl who can do biceps curls in view of your boss–understandable! Find a nearby park or a private area of the parking lot where you can do simple moves. If you’ve got a bench, try some triceps dips: Start seated, with your hands gripping the edge and your legs extended; then push off, dip down, and come back up, keeping your shoulders back. Do standing calf raises by getting on the tips of your toes and holding for two seconds (you can steady yourself on a wall or increase the impact of your lifts by holding hand weights at your sides). After 20 minutes of circuit, get in some cardio with a walk. Or just make like a New York commuter and slip on some sneakers with your work outfit and spend your whole break walking. A pedometer is key: I’ve had days when I’ve felt tired and thought, Oh, I must have walked 12 miles, and it turns out it was about two! Try to go a little farther each day, pushing yourself to go faster.

Keeping your kids healthy and active this summer

Whenever the weather is nice, this is a great time for your kids to play outside. Also, outdoor sport is one of the best choices for children to practice in their pleasure time.

outdoor-activity

In fact, outdoor activities help your children entertain and develop physically after spending a long period of time for studying at school. Video games and shows on television may bore kids sometimes; however, they will definitely in love with these outdoor sports such as limbo, soccer, cycling or swimming.

We will give more information about some outdoor sports so that you can consider which one is appropriate to your children.

1. LIMBO

limbo

Limbo is one type of game which helps children relax while parents can test their balance and flexibility. To hold this activity, the first thing you will need is one pole and some kinds of upbeat music. It is great when there are two adults who can take turns holding the pole for the children to play. On the other hand, people often have two ladders for holding the pole while the children are playing.

 

In the games, every child has his own turn to pass the pole. If the child passes the pole successfully without touching it, he can have opportunity to take another turn. After the children passed, the pole is lower slightly. Therefore, the difficulty of the game increases after finishing each line of children.

2. ANIMAL SOCCER

Actually almost children know the rules of soccer. In the game, one ball is kicked around the yard by members of two teams who try to score while kicking on the opposing team’s net. In the actual play, children will use their feet and their bodies to move and kick the ball. However, this type of soccer require kids to be creative and well-performed. On some shows on television, kids are requested to act like different types of animal.

3. CYCLING

Researches show that cycling to school can help contributing the development in health of children. Nowadays, kids are so lazy and less independent compared to the generation in the past. As a result, it will affect the development of their social behavior.

Therefore, encourage kids to cycle when going to school is the best option to help your children become healthier. You should give children more chances to play outside with friends and neighbors. There are a lot of benefits when practicing outdoor activities for the youth include:

4. SWIMMING

swimming

Showing your child how to swim and encourage them to swim regularly, especially when the weather is so hot. This outdoor activity will give amazing benefits for both their mind and their health. Swimming is one workout which is effective than other activities.

When showing our child how to swim, they can not only become a skillful swimmers but have a lot of experience under the water as well. This experience absolutely reduces the number of risk that your child may get in the future. For example, if they accidentally fall into a swimming pool, they will know how to swim and deal with various situations.

In conclusion, there are a lot of sports that you can consider for your children. However, take a look at these activities above so that it will be easier for parents to pick up one. Playing outdoor is the best choice for your child’s health; however, do some indoor workout is also necessary. You can pick up one indoor machine so that all members in the family can have chance to exercise. Before you decide which one to buy, we recommend that you should read the best spin bike reviews on this website http://www.exercisebikesexpert.com to pick up one for your family. Have fun!

Survival of the fittest; Based on the theory of chaos, the latest exercise craze shakes up the average gym routine

chaos-trainingThe idea of taking an exercise class called Chaos is not exactly enticing. As a single parent who harbors a young daughter who is a cross between a stubborn mule and a human cyclone, I already have enough in my life. Yet in the interest of longevity, I figure, why not try it?

I arrive at Equinox, home to the 2007 fitness phenom Chaos Training, gussied up in my finest pink-and-orange Stella McCartney workout clothes, to find a swarming mass of type-A muscular bodies dressed in black. These are serious gym rats, and this is serious business. In my prime I, too, was a gym rat. I, too, worked out religiously at gigantic, gleaming gyms with state-of-the-art high-tech equipment. Fifteen years later, I am a slovenly type-D personality who prefers sweating it out twice a week at the neighborhood boxing gym.

Before the class begins, Lashaun Dale, our head coach, explains that the 90-minute class, while designed around the theory of chaos (defined in my dictionary as “utter confusion”), is really about finding order within a seemingly random setup of eclectic props-medicine balls, drinking straws, and balloons, for example-as you unwittingly achieve a stellar cardio and strength workout. Your mind-body skills will also improve. “It’s like the real world, the unpredictability of life,” says Dale. “It’s about problem solving; the idea is to get more fit and smarter at the same time.”

Orange traffic cones and X spots are strewn about the studio, yoga blocks line the perimeter, and a cluster of balloons hovers menacingly above as we each choose a playing card to divide us into groups. Our first drill: Move around the edge of the studio performing exercises that include the “inverted hamstring arabesque” (a storklike balletic semi-leap) and the “inchworm walk” (a moving downward-dog maneuver).

Next up, a series of fairly straightforward mini-workout sessions-lunges and squats with weights, various crunches and push-ups. Suddenly Dale waves a yellow flag signaling the start of the first suicide run. Everyone sprints across the gym and tries to find an X spot to land on, only there’s one fewer X than people. Instead of trying to keep up with the mob of faster-than-a-speeding-bullet bodies, I make like a human shield so I don’t get knocked over. Guess who doesn’t make it to an X? I am punished with a wall sit for the duration of the next mini-workout session.

lift-weight.jpg

By now everyone is hooting and hollering, and I’m ready to flee-especially when we join our groups for the team tasks (I am neither a group person nor a team player). Our first task is to carry as many weights as possible in the time allotted to the other end of the gym while lunging. During my fifth frenzied trip across the floor, my type-D personality rears its ugly head: What’s the rush? Who’s counting? Nobody mentioned a prize, did they? This is not a class for the philosophical.

For the grand finale, we perform the “body drag”-inching across the floor on your stomach while pushing a medicine ball. I last about 30 seconds, hurtle the ball (so what if I knock someone out?), and do a semi-crawl/scramble/crab-walk across the studio. Meanwhile, the type-A’s are effortlessly skimming across the floor; the hooting and hollering reaches a crescendo. Their endorphins are clearly kicking in, I think enviously as I lean prostrate, trying to blend into the wall.

My type-D endorphins are tardy; they take hold as I make my way down the subway stairs. I feel energized, and my competitive spirit has been revived. I’m definitely going back.

The next morning, I wake up in severe pain, attempt a body drag out of my mazelike bedroom and across the kitchen floor to make some coffee (except there is none left), and decide I’d better do some home problem solving before I go back.

Fitness with Fido: you and your best friend should run for the hills! Here’s why

When many teens come home from school, they head straight for the fridge or the Game Boy. But some kids, like 15-year-old Grace Caito of Phoenix, rush to play with their dogs instead. That’s not only good news for your pooch but also for you, because playing fetch with Fido can benefit both of you.

playwithdog

Let’s face it: Experts say that dogs and people resemble each other a bit too much these days when it comes to weight. In the last two decades, the percentage of overweight adolescents in the United States has tripled, according to the Surgeon General. Obesity is also a problem for dogs and a frequent cause of canine health problems. An overweight dog tends to have less energy and has more difficulty getting around. In addition, chubby dog usually doesn’t live as long as one that gets plenty of exercise.

Walk the Walk

Fortunately, help is just a walk away. According to a recent study by Allan Green of the Bassett Research Institute in Cooperstown, N.Y., both dogs and their owners can lose weight through a simple program of dog walking. Eleven dog owners and their dogs participated in the study. After six months, more than half the people and almost all the dogs succeeded in losing weight. “Dogs can really get you going, and we know that people will do things for their pet that they won’t do for themselves, like exercise,” Green told Current Health.

dog-walking

Taking Spot for a 30-minute stroll twice daily is all it takes for the program to work, particularly if the walkers work up to a quicker pace. Some people speed-walk with their dogs–they walk as fast as they can without breaking into a run. Speed walkers take strides that are longer and quicker than those of recreational walkers. Speed walking may feel awkward the first time you try it, but give it time.

Many family dogs love to take daylong hikes with their owners, wearing vests that allow them to carry food and water. Running with your dog is another good option. Some people bring their pups along for a jog but leave the leash at home. Those dogs are usually trained to heel. That means they will stay close beside their owners at all times and won’t dash off after a squirrel or a cat.

Although 12-year-old LaTeesha Taylor can’t do it every day, she likes to take her dog, Diva, for a run in the park near her home in Brooklyn, N.Y. She and Diva stay off the roads and run along paths with her brother or with friends. They don’t need to use a leash with Diva because she understands basic commands, like “stay,” “come,” and “heel.”

Action Heroes

Dogs are great companions in other activities as well. Some dogs, like Labrador retrievers and Newfoundlands, were bred to work in the water, and swimming with them is safe and fun.

People who live in cold-weather climates like to have their dogs join them in cross-country skiing. Some people even put together teams of dogs and do what’s called mushing–that is, they travel through snowy woods and fields on sleds pulled by the dogs.

cross-country-skiing

If you’re ready for rough-and-tumble action with Rover, then you might be up for canine sports, says Jan Wall, a dog trainer from San Diego. Wall trains dogs to compete in agility competitions, where they dash along a course of tunnels and hurdles while the owners run alongside, coaching them.

One activity that’s not so Fido-friendly is biking. Dogs that run beside cyclists can get tangled up in the leash and choke. Even if a dog is off the leash, dog experts warn, bike riding can be too strenuous for a dog to keep up.

Good Dog!

Kids and dogs playing together may seem like the most natural thing in the world, but dogs aren’t born knowing how to behave when playing with you. They must be taught. If you’re going to play with a friend’s dog, you should know how it acts with new people, said fitness expert Nick Nilsson of Grayslake, III. “Make sure you and the dog get along and that the dog is not one to get aggressive over toys,” Nilsson said. “When both kid and dog get wound up, you need to be sure everyone will be safe.”

Speaking of safety, you should remember to keep your cool–and your dog’s. Humans keep cool by sweating, but dogs need a lot of air and water so they don’t overheat. Give your dog frequent breaks when you exercise together, and keep the dog off hot roads and sidewalks and away from glass and other sharp objects.

Once you learn to look out for the two of you, getting sporty with Spot can be good fun and good exercise. According to Grace Caito, having her dogs, Rocky and

Midnight, as exercise companions helps motivate her. “If my brother and I haven’t played with the dogs for a while, they’ll look at us and then look at the ball, as if to say, ‘Come on, let’s go!’ ” she said.

Keep In Mind

Not every dog or every breed of dog is a good exercise companion. In hot weather, short-snout dogs, such as bulldogs and pugs, can have a hard time keeping up with a person. For such dogs, running even medium distances can be dangerous.

Dogs also age faster than people do, and some breeds are prone to conditions such as hip dysplasia, which means that the hip joints are poorly formed. Dogs with that condition begin to limp at an early age and shouldn’t be pushed to exercise.

“People need to be careful when they exercise with their dogs and make sure [the dogs] are fit and suited for the activity,” said vet Seymour Schimelman, of Somers, N.Y.

Burning Up

One of the ways to tell whether an activity helps you stay fit is to know how many calories you burn doing that activity. A calorie is a measurement of the amount of energy released by food as it is digested. People and animals lose weight when they burn up more calories than they eat.

A 100-pound person throwing a Frisbee for 30 minutes burns 72 calories. The same person burns 99 calories walking for 30 minutes, 132 calories walking briskly for the same length of time, 147 calories biking, 201 calories swimming, and 225 calories jogging–all activities that a person can do with a dog. If that person watches TV with a canine pal instead, he or she burns only 24 calories.

REVIEW/DISCUSS

  • What are some benefits of exercising with a dog? (A dog can provide companionship and motivation.)
  • Which activities are well suited to sharing with a dog? (walking, joggng, hiking, swimming, mushing, canine sports)
  • Which activity is better done without a dog? (bicycling,)

ACTIVITIES

  1. Encourage your students to find a dog to walk, jog, or swim with. If a student does not have a dog of his or her own, tell the student to ask neighbors about borrowing a dog. Have students write a persuasive speech on the benefits of a daily dog walk.
  2. Have students make a daily exercise goal for themselves and their dogs. How will they fit in regular exercise? What will they have to eliminate? Then have students record their progress in meeting their goal.
  3. Have your students organize a “Walk With Fido Day.” They can plan a course through their neighborhoods or across school grounds. Decide on a distance that will take between a half-hour and one hour to cover. Use this as a way to increase awareness of the need for people and dogs to exercise.

Get fit and stay fit: you can do it. Just take it one step at a time

C.J. Wilson, starting pitcher for the Texas Rangers, is all about you getting fitter and healthier.

“It’s important to get kids healthier and cut down on childhood obesity,” he says. He feels so strongly about young people’s health, he founded his own charity to encourage it.

watchingTV

The statistics back up Wilson’s concerns: Americans are overweight and getting more overweight.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says obesity in 12- to 19-year-olds rose from 5 percent in 1980 to 18 percent in 2008. That’s more than tripled.

Obesity can lead to heart disease, bone problems, cancer, diabetes–the list of serious health problems goes on.

Don’t be a statistic. There are some simple things you can start doing now to stay on track or get on the right track to a healthy body and life.

GET MOVING

lift-weight2

For the most part, the cause of obesity in young people is pretty straightforward: too many calories in and not enough calories out. In other words, youth are not getting enough exercise to burn off the calories (units of energy from food) they’re eating.

When you’re sitting around watching TV, playing videogames or using the computer, you’re not burning many calories. And the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services says that Americans your age spend about 25 percent of their waking hours doing these types of things. One third of people by the time they’re age 15 are not getting enough moderate or vigorous activity, and 10 percent are totally inactive.

So what’s a guy to do?

If you’re into sports, great. You’re probably getting enough exercise. Not into sports? That’s OK. All you need to do is get moving.

“Exercise is just movement,” says Cornell McClellan, personal trainer to President Barack Obama and his family. “Exercise doesn’t have to be organized. If you’re just out running and riding your bike, your body responds to it. Variety is best. You don’t want to just be a runner when you can run and bike and swim.”

Most health experts recommend an hour of daily physical activity for people up to age 17.

Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints quarterback, says: “Why not get out and play for 60 minutes a day? It can be kickball, tennis, soccer, swimming, golf, the list goes on and on. There’s time for computers, games, lots of things. But we need to get out and get the blood pumping.”

“More than anything, focus on what’s fun,” says Wilson, the major-league pitcher. “It can be surfing, riding bikes, playing flag football, Frisbee.”

For more ideas on getting exercise–and the specific kinds you need–see “How to Get Out There” at left.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

You probably have heard it: You are what you eat.

golf

“Eating healthy foods in the appropriate amounts … influences everything, including your weight, blood pressure, blood cholesterol, blood sugar, mood, energy levels, stamina, strength and overall sense of well being,” says nutritionist Karen Donato of the We Can! (Ways to Enhance Children’s Activity & Nutrition) national program.

The American Heart Association adds that a good diet also helps with your looks–and not just weightwise. It also can improve your skin and hair quality.

To eat the best possible diet and be at your best, here are some helpful tips from the experts:

sport

* Make sure your plate of food has lots of color. The more color, the more fruits and vegetables–and vitamins–you’re getting. Eat things as close as possible to their natural state.

* Need more fruits and veggies? Start by adding one to each meal and blending them into foods you like (maybe add broccoli in your mac and cheese).

* Give new foods a chance: It can take up to five tries to get a taste for them. Try preparing them in different ways, too–cooked carrots taste totally different from raw.

eating

* Cut out as many processed foods as possible. Are there ingredients in the nutrition label that you can’t read? It’s a processed food. Leave it on the shelf.

volleyball

But let’s get real: You’re probably not going to totally steer clear of sweets and junk food. Even Drew Brees admits to having the occasional Sno-Ball cake treat.

Here’s a tip from McClellan: Eat 90 percent of what your body needs and 10 percent of what’s fun. That means having treats only once in a while and in small amounts.

So be careful. Remember those statistics about obesity? It has been proven that young people who watch the most hours of TV tend to be more overweight. And it’s not just that they’re not getting enough exercise–part of the problem is that people tend to eat junk food while watching TV.

Check out “Make MyPlate Your Plate” below for specific guidelines on how to eat right.

WHAT ELSE?

Better self-esteem, more confidence, a sense of achievement.

It’s not just good health that comes from regularly exercising and eating right. Getting fit and staying fit can improve many areas of your life.

“The same determination you use to complete your first mile might be the same determination you use to complete your first year of college,” McClellan explains. “It’s coming from the same place in terms of ‘I can, I can, I can’ instead of ‘I can’t.'”

And don’t let the idea of making these changes to your life overwhelm you. Start small. Set goals you are confident that you can achieve, then build on them.

Ditch the chips and instead have some grapes for a snack. Walk to school instead of getting a ride or driving. At dinner, drink water instead of a soda.

“All of the changes don’t need to happen all at once,” says Donato, the nutritionist. She suggests trying a new one every week so at the end of the month, you’ll have tried at least four new healthier options.

Wilson agrees: “A lot of people get discouraged when they try to do too much too fast. You have to break off little pieces at a time. So if you’re overweight, you have to focus on losing a little at a time and not all at once. From there, it becomes a lifestyle change, and it adds up over time.”

HOW TO GET OUT THERE

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends three kinds of physical activity on a weekly basis:

* Aerobic. Activity that gets you sweating, breathing harder and your heart pumping. It should make up most of your 60 daily minutes and can be of moderate intensity (such as brisk walking, hiking, baseball, skateboarding), but get in vigorous intensity (running, hiking, soccer) at least three days per week.

* Muscle Strengthening. For at least three days per week do activities such as weightlifting, push-ups or gymnastics.

* Bone Strengthening. Do things like jump rope, play basketball play tennis or run at least three days per week.

The American Heart Association says if you’re not used to being active, gradually build up by adding a few minutes every few days. The same applies for intensity level: Slowly build up over time. For example, go from walking to jogging to running.

Dave Gleason of the international Youth Conditioning Association recommends:

* Ages 10 to 13: “Free play, recreational sports, uncoached pick-up games of your favorite sport. Your muscles are beginning to grow faster than your bones” (known as a “growth spurt”), so it’s crucial that you “keep moving and have fun.”

* 14 and older: “Exercise with more of a defined program, such as one to become stronger or be a more efficient runner. Even for this older age group, the emphasis should be on fun.”

MAKE MYPLATE YOUR PLATE

MyPlate shows the dietary guidelines recommended by the U.S. government:

* Half your plate should be fruits and vegetables.
* Half should be lean protein (such as meat) and grains (at least half of those whole grain).

Reshape your body – for keeps! A simple, no-starvation plan that’ll have you lean and strong … this spring and next. (red alert health)

Sure, there are millions of ways to lose weight fast, but there is only one way to improve your body for good. It doesn’t involve strict dieting, and you don’t have to bore yourself senseless on the treadmill, either. So what’s the secret to looking great this spring and the next?

lose-weight-fast

If you want to slim down for good, says Louis Aronne, M.D., metabolism specialist and spokesperson for the North American Society for the Study of Obesity, you need to shun restrictive diets in favor of smarter eating and become more active throughout your day–not get active only when you show up at the gym.

“When you go on a drastic exercise regimen or an extreme diet, your body releases hormones to fight the weight loss,” explains Aronne. “The result is a slowed-down metabolism, which makes it much harder for you to shed pounds.”

With this in mind, we’ve designed a three-step plan that will help you lose weight and keep it off. The best part? You get to eat!

THE THREE-STEP PLAN

  • STEP 1: Pick your weight-loss goal.
  • STEP 2: Choose three 100-calorie-cutting meal options from our list.
  • STEP 3: Rev up your metabolism with three 10-minute “activity bursts” every day.

STEP 1: Pick your weight-loss goal

How many pounds do you want to shed? From now on you need to think of those pounds as excess calories that can be burned off through exercise and wise food choices. One pound of fat equals 3,500 calories. So if you want to lose five pounds, say, you will have to burn off about 17,500 calories. To keep your metabolism boosted, aim to lose one pound a week. That way, once it’s gone, it will stay gone. Follow this guide to work out how long it will take you to reach your goal.

It’s not about subsisting on raw carrots, says Kristine Clark, Ph.D., R.D., director of sports nutrition at Penn State. “Remember, you’re going to split the equation 50/50, so you’re shaving half the calories by smart eating and reduced portions, and you’re burning the other half by becoming more active.”

TO LOSE:          BURN:                          TIME IT TAKES:

5 pounds           17,500 calories              4-6 weeks
8 pounds            28,000 calories             7-8weeks
10 pounds          35,000 calories             9-10 weeks

STEP 2: How to eat 300 fewer calories a day

Cutting calories doesn’t have to be complicated. Each of the following suggestions will help you lose around 100 calories. All the moves are easy to make and ensure that you won’t be removing foods that are delicious as well as high in energizing vitamins and minerals. To cut 300 calories a day, simply pick three of the following suggestions and mix and match as your taste buds dictate.

Cutting calories on white background

45 easy ways to save 100 calories at every meal

Breakfast

  • Choose juicy fruit: Replace your morning glass of fruit juice with a piece of fresh fruit to get the same amount of vitamins and minerals, plus a dose of hunger-banishing fiber.
  • Skim the fat: Use skim instead of regular milk in your coffee, tea, and cereal. Same calcium, fewer calories.
  • De-fry: Poach or boil eggs instead of frying.
  • Skip the pastries: Go for low-fat yogurt instead of a croissant and get a calcium boost to boot!
  • Jelly belly: Substitute two slices of toast with jelly for a bagel with cream cheese.
  • Smart eggs: Make an omelette using egg whites, mushrooms, and low-fat mozzarella instead of whole eggs, regular cheese, and mushrooms in butter.
  • Bagel lite: Choose a smaller, lower-calorie bagel, such as those made by Sara Lee or Lender’s. Or switch to English muffins.
  • Smart tarts: Eat two Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain bars instead of two Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts.
  • Muffin stuffin’: Choose a high-fiber English muffin instead of a fruit muffin.

Lunch

  • Bake it: Go for the baked potato rather than the french fries.
  • Go for lean: Opt for a lean turkey sandwich rather than beef.
  • Smart soup: Slurp any soup whose middle name isn’t cream.
  • Lean loaf: Choose whole wheat, pita bread, or a wrap instead of starchy ciabatta or focaccia.
  • Go low: Order low-fat mayo and cheese on sandwiches.
  • Twist it: Eat a handful of pretzel sticks instead of dry-roasted peanuts.
  • Steam ahead: Use plain water to boil or steam your vegetables rather than sauteing them with butter or oil.
  • Wrap light: Make a burrito with fat-free beans and low-fat cheese; hold the guacamole.
  • Grill it: Grill your sandwich with nonstick cooking spray instead of oil or butter.
  • Mad about salad: Choose a low-cal, high-iron green salad made with spinach instead of a mayo-loaded pasta salad.
  • Go nuts: Spread just one tablespoon of reduced-fat peanut butter instead of two on your sandwich.
  • Mayo no-no: Eat a sliced-turkey sandwich instead of a chicken-salad sandwich.

Snacks

  • Crunch on carrots: Eat 15 high-fiber baby carrots instead of a bag of potato chips and get a boost of vitamin C.
  • Energy bar: Choose a cereal bar over a candy bar for a healthier carbo boost.
  • Crunch time: Buy baked chips instead of regular fried ones.
  • Lighten up: Snack on marshmallows rather than a chocolate bar.
  • Pop it: Opt for air-popped popcorn instead of sweetened or buttery popcorn.
  • Party nibbles: Munch raw mushrooms instead of snacking on batter-fried ones.

Dinner

  • Eau, yes! Exchange sugary drinks (lemonade, sweetened iced tea, sodas, fruit punches) for water flavored with lemon juice or herbal teas.
  • Cheers! Have a glass of champagne instead of a jumbo margarita.
  • Go butterless: Skip the butter on bread and rolls.
  • Carbo no: Better still, skip the bread basket altogether.
  • Steam it: Order your side vegetables steamed or grilled.
  • Veggie-load: Halve the meat and double the vegetables atop your pasta tonight.
  • Get high on tomatoes: Choose tomato-based sauces over pesto and over sauces with cream as their base.
  • Garlic fix: Instead of garlic bread, spread butter-free baked garlic cloves on top of French bread.
  • Pizza lover: Choose plain cheese rather than pepperoni.
  • Fish dish: Instead of tartar sauce, squeeze lemon on your fish.
  • Take baked: Skin and bake your chicken or turkey instead of frying.
  • Low-cal spuds: Leave the dollop of sour cream off the mashed potatoes.

Dessert

  • Get fruity: Choose the fruit plate instead of the cheese plate.
  • Go cocoa: Craving chocolate cake? Try nonfat vanilla yogurt with a big squirt of Hershey’s fat-free chocolate syrup instead.
  • Stay small: Satisfy your sweet tooth with one scoop of vanilla ice cream or a small cup of frozen yogurt instead of the triple-dip, double-fudge delight.
  • Have your cake: Eat half a piece instead of a whole piece of chocolate cake.
  • Freeze it: Eat frozen grapes or frozen-juice cubes instead of pie or cake.
  • Top it: Use fresh strawberries instead of strawberry topping on ice cream.

STEP 3: Exercise and activity bursts

To keep your metabolism rewed, choose two or three of the following activities. Aim to do each one for at least ten minutes every day. The more activities you manage to do each day, the more calories you will burn. As you become fitter, push yourself to walk faster, scrub harder, or dance more vigorously, since this will zap up to 30 to 40 percent more calories in the same amount of time. Use our activity guide to figure out what you’re already doing and ways you can squeeze in just a bit more.

BURST INTO ACTION If you want to change your shape double-quick, it helps to add some structured exercise to your week. To inspire you, we’ve developed five calorie-busting workouts that can be done in the gym or at home. Before you exercise, begin with five minutes of walking or marching in place and be sure to stretch all your major muscles before and after exercising.

Power Burst 1: lower-body sculpt (10 minutes)

Do three sets of six reps on each side, i.e., 12 per set.

1. Squat kick

a. Stand with feet hip-width apart, your hands holding five-pound weights on your shoulders, palms facing front. Bend your knees as if sitting down, so your butt and thighs are almost parallel to the floor; push your hips back so your weight is on your heels rather than on the balls of your feet. Knees should be over ankles and calves perpendicular to the ground.

b. As you exhale, squeeze your buttocks and stand. As you do, raise your left leg to the side. At the same time, straighten your arms overhead. Hold your body in an extended position for a second, then lower your arms and your left leg to the start position. Repeat, alternating legs.

2. Lunge pull

a. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, arms bent and hands holding five-pound weights by your sides, palms in.

b. Lunge back with your left leg as you raise both arms in front to hip level. Exhale as you step forward with your left leg to resume the start position, pulling your elbows in behind you and squeezing your shoulders together. Repeat on the opposite side.