The hectic and fast-paced modern world is making it increasingly harder for families to spend quality time together. Unfortunately, this change in how people relate to and function with one another is also under-mining family values. Fortunately, there are several things that you can do to ensure that the bonds that you and your loved ones share remains strong. Following are several tips for planning an incredible family night.
Value Quality Over Quantity
The reality is that family night can happen every night. You do not need a special occasion to spend quality time with your loved ones. People overlook the importance of these gatherings simply because they feel impossible. Most consumers are simply too overwhelmed by their work responsibilities and their living costs to make this a priority. Never underestimate the benefits of prioritizing quality over quantity, especially in this area. You can start by making dinnertime a chance for everyone to come together and update their lives.
When you do, be sure to:
- Have everyone turn off their mobile phones and tablets
- Turn off the television
- Set the mood by formally setting the table
- Give everyone a chance to list out the things they're grateful for and to talk a bit about themselves.
Moments like these will keep you connected and up to date on everything that is going on. This is especially important to do if you have small children in the home. With regular, daily meetings, families can have a clear understanding of how everyone is doing and can offer support and help to those who are most in need of it.
Eliminate Stress And Tensions
Have a running family rule that people are to resolve their problems as soon as they arise. Gossip has no place in these circles and thus, if there are issues that need to be discussed, have the affected parties discuss them directly with each others. While relatives should be allowed to vent from time to time, they should move beyond this to purposeful, meaningful discussions that are action-oriented. This way, no one's feelings get hurt, problems are resolved and everyone can enjoy each other without there being any underlying currents of hurt and distrust.
Keep Things Simple
Do you best to avoid making these ornate affairs. Don't feel as though you need to invest in special, costly linens, floating votive candles or a decorative punch bowl. Make sure instead that the living environment has a comfortable and homey touch. Also, avoid feeling as though you need to take care of everything yourself. Set a date and a time and get everyone together.
Make Food Preparation Easy
Meal preparation is a chore in and of itself. You don't have to spend hours laboring over your oven in order to bring these events together. If you plan on inviting extended relatives for a large group, have everyone bring a dish to share. You can even order in from a local pizza shop and make this an entirely relaxed affair. Your ultimate goal is to make everything as easy and stress-free as possible. When feeding large groups of adult relatives, you can even take up a small collection to cover the costs of catering your next affair.
Down a supermarket aisle, a frazzled mom pushes a cart full of disposable diapers, plastic water bottles, and screaming kids. Being a parent is hard enough. Modern conveniences like big-box stores, prepackaged snacks, and disposable Tupperware seem make life easier. But do they? It's not easy being green. But being a conscientious consumer just might make life simpler in the long run.
As parents, we want the best for our planet because our kids will inherit the earth. The extra effort we take to live more sustainably is our small gift to future generations. Being a conscientious consumer means we think about what we bring into our lives and how we use the items we already have. There are several schools of thought on the subject of minimal living (Project 333, The Minimalists, The KonMari Method, etc.). The main goal in all of these is to intentionally select a small number high-quality items to have in your life and let go of the rest. In this post, we will look at how to live simpler and be a conscientious consumer through: purchasing thoughtfully, minimizing responsibly, and managing resources wisely.
Make thoughtful selections when buying new products. The deliberate curation of durable clothes, kitchenware, and home goods combats the "throw-away culture" of modern society. When objects last longer, less goes to the landfill. When we reduce consumption overall, less stuff is manufactured and less packaging is used.
Even when purchasing thoughtfully, there still comes a time to get rid of stuff. With this simple living principal in mind to "use what you have, and have what you use," think about what you truly need, and let go of the rest. When minimizing clutter, do so responsibly. Try to limit stuff that winds up in a landfill. Remember that someone else may find value in the object your getting rid of. For example, our automatic coffee maker stopped working, and I listed it for free on our local Facebook "trading post." Another mom came and got it because her son liked taking apart and tinkering with appliances. The coffee maker stopped being useful to me, but it still served a purpose for someone else.
Purchased items is only one form of consumption. Consider other resources we use such as transportation, energy, and water. How can individuals and families reduce their consumption of our planets valuable resources?
Making these lifestyle changes into habits isn't easy. Maybe you are already doing many of them. But being a conscientious consumer is better for your family and the environment. As the great Albus Dumbledore said, "There will be a time when we must choose between what is easy and what is right." As for me, I'll take the challenge head on. I want to be the mom chasing my kids around the farmer's market while carrying a reusable bad of fresh, local produce.
Outside of retirement and purchasing a home, there may be no more important financial goal that requires preparation than your children's higher education tuition. While saving for college may seem daunting, planning early and saving thoughtfully can make the goal more attainable for many parents.
Here are four steps that can help along the way:
1. Estimate college costs
Take a realistic look at what higher education costs are likely to be once your child is ready to attend. Even if your son or daughter is still learning to walk, you're able to estimate your college bill. Historically, the cost of college has risen faster than the standard rate of inflation. According to The College Board's Trends in College Pricing 2016 report, the average tuition and fees at public four-year colleges increased at an annual rate that was 3.5 percent beyond the broader inflation rate between 2006 and 2016. Check out free online college savings calculators to estimate tuition and fees at public or private institutions, such as the website SavingforCollege.com.
Use the estimate as a guideline for a conversation with your spouse about how much you'd like to contribute to your child's education. Do you wish for your child to contribute? Will you cover the cost of books, room and board, and extracurricular fees? If you have multiple children, what will your financial strategy be if your children choose different college paths (e.g. private school vs. public, 2-year vs. 4-year, graduate school, etc.)?
2. Start setting money aside as soon as possible
There is no substitute for saving. Your future self - and your child - will thank you for starting early. Craft a habit-forming strategy, such as saving a set amount each month, putting aside a regular bonus or raise, or saving your tax refund. Remind yourself that even a modest amount will make a big difference in tackling your child's tuition.
When you're ready to put your money to work, choose a savings vehicle that is right for your financial situation, risk tolerance and goal amount. One of the most popular options is a 529 plan, which is specifically designed to help families save for higher education. Money invested in a 529 is run by a state or educational institution, although you have a choice of investments. When money is withdrawn for qualified education expenses, no taxes are due on earnings accumulated in the account.
Other tax-advantaged savings options include Uniforms Gifts to Minors Act (UGMA) accounts, Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA) accounts, tax-exempt savings bonds, and Coverdell education savings accounts. There are also taxable account options, allowing you to choose the vehicle that works best for your family.
3. Research financial aid options
It may be difficult to save enough to cover every education expense, particularly for families with multiple children or if you're balancing other financial goals. Scholarships, grants and loans may help you fill potential gaps. The U.S. Department of Education allows you to forecast your family's eligibility for federal student aid before you fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) when your student applies for college. Even if you don't anticipate needing federal aid, completing a FAFSA may be required if your child wants a work-study job or to qualify for merit-based aid through the institution. Many scholarships are available to high schoolers of all grades, so encourage your child to research local opportunities.
4. Revise your savings plan as your child ages
Periodically revisit your strategy, to make sure it's on track to meet your financial goals. Remember, you can re-prioritize and save more as college move-in day approaches. As your child ages, bring him or her into the conversation. Discuss the level of support you will provide. Help your child consider various career paths and higher education options, evaluating them to see if they are realistic and within your budget. While other factors will play a role in determining the school that is the best fit for each student, it is important to factor in the cost as one of those considerations.
While Higher Education may not turn out to be the right choice for everyone, being as prepared as possible when that time comes will help ease the financial obligations. Overcoming the challenge of paying for higher education starts with a plan. Understanding the real costs of college tuition and fees helps you craft an effective strategy to reach your financial goal.
Children, like seasons, should be enjoyed in the moment. Isn't it funny how fast time seems to go by? With kids, it seems like we just keep waiting for them to do the next thing, like going from a baby to a toddler, from playing in the park to playing in the schoolyard. The seasons seem to follow this same pattern. We keep waiting for the next holiday season to roll around before we've even enjoyed this one! I refuse to be pulled into this. I want to enjoy each stage and each season while I'm in it.
We start seeing commercials on TV in September for Christmas tree lights! We have the two major holidays of Halloween and Thanksgiving in between there before Christmas rolls around. I absolutely love the fall season and I am going to continue to enjoy it without thinking about Christmas. I'm going to enjoy the colors, the smells, and the beautiful changes of each season while it's here, without thinking about the next holiday coming up.
Similarly, when you have a baby and you're sitting in the dark silence of the night, you're waiting for the time when he sleeps through the night. Once that happens, you're waiting for him to crawl, then to walk. Stop, though, and take a moment to enjoy each one of those stages of his life. It doesn't seem like the middle of the night crying or exhaustion would leave much for you to appreciate, but you will never be that close to your baby again. It's just you and him. Nothing else in the world matters but that. Enjoy that time. Very soon, you will be just a part of their world, not their entire world. Hug him, love him, and appreciate those quiet (and loud) moments between just the two of you. Keep doing that through every single stage. Enjoy each and every season of his life for what it is.
To me, it seems like the holiday season is a lot like children going from your arms to going to school; it seems like it happens so quickly! Take the time to appreciate each and every step. Try not to rush it along or let it pass you by while you wait for the next milestone. I liken the long, cold, dark stretch of winter between Christmas and Memorial Day to the adolescent stage of kids. If any of you have had teens, I think you'll know why. That time seems like it will never end! Have faith; just like the seasons this, too, will pass and continue on as it has forever. Try not to rush it along; work to create some of those moments that you will want to remember for years to come. This season is just as important, if not more so, than any other.
Celebrate it with them and enjoy the moments because this season, too, will pass.
Those who don't enjoy cooking find it a chore or too challenging. One reason may be they are intimidated by the recipe. The list of ingredients and/or the actual instructions may be lengthy.
To start, browse through the recipe from beginning to end. While it may appear long, the list of ingredients frequently itemizes very common items like butter, cooking oil, salt, pepper, various spices, etc. The instructions may look complicated but, again, simply detail basic procedures like setting the correct stove top or oven temperature are detailed. Get familiar with the methods or processes and get a feel for how easy or difficult they may be based on your abilities. You want to be comfortable and try to cook the dish or you may pass for feel of the dish not coming out just right. If you're uncomfortable, try cooking it just for yourself and experiment/practice your skills. Even the best chefs have burned toast or cooked a hard boil egg to long... so to speak. Remember, recipes are used by the best cooks around the world.
Now that you've read through the recipe, you know what's involved and the ingredients you'll need. You want to have all the ingredients when you start. It will be very frustrating to start cooking and run out of something simple. You'll lose your enthusiasm and interest.
Next step... prepare the ingredients.
Make sure you have the right ingredients... and the correct quantities. While you can generally substitute Dijon mustard for spicy brown mustard, you can't use dry mustard. You don't want to find out you need 3 cups of chicken broth when you only have a half a cup. As you get more experience with cooking, you'll learn how easy it can be to substitute and/or adjust quantities.
Now... make sure you have the right cookware and utensils.
Most recipes will call for a specific type of pot or pan, but rarely is it "exotic" and not something you already have in your kitchen. Basic large spoons, ladles, tongs and "flippers" usually cover what you need. A tip... if you're using "non-stick" or enamel coated pots and pans make sure you use wooden rubber type utensils so you don't scratch the coated surfaces.
Some time ago I decided that if you have to do something several times a day, why not make it a hobby and enjoy it. Cooking can be fun and give you a sense of accomplishment... not to mention a very enjoyable meal for your family or friends.
Mobile phones, tabs, PSPs and laptops - the average toddler has most likely logged in hundreds of hours on digital technologies before they are even admitted into play-schools. The presence of these accessible digital technologies in turn has transformed traditional parenting methodologies.
Digital technologies today do provide parents with certain advantages like entertainment on the go or simply to keep track of their toddlers. However, the downside is parents are making more decisions, having to research a lot more, make new rules with their children because of this.
When new Mothers first became pregnant even 15 years ago, there weren't so many online forums or websites to refer to. To them, pregnancy meant, delving into an entirely new world of motherhood. Traditional mediums of information like buying a copy of "What to Expect When You Are Expecting" or notching it up with reading articles on Baby Centre online was the furthest she went. Best advice and suggestions always came from family and friends.
An expectant Mother may have had no idea that there were this many facets to a pregnancy, or raising kids and so many people debating possibilities on so many multiple parenting ways. A friend told me, "If I screwed up, there wasn't a stranger with an iPhone nearby to snap a picture and write "An Open Letter to the Mom Who (Insert Screw-Up Here)" and post it on Facebook to go viral. I couldn't go online and discover that a large number of moms or doctors felt that whatever method of sleep-training I used (or didn't) was going to leave my children socially isolated and unable to love for the rest of their lives."
Today, many parents are using digital platforms as a babysitter. Alexis Lauricella, a researcher at the Center on Media and Human Development at Northwestern University in Illinois says, "We felt like we kept seeing iPads at every restaurant we went out to with every young child. We wondered: Was that really the case? Are parents just forking over an iPad to keep kids quiet?"
This helped Alexis Lauricella and colleagues to launch a research in which they survey approximately 2,300 parents on both traditional and digital parenting.
According to the survey, almost 70% of the parents reported that digital aides like smartphones and tablets did not make the job of parenting any simpler. What most parents tend to do is to use the gadgets towards creating a temporary distraction or even to appease an upset child. More often than not, access to these devices and digital platforms could be a reward for good behavior too.
However, with constant access, parents are making many more decisions than one would have made even 10 years ago during traditional parenting days.
Lauricella says, "There really are a lot more options, which means parents have to dig into them a little bit more. Growing up, we had a PBS station - and that's basically what my parents considered good television, and that's what we were allowed to watch. It's not that easy anymore."
Holistic medicine is intended to focus on a person's whole being. This provides a more all-inclusive approach to healing and focuses on spiritual, mental, emotional and physical wellness. The ability to focus on multiple areas makes it possible to diagnose the root cause of an illness or other complaint and aims to eliminate this illness by promoting healthy living.
Here are a few of the top reasons to use holistic medicine:
Treats the entire body
A major benefit of holistic medicine is the ability to treat the entire body. A traditional doctor will focus their attention on treating a particular condition, disease, or problem, while alternative medicine like holistic will take a different approach and make sure the entire body is fully functional. Doctors in this area appreciate the body as a whole and it must be working in complete harmony to ease a condition or disease. This is why the holistic approach looks to focus on not only the physical body, but also the spiritual, mental and emotional aspects.
More time with a doctor
A typical complaint with visiting a traditional health center is the short amount of time spent talking to their doctor. But, this is completely different with the alternative doctors who have a vested interest in finding out useful information related to a patient's emotional well-being, as well as other complaints they may have to disclose. This means every patient gets a full one-on-one consultation with the time to fully explain their problems.
Focus on preventing diseases
Holistic medicine has a preventative focus and takes several different approaches to prevent a condition or disease taking hold in the first place. Many of these patients visiting their doctor are likely to make an appointment when they are sick and in need of treatment and also when they are well with no issues with their health. This means it is possible to create a health care plan that is practical for both disease prevention and continued well-being.
Treatment involves natural care
Instead of taking over-the-counter or prescription medication, the holistic approach is a lot more focused on taking natural medication, herbs and supplements. This can also include a fully detoxification program to increase the body's ability to complete purge all toxins. A regular detox is great to fully balance a person's well-being. Exercise and nutrition are further key elements of this treatment approach. Meditation is a useful technique to help patient's suffering with episodes of stress and other emotional issues.
Organic gardening is very popular these days but many people are afraid to dip their toes into it. The thought of starting a garden can be intimidating for many people, due to the fact that it is not something a lot of people are familiar with, and it does seem complicated. Read through this article and you can gain better insight on what it takes to start and grow your own organic garden; it's not as hard as it may seem.
Avoid rose mildew. This fungus affects many types of roses, especially in wet weather, when days are warm and nights are cold. Small gray or white spots will appear on the plant, forming a felt-like down. Shoot tips are killed and buds fail to open. Don't plant roses close together - they need good air circulation to avoid mildew. Spray any affected plants with fungicidal soap.
Key to any garden activity is using the right tools. While having a shovel is essential, so are other tools that work best with your garden size. For smaller gardens, short handled tools work best, for larger gardens longer handled hoes and spades work better. Make sure you keep a sharp edge on your tools for easier work.
You can test the viability of your seeds by soaking them overnight. Drop them into a container of water and keep them in a dark place for a day. Check the location of the seeds. If they sank to the bottom, they are usable. If they float the top, they may be dead.
Add some earthworms into your garden soil. Earthworms are great in tunneling and loosening up the soil, giving the roots of your plants plenty of air space. They help make soil that is rich in nutrients by breaking down dead plant materials. Earthworms are a much better solution for your garden than commercial fertilizers.
There are several all-natural ways to keep pests out of your garden, including certain plants. Slugs who want to enter a vegetable garden, for example, can be repelled by a simple border of marigolds and onions. Wood ash used as mulch helps repel pests as well when around shrubs and trees. These methods are environmentally-friendly and mean you do not have to resort to harsh chemicals.
Once you understand and begin utilizing the tips you have read, the thought of working on your own organic garden should not seem intimidating at all. It is relatively easy to have an organic garden, that you can show off with pride. Soon you can have fresh, environmentally-friendly fruits and vegetables on your table.
There are many simple ways to improve your life and manifest wealth and abundance. At this very moment, people from all over the world are creating mass amounts of money and living the most abundant lives imaginable.
Applying simple things into your life such as: The law of attraction, mindset techniques, visualization and even subliminal messaging are ways that you can begin to improve your life quickly.
We were not taught in school how to use the Law Of Attraction or even what it was. We have everything we need to be wealthy and abundant, but we have not learned how to use our minds for manifesting our dream life.
Our culture now has been introduced to the easiest method of self - transformation which is highly effective - This method uses subliminal videos and mp3's. These are a very popular choice because of its simplicity. Imagine having to watch videos or listen to sound waves for a variety of needs - How simple is that?
Our minds are the only tool we have ever needed in order to achieve success and manifest abundance, but we often need to work with someone who can teach us how to use our minds for our greatest good.
We sometimes come across people who have such a positive outlook on life and wish that we could be that happy. Well, is not hard to do once you have learned how to alter your mind - set.
Many people are held back because they think that something is too hard to do, or they fear the unknown, they are afraid of change.
Change is great! - being stagnant, not so much.
I used to hope and wish until I realized that wishing and hoping for something does not provide results. So, I turned to my inner wisdom and used the Law Of Attraction, meditation, and an assortment of methods that completely turned my life around.
My change took a bit of time, but I stuck with the process of learning and found out how simple it really is to manifest abundance and live a fantastic life.
You need to know that everything you want and need in your life is so close. You only need to learn how to use your mind for improving your life. You can even begin today, because wishing and hoping will only disappoint you in the long run.
Our lives were not meant to be stressed-out, our bank accounts were not meant to be empty, our minds were not meant to go un-used.
Learn to use your mind for a wealthy and abundant life now, because you deserve it.
The idea of Restorative Yoga is to allow the release of any tension existing in the body with the help of props and longer holding of poses. While other types of yoga, such as Ashtanga, are more centered around heat building sequences, restorative aims to replenish the mind and body through slow and simple postures. The holding of the poses typically last longer than a normal pose in a vinyasa based class, lasting around 5 minutes.
Restorative yoga is meant to do exactly that; restore through aligning the mental and psychical through the practice of stillness. This type of yoga is different but appealing because the intention is to be more aware of the mindful state and less on the psychical. The energy that is usually expended in a "flow" class is utilized in a restorative class to focus the mind on letting go of any tension or stress anywhere in the body. The intention of a restorative class is to offer a more healing type of relaxation that is usually overshadowed in a more dynamic yoga style. The breath is meant to be deeper which soothes the nervous system and cultivates more self-awareness.
A lot of times (like most things in life) we think we have to push to the extreme with the "no pain, no gain" mentality. Restorative yoga brings more of the connectedness and mindfulness to the present moment and can be practiced by anyone, especially for someone who is recovering from an injury or high-stress environment. It also brings specific attention to any area in the body where you may be holding tension and are not aware such as the jaw, wrists and belly. Props used in a restorative class can include: blocks, bolsters, straps, blankets and pillows. Blocks can be used under the legs to release any tension that may arise in a bound angle pose while using a strap around the torso and tops of the feet. A block can also be placed under the lower back in a legs up the wall pose to allow for a release in the sacrum.
Restorative yoga invites you to be your own guide and be gentle with yourself through slow, mindful movement and breath. In the fast paced environment we live in today, having a relaxing practice is essential in finding a balance of mind, body and spirit.
5 Restorative Poses for Relaxation:
1). Child's Pose
2). Reclined Bound Angle
3). Supine Pigeon
Practice these poses and you too can unlock the relaxing that is inside. Peace, beauty and a happier self is just waiting.
It can feel extra challenging to be optimistic these days, or maybe it's always been this way, but everywhere we turn someone is suffering, fighting or hurting someone else. Even if it's something as simple as a hurtful comment on social media, a case of road rage on your morning commute, or fear-mongering by a local news outlet, your children are often witnessing these moments in time and observing the reaction of their parents. It's easy to get sucked into the negativity, but you don't have to. Raise your children to be optimistic by teaching them how to look on the bright side of things, because positive children are happier in life and more well-adjusted.
Here are just a few things we (try to) impart on our kids daily:
1. Think before you speak. Have you ever noticed how your children mimic the odd negative comments you make? It's quite common for kids to repeat adult talk and day-to-day grumblings. They don't need to hear a running commentary of negative thoughts about the driver in front of you or the colleague at work who wronged you. Vent those stories to your spouse and instead look for positive anecdotes from your day to share with your children. Tell them about something nice you did for a friend or a success story from work and if you catch yourself blurting out something negative, turn it around by putting a more positive twist on it. "I can't believe that person just cut me off... hmm, maybe they have a family emergency to get to."
2. Focus on gratitude and kindness. Encouraging children to volunteer to help those less fortunate, to appreciate what they have, and to be giving and thoughtful to their friends and family will give them a more positive outlook on life. Grateful families talk about what they are thankful for and lead by example.
3. Pause before you react. It can be hard to not swoop in and help your kids when things go sideways for them. Wait to see how they will handle a challenging situation that comes up and instead of providing them with solutions, let children try to solve the issue themselves. It will empower them and give them a sense of optimism if they can sort things out on their own. And when they inevitably do, they will be more optimistic about handling the next challenge that comes their way.
4. Have fun together. Take breaks from everyday stresses and busyness by spending time relaxing with your kids whenever you can fit it in; cuddle on the couch, read a book at the park, cook together, go for a walk in the woods, or try anything else that lets you spend precious moments with them. And most importantly, laugh, be silly and keep things lighthearted. This teaches kids that even on the darkest of days, there's always a blue-sky day on the horizon.
Now keep in mind, these don’t always come naturally or even easy for people sometimes, but the more it’s put into practice the more natural these turn into behaviors.
Being able to achieve the goals you set isn't always easy. This is why it is incredibly important to be able to stay motivated to get what you want in the long term. In today's hectic world, it can be even more challenging to stay focused on reaching your goals. If you are looking for things you can do to help you stay motivated to achieve your goals here are several tips to consider.
Make Sure Your Goals are Yours
One of the most significant challenges in staying motivated and sticking to your goals is making sure that the goals you've set for yourself are ones that you truly want to attain. Often our goals are reflections of what others think we should do, rather than what we truly want to achieve. Make sure you are setting goals for things that make you happy and are ones that you want to accomplish.
Visualize the Results
It is important to clearly visualize the results you want in order to stay motivated in reaching your goals. When you visualize the results, you want to think about how it will feel to reach your goals and what it will look like when you finally achieve them. Visualizing your goals will be what keeps you going through setbacks and challenges.
Tap into Other People's Positive Energy
Surrounding yourself with positive thinkers who emanate positive energy is important to staying motivated in reaching your goals. Humans give and receive energy and inspiration, by surrounding yourself with the positive energy of others you will ensure you are receiving more than you are handing out.
Not only should you organize and declutter your environment, but you should take time to organize your thoughts as well. Having an unorganized mind and environment will quickly zap your motivation and energy. Begin creating a to-do list to keep your thoughts organized and schedule specific times to complete each task.
Stop Worrying About What You Can't Control
When it comes to staying motivated in reaching your goals, it is important to take control of what you can, and stop worrying about what you can't. If you tend to play the "what if" game you will never reach your goals. The best thing you can do is let go of the things you can't control and start focusing on producing quality work.
Staying motivated to reach your goals is something that you can accomplish. Following these tips and keeping your end goal in mind will keep you excited and motivated and allow you to achieve anything you want.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/9882229
Many of us spend our summer soaking up the sun. Kids are out of school, outdoor sports are plenty, and people are enjoying warm weather activities. However, spending a lot of time outside in the elements puts you at risk for dehydration-related concerns. While most people know that water is critical for your health, what you may not know is that water makes up about 55 to 65 percent of your body. Many may be surprised to know that losing only four percent of your body weight — roughly the equivalent of riding a bike for three hours in extreme heat without rehydrating — may cause you to faint.
The following simple tips from Dr. Ralph Holsworth, a board-certified family medicine physician, will help you stay well hydrated this summer:
* Sip with purpose; don’t chug. — When you drink too much water at once, it passes through your system too quickly, failing to go to the kidneys. This can lead to dehydration despite the amount of water you may be drinking. Drinking too much water can also cause cramping, as well as bloating and stomach pains, due to loss of electrolytes. Aim to take a sip of water every 15-20 minutes when you’re playing sports or when it’s hot outside and you should be right on track.
* Aim to drink 3 liters a day. — The age-old 8-glasses-a-day rule doesn’t always suffice in the hot summer months. People should try to drink 12 glasses a day, especially if they are planning on working out, playing sports or spending excessive amounts of time in the sun. A good trick to know if you’re drinking enough water is to keep your urine the color of straw (or transparent yellow).
* Bring water with you. — Spending more time out of the house often means less easy access to water. When you leave for a day at the beach, make sure you throw enough bottles of water in your beach bag to last throughout the day. Keeping a case of water in your car is another way to ensure you’ll always have water on hand.
* Limit sun exposure. — Not shielding yourself properly in the sun causes you to sweat more, which can lead to quicker dehydration. Wearing cotton clothes that are breathable in the heat and a hat that covers your ears will help protect you from potentially dangerous health issues such as heat exhaustion.
Whether you’re an athlete, a weekend warrior or just want to take better care of yourself, staying hydrated is essential to a healthy body, especially during the hot summer months. John Ross, wide receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals, knows a thing or two about the importance of staying hydrated, especially during the summer heat."I push my body to the max every day and sometimes it can get into the 90s during practice," says the recent first-round pick in this year’s NFL draft. "If I’m planning to exercise outside in the heat, I always prioritize two things — sleep and staying hydrated. I always get at least 8 hours of sleep and always have a bottle of water by my side.
A refreshing swim can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol. These are vascular health bonuses for people who are at risk for stroke, the leading cause of disability and the fourth leading cause of death in the United States.
In 2010, 137,000 Americans died of stroke, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“Swimming is a vascular health bonanza,” said David H. Stone, MD, and a member of the Society for Vascular Surgery. “Low-impact swimming provides a total cardiovascular workout. Regular exercise strengthens the heart muscle, resulting in less effort and a decrease in blood pressure.”
One in every three Americans over 20 years old — 74 million Americans — has high blood pressure according to 2010 statistics from the CDC. One in every six American adults has high cholesterol (more than 250 mg/d L). More American women than men have high cholesterol.
To reduce high cholesterol levels, exercise and diet are important factors. The American Council on Exercise suggests that adults burn 2000 calories a week from exercise.
The lack of regular physical activity results in 250,000 deaths annually, according to a 2003 report in the journal Circulation.
As long as the exercise regimen continues, the health benefits remain.
After 12 to 14 weeks of a three- to five-days-a-week exercise regimen of 20 to 60 minutes at an intensity of 60 to 90 percent heart rate, bad (LDL) cholesterol can decrease by up to 20 percent according to Livestrong.com. Another bonus: aerobic exercise can increase good (HDL) cholesterol.
In a 2010 University of Western Australia study, 100 women swimmers, ages 50 to 70, lowered their bad cholesterol and lost more inches in the waist and hips than walkers. Likewise, swimming is easy on the joints and doesn’t result in overheating.
There are non-invasive screening tests that can detect vascular disease.
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