• HELP YOUR KIDS PLAY WITH PURPOSE THIS SPRING
  • This entry was posted in Toys on March 15, 2016

  • “Play” and “purpose” don’t get strung together in sentences often, but they should. Active play can nourish social skills, improve focus, and help kids learn how to manage stress from an early age. These aren’t benefits we should take lightly.

    Not all play and not all toys are created equal. Play should be fun, but there are ways to make it beneficial to your child as well. Here are a few of our favorite toys that can help your child develop strength, skills, mental health, and happiness - gifts we’d all love to bestow on our child.

    Rody Horse. This crazy fun toy (that comes in lots of different colors and styles) by Gymnic can help your child develop coordination, balance, and strength. It can also help with the transition between crawling and walking by serving as a pal your kid can lean on while they’re getting comfortable standing and moving on their own.

    Tricycles. Kids love the feeling of independence. Tricycles give them just that – but without the risks! Tricycles, unlike bikes, are very unlikely to tip over and injure your child. Other benefits that come from riding a tricycle? Strength, balance, and coordination – especially in the lower body.

    Balance bikes. Balance bikes help kids develop the confidence they’ll need to eventually ride a bike. Your kid won’t have to worry about falling or balancing – these bikes help them naturally develop skills and strength that will help them in their fitness later down the road. Balance bikes can prep your child for the transition into learning how to ride a bike.

    A different kind of chair. Teach your child the importance of incorporating health and fitness into their everyday life with this alternative chair (also by Gymnic) that encourages concentration, balance, and proper posture. Your child will love sitting in this active chair when drawing, practicing writing, and doing homework.

    Pedal vehicles. Pedal vehicles can help your child develop strong motor skills and independence all while exploring and having a blast outside. Encourage and nourish your little one’s sense of adventure!

    Play with purpose is the best kind of play. By kicking back, getting silly, and trying new things, your child can play in a way that will help them grow into the kind of happy, healthy, and active adult you want them to be. These are crucial years for developing healthy habits and creativity. The kinds of toys you choose for your child can have a significant impact on their skills, coordination, strength, and overall wellness.




  • PLAY OUTSIDE THIS SPRING
  • This entry was posted in Fitness on March 14, 2016

  • Spring and summer are quickly approaching with outdoor walks, flowers, pool parties and lemonade stands in store. April-August is the time of year everyone looks forward to – when only a light cardigan is needed, when spur of the moment leisurely walks down the block are practical, and when popsicles and frozen yogurt cups become our go to after dinner treats.

    Warmer temperatures also mean it’s time to take our workouts outdoors where our bodies can stretch, strengthen, and explore the lovely landscapes the way they were meant to, no longer covered in snow.

    Here are a few of the vast health benefits that come from exercising outside (as long as you’re wearing sunscreen that is!)

    You’re more likely to stick with a routine. Exercising outside is infinitely more entertaining than logging hours on the treadmill. When you can try new trails every day and stroll through streets with lovely historic houses, fitness becomes less about work and more about fun and sightseeing.

    The benefits of exercise will make more of an impact. Being in top-notch shape means less when you’re covered in thick sweaters and scarves than it does when you’re wearing a swimsuit. Warm weather gives you a greater incentive to work out, as we all want to feel confident and attractive around this time of year.

    Vitamin D! Vitamin D, which can help prevent heart attacks, cancer, and depression, is difficult to get. One surefire way is to soak up 10-15 minutes of sunshine a day.

    Nature can ease stress. Did you know that certain spring scents are proven to significantly reduce the stress of everyday life? Studies show these scents can do everything from decrease depression to prevent insomnia.

    Improve creativity and focus. Studies show that exercising outdoors can have positive effects on our brains as well as our bodies. Stuck on a tough problem at work? A quick power walk could be just what you need to relax, strategize, and think outside of the box. Spending time outdoors can put things into perspective and help you see your problems in a new light.

    You might think sundresses and beach chairs when you think of warm weather, but one of the greatest benefits that comes from the changing seasons is the opportunity to exercise in the ultimate environment, away from mundane distractions and stress. Celebrate spring and summer this year by heading outdoors for your exercise. Outdoor fitness can emotionally, physically, and mentally regenerate you, while invoking a spirit of carefree adventure.

    Remember when you were a kid and spring and summer were the best time of year? Recapture that energy and reap outdoor exercise’s many benefits.




  • 5 TOYS THAT HELP WITH FINE AND GROSS MOTOR SKILLS
  • This entry was posted in Toys on March 10, 2016

  • Early childhood is an essential time for developing the physical skills needed to succeed in the world. Let kids be kids, but don’t forget that the toys you choose for them can have a significant impact on the skills they develop.

    Your child's motor skills involve their brain, muscles, and nervous system collaborating to create movement. Small movements like picking things up are fine motor skills. Larger movements like sitting and anything that involves a wider range of motion are called gross motor skills.

     

    Toys can help your kid develop and improve both. Here are five of our favorite toys for helping your child improve his/her fine and gross motor skills and have fun in the process.

     

    Scooter. Moving forward on a scooter requires large motions with your child’s legs. Steering with the handle grips can improve his/her fine motor skills as well. Scooters are a classic for a reason – they’re fun, easy to use, and can give your child a feeling of independence. Plus, you can set up this scooter with zero tools required. That’s a parenting win for sure.

    Balance bike. Bikes not only improve your child’s gross motor skills by working the muscles in his/her legs, but they can improve posture, balance, and coordination as well.

    Trike. Trikes provide the same benefits as bikes at an easier level for younger kids. This Top Trike Air Starlet can help your kid work on their motor skills at their own pace – and the parent lock on this trike ensures they won’t go off exploring without you!

    Hop! Gymnic creates fun fitness tools for improving coordination in kids and adults alike, and Hop is no exception. This gadget, with a soft one piece looped handle for safety, helps your kid work on their balance, strength, and coordination – all while feeling like they’re just playing around.

    Gym rings. These colorful toy rings are ideal for helping your kid with their fine motor skills. They can be used for a variety of activities in and outside the pool.

     

    The types of toys your child plays with matter more than you might think. With a little strategic planning on your part, your kid can enjoy fun toys that also serve a purpose in their development, helping them grow up into strong, fit, and coordinated adults. They’ll thank you!




  • 5 TOYS THAT HELP WITH THE TRANSITION FROM CRAWLING TO WALKING
  • This entry was posted in Toys on March 08, 2016

  • If your child is eight to twelve months old, chances are you’re concerned with when they will start to walk. The first time your child walks is a momentous moment. Be sure to have your camera ready!

    Did you know there are toys and activities you can do with your child (other than merely urging them to walk across the room rather than crawl) that can help smooth and speed up the transition from crawling to walking?

    Improving your child’s balance and coordination is key to helping them learn how to walk. Here are a few toys you can incorporate into their play routine to help them reach this milestone with ease.

    This high quality 6-in-1 trike lets your child face forward or backwards. Trikes help work your kid’s motor skills, strengthen their legs, and give them confidence.

    Pedal cars make children feel self-sufficient, imitating their parents driving them to pre-school or a friend’s house. These toy cars are also great for giving your child the skills he/she needs to transition from crawling to standing up and walking.

    The ideal toy for improving strength in the lower body, Rody Horse Max functions as a cozy animal friend as well as a fitness tool. Your boy or girl will build strength in their legs and improve their balance all while playing with their brightly colored horse pal.

    The Uber-Zoomer allows your child to stand up and move forward with safety and support until they’re ready to venture out on their own. An extended front wheelbase stops the gadget from tipping over, and wide handgrips and footrest tabs ensure maximum safety and fun while your little one is giving walking a try.

    My Activity Ride-On lets your child practice moving in a safe way, helps strengthen their lower body, and even improves their fine motor skills as an added benefit, with fun features to pull and press at the front of the machine.

    It can be helpful to incorporate toys and movements that replicate walking into your child’s play routine, but remember not to rush the transition from crawling to walking. Enjoy each life stage as it comes, take lots of photos, and savor this special time you have with your little one – these are the days you’ll miss in a decade.




  • AT HOME EXERCISES FOR SORE LEGS AND FEET
  • This entry was posted in Fitness on March 02, 2016

  • Sore from an intense workout yesterday? Severe leg pain isn’t something you should try to power through. Give your body a rest day.

    That being said, your rest day shouldn’t be spent glued to the couch. It’s helpful to do low-key versions of the exercises that made you sore. For example, if a five-mile run caused your soreness, go for a 30-minute power walk or slow jog to help ease the pain and enable your muscles to recover faster.

    Another way to recover is stretching. Here are a few of the best stretches you can do to ease leg and foot pain – using only a towel and two chairs. Paired with moderate cardio (which can also help you recover after strength training sessions), you’ll be feeling better in no time.

    Hamstring stretch. Lie flat on your back. Lift your left leg up with a bent knee. Support your knee with a towel, holding on to both sides with your hands. Slowly straighten your knee. Stop or slow down if you start feeling any pain. Continue stretching until the bottom of your foot is facing the ceiling. Hold for 10-15 seconds, and then switch to your right side.

    Quad stretch. Stand up with your feet hip-width apart. Slowly bend your left knee back until your foot is as close to your backside as it can go. Slowly bend it back forward and back to the ground. Repeat 10-15 times, and then switch to your right side.

    Calf stretch. Stand up with your feet hip-width apart with your knees slightly bent. Slowly raise your heels so you’re standing on your toes and hold for five seconds. Lower your heels down and repeat 10-15 times, gradually increasing the time you hold at the top.

    Foot stretch. Sit down in a chair with a small hand towel placed on the floor in front of you. Pick up the towel by scrunching it between your toes – keep your heel planted firmly on the ground. Repeat 10-15 times. If this move is too easy, you can make it more challenging by placing a small weight on one side of the towel.

    Knee stretch. Sit down in a chair with your left leg resting on another chair in front of it. Slowly raise your leg into the air and hold for 10 seconds. Focus on making this happen using only your leg muscles. Repeat 5-10 times, and then switch to your right leg.

    Knowing how to recover is an essential part of working out safely and effectively. Make sure you’re eating healthy protein-packed meals, taking some time to rest, and engaging in mild cardio and stretching on your days off to prevent injury and keep yourself motivated.