It's never to early too start good habits and to teach kids how important their health is. Part of taking good care of yourself is exercising regularly and since kids are always in the mood for a good story, here are a few to add to your kid's library that portray fitness and staying active as a fun part of life.
Between the encouragement among the contestants and the life-changing before-and-after shots that flash on the screen, there's a reason why The Biggest Loser gets your emotions going. The show is a positive, supportive look at the struggles people face with diet and exercise.
The new book by the show's host Alison Sweeney, The Mommy Diet ($14), is no different — it's chock-full of support and encouragement. The easy read is divided into stages of motherhood, from prepregnancy (such as foods to eat when you are trying to get pregnant) to the life of a busy mom. The actress weighs in on different aspects of pregnancy and postpregnancy body and mind, including fitness, diet, fashion, and romance tips.
Of course, exercise is a big part of her month-by-month plans, and Alison offers useful tips even if you aren't a new mom. If you're looking for advice on how to ramp up or kick-start a workout routine, you may find this book helpful. The actress recommends the old standards — making sure you are active every day, switching out high-fat diets for natural, whole foods, and elimination diets — to help start any regimen, and also offers exercises (fully explained and with some illustrations) and sample meal plans for people at every level of fitness.
But even if you are an old pro, the working mom and fitness fanatic has a few maintenance tips for you as well. Check out a few of her tips after the break!
A new book called The Healthy Home ($14) by father-son duo Dr. Myron Wentz and Dave Wentz is an insightful read that takes you on a tour of the standard home while exposing the health risks prevalent in most homes and in typical family behavior. This book doesn't preach eco-living, but it does advise you with the knowledge and tools you need to lessen the health risks posed by common living conditions. I feel that The Healthy Home is an invaluable reference book that every homeowner should read for their own health and for their family's well-being.
For more information on reducing your exposure to chemicals in the home, check out Everyday Exposures, an interactive website that helps you discover potential hazards room by room.
Known as the Fit Chick around Bicycling Magazine, where she's a regular contributor, Selene outlines, as she calls it, "the sneaky ways cycling takes off pounds." Here are just five of the reasons you should grab a bike and start pedaling.
- Happiness: In her book, Selene cites a small study from Bowling Green State University where biking was shown to improve the mood of the participants. Even though the study only involved 21 participants pedaling for 10 minutes, I wholeheartedly agree with the study's findings. Biking always boosts my spirits.
- Energy: Exercise has been repeatedly shown to increase your energy and reduce fatigue. Biking is a great afternoon pick-me-up, and Yeager suggests biking on your lunch hour if you can. This means you either bike to work, a great way to start your day, or travel with your road bike — hello bike rack.
There are three more reasons so keep on reading.
Let's face it, the human body is fascinating but many of its functions border on disgusting and embarrassing territory. And we all have questions about mystifying bodily functions, and often these are questions we just keep to ourselves. Dr. Roshini Raj teamed up with the executive editor of Health Lisa Lombardi to answer many of our most embarrassing questions in a new book aptly titled What the Yuck.The book, written in question and answer format, begins with the most basic bodily function with the first chapter entitled "The Loo: Potty talk for grown-up girls" and ends with how techy gadgets can wreak havoc on our heath in the sixteenth chapter "Life 3.0: How do you avoid iPad neck? BlackBerry thumb? Download the answers." The chapters in between deal with menstrual cycles, sex, dieting, pregnancy, gynecological exams, male anatomy, and more. All in all, this book is a good read. It's downright entertaining as well as informative. Dr. Raj's answers to the 205 questions that appear on the book are levelheaded, easy to understand, without judgment but certainly contain a dash of humor.
When I flipped to any page in the book, there was a question on almost every page that captured my attention. The questions range from medical queries "I have deep stabbing pains in my breasts. Could it be cancer?" (the answer: highly unlikely) to "How bad is it to sit on a public toilet seat? Could I catch something nasty?" (the answer: there are more germs on the floor of public restrooms than the toilet seat). But the chapter on the health styles of the rich and famous titled "In La La Land" was the most fun to read containing queries about the health risks of bedazzling your vajayjay, a la post-breakup Jennifer Love Hewitt, as well as the high fertility rate of actresses over 40 (IVF and egg donors certainly help).
The next time you're at the library, check out Blind Descent ($17) by James Tabor — it's the kind of book you can't put down. Exploring the fascinating subject of cave diving — aka supercave exploration — Tabor chronicles the insane obsession with this field. The main focus of Blind Descent is on two men — Bill Stone and Alexander Klimchouk. Both men are experts in their field, but opposites in temperament and style. And though their paths are different, they both have the same end goal: find the deepest cave on Earth. Stone's journey leads him to the deadly Cheve Cave in southern Mexico, and Klimchouk takes on Krubera, a glacial cave (think: freezing) in the Republic of Georgia.
To find out why Blind Descent makes Jules Verne's Journey to the Center of the Earth look like child's play, read more
Watching sports on TV inspires me to run. Passing runners on the street when I am on carpool duty makes me want to run. So it should come as no surprise that the printed word on running also makes me want to lace up my sneaks and pound the pavement. After a late night reading session of the new book, Run Like a Mother ($15), I set my alarm to fit in a previously unscheduled early morning run the next day. I thought the authors would be proud. This book is entertaining and fun to read, full of helpful information (which is also good for non-mothers), and inspirational. The ultimate trifecta in a running book.
Authors Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea, friends and coincidentally both collegiate rowers, love to run and have been around the track a few times. From their years of running, these mothers have learned a thing or two about the sport and share many practical tips on the pages of their book. Here are a just a few of my favorite quotes.
- On undies: ". . . moisture-trapping cotton undies under a wicking liner isn't a good call. Unless, of course, you like to end your run at Walgreen's to stock up on yeast-fighting Vagasil."
- On running shoes: "Don't settle on a pair of cheap running shoes; they're the equivalent of sleeping on a rock hard futon. Yes, it works for a night, but a week into it, your bones feel downright geriatric."
Keep reading for more quotes from the book.
Pasternak selected 10 countries with the lowest obesity rates and highest life expectancies and studied what they eat, how they eat it, and how they burn it off. His world diet includes chapters on each country's dietary staples and food philosophies, including Japan, Singapore, Sweden, France, and Israel. The chapters are peppered with tips from each nation, like in Japan there is an emphasis on food presentation as well as flavor. We also learn that Swedes practice lagom, which means "just enough," eating until they are satisfied but not full. We learn that cabbage is popular in both Japan and Sweden and that yogurt is a staple in France as well as Israel.
Harley has taken popular dishes from each country to create the recipe portion of the book as well as a month of meal planning. His diet philosophy centers on the number five: you eat five small meals a day (or three meals and two snacks) to stabilize insulin levels; all meals need to meet the following five nutritional criteria and contain protein, carbs (healthy whole grains of course), fiber (5 to 10 grams in every meal), healthy fats, and a low-calorie, sugar-free beverage. His recipes are simple, using only five main ingredients or less. You can learn about the ins and outs of his diet plan at his website.
I tested a recipe last night, the Chinese 5-Spice Halibut, since it pays tribute to the number five. To see the recipe, just read more
To hear about the fitness section of the Core Performance, read more