For an Amish farmer, there’s no need for an intense fitness class! Harnessing the horses, pushing the plow, walking to and from the fields, and carrying heavy loads keeps them in perfect shape. Traditionally, those who work on a farm are fit. However, due to skyrocketing land prices, more and more Amish have to get a regular factory job (in fact, only 10% of Amish households receive their main income from farming). The health results are evident.
I just spent a month visiting an Amish farm and observing the lifestyle for myself. The early assumption would be that we’d find a healthful community, but the reality is that, in many ways, they aren’t.
Women in this community are usually on the heavier side since they are less intensively active, though they do walk more than the average American woman and are constantly moving around in general. Social activities like canning and quilting keep them busy. Just as in our modern society, those social times always lead to a high consumption of treats and goodies, adding to the expanded waistlines. (more…)
Sleep is important for a number of reasons, but a study has discovered a new one you may not know about. According to research from the University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences (ACES), the amount of sleep you get can impact your kids’ obesity risk.
The study states the amount of sleep parents get is connected to the amount of sleep their children get. The more parents are sleeping, the more children are sleeping, and more child sleep is connected to decreased childhood obesity.
“Parents should make being well rested a family value and a priority,” said Barbara H. Fiese, director of the University of Illinois’ Family Resiliency Center.
“Sleep routines in a family affect all the members of the household, not just children; we know that parents won’t get a good night’s sleep unless and until their preschool children are sleeping.”
It has been shown that not getting enough sleep can lead to moms, dads, and their children gaining weight. (more…)
Amazon has come a long way over the years and has certainly changed the way consumers shop. And with their recent launch of Amazon Fresh, they are slowly attempting to tackle the online grocery shopping industry as well.
For the past five years the service has been available only in Seattle, where Amazon launched the pilot grocery project and tried to work out the kinks. To be fair, this is one of the longest-running tests in tech history. But based on recent reviews about its newest expansions to Los Angeles and San Francisco, it sounds like maybe they should have kept trouble-shooting for a little bit longer.
Father-infant bonding can be a challenging assignment for new dads. The first few weeks of a baby’s life are filled with breastfeeding sessions with mom, making it hard for a new papa to find quality, non-diaper changing time. The playing field levels out over time, and once the baby is a couple months old there are opportunities to find meaningful attachment for both parents.
However, when it comes to extracurricular activities for dads and babies/toddlers, the menu is grossly catered to the mother. Whether it be a mom/baby yoga class, guppy swim lessons, toddler tumbling, or kiddie kitchen training, America is rife with “mommy and me” activities; dads be darned.
Of course, there are certain corners of the country where “daddy and me” classes are offered and flourishing. In fact, NYC Dads Group sponsors boot camps, organizes yoga classes, and schedules meet-ups for other involved dads. In smaller metroplexes—like the Midwest town where I reside—a dad would be hard-pressed to find such a resource.
Creativity, ingenuity, and resourcefulness are traits every father needs to develop, and there are a wealth of pastimes a dad and child can partake in. Our buddy Mark Segedie—fitness trainer for Mamavation and dad to three boys—affirmed the difficulties of paternal bonding but was eager to offer helpful suggestions to make the task easier than managing a bedtime tantrum. (more…)
The calendar has officially declared that fall has arrived, even if the weather is slow to get on board. This cooler season isn’t unlike summer in that it is full of wonderful ways for you and your family to stay active and healthy.
Here are thirteen fun things you can do with your loved ones. We encourage you to try one activity for each week of Autumn.
1. Play at the Pumpkin Patch.
The pumpkin patch is a great way to get off the couch and get some fresh air. Most patches have hay rack rides, petting zoos, and even playgrounds. Get the most out of your time, challenge your kids to find the oddest sized pumpkin, or get some exercise by searching the far end of the patch. There’s lots of fun to be had by all.
Whether you’re at the pumpkin patch or at your grocery store, don’t forget about the other delicious plants growing on the vine. Fall welcomes the season for winter squashes like butternut or acorn. The shapes are fun and the flavors are delicious. Experiment with new tastes with Butternut Squash Fries or Roasted Acorn Squash Salad. (more…)
Let’s be honest. We don’t always have time to squeeze in fitness, even when we plan ahead. If this happens to you more often than you’d care to admit, we have the perfect solution: Try working family time into exercise time—you’ll bond with the people you love while working up a sweat in the process. It’s a win-win!
Get started with one or more of our eight active ideas below:
Focus on food. In summer and fall, pick-your-own farms are abundant and usually involve lots of walking. Make a day of it. This season, apple orchards and pumpkin patches are ripe for the picking!
Look for fun runs. A lot of community races encourage family participation with one-mile fun runs or walks, and they almost always benefit a good cause. (more…)
Make sure to stop and smell the roses and play with the kids.
I think that all too often so many of us get so wrapped up in what we are doing and creating that we forget what’s right in front of us. It’s so important to remember to make sure that we are not so focused on making a living that we forget to make a life. I need this reminder so often that I have a plaque that says it on my entertainment center at home. It’s great to be focused, as long as that focus is also directed to finding balance.
Fromtraveling around the country and hearing thousands of stories about people’s set backs and successes the common denominator between the two was finding that balance. (more…)
When I first started Live Big With Ali Vincent I met Carmen Martinez who wrote into me asking for help. Originally I was just going to spend the day with her and her family to give them some pointers, cook a little, move a little and then part ways. After talking to Carmen and then seeing wow her family reacted to her getting real with her feelings about how she felt, I knew this probably wasn’t going to be the case, I fell in love with the family.
I went to the farmers marketwith the whole family. The kids got to see a variety of new fruits and vegetables and pick out what to get as we talked about the different ways they could prepare each and help their mom out. The girls were thrilled at the idea of helping, and I believe this is where their family turned the corner. For so long Carmen was trying to do everything on her own; by doing this she took away the opportunities for her family to give to her. The Martinezes have not only gone from always having mom watching what she was eating (aka dieting), to planning, cooking and eating healthy food together. They were all getting results and dropping weight where weight needed to be lost.
I wanted to reward them as well as push then to that next level of working together as a family on the road to living a life of health and fitness. So I challenged them to an all-in-one family weight loss challenge.
Parents are always juggling many priorities. However, in times when obesity, diabetes, food allergies, and picky eaters are so prevalent, the most important priority is the health of their families. With everyone’s busy schedules, it’s hard to provide healthy foods all the time and not reach for the wacky mac or frozen pizzas. But it is possible with a bit of planning and organization. Below are my best tips that can help your family get on the right track.
Be Organized! Create a shopping list at the start of the week. Take into account each family member’s food preferences. Make a tentative meal plan early in the week so you can buy all the ingredients you will need in advance. Try to prepare one main meal for everyone so you’re not a short order cook.
Cook Ahead! Pick a day at the beginning of the week that you’ll have available time (hard as it may be!) to prepare and store items in the fridge or freezer. Slice up fruits and vegetables and keep them in the fridge. This will help save time when preparing salads during the week and make grabbing healthy snacks easier. (more…)
In a two-minute spot that aired during Super Bowl XLVII, Dodge Ram highlighted the farmers who are the life blood of our nation.
The spot featured the real men, women, and even youth who “put in 40 hours by noon on Tuesday,” but also sow and harvest the food that we all consume every day.
Paul Harvey narrated the commercial, based on audio of a speech he gave to the Future Farmers of America in 1978.
Farmers markets are an affordable and accessible way to not only provide wholesome fresh foods for your family, but also support local farmers and therefore your local economy.
The spot shared the beautiful scene of a family gathered around the table for dinner, something that can improve a child’s performance at school and give them greater self esteem. A family dinner can reduce in the incidence of obesity, eating disorders, depression, and substance abuse. (more…)
September 21 is the official first day of fall! Once the season begins leaves start to change to beautiful shades of yellow and orange, the weather starts to cool down from the triple digits, and apples and pumpkins begin to fill the market. For these reasons, we think fall is the best season of all with the weather at perfect temperatures and every possible food combination using pumpkin at our fingertips.
As we enter this ideal season, how can families get outside and enjoy it? Fitness expert and CEO of Step It Up with Steph,Stephanie Mansour, shares some of her favorite activities for families to enjoy this fall.
The first family activity is pumpkin picking. Before Halloween, lots of families head to the pumpkin patch to pick out a pumpkin perfect for carving. Stephanie recommends turning the hunt into a workout. “Show your kids how to do squats while holding the pumpkin, or make an obstacle course out of the pumpkins you and your family pick out,” she said. “Have the kids jump over the pumpkins and run around them!”
After your family has picked out the perfect gourd, head home for carving. And after you’ve sculpted your best designs, set the seeds aside and teach your kids how to roast them. Stephanie recommends rinsing the seeds, spreading them out onto a cookie sheet lined with tin foil, sprinkling them with salt, and then baking them in a 400-degree oven for 10 to 20 minutes. This is yet another fall activity that provides a fun and healthy way to bond with your children. (more…)
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