Moms With A Mission

September 27, 2011


Week #6:  Reduce exposure to chemicals in personal care products.  Search


4 Exercise Myths That Won’t Go Away

September 26, 2011

by Beth Shepard, M.S., ACE-CPT, ACSM-RCEP, Wellcoaches Certified Wellness Coach

The fascinating — and sometimes frustrating — thing about science is that new evidence is constantly unfolding, changing and often disputing what we think we know about exercise. It’s easy to get stuck, holding on tight to what we’ve always done or believed, even when research clearly shows otherwise. Freshen up your fitness knowledge by taking a new look at some old myths:

Myth 1: Stretch first.

Many of us were taught to perform static stretching before a cardiovascular or strength-training workout — it was part of the warm-up and believed to help prevent injuries. Yet, there’s no scientific evidence linking reduced risk of injury or post-workout soreness with a regular stretching routine. Recent studies indicate that pre-event stretching can actually impair performance in sports requiring explosive power, like jumping or sprinting. While flexibility training helps maintain a full range of motion around joints — for optimal results, stretch after your workout.

Myth 2: Don’t let your knees go past your toes while doing a squat or lunge.

Avoiding excessive forward movement of the knee during a squat or lunge is important. However, in everyday activities such as climbing stairs, the knee and torso naturally move forward slightly in parallel with each other for balance — and to propel the body forward and upward. Restricting this movement when performing squats and lunges increases hip stress and could increase the load on your lower back. For more details, read Knee Movement & Proper Form During Lunge Exercises by ACE exercise physiologists Fabio Comana and Pete McCall.

Myth 3: To burn fat, exercise at a lower intensity.

Forget the “fat-burning zone” — just get out there and move. Your body burns both fat and carbohydrate calories to meet the demands of exercise. The proportion of fat or carbohydrate burned in a given workout depends on exercise intensity and duration, but when it comes to weight control, the type of calories burned with exercise doesn’t really matter. If you burn more calories than you consume, you’ll lose weight. If you don’t, you won’t.

Low-to-moderate intensity exercise can be sustained for longer periods than higher-intensity exercise, which burns more calories per minute. Base your exercise intensity on your goals, your fitness level, health status and how it makes you feel. Don’t worry about whether you’re burning fat or carbohydrates. For weight control, the key is to choose an intensity level that makes your exercise program sustainable.

Myth 4: Strength training will make you gain weight.

If you’re concerned about preventing weight gain, strength training is actually something you should be doing. On average, adults who don’t engage in any strength training exercises lose about 4-6 lbs. of muscle tissue per decade, silently chipping away at their resting metabolic rates. Unless caloric intake is also reduced, fat weight tends to increase.

Alternately, regular strength training on the major muscle groups at least twice a week helps prevent loss of muscle tissue, and can even help to restore it. Adults who strength-train at levels recommended for fitness gain about 3 lbs. of muscle weight on average in the first 10-12 weeks, with men gaining slightly more and women gaining slightly less. Greater muscle weight gain is not typical, even with continued training. If you spend hours bodybuilding in the gym each day, then you may put on some additional weight within your genetic limits. But if you’re strength training for fitness, your weight gain should be very modest and could be offset by fat loss.

Moms With A Mission

September 19, 2011

Week #5:  Pesticides are linked to hyperactivity, behavior disorders, learning disabilities, developmental delays and motor dysfunction. Use non-toxic methods to manage pests and weeds.

Exercise: 7 benefits of regular physical activity

September 19, 2011

You know exercise is good for you, but do you know how good? From boosting your mood to improving your sex life, find out how exercise can improve your life.

Want to feel better, have more energy and perhaps even live longer? Look no further than exercise. The health benefits of regular exercise and physical activity are hard to ignore. And the benefits of exercise are yours for the taking, regardless of your age, sex or physical ability. Need more convincing to exercise? Check out these seven ways exercise can improve your life.

No. 1: Exercise controls weight

Exercise can help prevent excess weight gain or help maintain weight loss. When you engage in physical activity, you burn calories. The more intense the activity, the more calories you burn. You don’t need to set aside large chunks of time for exercise to reap weight-loss benefits. If you can’t do an actual workout, get more active throughout the day in simple ways — by taking the stairs instead of the elevator or revving up your household chores.

No. 2: Exercise combats health conditions and diseases

Worried about heart disease? Hoping to prevent high blood pressure? No matter what your current weight, being active boosts high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good,” cholesterol and decreases unhealthy triglycerides. This one-two punch keeps your blood flowing smoothly, which decreases your risk of cardiovascular diseases. In fact, regular physical activity can help you prevent or manage a wide range of health problems and concerns, including stroke, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, depression, certain types of cancer, arthritis and falls.

No. 3: Exercise improves mood

Need an emotional lift? Or need to blow off some steam after a stressful day? A workout at the gym or a brisk 30-minute walk can help. Physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals that may leave you feeling happier and more relaxed. You may also feel better about your appearance and yourself when you exercise regularly, which can boost your confidence and improve your self-esteem.

No. 4: Exercise boosts energy

Winded by grocery shopping or household chores? Regular physical activity can improve your muscle strength and boost your endurance. Exercise and physical activity deliver oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and help your cardiovascular system work more efficiently. And when your heart and lungs work more efficiently, you have more energy to go about your daily chores.

No. 5: Exercise promotes better sleep

Struggling to fall asleep? Or to stay asleep? Regular physical activity can help you fall asleep faster and deepen your sleep. Just don’t exercise too close to bedtime, or you may be too energized to fall asleep.

No. 6: Exercise puts the spark back into your sex life

Do you feel too tired or too out of shape to enjoy physical intimacy? Regular physical activity can leave you feeling energized and looking better, which may have a positive effect on your sex life. But there’s more to it than that. Regular physical activity can lead to enhanced arousal for women. And men who exercise regularly are less likely to have problems with erectile dysfunction than are men who don’t exercise.

No. 7: Exercise can be fun

Exercise and physical activity can be a fun way to spend some time. It gives you a chance to unwind, enjoy the outdoors or simply engage in activities that make you happy. Physical activity can also help you connect with family or friends in a fun social setting. So, take a dance class, hit the hiking trails or join a soccer team. Find a physical activity you enjoy, and just do it. If you get bored, try something new.

The bottom line on exercise

Exercise and physical activity are a great way to feel better, gain health benefits and have fun. As a general goal, aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day. If you want to lose weight or meet specific fitness goals, you may need to exercise more. Remember to check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program, especially if you have any health concerns.

Exercise of the Week

September 15, 2011
Exercise of the Week: Squat with Lateral Raise-Start by standing on the tube with
both feet and cross the tubing in front. Begin the squatting motion with weight in heels
and knees stacked over the ankles. Once this movement has been mastered, add in
the lateral raise with the tubing.
  • Keep core engaged throughout by pulling belly button to spine
  • Squeeze the glutes at the top of the squat while keeping the knees soft
  • Keep the shoulders away from the ears
  • Only lift the arms as high as you can, you don’t have to come up to the shoulders
  • To lessen the intensity, perform the exercise without the tube/resistance.
 Click Here to watch a video of this exercise!
The Prenatal “Why” of his ExerciseThis exercise is great for a prenatal woman because it strengthens the upper and lower body. The multi-tasking this exercise demonstrates creates a stronger mom for when baby comes home.

Moms With A Mission

September 13, 2011


Week #4:  Use baby bottles made of glass or polypropylene plastic.  Two companies who make these safer baby bottles are ThinkBaby and Born Free.

A Decade Later: Talking to Kids About 9/11

September 11, 2011

A Decade Later: Talking to Kids About 9/11

The anniversary of 9/11 is always a painful one: It reminds us of the events of that terrible day, of the thousands of lives lost, of how stunned and vulnerable we felt as the reality of the attacks sank in.

But there’s also the desire to honor the dead, the families who bore the burden of the attack, and the things we stand for as a nation. We celebrate resilience and renewal even as we vow not to forget.

The 10th anniversary, this year, brings those things even more sharply into focus. We’re aware of all the ways we’ve changed and moved on in a decade. And nothing reminds us more viscerally of how much time has passed than our children.

Children who were infants and toddlers the day of the attacks are now middle schoolers. Those who were just old enough to understand what happened are in high school and heading off to college. Kids who were in high school may even have families of their own.

For many younger children, 9/11 isn’t something they lived through but a piece of history, something they learn about in school. That’s why, when we talk to children about the 9/11 anniversary, it’s more important than ever to do it in an age-appropriate way.

As adults, we have our memories and our own relationship to the events of that day; our children probably don’t share them. This isn’t a bad thing, but it’s an opportunity to think about what we want our kids to know, and consider, about this attack on our country, as we each find our way to pay our respects to those who sacrificed the most.

Here are some guidelines for talking to kids about 9/11.

1) Take your cues from your child — each child, individually, if you have more than one. For those old enough to remember the events of 9/11, let them tell you what the anniversary means to them, what they remember and how they feel about participating in any commemoration. Children, and adolescents in particular, often resent being expected to have appropriate feelings on demand.

2) Share, but don’t impose, your feelings. The events and the emotions of that day are still painful to many of us, but you want kids to know that they don’t have to feel the same way. Ten years is a long time, especially in the life and mind of a child, and unless they lost people close to them in the attacks, the memories may not be potent. It’s helpful to them if they don’t feel that you depend on them to perform in a prescribed way.

3) Be age-appropriate. If a child is too young to remember 9/11, consider her age in deciding whether this is a good time for her to learn about it, or learn more about it. Don’t force the issue. But if you see that the time is right, you may want to use the event to invite questions, to take an inventory of what she knows or thinks she knows, and provide more details.

4) Don’t answer questions that aren’t asked. Children as young as first grade are learning about 9/11 in school, as an important part of our history. But there’s no reason to volunteer disturbing or frightening details unless a child has heard them and needs a reality check from you. If he does want to talk about things that are deeply upsetting to you, try to do so calmly, without telegraphing your feelings.

5) Turn off the TV when you need to. Try to avoid exposing children to the intrusive, repetitive TV news coverage, especially the pictures of 9/11 we saw for weeks and months after the event. They can make children feel anxious and stimulate unwanted emotions.

6) Help them feel safe. Kids are egocentric. They want to know “are we safe today?” The answer is yes, we are. Because of 9/11, there is tighter security at the airports and important buildings everywhere. And, finally, we are able to tell our children that the mastermind and many other leaders of al-Qaeda, the hate group that sponsored this attack, have been killed or captured.

7) Focus on resilience. If you go to a memorial, talk to kids in advance about why you’re going, focusing on honoring those who died, and celebrating the resilience of both the nation and the individual families who lost loved ones. We memorialize things out of respect, to demonstrate that we haven’t forgotten their sacrifice, and to stand up for our values and beliefs. We honor those who tried to help those trapped in the towers in the attack and lost their lives as the buildings fell. We honor the many, many people who helped with the search for survivors and the painstaking and painful job of removing the mountain of rubble left by the attacks. Don’t talk about the threat of terrorism and the next terrorist attack.

8) Don’t focus on hatred. Teenagers have a lot of bravado. They tend to be dramatic and extreme, and some may respond to the renewed focus on 9/11 by wanting to lash out against all Arabs or all Muslims. As a parent, say, “I understand that you are angry. But 9/11 happened because of a select few, not an entire population.” Help your child do something positive and active instead. There are a number of great organizations that need support, including Tuesday’s Children, the Wounded Warrior Project and theAmerican Red Cross.

9) Don’t feel that you have only one chance to talk about this. As parents, you always get a “re-do” to talk about difficult things. It’s better to think of tough issues as an ongoing conversation that develops as kids grow and change. If you feel you haven’t gotten it right the first time, give yourself a break and try again later.

Harold S. Koplewicz, M.D. is a leading child and adolescent psychiatrist, a member of the advisory board of Tuesday’s Children, and the president of the Child Mind Institute. For more parenting tips, go to, which also offers a wealth of information on childhood psychiatric and learning disorders.