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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Take the Stairway to Fitness

Omg so many variations for the staircase!!

So gona try some =)

Thank you ACE

Without realizing the power of the staircase, millions of people pass by this potential complete gym every day. Offering innovative options for cardiorespiratory, strength/endurance, flexibility and balance gains for injury-free movers, the staircase offers many unique options to make a case for avoiding the elevator or escalator all together.
Following is a list of ideas that may give you a new vision on the stairs that you pass every day, either as separate moves or as an integrated 15-minute workout. Note: For any specific joint issues, please adapt as prudent for your individual needs, including skipping any particular movement sequence.
Each of these cardiorespiratory skills and drills involve moving from the bottom to the top of the stairs. At the top, turn around and walk down to the starting point as quickly and safely as possible and then repeat the entire sequence for a period of three to five minutes.



Set-up: At the bottom of the stairs, facing up
Execution: At a comfortably challenging pace, walk or run the right foot and then the left foot to the first step. Repeat with the right and left foot to the next step. Moving backward, move down one step with the right foot and then the left foot. Repeat this format of “two-up, one down” to the top of the stairs.


Set-up: At the bottom of the stairs, facing up
Execution: At a comfortably challenging pace, walk-run up the stairs, moving up two stairs at a time. When you reach the top, turn around and walk down the stairs normally. Repeat as able for three to five minutes.


Opening Ice Skating
Set-up: At the bottom center of the stairs, facing up
Execution: Step the right foot to the first or second step as far to the right as possible. Step the left foot to the second or third step as far left as possible. Continue to the top in the same “ice skating” movement, weaving the body to the right and left on the ascent.


Closing Ice Skating
Set-up: At the bottom center of the stairs, facing up
Execution: Step the right foot to the first or second step as far to the left as possible, crossing the midline of the body. Step the left foot to the second or third step as far right as possible. Continue to the top in the same “ice skating” way, weaving the body to the right and left on the ascent.


The first three strength/endurance skills and drills involves moving from the bottom to the top of the stairs. At the top, turn around and walk down to the starting point to repeat the entire sequence for a period of three to five minutes.


Push-ups Up
Set-up: At the bottom center of the stairs, face the stairs with your feet together. Place your right hand on a step that is slightly above your chest level, and your left hand slightly below. Lower your chest as you are able toward the stairs.
Execution: Push yourself to the starting position with extended elbows. Lower and repeat twice more. Change hand positions so the left hand starts higher than your chest, and right hand starts lower than your chest, and do three more push-ups. Slowly “crawl” your way to the next step or two up the staircase, walking your feet first and then your hands. Continue for three to five minutes total or until fatigue sets in from plank position.


Crisscross Abduction Squats Moving Left
Set-up: At the bottom center of the stairs, face to the right so the left side of your body faces the stairs. Place your left foot on the first or second stair and squat down.
Execution: Stand and abduct the right hip so the right leg lifts to the side. Place the right foot of your lifted leg on the next step, crossing in front of your left foot. Squat down as you contact the stairs. Maintaining the squat, uncross your legs as you place your left foot on the next step. Repeat from the start of the exercise, moving up the stairs.


Follow the directions for the previous exercise, but begin facing to the left at the bottom center of the stairs. Repeat everything moving upward on the right side of the body.
The following exercises start at the top of the stairs.


Eccentric Triceps Lowering
Set-up: Sit at the top of the stairs and place your fingers over the edge of the first step where you’re sitting.
Execution: Using your triceps, slowly lower yourself toward the next step, flexing your elbows and moving your glutes toward a contact point with the floor. As a progression, keep one foot off of the floor during the lowering. Repeat for three to five minutes or until you reach the bottom of the stairs. If your stairs are short, stand, walk to the top and repeat.



Long Lever Side Plank Balance
Set-up: From the bottom center of the stairs, face the right side with feet together
Execution: Place your left hand, fingers spread, on to a stair that is approximately opposite your hip. Lean to the left, keeping the left shoulder abducted, and abduct the right shoulder, forming a letter “T” with the entire body. Your feet will be stacked on the floor, left side of the left foot against the floor. As a progression, abduct the right hip. Try to hold the position for 30-60 seconds, and repeat facing the left side.


Long Lever Side Plank Balance
Set-up: From the bottom center of the stairs, facing the stairs
Execution: Place your hands shoulder-width apart on the step across from your chest or just below; keep the elbows extended. Place your right foot to the right of your right hand, gently stretching the right glute. Gently extend the spine, pushing the hips toward the stairs, opening the left hip area. As a progression, rotate to the right, abducting the right shoulder perpendicular to your spine. Hold for 30-60 seconds and repeat facing the right side.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

6 Tips for surviving modern parenting

tips tips tips and more tips!

I have developed one....don't worry too much!! Gosh, easy to say hard to do

Thank you treasures

Parenting practices have moved on since we were babies and one of the biggest differences is how much pressure parents put on themselves. Here are some practical tips to help you cope with some of the biggest challenges of parenting today.

It’s a wonder any of us survived.
That can be the conclusion when we look at parenting practices of the past. We all have a family anecdote about something our mums and dads did that we would never dream of doing with our own children. While some of them are gasp-inducing, others are greeted with a chuckle – such as when a friend of mine found a note in his Plunket book about him enjoying ‘meat juice’ at a very (very) young age.
Discussions about parenthood with my mother, or others of her generation, often turn to stories of infants transported in bassinets on the back seats of cars, babies put to sleep on their tummies, children sent out to play bullrush with their neighbourhood chums and kids messing around on trampolines that had – wait for it – exposed springs.
Yes, parenting today is a vastly different beast. And while changes around sleeping and car safety are welcome results of scientific research producing better ways to care for children, many of the differences between now and then boil down to one significant ingredient: pressure, in all its different guises. 

No escape

It starts from day one. Long gone are the times when new mothers were kept in hospital for two weeks following the birth of their baby. New parents in 2015 are now shipped out of hospital wards within hours, or at the most, a few days.
Long gone too are the days when new parents could go off the grid for a few weeks and get to grips with the new addition to their family. Our mothers and fathers could simply take their phone off the hook, but we have a much harder time escaping text messages, emails, social media and Skyping with overseas relatives. 
Even when those messages and enquiries are sent wiSth the best of intentions, the pressure to send a response when you don’t have the energy or enthusiasm to even brush your teeth can be immense.
Solution: Give yourself the gift of time. Send a message to friends (group text or email, facebook update etc) with the basic details of the birth, so everyone knows baby is here and doing well. Then, explain that while you’re really excited to show off your new arrival it will be after a week or so, when Mum, Dad and baby have had time to settle in. Say you’ll be in touch with everyone again when you’re feeling ready for visitors. If anyone does turn up unexpectedly and you’re really not ready to see them, just don’t answer the door. This time is all about you and baby. 

Information overload

Pat Assink, a Community Karitane who has worked with Plunket for 23 years, says today’s unprecedented access to information on the internet can be more hindrance than help.  
“The biggest difference [in parenting] these days is we have ‘Dr Google’” she says. “Women have access to lots of information, which isn’t necessarily a good thing. I find it can confuse [parents] even more. You just don’t know which way to go.” 
If your computer’s search history is one long list of “Is it normal when my child does...” then you probably need to step away from your keyboard. If our parents could muddle through the murky waters of raising kids without a search engine, we can too.
Solution: While styles of parenting may change over time, children don’t. Don’t terrify yourself by scrolling through pages of online diagnoses, talk to your mother, friends or your coffee group about any problems. If it’s really concerning you then see your GP, your Plunket nurse or call Healthline for guidance that is tailored to your child’s situation.

Keeping up with the Joneses

While this isn’t exactly a new concept, the phenomenon as related to parenting has climbed to a whole new level these days.  
One such place this can occur is in the coffee group. While they can be areas of huge support, bonding and reassurance for some mothers, others struggle to chat about the more intimate details of post-birth life and child-rearing with people they met only weeks earlier at their antenatal classes.
While many find such gatherings cathartic, for others they can be a source of stress, as they may feel their baby isn’t ‘keeping up’ with others in the group. 
Pat says it can be a common complaint: “They say ‘My baby’s not doing that and hers is doing that’, so it is a lot of pressure.”
Solution: Coffee groups can be a wonderful source of support, but if you’re not getting that from being part of yours then don’t feel you have to stay. Talk to your Plunket nurse, as she will know the other new mums in your area or you could also check local notices for coffee groups in your neighbourhood. And don’t worry if your wee one isn’t the first to achieve milestones – babies develop at their own rate.

It’s my kid’s party and I'll spend big if I want to

When I was young, birthday parties used to consist of treasure hunts, pass the parcel, pin the tail on the donkey and hide and seek. And that was after we’d sat around a table laden with chips, saveloys and fairy bread. (Refined sugar, carbs and artificial colouring!)
Yet some of the parties you see today are infinitely more sophisticated, as parents participate in what looks like an ever more expensive cycle of one-upmanship. One soiree I heard about recently took place at an exclusive inner-city hotel and sounded more akin to an adults’ cocktail party than a six-year-old’s celebration.
And 2015 saw the introduction of another disturbing birthday party trend – the bill for a no-show.  When five-year-old British boy Alex Nash was sent an invoice for $NZ33 after he chose to spend time with his grandparents rather than attend a birthday party at a local dry ski slope, it made headlines around the world.  The BBC even had its legal team comment on how the money could potentially be recovered by the party’s hosts. (They decided it’s virtually impossible, just in case you were considering sending your own invoice.)
Solution: If you’re feeling stressed about the idea of having to throw your child an extravaganza then just remember that kids can be happy with the simplest treats. There was a reason our childhood memories of birthday parties involved treasure hunts and musical chairs: they were jolly good fun. Go with what you know your child will enjoy and don’t worry about what other parents think. 

It’s all about the money

While we’re talking about invoices, there is, of course, much greater financial pressure facing parents today too.  
In our parents’ day, women often didn’t go back to paid employment after having children, but that’s simply not a choice for many mothers now.  Especially when there’s extra competition for a family’s dollar.  Today’s parents often feel the pressure to part ways with their cash for items that weren’t even a sparkle in their inventors’ eyes 20 or 30 years ago.
Have you heard anybody joke about the amazing present they bought for a child, only to discover they were more interested in the box that toy came in? Sometimes the most basic things can be the greatest source of pleasure. 
Solution: If dollars are tight then toy libraries, TradeMe and hand-me-downs are all inexpensive alternatives. 

Pressure to put on a show

We’re not sure when it happened, but parents are also putting pressure on themselves to be a constant source of entertainment, providing their child’s every waking moment – right from birth – with some sort of stimulating activity.
There will be plenty of grandparents out there shaking their heads in bewilderment at the thought of classes where we ‘learn’ how to play with our kids. Playtime when we were little largely involved being pushed outside and told not to come back in until lunch was on the table. 
Sometimes it seems we can be so busy trying to come up with some new game or activity for our kids to take part in we might actually be missing the opportunity to let them create their own fun.
Solution: Give them the basic tools, then make a cup of tea and sit back and watch them go. Kids have an innate ability to create their own fun if left to their own devices.

So even though we can agree that some parenting practices are better left in the past, perhaps we could all benefit from taking a deep breath, thinking about how our mothers and grandmothers might have done things and trying to keep this parenting lark a bit simpler in this crazy age. 
Parenting may look quite different now, but children are still the same, deep down. You and I didn’t need all the extra bells and whistles to grow up healthy and happy and your kids won’t need them either.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Why your Diet is Causing Constipation

Oh yes, I'm still going through the high's and low's of this. Often I fall back to Alpine tea, which is a natural form of laxative but a naturalpath told me not to depend on it as it will cause my bowel movement muscles to get lazy.


Tips below do help! I have yet to get myself around the 3-2-1 method (3 fruits, 2 litres of water and a serving of prunes)

Thanks ACE

It’s not a topic you probably want to talk about, but if you are constipated, making healthy changes to your diet and lifestyle can help get things moving again.


Constipation is generally defined as having fewer than three bowel movements per week. While it can be caused by something serious such as a bowel obstruction or colon or rectal cancer, other conditions such as diabetes, thyroid disorders and pregnancy can also cause constipation.
Some of the primary risk factors for and causes of constipation include:
  • Age (older adults are more likely to suffer from constipation)
  • Dehydration
  • Low-fiber diet
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Certain medications such as sedatives, narcotics or certain blood pressure-lowering drugs


Fiber and Fluid for the Win
Making lifestyle changes such as eating more fiber, drinking more water and moving more can help alleviate constipation. Most people should start with these three recommendations before seeking other interventions.
When it comes to fiber, aim to eat 25-35 grams per day. The typical American consumes about 12-15 grams of fiber per day, so most of us would benefit from more roughage in our diets. Go slow as you consume more fiber, adding a few more grams per day into your meal plan.
Here are some tips for eating more fiber:
  • Choose brown instead of white rice.
  • Add dried or canned beans to salads, soups and casseroles.
  • Swap juice and canned fruits and vegetables for fresh ones with the skins left on.
  • Bake with whole-wheat flour or other whole grains.
  • Look for the words 100% whole wheat, rye, oats or bran as the first or second ingredient in your bread foods.
When you increase your fiber, you also need to increase your water intake. Aim to drink at least eight cups per day, but you may need more with additional fiber intake. Fluid allows your body to process all of that fiber without gastrointestinal discomfort.

THE 3-2-1 RULE

For people complaining of constipation, the 3-2-1 rule can help. Each day aim to eat three pieces of fruit, drink 2 liters of water and include one serving of either bran or prunes. Bran and prunes are especially helpful in alleviating constipation. Bran helps increase fecal bulk and prunes contain a compound that speeds their transit through your gut.


Mobility for Motility
Sitting down for much of the day can contribute to constipation. Physical activity gets things moving and can help promote more regular bowel movements. Make a point to be active for 30-60 minutes per day.

Friday, November 4, 2016

How to help your body to Manage Cravings (5 tips)

I liked how articles would explain the science behind our feelings. And here is one: Cause of cravings and what we can do to ensure we don't overload the system.

Courtesy from Les Mills

The desire for food is like a swinging pendulum. 
Several times a day the pendulum swings between 
the extremes of hunger on one side and fullness on 
the other. Somewhere in middle of this arch is when 
we care little for food. This passing phase is known 
as satiety – a phase we all aim to make a little less 

The extremes of hunger and fullness are largely controlled by the communications between the brain (the nervous system nestled in your skull) and your ‘second brain’ (where a surprising amount of nerves and grey matter wrap in and around the digestive organs). Known as your enteric nervous system (ENS), this ‘second brain’ shares many of the same characteristics as the brain. There are billions of nerve connections and specialist regions producing their own array of neurotransmitters. However, unlike the brain, these nerves are focused on ensuring you regularly eat and that you digest what you have eaten.
The brain and ENS share many connections, so it’s not surprising that mood and stresses have a powerful impact on gut sensations and appetite control.
What your ENS does to help control hunger
As your stomach shrinks between meals, under the control of the ENS, ghrelin is released. Ghrelin is one of a number of recently discovered hormones produced by the gut that triggers feelings of either hunger or fullness. In the case of ghrelin, the rising levels in the blood trigger the nagging and incessant feelings of hunger. Once food is eaten, the levels of ghrelin in the blood fall rapidly and stay down for the next few hours, before slowing creeping up again.
Like someone constantly knocking on the door, the need to eat gradually passes from mild interruption to an overwhelming demand. It’s at the extreme end of this cycle that we will eat almost anything, with greedy need. Yet very soon this passes to fullness and potentially pain. Again the ENS triggers the sensation of fullness by firstly responding to the stretch sensors that are located on the stomach. These are powerful brakes trying to limit more food being eaten. Without these brakes there is the risk that the rest of the digestive system will be overloaded with excess food to digest. To avoid swamping the system the ENS emits pain signals and acts as a powerful brake on the rate at which the stomach empties into the small intestine. Even to the point of bursting, the ENS only allows the stomach to release a slow trickle of food for further digestion.
In the small intestine, the ENS controls the release of digestive hormones, and an entire lexicon of appetite regulation hormones – these include glucagon-like peptide (GLP), cholecystokinin (CCK), pancreatic polypeptide (PPP) and peptide YY (PYY). Each has a subtle role in helping communicate to the body and brain, not only how much has been eaten but how much protein, fat and carbohydrate was present in the meal. Protein rich meals are more potent stimulators and as a result contribute to longer lasting feelings of fullness and satiety.
The complexities of many nerves and hormones controlling hunger, appetite and satiety are not surprising when you consider how vital food is for survival. This explains why hunger signals are so powerful. Starvation has been a major factor that has shaped human evolution. A stomach-ache from overeating is then just a minor passing inconvenience in comparison to the insistent and overwhelming need to eat for the hungry. 
  1. Eat before you become ravenous
It’s easy to try and skip meals when you’re frantically busy and overwhelmed. It’s only a matter of time before the powerful forces of the gut-brain axis will have you freewheeling towards food – lots of food!
  1. Slow down the rate you eat (and drink water)
A meal consumed at a leisurely pace allows your ENS to manage and control the flow of appetite regulating hormones to maximal benefit. A slow and sustained release of gut hormones will have you feeling fuller and hunger-free for hours. Water has the same effect, by providing bulk and diluting the nutrients in the digestive tract.  
  1. Avoid empty liquid calories
Sugar-sweetened beverages do little to quench hunger or bring on the feelings of fullness. They are just empty calories that have to go somewhere! Alcohol has an even more perverse effect. It stimulates hunger and provides extra calories, one sip at a time. 
  1. Choose healthy proteins
Protein rich foods including beans, legumes, pulses and grains are a glorious blend of bulk and protein. Other healthy protein options including seafood, low fat dairy and eggs also provide sustained appetite controlling benefits.
  1. Make it flavorsome
Herbs and spices have complex and unique actions on appetite regulating hormones. From the fire of chillies to the bite of cinnamon, many herbs and spices have the ability to not only reduce the amount you eat at a meal, buts also make you feel fuller for longer.
Bon appetit.
Professor David Cameron-Smith
Professor David Cameron-Smith is a regular Fit Planet contributor. A transplanted Australian, he obtained a PhD in nutritional biochemistry from Deakin University, and undertook postdoctoral training at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney. His research interests include the importance of nutrition in the maintenance of optimal health in an ageing population, and the impact of nutrition in regulating the function of muscles.
If you want more health and fitness inspiration simply sign up to Fit Planet and get the freshest insights and advice straight to your inbox.   
Photo credit: Dan Gold