• Is Your Toddler Hurting Your Back?

    Once your baby passes the 12 month mark and starts walking, your daily routine kicks up a notch. You’ll be chasing your little tyke all over the house, whether you’re a stay-at-home parent or if you pick up the babies from daycare after work.

    All that running around takes a toll on your body—but not as much as picking up your growing darling when she reaches for you from her latest precarious position. Knowing how to lift and chase to protect your spine is vital for preventing back pain from adding to your worries.

    Holding and Picking Up Your Big Baby

    photo credit to Action Baby Carriers You won’t be spending as much time holding your toddler as you did your infant, but you still need to know how to hold him properly so you don’t hurt your back. The risk of back injury increases with added weight, and the rapid surge in your child’s weight and height over the next couple of years will certainly add to any back pain you already deal with; 12-month-olds weigh an average of 20 pounds, and it only goes up from there.

    Consider these ways to hold your toddler to protect your spine:

    • As with any heavy object, lift with your knees instead of your back. Bend at the knees (squat) to pick up your child, don’t bend over. This places strain on your shoulders and goes all the way down the spine.
    • If your child is in your lap and you want to get up with them in your arms, again, use your thigh muscles instead of your back to pull yourself up.
    • If you need to hold your toddler for a long time, try a baby carrier like the one pictured here because it will bear the child’s weight for you.

    Car Seat Mechanics

    When it’s time to get your little buddy out of the backseat, how do you approach it? Have you trained yourself to kneel on the seat rather than bending over your child? That’s right—if you arch your body over your child to unfasten the buckle, you aren’t doing your back any favors. The best way to protect your back with a car seat is to kneel on the side of the seat and use your abs and hip muscles to move forward. By two years old, your child should be in a forward facing car seat like these , making it much easier on your back. Just remember to use your legs to lift your child out.

    Diaper Bags and Working Out

    photo credit to Dr. Abdullah Naser Take advantage of your child’s growth and teach them how to carry their own bags. Getting a fashionable (or favorite themed ) mini backpack can be just the thing to make your toddler feel special while relieving you of the weight of diapers, wipes, and even snacks. (Of course you should always supervise your toddler when they carry anything that could become a hazard.)

    However, the best way to deal with all of it—from lifting to carrying to shouldering bags—is to keep your body in shape, whether you are the primary caregiver or not. When you strengthen your muscles, you can both prevent and recover from injury faster. So it’s not just about good body mechanics—it’s about strong muscles too. Try exercises like these to help you keep up with your little one.

    Has your toddler ever hurt your back?

    From lifting to carrying a diaper bag, keeping your back strong for your toddler is important. You can’t take care of your little guy with a hurt back, so get to strengthening it—and using other muscles—to stay active with him. Check out these other tips for further reading.

    Have you ever injured your back while caring for your child? Or do you know someone who has? We want to hear how it happened and what you did to recover. The more stories our readers share, the better we’ll all be at preventing injuries around our little ones. Leave a comment now!

  • Want to Stay Happy? Try New Things

    photo credit to Marcelo César Augusto Romeo When it comes to your brain, you probably know it’s good to keep it stimulated. Stimulating your mind by reading and doing sudokus keeps it active, leading to better memory retention and sustaining your problem solving skills.

    But there’s more ways to keep your mind agile. Trying new things not only stimulates the brain; it can keep you happy in the face of other mundane facets of life. When you have more fun in life, your brain tends to stay active. And you end up with a higher quality of life.

    photo credit to Olga Reznik Why Failure Is Important

    As humans, we tend to play it safe by doing things we know we’re good at. This is mostly to protect ourselves from the pain of failure. But the reality is—and we all know this—if you don’t start somewhere, you’ll never be good at anything. Blogger Nerd Fitness points out that even masters of skill sets have to start at the beginning, when they don’t know anything.

    If you always avoid the thing that will be more difficult, you’ll never find out if you enjoy something. The truth is that the people who are now skilled in their areas had to fail over and over again—but they kept trying because they enjoyed it so much. Take Thomas Edison . He enjoyed inventing so much that he kept trying, even though legend says he failed 999 times before he came up with a functioning light bulb.

    Having Fun With It

    Now that you know you have to do things you know you’re going to fail at, have fun with it. Pick up a soccer ball for the first time in your life and bounce it off the basement wall. Sure, it might hit a few lamps before it comes back to you, but wasn’t it fun to kick the ball?

    In order to keep our minds agile, we have to have fun. And when you’re a working mom or a busy entrepreneur, having fun isn’t necessarily at the top of the list. Well, it should be—by incorporating new things into your routine. You can try new things while driving, like singing your favorite songs a cappella. You can try new things in the kitchen, like preparing a Moroccan chicken dish. You can even try new things during your usual downtime—instead of winding down from the day by watching TV, try tinkering with broken electronics in the back room. Revisit an old hobby, like painting. The list goes on and on .

    photo credit to Yasser Alghofily Don’t Stay Bored

    Even if you have a busy lifestyle, you can get bored by doing and seeing the same things everyday. This article reminds us that boredom isn’t just a part of life that we have to live with—it can actually lead to depression and affects our mental and emotional health. So to fight boredom and stay agile in our brains, we have to change things up. Get outside the box of your life by joining a fitness or book group, even eating dessert before dinner! These tips are sure to help you fight the boredom that comes with monotony.

    How do you stay young?

    Our day to day existences can be exhausting, and they can get boring. But if you change things up and try new things every once in a while, you’re sure to stay happy long into your twilight years.

    What do you do to stay young? Do you like to take up new hobbies to keep from becoming dissatisfied? We want to hear your thoughts. We always respond to our comments, so to help us get a conversation going, leave a comment now!

  • Make Jogging Fun, and You’ll Lose Weight

    photo credit to LadyDragonflyCC - >;< Do you dread your morning jog or daily trip to the gym? Do you exercise because you know you should, but don’t really look forward to it? Aerobic exercise is necessary for many health reasons, but you don’t have to view it as a chore.

    In fact, one study shows that viewing exercise as a chore means it will take longer to lose weight. The idea is that if you have fun exercising, you view the exercise as the reward and don’t crave junk food after you’re done. The results prove it: in a group of 52 women, half were told to go take a walk and have fun. Those women didn’t reach for candy bars when they got back.

    Thinking of Exercise as Fun

    photo credit to ceiling We’ve all heard the adage “mind over matter.” And when it comes to exercise, it’s true. In the study mentioned above, the group of women who were told to go and enjoy a one-mile course ate far less junk food than the others who viewed the course as a chore—meaning they consumed fewer calories. And that’s all good, but how do you apply this to your life?

    It’s all about developing an inspiring fitness routine. If you want to be inspired to eat better by your daily “sweat sesh” (as this article calls it), then you need to start thinking of it differently. Give it a new name. Call it by the studio or gym name where you work out (“It’s time for me to YMCA it up”). Make an inspiring soundtrack of songs you only listen to when you work out, so you look forward to your groove time. When you make dates with friends, instead of having lunch, make it a walk on the local greenway. Get creative with your new mindset.

    Curbing the Cravings

    photo credit to Team Dalog When you see getting out and moving as fun, you don’t need a reward afterwards. That’s because you view the exercise itself as a reward. And what about exercise isn’t rewarding? Cardio workouts do the following:

    • release endorphins
    • improve circulation
    • keep your brain younger
    • increase bone density
    • heighten self confidence
    • improve heart health
    • increase metabolism
    • decrease appetite
    • improve ability to recover
    • help manage diabetes

    Perhaps reading this list changed your view of working out—once you see how rewarding cardio is for your physical body, it can help you believe that exercise is your reward. If you feel the mood-enhancing effects of endorphins every afternoon, you aren’t going to be looking for a sweet treat to make you feel better. Consuming fewer calories means there are fewer you have to burn each day, ultimately leading to the weight loss you’re looking for.

    What’s fun about your workout?

    The next time you head out to burn calories, try to make sure you’re doing it because you want to, not because you have to. This mindset will carry through the workout and keep you happy when you get home—meaning you won’t reach for a snack this time. Read this article to help you find even more ways to make your workout fun–and keep it that way.

    Do you already have a fun workout routine in place? What do you do in a typical day to make sure your approach to exercise is one of pleasure instead of dread? When you share you ideas and tips, others can get them—meaning your life is improving other lives. That’s a noble goal; leave a comment so it can start happening!