SparkPeople Guest Blogger

Here's the Thing About Getting Older

I don’t know why it feels like such an accomplishment to have stayed alive for half a century, but it does. It really, really does. Recently I hit that milestone 5-0 and with it came a lot of excitement and a lot of reflection. Honestly, it feels like a second adolescence, mercifully minus the angst and acne. Kids practically grown, years of wisdom under my belt, new stage of life—no wonder the people in the AARP commercials are always smiling.

First off, let me just say I don’t think 50 is old. I find age to be subjective. I know some 20-year-olds that act like they’re 85 and vice versa. Currently, I base any age-related issues on my dad. He’s 77 and just went back to grad school because, why not? It seemed like the right thing to do and there's always more to learn. He also walks a couple of miles a day and regularly does pushups. The lesson? Seventy-seven, not old. I watch him and follow his lead.

Much of how an individual handles aging seems to come down to attitude and priorities. As I neared the turning of another decade, I asked myself, “How do I want to age? Kicking and screaming? Gracefully? Call it quits and give up? Or do I try something else entirely?” I’ve seen people go kicking and screaming. It isn’t pretty. Grace has never been my strong suit, so I can’t see myself starting now. Quit and give up seems like a terrible option, which leaves me with something else entirely.

Posted 4/28/2017  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 12 comments   573 views

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9 Things You Should Never EVER Say to Your Husband

Communication is the foundation of any good marriage. When you're with someone day in, day out, for years on end, issues are bound to crop up. If you think a topic warrants a discussion, you should absolutely feel comfortable discussing it with your husband. But when it comes to certain hot-button issues, like friends, weight and the bank account, you might want to tread lightly. From serious to silly, here are nine things you should probably never say to your husband.  

Posted 3/23/2017  6:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 75 comments   1,234,436 views

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Shelli's Journey from ''Shame Yourself Thin'' to Body Acceptance

The size acceptance movement, body positivity movement, fat acceptance movement— call it what you may, it's a movement that continues to create quite a buzz, from the covers of magazines to social media newsfeeds. The movement is about accepting yourself and other people as is, no matter the size of their waist, if they're pear-shaped, their curves or any other physical feature. Sounds like what we teach our kids, right? What could be possibly controversial about acceptance? Hold hands and sing "kum ba yah" around the campfire. Pass the s'mores.

Posted 3/13/2017  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 73 comments   20,654 views

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4 Soothing Stretches for Cold and Flu Relief

When overly tired or stressed out, our immune system becomes less effective and often results in a cold or the flu. Getting sidelined by sickness when you have errands to run, deadlines to meet and mouths to feed is frustrating, to say the least, but finding simple ways to ease some of the aches and pains until you're back on your feet is a relief.

Gentle yoga poses or a restorative yoga class can help by letting your body rest and reduce some of that stress. With these four simple yoga poses, you'll provide light opening for the chest, neck and shoulders to help relieve some of the discomfort often caused by congestion. 

Posted 3/2/2017  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 22 comments   28,317 views

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Release Stress Right at Your Desk With 5 Chair Yoga Moves

You've been sitting at your desk for several hours and you haven't moved. It's you, your computer and your phone for the foreseeable future. Your back starts to ache and your neck feels stiff, so you wiggle in your seat and try to find a better, more comfortable "sitting" position. Nothing seems to work. The ache persists and you spend the rest of the afternoon cursing your uncomfortable chair for turning on you.
 
What you don't realize is that if you took a few minutes out of your day to stretch out with some simple yoga poses, you would be doing your body a great service. Not only can a few targeted poses strengthen your core and spine, but they can also help you in opening up your lungs, activating your breath, focusing your mind, and in fact stretching your entire body without ever fully abandoning your chair.

Posted 2/15/2017  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 25 comments   58,144 views

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Prep Endless Homemade Mason Jar Soups With This Handy Chart

Mason jars are trending—not only for crafts, but also for people who are looking for fun, fresh and fantastic new ways to get or stay healthy. Mason jar salads and Mason jar oatmeal have had their moment, but the latest, greatest meal-prep project is Mason jar soups.

Posted 2/1/2017  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 35 comments   26,830 views

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Feel the Lower-Body Burn With This Quick Circuit Workout

Love it or hate it, leg day or at least spending time flexing those leg muscles is a must for any strength training schedule. Lucky for you, you can get in a mile's worth of steps and a solid all-over leg burn in just 15 quick minutes.

Posted 1/16/2017  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 10 comments   55,437 views

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Walk a Mile & Sculpt Your Arms, Right at Home

Who says you have to bundle up and brave the elements to take a walk? With this multi-tasking session, you can step and sculpt from the comfort of home.

Posted 1/5/2017  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 17 comments   27,928 views

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7 Tips to Boost Your Body Confidence

You've probably heard a lot about the importance of having a good body image or body confidence. After all, who doesn't want to love themselves more and feel more confident in their body?

And it sounds simple enough: love yourself and your body as you are. But how exactly do you do that? Especially if you've struggled with feeling good about your body for years or if you are trying to lose weight? How can you improve your body confidence?

Posted 12/26/2016  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 3 comments   12,263 views

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Start Strength Training After 60 With These Targeted Moves

If you have reached the age of 60 without any aches, pains, health problems or injuries, congratulations! However, the vast majority of the population by this age has had their fair share of challenges, which makes exercising all the more difficult. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that all adults weight train at least two non-consecutive days a week, in addition to regular cardio work. Not only will regular resistance training make you feel like a superhero when you're picking up the grandkids, but you'll also be decreasing your risk of heart disease, decreasing blood pressure and improving cholesterol, among other benefits.  
 
By the time you reach the age of 60, what should your strength-training program include to reap the benefits, though? The weight room can be intimidating for anyone who's never lifted weights, and with so much equipment available, finding the right combination of exercises can be downright confusing. Any resistance training routine should include three elements: Exercises that increase flexibility, increase your strength for all major muscle groups and be selected with care to avoid aggravating past injuries or causing new ones, most importantly. For your first foray into the weight room, keep these 16 moves in mind and get ready to get strong.

Posted 10/27/2016  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 14 comments   81,578 views

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Optimize Your Performance with 9 Athlete-Inspired Moves

Athletes have careers that ride on every performance, game or competition. The majority of these athletes spend their entire lives training for their moment—sacrificing time with family and friends in order to make it to the top, skipping vacations for days in the gym, spending the off season training and perfecting skills in order to be better for when the next season comes around. The elite athlete mindset is focused on being the best. When the difference between gold and silver can be just a fraction of a second, a fierce dedication and attention to detail can give them the advantage.

No matter if you are an avid athlete or a weekend warrior, though, we have that desire to perform at our best in common. It is human nature to want to excel, and it is motivation, determination and the details that gets us to the finish line.

Posted 8/15/2016  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 4 comments   26,224 views

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A 16-Minute Workout You'll Feel All Over Tomorrow Morning

Abdominals, glutes and thighs—we're going after every muscle group on this dynamic and heart-pumping workout. Designed to avoid joint strain and muscular imbalances, this one-mile indoor walk varies your step and pace using simple, low-impact moves to get you sweating. Your core and leg muscles are in for a treat.

Posted 7/27/2016  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 17 comments   68,727 views

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7 Yoga Moves Guaranteed to Target That 6-Pack

The coveted six-pack is here to stay, but before you start doing a bunch of ineffective crunches, there's something you need to know. Aesthetics aside, having a strong core is essential for everything from balance and stability to preventing injury during other activities, according to Harvard Health Publications. Work on your core and you're also working towards better posture, comfort while you twist or lift items, a pain-free back and more.
 
There are four main abdominal muscle groups: The deepest muscle layer, the transversus abdominis, stabilizes your trunk. The internal and external oblique muscles work together to rotate the trunk. The final muscle in the group, the rectus abdominis, draws the ribs down toward the hips to create spinal flexion–and six-pack abs. If you're lean and do a ton of crunches you'll surely develop a six-pack, but crunches alone are not going to stabilize your core.
 
How can you stabilize your core and build killer abs? Three things: clean eating, cardio and smart strength training. With its challenging stabilization poses, yoga is a great place to start. Try these seven poses that target your middle and deliver in all the all the right ways. You'll be feeling these in a hurts-so-good kind of way tomorrow.

Posted 7/5/2016  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 9 comments   73,784 views

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A Guide to Growing Your Own Living Salad Garden

A refreshing summer salad starts with turning a bit of dirt right in your own backyard. There’s nothing more satisfying than a hearty, healthy bowl of greens and veggies handpicked from your own garden or back porch planter box. Whether it's a backyard barbecue at the neighbors, picnic or a perfectly grilled steak in need of a side, summer presents many opportunities to enjoy a fresh salad.

Luckily, the steps to establish your own garden filled with salad ingredients are simple: Use a raised or elevated bed to hold your potting soil. Tuck in baby vegetable plants and make sure they get plenty of sunshine and water. Apply a layer of mulch to the bed to help it retain moisture. Keep the soil nutrient-rich with natural fertilizers and you’ll be on your way to growing bountiful salads in a small amount of space! Follow this helpful infographic to get started today.

Posted 6/6/2016  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 8 comments   15,721 views

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A 30-Minute Barre Workout That Is Easy on the Knees

Barre is an amazing way to strengthen all the muscles in your body, but all those plies can be a killer on the knees. Not anymore. With this knee-friendly routine, you can enjoy the ballet-inspired exercise without the pain. Target your entire body with dynamic moves that will make your muscles shake as you get stronger and stronger.

Grab a set of three to five pound dumbbells, a sturdy chair and maybe even a furry friend for some encouragement, and get to work with this low-impact routine.

Posted 5/23/2016  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 7 comments   67,364 views

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