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Entries in healthy living (14)


Mom to Mom: An Unconventional Workout Buddy

When my friend Karen mentioned that she was getting to bed a bit earlier than normal in order to work out in the morning with a pal, I asked her to write about her routine. As you'll see, her workout certainly has a great twist. - Tara

I'm a busy mom with two young children, which is a great excuse to not exercise. It's also the best reason to exercise!  

Our guest columnist has a long-distance workout buddy. Photo by gfpeck on Flickr.After making the decision to get into fighting shape, I called my long-distance friend Darlene Palenica. She agreed to be my accountability partner for my workouts. I knew she would be great since 1) she is my dear friend and 2) she is a kickboxing instructor who is in the best shape of her life. 

But how were we to accomplish this? She lives an hour away, and our schedules rarely match up.  By rising at 6 a.m., before my brood is up and at 'em, I call her. She hops on her stationary bike, and I crank up my treadmill and we chat about everything and nothing until time is up!  

This has been working well, since my excuses for not going to the gym ran the gamut of "I don't have time,"  "I can't find my shoes," or typically, "Maybe tomorrow." The keys to making it work are first of all, making the initial decision to exercise regularly (you know you should!) then, finding someone to help you get into the routine and finally, sticking with it. 

I lost weight without even sacrificing my Christmas cookie platter nibbling! However, to make it all work and have an awesome before and after picture there will indeed be some dietary changes coming. Step by step, it will happen!

Karen Veeder enjoys chocolate but likes her treadmill more in 2012. Casual bystanders are routinely stunned by her cat-like reflexes, a result of regular exercise. She lives with her family in the far western suburbs.


Budget-Friendly Opportunities for Getting Fit in 2012

This post is brought to you by the generosity of Our Savior Aurora Music Together. Classes for the winter "Bell" semester get underway the week of Jan. 9 at 420 W. Downer Place near downtown Aurora. Classes will be held on Monday afternoons, Wednesday mornings, Thursday mornings and Friday afternoons. Come experience the joy of making music as a family! Siblings attend for free. For more info, call teacher Ree Kline at 630-897-5203. She'll be offering free demo classes this Friday at 10 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.

Well, it's officially the New Year, and for many of us, that brings with it a resolution for a healthier lifestyle. That might mean losing weight or eating more fruits and vegetables. Or it might mean making exercise a part of our daily lives. Here are some opportunities in the far western suburbs that could help make that resolution one you keep, with an emphasis on freebies or special deals. Know of more that aren't featured here? Please note them in the comments section!

Photo by Joint Base Lewis McChord.WHEATON: The Wheaton Park District is offering a "New Year's Resolution Fitness Sale" at the Parks Plus Fitness Center. You can save 10 percent off an annual membership, 15 percent off personal training packages and up to 35 percent off annual group fitness flex passes. For more info, call the center at 630-871-6713 or click here.

WHEATON: The Parks Plus Fitness Center in Wheaton is holding a "Fitness Days Open House" on Jan. 7 through Jan. 9. You can try out the fitness facility equipment and amenities complementary during regular scheduled hours. You can utilize the Kidz Kingdom childcare services, as well as try out group fitness classes or personal training sessions. For more info, click here or call 630-510-5127.

LaFOX: FitMama is holding its grand opening ribbon-cutting ceremony on Saturday, Jan. 7, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in downtown LaFox. FitMama is owned by Erin Schaefer, who started a boot camp in May 2011 with a half a dozen local moms in a park in her neighborhood, a group that soon grew to 50 women. Her indoor facility in LaFox is opening this month at 1N254 LaFox Road in Unit E. Schaefer invites you to stop by the grand opening to enjoy refreshments and raffles and meet the team of "Founding FitMamas." She says "bring your family and your New Year's resolutions!" Schaefer lost nearly 100 pounds herself with a personal trainer; she is now a NCSF board certified personal training with more than 1,000 hours of training experience.

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Creating Fun Times During The Dark Dreary Winter Months

Winter officially begins in just over a week. But the sun is already setting shortly after 4 p.m. For those of us who work outside the house, it feels like we leave home when it’s dark and come home when it’s dark. Can you imagine how the little ones must be feeling? The gloomy days seem to get most of us down and the energy levels sure feel really low. How do you keep little hands and minds busy and active when you are cooped up inside?

A late fall picnic in Chicago. Photo by Memorable Jaunts.Well, here is a list of activities you can do inside as well as outside that can keep the energy high and sanity levels in check for both kids and adults alike.

* Bring the outdoors inside: There seem to be no dirth of dry twigs and branches around the yard. Go on a scavenger hunt with the kids and gather some twigs and small branches to bring back inside. Take an old blanket or a sheet and pretend to build a fire with the dry branches. Make it complete with roasted marshmallows and campfire songs for a fun evening. If you have space, put up a small tent in the living room and let the kids sleep in it for a complete outdoor experience.

* Research: If your kids are old enough to play on the computer, take a poll on a country, food item, animal or bird that they have never heard of or seen before and get them to do a mini-project on it. Kids love getting to use the computer like adults do and at the end of this activity, they have learnt something completely new and different. Keep it short to five to seven facts about the topic – don’t make it feel like school!

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Ask the Expert: Camping Under the Night Sky ... By a Warm Firepit and in a Cozy Tent

Last week, guest columnist Karthika Gupta shared with us her tips for how to hike with young children. This week, she urges you to think about camping with your family. 

The word “Camping” often conjures images of picturesque backcountry spots accessible only by foot, carrying your supplies and disconnecting from civilization. You can almost see the isolated tents among tall trees and steep cliffs and food stored in bear-safe containers!

Camping in California's Sequoia National Park. Photo by Memorable Jaunts.While this is very desirable, it is not always practical - especially for families with young children. How much do we carry, how long can we walk, what about food, what about wildlife?

The good news is that you can still experience camping and all the pleasures it has to offer even if you don’t want to do backcountry camping. Instead, go local, camp for a night or two sleeping under the stars in a state park or even in a private campground. You can even camp in your backyard - just promise not to sneak back into the house in the middle of the night to the comfort of your bed! The kids will have a blast and you will come back with a better appreciation of nature. Who knows? You might even get enough confidence in yourself and your family to try the backcountry camping in exotic/picturesque locations.

Camping is a lot more subjective than hiking, but there are some basic things that you will need: 

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Ask the Expert: Hiking & Camping for Families With Kids

Yes, you did read the title of the article correctly – I am talking about hiking and even camping with kids. And I don’t mean teenagers, but young kids, toddlers and even infants.

Hiking in Glacier National Park. Photo by Memorable Jaunts.If you have a sense of adventure and a positive attitude, you can have an enjoyable experience of hiking in forest preserves, state parks and even national parks. Camping is just as easy with a few simple rules and guidelines. You have to prepare a bit more for a camping adventure but the rewards are just as great as a good hike. The objective of this article is to give you basic hiking tips, how to prepare for an outing of this nature and what to pack so that you may try it out and yearn for even more adventure. Look for my camping tips next week.

Hiking - Get Up and Go

Dictionary.com defines the word “hike” as “to walk or march a great distance, especially through rural areas, for pleasure, exercise, military training, or the like.” 

Our family loves it. We love to go for long hikes “for pleasure” in state parks, national parks and even local forest preserves. We love hiking in summer, in winter and even in the rain. We have done short hikes as well as alpine hikes gaining 1,500 feet in elevation. It’s an amazing feeling and our kids have a blast looking for different wildlife, flora and fauna. There is very little you really need to prepare for if you want to hike. If you can walk comfortably, you can hike. That being said, it doesn’t hurt to follow some basic rules and prepare for a great experience.

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