Look To the Western Sky

A blog about single life as a parent & the dreams of a writer by Margo L. Dill

Tag: exercise

4 Reasons Dogs Can Help You Maintain a Healthy Weight

The above photo is of my dog yesterday, staring out the window, and I thought it was funny, so I took the photo. He sat like that for over 10 minutes! I wondered: What is he watching for? So even though this contributed article is mostly about working out with your dog, which I do take him for walks frequently, even on cold days when I would’ve never went out without him, I wanted to show you my funny boxer just sitting. 🙂 Read on for a more active and healthy post though…

Working out is hard, which is why most of us need a partner to help ease the strain. Not only is it less lonely working out with a friend, but it also drives us to be better. When you let yourself down, you’re letting down the person who agreed to train with you in the first place. And the majority of us feel too guilty to let this happen. There’s a problem, though – who wants to be your workout partner? Everyone has commendable intentions, yet they can go by the wayside when it comes to crunch time. So, where are you supposed to turn? Who is going to help when your friends and family won’t? The answer is the family pooch and here’s why.

They’re Reliable

Humans can overthink things. Exercise is the perfect example because we may not really want to do it anyway–or least make ourselves go to the gym at 5am or after a long day at work. As a result, lots of people decide they will skip and then get into a bad routine. Dogs aren’t like people because they always want to leave the house. If they’re cooped up during the day, they need a long walk to blow off steam and release tension. Going for a jog or fast walk together, then, is a perfect compromise.

They’re Aerobic

Running has its advantages, but most aerobic activity is as healthy. In fact, depending on the goal, it can be better for you than a 10K. Let’s look at exercise helping you to lose weight. After the holiday season or one too many takeout sessions, we can feel the weight start to become a problem. To shed the pounds, the body needs to metabolize oxygen, which is a fancy way of saying you need to keep your heart rate down while moving around. Taking the dog for a long walk, instead of going for a run by yourself, is an excellent excuse. Plan the route so that it includes inclines as well as declines for ultimate results.

 

It’s Fun

Part of developing a  healthy exercise routine is finding a way to enjoy the experience. Because exercise can be difficult, it’s not enjoyable one-hundred percent of the time. The good news is that a dog instantly brings fun to the party thanks to their enthusiasm. Throwing a ball and chasing them around is not only a physical activity for you but it makes them wag their tails. Plus, regular dog activities can take place in beautiful locations such as the beach or the park. It’s hard not to enjoy exercise with your best pal as the sun sets over the ocean.

They’re Vacuums

If the above doesn’t appeal to you, then how about this… 😉 Of course, dogs need their own healthy food–whether you decide to buy dog food or make your own.  Any amazing pet review site will provide info on the best products on the market.  Still, your pooch probably likes human food: chicken, green beans, rice, and salmon, of course. Indeed, if dieters (or kids who don’t want their dinner) should “accidentally” drop leftovers on the floor, with your dog around, you may not need to vacuum! It’s a brilliant method of reducing meal sizes and cutting down on your daily calorie intake. I bet you are ready to rush out and get one of these dogs right now, aren’t you?

Do you need a healthy accountability partner? If you own a dog, the perfect solution is right under your nose.

 

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Which Toys Can Help With Physical Development?

contributed article

photo above: Fun with friends. Image source

Living in a digital age puts a lot of pressure on parents to help their children develop safe and effective online skills. Coding is the new hot subject at many schools. Kids seem to know more about the world thanks to the explosion of easy-to-access information out there. But aren’t we forgetting something? All that time spent in front of a screen used to be the time we spent out in the backyard when we were kids. Will the children of today struggle with physical development?

There are plenty of great (better than when we were kids) toys out there that can be used to help your little one physically develop. Most children are naturally active; so if you have something they can ride or kick or throw, they’ll be keen to use it. In fact, many of these toys can help them develop mentally and emotionally as well. For example, a fast-moving ball is heading in a particular direction. Your child has to recognize that and predict where it will end up to reach it in time. In many activities, teamwork plays a big part here, too, helping to develop friendships and cooperation.

 

From the moment they can walk, you can provide a wealth of different toys to help your little one improve their balance. A good trike for a 3-year-old can help a child develop pedaling skills too. Steering needs to be practiced and can be learned by trial and error. What’s really great about kids moving on wheels is the role play that can go with it. As an example, children can become mailmen and bring you a parcel!

Once your children have mastered the art of pedaling and balancing, they might be ready for a proper bicycle. Cycling together is a fun way for the family to spend time together. It keeps you all fit and develops balance well, too. Best of all, it helps to tone every part of the legs!

Trampolines are excellent for developing strong core muscles and leg strength. Recognizing the relationship between effort and result is important here. Bouncing around is a lot of fun for children, and this activity burns a lot of calories too! Bouncing on a Pogo stick requires balance as well as strength and coordination to bounce. Of course, a space hopper might be an easier place to start!

Have you ever used a swingball set? This is tennis for a small place. It can be played with two people or practiced alone. Either way, it can be lots of fun and a great way to spend more time with the kids. Best of all, it hones the hand-eye coordination and builds strength in the arms. To build strength in both arms, a child can play on some monkey-bars or use a climbing frame in the garden. If you’re nervous about your child climbing, layout some play mats underneath.  Toys in the garden that help your child to increase their physical activity can be great for physical development too. You don’t need a lot of room, although you might need to supervise quite closely!

What do you get up to with your kids in the backyard?

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