Get outside and plant something.
Being outside with plants is good for your mind, body and soul.
Fresh air, exercise and an immeasurable feeling of being whole.
Get outside and plant something.
Being outside with plants is good for your mind, body and soul.
Fresh air, exercise and an immeasurable feeling of being whole.
So far, we’ve been pretty lucky in New England this winter avoiding snow storms and other undesirable weather but for many who like to keep active outdoors with sports, it’s been a bit of a challenge. Without a nice blanket of snow to cover the ground, activities such as snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are out of the question. Yes, I know you can always visit a ski resort which pumps that white stuff out no matter what the temperature is but not everyone wants to pay for expensive tickets. The sky is dark, frigid and often depressing to say the least so what can we do to stay active, healthy and happy until the warmer months arrive?
The state of your health depends on more than just the number read on your scale and demands further attention to maintain a balance for your mind, body and soul. By including some of these suggested pursuits in your weekly agendas, you’ll see fast, positive changes that will support your health when the dreariness of the season gets to you!
We know that’s it’s important to keep our mind just as strong as our body but sometimes we forget and neglect the fact that our brains need to exercise, too! Your local library is the perfect place to begin looking for preferred material that will get your neurological thinking directed in the right place and spinning again like a well oiled machine. Read a great new novel (maybe even join a book club), check out the programs offered and start using that library card of yours! You’ll find a huge assortment of material to devour plus engage within a community that possesses both literary and socializing attributes.
You may not be able to stand the cold long enough to enjoy a long walk in the woods for the next few weeks but there are many movements you can do to keep yourself limber until the sun warms us up again! Five minutes of simple calisthenics everyday will get your blood flowing and you endorphins spiking, plus you can do them anywhere in your home making it hard to make excuses. Think knee bends, sit-ups or jumping jacks to get you started and don’t forget a trip to the mall or grocery store can also promote healthy benefits due to all that walking you’ll be doing while you shop!
Feeding your soul is a lot simpler than most people think… It can be anything that relaxes you such as attending a yoga class, enjoying a favorite hobby or even just listening to music. Don’t over think this to the point where your booking flights to tropical islands because most of the time, all you need is a few minutes to take care of you.
The holiday season is filled with joy, cheer and goodwill to all men and although it is certainly a wonderful time of year, it can all become a stressful one as well. For some people, the scrambling for presents, decorating the house and visiting with relatives resonates agreeably but for others it can prove quite difficult. There’s never enough time to do EVERYTHING on your list and the socialization between those you may not see often can become complicated or downright unpleasant. If you’re the guy or gal who opens their arms to all the chaos that Christmas sends, well then good for you but if you‘re among the masses who need a tiny bit of help dealing with the seasonal “Fa La La” then this blog’s was written for you. Some us need a break, a way to recharge or even just a means of coping with the next few weeks. The first step is to look in the mirror and realize that IT’S OKAY. You’re not a failure if you’re not dying to hang tinsel from your ears or hang mistletoe toe from every bough. Not everyone can be Clark Griswold who manages to turn a rosy cheek when dinners are burned, family gatherings go a blunder or Christmas tree’s go up in flame. The holidays are hard! So if you feel like you may relate to these feelings and are holding out for a few ways to burn through some of your seasonal steam, here’s a couple of ideas to try before the one who melts down is you.
This is probably the number #1 answer to your problems if you suddenly wake up with backaches and headaches once December rolls around. Stress commonly pockets itself throughout the joints of the body leaving it sore, stiff and uncomfortable. By doing even five minutes of stretching in the morning and evening, you’ll release tension and relax your muscles to get a better night’s sleep. It’s a busy time of year but if you can insert a half hour of walking, jogging, biking, swimming, yoga, Pilates or aerobics, you’ll feel the difference almost immediately.
I’m not talking about booking a cruise the day after Christmas but it’s not against the rules to treat yourself to a little holiday treat. Maybe you like aromatic candles, a box of rich chocolates or a quick pedicure at the salon? These services and items are not expensive and can very well lift you up to elevated moods just by taking care of yourself for a bit. For me, I love a great fashion or cooking magazine to soothe over bumps and ripples in my yuletide season!
Sleep deprivation has got to be one of the most typical problems during this time of year and many don’t even realize how terrible it is for behavior, mood and overall demeanor. I realize there’s a ton to do but neglecting rest isn’t the answer. Skip that last aggravating errand that no one is going to care about anyway and lie down on a couch with a good book. Make sure you go to bed a couple of minutes earlier than you usually do and turn off the TV. A continuous healthy cycle of this will make you feel better and not as cranky as you were before.
I was working in the yard over the weekend where I was preparing for the end of fall and the beginning of winter to arrive. I took notice of all the multi colored leaves scattered on the ground as well as the shrubbery bulging with angular branches and although it looked festive it also left a huge mess. You probably know what I’m talking about if you’re from New England and have started similar tasks to get ahead of the frost, which will surely freeze the earth to ice.
I’ve always been well aware of the importance of these chores but what I didn’t realize is the great workout that can be utilized during autumn primping and preening! You’d be surprised by the amount of calories one can burn in only a half hour’s work of outdoor raking, weeding and other relatable undertakings. The bending, stretching and pulling all works crucial muscles and is just as effective as bench pressing in a gym or taking a cardio class. These activities can be ideal for supporting a stronger body and assisting with weight loss efforts in a fun and flexible manner.
If you’re interested in trying this new approach to promoting a healthier and fitter you, try these simple home and garden projects that will get you started! You’re yard won’t be the only one who’ll be looking good this season!
Burning calories is a snap when you pick up a rake because it’s estimated that a person can fire off over 300 in only an hours worth of work. You might want to keep in mind that the process of bagging them will charge up to another 100-200 calories.
Look-it’s just part of the package when you live in the northeast that a few flakes can fall before the official start of winter. In this case, don’t be too upset about it because you can eliminate around 600-700 calories in just less than one hour. If it’s the heavy, wet, stuff, tack on another 100- 150 calories.
You might not think this involves a lot of movement but in reality, holding a pair of shears and snapping away scraggily limbs can do a lot for your physique. Muscles are easily flexed and strengthened during a single half hour of this activity and can leave your arms in a firmer toned state than before.
I’ve mentioned this in other summer blogs but this is so effective, it warrants re-mentioning. Weeding is a wonderful way to give your legs and arms more flexibility as well as exercising fine motor skills. Calories burned in one hour of this chore can equal over 250 and can also stimulate relaxing hormones that will leave you in a happier frame of mind.
I have two boys and happily, they are extremely active kids who love the outdoors. We typically make several visits to places that encourage fostering this relationship with nature and one of those locations is the forest. Hiking has become a favorite pastime for the whole family, which gives us our exercise and allows us to explore stunning woods and everything that grows within it. We talk about the birds we see, the sounds we hear and the plant life that decorates the landscape everywhere from the ground to the trees. It’s extraordinary what you can learn by only taking a thirty-minute walk through a nearby forest, including several different floral varieties that exist in our very own woodlands. Thousands of species sprout wildly every year with some being protected and others just being discovered for the first time by botanists. If you are looking for something fun to do during the next few months of fantastic weather, grab a notebook and write down all of the flowers that you notice along the forest path. If you feel like it, doodle a quick picture so that it will make it easier to identify once you get home and Google what you’ve found. Here is a list of common flora typical to our New England forests and some great places to visit to get you moving on your way. Happy Hiking!
photo credit: www.gardenia.net
Northeast Woodland Flowers
Nightcaps Anemones, Hooked Agrimony, Spreading Purple Aster, White Baneberry, Shrub Yellowroot, Tickseed Sunflower, Sessileleaf Bellwort, Cobbler’s Pegs, Water Lilies
photo credit: www.lookfordiagnosis.com
Recommended Hiking Grounds
Hale (Westwood, MA)
Harold Parker State Forest (North Andover, MA)
Walden Woods (Lincoln, MA)
We’ve been busy pulling weeds, cleaning the beds, adding soil, clearing debris, rebuilding framework, watering, feeding and planting our flower gardens this month anticipating the warmer days that will soon arrive! Pretty soon we’ll be able to watch our efforts flourish under the blue skies of summer, hopefully enjoying the stunning floral display around our houses and within our backyards. Did you know that landscaping property with perennials and annuals actually increase the value of your home? How about the fact that gardening can also foster otherwise threatened animal and inset species (such as bees) to repopulate, therefore benefiting our environment?
If you ever wondered if all the blood sweat and tears was a waste of time, think again…
Gardening is becoming one of the top most beneficial acts deemed by the Environmental Protection Agency to be the fastest effective medicine against the damaging agents of pollution. According to other similar organizations, this hobby is also a major supporter for necessary recycling, while it counters effects issues of plant and wildlife endangerment and even exorbitant energy costs.
Isn’t that something?
Just by spending thirty minutes in the outdoors planting seeds for flowers and vegetables, we can help decrease harmful issues concerning our earth by over 35%! Being deemed one of the most affordable hobbies for typical US families, local agencies are asking those who can to help out and plant a garden this summer. It only takes a bit of soil, seeds, water, sunshine and a little love and care to make a difference in your community so why not get started today!
Other Benefits of Starting Your Own Garden
I’m looking out my window and watching huge, icy snowflakes fall to ground and the only thing I can manage to think of is my longing for the warmer days of summer to return. I miss gardening outdoors, the visits to the beach and the general ability to move about without becoming stuck indoors from yet another snowstorm. This feeling of “Blah” is indescribably hard to shake during this time of year when energy is low and the only thing you really feel like doing is foraging the fridge for food that your not truly hungry for anyways. February is cold. It’s bleak. But most of all, iit’s unbelievable challenging to insert a healthy doses of exercise on a daily basis.
Plus- we’re not alone in the battle to find fun and fit activities. Let’s not forget our kids who have also been trapped in their homes, bouncing off of the walls, desperate to find some sort of activity to channel their vigor. They’re also suffering not being able to freely roam about and are often succumbing to hours upon hours of television and video games. Face it-they’re in the same situation as the rest of us.
Our waistbands are starting to expand and our emotional state is plummeting dramatically so what is the answer to fix this problem? Find ways to simply MOVE! That’s right! I’m not suggesting you start running laps around the house or do a thousand pushups when a blizzard occurs. I’m merely saying that there are little ways that you can to get you and your family up and about again even if you’re stuck in the confinement of your homes. Try these tricks and tips for a happier and more energetic winter snow day!
Children of New England are all excited because the weather is changing, bringing a whole new list of fun outdoor activities! While some parents panic about how to entertain the little ones during the indoor season, others are braving the winter elements to make their own fun. Too often we immediately turn to the expense events with pricey tickets instead of first taking a look in our own backyards. Snowy landscapes make breathtaking views, not to mention a perfect place to explore, learn and enjoy all of the aspects living inside of it. Boston is the perfect place to wander the woods and gain a fresh perspective on what our northeastern region has to offer. Grab your scarves, hats and jackets and get ready for an invigorating season of excitement, exercise and plain old fun!
Skating is by far the most popular sport during the months of January and February around these parts and there’s a good reason why. Ice rinks are not only prevalent within and our city and surrounding areas but the activity requires very little money (if any). There might be a small rental and rink fee but besides that, there is no cost. Check out Patriot’s Place’s new arena if you’re looking for a new site to lace up your skates!
Cross Country Skiing/Snow Shoeing
Before you say cross-country skis and snowshoes are a fortune to invest in, try checking out your local consignment shops, Play-It-Again Sports outlets or even Ebay. You can get a great d eal on used outdoor snow equipment if you just do a little research before making your purchase. If the activity sticks, then decide if brand new equipment is the right choice for you and your family. Once you’ve got your gear in hand, simply open up your back door and get to it!
I love winter hiking because there is so much to see that naturally appears once the branches become dusted with fresh snow. Seasonal wildlife, white-blanketed hills and extraordinary foliage also make perfect portraits for taking snapshots to hang on your wall. Children can start their own nature journal, track paw prints in the snow or even go on a scavenger hunt! Make sure you have a knowledgeable guide and go explore the great outdoors to grasp the beauty gifted to New Englanders.
Backyard Maze Making
For your creative and imaginative kids, this is a fantastic game to keep them entertained for hours on those long chilly days. All they have to do is find some twigs and sticks and design pathways throughout your yard. They can be as simple or as complex as they desire and watch them tackle their own homemade maze with neighbors and friends!
The season of merriment, the season of joy, the season when our pants feel a size too small. Yes the holiday season has arrived, luring us in with decadent dishes and rich cuisine. I mean who can resist the pumpkin pies, the mashed potatoes or the highlight- the beloved turkey? There’s food everywhere and most of us (including myself) find it difficult to resist taste testing a few sugar cookies here and there. Oh, and don’t forget the “stress” issue that comes into play when our relatives are literally driving us towards that extra glass of wine or slab of cake. Yes, according to research, the average Bostonian packs on an extra five to ten pounds during the months of November and December, hence the popular New Year’s resolution promise to get “in shape”.
But here’s my question to you…
Why must we continuously get back on the hamster wheel of holiday diets when there are perfectly good ways to steer clear of your scale’s needle bouncing back and forth? Is it viable that by introducing techniques that are successful in curbing our appetites might we miss that rush to join any gym we can find on January 2nd? I dare to think we have a shot if we follow these tips that will keep us on track without eliminating the holiday season’s tasty treats all together!
Smaller Plates Mean Smaller Consumption
This works particularly well if you’re the one who is hosting the feasts this year because that gives you control of selecting dinnerware. Studies reveal that by serving meals on smaller plates, it gives the illusion that you are eating the same amount of food you would be on regular dishes. It is also documented that people feel more “filled up” when emptying their plate no matter what the size of the dinnerware may be. That means that you can feel equally satisfied while cutting back on unnecessary indulging calories. Portion sizes will be cut in half and you’ll be pleased to know that this compromise will allow you the room you need for a regular sized dessert!
Don’t Forget to Move
Looking back on my favorite holidays that I’ve celebrated, I can’t help but to remember that I was always moving! Talking with Aunt Kay about her summer gardening plans and then offering to help clean the kitchen with grandma, I realized that I was constantly walking from one room to another. What does this mean for our waistlines? It means that I was exercising! Moving about the room is important because it burns calories and helps to digest your food better. You’ll be the hit of the holiday party for your impressive social skills and be able to slip back into those skinny jeans without any problems at all!
It’s that time of year and homeowners are knee deep in their mulching piles. I know this part of our annual landscaping chores is not one of our favorites but there’s no denying the effect of this finisher around driveways, flowerbeds and backyard paths. For a relatively cheap cost, we’re able to create a picture worthy display that will make the perfect summer Eden for you and your family.
photo credit: farmandfleet.com
So why do we crab about mulch? Because it’s heavy! Those wood shavings weigh a ton after the first three wheel barrels and maybe we don’t readily excite about the tube of Bengay we’ll need to smooth out the sores.
But here’s something you might not realize….
There are several tips that will keep you safe from tearing muscles or breaking your back! Professional gardeners and landscapers possess the inside knowledge to keep you well exercised but unharmed from this grueling job. Not only will you evade a trip to the ER but you might even see positive changes for conditioning your body including sculpted legs and arms. See if what the experts say might assist you this spring while you shovel your yard to beauty!
Stretching Before You Start
Stretching before you begin to mulch the yard.
Listen To Your Body
If you start to feel intense pulling in your lower back-stop! This is your body’s way of telling you to take a break before any further damage can occur. After all, the mulch isn’t going anywhere so rest when you need to!