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Children need to engage in physical activities for strength, coordination, and self-confidence. Exercises are some of the best foundations for a healthy life. There are many opportunities for kids to keep fit during holidays, depending on their interests, age, talents, and personality. It is good to discuss workout ideas that feel right with your kids. As long as the activity is fun to do, kids don’t mind a daily dose. The recommended time for kids’ workouts is at least one hour of moderate activity. Here, we shall highlight some of the most exciting exercises for kids when not going to school.

1. Organized Sports

Most parents consider organized sports only when they feel their kids are not physically fit. But there are many benefits of signing up your child for an organized sport regardless of their fitness level. It is very healthy for a child to participate in games one or two times a week in addition to their usual playing at home. The truth is, you cannot entirely depend on the physical education your child receives at school.

Basketball is a fun game. There are many basketball courts, and all you have to do is make your child turn up, and you will find a coach. Soccer is another favorite sport, especially for little boys. And when the weather is just perfect, take your child for some advanced swimming lessons. To avoid the cold, look for heated indoor swimming pools instead. Children are challenged to swim certain distances as they compete with friends every time they are at the swimming pool. They get to learn new techniques such as front crawl butterfly strokes. This, in turn, improves their cardiovascular fitness.

The other sport for kids that is often overlooked is horse riding. As an isometric activity, it works out certain muscles by making them remain in specific positions. This is how children learn to maintain balance while horseback riding. Apart from working out the core muscles, horse riding keeps the postural muscles in shape. This is a solid foundation for strength training and endurance.

2. Indoor Exercises: Crab Walks and Bear Crawls

Have your little one sit with hands behind and feet in front. Help the kid lift up their hips and ask them to walk like crabs. The activity is fun and hilarious. It targets the arms and core muscles hence increasing their strength. With time, the child will master the movement and move it up a higher notch. To make it more challenging, let the kid try to balance smaller objects placed on the midsection as they move around. This can be a shaker, toilet paper roll, stuffed animals, bags of pretzels, or a bean bag.

Also, let them try bear crawl if they don’t want the crab walk. This is merely walking like a bear. So, the child crawls on their hands, but the knees should not touch the ground. From strengthening the core to building the strength of the limbs, the bear crawl is a full-body workout as it engages every muscle group. Also, it is an excellent way to enhance a kid’s spatial awareness. That is why bear walks are recommended for kids as they maneuver the house rather than walking around. In fact, you can create a holiday-theme in the house and place various items such as gifts, candy, and decorations. Ask your child to bear-crawl towards those items like in a scavenger hunt game. Design competitions after dinner to help them burn calories.

You can also bring a rock climbing adventure into your house. Indoor rock climbing allows kids to start small with a single hand. They develop courage and strength in the process without the risk of outdoor climbing. Climbers use the legs to propel themselves up and then use the arms to power up and reach the target. In the end, it engages a wide range of muscles.

3. Outdoor Activities

A trip outdoors is one of the most extraordinary and exciting things you can do. Think about a vacation that involves camping or exploring a national park. Any outdoor experience is bound to keep your kids active. Make sure the kids have the right gear and that they get enough play on the vacation. When surrounded by nature, you don’t have to try so hard to motivate the kids to be active.

Road activities are more attractive as kids get to see things when moving around. When the weather allows, try road trips with your kids or take on bike riding on a safe lane in the neighborhood. The local park is also a perfect spot. Remember to take your dog along with you. When taking road trips, look for designated areas to stop with access to restrooms and playgrounds. Children often get grumpy after staying in the car for long hours. So every stop should be an opportunity to do some stimulating activities. Allow enough time for the kids to run and jump freely. They usually burn more calories if left to play on their own. Carry a variety of sporting equipment in the boot e.g., jump ropes, hula-hoops, bean bags, and balls.

Take advantage of free athletic fields and playgrounds. You can also go hiking, hit the ski slopes, or try rock climbing. Make sure every family member is participating. Go snowboarding and sledding at nearby ski resorts for a couple of hours. The idea is to stay active together while on the road.

4. Backyard Workouts

Any sunny day should be an exercise day for your kids. Running in the backyard may seem simple, but it could be the best fitness activity. Have the children chase each other in the yard to help them strengthen their bones and muscles. Running assists in maintaining a healthy weight and gives the brain an oxygen boost.

The other backyard activity that can also be performed indoors is squatting. Squats are good for strength and endurance. Bring a stool behind the child as they squat so they can shortly have a seat and stand up quickly. This is known as a hot seat squat. The next exercise that is also a brain booster is skipping. It increases the heart rate and works out the whole body to strengthen the core.

Most exercises for kids are aerobic in nature. Aerobic activities utilize major muscle groups, and they allow metabolism to continue for hours, even after the activity. It is, therefore, important to teach your kids how to alternate intense exercises with moderate or low-intensity activities. Naturally, kids build strong muscles when jumping, running, or playing around. For safety purposes, these programs must be well-designed and supervised.

Family holidays are a great deal. In addition to the excitement that comes with travel, every family should look for activities to keep their kid’s body in good shape. Let the kids know that exercises are a top priority. You never know, your little ones might discover new hobbies to continue throughout the year.

For a long time, I wanted to find an active exercise routine that I can follow. I started asking around to see what people were up to. After a little research, I came across the Couch to 5k program. The idea sounded quite doable, so I decided to give it a try.

Given that I am the kind of person who loves new challenges, this one felt like the perfect place to begin my journey to an active body routine. However, I must admit that mostly I wanted to find out if this would actually work. There are many great testimonies online, and I wanted to find out if it would work just as well for me. Before I let you know how it went, I thought I would begin by defining what the Couch to 5K program is.

What is Couch to 5k?

Josh Clark, a famous runner, wanted to get his 50+-year-old mother started on running as well. He, therefore, developed a weekly running plan. It involves three running days with a day of rest in between and different schedules for every nine weeks.

Preparing for the Couch to 5K

To get started, I downloaded the Couch to 5k podcasts on my phone. You can do this using your computer or laptop as well, but you will need to send the audios to your phone since you will not be running with your computer. Alternatively, getting the Couch to 5K app on your phone is much easier.

Secondly, I planned out my next three months to ensure that nothing would interfere with the Couch to 5k schedule as long it was within my power. After this was clear, I ensured that my route was well-mapped and that I had all the gear I needed to make this work.

The Weekly Schedule

I will break down what happens every week, so you know what to expect.

  • Week 1: I found it quite simple. You will not even feel that much strain. On the schedule is a five-minute brisk walk, then a one-minute run and finally a one-and-a-half-minute walk. This cycle is to be repeated for 20 minutes.
  • Week 2: I started each day’s routine with a five-minute walk, followed by a one-and-a-half-minute run and lastly a two-minute walk. The cycle continues for 20 minutes.
  • Week 3: This is where I started feeling the burn. The schedule includes a five-minute walk with a repetition of a one-and-a-half-minute run and walk, and a three-minute run and walk.
  • Week 4: By week four, I had to say goodbye to a predictable routine. My three days of work out involved a five-minute walk warm-up, a three-minute run, a one-and-a-half-minute walk, a five-minute jog, a two-and-a-half-minute walk, a three-minute run, a one-and-a-half-minute walk and finally a five-minute run.
  • Weeks 5 and 6: These two weeks differ from the rest since each day has a different schedule. Spontaneous people like me will love it.
  • Weeks 7, 8, and 9: The rest of the days only need a five-minute walking warm-up, followed by a 25-minute, a 28-minute, and a 30-minute run for each week.

The Results

The burn was intense, especially when I went out in the first week. This is expected, especially if you are a beginner, and your body is not used to being up and active for 20 or so minutes. I found the rest days effective since they killed the everyday routine boredom, and I had more energy. I felt more cheerful after the exercise.

By the time I was getting to the sixth week, my body was already getting into the flow of running three times a week. I could also see the results in my work and every other aspect of my day. My head felt lighter, my body was more alert, and generally, it felt like finally, I had an active routine that worked. Soon I was looking forward to my running days. I even advised a friend to try it out.

Purpose and Hack It

At the end of the Couch to 5k challenge, I realized that the main thing that got me started was the purpose of doing it. If I wanted the results, then I had to put in the work. The best part is that the challenge keeps you looking forward to a new way of doing it for the first six weeks.

By the seventh week, I was already in the flow, so doing a continuous run was almost an automatic achievement. If you wonder if the Couch to 5k works, I hope my experience helped you see that it does.

So, you have signed up for an event or are just thinking about running your first 5K. But have you any idea about what you can expect? If you are able to plan ahead then you will have a smooth run. While there are some things that you cannot control on the day of the race like the weather and the crowd, there a few things that you can do to make the day worthwhile. In this article, I will take you through 6 tips that will help beat your personal record when running a 5k marathon.

Train on Short Distance and Long-Distance Races

Enough training prepares your body for the race itself. This makes your leg muscles strong and able to withstand any pressure. When tendons and ligaments are in good shape, they are less susceptible to injuries. You can work out in the gym or go bike riding. I tried bike riding in a hilly area and I really enjoyed the experience.

Training over short distances is like warming up your body for the real event. While long-distance training makes you confident you can go the extra mile. Knowing good running technics will save you a great deal. If you want to run faster, run slowly but do so regularly. Learning how to balance this will make you run a longer distance with less time.

Cross-train

This will improve your endurance and oxygen capacity. Try walk, running, and swimming to prepare your body for the race. As the joints become stronger your heartbeat improves also. Strong cardiovascular muscles will keep you going even when you are tired.

Lifting weights is also a great way to strengthen ligaments and joints. It also makes them resistant to injuries. It also keeps you fit by inducing fat-burning hormones. Try performing a full-body program with 3 sets of 10 repetitions done for 2-3 days.

Change your training routes from flat grounds to hilly areas. This will help you keep a constant pace on different routes. Repeat the training and know when to increase your speed and when to keep low

Train Three Times a Week

Nobody said that you have to run every day! Three times a week is enough. I often advise people, athletes, or not, to have a running routine. You can, for instance, decide that your first day you will take a walk or run a short distance at a fast pace. Start with a ¼ mile at a fast pace, and gradually increase the distance until you can manage to walk or run fast for a mile.

The second day can be a strength day where you run or walk at a modest pace up a sharp hill or hills. Start with two hill repeats and steadily work to five or ten.

The third day could be endurance day where you increase the distance and walk or run at a slower pace. On this day, start with 1-2 miles and gradually work up to 3-4 miles.

I also recommend you try stretching after increasing your running distance. Increasing your running distance makes certain muscles get tighter. This interferes with your body flexibility and hence stretching will loosen them up. A yoga class can help and also a dynamic flexibility routine. It includes foam rolling, marching, lunging, and sideways stepping.

Have enough rest the previous night

It is normal to feel nervous before the race but try to keep calm and relaxed. Try activities that will distract you like chatting with friends or watching a comedy. Just like the saying early to bed early to arise try resting enough. You should also avoid eating foods that may lead to gastrointestinal issues.

Wake up early and have some breakfast. Don’t eat heavily as it can lead to cramping which is uncomfortable. Choose a light meal that is easy to digest at least an hour before the race. Food high in carbohydrates and lower in fats and protein is recommended. Avoid high fibe and fatty foods as they may cause stomach issues.

Get to the race early and give yourself time to be ready. Ensure you have everything you need like your bib number and the right outfit. Walk around to know the place and chat with other participants.

Warm-up before the race

Warming up before the race is a good idea. It gives me a good mood and makes me feel ready for my race. It raises the heartbeat slowly and keeps its steady ready for the race. Try jogging for about 10-15 minutes before the race. This prepares your muscles and makes them more flexible. I also find stretching much fun while waiting in line.

While doing all this ensure you have your bib number well placed on your shirt. The bib is used to identify you by the race officials. It’s worn on the front of your shirt. Make sure the number is in place and clearly visible from all corners.

Knowing where to line up might be hard for the first time. Usually, don’t line up on the front if you are not a faster runner. Try being in the middle, at first it may feel crowded but will space out when the race begins. When the race has begun trying to be constant with your pace. Try walking and running at the beginning of the race. The keep your pace constant and push yourself harder during the last minutes.

Have a support team

Invite friends and family to come and watch as they cheer you. Let them stand in the middle and on the finishing line. This will motivate you to keep you going and keep you focused on reaching the finishing line.

If you don’t have your friends with you then you should appreciate those who wave and cheer you. There are people who volunteer for services like handing you water for hydration. Appreciate them and make use of the water stands.

You can also have them run with you to set a pace for you. I always find it more fun involving friends as it is more interesting. You keep each other energized and motivated. Finishing the race and enjoying yourself is a perfect goal for a first-timer. Don’t feel performance pressure appreciate your results.

Conclusion

If you are interested in running the 5K marathon, I highly recommend these tips. Either it’s your first time or it’s your thing, these tips will work for you. As you create an enjoyable experience for yourself in running know that champions are not made in a day. Regular exercise and passion for running are the main drivers that can keep you going.

If you are like me and you take your exercise programs seriously, then you recognize the importance of proper stretching before you begin exercising. You will also agree with me that everyone seems to have a different approach when it comes to stretching exercises that improve flexibility. However, there is a right way to stretch and a wrong way to do it. Here are some scientific tips that I apply to improve my flexibility.

Determine the Right Amount of Flexibility

In most cases, a limited range of motion that is not due to an injury can be attributed to stiff or tight muscles. The tightness can be linked to chronic pain and even poor posture. If my muscles are too tight, then it might be a good idea to stretch them.

However, too much flexibility may make my muscles too loose and even weak. Also, if I am not careful, I may end up inflicting a sprain or dislocation to my joints. Also, if my joints and muscles are too loose, then I might be forced to remedy this condition by taking up resistance training.

So, what is the right amount of flexibility? The level of flexibility depends on the muscle and joint movements that I make daily. If I was a baseball pitcher (in my dreams), then my shoulders should be flexible compared to a basketball player such as LeBron James or Usain Bolt, the runner. If I was a cyclist, I might need more flexibility in my legs, unlike Bruce Lee, a martial arts fighter who might have required more waist flexibility. Just like everything else in life, remember that moderation is vital. So I do not stretch my muscles too fast, and too soon lest I end up inflicting injury to my joints and muscles.

Know the Right Time to Do Static Stretches

Static stretching involves stretching a muscle for a short time. Most people perform these stretches as they prepare to exercise, but this is not the right time for static stretches. Static stretching should not be done as a warm-up exercise. Such stretching reduces the impact of activities and can predispose me to injuries during the workout.

Recent research shows that static stretching right before a workout or playing a sport can hinder performance and lead to decreased muscle strength, reduced jumping height, and slow sprint time. This is not to say that static stretching is bad. It is one of the safest and most effective forms of stretching, but it should not be done as a warm-up exercise.

So when should static stretching be done? Experts recommend that static stretching be done as a cooling down activity after exercising or as the main workout. It is more effective at this time since the muscles are more elastic, warm, and have a lower likelihood of getting injured. Cold muscles should never be stretched while I am static because they are more likely to tear when improperly stretched. Before stretching them, I make sure I perform some dynamic stretches.

Use Dynamic Stretches as a Warm-Up

The best form of warm-up exercises are dynamic low-intensity movements that are similar to the workouts I will be doing later on. Here are some examples:

  • If I want to go jogging, then I begin with a slow walk and increase my pace for up to five minutes.
  • If I want to bench press, then I start with a few sets; five to 10 with a lighter weight, about 50% to 70% lighter compared to the load that I plan to use later on.
  • If its leg day and I want to exercise the leg muscles, I do some high knee marches to warm them up.

Some other dynamic warming up exercises that I engage in include jumping jacks, arm circles and rope skipping. Studies have shown that dynamic stretches raise my blood pressure, thus increasing blood flow to my muscles.

As I mentioned earlier, stretches should be done in moderation. I avoid stretching muscles to the point of being painful because I do not want to suffer from a sprain or strain due to exercise. Thus I stretch a muscle to a comfortable point then hold it in place for a maximum of 15 seconds only.

If you have been wondering how to improve your flexibility, then these practical and scientific tips will help you achieve your goal. The tips apply to professional sportspeople as well as regular folk who want to improve their flexibility during their exercise programs. Sometimes I come across some other suggestions, but I always try and fact check it against relevant bodies such as the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).

Quick: name the third most popular team sport in the United States. If you guessed soccer, you would be correct! It ranks behind only baseball and basketball in terms of participation figures. Much of that growth is in the youth ranks, which counts over three million participants in the United States, up nearly 90% from 1990. That widespread popularity is starting to show up in Major League Soccer’s (MLS) attendance numbers. In 2016 MLS averaged 21,692 fans per game, ahead of both the NBA and the NHL.

The rise in MLS’s popularity has arguably coincided with a rise in the quality of play. Once derided by fans of other leagues, MLS is starting to establish a reputation among players and fans of the game. Not only the home for the majority of United States’ players, MLS has attracted top European and South American stars like David Villa, Didier Drogba, Sebastian Giovinco, Robbie Keane, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, Kaká, Pirlo, Thierry Henry, and (of course) David Beckham. Add in top American talent like Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley, and Clint Dempsey, and you end up with a league riddled with talented stars. Perhaps the most famous American star, Landon Donovan, spent the majority of his career playing in MLS.

The league is growing its number of franchises too. In 2017, Minnesota United FC and Atlanta United FC opened their doors to bring MLS to twenty-two teams. In fact, new teams joined MLS in all but two seasons since 2005. As MLS expands into new markets, it will continue to reach new fans, further fueling its growth.

A critical and underappreciated component of MLS’s success is the teams’ youth academies. For MLS to be recognized as truly elite, it needs to develop players, not just sign them from other top leagues. MLS has recognized this fact by incentivizing teams with its Homegrown Player Rule. This rule allows an MLS to directly sign a player from its youth academy instead of going through allocation processes. In addition, homegrown players do not count against a team’s salary cap. These rules give teams major incentives to invest in their academy programs. Some of the most well-known players to develop through this program include Andy Najar, DeAndre Yedlin, Bill Hamid, Kellyn Acosta, and Marco Farfan.

So with new teams joining the league, new fans attending the games in large numbers, increasing numbers of young talent graduating through the youth academies, and increasing numbers of stars seeing MLS as a viable option to continue and further their career, what’s the next step for MLS? MLS has stated that it wants to be one of the top leagues in the world, and the track it’s on has the league pointed in the right direction. The face of soccer in the US will arguably always be its Men’s National Team (USMNT). Although the composition of the USMNT ebbs and flows with each new camp and round of call-ups, MLS players have always been a significant portion of the team in recent years. In fact, one could argue that the future success of the USMNT is intrinsically linked to the success of MLS. For even if the most talented members of the USMNT continue to ply their trade in Europe (e.g., Christian Pulisic, Bobby Wood, Fabian Johnson), MLS will be relied upon to provide depth to the squad.

In conclusion, soccer has an incredibly bright future in the United States, and MLS is both a catalyst and beneficiary of this. Although many Americans still only pay attention to soccer during the World Cup, that is starting to change as MLS expands into more cities and increasing numbers of people can call a professional team their own. This in turn fuels participation, which fuels player development, which fuels quality of play, which fuels interest in soccer, which fuels participation, etc. For the American soccer lover, it’s a beautifully positive feedback loop. All in all, it’s a wonderful time to be a soccer fan in the United States, and it’s only going to get better.

Every jiujitsu practitioner knows how big the game can get. BJJ is a human-like chess game with thousands of moves, each one carefully thought to inflict as much damage possible with minimum effort. Upon an endless sea of moves and strategies, any player can get lost and drown. If you want to start a difficult albeit amazing journey towards a Brazilian jiujitsu blackbelt, you cannot do so at random. You need to follow a plan. Otherwise, you’ll feel confused with nowhere to go, exactly how a white belt feels the first time he gets his back taken. If you follow these five tips, you’ll get on the right track in no time.

1. Bruce Lee had it right: how to approach each class.

If you want to become good at jiujitsu, you’ll have to become the man Bruce Lee claimed to fear. You need to choose one technique and practice it thousands of times. The only way to accomplish such a thing is to discover which technique works better for you and dedicate yourself to it whole-heartedly. When you step into the mat, you’ll have to remind yourself that when the time comes to spar, all your efforts will go towards one technique and that one only. Once you have mastered it, you can move onto another one. Eventually, you’ll develop a solid game plan.

2. Develop a foolproof game plan and stop using it.

It is not hard to develop a game plan. To do so, you’ll need two takedowns, a solid guard, and one go-to finisher from the top. Once you have achieved that, congratulations! It is time to let it go. Jiujitsu is complex and diverse. The moment you decide to stay in your comfort zone is the moment you become terrible. You might not notice it overnight, but it only takes one guy to shut down your entire game to realize how hopeless things can get. Jiujitsu is like stocks and bonds; you need to diversify to secure yourself.

3. Write down the good, the bad, and the ugly

After enough battles, your fingers will be sore from constant grip fighting. Past a certain point, you will think of your hands as gi-grabbing machines. You need to step out of that mind frame when you come back from the gym and use your hands to record your training sessions. If possible, use a pen and paper to avoid social media distractions. Write down your thoughts, accomplishments, failures, and what it is you need to work on. It’s the only way to clearly remember what you did in class. Otherwise, once the adrenaline starts to fade, so will most of your sparring memories.

4. Jack of all trades, master of one.

If you want to be truly great at jiujitsu, you need to train other martial arts. You shouldn’t follow this step before you get your blue belt. Once you have a solid foundation, you need to think about cross-training. Wrestling and judo are great for this, especially if your gym doesn’t focus on takedowns. If you thought you were a gi-grabbing beast, wait until you experience judo’s kumi-kata. New experiences will broaden your fighting horizons, kick your ass, and teach you invaluable lessons.

5. Stop altogether to get better.

Every once in a while, you need to take a break. Otherwise, you will burn out. Helio Gracie trained until he was close to 100 years old. You can do it too if you pace yourself. Take a couple of days off and let your body heal. In a week or so, you’ll be craving a sparring season. And then, you’ll be ready to go back, with a clear mind and better than before.

Injuries in soccer matches are not uncommon, often resulting in lengthy recuperation periods, reduced performance, and, in worst cases, inability to participate in future soccer matches. Therefore, wearing protective equipment that can protect and minimize the severity of injury from stray tackles should be of utmost importance to any player, whether professional, amateur, or even parents whose kids are participating in soccer matches. It is for that reason that shin guards are a vital part of the uniform. However, choosing the right shin guard that provides ultimate protection while not hindering performance can be an onus task. Here are some tips detailing factors to consider when buying a shin guard.

The position of the player

Different soccer player positions come with the varying intensity of tackles. To begin with, defenders experience intense tackles, and thus, the shin guard should offer full protection to the shin and the ankles.

For midfielders, the tackles are also intense, but they also need to be able to move around the field quickly. A perfect shin guard is one that offers maximum protection but not bulky to hinder their movement.

For forwards, agility is key, with fewer tackles expected. The key here is to ensure there is ample protection and that the shin guards are light not to weigh down on the player’s speed.

Goalkeepers experience the least tackles, although this does not eliminate the need for shin guards. For top performance, the selected shin guard must be extremely lightweight but capable of providing ample protection in the event of a tackle.

When choosing the shin guard you want to buy, remember first to consider the position and determine whether the shin guard you are holding meets your position’s need.

Height of the player

People are of different heights. Different heights mean that players will have varying shin lengths. One common mistake that people make when buying a shin guard is basing their shin guard choice on the size of the jersey they wear. Wearing an XL jersey does not mean that you can wear your friend’s shin guard, who also wears an XL jersey.

The choice of the shin guard should be based on an individual’s height. A perfect guard is one that starts just inches from the knee and slightly above the ankle. As such, this height can vary even in players wearing the same jersey size, making it impossible to have a one-size-fits-all for the best shin guard for people of a particular jersey size.

Width of your leg

You do not want a shin guard that does not fit into your shin, nor do you want a guard that is too wide that you have to adjust it when in the field continually. The right shin guard should be one that molds comfortably onto your legs such that from the front view, it seems as having covered your whole leg. While it is possible to use your hands to curve the shin guard to fit the width of your leg, this process has the possibility of breaking the shin guard altogether. The key to ensuring you have the perfect width is by trying on the shin guard before purchasing it.

Accessories

Comfort of the player while in the field is of paramount importance as well. When deciding on the shin guard to buy, one key factor to consider is the accompanying accessories. These include items such as shin guard tape, shin guard stays, ankle guards, and shin guard sleeves.

It would be best to consider which accessories best suits your needs and whether the selected shin guard allows the incorporation of the accessory. This is especially important when deciding on the different types of shin guards, as these will determine the accessory that can be used together with the shin guard. Therefore consider whether the way you want your shin guard to be held in position on your leg and then consider when the selected type of shin guard allows that.

When all is said and done, the ultimate choice depends on the individual buying the shin guard. If it is any reprieve, any consideration should be based on your individual needs as a player. The shin guard should serve to give you an aura of confidence while in the field to bring out that stunning performance that you so want without having to worry much about stray tackles to your shin.

When it comes to baseball, you’re never too old or too young to play the game. This all-time favorite sport has so much to offer, especially to growing children. Parents should encourage their kids to play baseball. More than just an engaging pastime and physical activity, baseball has long-term health, social, and emotional benefits.

Here are five reasons why kids should play baseball:

1. Baseball teaches kids the value of teamwork

It is normal for children to act selfish and think only of themselves. However, when they play baseball, kids will realize that they need to cooperate with other children to win the game. Baseball does not rely on a single member. The game allows them to interact with other kids, share their strategies for winning and apply them together. Children are encouraged to participate and contribute something to the team.

2. Baseball is a good form of exercise

As one of the world’s favorite sports, baseball challenges your kids to flex their muscles and be quick on their feet. There is so much going on in one game. Your kids get to run long distances, swing a bat, catch a ball, and more. Of course, the amount of physical activity would depend on their position in the field. Nevertheless, the sport keeps your kids active and in shape.

3. Baseball sharpens the mind

Professional baseball players frequently make split-second decisions that could break or make their chances of winning a game. Sometimes strategies come up in the middle of the game, and there’s not enough time to inform their teammates. In the same manner, kids who play baseball will learn how to think and act quickly. The sport helps kids devise strategies for winning without the help of others, especially adults.

4. Baseball encourages kids to excel

Like most sports, baseball brings out the competitiveness in you. Kids are easily competitive, so the sport is likely to bring out their desire to win. With proper guidance from the parents and other social agents, this winning desire early in life may give kids the drive to excel in the future. Excellent teamwork and top-notch playing are keys to winning a baseball match.

5. Baseball makes kids happy

Some adults tend to take the game seriously. Kids, for the most part, will just enjoy playing baseball whether they win or lose. Being with kids around their age and conspiring with them, actively running, catching balls, and swinging a bat in a large open space, and knowing that they are part of a fun and exciting game are more than enough reasons to make children happy.

Playing baseball provides kids the holistic development they need while growing up. In the aspect of learning and developing skills, playing the game is like hitting several birds with one stone. Kids become happier and more active, cooperative, participative, and competent. Given these benefits, it’s about time parents let their children play baseball.

Water isn’t fancy, glamorous, trendy or particularly good-looking. Yet, this humble liquid powerfully impacts your health and sustains your life. Your body is 60 percent water, and to ensure its vitality, you need to drink six to eight 8-ounce glasses of H2O (about half a gallon) daily. But did you know that drinking water will do more than keep you hydrated? Here are eight other amazing things that happen when you drink plenty of water every day.

1. Memory Improves

Like gasoline is vital to a car, water is crucial to the brain’s proper functioning. Your gray matter is 80 percent water, so it needs sufficient fluid to work effectively. Even dehydration of only one to two percent can severely affect your short-term memory and concentration.

2. Curbs Mindless Snacking

Your brain can actually confuse thirst with hunger. So, when you’re hit with those mid-afternoon munchies, skip the empty calorie snacks and grab some water instead. It can conquer cravings, and if you drink it before a meal, it can make you feel fuller so that you’ll eat less.

3. Prevents Hangovers

Alcohol is a diuretic, which means that it depletes your body’s fluids and causes dehydration. Dehydration contributes to hangovers by triggering headaches, nausea, and other nasty symptoms. You can ward off hangovers by drinking a big glass of water between rounds and quaffing one or more glasses before bed.

4. Flushes out Toxins

When you drink more water, you’re helping your kidneys efficiently flush out toxins and waste. With adequate fluids, you also reduce the risk of developing a urinary tract infection or painful kidney stones. Want to know if you’re drinking ample amounts water? Just check out the color of your urine. If it’s clear or pale yellow, you’re drinking enough.

5. Your Skin Will Look Better

Drinking sufficient amounts of water can help your skin be smoother, brighter, and more elastic. It may relax wrinkles, reduce under-eye puffiness, and even make you look more youthful. And all without the expense of buying retail skincare products for the same results.

6. Your Body Absorbs Nutrients More Easily

It may sound counterintuitive, but drinking lots of liquid doesn’t wash nutrients out of your body. Instead, it actually helps dissolve food, vitamins, and minerals so that they can be more effectively absorbed. Drink plenty of water to get the maximum benefits from the foods you eat.

7. It Can Help You Lose Weight

Drinking cold water amps up your metabolism because your body has to expend more energy, warming the water to body temperature. This process burns more calories, which aids weight loss. Additionally, water is calorie-free, so you don’t risk weight gain, no matter how much you drink.

8. You’ll Have a Lower Resting Heart Rate

A resting heart rate of 60 – 100 beats per minute can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. When you’re dehydrated, however, your blood is thinner, and your heart has to beat faster as it struggles to circulate blood throughout your body. By drinking water, you make your heart’s job a lot easier.

Drinking water is one of the simplest ways to stay healthy. It’s versatile, easily accessible, and it’s completely free. So if you want to feel better and look better, just add water!

Acupuncture has always been and remains a controversial topic in western medicine, and chances are, if you have reached this article, then you too are probably questioning its legitimacy. You’re probably wondering whether or not it really works. Well, to answer that question in a word – yes. Probably. At least it appears to.

Many studies over the past decade have found similar results; acupuncture is an effective treatment for many chronic pain conditions, and it is now a widely accepted practice in the medical community. There are many schools of thought on exactly why it works (and the limitations of the practice), and there is a distinct difference between Eastern and Western medicine perspectives on the subject.

What does acupuncture involve?

Acupuncture is an ancient treatment over 2,000 years old involving the use of needles as a form of treatment. Over the years, the practice has evolved, but the core principles remain the same.
Needles are inserted into various ‘acupoints’ in the body by a trained practitioner, and then maybe stimulated in various ways such as with electricity, heat, or movement. Typically, around five to twenty needles will be inserted, and the process will usually last for up to thirty minutes.

Is it painful?

Usually, there is little pain involved in the process, though the ability of the acupuncturist and your own pain tolerance level will influence the amount of pain felt. Many people report feeling no pain whatsoever.

How does it work?

Traditional practitioners claim that inserting needles into certain parts of the body can be used to manipulate the body’s ‘meridians’ and alleviate pain. The meridian system is believed in Chinese medicine to be a channel through the body through which ‘life-energy’ (more commonly known as ‘qi’) flows. Neither the concept of meridians nor that of qi are recognized in western medicine.

A common opinion in the western medical community is that the effects of acupuncture are due to the ‘placebo effect’, in which a patient that is convinced of its legitimacy will be more likely to perceive a reduction in pain that may not necessarily have really occurred.

The placebo effect theory has been somewhat discredited by recent studies which have found that patients that receive sham acupuncture treatment are less likely to feel a reduction in pain than those that receive traditional treatment. The statistical difference in effect between the two treatments was small but nonetheless significant.

Another, perhaps more convincing, opinion is that the effects of acupuncture are due to the stimulation of pathways that help to produce endorphins, which function as natural painkillers.

What can it be used to treat?

The most common use of acupuncture is to treat and alleviate chronic pain across the body, but the effects of acupuncture are not limited to this as many studies claim that it is effective to treat a number of other conditions, such as depression, insomnia, anxiety, and IBS. It is also used in certain cases to help alleviate symptoms in cancer patients.

So it works then?

Probably. If you feel you may benefit from acupuncture, your best option is to consult with a doctor or other medical professional to weigh up your options. The practice may not be beneficial for everyone, but if you suffer from chronic pain, it may be a useful option to consider.