Archive | August, 2010

Slow the Aging Process

Slow the Aging Process

When is it time to start controlling aging?  If you think you can wait until later to prevent premature aging, you will miss some of the most important times of your life to do it.

Most people’s muscle mass declines with age and the rate of loss accelerates after age 45.  The amount of muscle you retain, or build, is determined partly by how much the muscles are used. Use them frequently and you maintain their strength. Push them to the limits of their capacity by exercise, and you increase strength no matter how old you are.  Doctors at Tufts University say most middle-aged people’s weight problem is excess body fat coupled with too little muscle.

The fact is as you age, you can lose whole sets of muscles and nerves that work together to make your body go. Between ages 30 and 70, it is estimated that people experience a 20 percent decrease in the strength of the thigh. Landmark studies at Tufts, however, show that muscles do get bigger from strength training such as weight lifting. You can regain muscle mass and strength no matter what shape you’re in when you begin.

How much oxygen your body can process in a given time is an important biomarker called your aerobic capacity. By age 65, it is typically 30 percent to 40 percent less than in young adults. The great news is that people at any age can reverse the trend with aerobic exercise, the kind that makes you huff and puff. And when you build muscle with strength training, you also increase aerobic capacity.  It is only one of the ways to s-l-o-w that ageing process, but an important one.  Couple it with other methods like controlling sugar, cholesterol, blood pressure, bone density, and hydration and you will decrease the process AND feeling younger too. We have a multitude of youth enhancing possibilities at our fingertips in today’s ‘younger you’ market. Keeping your muscles and body in tune is one of the most natural alternatives around and will give you a younger you and not just a younger looking you.

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Pregnancy and Exercise

Pregnancy and Exercise

Many women feel that while they are pregnant they should not be involved in any type of exercise.  This could not be further from the truth.  In 2002, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists released an updated version of guidelines to fitness while pregnant.  Not only does it encourage continued exercise for those women already engaging in a regular fitness program, it gives a “big thumbs up” to the women who have not been active to get moving!

Here are just some of the benefits of exercise during pregnancy:
•  Control weight gain    •  Reduce back pain
•  Manage stress    •  Improve sleep patterns
•  Increase energy level

Before you run out the door ready to train for the next marathon here are some guidelines to keep you getting the most for you and your baby out of exercise. Flexibility is not just for gymnasts anymore.  When a muscle is tight a joint can no longer move freely within its range of motion. Therefore it is weak. A gentle stretch program should acknowledge all the large muscles in the legs, work on releasing the back and opening the chest and shoulders.  This will help to insure good posture as your body begins to look like you stuffed a basketball under you shirt.  Keep in mind that due to hormonal changes while pregnant (relaxin) it is easy to over-stretch with your new found flexibility.

Unless you were participating in aerobic type activities prior to becoming pregnant you should keep the exercise in light-moderate intensity.  Walking, swimming, water aerobics, stair machine and treadmill are all excellent aerobic activities.    In hot weather conditions the best place to exercise without a doubt is the water.  Take the last digit off your current weight and that is what you will weigh in the water.   Can you say ahhhhh?

Muscular endurance is also very useful in preparing for labor.  Whether you are planning on natural childbirth or a more medical model delivery, having the ability to move as early labor begins and progresses is a very valuable tool.  Gentle yoga, light resistance training, some pilates, and circuit training are all good for the pregnant body.   You want to make sure you get an all over body workout that addresses all the major muscle groups of the body including your core.  Yes, it is not only possible to continue working the abdominal muscles while that baby is stretching them out, it is a necessity.  Do not wait until junior is 3 before you ask yourself to tighten those ab muscles…the time is now.  There are several safe and effective ways to engage the abdominal core muscles while pregnant.

Work closely with your health care provider before you begin any exercise program.  Every pregnancy has unique conditions surrounding it that will determine your personal fitness needs.  If it is safe, fun, and effective both Mom and baby will surely feel the benefits.

Emily J. Harrington, Body Balance Fitness at 301 N. Locust Street. Emily is a personal trainer, wife and the mother of 2 children.  She specializes in Pre/post natal fitness.

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Just Say Ahh…

Just Say Ahh…

by Taryn McColpin

Ahh, October…The month of Harvest and Halloween, pumpkins and parties, fall and food.

Surprisingly, the fall month most associated with food is not November, but October. What first comes to mind is the bags full of candy we collect on the last day of the month for most of our childhoods, but many Halloween traditions are associated with actual food.

Samhain, the Celtic harvest festival, is one of the origins of Halloween as we know it. In the first century, the Romans adopted some Celtic practices as their own, and Samhain was assimilated into celebrations of other October Roman traditions, such as their day to honor Pomona, the goddess of fruit and trees. The symbol of Pomona is the apple, which might explain the origin of our modern tradition of bobbing for apples on Halloween, as the Romans were fond of dunking as a torture device, which carried through to our Salem days.

Trick-or-treating is thought to have originated with a ninth-century European custom called souling. On November 2, All Souls Day, early Christians would walk from village to village begging for “soul cakes” made out of square pieces of bread with currants. The more jelly sandwiches the beggars would receive, the more prayers they would promise to ensure the donors’ deceased relatives a quick trip to their just rewards.

Halloween customs were brought to America in the 1840’s by Irish immigrants fleeing their country’s potato famine. The Jack-o-lantern probably comes from Irish folklore, although the original carved vegetables were usually gourds or turnips, which don’t make very good pies. They were left on the doorstep to ward off spirits, sometimes with treats to avoid the spirits’ tricks. Trick-or-treating has somehow morphed into setting fire to the village of Detroit, but at that time, the favorite pranks in New England included tipping over outhouses (hopefully uninhabited) and unhinging fence gates.

During October, many foods are in season, including all the root crops, and the squash family, such as the venerable pumpkin, nuts and berries, apples and pears and peppers…plus oysters (since it is a month with an R) and the beginning of Archery Only hunting season on October 2 (where the hunters bring home venison, goose, partridge, and empty cases of beer).

In Canada, they get a foodie jump on us by celebrating Thanksgiving on October 11. Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, the biggest Harvest festival of them all, is September 18-October 4. Early Oktoberfest celebrations were, naturally, held in October, but the festival was eventually moved to September, as the weather was better earlier in the fall, a sentiment with which we Texans can empathize.

In the USA, almost all food-related special days are referred to as “National,” whether they have been declared so officially or not. We Americans like our food…and it shows. We start out healthy, with World Vegetarian Day on October 1st; however, Pudding Season begins on that day as well. Sweetest Day is the third Saturday in October, and we also have National Taco Day, National Dessert Day (and Chocolate Covered Insect Day), National Pasta Day, and National Nut Day. And on October 30 is a National Day for candy corn, which amazingly is fat-free, but serves its Halloween purpose by making people scream when they step on the scale after indulging in a bag or two of the stuff.

National Chili Week is October 3-9, followed logically by American Beer Week. October is Pickled Pepper Month, Pizza Month, Popcorn Poppin’ Month, and Eat Country Ham Month, among many others. The puzzling part about this is that October is also Hunger Awareness Month.

So contribute to your local Food Bank on World Food Day, October 16th, pass out jelly sandwiches for Halloween if you have any pesky ghosts you wish to rush along to their final destination, and make sure there are no stray Romans behind you when you are dunking for apples.

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The Race is On

The Race is On

“Tails and Trails” 5K Event to Benefit New Animal Shelter

On Saturday, October 23rd, the North Texas State Fairgrounds will be the site of “Tails and Trails” 5K Run and 1K Pet Walk, an event that includes vendors, activities and entertainment for individuals, families and pets!  “All proceeds benefit the building fund for our new Denton Animal Care and Adoption Center,” Aleisha Mollen, Event Chairman; “and provides an opportunity for the community to come out and show support for the need for a new Denton shelter.”

Course certification and timing for the 5K is provided by Cadence Sports, Austin, TX.  The 1K Pet Walk is not timed; and owners are encouraged to bring their friendly pets.  Brian Burns will provide music from 10:00 to 11:30 am prior to the noon free live concert by Bone Doggie and His Junkyard Band.

Discounted pre-registration for the run and walk until September 30th.  The early registration fees include an event t-shirt and is $20/individual and $50/family of four.  Registration is available online at: , by mail or by calling 940-391-9626. Teams are encouraged to compete for prizes and traveling trophies in both the run and walk.  Individual prizes will also be awarded in a variety of categories for both the run and the walk.  Participants may, at their option, help raise additional funds by obtaining pledges.

Complete information on “Tails and Trails,” including the schedule, sponsors, vendors, activities and entertainment can be found online at Admittance to the fairgrounds is free to the public from 8 am to 2 pm.  Food and other vendors, entertainment , activities and a silent auction will be available.  Low cost pet vaccinations will be provided at the event by Denton Low Cost Spay/Neuter Clinic from 10 am to noon.

“This fundraiser allows people and their pets to contribute to the new animal shelter in a variety of ways,” said Bette Sherman, DASF Chairman and Co-Founder.  “We expect the event to grow each year, providing vital ongoing funding for the Denton shelter.”   DASF is conducting a $2.0 million capital campaign to help fund the new city shelter.  The current shelter is 31 years old, out-of-date and inadequate. It serves both the city and Denton County.  “In 2009, the shelter handled almost 4,500 cats and dogs” said Sherman, “with a maximum capacity of 114 animals. Fortunately, dedicated shelter staff and volunteers, together with new DASF programs, achieved a record live exit rate,” continued Sherman. Perhaps as many as 1,300 more Denton area animals could be saved with a new shelter.

Posted in Pet Care0 Comments



by Cait Landon

America’s love affair with denim is totally undeniable. Last year skinny jeans topped the fashion boards and this fall the Jegging will explode in popularity.  They have been peeking out for a while now and the rage just grows and grows. Even thought late last fall New York magazine called jeggings a “don’t,” retailers and fashion watchers disagreed and the trend was born.  It was slow at first but this season the reinvention of the humble jean has hit the scene with fashion mavens.  Industry buyers and fashion executives tout them as an absolute perfect transition from summer into the fall fashion scene.

Jeggings, a cross between jeans and leggings, started as a tight (very tight) fitting spandexed jean, a jean with enough spandex to give a more painted on look. The fashion famous have been wearing them and have given thumbs up to their comfort stretch as a must have. Comfort, yes.  But can (or should) most of the female world don this trend?  It appears that savvy fashion females have already started adapting the trend with longer tops and dresses over the jegging.  They do tend to show every lump and bump so be careful what you match them with unless your body has all the right bumps in all the right curvy places. True to the norm of the industry we will start seeing a mutation of the trend rather quickly. Keep your eye out for fabric and color variations to start hitting the shelves. (Basically taking us back to the legging.)

The trend has even jumped the gap into the men’s fashion world.  Guys, meet the Megging.  Yep, you heard it; Men’s Jeggings…the Megging is the same basic idea for the guys. Men’s leggings are definitely a challenging look to pull off because they are not only incredibly revealing for a men’s pant, they also seem a bit difficult to mix with most men’s clothes, and not a pocket in sight. An area that may make it is in the sports wear arena.  They can wear their Meggings underneath baggier shorts or pants.  With the more relaxed look in this already comfy style it is almost a sure bet that the

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Ringing Up Overages

Ringing Up Overages

by Reese Grey

The Federal Communications Commission is considering new legislation that would require wireless companies to send a text message to customers who are on the verge of racking up expensive charges for exceeding the plan’s data or text-messaging limit. The proposal is similar to one enacted by the European Union where customers complained so emphatically about huge data-roaming charges while traveling that their government reacted to their complaints.

Overage charges can add up to huge costs! For now, the easiest way for you to save costs is to change your plan. That is something you can do it without extending or terminating your contract.  Also ask for a usage summary going back 12 months to see if you could get by on a cheaper plan.

If not, consider switching carriers. Check and or to determine if you could get a better deal from a different carrier. Overall, AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile have about 220 plans, so it will be a task to analyze them.

Verizon has a $99 family plan that features unlimited text messaging, AT&T has an $84.99 plan with a limit of 1,500 on text messages and 5 cents a minute after that and T-Mobile has a family plan for $79.99 a month with unlimited text messaging. But beware and check the fee for overages.

Until the FCC rules go into effect, (if they ever will), ask your carrier if you can receive phone or text alerts when account limits are nearing, it is sure worth a try.

Here are a few additional tips that may help you contain or lower your bill:

•    Cancel unwanted services. Scan the bill for charges you can’t identify and ask what they are. Cancel services you don’t want, such as roadside assistance service for $3 or $5.

•    Use a FREE information services rather than the more costly 411 service.    Try 800- 373-3411 (provided by Jingle Networks)  or 800-466-4411(provided by Google) to find the number of a person or business.  Add these numbers in your cell’s phone book so all you have to do is hit Info to further enhance this convenience.

•    Check your voicemail from a landline if you are almost out of minutes.  Most people do not realize they are charged for voice mail calls. To do it, dial your cell number from a landline, hit * or # during your outgoing message, then enter your pass code.

We are a “stay connected” society, spending premium dollars for the luxury of being linked to friends, family and the world, at every minute, but we can use offers and opportunities to lessen the cha-ching on our pocketbooks.

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