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Since many parents are spending more time at home with their children (thanks, pandemic) and lots of gyms and fitness centers remain closed, we need to find different ways to get those workouts in at home… with our children.

Here are some of the best ways to include your kids in your workouts, keep them busy, and have fun as a family, too.

  • Walking – it seems simple enough but getting out in the fresh air and logging some miles around the neighborhood may be just what you and your family need to help break up the daily monotony and workout at the same time.
  • Dance it out – nothing is more fun than cranking up the music, kicking off your shoes and having a good old fashioned dance party with your kids. Teach your kids all of your favorite moves and be prepared to learn some of their favorites, too.
  • Plank competition – who doesn’t love a little friendly competition? Especially when it’s a healthy competition. Set a timer, start planking and the last person planking wins!
  • Yoga – nothing is more relaxing than spending some time getting centered and going through the yoga motions. Kids and adults alike can both do yoga, and you can always modify the positions as necessary.
  • Hopscotch – this childhood classic never gets old. Get outside, draw your squares, grab a rock and get down to business. You will have so much fun hopping with your kids that you will forget that you are working out.

 You can pretty much make any activity an at-home workout for you and your kids. Creativity is key and make sure to have some fun.

  • Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin A in the form of beta carotene and vitamin C.
  • The nutrients in sweet potatoes are also anti-inflammatory, which means that besides being great tasting, sweet potatoes can help reduce the severity of conditions like asthma, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
  • In addition, sweet potatoes are a good source of vitamin B6.

Recipe: Golden Sweet Potato Brownies 

1 cup butter

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 cup white sugar

4 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

2 cups peeled and finely shredded sweet potatoes

1 cup powdered sugar

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

2 tablespoons milk

Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt; stir into the batter just until blended. Fold in the shredded yam. Spread the batter evenly in the greased baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes. Mix together the confectioners' sugar, butter and milk until smooth. Spread over the brownies while they are still warm.

Recipe: Spicy Baked Sweet Potato Fries 

6 sweet potatoes cut into French fries

2 tablespoons canola oil

3 tablespoons taco seasoning mix

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper 

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

In a plastic bag, combine the sweet potatoes, canola oil, taco seasoning, and cayenne pepper. Close and shake the bag until the fries are evenly coated. Spread the fries out in a single layer on two large baking sheets.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until crispy and brown on one side. Turn the fries over using a spatula, and cook for another 30 minutes, or until they are all crispy on the outside and tender inside. Thinner fries may not take as long.

With more people traveling lately by car, experts advise that there are a few ways to help avoid falling asleep while driving.

  • Avoid driving between midnight and 6 a.m., when possible. Our human clock is set for sleeping during these hours.
  • If you have a long commute, make sure you get adequate sleep.
  • Avoid alcohol – even small amounts can cause sleepiness and impairment.
  • If you take medications that cause drowsiness, it’s best not to drive at all. Carpool or use a driving service like Uber.
  • Drink beverages that contain caffeine to improve alertness.

Many people have been trying to cut the extra salt out of their diet for years, unsuccessfully. Fortunately, experts are now saying that the best way to cut the salt is to add the spice – hot spice that is!

A recent study shows that adding capsaicin – the spicy ingredient in chili peppers – can help to reduce your sodium intake.

During the study, researchers looked at the “brain scans of more than 600 people and discovered that the areas that responded to spicy and salty foods overlap—and eating spicy foods reduces salt cravings.”

Related information was just released that capsaicin is also a vasodilator—which helps lower blood pressure.

But experts say that you do not have to just eat hot peppers to reap the benefits of capsaicin. The blood pressure-lowering ingredient is found in many spices, like ground pepper, cayenne and paprika.

The study shows that “anyone with high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes or kidney problems should limit their sodium consumption to 1,500 mg daily.” If you have salt-sensitive high blood pressure, excess sodium is deadly. For those without these conditions, you should aim for around 2,300 mg of sodium daily.

Substituting peppers for salt in your dishes can help you cut back on sodium while infusing your food with delicious flavor… and spice!

It is 2021 and mostly everyone has a smart phone nowadays. There are so many apps and programs that you can now download to your phone to help you reach your fitness and health goals. 

While this seems like an easy thing to do – just download an app – there is much more involved in getting the most out of your smart phone to become healthier. 

Here are five ways that your smart phone can make you healthier. 

  1. Set up healthy appointments on your phone. Use the remind or alarm function on your phone to help you set healthy reminders – like take your medication, get to spin class, go to bed early and take the stairs and not the elevator on your lunch break.
  2. Use your timer. We have learned since we were little that we should brush our teeth for 2 minutes, but do you? Use your timer to achieve these types of goals. You can use your timer to figure out how long tasks take so that you can also better prioritize your time, causing less stress.
  3. Track your progress. Sure, you downloaded that fitness tracker on your phone, but are you using it? Commit to a particular app and actually use it. Basic features include tracking your steps, counting your calories, and helping you to get a handle on your blood pressure.
  4. Eat Healthy. There are quite a few apps that you can download that can help you to be a better label reader and track your food intake.
  5. Motivate yourself. Customize your alarms to give you that gentle nudge that you need to motivate yourself. A “Get to the gym if you want to fit in that dress” message alarm is more motivating than a beeping alarm.