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7 Tips for Keeping Kids Active

By August 18, 2017 Healthmeup

Tips for Keeping Kids Active

Keeping kids active can be a real challenge, especially when the heat in Arizona climbs into the 90F°+ territory and electronics offer ready entertainment inside our air conditioned homes. But exercise for children is critical for the health and well-being, both in the short term and in the years to come.

1.      Lead by Example

One of the biggest contributions you can make to keeping kids active is to make a conscious effort to incorporate more physical activity into your own life as well. The AmericKeeping Kids Activean Heart Association recommends 30 minutes of activity at least five times per week. Remember that anythingthat gets you moving is good and try to sneak extra physical activity into your normal routine if you can’t find the time for a formal exercise regimen: Take the stairs instead of an elevator, pick a parking spot that is further from the grocery store entrance or opt to hand wash your car instead of pulling through an automatic one. Over time, your kids will likely take your lead and absorb those types of good habits.

2.      Exercise is NOT a Punishment

The surest way to ruin exercise for children is by turning it into a punishment rather than something to look forward to and to enjoy. Rather than demanding a kid drop and start doing push-ups, consider rewarding him/her the next time they do well on a test or complete their chores by allowing extra time in the pool, a bike ride through the neighborhood as a family or a special trip to a rock climbing gym. This approach is more likely to encourage your child to make physical activity a habit and to stay active into adulthood.

3.      Sports Are Not for Everyone …

… And that’s okay! If your child is not excited at the prospect of trying out for the basketball or soccer team, do not try to force it on them. In the same vein as using exercise as a punishment, making a kid participate in a sport that they do not enjoy will only make them associate that physical activity with a negative experience. There are plenty of ways to incorporate exercise for children that do not involve organized sports (or the expensive equipment that can go along with them). Whether running around in the yard as part of a water balloon fight or even something as simple as walking the dog, the key to keeping kids active is to find an option that appeals to innate talents and interests.

4.      Make Chores Fun

From working out in the yard to cleaning the house, there are tons of ways you can gamify chores to encourage exercise for children. Most kids love the opportunity to pick out their own flowers or vegetables to go into the garden. You could even give them their own section of the garden to give them a reason to go outside and be physically active every day (watering) with longer periods of activity on the weekends when it is time to do things like weeding the garden. Don’t forget the sunscreen! Then, when it is time to go inside, see who can clean faster or time your child on a regular basis to see if he can beat his record for vacuuming or cleaning his room.

5.      Bring a Friend

Everything’s more fun when you have a buddy. The next time your child is acting hesitant about the prospect of going to the park, for a hike or for a walk, enlist some extra help by seeing if a friend can tag along. Keeping kids active is easier when there are multiples of them who can motivate each other.

6.      Limit Screen TimeKeeping Kids Active

In this day and age, the biggest obstacle to regular exercise for children is probably the ready availability of multiple screens for them to entertain themselves instead. By setting strict limits and rules for the amount of time your kid can watch TV, play on their tablet or use their mobile phones, you eliminate a major challenge to keeping kids physically active. Forcing them to find alternative modes of entertainment naturally leads to more exercise.

7.      Try Something New

It may be that your kid just has not found the activity that is right for them yet. That is okay. Trying out a ton of new activities until you find “the one”—even if you never find a specific activity to stick with on its own—is a fun way to encourage exercise for children. With summer vacation quickly coming up, make a list with your child of new things they (and maybe even you) have not tried yet. Has the family ever gone kayaking? Tried tennis? What about croquet? That is your summer bucket list. And now you have a ready answer for the next time the kids complain that they are bored.

It is fairly common knowledge that keeping kids physically active is important to their health. Unfortunately, many people do not realize all of the activities that can constitute exercise and that many times, exercise does not look like an exercise in the traditional sense at all. If you are concerned that your kids are not active enough and would like personalized recommendations for exercise for children, ask your Arrowhead Health Centers practitioner at your child’s next checkup.

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5 things you really should know about female condoms

By July 14, 2017 Article

 5 things you really should know about female condoms

They look kinda funny at first…but dual protection from STIs and pregnancy is worth a second glance.


You may or may not realize that the female condom, has been revamped in recent years to be more affordable and less, erm, squeaky. The revamped version is called the FC2, standing for—you guessed it—female condom 2. Less squeaking, lower price—and the perks of this underrated method don’t stop there.

1) Female condoms are fun for foreplay.

Putting in a female condom can be a sensual way to set the mood. Rubbing the inner ring around your vulva and clitoris during the insertion process can add some extra arousal—which can be a big turn-on for your partner too. And because female condoms are made of non-latex nitrile (synthetic rubber), they warm up with your body temperature. (Plus, they’re safe to use for people with latex allergies!)

2) Female condoms increase pleasure for both partners during sex.

During vaginal sex, the female condom’s outer ring rubs against the clitoris while the inner ring stimulates the head of the penis. The female condom is extremely wide and pre-lubricated, which some guys say feels better. If you’re looking for a wet and wild time, you’ll be happy to know that the female condom is safe to use with both water- and silicone-based lubes.

3) Female cond0ms provide dual protection from STIs and pregnancy.

Female condoms prevent both pregnancy and STIs and allow women to be in the driver’s seat when it comes to their sexual health. Some women report boosted self-esteem when they use female condoms, which can increase comfort and enhance sex. You can insert the female condom up to eight hours before getting it on, so there’s no need to ask a partner to put on a condom in the heat of the moment. Being proactive about your own condom use ensures that there’s protection—no matter where your sexual adventures take you.

4) Female condoms aren’t just for vaginal sex.

In addition to vaginal sex, you can use the female condom during anal sex as a great option for STI prevention. Some people recommend removing the inner ring before insertion. Don’t forget that both water- and silicone-based lubes are safe to use with it!

5) Insertion doesn’t have to be awkward.

Standing up, lying down, squatting, sitting… no, we’re not talking about sex positions. These are just some of the ways that you can insert the female condom. (Note: It might take a couple tries to get the hang of it!) You can put it in by yourself or with a partner as part of foreplay, or insert it before things heat up so you don’t have to interrupt the moment.

Ready to take the plunge? Some drugstores carry female condoms (shout out to!), but they’re not nearly as easy to find as male condoms. Ordering online can be a great option, or you may be able to find a store nearby that has them.


1. Can a female condom and a male condom be used at the same time?

Nope. The reason being that both condoms may lead to friction which may cause the other to tear or slip off.

2. Are female condoms reusable and safe to use?

Sadly, no. Once you use it, you must discard it immediately after sex for hygiene and safety purposes. And yes, it’s extremely safe to use during vaginal or anal sex.

3. Can the female condom get lost inside a female’s body?

Firstly, breathe! It cannot get lost in your body! Because of its particular size, it cannot go past the cervix or uterus.

4. What material is the female condom usually made of?

It’s made out of a really thin sheath of polyurethane and the rings too are flexible and made from the same material. In most female condoms, the sheath is pre-lubricated to avoid friction.

5. Do female condoms come in more than one size?

They come in free size and are tested and designed to fit every woman. So don’t worry!

6. Can I use a female condom while I’m on my period?

Yes, you can. It doesn’t interfere with your menstruation process at all. If you’re a girl who wears tampons during her periods, make sure that you remove it before you insert the female condom.

7. What are the perks of using a female condom?

It helps prevent pregnancy, keeps STDs and HIV at bay, does not affect your fertility in the future and has no medical side effects. And it is 95% effective in avoiding pregnancy if you use it perfectly according to the instructions.

8. Where can I buy female condoms from?!

Supermarkets, pharmacies or you can order them online.

9. Is the female condom comfortable to use?

It may feel awkward at first, but you’ll get used to it. It’s almost the same length when compared to male condoms, but the difference is that it’s wider. It’s designed to take the shape of the vagina and is extremely flexible as well.

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10 tips for a mindful birth

By May 10, 2017 Article

It is of paramount importance to create space for mindfulness as part of the birth preparation and to cultivate mindful relationships with your partner, your family, and most importantly, yourself. Mindfulness may not give you the birth experience you want, but it helps you fall in love with the birth experience you get.

  1. Meditation helps everything

The benefits of meditation are long-established. Meditation creates a deep level of mental rest that is very soothing for both the mother and baby during pregnancy and birth. When implemented daily, an inner silence and space for confidence is created, which teaches you and your baby to avoid reacting negatively to stressful situations. Meditation is the safest and most effective way to non-pharmacologically reduce anxiety and stress, thereby restoring and promoting the immune system of both the mother and her baby.

At 32 weeks, the placenta transports hormones from the mother’s blood into the fetal environment. The fetus relies on the mother for reassurance about the safety of this environment through the hormonal bath. Meditation decreases the production of the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline and gives the fetus a signal that it is safe and protected. This is essential as it sets the temperament of calm or anxiety in the baby. Meditation also produces endorphins, our pleasure hormone, which assists with preparation of childbirth due to its pain relieving effect. The effect actually improves with time, so the earlier you start practicing meditation during pregnancy, the greater your endorphin levels will be when it comes time to give birth.

Meditation lowers blood pressure and heart rate, which reduces the risk of preeclampsia, placental abruption, miscarriage, preterm labor, and improves relationships with your loved ones. Meditation also increases breast milk production which is key to a child’s early development, helping your baby sleep well, be less colicky and irritable, have fewer allergies and infections, have a higher tolerance for discomfort and develop skills for self-soothing.

  1. Prepare your mind

Louis Pasteur once said, “Chance favors only the prepared mind.” Sudden flashes of insight don’t just happen—they are the products of preparation. Educate yourself so that when it’s time to make decisions, you can make the right choice. I encourage all my patients and their partners to attend childbirth and breastfeeding courses so they know what to expect. The more informed you are, the more empowered and relaxed you’ll be during labor. Fear of the unknown creates pain, which elicits more fear, which produces painful deliveries. Ask lots of questions at your prenatal appointments. Choose a doctor who will provide you with compassionate, individualized care and with whom you form a solid bond of trust as you enter childbirth. Instead of focusing on “the perfect birth,” build your knowledge of different labor outcomes and decide how you’d want to deal with the various possibilities.

  1. Slow down

This is the best gift you can give your baby. Focus on creating space and making yourself emotionally healthy. Be mindful in not only the external details of pregnancy planning but the inner preparation. Try to avoid over-scheduling and block off some time for yourself. Most women find the last part of pregnancy to be the most exhausting and uncomfortable and your lack of energy needs to be honored. Nap, change your exercise routines and find time to relax and connect with yourself, your partner, and your baby. The quiet time will allow you to pay attention, hydrate, and rest, which will decrease risks for preterm contractions, improve swelling, help you enter childbirth energized, and provide your baby with cues of safety and calmness as it prepares to enter the world.

  1. Don’t get attached to plans

I have performed thousands of deliveries, yet each pregnancy and birth story is unique and special. A written birth plan can encourage unrealistic expectations because the truth is, we can’t plan childbirth. We can’t plan the timing, the amount of pain a woman can tolerate, the length of labor, the size and direction of the baby’s head, the contractions or how well the baby will tolerate labor. When and how you deliver may be beyond your control. What you can control is how you deal with the unexpected and how you feel about what happens. I prefer a ‘birth wish list’ of things my patients hope I will honor during their experience. Our plan is always the same: a healthy baby delivered in the safest way possible.

  1. Train for a marathon

No one would show up for a 26.2 mile run without dedicating months to a regimented training schedule. Similarly, fitness throughout pregnancy is imperative. Exercise helps reduce backaches, prevent diabetes, increase energy, reduce stress and improve your mood. It promotes muscle strength, tone, and endurance, improves sleep and helps you adjust to the physical demands of birth. When Lucinda was in labor, she would liken each contraction to a workout—three sets of ten. She’d put maximum effort in her mental and physical energy expenditure during the contraction. The rest in between contractions provided a reprieve to mentally recharge, breathe, rest mentally and physically, create space and build up her energy stores to start again. Her biggest cheerleader, Andy, was beside her providing her with love, support, and encouragement which played an integral part of her successful delivery.

  1. Accept the pain

Pain isn’t only a physical discomfort, but an experience of the mind and anticipation of the pain results in needless mental suffering. Mindful birth allows you to experience labor as intense physical sensations which arise, peak and pass. Using meditation to stay focused during childbirth will give you the mental and physical stamina for a successful outcome. Surrendering to the realization that the physical pain your body is experiencing is a sacred, miraculous journey can transform your birth. I encourage all my patients to stay home for as long as possible because labor can last for hours, and pain is always best managed in the comfort of a familiar environment. Remember that asking for pain medication even if you intended to have a natural birth is not a failure. Having an unplanned C-section is not cause for regret if the end result is a healthy baby in your arms. I have never had a patient who received an epidural that regretted her decision. Be flexible.

  1. Set the scene

For most women, a dark and quiet environment is ideal during labor, so ask your nurse or partner to dim the lights and minimize noise. Little things make a difference: a favorite pillow, pair of socks or soothing scent. Aromatherapy, especially the scent of lavender, is very calming in labor. Personal touches from home—pictures, keepsakes or a flameless candle—can bring love into the room. Music is always helpful, even if you’re having a C-section. It’s a birthday party, so have fun and savor the miracle of childbirth.

  1. A watched pot never boils

A patient of mine was so disappointed that after hours of labor, she was only three centimeters dilated. I playfully asked her if there was somewhere else she needed to be. Stop looking at the clock—you have a long journey ahead of you. Choose to be present for the birth of your baby. Breathe and let go of any concept of time or deadlines. When patients get to complete dilation (ten centimeters), I encourage them to “labor down,” meaning that for several hours, they do not push. Gravity, time and contractions will bring the baby down into the birth canal until you feel intense rectal pressure and an urge to push. The less you push, the less exhausted you’ll be, the less swollen your perineum gets and the less you’ll tear.

  1. Support your partner

Watching your child’s birth is one of life’s greatest moments, and a supportive partner can be the most relaxing and calming resource for a mother. I encourage significant others to be full participants in the pregnancy journey by attending prenatal appointments, childbirth and breastfeeding classes, asking questions and being an interactive member of the team. It is a magical time to bond with your partner and your baby. The stronger your relationship is prior to the birth, the more positive your participation will be.

  1. Consider the big picture

The most important goal in childbirth is to bring a healthy life into the world. Please don’t lose sight of this or take it for granted. Trust your doctors and nurses to guide you as situations change. Be an intensely proud new parent, whether you have a two- or 24-hour labor, an emergency C-section, an epidural or a drug-free delivery.


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Top 5 Health Tips for Ending Summer Strong

By May 10, 2017 Healthmeup

End Summer On The Right Path

Remember those health and fitness goals you set for yourself back in the spring? Maybe you wanted to increase your exercise, shed five pounds, or just eat healthier this summer. With summer coming to a close in just a few short weeks, it’s important to carry out those health and fitness goals, and end summer stronger than you’ve ever been!

Summer can be a hectic time for all. Between kids summer camps, family vacations, and just catching up on things that couldn’t be done during the year, health goals can quickly fall to the wayside. It also doesn’t help how fast summer tends to go by! Have you ever noticed how much more rapidly summer flies by than any other season? It certainly seems like the summer goes by in just a blink of an eye, one minute it’s June and the next it’s August, and your scrambling wondering how in the world you are going to reach those pre-summer health and fitness goals!

You’re not alone, many people lose track of their goals during the craziness that comes with summer, but with just a month left until that dreaded September month comes around, it’s back to school time for the kiddos, and back to work full time if you were fortunate enough to take some much-needed rest during the summer months.

Don’t stress if you haven’t reached your health or fitness goals quite yet because I am here to share with you the top 5 health tips you can follow to help end your summer well and fuel up for the fall months ahead!

Tip #1: Start a Morning Workout Routine if you haven’t Already

If you haven’t quite started a workout routine yet, try starting your day with 30 minutes to 1 hour of exercise. Exercising before you head out the door is a guaranteed way of making sure you get your sweat on for the day. Exercising before work will also help boost your mood, concentration, and get your metabolism revved up all day long. There’s truly no better way to start your day than with a morning workout. It takes time to get yourself into a routine, which is why this last month of summer is crucial. Set your alarm 1 hour earlier than you normally do, and get up and just do it! Try a morning run, walk, exercise class, a home workout video, or even a gentle morning yoga routine. It doesn’t matter what you chose to do so as long as you are moving your body.

Here’s why exercising in the morning is the best thing you can do for your health:

1. You’ll feel less stress throughout the day: Exercising stimulates endorphin release, which are feel good hormones! Who wouldn’t want to feel less stressed during their work day?

2. You will make healthier choices throughout the day: Working out in the morning sets the tone for a healthy day. If you’ve already made one healthy choice before your busy day even begins, you will be more inclined to make healthy food choices throughout your day.

3. You’ll increase your appetite for breakfast: For those of you who don’t eat breakfast, exercising first thing in the morning will rev your appetite, and make you want to eat breakfast! Breakfast truly is the most important meal of the day. Skipping this meal can slow down metabolism, and lead to overeating during the day. After a morning workout, you will surely be hungry enough to eat. The perfect post workout breakfast is a whey protein shake made from grass fed whey protein such as the Perfectly Natural Whey Protein, packed with BCAA’s to refuel muscles after a morning workout.

4. You’ll boost your metabolism: If you suffer from a sluggish metabolism, a morning workout is the best natural remedy to give your metabolism the boost it needs. When you exercise in the morning, your body will burn more calories throughout the day as opposed to exercising later in the day! Did you hear that….this means even when you’re sitting at your desk at work, your metabolism is working better!

5. You’ll have more energy: You will have much more energy exercising in the morning. Think about it, don’t you think you will have more energy to work out after a night of rest rather than after work? Get your workout is done first thing in the morning and you will know you are giving the workout your all.

Tip #2: Start to Include 1 Smoothie/Shake in your Diet per Day

Replacing one meal, and preferably breakfast with a nutrient dense shake will help to fuel your body with nutrients it needs to thrive, and help to manage your weight, and boost your metabolism. Now, I’m not talking about the artificial sugar loaded protein shakes out there, I’m talking about high-quality grass fed whey protein blended with some almond milk, a frozen banana, some fresh berries, and some superfoods such as flaxseeds, raw cocoa powder, and spirulina. Fueling your body with a powerful shake after a morning workout is not only great for managing weight, but also for boosting your immune system. Start getting in the habit of a shake as your daily breakfast now, so you’re already in the routine for the fall!

Tip #3: Embrace Healthy Snacks

When you’re constantly running around all day, it’s hard to think about what healthy snacks you should be putting in your body, and it’s so easy to eat the wrong foods. Many workplaces have temptations everywhere in sight. Between candy bowls, vending machines, and corporate catered events, it’s hard to avoid coming in contact with unhealthy options. If you pack your healthy snacks, you will always be prepared, and will not even be hungry for those toxic options. Pack things like nuts and fruit, hard-boiled eggs, hummus and veggies, unsweetened Greek yogurt, or another protein shake with a superfood green booster to keep hunger at bay, and fuel your body right. Fueling on the right snacks throughout the day will keep blood sugar levels balanced, and help to eliminate cravings.

Tip #4: Get Creative with Outdoor Exercise

Yes, summer is coming to an end, but we still have many weeks of warm weather head. You can easily burn calories and get an extra workout in by finishing yard work before the summer is over. Getting outside and doing yard work such as gardening, or mowing the lawn is a great way to get an extra sweat in while getting some vitamin D at the same time.

Tip #5: Fuel up on Summer Produce

Before summer comes to an end, be sure to stock up on nutrient-rich summer produce. Some healthy options include cherries, berries, beets, cucumbers, green beans, summer squash, watermelon, and sweet peppers. Make as many recipes including these ingredients as you can before summer produce are no longer in season!

Even though summer is coming to an end, you still have time to reach your health goals. Follow these five steps above to conquer your goals, and start to fall on a healthy and happy note!


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Holi tips: What to do before and after playing with colours

By March 13, 2017 Article Wishes that this Holi brings joy, togetherness, celebrations, Good health and warmth to the home and heart of everyone.

The festival of colours is here and no matter what, the kid inside us gets wilder every single year. From splashing our peers’ faces in golden and silver factory colours to getting pushed into a slush of mud, tomatoes and eggs, Holi is a festival that leaves a mark on every participant’s body. Literally!

While waiting for the signal to turn green, we may have come across youngsters on bikes who have layers of gulaal even three weeks post Holi. Do you fear it may happen to you as well?

We know that you may promise to go organic and not waste water this Holi, but here’s a handy guide to the quick tips before and after Holi that will help you stay safe and bring your skin back to normalcy in no time.

Before Holi:

  • Massage your body with coconut oil, including your hair and face. Allow yourself to stay that way for atleast 10 minutes before you go out into the pit, to get yourself coloured.
  • Coat your finger and toe nails with a dark shade of nail polish. Why this tip? It keeps those evil mixture of colours away from entering the fine gaps between your nail and skin.
  • Remove all ornaments, especially gold or silver before heading out.
  • Don’t wear any sort of make-up, including kajal, if you are aware of the intensity and roughness with which your buddies would be colouring you up. Make-up plus chemical colours plus water is the easiest recipe to skin problems.
  • Tie your hair up into a simple bun or a plait, as colour finds it tough to crawl up the roots of your hair when tied up.

During Holi:

  • Avoid the use of factory colours (those with chemicals) as they can cause several skin allergies.
  • Mixing colours may be fun, but it will just make life hell when you want to scrub it off.
  • ‘What you sow, so shall you receive’ is the ultimate rule while playing Holi. If you prove to be nasty and mean, you will bear the brunt of the it from your peers. So be careful!

After Holi:

  • Before heading for a shower, coat yourself in a layer of coconut oil again, as this helps get rid of the last bits of the colour that may refuse to come off.
  • Dip cotton buds in warm water and use that to clean colour from behind, inside and around your ears.
  • Lastly, after bathing and before retiring for the day, make yourself some nice lemon sherbat and use the left over lemon pieces to scrub in parts of your palms and heels, in order to remove colour from skin cracks.

Stay safe and Happy Holi!


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