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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

How To Exercise When Your Have Chronic Pain

One of the biggest challenges I have faced this year in trying to lose weight and improve my health is the pain involved.  Not just the pain of the exercise in general, but dealing with How To Exercise When You Have Chronic Pain from other ailments.  For me, being overweight has caused added stress on already sensitive joints and muscles.  I have had issues with sciatic and lower back pain for years and with my large chest my upper back is almost always in some kind of pain or discomfort no matter what the rest of my bodies health is like. While most will have some amount of pain while exercising and perhaps afterwards if they work hard, most people don't start out in pain.  For those people out there like myself who have to start out in pain, here are a few tips that I have found help me to stay motivated and not give up when the pain is there.

Note: Before beginning any exercise regimen check with your physician(s) to make sure you don't have any conditions that require you to modify exercises or avoid certain movements.  Your overall health is the goal, so taking chances and aggravating a condition are not recommended.


Don't Skip Proper Stretching.  This is so important when exercising.  Whether you are only going for a short walk, taking a bike ride or just a swim at your local community pool it is imperative to loosen your muscles properly.  Here is a great list with slides put out by the Mayo Clinic that gives you a good idea of starter stretches.  If you have specific areas of pain make sure to check with your physician before stretching to see what is recommended by them for your condition.

Check out Physical Therapy First.  There are many cases where your physical condition and diagnosis will be enough for your insurance to pay for you to have some physical therapy.  Before starting an exercise regimen that could exasperate your pain levels check with your physician about possible physical therapy.  The benefit is dual purpose.  Not only will you have some added pain relief, but the therapists can also coach you and show you what exercises will be best for you to increase your movement without aggrevating your pain.  Specifically look for someone who specializes in sports therapy as they deal more directly with how to continue exercise while healing.

Head to the pool.  One of the best ways to exercise when you have pain issues is to head to the local pool.  The buoyancy of your body in the water allows for less stress on your joints and muscles. Simple water walking or slow laps can increase movement, burn calories and help raise your heart rate while offering a low impact version of exercise.

Start Slowly.  Running 5 miles would be wonderful and surely jump start your weight loss but when you are overweight and have chronic pain you need to start slowly and work your way up.  Depending on your level of pain and ability you can start as slowly as jut doing stretching for a few days, then adding a 10 minute routine of exercise (swim, walk, bicycle) then slowly add to that 10 minutes in 2-5 minute increments until you are doing 30 minutes of exercise at least 3 times a week consistently.  Going slow will help prevent injury, burnout and frustration.  It will also help you build endurance for longer sessions.

Have Proper Equipment.  Okay, this one can be tough on those of us who hate spending money but it is your health and it is worth it.  Make sure you buy proper shoes and support gear.  If your doctor suggest a wrist, knee or back brace then invest in something quality.  Check out good shoes that fit well, offer support and are appropriate for your specific exercise.  If doing stretching, yoga, pilates or other floor exercises check out proper yoga and exercise mats that are thicker and offer full support.  They do make some varieties that are wider to accommodate those of us who are plus sized as well.

Don't Give Up.  There are going to be days when it just hurts too much and you don't feel like you can continue.  Sometimes your body is telling you to take a break, change your pace, do something different but not give up.  Don't give up.  Pause, take a break, seek out an additional round of physical therapy, soak in the hot tub, get a massage, use prescribed anti-inflammatory medication as needed, but don't give up.  Get up the next day and try again.

Chronic pain exists for a lot of people.  Sometimes it is caused by obesity (like my case), and other times it is truly unexplained (like those with Fibromyalgia).  It isn't to be taken lightly, but it isn't an excuse to not work toward health either.  There are always options for your body, your condition, your pain level.  Talk to your physician or set up an appointment with a personal trainer to discuss how to exercise when you have chronic pain.  One of the greatest benefits you will see is your pain level decreasing as your overall health improves.  There are many physical conditions that cause pain that exercise can actually eliminate or help prevent flare ups of.  No matter your size, physical condition or financial ability you can always find a way to exercise something in some way to increase your heart rate, burn calories and better your physical condition.  I am living proof. 

Experience SEALife Aquarium In Grapevine Texas With The Whole Family

As a homeschool mom I am always looking for things that are both fun and educational for us to do with the wee child.  When I was given the opportunity to share with you about SEALife Aquarium in Grapevine Texas and receive tickets for my family to head over and check it out, I knew it was a perfect match.  Not only are we all interested in sea life, but it would fit perfectly into some of the lessons we have been doing with the wee child about natural ocean habitats. 

A few weeks ago we set out to spend a weekend in the Dallas/Fort Worth area to hang out with my sister and take in SEALife and a few other local attractions.  For a chilly but beautiful Saturday afternoon this was a great way to spend a few hours together as a family.

Some of the great SEALife Aquarium exhibits and attractions we encountered were:
  • Rescued Turtles that have been injured and now have a home at SEALife for safety
  • Sting Ray's & Manta Rays up close in large pools and the 360 degree tunnel
  • 360 degree Underwater Tunnel totally amazing views of fish and sea creatures from all angles. 
  • Interactive Rockpool {Touch Starfish, Urchins and more}
  • Tons of Shark Species & a Great Interactive Shark Game/Display with Q&A
  • A fun tunnel/tube play zone for restless kiddos
We spent a few hours looking at all of the displays, learning about some of the species we have seen on TV but not n person like Seahorses and Shrimp (very cool & so tiny) and of course staring at sharks up close.  The wee child really enjoyed seeing all of them up close and the Man and myself enjoyed learning a few new things while having fun with our son.

SEALife Aquarium is a great place to head out with your family on a cold or rainy day for some fun educational time together.  Not only do they have scheduled "talks" at designated areas throughout the day that teach you more about the animals, their displays do change from time to time with new creatures arriving and special events happening.  We loved the fact that they have a great "Education Room" upstairs with projectors and movies going about different displays at all times.  It's a great place to sit down and rest for a few minutes will continuing to learn.

With plenty of benches throughout, water fountains and restrooms at easy access and a fun gift shop full of sea creature gifts this was a great family friendly, clean and fun way to spend an afternoon.  My only complaint was a lack of hand sanitizer or areas to wash hands in convenient locations after playing in the hands on interactive rockpool.  

Head over and check out SEALife's website for a location near you or head to the Grapevine, Texas location near Dallas/Fort Worth today.

Thanks to SEALife Aquarium and US Family Bloggers for the chance to visit the Grapevine location in exchange for my honest review on this blog. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

11 Tasty Quinoa Recipes

We've been seeing Quinoa show up more and more in restaurants and recipe postings these days and as a great alternative to rice it is something our family has been excited to try.  When diving in with a new food we always like to try known chefs, friends or family recipes, and here are 11 Tasty Quinoa Recipes for you to start with from trusted bloggers and friends.


Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers

Blackberry Quinoa Salad

Mexican Style Quinoa With Grilled Chicken

Vegetarian Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers With Spinach

Gluten Free Casein Free Chicken Fried Quinoa

Black Bean And Quinoa Casserole

Quinoa Fried Rice

Chicken, Broccoli & Toasted Cashews Over Quinoa

Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Bites With Bleu Cheese Dip

Sopa de Quinoa

Fruit & Almond Quinoa With Apple

Not only are there some great entrĂ©es listed in these 11 Tasty Quinoa Recipes, but some fun salads and dessert items as well.  These are great introductory recipes for you if you are just getting started with quinoa.  For some it is an acquired taste and texture, but for others it is an easy adaptation.  We love quinoa in our house and have continued to branch out more and more with new and different recipes. 

DIY Lemon Rosemary Salt Scrub

When it comes time to think about fun gifts for teachers at the end of the school year, Mother's Day, Bridesmaid gifts or simply your own method of pampering yourself easy to make scrubs are a great direction to go.  Not only is this DIY Lemon Rosemary Salt Scrub easy to whip up in under 5 minutes it is also much less expensive than those you can find in your local department store.  I love having high quality products but I also worry about the preservatives and chemicals within many of the body products out there.  This is one of my go-to scrubs to make.  I love how it helps get rid of dead skin while moisturising my often dry skin.


Coconut Oil or Olive Oil
Sea Salt
Fresh Rosemary Sprigs
Essential Oils if you desire stronger/different scent
Sealable container to store in

  • In a bowl (or container you will use for storage) mix together 1/2 cup each oil and sea salt.  
  • Add the zest and juice of 1 lemon along with a few springs fresh rosemary. 
  • Blend together until well incorporated. Add in a few drops of your favorite essential oils if desired.
  • Pour into air tight container and use sparingly as an all over exfoliant and body or facial scrub. 
  • Note: Due to the lemon and rosemary being fresh and no chemicals for preservation I recommend making in smaller batches and using within 2-3 weeks for best smell and effect.  

This is a great gift item that can be put into decorative jars or bottles you grab at your local dollar store and decorated with a pretty ribbon and gift tag to make the DIY Lemon Rosemary Salt Scrub a gift everyone on your list will love and beg for more of.