Play hard & Stay healthy

shutterstock_290576897 it takes guts family at play

Today’s lifestyle keeps the entire family active from youngsters to their hard-working parents. A strong immune system helps us fight off seasonal illness and maintain healthy energy levels. Like your mother’s advice, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” the best way to deal with the common cold is to avoid it entirely!

It is not just germs that cause kids and grown-ups to get sick. A big factor is the strength of their immune response that, believe it or not, starts in the digestive tract where over 70-80 percent of immune system cells reside. Probiotics, the beneficial bacteria that live in the gut, help support the function of these crucial immune cells.

An important aspect of health is how successfully your immune system recognizes and destroys bad bacteria and other pathogens. According to Ross Pelton, pharmacist, author and holistic health expert, one study indicated that people who ingested probiotics for three weeks were shown to have immune cells that were twice as effective as those who did not.

The friendly bacteria help support the function of immune system cells by, among other things, crowding out unfriendly guests like bad bacteria. Probiotics also enhance digestion, which means the body better absorbs all the nutrients it needs from food and supplements. That alone equips the body to stay healthy and more efficiently fight off any bad bugs that come along.

“Unfortunately, due to overuse of antibiotics, stress, and other modern environmental and dietary issues, most people of all ages have a compromised probiotic population,” Dr. Fred Pescatore, author of the best seller Feed Your Kids Well, said. To maintain good health, the ratio of good to bad bacteria needs to stay at 85 to 15. This ratio is almost impossible to maintain without supplementing with a high-quality probiotic. Dr. Pescatore encourages his patients to look for a supplement that encapsulates both the probiotic and its nutritious culture medium.

“A probiotic alone will not necessarily be successful. The friendly bacteria need what is called prebiotic support,” explained Dr. Pescatore who noted that a certain Japanese probiotic, available in the U.S. as Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics®, fits the bill. The probiotic formula is encapsulated with its culture medium. The culture medium provides nutritious vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes, and pH-balancing organic acids and postbiotics. “This prebiotic support ensures that the probiotics take root and thrive in the digestive tract,” said Dr. Pescatore.

With both prebiotic, probiotic and postbiotic supplementation in place, the body’s immune system can see some real benefit, which translates into fewer sick days. That’s great news for the whole family.

When relying on probiotics to help support immune response, it is vital to pick the right supplement. There are products that claim to contain “billions and billions” of bacteria. That’s not always a good thing though. Providing too much of a single bacteria strain can actually trigger an immune response; the body treats the supplemented bacteria as a threat. Consumers should also look out for probiotic products that may have undergone manufacturing processes or shipping conditions that render them useless. Avoid some of these pitfalls by finding a brand that has had studies conducted on its own finished product.

Yes, it’s not just germs that make people sick. Poor digestive tract balance can lead to a compromised immune response, making the body especially vulnerable to daily germ exposure. A high-quality probiotic supplement can be a big step toward sound health for the whole family throughout the year.

As healthy micro-ecology is restored, digestion improves and all the body’s organs and cells are able to receive nutrition more efficiently. That can have an incredible effect on whole health and energy helping the entire family to manage a demanding lifestyle.

It Takes Guts… to play hard!


How to Avoid Holiday Traffic… In Your Gut

With all of the traveling, eating, drinking, and celebrating that comes with the summer holidays, chances are you’re going to get stuck in more than one kind of traffic jam this weekend. While I can’t offer you any tips about how to stay out of traffic on the highway, I can give you some advice on how to avoid jam-ups in your digestive system. 3flg010USASo, if you prefer to experience fireworks and explosions from afar, not inside your belly, try the following tips for a happy and healthy Fourth of July:

  • Drink lots of water: It is easy to get dehydrated in the summer heat without even realizing it, and dehydration is one of the leading causes of constipation. Your goal should be to drink half your body weight in ounces of water per day. For example, if you weigh 160 pounds, you should drink at least 80 ounces of water per day.


  •   Keep your body moving: Exercise stimulates the natural contraction of intestinal muscles, thus aiding in elimination and detoxification. Try going for a 10 minute walk immediately after finishing a meal to assist the natural flow of digestion.





  • Invest in a high-quality probiotic: Look for a non-freeze-dried probiotic that is dairy, gluten, soy, and egg free. shutterstock_193048010




  • Chew your food thoroughly: Rather than swallowing your Fourth of July hot dog or burger whole, take the time to completely chew your food. This will make for an easier digestion process and allow you to enjoy your food in the meantime.



  • Take a Epson salt bath: After wrapping up the day’s activities, give your body a chance to relax. A warm bath will relax your body (watch out for sunburns!) and the Epson salt will aid in a gentle detoxification. Soak for about 20 minutes.shutterstock_121099396

Man vs. Machine

I don’t know about you, but when I walk into the gym and see 1000 different machines, I get a little intimidated. I don’t know which machine trains what or how much weight to add to them, much less how to use them! I try to watch the gym experts get on and off the machines and imitate their steps, but I just never know if I am doing it right. I’ve even hurt myself on a machine doing shoulder presses, an injury I am still dealing with 3 years later. After all this trouble, I have decided to stick with “man power” and avoid most machines all-together. If you are like me and are not an equipment expert, it would be wise to avoid the following machines because they have been known to cause the most injuries.

1. Seated Chest Fly Machine: While meant to train chest and shoulders, this machine can put the shoulders in an unstable position, placing excessive stress on the shoulder joint and its connective tissues.seated fly chest machine

Instead: Work the same muscles by doing sets of incline push-ups.

2. Smith Machine Squats: The alignment of this machine makes for linear movements rather than natural, arched movements in the chest, biceps, and legs, therefore putting stress on your knees, shoulders, and low back.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Instead: Try doing body weight squats.


3. Seated Rotation Machine: I used to like this machine, but I discovered that because the pelvis doesn’t move with the chest, it causes excessive twisting forces on the spine.seated rotation

Instead: Tone up by doing some cable wood chops!


4. Seated Leg Lift Extension Machine: Talk about “all that work for nothing,” this machine strengthens a motion that your legs aren’t even designed to do! It can also strain your ligaments and tendons surrounding your kneecaps. single leg extension_small

Instead: Train muscles in your legs that you will actually use by doing 1-legged body-weight squats.


5. Seated Hip Abductor Machine: Here’s another machine that will waste your time. While it is meant to train your outer thighs, because you are seated, it trains a movement that has no functional use and can place undue pressure on the spine.seated hip abductor

Instead: Do some lateral band walks and really feel your muscles working!


6. Roman Chair Back Extension Machine: Repeatedly flexing the back while its supporting weight places pressure on the spine and increases the risk for damaging your disks. roman back extension

Instead: Protect your spine and try holding a bird-dog pose.


7. Roman Chair Sit-Up: This machine places the lower back in a vulnerable, rounded position, placing stress on the lower back.roman-chair-sit-ups

Instead: Train your abs and hip flexors by holding the plank position for 60 seconds.


8. Seated Shoulder Press Machine: I have a personal vendetta against this machine, since it is the one I messed up my shoulders on over 3 years ago. The shoulder movement required by this machine doesn’t allow you to use your hips to assist your shoulders, which is the natural way to push something up overhead. This puts the shoulder joints in a vulnerable position and puts undue stress on your shoulder.shoulder-press

Instead: Work your shoulders and triceps by doing medicine ball throws.

 Don’t get me wrong, not all machines are bad! But, it is best to either learn how to do them correctly from a professional or to use good ole man-power and body-weight when working out.