Reduce Exercise Muscle Soreness

Body

Many people should probably exercise more often and with more intensity. Now is the time to kick excuses out the door, because you’re about to learn how to reduce your risk of sore muscles. You’ll feel so good that you will be motivated to make time in your day to exercise. So get started!

Okay, so now you might be thinking about where to start. Should you warm up or stretch first? Here’s the simple answer – both.

Start with a good warm-up to lower your risk of having sore muscles the next day. Warming up your muscles (especially the major muscle groups you’ll be using during exercise) is one of the best ways to prevent muscle stiffness and injury. A good warm-up consists of moving your body by slowly walking, gently jogging, and light participation in the activity you’re warming up for. The goal is to increase your heart rate a little bit, which increases your muscles’ temperature so they move more easily. Your warm-up period doesn’t have to take long, either. Five minutes or so will do the trick.

Once you’ve revved up your body with a good warm-up, you’re ready to start stretching. Stretches are most beneficial when you hold them for at least 30 seconds, but a good rule of thumb is to start by holding a stretch for just five seconds and work your way up to 30 seconds as your body gets used to the stretching and exercise. As you stretch, be sure not to bounce as this action can increase your risk of injury. If you’re not sure how to stretch or you want to make sure you are performing your warm-up and stretching properly, visit your local gym for advice.

It’s true that the warm-up period of your exercise is more self explanatory than stretching, so here are a few simple stretching techniques and positions that may help.

Calf stretch – This is a great stretch if you’re going to be using your legs during exercise, such as when you run or play many team sports. Begin this stretch by facing and standing about two feet away from a wall. With your heels flat and your back straight, slowly lean forward and press your hands and forehead against the wall. You should feel this stretch in your calf right above your ankles.

Hamstring stretch – You’ve likely heard of a lot of people who get hamstring injuries, so this exercise is obviously very important. Lie with your back flat on the floor and both knees bent. With your feet flat on the floor, slowly bend your right knee up to your chest, place both hands behind your right thigh and then extend your leg upward. You should feel the stretch in the back of your leg. Repeat this exercise with the left leg.

Neck stretch – This is a good stretch if you’re going to be working out your upper body, especially the shoulders. Standing upright, hang both arms by your side. Then take one arm and twist your palm so it is facing out. At the same time, grasp your head with your other hand and gently pull your ear toward your shoulder. Stop and hold when you feel the first signs of stretching along the side of your neck. Repeat on the other side.

Okay, there’s no time for excuses anymore now that you know how to warm up and stretch. Get out there and get moving and have a great time – you’re going to feel great!

The Other Side of Warming Up

Yes, that’s right. Warming up and stretching are not the only parts of a healthy work out plan. Cooling down is just as essential if you want to prevent injury and sore muscles the next day. Just like you spent a few minutes warming up your body and your muscles in order to exercise them, you should take at least five minutes to cool down the temperature in your body and muscles after a good work out.

Walking is a great way to end your exercise session, and you can even utilize many of the same stretches to cool down as you did to warm up. With a cool-down period, you give your body a few minutes to relax and return to normal functioning after exercise.

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How Fit Are You?

BodyExactly how fit are you? It’s an intriguing question. Many people over and under estimate their own fitness. Often, the fitter people get, the more critical they are of their own fitness. The ways of measuring your fitness is almost as varied as the ways you can get fit. So how do we find out how fit we are?

Measuring your fitness is important for a few reasons. Knowing your current fitness level will enable you to make clear goals for your workout program. You’ll be able to measure your fitness after some time, and see how far you’ve progressed. This will help to maintain your motivation. Finally, it’s important to know your fitness level so that you can choose the most appropriate exercise and strength training for your body.

There are four primary components of fitness that you can measure. The first is aerobic fitness. This is your endurance level, and it is dependent upon your age, gender, and improves with proper training. Aerobic fitness is directly related to the proportion of your bodyweight that is free of fat. Your level of aerobic fitness implies a level of health, and thus is a very important measurement.

Aerobic movement requires the delivery of oxygen to the muscles. Oxygen is delivered to the muscles via your bloodstream. Therefore, each heartbeat you have is an indicator of the amount of blood traveling through your bloodstream. So one way to measure your aerobic fitness is to take your heart rate, or pulse. Record your resting pulse rate, and then go for a one-mile brisk walk. Take your pulse again once you’ve immediately finished the mile, and record how long it took you to walk. As you gain aerobic fitness, your heart rate should lower. So should the time it takes you to walk the mile! The average resting heart rate for an adult is 60 to 100 beats per minute (bpm). Truly fit individuals can have a resting heart rate of 40bpm!

The second measurement is muscular fitness. This relates to your strength, and the endurance of that strength. Your muscular fitness can show how susceptible you are to injury. It also relates to your bone mass. A very simple way of testing your muscular fitness is with push-ups. You can time yourself, and see how many you do in that timeframe. Or, you can just complete as many push-ups as possible before fatigue sets in.

The third measurement is flexibility. This is your body’s ability to move joints and muscles through a full range of motion. It can also relate to your balance and coordination levels. A tight muscle can prevent normal movement. The most common way to measure your flexibility is via the dreaded sit and reach test. With this test, you’ll need a measuring tape. Place the measuring tape along the floor. With your feet at zero, and the tape stretching away from you, sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you. Try to touch your feet or stretch as far past your feet as possible. Have a friend check how far you went on the measuring tape. If you can’t reach your toes, you’ll have a negative number. If you stretch past your feet, you’ll have a positive number. Obviously, the more flexible your legs, hips, and lower back are, the further you will be able to reach in this test. One problem, though, is that your flexibility in each joint is independent of your other joints. Therefore, you may have very flexible shoulder joints, but terribly tight hamstrings.

The fourth measurement is your body composition. This tends to relate to the amount of fat on your body, and where that fat is located. The location of fat at specific sites (in particular, the waist area) places you at higher risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes. A simple way of measuring your body composition is via your body mass index (BMI). This is your body weight (in kilograms) divided by the square of your height (in meters). For example, if your weight is 61 kilograms, and your height is 1.69 meters, then your BMI calculation would be

61
(1.69 x 1.69)

That’s a BMI of 21.36. There are also charts that allow you to look up your BMI based on your height and weight. The range for a normal BMI is 18.5 – 25. You will fall into the overweight range if your BMI is anywhere between 25 – 30. Obese is anything greater than 30. Underweight is anything under 18.5.

Another important body composition test is to measure your waist. Anything larger than 40 inches for men, and 35 inches for women increases your health risks. This is particularly important to take notice of if your BMI is larger than 25.

So how fit are you? But more importantly, how fit do you intend to be? Set your goals, work your program, and watch as those numbers go down, down, down.

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5 Ways Not to Exercise

BodyThat’s right – there’s a wrong way to exercise. But don’t worry! Once you know how not to exercise, you’ll be ready for some great tips that will help you maintain good form and make the most of your work out.

If you’re like most people, you don’t have a lot of time to exercise, so why do exercises that won’t help you be healthier and happier? Read on to learn what exercises you might be doing wrong and how you can enhance your form and reap the intended benefits of exercise.

Exercise No-No #1

The lateral pull down behind the head is done by pulling a weighted bar down behind your head and neck. Unless you have very mobile shoulder joints, you could be damaging the alignment of your spine when you pull the bar down or you could be putting undue strain on your shoulders, which can easily lead to injury.

Safe Alternative: Instead of pulling the bar down behind your head, try leaning back a few degrees and pulling the bar down to your breastbone by pulling your shoulder blades down and together. Contract your abdominal muscles to control your movements.

Exercise No-No #2

Raising a weight to your chin with your arm can be dangerous, as this movement can quite easily compress the nerves in your shoulder.

Safe Alternative: Perform this same type of exercise, but lift the weights to the side or front of the body. Better yet, try this exercise while bending forward at the hips and holding the weight below your shoulder and then lifting it to the side of your body. This movement still targets all the muscles of your upper back, while getting the biceps involved as well.

Exercise No-No #3

When using a weighted machine to perform leg presses while lying down, it’s easy to bend your knees too deeply as you move the weight. This exercise is designed to work your quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. But if you bend too much with your knees, your pelvis can tilt and force the lower back to bear some of the weight, which can lead to serious back troubles if the exercise is repeated regularly.

Safe Alternative: Instead of using a machine, try using the resistance of your own body. Squats and lunges can work the same muscle groups with far greater safety.

Exercise No-No #4

Even if you are doing everything else spot on, wearing the wrong shoes can counteract everything. Improper footwear can increase the pounding on your joints and lead to conditions like plantar fasciitis or tendinitis.

Safe Alternative: The key is to choose a shoe that fits the exercise you are doing. Shop at reputable athletic shoe stores so you can talk to knowledgeable salespeople who can help you find the right type of shoe for your sport and foot.

Exercise No-No #5

Too many people these days are using weight belts. Unless you have a medical reason to wear one, you can probably put the belt down. Using a weight belt reduces your core muscles’ ability to work and become stronger.

Safe Alternative: Unless you are a bodybuilder, skip the weight belt and concentrate on utilizing your core muscles to build up your strength.

Eye of the Trainer

If you’re an exercise novice, a personal trainer may help your exercise program get off on the right foot. Personal trainers are great at keeping you pumped up about exercise and they are also there to ensure that you maintain the proper form and a good variety of activities while working out.

Personal trainers also provide other benefits that you may find motivational, including:

  • Fitness evaluations, which can measure where you are when you first start exercising and continue measuring your progress as you become more fit.
  • Personalized exercise programs are a great benefit of having a personal trainer. Because your trainer knows you, he or she can develop a plan that is tailored to your needs so you can reap the greatest benefit from your exercise.
  • Supervised exercise sessions are also a big plus when you have a personal trainer. It can be hard to know if you’re doing something right – or wrong – unless someone tells you.
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Absolutely Amazing Ahi

This tantalizing appetizer mingles fresh ahi, avocado, cucumbers and spice and will impress the most knowledgeable food critic.

Categories: Low Carb, Lunch, Low Calorie, Dinner, High Protein, Dairy-Free, Vegetarian

Here’s What You Need
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onion
  • 1 avocados – peeled, pitted and diced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup diced cucumber
  • 3/4 pound sashimi grade tuna steak, diced
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, combine the tuna, cucumber, avocado, green onion, red pepper flakes and sesame seeds.
  2. Pour in the lemon juice, sesame oil and soy sauce, and stir carefully to blend so as not to mash the avocado.
  3. Place this bowl into a larger bowl that has been filled with ice.
  4. Chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes, but no longer – the terrific freshness of the fish will be lost.
  5. Once chilled, remove the bowl from the ice, and invert onto a serving plate.
  6. Serve with toasted bread or your favorite crackers.
Nutrition Facts

Servings: 6, Calories: 155, Fat: 8.2g, Cholesterol: 26mg, Sodium: 1245mg, Carbohydrate: 5.8g, Protein: 15.6g

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Bug Bites 101

Bugs, bugs, they’re everywhere! But they don’t have to make your summer bite.

It’s summer and you’re probably spending more time outdoors with these often small creatures that can sting and bite at a moment’s notice. Read on to learn what you can do to recognize when a bug bite or sting requires more care than you can give at home.

The Bug, Bite Chart

There are thousands of varieties of insects in our world, but there are a few that are more likely than others to bite or sting: bees, ticks, and spiders. Use the chart below to learn what these bites or stings look like, what you should do, and when it’s an emergency.

What does it look like? How should I take care of it? When is it an emergency?
Bees A red bump about the size of a pea on the skin that often has a small hole in the middle where the stinger is (or was). Remove the stinger as soon as possible; wash the site of the sting with soap and water; periodically apply ice or a cool cloth to relieve pain for up to 24 hours or give ibuprofen; apply a paste of baking soda and water to relieve itching. Get help right away if the bee stings you or your loved one in the mouth; if swelling or pain persists for more than three days; or if a person experiences difficulty breathing, nausea, dizziness, or swelling of the lips, tongue, or face.
Ticks Often looks like a red rash that sometimes has a little bull’s eye in the center. The bull’s eye mark may take up to a week to appear. Remove the tick by grabbing it as close to the head as possible with fine-tipped tweezers and pull it straight out; do not use petroleum jelly or a match to kill and remove the tick; kill it by putting it in a jar of alcohol but keep it in case your physician wants to see it; wash the site of the bite with soap and water; swab the site of the bite with alcohol. Call your physician if you think the tick has been in the skin for more than 24 hours, if part of the tick remains in the skin, the bite area looks infected, or if you or your loved one experiences fever, headache, fatigue, or a stiff neck after a tick bite.
Spiders The site of the bite may be red, slightly swollen, and sometimes cause blisters to occur. Wash the area carefully with soap and water two to three times a day until the skin is healed; apply cold compresses; give acetaminophen or ibuprofen to relieve pain; elevate the area to slow to spread of venom. There are two poisonous spiders in the United States: the brown recluse and the black widow. Emergency care is required if you suspect one of these spiders bit you or your loved one. Also, seek help if a deep purple area develops around the bite site, you experience swelling in the face or mouth, have difficulty breathing, chest tightness, dizziness, abdominal pain, nausea, or vomiting.

Don’t Bug Me!

Take these simple steps to protect yourself and your children from insect stings and bug bites.

  • Avoid walking barefoot in the grass.
  • Try not to use scented soaps, perfumes, or hair spray.
  • Ensure all outside garbage cans have tight-fitting lids.
  • Stay away from stagnant pools of water.
  • Cover food when eating outdoors.
  • Encourage children to wear long pants and long sleeves when playing in wooded areas.
  • Use insect repellent with 10 to 30 percent DEET protection (for children age 2 and up).
  • check your skin—especially the scalp, behind the ears, neck, under the arms, and the groin—after being outside when tick and spider bites may be a threat.
  • Keep garages, attics, and woodpiles free of spider webs.
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Is Eight Glasses of Water Enough?

HealthA significant part of your body is made up of water. In addition to a large part of your body being made up of water, several daily body functions use water. Don’t think water deserves so much credit? Consider these wet-and-wild facts.

  • In a day, your lungs expel about two to four cups of water just through normal breathing (even more on a cold day).
  • You can lose up to a cup of water if your feet sweat.
  • In just six trips to the bathroom a day, you can lose about six cups of water.
  • Your body can expel about two cups of water a day if you perspire (and that doesn’t include exercise-induced sweat).

For these reasons and many more, it’s obvious that you need to replenish your body with liquids regularly.

How to Do It

Okay, so if your body is losing all of this water every day, what do you have to do to replenish it? The best thing you can do is drink a little bit of water all day long. Try sipping down about four ounces of water every hour when you’re awake. Take a water bottle with you when you’re driving, grab a glass of water before you sit down in front of the television, and bring something to drink when you go to that marathon meeting during your workday. If you don’t like the taste of water, try drinking extremely cold water or twist a lemon or lime in your water. If none of those options sound good, other liquids such as diluted fruit juices, skim milk, coffee, and diet soft drinks also provide the liquid your body needs.

Now that you know how to get the water your body needs, let’s talk about how much water your body needs. Many experts say that drinking between 8 and 10 glasses of water a day is a good rule of thumb. However, other factors, such as your body size, your body type (muscle holds more water than fat), your activity level, your age, and your diet, all play into the amount of water your body needs. If you have any questions about how much water your body needs or if you experience any symptoms of dehydration, touch base with your physician.

When You’re Not Getting Enough to Drink

Dehydration is one of the most common ways your body lets you know it’s not getting enough water. When dehydration occurs, your body has lost more fluids than it has taken in. This condition is not often life-threatening, but it can have serious consequences in babies and older adults. Symptoms of dehydration include feeling dizzy or lightheaded, having a dry or sticky feeling in your mouth, or producing less urine. If you experience any of these symptoms, take a moment to rest and get a drink. It’s also a good idea to get out of the sun and relax for the rest of the day. If symptoms continue, contact your physician.

Here’s the bottom line: your body needs water and it needs it every day, so try to keep a water bottle close by and refill it often. Your body will thank you for it.

H2O in Your F-O-O-D

Thankfully for the water haters out there, water can be found in a variety of places beyond the sink-including your dinner. The following are just a few of the foods that have high water content:

  • apples
  • broccoli
  • cantaloupe
  • carrots
  • celery
  • cooked cereal
  • cottage cheese
  • gelatin
  • grapes
  • grapefruit
  • iceberg lettuce
  • oranges
  • radishes
  • rice
  • soup
  • strawberries
  • tomatoes
  • tuna
  • watermelon
  • yogurt
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9 Reasons Your Sex Drive Is Dead

Wondering what has taken away that overzealous sex drive? Wonder no more.

She still looks amazing. He’s still got the old charm. So what happened to the fire? The passion? The desire to be intimate? If you’ve lost that love and feeling, it may be because of one of these nine sex drive killers.

Killer 1: Depression

It’s a sad but true fact of life that one of the biggest killers of sexual drive is depression. If you’ve ever suffered bouts of depression, you know that you don’t feel like doing anything when you’re depressed – even having sex. If depression stays around long enough, your sexual drive can hit rock bottom, putting a strain on your relationships.

Killer 2: Stress

Need another reason to get to the gym to work off stress? How about this one: that excess, debilitating stress hanging around your neck is also keeping you from wanting to hit the sack with your sweet thing. Usually, your sexual drive will return after the weight of your stressors is removed, but it can have lasting negative impact if the stress sticks around long enough.

Killer 3: Medications

Though medication can make your life much better and help you stay healthier, some come with the unwanted side effect of reduced sexual drive. Some of the most common culprits include birth control and anti-depressants. If you suspect your medication has reduced your sex drive, talk with your physician about alternative medications that may allow you to retain your passion.

Killer 4: Relationship Woes

Believe it or not, good sex won’t heal a bad relationship. In fact, if your relationship with your partner isn’t solid, you probably aren’t too interested in making love with him or her. In order to avoid a decrease in your sex drive, you’ll need to first heal your relationship – not the other way around.

I admit I have a tremendous sex drive. My boyfriend lives 40 miles away.
Phyllis Diller

Killer 5: Body Problems

Some people feel great about their bodies. They’re not concerned with how it looks or how it’s changed over the years. For other people, worrying about the extra pounds picked up over the last 10 years makes it difficult to get in the mood for sex. Regaining confidence will help you regain sexual drive.

Killer 6: Years

As you may suspect, aging is enough to reduce your sex drive. Not that you feel repulsed or turned off by your special someone, but aging simply changes people. One of the most obvious signs of this change is menopause, which can greatly diminish a woman’s sex drive.

Killer 7: Alcoholism

While moderate amounts of alcohol may help you relax and enjoy sex with your partner, abusing alcohol is another story. If you binge drink or get drunk on a regular basis, you’re putting more than your liver at risk. You’re also putting your sex drive in harm’s way.

Killer 8: Babies

Following childbirth, women need to recover. However, even after several weeks or months of recovery, some women are too exhausted to think about having sex. On top of that, sex can be uncomfortable after childbirth. Also, men who play a very active role in raising his newborn can also experience a drop in sex drive, as he, too, will feel exhausted.

Killer 9: Sexual History

A sexual history that has any hints of sexual abuse can cause you to hold back when it comes time to make love. Though sexual trauma can be very difficult to overcome, many people who have been sexually abused earlier in life go on to lead normal, productive lives. They are also able to have healthy sex lives.

Enhance and Enjoy

If your sex drive is fine but you’d still like to take your sexual desires to another level, there are a number of ways to do it without expensive medications. To give your libido a little boost, use the following techniques:

  • eat the right foods (almonds, bananas, raw oysters, and chocolate are good options)
  • get fit (working out reduces sex-drive-killing stress, increases confidence, and improves blood flow)
  • be romantic (a candlelit dinner or a movie night snuggling on the couch will put you both in the mood)
  • feel the beat (listening to music from your days of high sex drive can boost your drive)
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Healthiest Ice Creams

Yes, this will soon become your favorite topic for discussion.

Nothing beats the cold, creamy deliciousness of ice cream. It can turn a dark, cloudy day into a bright and cheery afternoon. Make the dullest of events something to be cherished. Turn enemies into fast friends. So why does it have such a bad rap?

After all, studies have shown the mental benefits of ice cream. It tastes good and makes you feel even better. Shouldn’t that be enough of a reason to look past the unhealthy and unnecessary calories? No. Fortunately, there are some ice cream choices you can eat without breaking your calorie promises day after day. Is your sweet tooth salivating yet? Read on to find out what ice creams are the healthiest.

In the Bowl

For ice cream purists, the only kind of ice cream worth eating is found in the bottom of a big bowl. Fortunately, there are a handful of bowl-friendly ice creams that won’t push your waistline beyond your belt too fast. The secret is to make sure you don’t eat too much during a single sitting.

A couple of the best are Edy’s slow-churned strawberry and Breyers double-churned cookies and cream light ice cream. Both have the magnificent flavor and texture you seek from ice cream, and neither is too high in fat or calories. Go for a serving of this at the next birthday party you attend and you’ll be licking every low-fat drop from your lips without feeling guilty in the least!

I doubt whether the world holds for anyone a more soul-stirring surprise than the first adventure with ice cream. – Heywood C. Broun

In Your Hand

When you need portable ice cream, nothing will do but a fudge bar. With a Skinny Cow fudge bar, you’ll get a meager 100 calories and 1 gram of fat. There is also a vanilla bar coated with fudge from Healthy Choice that has even fewer calories. Not bad for something that tastes so naughty.

In the unlikely event that cold chocolate doesn’t sound quite right, you can always go for a snow cone. Since they’re mostly made of ice, snow cones are consistently low in calories and fat. On days when you’re feeling particularly creative, make your own homemade popsicles using real fruit juice for a tasty treat with practically no calories or fat grams.

Anti-Cream

If you’re in the mood for something a little bit different from your typical milk-based ice cream fare, it may be time to turn to sorbet or other non-milky cold delights. One of the best when it comes to good health is Häagen Dazs Brazilian açai berry sorbet. High on flavor and vitamin C and low in calories and fat, açai berry sorbet is a great addition to any hot day.

Prefer the flavor of ice cream but not the fat content? Either pick some healthy choices from the “In the Bowl” section or go with low-fat frozen yogurt. Most yogurts attempt to be lower in fat and calories than their ice cream counterparts, and Stonyfield does it better than most – and they do it organically!

Now that you know you can have your ice cream and eat it too, figure out what flavor you want and prepare for a wonderful after-meal extravagance!

On Your Own

Want to pick out some healthy ice cream on your own? Here are some helpful tips that will ensure you indulge in the healthiest ice cream possible. A half cup of the healthiest ice cream has no more than…

…120 calories…
…15 grams of sugar…
…10 milligrams of cholesterol…
…4 grams of fat or 3 grams of saturated fat.

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Father’s Day Is The Perfect Time To Connect With Dad

Don’t forget your Father

Now that Mother’s Day has come and gone, it is time to honor the fathers in your life.  The third Sunday in June is set aside to do just that. What better time than Father’s Day to express your gratitude and love to your dad? It’s a day to thank your father for the important role he has played in helping you become the person you are today. But don’t think you only get to celebrate with your biological father. Perhaps there is another father figure in your life, such as a step-father, father-in-law, grandfather, uncle, mentor, or friend who deserves to be honored.

Good Beginnings

It was 1910 when Father’s Day was first celebrated. And contrary to what many believe, it wasn’t instituted as another money-making ploy by greeting card companies. Rather, Father’s Day was originated by Sonora Smart Dodd, who was motivated by a Mother’s Day sermon.  Along with her five siblings, Sonora was raised by her father, William Jackson Smart, a Civil War veteran, following the death of her mother.  Not having a mother, Sonora was inspired to begin a day that honored fathers. Since her father’s birthday was in June, Sonora decided Father’s Day should be celebrated in that month.

Sonora tirelessly worked to bring about such a holiday and soon the idea of Father’s Day was popular all over the country. President Coolidge recommended Father’s Day as a national holiday in 1924, but it wasn’t until 1972 that President Nixon officially created Father’s Day as a national holiday.

Fatherhood is pretending the present you love most is soap-on-a-rope.Bill Cosby

The Nitty Gritty

So what is a good way to honor the fathers in your life? What would show dad how thankful you are for him? What would your dad appreciate most from you as a sign of love? Many families have their own traditions for Father’s Day. Some give cards, some make dad breakfast in bed, some go out to eat at dad’s favorite restaurant, some send him to the golf course for the day. One of the best and easiest ways to show dad you love him is to give him your time. Below are a few creative ways to do just that.

Play Ball! What father wouldn’t enjoy a day at the ballpark? A baseball game is the perfect summer outing. It doesn’t have to be a major league game. All that matters is that you’re out there together, rooting on the home team.

Eat Up! Another great way to spend time with dad and the whole family is to go on a picnic. Find a local park and pack dad’s favorite summer foods or pick up fried chicken on the way. Don’t forget to take the frisbee or whiffle balls.

Pedal to the Metal! When the weather outside is nice, a great, economical family outing that everyone enjoys is a bike ride through a scenic national park or your neighborhood. You could even bring a picnic lunch with you or stop for food on your route. If bikes aren’t available, slide on the hiking boots and go for a walk in the mountains.

When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years.Mark Twain
Old Times on the Mississippi, Atlantic Monthly

Hook, Line, Sinker! Many fathers enjoy fishing and would probably enjoy some company for an afternoon on the lake or river. Even if it’s not everyone’s favorite activity, it shows dad you care enough to spend time doing what he enjoys.

Game Time! If the weather isn’t ideal, you don’t have to sit around apologizing. Improvise with a day of board games or movies. Have everyone choose a favorite and be sure to bring out the popcorn and drinks. For many families whose lives are way too busy, an evening to just rest and relax in the family room is just what they may need. Just don’t forget to play dad’s favorite games first.

However your family chooses to celebrate dad this year, make sure that when the day is over, dad has been reminded of how much he is loved and cherished by all.

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