Is your family in need of a vacation, but, because of time or money, just can’t get away? Take an extra-long weekend and plan a staycation that keeps your family moving and away from the TV. Active getaways are especially important for those on weight loss programs! Whether you choose to spend the day in the mountains or at the zoo, here are five ideas to help you plan an active 3-day family staycation.
Spend the day at a park
Plan to spend an entire day at a local park. Pack a healthy picnic that includes fresh fruit and vegetables, Play family-friendly activities like cornhole, volleyball, sledding, or get creative and set up a scavenger hunt in the park. Print lists of fun things to find throughout the park and reward the winner with a prize.
Hike local trails
Find local hiking trails that are easy enough for the family. Whether you drive to the mountains or foothills, your family will enjoy a day exploring nature and getting fresh air. Encourage your kids to look for interesting rocks or insects to keep them occupied, while you enjoy the scenery. Bring trail mix, water and sunscreen to keep your family energized on the trail.
Go for a swim
If your staycation includes a night at a nearby hotel, this is the perfect place to splash around! The local indoor pool may be an easier option, so pack beach towels, swim noodles, and goggles for an afternoon swimming with friends and family. For a more adventurous option, an indoor or outdoor water park provides an entire day of screaming fun as you rip down waterslides and float the lazy river.
Visit the zoo and play mini golf
Is one of your kids an animal lover? Take the family to the zoo where you can spend the afternoon walking the paths between the many exotic animal exhibits. Take lots of pictures of your group gawking at the polar bears, seals, and penguins. Finish the evening putting around at a miniature golf course. How many steps can you get in one day? Try to hit 10,000 with the help of a fitness tracker.
Host an indoor field day
If the weather isn’t cooperating, don’t just spend the day watching movies or playing video games. Plan several active indoor challenges and host a family field day. Who can do the most push-ups in 60 seconds? Or, you can create an obstacle course in your living room. Reward family members with homemade medals and perform a medal ceremony, complete with a playing of the national anthem.

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IMPORTANCE OF TRACKING YOUR FITNESS PROGRESS

As you get busy planning your next round of fitness goals, and possibly adding new workouts to your weekly regimen, make sure you’re also taking steps to track your fitness progress. Paying attention to how your body is responding to your fitness program can help you make appropriate changes and tweak things along the way. Whether your goal is to lose weight or gain muscle, you’ll find it easier to stay on course with some type of tracking system in place.

Here are a few simple tips to make tracking your fitness progress easier:

Keep your monthly coaching session appointment
Your Curves coach can be one of your biggest supporters when it comes to reaching your fitness goals so it’s important to make and keep your monthly coaching session appointments! Schedule your monthly coaching session at the first week of each month. Keeping track of your weight and measurements is an objective way to measure your fitness progress. Even though you may be anxious about those numbers, remember that it’s only temporary. You can use this as motivation to keep working hard and achieving the results you want.

Take pictures in the mirror
Another way to measure your progress is by taking pictures in the mirror using the same poses and outfits. This can give you a visual record to work with and also motivate you to keep pressing ahead.

Set small but very specific goals
Set a weekly or monthly goal that you can focus on throughout the busy week and work your way towards your larger goals. Breaking down larger fitness goals, such as losing 5 pounds or improving your strength gains by a certain amount of time can make it easier to visualize your success as you move through the process and achieve your goals.

Set up your own rewards system
Rewarding yourself with new workout clothes or other activities you enjoy can be a motivator for your fitness goals. Set up a rewards system that inspires you to keep going on those tougher days so you have something else to look forward to along the way.

Tracking your fitness progress can be very motivating and will make it that much easier to reach those major milestones. Use these tips to keep track of your results as you push yourself towards your next goal.

HEALTHY SPRING BREAK IDEAS FOR YOUR KIDS AND GRANDKIDS

Kids of all ages look forward to spring break (even us adults)! Getting away for a few days to enjoy outside interests is a great way to revitalize both the mind and body. Even if you don’t plan on flying off to surf and sand, there are a lot of healthy activities you can enjoy with your kids and grandkids without leaving town.

Get moving outdoors
Spring break is perfect for spending some quality outdoor time with your kids or grandkids. Everyone has been cooped up all winter and they’re anxious to get out and about. Why not round them up and give one of these activities a try?

Learn about and go geocaching. This is an awesome activity that lets you use your orienteering skills in a real life treasure hunt. Use a GPS and online maps to go on a treasure hunt right in your city. Your kids won’t even realize they’re getting exercise at the same time!

Go play some disc golf. Disc golf is basically like regular golf, but you use a flying disc instead. It’s great fun for people of all ages and you get lots of exercise walking the course.

Volunteer together in a spring clean-up project. Nothing makes you feel better than giving back to the community, and if you can share that experience with your kids or grandkids it’s even better.

Healthy indoor activities
In some parts of the country the weather may still be a little unpredictable. But that shouldn’t put a damper on your fun. There are still many things you can do with your children that will be fun and exciting for you both.

Introduce your high school-age daughter or granddaughter to Curves. Spring break is a great time to show your teen what Curves is all about. Take them with you to one of your workouts and let them experience the benefits of the Curves circuit for themselves.

Go swimming. Plenty of cities have indoor recreation centers, or you could splurge on a night at a local hotel with an indoor pool! Swimming is a good way to get the kids off the couch and moving a little. Whether you swim laps, play water games or take a spin on a water slide, you’re sure to have fun.

Don’t neglect your healthy diet
When the grandkids are out of school the tendency may be to gravitate towards lots of treats or fast food restaurants. Instead, think about using this time to work together in the kitchen to whip up some of your tastiest and healthiest foods together. It’s a great way to bond and make lasting memories. Try these kid-friendly recipes from Curves: Banana Nut Oatmeal, Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons, or our Berry Good Smoothie.

HEALTHY EATING TIPS FOR SPRING TRAVEL

By Sabah Karimi
As you start packing your bags for that spring getaway, don’t forget to include healthy snacks for the road. Even though it can be tricky to stick to a meal plan when traveling, you can plan ahead to make sure you’re making healthy choices when you’re away from home. Whether you’re heading to the beach or setting off on a long weekend this spring, use these tips to help keep yourself on a healthy track during your trip:

Eat a solid breakfast
Even if you’re planning to catch an early morning flight, eat a healthy breakfast so hunger doesn’t sneak up on you later in the day. Nutritious breakfast options might include an egg white omelet, oatmeal with nonfat milk, nuts and fruit, a yogurt parfait, or a bran muffin with nonfat plain Greek yogurt. If you don’t have a lot of time to enjoy breakfast before you travel, fuel your body with a Curves protein shake instead.

Pack snack bars for the road
When you’re on the go, having a nutritious bar on hand can be helpful when there aren’t many healthy options around. By having a healthy option with you, you can avoid running to the nearest drive-thru or convenience store during your vacation. Curves meal bars can be a convenient and delicious meal replacement option and also take care of those sugar cravings.Snack bars are also perfect for long flights, road trips, and for taking care of those late-night cravings after a busy day.

Stay hydrated
It’s easy to get dehydrated when traveling because you may not be able to carry a water bottle around with you all the time. You also might be drinking more caffeinated or alcoholic beverages during your trip. Make an effort to drink more water or unsweetened tea whenever possible. Staying hydrated can help you feel more energized and will also keep hunger pangs to a minimum.

Take a sneak peek at the menu
Don’t be afraid to call or look online for the hotel or restaurant copy of the menu and ask about healthier options. Many places will be more than happy to prepare something off the menu upon request. Look for grilled and steamed options on the menu, request less oil/butter and sauce to be used when preparing your meal, ask for a “split” entrée to share, and remember to pay attention to what you’re eating and enjoy the experience—chew slowly and savor your meal. Curves Complete members: ask your coach before you travel about nutrition questions and take your On the Go resource guide so you’re fully prepared!

Find the nearest grocery store
Preparing your own meals and snacks will make it much easier for you to stick with your healthy eating plan. If your hotel room has a small fridge or kitchenette, plan on making a trip to the grocery store to stock up on the basics. Veggies like carrots and snap peas, fresh fruit, oatmeal, nuts, lean deli meats, and whole grain bread are quick, healthy options.

Eat every few hours
Eating every few hours can be challenging when you’re busy touring the city or playing poolside. You don’t have to watch the clock when you’re on vacation, but it is a good idea to eat every few hours to help with satiety to help prevent overeating at your next meal and to keep your metabolism going throughout the day. Pack healthy snack options in your handbag to keep hunger — and the urge to overeat — at bay.

USING YOUR SATURDAY TO PREP FOR A HEALTHY WEEK

★★★★★
By Cherri Megasko
For many of us, Fridays and Saturdays are days of downtime. We rest and recharge for the coming week by reading a good book, watching TV or maybe even taking a nap. But these are also the perfect days to get a jump start on the days ahead by preparing for a healthy week. Here are five tips on how to put your Weekend days work for you.

Meals
Be prepared by having meals and snacks preplanned; this is imperative to a healthy eating plan. That’s why saturdays can play a pivotal role for you and your family’s nutrition. First, plan your meals and snacks and then make a grocery list to support that plan. Be sure to stick to your list when you go shopping so you avoid buying things that are tempting and unhealthy.

If you have enough time, why not cook up a few meals in advance and pop them in the freezer for busy nights? You can also prep some of your ingredients ahead to save time. Things like chopping vegetables, boiling eggs or preparing a sauce can be done in advance so they’re ready to go when you need them.

Exercise
How many times have we gotten to Saturday and realized that you only made it to circuit training once that week? It’s so easy to push it off to the next day if we don’t have a solid plan. So why not spend a little time on Saturday thinking about everything you have going on in the coming week, and what days or nights will be the best for exercising? Formally working those Curves sessions into your calendar will help you be prepared and stick to your commitment.

Activity
Staying fit and healthy requires us to be active throughout each day – not just when we’re on the circuit. Make sure that on your days off from Curves you still have plenty of activity planned to keep your body burning calories and your metabolism high. Think of fun activities that keep your whole family active, like a long walk with the dog or a hike.

Parties
We all know what parties/events can do to our waistlines. Keep this in mind when making your weekly plan for meals and snacks. If you’ll be taking a dish to the party, be sure to bring something healthy that you’ll feel good about eating. And be sure to eat a light, healthy snack or meal before you go.

Sleep
Finally, make sure your plan allows you to get to bed each night at a decent hour. Sleep is essential for both our physical and emotional well-being. If you plan well, there can still be time to get in a solid eight hours.

Using our Fridays/Saturdays to plan for the week ahead is a smart way to de-stress our lives and make sure we get the nutrition, exercise and rest we need for a healthy lifestyle.

GET EXCITED ABOUT YOUR DAILY EXERCISE – IT’S GREAT FOR WHAT AILS YOU!

How do you feel after you’ve just completed a tough workout? Chances are your senses are heightened, your mood is elevated and your energy level is through the roof. It makes you feel like you could conquer the world! That’s a feeling we should be looking forward to every day, whether it’s three times a week at Curves or every other day walking in your neighborhood. So get excited about your daily exercise – it’s great for what ails you!

Feeling sad?
Have you ever heard of a “runner’s high?” There are boatloads of scientific mumbo jumbo that explain what it is and exactly why it occurs, but the bottom line is – prolonged exercise can give you a feeling of euphoria. It’s one of the best ways to pull yourself out of a blue funk, and it doesn’t even require a prescription. You don’t have to run — try a circuit training workout –to get the same feeling. Isn’t it great to know that you have the power to make yourself feel better?

Feeling tired?
You say you’re too tired to work out? That’s malarkey! In fact, doctors say that one of the most common complaints they hear from their patients is fatigue. And guess what they often prescribe … exercise! Contrary to what many people believe, moderate-intensity exercise does not fatigue a person – it can invigorate and energize them. So if you’re having trouble keeping your eyes open at work, you can look forward to your workout at Curves on your way home. There’s no better way to recharge your batteries and get your second wind.

Have a headache?
When we exercise, our body releases endorphins, which are believed to result in an analgesic – or pain relieving – effect. So instead of reaching for the aspirin or ibuprofen, get yourself moving. You’ll be surprised how quickly that headache may fade away.

Can’t sleep?
Have you ever felt totally exhausted but still couldn’t get to sleep? That’s likely because there’s a difference between being mentally tired and physically tired. When we allow our brains to wear themselves out without giving our bodies equal workout time, the result can often be insomnia. What’s the best cure? Why, exercise, of course! Give your body the same stimulation that you give your brain and you’ll most likely start sleeping much more easily.

So stop dreading your daily exercise and start looking forward to it. It can – and should – be the highlight of your day.

DO ONE THING, GET 5 AMAZING RESULTS

By Claire Kowalchik
If you could do just one thing that would help you avoid holiday weight gain, boost your energy, protect you from colds and flu, improve your sleep, and leave you feeling happier would you do it?

We thought so–especially during this busy season. Well, that one thing is regular exercise. A mere 30 minutes of it on most days of the week can deliver all those benefits and more.

1. Help avoid holiday weight gain.
You already know that your Curves workout burns calories and helps build metabolism-boosting muscle, but did you know about the after-burn effect? Right after you stop exercising, your body keeps working as it restores itself to its pre-exercise state, and that physiological activity burns calories.

And here’s a bonus: After-burn gets a boost with high-intensity interval training or HIIT. That may sound excruciating but it’s not; as little as 30 seconds of high intensity exercise (at 80 to 95 percent of maximum heart rate) performed at intervals throughout a workout will do the trick. And if you are working the Curves circuit correctly—meaning that you go all-out every time you are on a machine–you are already doing that. Congrats! So, go for the burn and the after-burn at Curves three or four times a week.

2. Get an energy boost.
When your busy life is wearing you down, sure, you’d rather lie down than exert yourself exercising, but regular physical activity gives back more energy than it takes.

Researchers at the University of Georgia examined 70 studies involving a total of 6,702 men and women and found that in 90 percent of those studies, sedentary people who took up and completed an exercise program reported feeling more energetic and less tired than those who remained sedentary. And why is that? The researchers point out that other studies on the effects of exercise show that it increases the production of the brain chemicals dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin, which boost our mood and make us feel more energetic.

Got a lot on your January to-do list? Going to Curves three or four times a week will fuel your way to the finish line of that list—with energy to spare!

3. Help prevent colds and flu.
It’s never fun to fall ill to a cold or flu virus but during the holidays it s-l-o-o-o-w-s you down and drains your joy. Don’t let it happen—stay committed to your exercise goals. Research has shown over and over again that regular physical activity a few times a week helps strengthen your immune response.

The exact mechanisms for this exercise effect haven’t been confirmed but experts have their theories:

*Exercise may help flush cold-causing bacteria out of your lungs.

*It may speed the delivery of antibodies and white blood cells throughout your body for a pre-emptive strike so to speak on invading bacteria and viruses.

*Faster blood circulation may prompt the release of hormones that signal to your immune cells the approach of intruding germs.

*As you exercise, your body temperature rises, which may inhibit the growth of bacteria as a fever does when you are ill.

*Finally, physical activity reduces circulating stress hormones, which are linked to a higher incidence of illness.

Clearly the best defense against colds and flu is a good offense. Get your offense in tip-top shape at Curves.

4. Sleep tight.
Women and men who get 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise a week—that’s 30 minutes five days a week—enjoy significantly higher quality sleep and are more alert during the day than those who are less active says the National Sleep Foundation, reporting on a national study of more than 2,600 men and women, age 18 to 85.
And when you get a good night’s sleep, you have more energy, a stronger immune response to illness, and you are less likely to put on extra pounds. Researchers at the University of Helsinki in Finland studied the sleep habits of more than 7,000 adults age 40 to 60 over seven years. They found that among the women who frequently reported poor sleep, one in three gained 11 pounds or more during those seven years compared with only one in five who said they regularly enjoyed a good night’s sleep.

5. Be merry.
For years, doctors and psychologists have prescribed regular physical activity to help prevent and alleviate depression, and, in part, because exercise stimulates the production of the mood-lifting brain chemicals dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin, and can lower levels of stress hormones. A new study out of the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden suggests a way that exercise may help prevent stress-induced depression. Researchers, studying mice, discovered that exercise prompts muscle to produce an enzyme that cleanses the bloodstream of substances that accumulate during stress and may harm the brain. Whether or not this holds true for humans is still to be determined.

Body chemistry aside, regularly working out produces a sense of accomplishment because it is an accomplishment. It strengthens us mentally and emotionally as well as physically, and it boosts our confidence and self-esteem, and all of that makes us happier. Add to that better weight control, more energy, fewer (if any) colds, and a good night’s sleep, and a very happy holiday is yours for only 30 minutes a day.

Now, what are you waiting for? Head to Curves for today’s workout