Even though our family loves having pets in the house, we don’t currently have a pet. We haven’t for the past three or four years. That was right around the time we had to put Joe down. Joe was our family cat for about 16 or 17 years. We got him from my sister-in-law after her cat had kittens, and she was on a mission to find owners for them. This was right before Tiffany and I got married, and we lived in a little one-bedroom apartment that didn’t allow pets. However, we decided to hang the rules and take a kitten anyway. I’m glad we did. “HE GREW FROM A TINY, FUN-LOVING KITTEN INTO A BIG BLACK PANTHER-LIKE CAT. JOE AND OUR KIDS GREW UP TOGETHER, AND THEY ALL LOVED PLAYING TOGETHER.” Joe was the runt of the litter, but what he lacked in size, he made up for in energy. While Tiffany was more of a cat person, I had grown up with dogs. I always thought of cats as aloof loners that only had disdain for their owners. Joe’s manic playfulness reminded me of the dogs I had loved growing up, and that changed my perception of what kind of a pet a cat could be. As fun as it was playing with him when we were home though, it always kind of made me nervous to leave Joe at the apartment by himself. We didn’t want our landlord to spot him in the window. Luckily, that never happened. Joe basically became our first child, and as we moved from place to place and started having kids, Joe was always there. When our kids were newborns, Joe would always crawl up on them, sniffing them and probably wondering “What is this thing?” All the while, he grew from a tiny, fun-loving kitten into a big black panther-like cat with a great personality. Joe and our kids grew up together, and they all loved playing together. One time, Joe ran away from home. I think he got out when I went to get the paper from the porch one morning. I didn’t see that he’d gotten out, so I closed the door behind me, and Joe was gone. I didn’t even realize he wasn’t in the house until Tiffany came home from work and asked where he was. MEMORIES OF OUR ‘FIRST CHILD,’ JOE THE CAT FOR NATIONAL PET WEEK
We drove all around the neighborhood looking for him that evening but didn’t find him. We didn’t see him at all the next day either. Then, on that second night, we heard a scratching noise against the sliding door in our bedroom. Outside, there was Joe. He was covered in dirt and smelled like garbage, but after a quick bath, he was good as new. He must have realized how good he had it here versus out in the big bad world because he never tried to escape again. Raising and taking care of a cat from the time he’s just a little kitten really gives you a good look at the process of life. Joe was just a fun-loving little kitten who didn’t know anything when we first got him. At the end of his life though, he was an old cat with kidney problems, which caused his body to break down. Ultimately, his condition got too serious to be able to fix, and we had to put him down. It was probably one of the most tragic things to happen in our family. Joe had been with us for a long time! So, even though we love pets, Joe’s place in our lives didn’t feel like it should be so easily filled. After four years though, we are thinking about getting another family pet — this time, a dog. Tiffany and the kids want a dog because they’ve never had one, and as a dog person, I’d be more than happy to have one as our next family pet. Do you have a pet that you love and is basically a member of your family? With May 2–8 being National Pet Week, now is the time to really appreciate them!
GET FITWITH YOUR FAMILY 5 Easy Ways to Get Everyone Moving
2. Have a dance party. Clear some space in the living room, make a playlist with everyone’s favorite tunes, and boogie down for as long as you have the energy. 3. Turn chores into games. Dirt has invaded from outer space and must be eliminated. Set the scene with your kids, grab your tools, and get to work removing the enemy while having fun. 4. Incorporate simple exercises into screen time. Start by making up fun names for exercises like situps or jumping jacks. Then, challenge each other to see who can do the most during your favorite show’s commercial breaks. 5. Get fit in the great outdoors. Cleaning up the yard, planting and maintaining a garden, or just running around outside are all great ways to get in more movement.
One of the best ways to encourage healthy behaviors in your children is by modeling them yourself. Studies have found that more than 80% of adolescents and adults are not getting enough aerobic activity, showing that children often follow in their parents’ footsteps and that exercising together can benefit everyone. You may be thinking it’s hard enough just to get yourself to the gym, but Stephen Virgilio, author of “Active Start for Healthy Kids,” encourages parents not to limit themselves to traditional forms of exercise. Instead, think of exercise more broadly as “leading an active lifestyle.” And remember that exercise can be fun and a great way to get in more family time.
May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month. As a parent, you probably know exercise is important for your children’s physical development. It helps build healthy bones, muscles, and joints and reduces the risk of developing diabetes and other diseases later in life. But did you know that physical activity also has many mental and behavioral health benefits? It’s been shown to improve children’s cognitive skills and concentration, boost their self-esteem, and reduce symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression.
Here are five easy ways to incorporate more movement into your family’s day.
1. Create a walking ritual. Start walking
around the neighborhood before or after dinner each night. Aim for a 20-minute stroll.
JUST A FEW OF THE MANY BENEFITS
Most forms of exercise don’t warrant their own holiday. Bicycling, however, gets the entire month of May. That’s right, this month is National Bike Month, and to observe this monthlong cycling celebration, we thought we would share some of the greatest benefits of biking or cycling. Whether you’re new to pedaling around town or you’re a seasoned cyclist, we hope you enjoy them. GREAT FOR BEGINNER EXERCISERS Unlike a lot of other sports or means of exercise, biking doesn’t strain beginners to the point that it’s unenjoyable. You don’t need high levels of physical skill. Once you learn how to ride a bike, you’re off to the trails. And the best part? You never forget how to ride! LOWER IMPACT ON MUSCLES If you want to exercise regularly while conserving your joints, biking might be your exercise of choice. While running or jogging are also great for your cardiovascular health, they can be rough on your knees and ankles. With biking, you get all the cardio benefits with none of the joint drawbacks. LESS STRESS According to a 2018 study in a psychiatry journal that surveyed over 1 million people, cycling is one of the top stress relieving physical activities. On average, cyclists experience 21.6 fewer days of poor mental health per year than those who don’t ride their bike. OF BIKING REGULARLY
LONGER LIFE Another study found that people who ditch their car in favor of their bicycle to commute to work live an estimated 3–14 months longer than those who don’t. Yet another study found that riding a bike for 60 minutes a week decreased a person’s risk of early death by up to 23%. This list is far from exhaustive, but should give you more than enough reasons to dust off that old road bike in your garage and take it out for a spin. For help with any pain you might feel while riding or tips on improving your form, give Campus Commons PT a call at 916-927-1333.
AND THE SOCKS THAT WILL FIX THEM THE PROBLEMS FACED BY YOUR FEET
SWEATY FEET? Many sock materials, such as merino wool and polyester, do a good job of wicking moisture off your feet rather than soaking it all in, which leaves you with drenched, gross socks. Some socks even come with ventilation channels built into the fabric that help air your feet out. No more sweaty, smelly feet for you! BLISTERED FEET? Blisters are caused by friction between your socks, shoes, and feet. They can be tough to get rid of, so it’s far more advantageous if you can prevent them. That’s why some socks come with dual layers. They decrease friction and therefore lessen the likelihood of you getting blisters. FUNGAL FEET? Damp socks left on too long can lead to fungal infections, commonly known as athlete’s foot. While the best remedy for this problem is to switch socks as often as possible, you can also find socks infused with copper, which purportedly helps keep your feet dry, keeping the fungus from developing in the first place.
You constantly strive to get the best possible shoe for your workouts, but
what about what lies just beneath the surface? That’s right, we’re talking about your socks. The right sock can be just as important as the right kind of shoe, and it can protect your feet from all sorts of problems that shoes can’t account for. So, before you throw on any old sock and lace up your shoes, here are a few common problems that the right kind of sock can solve. COLD FEET? If you suffer from cold feet while you work out (particularly a problem if you like working out outside in the winter), merino wool is the name of the game. It’s thinner than regular wool, so your feet won’t overheat, but they’ll still keep you warm. Plus, it doesn’t smell as bad when you sweat in it!
So, next time you’re out shopping for your latest pair of shoes, don’t forget to throw in a few new pairs of socks to go along with them!
TAKE A BREAK
Shaved Asparagus Salad
Inspired by ACoupleCooks.com
Tangy citrus and salty Parmesan cheese complement earthy, fresh asparagus, a favorite spring vegetable with a short growing season.
• • • •
1 lb asparagus spears 1 tbsp lemon juice 1 tsp Dijon mustard
• • • •
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. With a vegetable peeler, shave each asparagus spear from tip to base. This is easiest to do if the asparagus is on a flat surface. 2. Place shaved asparagus in a bowl and blot off excess moisture with a paper towel. 3. In a separate bowl, make a vinaigrette by whisking together lemon juice, Dijon mustard, and olive oil. 4. Pour vinaigrette over shaved asparagus and add Parmesan cheese, salt, red pepper flakes, and black pepper. Toss to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings.
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Memories of Our ‘First Child,’ Joe the Cat
5 Ways to Increase Your Family’s Fitness
The Benefits of Biking, in Honor of National Bike Month
Exercising? Make Sure You Have the Right Socks
Shaved Asparagus Salad
The Support Your Posture Needs
h e 3 Tools to Help You Perfect Your Posture
FORME Wearing both a corrector and a bra can be uncomfortable, which is why Forme is perfect for anyone hoping to avoid that discomfort. The Forme sports bra offers an under-bust band for posture improvement and also includes
Slumping our shoulders is a form of poor posture that often results in neck, shoulder, and back pain. It can be a hard habit to break, so sometimes people need a little more than self-correction to improve their posture. Enter posture correctors: tools specifically designed to help correct a person’s posture. Though they should not be used regularly, they can help remind your body of what a correct posture is and how to maintain it without support. Here are three correctors that can help you. TRUWEO This supporter is for anyone who is on a small budget and looking to improve their posture. The Truweo posture corrector is used by wrapping around the shoulders — both over and under clothing — and can be adjusted for optimum comfort. It is lightweight, breathable, washable, and can be worn for all activities. Whether you are sitting at a desk, working out, or walking, Truweo will be there to offer you the extra support you need. Find it now on Amazon!
eight functional panels to help you stay comfortable, especially during physical activity. You can find this and other health-conscious clothing items at Forme.science. ASPEN If you need lower-back support, this posture corrector is a great choice. Easily fitted under or over clothes, this device can ease back pain caused by fatigued muscles, spasms, or flare-ups in addition to offering lumbar support. The Aspen Lumbar Support is completely adjustable, so you are in control of the amount
of pressure applied. To learn more about this item, visit the Aspen website at AspenMP.com.
Before deciding which corrector you should use, talk to your doctor. They can help you choose the best option for this journey of posture correction and overall health improvement.
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