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Weekly tips and encouragement to help you handle stress, stay fit, and find joy in parenting

Encouragement Gets Us to the Finish Line

Participating in the 2011 ITU Long Course Duathlon in Zolfingen, Switzerland was a remarkable experience. It took me twelve hours to complete the 10k run, 150k bike,and 30k run over a course that is considered to be the toughest duathlon course in the world. Much of the event was held in pouring rain over flooded ground but the views were always breathtaking. I got to stand on the podium and take home a silver medal while also having the distinction of finishing last. Mine was the oldest female age group so I knew that was likely going in. There were a few men older than me competing but they were tough guys. Of course, there were also the elites on the course with their youth, stamina, and zeal not to mention 7 hour finishes. And then...

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On Being Intrepid

I enjoy the fact that I'm writing from Zolfingen, Switzerland a few hours from the combined ITU Long Course Duathlon Worlds and Zolfingen Powerman but I am less excited about the fact that I am still awake. My first Worlds two years ago in Perth, Australia, I blogged about everything every day. Last year my family came with me so we all left our computers at home to focus on our time together. So I didn't post at all. This time I traveled alone but this is still my first post.

It's fun and challenging to do something that you are not quite sure you are capable of. It's fun at least until these last few hours where sleep is impossible and time moves so slowly. I watched the young contenders today, so ernest, determined and...

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The Secret Athletes Use to Lose Fat and Gain Muscle Fast

If you want better body composition through fat loss and muscle gain , take a few tips from the world of athletic performance. When my young triathlete team warms up, we always do something called neuromuscular activation. In other words, we get the nervous system working with the muscles in order to improve how many muscle fibers they will recruit during their workout. This gives them a huge advantage in terms of speed and performance but it will also help anyone lose weight and build muscle. In the Exercising Values short daily workouts this concept is incorporated into the warm-ups where they also increase coordination and proprioception (a big word that just means having an awareness of where your body is in space). Our nervous...

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Guiding Children to a Winning Personality

Every parent knows that children seem to arrive with different temperaments that require different methods of guiding and interacting with them. These differences have also been the topic of much scientific research. Dr. James Dobson, for example, wrote extensively on the special needs and special strengths of the strong willed child. These studies have shown that temperament will impact future success. This is sometimes referred to as emotional intelligence and includes the ability to interact with others.

Some areas that parents can immediately work to improve to help give their child the best chance at personal satisfaction, high self esteem, academic achievement and successful friendships and other relationships later in life...

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The Stress Antidote

"Rejoice with those who rejoice and to weep with those who weep."

What a joy it is to have friends who will be genuinely glad for you when something goes your way. It is even more valuable when they can share your sorrows and losses. Nothing seems as bad when you have someone to talk to about it and nothing feels so lonely as when you can't find a friend to share your ups and downs. The greatest way to relieve stress is to share it with another. It releases us in an amazing way. 

Children are also looking for someone with whom to share their good and bad times. It is crucial that we carve out casual time to be available for them to open up to us. We need to be ready to rejoice when they rejoice and weep when they weep or at least be...

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My Pyramid Morphs into My Plate to Help Parents Fight Childhood Obesity

In my office at Heritage College, I have a volume as thick as Ulysses and War and Peace combined. In it are the early research findings used by the USDA to formulate the new dietary recommendations that were released last January. A few easy to understand guidelines have been distilled from the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the result is a handful of recommendations that, if adopted ,will put you and your children on the road to better health. Childhood obesity has a new enemy in the colorful plate that encourages families to eat smart.

As a personal trainer who helps educate personal training students, I had to be pleased that among the dietary recommendations the guidelines also recommended that our nation increase our...

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Children's Fitness Must Be Fun

My mother used to say that I needed more fun than anyone she'd ever met. Maybe so. I love to have fun and so do your children. Seventy percent of children under twelve who try a team sport will abandon it by the time they are thirteen. There are a lot of reasons why this might be but I'm certain one of them was they just weren't having fun with it.

It is more fun to try new activities when we expect to be successful and to have a sense of accomplishment. Interacting with others also makes the exercise or sport more fun. laughter and a sense of humor helps, too. Children want to learn so when we help them improve a skill that also helps with the fun factor.

Adults are most likely to be active if they were active as children. Take a long...

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Marriage: Blood, Sweat, Tears, and a Smile

As much as we talk about parenting skills on Exercising Values, it is important to remember that the well-being of the parents both individually and as a couple has an impact on the children that supersedes any parenting technique. It is an aspect of parenting that continues throughout life and will linger after you are gone. Your children will call on the memory of you at age 30, 40, 50, 60, and beyond when they reach those ages themselves and it will be your example that will call out to them with direction or warning.

I’ve been married to a guy I met in high school and we have had blood, sweat, and tears in our time together. We are not now and never have been a storybook married couple but we have weathered every storm and...

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Teaching Children to Overcome their Fears

I’ve been coaching a youth triathlon team this summer and today was their first triathlon. It was a great experience to work with a group of parents who are totally devoted to their children’s development. I saw looks of apprehension on the faces of young athletes just before they went into the water, looks of determination as they ran to get on their bikes, and smiles of pride and jubilation as they passed the finish line.

There are so many benefits to trying a new sport or physical activity but one of the most compelling is teaching children to face their fears and to try something challenging and new. These events are well organized to make every child feel like a winner but it is the parents that do the best job of...

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Answering the Tough Questions Children Ask

My son asked me the other day how I am able to accept rejection when I offer a class or a service as part of my business and no one shows up or responds. Every entrepreneur knows that this is always a possibility and a deep belief in your product and services will help you to be patient while the right people discover what you have to offer. So this was a chance to talk about business and risk with my son. However, having also lived through rejection of a much more painful sort it was also an opportunity to offer him perspective of a deeper and broader aspect of weathering rejection.

The natural human response to being hurt is to harden your heart and refuse to love or take risks. God in His mercy offers us another choice through His...

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