How to Prepare Your Dog for Your Newborn Baby

If you are like much of the population, your four-legged friend is your first “baby.” Many people worry needlessly about how their dog will handle a baby in their life. Many owners think of getting rid of the family pets because of fears that they will harm the baby. Please do not do this unless there is no other option. Most dogs, when treated and trained properly, can handle life with a newborn very well.

Children and pets make wonderful companions when raised properly together and taught how to behave with each other. Children that grow up in a home with pets learn respect and love for animals, and more importantly, respect for life. As the children grow older they can learn responsibility by helping to care for the animals. Animals enrich our and our children’s lives beyond belief.

Having a baby can cause problems for both humans and dogs, as the dog tends to be treated differently, and because of this, may act differently. Some owners baby the dog more, causing the dog to become spoiled and hard to handle. Other owners get over-stressed and punish the dog for normal, curious behavior toward the baby. Often our pets are the center of our world, our “babies” if you would, and can get “jealous” if not equipped to handle losing that status to the new baby. If you are willing to make the time and effort to prepare your pets for the new arrival, everyone can live in harmony.

Sometimes the dogs become overprotective of the baby. Many owners enjoy and even prefer the dog being a guard for the baby. While it is normal for the dog to become protective of the baby, it is dangerous for the dog to become overprotective and not let anyone near the baby. All of the above scenarios can lead to the dog being kicked out of the house!

As you are making preparations to bring home baby, you need to prepare your dog(s) for the same in advance if possible. While most dogs will be very gentle with the baby, many dogs do not see babies as humans because of their size, smell, and the strange noises they make. By taking the time to give your dog some extra love and attention he should be fine and not turn to bad behavior to get your attention. You need to prepare and educate your dog for what lies ahead. This will ensure that they are ready and willing to accept the new family member with open and loving paws.

Using calming remedies (herbs, aromatherapy, oils) and or prescription medications are also an option to help facilitate a better behaved dog. You can talk to your veterinarian to inquire about these products and the implications associated with their use. I am a believer in the holistic approach whenever possible, instead of using drugs.

Please, please always be aware that your dog is an animal and animals can bite or do harm to a baby, intentionally or unintentionally. No matter how well-behaved or loving your dog is NEVER LEAVE YOUR DOG ALONE WITH YOUR BABY! I cannot stress this enough. Accidents can happen. You do not want to harm your baby or have to get rid of your dog because of an unfortunate, and possibly avoidable, incident.

If you are unsure that your dog will accept your new baby, please seek the advice of a professional trainer or behaviorist before making any decisions.

Believe it or not, your behavior with, and toward your dog matters. It can make or break your dog’s acceptance of and respect for your baby. If you act like a leader, you will be treated like a leader. You want your dog to respect every human being in your household, including your baby. You must teach your dog respect for the baby. This will make life easier for all those involved.

Be firm but fair-

Do not let your dog get away with things, but don’t be a drill sergeant either! Try to make any corrections as gentle as possible, but make sure they are effective. Try to have fun with your dog and the training – you both need to enjoy it or neither one will want to continue!

Your tone of voice matters-

DO NOT YELL at your dog! Convey the meaning of the command through the tone of voice – match your voice to what you are telling your dog. Commands should be short and succinct, in a low, almost growling voice. Your voice should not get higher as you give the command. Do not sing to your dog or ask the dog a question! You will not get the answer you want! When giving praise, sound like you mean it! It should be the opposite of a command – higher pitched and enthusiastic. If your dog gets overly excited when you praise him, tone it down a bit and speak softly. Your dog will still understand that he is doing a good job, but he will be less likely to jump around and be crazy.

Be calm and assertive-

Our dogs feed off of our energies and emotions. This affects their behaviors and reactions. If we are relaxed and confident, our dogs will feel the same, and know that we are LEADING them, and they do not have to lead us.

Use a crate-

If your dog does not already use a crate, now is the time to start. A crate is not cruel, it can actually be a wonderful and safe place for your dog. Confining your dog at certain times, such as for sleep or times when you cannot supervise, is no different than putting your baby in its crib for the same. It is actually very easy to teach your dog to accept being in the crate. Most people think that a dog who has not used a crate before will have a hard time, but that is not usually true. My two older dogs started using the crate when they were 7 and 8 years old, about the time my son started crawling and exploring on his own. This allowed me to know that both my child and my dogs were safe and nothing bad could happen. Your child can be hurt by your dog as easy as your child could hurt your dog. The problem lies in the fact that if the dog makes even the slightest threat to your baby or even inadvertently hurts your baby, it is your dog’s fault. It is not fair to the dog for something like that to happen because you were not supervising the two together at all times!

Eliminate bad manners-

Bad manners cannot be accepted as they can be dangerous to a new baby and a new mom. Jumping and nipping are behaviors that need to be stopped right away. Stealing and rough-play also need to be nipped in the bud immediately.

Teach your dog how to be calm and gentle, by praising and treating this behavior.

Working commands into everyday life and play makes listening easy and normal for your dog. It becomes natural to the dog and it is less-likely that your dog will be out-of-control. It is also good for you too, as it makes sure that you are training your dog everyday, making you the leader – not the follower.

Exercise is key for good behavior-

As I stated earlier in the guide, exercise is imperative for your dog. This ensures that your dog will be better behaved because it doesn’t have the energy to misbehave! Regular walks are important. If you do not have the time to walk for miles, using a doggie backpack can make a short walk seem like a long walk for your dog. A dog backpack immediately puts your dog into work mode, which will help to tire her brain. If you evenly balance some weight on each side, such as water bottles, it will further the amount of physical energy that is expended by your dog. Teaching your dog to walk nicely next to the stroller is also important. It is very difficult and dangerous to have a dog pulling and out of control while trying to maneuver a stroller. If you plan to use a baby carrier, sling, backpack or car seat your dog needs to behave on the leash and walk with you, not pull you. It is a good idea to practice with the equipment before baby comes (use a doll in place of the baby) so that you can work out any kinks or problems.

Have regular obedience sessions with your dog so that she does not forget her commands and remembers that she has to listen at all times. This also helps to tire her brain! Try to work the commands into everyday life so that it becomes second nature to her.

Is your dog allowed on your furniture?-

If your dog is currently allowed on the furniture you may want to reconsider this as your baby will likely be on the furniture a lot. Dog hair and dirt can irritate your baby. You also don’t want to have to constantly clean up after the dog. Your dog could also inadvertently injure the baby jumping up on the furniture or repositioning himself. It’s best to restrict access to the furniture so that problems do not occur.

Time-out for your dog-

Be sure you give your dog time away from the baby to settle. Time outs are an effective tool to allow your dog to keep its sanity and also for when they are doing something wrong.

Your new schedule and your dog-

It is time to readjust the dog’s schedule to acquaint her with the upcoming changes. Think realistically about the time you will have for the dog for things such as walks, feeding, potty breaks, play and attention. Try to keep the schedule consistent for your dog so that she does not feel unnecessary stress from the changes that are happening before your baby arrives. Having as little disruptions as possible will help to accomplish this goal. Once your dog feels secure and is used to the new routine, try to start having slight variations in your daily happenings. When your baby arrives things do not always go as planned. You can have every intention of staying on schedule and inevitably something will change that schedule! Babies do not follow schedules! Do try to stay on schedule, when possible, so that your dog is allowed some semblance of a routine. Dogs feel safety when the rules and routines stay the same.

Pay less attention to your dog-

It is now time to teach the dog to expect less attention from you in one sitting. Once the baby arrives you will not have the same amount of quality time to spend with your dog, but it is still essential to make time for your dog. Schedule regular 5 to 10 minute sessions each day where you pay full attention to your dog. You can do things such as play, grooming, petting or just talk to your dog. This allows your dog to understand that he is still an important part of your life. You need to teach the dog that this time may be with or without the baby. This is also a good time for you to relax and unwind as pets are very therapeutic. Be aware that if you have more than one pet, each will need individual attention if possible. You can also give the pack the attention at the same time, providing they get along, or allow them to play together to burn energy.

Your dog needs to be calm and balanced-

You need to make sure that your dog is calm and balanced before baby comes into the house. It is very important for your dog to learn how to be calm so that he does not hurt you or the baby. Your dog needs to be balanced so that he does not stress needlessly and act out inappropriately. If your dog is not calm and balanced there are ways to help you accomplish this. Training and exercise are good places to start to achieve a calm and balanced dog. If these do not work your dog may have something wrong with him, such as a mental or physical problem. Consult with your vet and local canine behaviorist or trainer. They should be able to steer you in the right direction. They can help advise you of the route you should take, whether behavior modification, medication, or holistic remedies.

Is your dog gentle?-

Teaching your dog how to be gentle is extremely important so that he will not inadvertently hurt the baby. Many dogs use their teeth too much and need to be taught the proper way to use their mouths – without the teeth!

Does your dog jump?-

If your dog is a jumper, teaching proper greetings will help to curb this problem. It is vital that your dog can see people without jumping or getting overly excited. When the baby comes home there will probably be lots of people visiting and he will need to be on his best behavior. It also facilitates the proper, gentle behavior your dog should have around the baby.

How will my dog handle the baby being rough with her?-

Teaching your dog what to physically expect from your baby is extremely important so that she is able to cope with and know what to do when baby pulls, hits or pushes her. Infants and children are not necessarily gentle by nature, and have to be taught how to be so. Your dog also needs to learn how to deal with these behaviors from his small leaders. Start to gently handle your dog in a rougher fashion while praising good behavior and gently, if possible, correcting inappropriate behavior such as nipping or mouthing. Children tend to pet roughly, pull ears and tails, put their hands in the dog’s face and touch sensitive areas on the dog. You need to mimic these behaviors in order to teach your dog what to expect and how to deal with it appropriately. Make it a daily habit to have time on the floor with your dog touching every part of his body in a loving fashion. This is good because it allows the dog to accept touch in areas that it may not want touched. It also teaches the dog to be gentle while on the floor and to be submissive to you and your baby. Do this slowly and your dog will understand

Obedience training your dog-

Your dog needs to be obedience trained and have basic manners. I suggest that you enroll in a training class if you can. Check your local training clubs, or facilities, for classes and make sure to observe a class so that you can see how they train. Make sure that you are comfortable with their techniques and the instructors. If you are not allowed to observe a class, please look elsewhere. Trainers who are legitimate should have no problem with this and encourage you to do so.

The following are some basic commands and actions that your dog should be able to do to ensure that he will listen and be under control:

  • Walk nicely on a leash
  • Sit
  • Down
  • Stay
  • Leave-it
  • NO
  • Understand boundaries
  • Quiet
  • Attention/Look
  • Drop-it
  • Go to Your Spot/Place

Teaching the dog to respond to hand signals will also be beneficial. A sleeping baby is less likely to get woken up if you are not talking.

It is also a good idea to teach your dog to accept wearing a leash – in and out of the house. This ensures that you have control over your dog and tends to help make the dog better behaved. Most towns and cities have leash laws so it is imperative that your dog get used to the leash. You should also walk your dog everyday. This gives your dog mental stimulation, as well as physical exercise, which helps to tire them out, thus making them less likely to get into trouble and an overall better behaved dog.

Spot, Go To Your Spot!-

The “Go to Your Spot” command is a great command to have in your arsenal for a well-behaved dog. You can use this exercise to allow your dog to be with you and not underfoot, or keep your dog at a distance and still know where he is and what he’s doing. It teaches your dog to go lie down on a rug or blanket and stay until released.

Long down stays are important in general, whether or not he is “in a spot”, because they help you to maintain control over your dog. By your dog having to work for you, it facilitates a relationship in which you are dominant (in charge or the alpha figure) in your and your dog’s mind.

Teach your dog what he can chew on-

All dogs chew. Each has a specific reason for it, and has a physical need to chew. They need to chew to exercise their jaws as well as to let out pent up frustrations. Excessive chewing can also be a breed trait. To help avoid problems, do not set yourself up for failure.

Soiling in the house-

If your dog has an accident in the house, or is not housetrained, you need to clean it properly to avoid further “accidents” or remarking of the same areas and to maintain a sanitary environment. Dog feces can contain parasites and other unwanted disease. Giardia, E-Coli, other worms and parasites are sometimes present in the feces and many are transferrable to humans.

Use high-value treats-

Use treats of high value – treats your dog loves and doesn’t normally get – when dealing with new baby sights, sounds and scents. This tells your dog that these are good things, and that he should like them and associate them with rewards, instead of feeling malice or fear towards them. Make sure to keep the treats special, and only use them for the purposes of getting your pup familiar with what the new baby will be like.

The health and cleanliness of your dog is vital-

It is essential that your dog has a clean bill of health and is clean before you bring your baby home. Take your dog to the vet for a check-up to make sure that he has no health problems as these can cause unwanted behaviors in your dog that will interfere with his life with your baby. Make sure that he is up-to-date on all shots, or that his titer levels are good, and that he is worm-free.

The next thing you need to make sure of is that you bathe your dog or have him groomed BEFORE the baby comes home. If your dog sheds, it is a good idea to start a de-shedding program, such as regular grooming and adding a product such as Linatone (which you can obtain at your local pet store, online or at some groomers) which has a special combination of oils to help the skin and coat. Be careful not to over-bathe your dog as this can cause skin problems in many dogs. Make sure that he has no fleas or ticks as this is unsanitary and can expose your baby to health problems. It also creates problems as you will not have much time to bathe him once the baby is around. Using special flea and tick medication will help to ensure that he remains flea-less and tick-less.

Start teaching your dog to accept his paws and body wiped when he comes in from outside will aid in reducing the amount of dirt he tracks in the house. It also reduces the chance that your dog will carry in something that will cause an allergic reaction in you or your baby

Also, make sure to vacuum or sweep regularly as dog hair accumulates fast. This is especially important once your baby starts to crawl or be on the ground a lot, unless of course you want the baby to be a human Swiffer!

Carry a doll-

The idea of carrying around a doll (preferably one that cries) may seem silly, but it is a very good way to get your dog used to an addition to the family. Everything is different with a baby. Holding a baby changes your posture, and your mannerisms, so your dog needs to be comfortable and accepting of this. The dog also needs to follow commands and be obedient when you have the baby or the baby is out and about. Using a doll while practicing everyday commands will help your dog respond better when the baby arrives. Take the dog for walks, play with the dog, and all the normal things you do with your dog with and without the baby equipment and doll.

Baby sounds-

Getting your dog used the sounds of a baby is also a good idea. This allows your dog to familiarize herself with the alien noises that it may not have heard before so that it is not a surprise when baby comes home. Things like crying, gurgling, yelling/screaming, and baby babble are not necessarily normal for a dog to hear. There are many cds and tapes that you can purchase for this purpose. Start the volume low and expose your dog for short periods of time at first. Gradually increase the volume and amount of time you play the sounds. Try to play the recording everyday until the baby arrives.

Real babies and children-

Another good idea is to expose your dog to the real thing – real babies and children. If you have friends or relatives who have babies you can ask if they will allow your dog to listen in or even record them for you. You can visit places like parks, if your dog is well-behaved, so your dog can hear all of the noises children make. Make sure to start this away from your house so that your dog does not feel threatened in her own territory. The next step is to expose your dog in your yard, and then in your house. Make this a gradual process so your dog can slowly accept it.

Baby smells-

The smells of a baby are often unfamiliar to a dog. Slowly start to get your dog used to these new smells by using the products you will use on your baby, such as baby oil, powder, baby wash and diaper cream. Putting these products on baby blankets and baby clothes will also help. If you have friends or relatives that have babies, ask to borrow used and unwashed blankets and burp cloths so that the dog can get accustomed to the real smells of a baby.

The Nursery-

Setting up the nursery allows your dog to become acquainted with changes in the house. It allows your dog to become comfortable with the sights and sounds associated with baby equipment, thus avoiding shock when baby arrives.

If you don’t want your pup in the nursery you need to start restricting access now. Keeping the door shut or a baby gate in the doorway helps to achieve this. Your dog will not feel left out or anxious about no longer being allowed in that room. Another good idea is to put a dog bed outside of the nursery so that your dog is still close to you, but not in the room. He will not feel banished, but will feel more included. Spend time in the room without your pooch so he understands that this will be normal, and that it is no longer his territory. As he starts to understand that the room is no longer his, he will accept it and be less likely to try to get in there when the baby comes home. This also helps to keep the room clean and free of dog hair and dirt. You will have more than enough to clean in the nursery as it is!

If you plan to allow your dog in the nursery start to teach the proper behaviors as soon as possible. Train her to be calm in there and not to jump up on the furniture and baby equipment. It is also a good idea to teach her to do down-stays when in the nursery so that she is allowed to be with you and the baby, but is out of the way and behaving. You may also want to have a bed or rug in there that your dog is allowed to lay on (remove it when you and the dog are not in the room). When the baby starts to crawl and move about you may want to limit the amount of time the dog spends in there and never leave the baby alone with the dog.

Baby’s things are off-limits-

Make sure to constantly reinforce that the baby’s things are not the dog’s things. Even though you may have practiced this before the baby came home, dogs do need reminders.

It is important to dispose of dirty diapers properly to ensure that your dog does not get them. Dogs love things that have human waste on them, such as dirty diapers and feminine products. Keep these products out of reach as they will make an awful mess and are very unhealthy for your dog to ingest. They have chemicals that are not good for your dog and can cause blockages. Besides, the consuming of human waste can also make your dog sick (and have disgusting breath!).

Teach your dog to leave baby blankets alone and not to lay or step on them. Lay them on the furniture and the floor to teach your dog that they are off limits. If your dog tries to walk or lay on them use a firm “NO” and redirect your dog to a proper spot and have him lay down. When your dog avoids these on his own, praise him for his good behavior with a treat or petting and he will understand that these items are not something to go near. You want to prevent possible injuries to your baby from your dog while baby is lying on or hiding under the blankets (as often babies do!).

Teach your dog which toys belong to him-

It is recommended to teach your dog what toys are his and what toys are the baby’s before baby arrives so that you will not have problems after. This is also a good idea because you can purchase toys similar to what your baby will have and not worry about using baby’s actual toys for these exercises. An easy way to do this is to use peanut butter (or something like it such as cream cheese or cheese spread) and bitter apple (you can purchase this online or at pet stores). Put bitter apple on the baby’s toys and peanut butter on the dog’s toys. Before you give your dog the choice about which toys he wants, take a little bitter apple on your finger and wipe it around in your dog’s mouth. This will help your dog to immediately identify the nasty taste on the baby toys. If you do not do this the bitter apple often dilutes and the dog will be able to get the baby’s toys because the taste is bearable. Make sure to have some treats ready to reward your dog when he chooses his toys over baby’s. Put the dog’s leash on and you are ready to begin. Put the “marked” toys on the floor and let your dog decide which toys he prefers. If he still tries to take the baby toys, tell him “no, leave-it”, and if necessary pull him away with the leash with a quick jerking motion. Do not try to hurt the dog, just give a quick correction as you repeat “no, leave-it”. When your dog does “leave” the baby toys alone, praise and treat. You can also teach the dog the concepts of “Mine”, “Baby’s” and “Yours” by adding these phrases to the training sessions. When the dog goes for his toys you can say, “Good! Yours!” When the dog goes for the baby’s toys say, “No, Leave-it, Baby’s”. You can use the same principle as used for the baby’s toys when the dog goes for something that is yours by substituting “Mine” in place of “Baby’s.”

Please remember that if you leave your baby’s toys lying around your dog will most likely try to steal them. The temptation is too much for her to handle and she probably will fail. Do not set her up for failure! Try to get toys for the dog that are not like the baby’s – no stuffed animals and things that rattle. There are plenty of good dog toys that are very different from baby toys. Lastly, only keep a few of the dog’s toys out at a time. This will avoid her falling prey to the syndrome of “everything within my reach is mine!” If she understands that the three toys on the ground are hers, she will be less apt to take things she shouldn’t.

If you follow the guidelines set forth in this article you should be able to accustom your dog to your newborn without much difficulty. Remember, when in doubt, always consult a professional trainer!

Childhood Obesity – Causes and Prevention

Today, childhood obesity is considered a serious and widespread struggle faced by many children around the world. In fact, childhood obesity has become an epidemic that has tripled or quadrupled in the last 40 to 50 years affecting almost 1 in 5 children. Children who are overweight are at a higher risk of suffering from hypertension, gastrointestinal problems, heart diseases and type II diabetes. Of course, on top of these health issues, obese children may further suffer from the emotional distress. Simply being labeled as fat, obese children can easily suffer from low self-esteem and depression.

When it comes to childhood obesity, parents in particular are required to take full responsibility for controlling their child’s weight and must not settle with the idea that their child will later outgrow this. A great misconception among parents is that an obese child is healthier the more robust they are. This is typical amongst parents who are in denial regarding their child’s weight management issues. Usually, these parents only admit that problem does exist once their child’s health issues surface.

There are many factors that contribute to childhood obesity, from dietary habits to sedentary behavior to emotional problems to genetic predisposition. But even though these factors exist, there are many ways to help prevent childhood obesity.

It is apparent that a person who consumes more calories than his or her body burns can lead to obesity over time. Usually, a diet composed of sugary, processed foods with a high-calorie and low-nutrient content contributes largely to the risk of childhood obesity. In fact, children nowadays have no regular eating pattern; they eat even when they are not hungry or while watching TV and then tend ignore foods that are healthy for them.

Another contributing factor to obesity is inactivity. Children today are engaged in less physical activity than ever before. They are found playing computer and video games instead of committing to exercise. How your children spend their time and the kinds of activities they engage in plays a vital role in overcoming childhood obesity.

Still, some children undergoing emotional distress may resort to comfort eating. Normally, stressful life situations such death, abuse or even an ordinary upsets in everyday life may result to emotional eating for a child. Here, the child eats not out of hunger but primarily because they are unaware or unsuccessful in handling these emotions.

Furthermore, some studies have shown that obesity is genetic. An obese child could have an obese parent or other obese siblings. These children are more likely to gain excess fat due to their genetic make up. But of course, genetic predisposition does not guarantee childhood obesity. With proper nutrition and contributing lifestyle factors, there is very little reason why a child must be obese.

Be mindful that if an obese child develops diabetes during childhood, he or she is more likely to live a shorter life span as compared to those without diabetes. This is because diabetes is likely to build up kidney failure or heart disease or other associated effects of diabetes such as blindness.

As you can see, it would be wise to try and prevent childhood obesity. You can do so by following these recommendations. Seek medical attention before making any drastic change to an obese child’s lifestyle. Begin slowly by setting realistic goals for your child. One simple way is to start reducing the amount of refined sugar intake in your child’s diet. Encourage them to drink plenty of water and to engage in daily exercise, at the same time prohibit snacking between meals. You can even go further by seeking advice from a dietitian who can help develop an appropriate weight management program for your child.

Childhood obesity is a very real problem in our society. But we can take charge and help the youth of today learn to live a healthier life. It is up to us to help encourage health and fitness in today’s youth.

Top 5 Characteristics of a Good Weight Loss Plan

A great weight loss plan strikes a good balance between a healthy diet and an active lifestyle. It sounds so simple in theory, yet most of us who want to lose weight find it hard to stick to this philosophy alone. What’s worse is that we have read a tumultuous amount of literature regarding the “proper” or the “best” way to lose weight, and, somehow, we end up confusing ourselves even more.

When you make a commitment to lose weight, you have to make sure that you’re choosing a healthy weight loss plan. You may ask how can you ensure that the weight loss plan you’re about to make is the right one that will work for you. Well, simply put, it is all about watching what you eat and making sure you are engaged in an active sports or exercise program. For people who are bordering to obesity, it is best to consult a health fitness coach or a nutritionist to ensure that you get professional advice on the best weight loss plan that will suit your needs and lifestyle. However, for people who have gained a bit of weight and are wanting to live a healthier lifestyle, here are the top five characteristics of what constitutes a truly healthy weight loss plan.

1. Proper Nutrition Over Single-Item Diets

There is no short cut to healthy eating. For your benefit, simply avoid any weight loss plan that urges you to eat only one food item. Most people are under the impression that if we eat only foods that will increase fiber or protein intake, we’re good to go. It is worth emphasizing that healthy weight loss means eating a well-balanced diet from all food groups. Starving and food deprivation will definitely crash your system in the long run. You may lose weight temporarily but this will only encourage an unhealthy relationship with food. The key thing to remember is moderation.

2. Calorie-Conscious Diet Plan

Being mindful of what you eat is the first step to healthy eating. The best way to do this is to follow a plan that allows you to track your calorie intake. Being aware of how much calories you take in is an essential part of losing weight. A lot of us find it tedious to count calories. However, a healthy weight loss plan ensures that you get just the right amount of calories your body needs to burn energy. There is no need to eliminate caloric foods in your diet. Just choose a diet program that makes it convenient for you to calculate the number of calories you need to lose a certain amount of weight. Reading food labels is a good start.

3. Portion Management, Water Intake, and Weight Loss

Aside from calories, a good weight loss plan should encourage you to cultivate portion control. Again, there is no need to deprive yourself of food. A good weight loss plan allows you to exercise your inner discipline to consciously eat in moderation and in reasonable amounts to keep you satisfied and healthy at the same time. In addition, proper hydration is a key factor in healthy weight management. Most of us take water for granted. We don’t drink enough water during the day. Worse, we forget how important water is in healthy living. Proper hydration plays a major role in detoxification. Drinking 8 or more glasses a day washes away all the toxins, wastes, and even excess water weight, making you feel light, healthy, and fit. It’s even a good technique for enhancing satiety when eating.

4. Workout Program

A good weight loss plan should involve a regular exercise program. Regardless of what type of sports or exercise you wish to participate in, being active is a major requirement for losing weight the healthy way. Make sure you engage in a gradual change. Nothing too intense at first, and then slowly increase the intensity to ensure proper body conditioning. A lot of people who have gained weight have lived sedentary lifestyles for a long time, so it’s important to get active slowly but surely to avoid injury and to ensure long-term success. You should start gradually, say 20 minutes a day. You can start by simply taking a walk or a jog around the park. Overtime, you can then increase the intensity and duration of your exercise program to avoid exercise rut and to keep the challenge. Just like a well-balanced diet, there is no short cut to losing excess fat than moving your body. A workout program is also a great way to enhance your mood and self-esteem in the long run.

5. A Weight Loss Plan That Suits Your Lifestyle

Losing weight the healthy way is basically a big lifestyle overhaul. You don’t have to be fazed by this long-term goal. Choosing a healthy weight loss plan should require an assessment of the lifestyle that you currently have. To ensure that you can stick to your weight loss goals, plan a weight loss regimen that allows you to still live the way you want to without compromising your health and your happiness. If you are a career-driven individual who is always on the go, choose a weight management plan that doesn’t require 24/7 of your time. Better yet, find inspiration in the current lifestyle that you have and extend it to your healthy living goals. Busy people can stick to an afternoon or weekend schedule for their exercise regimen. Eating healthy food when you’re always on the go requires a bit of meal planning and time management. There is always a way to adapt a good weight loss plan regardless of your career or family demands. You just have to manage your time well, and be committed to making healthy choices.

The Effects of Aging on Body Composition

In the past few articles, I’ve illustrated the plethora of reasons why the scale is not an accurate assessment of your level of fitness and then discussed the two most popular methods of determining body composition: Caliper Measurements and Bioelectrical Impedance. You will recall that measuring body composition is superior to stepping on the scale. Body composition refers to the body’s relative amounts of fat vs. lean body mass (organs, bones, muscles). Optimal body composition is best gained through proper diet and exercise. (We’ll discuss how to improve your body composition next month.) Examples of poor body composition are underdeveloped musculature or excessive body fat. Being overweight (that is, overly fat) is the more common problem.

Let’s begin with the underlying cause of weight (fat) gain for most men and women, including those who eat reasonably and exercise regularly. First, unless you strength train with intensity, you lose about 5 to 7 pounds of muscle tissue every decade of adult life. Aerobic activities, as good as they are for cardiovascular fitness, do little to prevent the loss of muscle during the aging process.

Second, the 5-7 pound per decade muscle loss leads to a 3-5 percent per decade reduction in resting metabolic rate. Because your resting metabolism accounts for about 70 percent of your daily calorie utilization, this seemingly small change in energy expenditure is largely responsible for an average fat gain of 15 to 20 pounds per decade. Keep in mind that a 20-pound per decade fat gain represents only 19 unused calories per day. Ouch!

Third, low-calorie diets and general exercise programs are effective for temporary weight loss (the loss of both fat AND muscle – this is NOT good) because of a negative energy balance (fewer calories eaten than needed for maintenance). However, neither approach addresses the underlying problems of fat gain, namely, less muscle and lower metabolic rate. In fact, low-calorie diet plans result in further muscle loss and metabolic slowdown, thereby making future weight regain almost inevitable.

Fourth, the only activity that reverses the age-related processes of muscle loss and metabolic slowdown is strength training. Based on our research, 10 weeks of basic resistance exercise builds, or replaces, 3 pounds of muscle, which increases resting metabolic rate by about 7 percent, and results in 3 pounds to 12 pounds of fat loss. Obviously, this is an excellent means for attaining and maintaining a healthy body composition and body weight.

For example, a typical low-calorie diet plan may result in a 9-pound fat loss and 3-pound muscle loss. On the scale, this appears as a 12-pound weight loss, but it really represents 9 pounds in the right direction (fat loss) and 3 pounds in the wrong direction (muscle loss), for an actual body composition improvement of 6 pounds (half what the scale indicates).

Conversely, a typical strength-training program may result in a 9-pound fat loss and a 3-pound muscle gain. On the scale this appears as a 6-pound weight loss, but it really represents 9 pounds in the right direction (fat loss) plus 3 pounds in the right direction (muscle gain), for an actual body composition improvement of 12 pounds (twice what the scale indicates).

In measuring body composition, it’s not only important what the result is, but also how you arrived at it. For example, let’s say you’re a woman with a skinfold or bioelectric impedance body fat measurement of 22%. At first glance it seems that you fall into a healthy body fat range. The problem is, since the error factor for both of these methods is up to +/-8%, this number could mean your actual body fat could be as low as 14% (risky – low body fat) or as high as 30% (borderline excess fat). Inaccurate information like this is no better than no information at all, and can be downright dangerous if being used to determine an appropriate diet and/or training program. This is why it’s so important to receive an accurate body composition assessment. It’s the only way to get the proper information necessary for making sensible decisions regarding nutrition and fitness programs.

3 Extremely Efficient Ways to Increase Semen Volume and Sperm Count

In case you are concerned about the quantity of semen you ejaculate, let me just say there are several natural methods to aid in increasing your sperm production.

Natural Solutions For An Increased Ejaculation

1. Stay well hydrated – Maintaining the body well hydrated is among the most crucial measures you’ll want to consider so that you can produce as well as ejaculate a larger amount of sperm. But if the body is not properly hydrated, chances are it will decrease the quantity of semen created. Therefore, it’s a good idea to consume a minimum of 8 glasses of normal water daily.

In case you exercise in a health club, you need to consume much more water because you usually sweat out considerably. The main concept is to maintain your body properly hydrated.

2. Zinc and Essential Fats must be integrated in what you eat. The reason being both equally are vitally important to the growth of the male sex hormone Testosterone. Zinc deficiency usually leads to reduced ejaculation volume and sperm count. This can also lead to fertility problems.

Different scientific studies and tests show that zinc health supplements will help you increase the ejaculation volume and sperm count.

Animal protein is definitely the ideal supply of zinc because zinc made by this source is most easily assimilated by your system.

Besides this, the body needs essential fats like Omega 3 to be able to create hormones such as Testosterone. Certain foods that include essential fats must consequently be an element of your everyday eating habits. Several excellent sources could consist of nuts and beans. olives, olive oil and so on.

3. Herbal Sperm Enhancers

This kind of natural health supplements is definitely a great aid. They aren’t simply a wealthy mix of minerals such as zinc oxide as well as different herbs but additionally include a great deal of amino acids like l-arginine, l-carnitine, l-glysine etc., which are vitally important to get the desired sperm count.

Cutting edge sperm enhancers will help increase your ejaculation volume by an incredible 500% if you take them for 4-5 months. In addition to this, these sperm enhancers additionally assist you to have hard and strong erections due to increased blood circulation towards the male member.

More than that, there aren’t any unwanted effects. For this reason these herbal remedies have grown to be very popular between men looking for sexual enhancement. Also, these herbal supplements are medically authorized and endorsed by physicians.

6 Surprising Tips for Penis Health

Every man cares about good penis health. He will go to great lengths to ensure that his sexual health is in the best condition possible, and that includes the basics of penis care – keeping the private regions clean, well-tended and moisturized, as well as protected during any sexual encounters.

But when a man has looked over all the potential penis health tips and simply wants to do something more to ensure the best health possible, this list can help. It’s filled with some of the stranger penis health ideas that can lead a man into the best sexual health of his life.

Strange penis health tips

Need to do something more to make sure the penis is ready for action? Here are a few things to consider.

1. Take a long walk. Though men are probably aware that regular exercise is one of the keys to ensuring good overall health, it also pays to take care of the penis through gentle activity. A good walk of at least two miles per day can result in a 50% decrease in the chances of erectile dysfunction.

2. Get a vasectomy. Sometimes men face sexual health problems because they have serious anxiety. This is especially true if a man has decided he doesn’t want children, or he already has more than enough kids to handle. In that case, getting snipped can be an excellent idea. It reduces anxiety, ups the relaxation level and of course, leads to a more active sex life.

3. Stop cheating. Speaking of anxiety, few things can make a man feel more nervous than the prospect of his wife finding out about his mistress. That kind of anxiety can affect a man’s performance in bed. Besides that, there is the fact that being with more than one partner increases the risk of sexually transmitted diseases.

4. Avoid cowgirl. Though it’s one of the most amazing sexual positions a man can enjoy, it can also lead to a serious problem – one that involves fracturing (ouch!) of the penis. When the penis slips out of a partner and hits the pubic bone, it can be best described as running full-tilt into the trunk of a tree – the tree has the same density as that bone does. Since cowgirl is the position that most often leads to this devastating injury, if a man does indulge, he should encourage his partner not to get too wild.

5. Test the blood sugar. Among the reasons that a man might have trouble getting it up, diabetes is at the top of the list. In fact, uncontrolled diabetes can cause so much damage to the smaller blood vessels of the body that erectile dysfunction can become the norm, not the exception. To counter the problem, get regular physicals, know the signs of diabetes and conduct a blood sugar test from time to time to ensure things are where they should be.

6. Yawn like crazy. Sure, it sounds nuts, but yawning is actually good for the body and the penis. Why? A yawn is triggered by nitric oxide, which is the same chemical that triggers erections. When the brain releases nitric oxide, it can affect either breathing or erections – or both. That’s why it’s good to create more of it! Therefore, yawning more often will increase the release of nitric oxide, which in turn can lead to longer or firmer erections. It’s a win-win all around.

In addition to these strange penis health scenarios, a man should keep things simple on a daily basis with a great penis health crème (health professionals recommend Man 1 Man Oil, which is clinically proven mild and safe for skin). Look for a crème that contains several important nutrients, such as retinol for odor-fighting properties, pantothenic acid for healthy tissue, and vitamin C for better elasticity of the penis. A plethora of vitamins and nutrients in a Shea butter base, enhanced with vitamin E for further hydration, can help ensure maximum penis health.

Mental Illness and the Early Insane Asylums – A Shameful Past

Originally in the later part of the Middle Ages, insane asylums were built to remove the mentally ill people from the streets. These unfortunate people were feared and viewed with horror by most of the population of the time. The asylums created were really prisons and not centers for treatment. The inmates were chained and the rooms were dark and filthy dungeons. The “patients” were treated like animals, not humans.

Later on in history, in Paris 1792 an experiment was conducted. The chains were removed from the inmates which was a big deal at that time. Much to the amazement of the skeptics this experiment on the “animals” was a success! A different attitude was now starting to emerge towards the treatment of the mentally ill. The inmates were removed from their filthy dungeons and given clean, sunny rooms. They were treated with kindness and not like wild animals by the staff. The result was that many ill folks who were considered hopelessly crazy recovered and were even able to leave the asylum!

But the treatments used to try and cure the mentally ill were horror stories out of a horror flick. These “treatments” were actually forms of torture that were believed to help bring the patient back to reality. One early treatment was the branding of a patient’s head with a red hot iron to “bring the animal to his senses”. An English treatment of the earlier nineteenth century involved using a rotating device in which the afflicted person was placed and then whirled around at a high speed. Even as late as the nineteenth century another similar “treatment” device was used. This one swung the mentally ill person around while he was in a harness. This treatment supposedly “calmed the nerves”.

Then in 1904 there was a breakthrough in mental illness science. Syphilis spirochete was discovered and shown that there could be a physical cause for mental illness. Then, Sigmund Freud and his followers came along and suggested that environmental factors could be the cause of mental disorders. But it seems that even with these new scientific breakthroughs and different ways of viewing mental illness, the general population of the early 1900’s still thought of mentally ill people living in asylums with fear, horror and even hatred. There still was no real understanding of this terrible illness.

But in 1908 an amazing thing happened. A mentally ill person named Clifford Beers recovered from his mental illness. He published a book called “A Mind That Found Itself”. He was diagnosed with manic-depressive psychosis and was institutionalized for three years. The earlier forms of torture, branding, “spinning” and others were abandoned at this time only to be replaced by overcrowded hospitals, poor food, strait jackets and sadistic and uncaring attendants. These elements made the “hospitals” unpleasant places to live in, let alone to try and recover in.

Clifford Beers described his experiences in the insane asylums. He helped educate the public about the principles of mental health. His single-handed efforts to educate the public about mental illness, along with using his book helped to make the public aware of the disease and to help understand it. Soon the National Committee for Mental Hygiene was organized. Then in 1950 the committee joined with two other groups and formed the National Association for Mental Health.

Of course nowadays we have a much better understanding of mental health and mental illnesses. New drugs and treatments are always being discovered. Looking back in time, it sure is hard to believe that the understanding of this illness was so limited and the accepted treatments were so barbaric. But today, with our advanced drugs, technology and treatments we are able to help the mentally ill successfully recover in many cases and lead healthy, normal lives. Maybe one day science will discover the answers as to what causes mental illness in the first place and find us a sure and permanent cure.