♡ Health, Fitness, Tips & Tricks ♡

October 5, 2011 by  
Filed under VIDEO

I just found this health related video on YouTube … and thought you might enjoy it!


So, I’ve been asked a few times about my “workout secrets,” which made me lol for a bit. I decided to compile what I do into a video, with a little meal recipe thrown in at the end. Ps. I’m not saying do exactly what I do – this is not monkey see monkey do lol. This is just what I do, and I’m throwing out some suggestions that have worked for me. If you have any suggestions, feel free to list them! 🙂 www.facebook.com www.twitter.com

Tell us what you think about this video in the comments below, or in the Battling For Health Community Forum!

Health hazards of mountain hiking

November 2, 2010 by  

Now, hiking can be fun but there are some dangers involved. In this 3rd part of the series on mountain hiking, I am giving you info on the health hazards you should know about.

Altitude sickness. One of the major health hazards of mountain hiking is altitude sickness which usually starts at 2500 m and above.  Make sure that your body has adjusted to the altitude you are in before you do any strenuous exercise. You should especially take care if this is your first time in high altitudes. The air up there is much thinner, with less oxygen content. According to experts, going up too fast within a short period of time by any form of transport is dangerous because the body does not get the chance to acclimatize. The symptoms of altitude sickness are dizziness, headaches, fatigue, and sleep disturbance and can be life-threatening.

Overexertion. Choose the hike or hike that is suited to your physical fitness or the capability of your child. Hiking may be good for the heart but it is not an activity for those with weak hearts. Overexertion can lead to respiratory distress, heart problems, or stroke. The walking guides give you the level of difficulty, the distance, the altitude difference, and the approximate duration. Know what you are capable of. Know your limits.

Dehydration. Drink plenty of fluids especially during long walks. Because of the cold temperatures, you may not feel thirsty but you still sweat during a climb. Dehydration can be dangerous.

Sunburn. In many of our hikes, we were greeted with beautiful sunshine even though the valleys below were covered with clouds. But the clear air and the absence of clouds also mean strong solar UV radiation. It is cold up there that you might not feel the sun burn your skin. Use sun protection such sunglasses, sun caps, and sunscreens!

Falls. Even the most experienced hikers and mountaineers can fall and get injured. Injuries can range from sprained ankles to more serious fractures. Watch your step and tread carefully. Do not rush. If you feel unsure of the terrain, turn back.

Hypothermia. The weather up in the mountains can change drastically. Be sure you have something warm to put on, plus a wind breaker or a rain jacket in case of rain. Without the sun, nights in the mountains can be very cold. “When the outside environment gets too cold or the body’s heat production decreases, hypothermia occurs. Hypothermia is defined as having a core body temperature less than 95 degrees F or 35 degrees C.” Hypothermia can be fatal!

Wild animals. There are wild animals out there but they usually stay away from humans. It is thus advisable to stay on the official pathways and pay attention to warning signs. Do not approach or touch any animals you may see.

The why’s and must have’s of mountain hiking

October 25, 2010 by  

We like to go hiking as family – two adults and two 7-year old boys – but we are not unique. On our walks and hikes, we often meet other families, sometimes with kids younger than ours. In our last walk, for example, we encountered a couple with 4 kids all under the age of 6. The two eldest had to walk while the parents had to carry 1 kid each, the daddy carrying a toddler on a back carrier, the mommy a baby in a front kangaroo carrier. Periodically, the dad had to carry another child on his shoulders. Tough, but they seem to have it all under control and actually enjoying it. This scene of large families going walking or hiking is quite common in Switzerland. I must admit that the set-up is quite conducive to families.


So why do Swiss people like to go hiking, even with their families?

It’s cheap. Hiking is the cheapest way to spend a day with the family. You can pack some sandwiches and have a picnic somewhere. Or you can carry you sausages and barbecue along the way. In many hiking trails are designated barbecue facilities complete with toilets and running water!

Many starting points are accessible by public transport. We usually go to the mountains with the train where all kids under 12 traveling with parents are practically free (except for an annual ticket of $20 per child, cheaper from the 3rd child on). Add to that a special train compartment for families complete with mini-jungle gym, slide and drawing corner. Now, who would prefer to squeeze into an automobile and drive somewhere?

It’s healthy. In a previous post, I expounded on the health benefits of walking and hiking. In short, these physical activities are good for the heart, the bones and muscles and the brain. Now, add to that the fresh air up there. We’ve been to several Swiss villages which are car-free, e.g. all cars should be parked down the valley, while the village itself is only accessible by cable cars or cogwheel trains. The only mode of transport up there is electric cars and buses. What an exhilarating and liberating experience to stay in a place which is almost traffic-free.

It’s beautiful. There is nothing more majestic than a landscape surrounded by mountain peaks. In one of our hikes earlier this month, we stood on point where we could see the mountains of 6 different countries: Switzerland, Germany, Austria, France, Lichtenstein, and Italy. In another place, we saw the very spring in the watershed that feeds all three major European river systems: the Rhine, the Danube, and the Rhone. These are unbeatable experiences.

But walking or hiking needs some preparations and precautions and over the years, I have learned a lot of things by experience which I’d like to share with you.


Proper footwear. Footwear which is sturdy yet comfortable is a must for everybody including the kids. They need not be expensive but they should fit the season and the weather conditions.

Clothes. Clothes should be customized to the time of the year and the altitude. Not too warm or not too cold. One should not overestimate the temperatures in higher altitudes. It may be sunny up there but it is not necessarily that warm because of the winds. Take into account the wind chill factor. A windbreaker or rain jacket should always be on stand-by in case needed. Weather conditions can change drastically in the mountains.


Water. Drink plenty of fluids. Dehydration is dangerous!

Finger foods. Little tidbits are needed to boost your energy and those of your little ones. My favorites are granola or fruity snack bars, dried fruits such as bananas or apples or raisins, and nuts. These are small and light enough to fit in the pockets – and they are also healthy.

Band aids. Blisters can appear out of nowhere. Once, one of my boys got blisters from a well-worn shoes that were probably getting too small. Luckily I had band aids ready that got him through the hike. A small first aid kit can be very useful. I have a very compact one which I filled, in addition to band aids, a small tube of sunscreen, a small phial of hand disinfectant, a small pack of tissues, and my son’s inhaler.

Sun protection. The sun up there is bright and strong up there. Sunglasses, sun caps, and sunscreens are needed to protect you from the strong UV solar rays.

Phone. In cases of emergency, a phone is invaluable.

Plus: don’t forget to bring a smile and lots of enthusiasm – in case the going gets tough.

The health benefits of hiking

If I tell you I did not do a single jogging run last week, you’d think I’m getting slack and lazy, right?

Well, not quite We (I and my family) just got back from a week of autumn holidays in the Swiss Alps where we did lots of walking and hiking. This time we did long (5 to 6 hours) and short hikes (2 to 3 hours), easy (100 to 200 m altitude difference on easy clear pathways) and tough ones (500 m or more altitude difference on difficult terrain). The family consists of middle-aged parents and two seven-year old twin boys. During the week, we did two of our toughest and longest hike yet and I learned a couple of things:

  • For my kids, the tough hikes consisting of rock climbing and cliff hugging and crawling on your hands and knees are much more fun and interesting than the easy slopes and incline. We heard nary a complaint during the tough climbs except “Mom, why are you so slow?” During the easy walks however, there are the frequent “Are we there yet?” and “How many more minutes/kilometers?”
  • My kids have overtaken me in skills when it comes to climbing mountains, at least when the going gets tough. You see, Mommy is so slow because her knees were trembling as she scrambles and crawls on the rocks. Mind you, I have no fear of heights nor do I suffer from vertigo. But as somebody who was born close to the seacoast of a tropical island, it took me more than 30 years to find my way to the Swiss Alps, much more hike around. But how I got here is another story. This post is about the health benefits of hiking.

According to the American Hiking Society:

Now, I hope my description of our hikes did not turn you off and made you come to the conclusion that hiking is too challenging or difficult for you. The trick is to start slow and small. I did. My family did. I had to train my body for years, then my kids. The important thing is to start. Now.

Here’s what the American Hiking Society advises:

Beneficial exercise does not need to involve a long, painful and boring workout. A good workout can be a brisk 30-minute hike with the dog, or a slower one-hour hike through a local park. According to the American Heart Association, it’s best to walk vigorously for 30 to 60 minutes three or four times per week.

Here are some tips from Nomad Journal Trips:

Here is what I’ll tell you next: preparing for a mountain hike and taking safety precautions. Stay tuned for my next hiking post. Meanwhile, I am back in the lowlands and have to go for a jogging run.

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.