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My ideas and experiences in exercising, hiking, and healing, and reviews of products to help you stay healthy.
Humidifier for Coughs

We've all been suffering from a bad cough cold the past couple three weeks. I hadn't been taking any cold medicine because I'm breastfeeding. But last week I got desperate. My throat became so sore all the way down to my chest. So the doctor said that taking Mucinex DM would be fine. I also went in and got some Tessalon Perles. They seemed to work somewhat. The doc also said to use a humidifier.

I was a little skeptical about using the humidifier because we had used it in the past but didn't really see much benefit. Plus we live in a humid climate. However, every morning I have this strong urge to take a shower because I'm so congested (nose and chest). I noticed that the humidity from the shower stopped my cough attacks for a little while.

So I finally decided to have hubby break out the humidifier again. This time crank it up to be somewhat close to shower humidity. Not just the measley 45% that we've always used in the past. This time I slept with it up to 75-80%. And that did the trick. I didn't get up the 2-3 times at night with a coughing fit and have to go take meds, cough drops, honey, or sit upright. I also noticed my chest felt a lot more loosened up and less congested. My coughs were much fewer and much more productive when I did cough. Wow, I'm sold.

Since I slept all night that way, the effects seem to be pretty long lasting. Using the humidifier in conjunction with the cough meds seems to be a great solution for me. That and drinking honey with tea all day long, too.  We use the Heaven Fresh humidifier. It's been really great. It gives you the temp as well as the % humidity. It has nice controls to set the %, warm/cold, etc.

Pot Handle Burn

I've got a couple of oven-safe Calphalon skillets, which I was just going to replace, since the are getting old. But I had an incident with one a few days ago. After searing the lamb chops on the skillet on the stove top, I put the skillet in the oven and let them bake at 400 degrees. When I took it out, I was careful to use oven mits, of course. But just seconds later, I grabbed the skillet handle with my bare hand and got quite a burn.

I ran my hand under cold water for what seemed like 5 minutes or so. When I looked at them, they were whitish, where the burns were. Across the middle of my hand, the base of my fingers as well as the tips. I had my husband (thank God he was home) puree an aloe vera leaf and put it in a plastic bag. I soaked my hand in that for a while. It felt really good. But after a couple hours or so, I went into urgent care because I dried it, tried to bandage it, and it was hurting!

By the time I got out of urgent care, it was stinging only a little bit. They said it was just a first degree burn and bandaged it up a bit. By the next morning, it felt a lot better. Still tender in the worst (most burnt) parts but much better. Today is the third day, and I'm almost back to normal. It still feels a little sensitive when I squeeze something really hard or carry something heavy but not bad.

I would have thought this would bother me for a couple of weeks and that I wouldn't be able to take care of my baby and toddler with this. But surprisingly it healed much more quickly than I thought it would. I wonder if it is because I soaked it in the pureed aloe vera leaf for 2 hours. 

I got some emu oil to put on it just to get the skin to go back to normal. The worst parts look a little like caluses. The dermatologist told me anyway that moisturized skin heals faster. So hopefully it works well.

Needless to say, I probably won't be doing any stove-to-oven cooking anymore... 

Gym Slacker

I've only been able to make it to the gym once or twice a week. I've been able to do my home work outs on some of the other days. But I'd really like to get to the gym more often. I've been doing my home work outs in the morning before Bel wakes up. That's been working out fine, but I would prefer to use that time to do something else, like write these blogs, work on some scrapbooking, or do a little reading. Then I could go to the gym after she wakes up, and let her play in their day care.

But it seems like I've been so booked most other days of the week, with prenatal appointments, play dates with friends, story time at the library, shopping, or taking Bel swimming. And lately, I've been running errands, preparing for her birthday party. Next thing you know, Baby J will be born, and then it's off from the gym for 2 months until he's old enough to go to their day care.

My training sessions at the gym have been going really well. I am fortunate that they have a couple of trainers that do prenatal fitness. It's been helping my back feel better, and I feel good about getting stronger in my core so that I can hopefully have an easy delivery and be strong enough to lug that heavy infant carrier all over the place! 

Workout DVDs

Prenatal Workouts

Before I got pregnant, I worked out regularly, 5 days a week. I knew I wanted to continue the habit during pregnancy. Although I admit, during my first trimester, I had no energy to get out of bed, and the last trimester I was moving real slow, I managed to keep a decent workout routine during most of the pregnancy.

Here are some of the workouts that I used:

  • Yourself Fitness - This is not technically a workout DVD or even a dedicated prenatal workout. It is a video game workout. I used this consistently before pregnancy and during pregnancy until I got so big that I had to use workouts specifically designed for pregnancy. I also had to change some of the the Yourself Fitness exercises so they were safe for pregnancy. But this was the workout system I used primarily during pregnancy. It's a no brainer, the workout is different everyday and focuses on a different muscle group. This workout has since become My Fitness Coach for the Wii, which I now use.

  • The Perfect Pregnancy Workout vol. 1 - I loved this workout DVD for pregnancy. It helped keep my muscles strong so that I could continue to function while I was pregnant.

  • Pilates During Pregnancy, Vol. 1 - This workout was gentle yet very effective. I could definitely feel my leg and ab muscles working. I really liked this for a change of pace as well as towards the very end when my tummy got really big.

  • Prenatal Bellydance - If you haven't tried bellydance, it is so much fun and makes you feel beautiful when you do it, even when you are pregnant. These dances were fairly easy to follow and were good workouts.

  • Prenatal Yoga - This DVD is really popular. Probably every pregnant woman ends up buying this. Which is great. Yoga is wonderful for pregnancy and any other time of your life.

more Prenatal Workout DVDs...

Postnatal Workouts

And I thought working out during pregnancy was hard. Try doing it with the fatigue of caring for a newborn. Needless to say, my workout routine ceased for a few months until I could at least figure out the difference between night and day. I slept whenever I could so it didn't really matter whether the sun was up or not. When I finally rejoined the land of the living, I went back to using My Fitness Coach as well as a few postnatal workout DVDs that included baby in the exercises.

Postnatal Workouts I have used

  • My Fitness Coach - A video game workout rather than a DVD, this workout has proven to be the best that I've ever used prepregnancy, prenatal, as well as postnatal. I never have to think about what my body needs (cardio, abs, arms, etc.). It just does it for me. And I never get bored with the workouts, as they are never the same. You can pick the duration of your workout, depending on how much time and energy you have, and it calculates a well balanced exercise for you. Every now and then I do use a different workout DVD or video game just for fun.

  • Mambo Moms: Fitness Fun For for Baby & Mom - this was a fun dance workout. Gets baby bouncing to the beat on a baby carrier.

  • Mom and Baby Fitness DVD - easy and fun for mom and baby. My baby sometimes got bored with it, but it was fun to do this DVD every now and then.

more Postnatal Workout DVDs...

Dance Fitness

Dance Fitness is a very creative and fun way to workout. There are so many different kinds of dance, and I always love learning new moves. My favorites are hip hop and bellydance. Dance workouts are great for cardio, weight loss, and leg workouts. But I usually have to make sure I include strenth training as well, so that I can stay toned all over.

Dance Workouts I have used

  • 10 Minute Solution: Fat Blasting Dance Mix - I love these 10 Minute Solution workouts because sometimes that's all the time I have to squeeze in a workout. Especially when my baby was younger, around 10 months or so. There are several 10 mintute workouts to choose from, so you won't get too bored with the same workout over and over. The moves are fun with a mix of different dance styles.

  • Urban Heat Hip Hop Workout - I love this Hip Hop dance workout. I'm not normally a hip hip dancer, but it is so fun to learn these moves. They can be used just about anywhere!

  • Zumba Fitness for the Kinect Xbox 360 - This is a video game workout. It's so much fun and addicting. A really great dance workout. Had me panting and sweating. I especially liked the bellydance cooldown routines. They also have this for the Wii and Playstation 3 in case you don't have an Xbox 360 with Kinect.

more Dance Fitness Workout DVDs...

Whole Body Workouts

I'm always on the lookout for good total body workouts. It's hard to be diligent about doing cardio as well as toning all your muscle groups. So I like the combo workouts. They are usually nobrainers and make it easy to get your whole body worked out within an hour, or broken into 2 sessions.

Whole Body Workouts I have used

  • My Fitness Coach - I still vote My Fitness Coach number one for whole body workouts. You can easily program each day for the muscle group you want to work on. I like to do cardio one day, with an emphasis on one muscle group, like core. The next day devoted to a different muscle group (whichever I feel needs the most work like upper body or lower body).

  • Karen Voight - Streamline Fitness (A.M./P.M. Workout) - This video is a fun diversion from My Fitness Coach. Just something different every now and then, but still getting a great whole body workout. It is split into 2 workouts. One cardio and light weights. And the other one yoga and pilates type of exercises.

  • Karen Voight - Total Body Pilates - I love all the Karen Voight workout videos that I have tried. I started using her workout DVDs even before My Fitness Coach, and for the first time started really loving how my body was looking. My arms were getting some nice definition and my butt started rounding out, rather than being flat and flabby.

more Whole Body Workout DVDs...

Gym Membership

I finally joined a gym. Yeah, as much as I love My Fitness Coach for the Wii, I just haven't been able to find time alone to do it. I used to do it in the morning before Bel woke up, but then she started getting up early, or she wants me to stay in bed with her. I joined Gold's Gym, and they have a nice daycare that Bel liked very much on the first day. But the subsequent days were another story. Now I'm wondering if I should have joined. I hope she'll learn to like it. Plus she started sleeping in again after I joined. So I've still been doing My Fitness Coach on days when she doesn't wake up when I try to sneak out of bed. (Yeah, I know, I've contemplated weaning her out of our bed, but just haven't set out to do it yet. It would be a whole new can of worms.)

In a perfect world, I would like to get to the gym 5 days a week. MWF to do cardio and TTh to do strength training. Taking classes is an even better version of the perfect world. I would have to actually get there on time, and it hasn't been happening with Bel waking up late some mornings. So in a more realistic world, it will probably be more like going to the gym TTh for cardio, and doing My Fitness Coach at home on any mornings that I possibly can.

I also signed up for 10 sessions of training. Since I've been a home workout person for so long, I have no idea how to use those machines. Even something as simple as the treadmill, they had to show me how to use it. But I have yet to really begin my training because I can't seem to get to the gym. Today, Bel didn't wake up until 11am. I thought about waking her up, but she's been really crabby when I've done that before. I guess I'll shoot for the gym again tomorrow. 

Zumba Fitness

Since Zumba has become so popular, I thought I'd give it a try. We have a Kinect Xbox system, so I borrowed the Zumba Fitness game from my friend to try it out. Right away I could see why Zumba has become so popular. It's lots of fun and a really great workout. I was sweating and enjoying learning new dance steps.

After several workouts, I realized that I was missing my strength training workouts. I usually do My Fitness Coach for the Wii, which includes strength training, cardio, and yoga. But doing the Zumba workouts, I was missing out on ab strengthening, etc. So I'm back to My Fitness Coach, which is still the best game workout I've ever used.


Featured Health Blog Articles

Foam Rolling  - 7/18/2017
Workout DVDs  - 9/19/2011
Riding the Stationary Bicycle on Lazy Days  - 9/27/2017
Losing Post Baby Fat  - 8/2/2017
Wake up, Work out  - 1/21/2018

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