fitness / exercise

Most people will answer a resounding, “YES!” to the question –

“Do you need to jump-start your fitness motivation?”

Especially with bathing suit season in full-swing, it’s time to get our bodies bathing suit ready!

According to the July issue of Good Housekeeping Magazine, a new study at Stanford University found that people who used gadgets like an iPhones or a BlackBerry to monitor their fitness routines were likely to actually stick to a routine.

Interesting… huh?

The researchers for this study divided 37 non-exercisers into 2 groups:

The first group of exercisers was prompted twice a day by a digital assistant (i.e. iPhone, BlackBerry, email) to record their activity levels and set exercise goals. If they didn’t respond to the prompts, they received 3 more alerts at 30-minute intervals.

The second group was given sets of exercise educational handouts to follow, with the hope that the exercisers would work out on their own.

The findings?

After 8 weeks, the first group had exercised about 5 hours per week; the second group had exercised for only 2 hours.

So… looks like there may be something to having a digital assistant jump-start your fitness motivation!

What do you think?

Do you need your exercise to be digitally enhanced, or do you have what it takes to go for it on your own?


We recently had a chance to chat with Debbie Jacobson, creator and executive producer of “What’s Next?” on Retirement Living TV.

The lifestyle makeover show for middle age, “What’s Next?” shares inspirational stories of men and women who want to make the most of their freedom years. Having achieved the goal of retirement, many retirees, however, realize that the reality is not always as rosy as the dream. After a little freedom, many retirees find themselves asking, “What’s Next?”

This is where the team of “What’s Next?” comes in. Guided by the help of a team of experts in areas of health, wellness, lifestyle and relationships, and career and volunteer opportunities, each guest pinpoints trouble spots, and explores activities recommended by the team to overcome these obstacles.

The creation of “What’s Next?” is very special and very personal to Debbie Jacobson. Debbie’s father had a rough time transitioning into retirement and Debbie, a working mom with four kids and a fifth on the way, had a tough time watching him deal with it. Inspired by her dad’s plight, Debbie, ever the proactive mother/wife/daughter/producer, created and is executive producing the TV series.

Debbie’s father was actually the first subject in the series. And as many of us may be facing similar situations with our own parents and grandparents, we at Pinks & Blues feel that Debbie Jacobson has a very important and powerful message, and even more crucial, solutions.

1. Your idea for “What’s Next?” started on a very personal level with your Dad. Can you tell us a little about your Dad’s journey into retirement as it is connected with your talents and experience?

Well, my dad’s retirement didn’t come in the way he had hoped, i.e. the sort of old fashioned farewell dinner, gold watch, etc. The company he had worked for since he was a young man (Kitchens of Sara Lee) moved to a non-union (right to work) state to save costs and it put my dad out of his job. He was able to work with a couple of other places, but the same thing kept happening – plants were closing to move to states where labor was less expensive. He found that he was getting older and at times it felt like his chances of continuing to work were less and less likely. My dad is a man whose whole existence was built around his job, his value was wrapped in his paycheck , and certainly as my dad. Over the years we all harassed him so much about getting out of the house and going back to work because we thought that would make him happy. He just was disenchanted and had lost all motivation , I guess for fear of rejection or not being able to capture the camaraderie he had at Sara Lee…

And then along came RLTV. I was working on a show for the network (Art of Living) that told stories and highlighted retirees and seniors doing outrageous and/or exceptional things in retirement. Most times activities that were very different from life prior to retirement – they basically reinvented themselves. I started thinking about my dad and how he was so opposite of these people. This was when “What’s Next?” was born… and I really wondered about all the other people who might be in the same situation as my dad. How many other people went into retirement or were already there and life just wasn’t playing out the way they had hoped. Who would they turn to? How would they get through this?

RLTV was so supportive and gave us a chance to reach out ! As a producer, I knew there might be avenues we could help our guests explore that they may be too intimidated to pursue, or just weren’t thinking of a bigger picture. We could help pave the way but pave the way with experiences they could have achieved without us – just to help them realize what might have been right under their noses the whole time.

2. Many of our Pinks & Blues readers are facing the retirement of their parents/grandparents. What are some important red flags to indicate that a parent may need the intervention of a program such as “What’s Next?”

I believe the red flag to watch out for to begin with is really seeing them stuck in the house. Seeing that they seem to be socially isolated – not reaching out into their community. Whether it is sleeping late or watching a lot of television, there is so much more for them outside of the house . The trick is , when you see the red flags, getting your parent to admit that they have an issue and letting go of their pride, just a little, for their children to help them out. And don’t treat them like children – they have so much experience in life and just may have lost their way…

3. “What’s Next” addresses health and wellness, lifestyle and relationships, and volunteer and career opportunities. How does “What’s Next” actually connect a retiree with experts in these fields?

We initially do an over the phone interview with our guest to hear about his or her life as it is at that moment – before we begin our process. We hear where they are emotionally, physically, etc. and work to put experts together that will seem to best serve the guests needs. Whether it is financial, physical, or social, we always hope to find that our guest responds and succeeds with all the options laid out before them. Sometimes it doesn’t go that way, which is fine. My hope is that at least one thing changes for them and improves their quality of life. Beyond that , the idea is that when the show leaves them and this whole “tv” process is over, that they have learned things about themselves and tools to achieve a better retirement. They have earned it and deserve to have this time be the best it can be!!! The experts are with us from the beginning, meet with the guest, explain who they are and what they can offer. If something they suggest doesn’t sound good to our guest, they absolutely have the option to say no. We find this in the case in offering financial help.

4. How has “What’s Next” been received? We at Pinks & Blues have watched segments of “What’s Next” and are so encouraged by even small lifestyle changes that have influenced the positive changes in individuals.

The show has been very well received, actually! So many people respond with how either they individually relate or know someone who is in this situation. People who have seen the shows really get emotionally caught up and really feel the emotion of the lows for the guest, which then triggers the “come on, you can do it!” feeling… it’s a lot fun hearing the different reactions!

5. How do you follow-up on the retirees you profile?

We did a reunion show with all the guests in one room together. That was a lot of fun! Mainly because for most of them it was a chance to realize that they were among their peers who are experiencing the same or similar things in retirement. It became painfully obvious that each individual really thought they were the only ones having a challenged retirement. When we were all together, I told them I was so happy that they had a chance to see one another and experience each others’ stories, BUT there was a bigger purpose being served here. They were really reaching out to our audience and saying, “You aren’t alone – look at us! Now get out there and try something new!”

At the end of the shooting day for the reunion show, there was so much bonding between the guests. Friendships were formed and they all exchanged email addresses to keep in touch. I know, for a fact, that my dad has received several emails from the different guests checking in on him and encouraging him. It really has been so humbling because I could have never anticipated the support that would be shared with one another!

6. And the question of the day… how does one get his or her parent/grandparent to apply to be on “What’s Next?”

For anyone who has a friend, parent, or relative who is really struggling and lost in retirement, they can contact us through the website RL.TV or by calling the network (800) 754-8464.
Thanks for having interest in the show! It is so near and dear to my heart. I am truly proud of our mission and proud to be a part of a network that has such a care and concern for this.

We at Pinks & Blues thank Debbie for her wonderful and inspiring work in helping our parents and grandparents live full, productive and happy lives. “What’s Next” can be seen each Friday at 2pm EST on Retirement Living TV. Be sure to tune in!

You are standing in a sports store, looking at the display of baseball gloves. Different colors, leathers, name brands and designs meet your eye as you glaze over. Where to start?

Let’s start with an easy question: do you catch with your right hand or left? I catch with my left and throw with my right, so I am looking for a form-fitting baseball glove for my left hand. It shouldn’t feel loose enough to fall off, nor should it be so tight I would have to really pull to remove it. Once you’ve determined the hand your baseball glove is for you can work with more specific guidelines.

There are baseball gloves available for different positions; for example a catcher’s glove is different from an outfielder’s glove. It’s possible you’re just buying a couple of gloves to play some backyard catch with your kids, in which case you don’t need to get specific.

That also brings up another key point: price. As with most things in this world there is a large price range for baseball gloves that ranges from around $20 to $200 and beyond. For a game of catch you might want to spend a little less than you would for a glove being used in game situations. Children are more likely to outgrow their gloves as they get older, so you want to spend accordingly keeping in mind that next year probably means a new baseball glove.

Along with the practical, you have some creative choices when buying a glove. Colors, brands, fit… all available for your personal preference. Gloves come in all colors from black to red, different shades of brown, some navy and even pink! The traditional glove is brown, however some people might like to express themselves with different colors while catching and throwing like a pro. There are powerful sports brands in stores today, but perhaps you’d rather pick a glove that is personally endorsed by a professional player. Kids often pick sports figures as personal heroes, for them to play with a glove adorned with their favorite player’s signature could have great meaning to them.

Lastly, there’s the way the glove fits you. As you slide your hand in you want it to feel molded with your fingers. You should be able to open and close your hand while wearing the baseball glove; however you do want a little bit of stiffness. Punch your free hand into the glove while you’re wearing it; get a feel for the grip you will have while wearing it. Make sure it’s not going to fly off your hand if you swing your arm.

Baseball is a great sport, and choosing the best baseball gloves are a very important piece of the equipment. Good luck with your search!

The selection of baseball gloves and baseball equipment at is outstanding. It is the place to buy children and youth baseball gloves!

For children, play is naturally enjoyable. And since it is their active engagement in things that interest them, play should be child-led, or at least child-inspired, for it to remain relevant and meaningful to them. Children at play are happily lost in themselves; they are in their own realm of wonder, exploration, and adventure, pulling parents in at times with a frequent “Let’s play, mom!” as an open invitation into that world.

As early as infancy, children immerse themselves in play activities with the purpose of making sense of the world around them. Play gives children the opportunity to learn and experience things themselves, which is vital for their development. Although peek-a-boo games seem pointless to adults, tots are awed by the surprise that awaits them as they see the suddenly emerging faces of people they love.

(Stages of Play)

During toddlerhood, children experience a motor-growth spurt that equips them to solitarily fiddle with anything they can get their hands on – be it a construction toy or the box from where it came.

Toddlers also love breaking into song, wiggling and jiggling to tunes, and imitating finger plays they are commonly exposed to.

Preschoolers begin extending their play to involve others, whether they bring others in at any stage of their game or they plan their game and its players’ way ahead. Their physical and motor skills allow them to widen their lay arena, from dramatic play to table games to outdoor pursuits.

School-age children start appreciating organized play – such as innovated songs and rhymes, games with rules, relays and other physical activities, sports and projects that they can accomplish over a certain time frame.

Play Perks:

Why the big fuss about playing? Play benefits the child in ways that might be a tad difficult for adults to imagine.

1. Play brings pure and utter joy.

A toddler who jumps into an empty box and runs around the house ‘driving a car’ shows the sheer happiness that play brings him or her. When children are asked what they did in school and they answer ‘play,’ it is a clear sign that these kids remember a feeling of genuine joy that is captured in this four-letter word.

2. Play fosters socio-emotional learning.

What does a ten-month-old baby who shrieks at the sight of her stuffed toy have in common with a ten-year-old boy who plays basketball with his friends? They both deal with their confidence as they choose to embark on their play activities. At the same time, they are displaying their independence in the decisions that they make. These two children are also internalizing social rules in their respective play situations: the baby waits patiently for her stuffed toy to appear, while the school-age child has to contend with an impending loss in a ball game.

3. Play hones physical and motor development.

Play often involves the use of the senses, the body, and the extremities. When children play, they exercise their bodies for physical strength, fluidity of movement, balance and coordination.

Perceptual-motor ability, or the capacity to coordinate what you perceive with how you move, is an essential skill that preschoolers need to develop. A three-year-old who is engrossed in digging, scooping, and pouring sand into a container must match his or her perception of the space in front of him or her with actual hand movements, so that he or she can successfully fulfill the motor activity.

4. Play facilitates cognitive learning.

Play is vital to the intellectual development of a child. We live in a symbolic world in which people need to decode words, actions, and numbers.

For young children, symbols do not naturally mean anything because they are just arbitrary representations of actual objects. The role of play is for the child to understand better cognitive concepts in ways that are enjoyable, real, concrete, and meaningful to them. For instance, through play, a child is able to comprehend that the equation 3 + 2 = 5 means ‘putting together’ his toy cars by lining them up in his makeshift parking lot. When he combines 2 triangles to make a square during block play, or writes down his score is a bowling game, the child is displaying what he knows about shapes and numbers.

Through play, the child is constructing his or her worldview by constantly working and reworking his understanding of concepts.

5. Play enhances language development.

Toddlers who are still grappling with words need to be immersed in oral language so they can imitate what they hear. They benefit from songs and rhymes that provide the basis for understanding how language works.

When these tots are playing with toys, adults model to them how language is used to label objects or describe an event. At play, preschoolers use language to interact, communicate ideas, and likewise learn from dialogues with more mature members of society.

6. Play encourages creativity.

Barney the dinosaur was right about using imagination to make things happen. A lump of Play-Doh suddenly turns into spaghetti with meat sauce and cheese; a small towel transforms into a cape that completes a superhero’s wardrobe; and a tin can serves as a drum that accompanies an aspiring rock artist. Play opens an entire avenue for children to express themselves, show what they know and how they feel, and to create their own masterpieces.

7. Play provides bonding opportunities.

Play is an important factor in child development. It provides for interaction, experimentation, and moral development. Here are some ways by which parents can encourage and support their children’s playtime.

– Let your child be the player-leader. Let children initiate their activity, set their own theme, choose the parameters where the play will take place. Play becomes a venue for children to express their feelings and be in control.

– Help them help themselves. When your 5-year-old asks for help, say, figuring out how to piece a puzzle together, stop yourself from coming to her rescue and first ask your child questions that allow him or her to help himself or herself. Say, “Where do you think this piece should go?” Afterward, commend his or her success.

– Play attention. Once you make a commitment to play with your child, watch for the following signals: Does he or she want you to actively play a part in the activity? Does he or she need encouragement? Is he or she tired or hungry? Does he or she need to take a break?

– Have a play plan. If you seem to have little time for playing with your child, consider using self-care chores to have fun with him or her. Also, get support from other people in your household, like older siblings, household help, or the child’s grandparents, so that they understand why play is important and how they should continue to encourage it.

Judy Hansen is a web administrator of She is also a mother of 2 girls and a preschool teacher. Get Real people. Real questions. Real answers. from parents around the world at Parenting Advice and Tips.

You start out with good intentions. You promise yourself that you’ll start your exercise program tomorrow. However, once tomorrow arrives do you find that you are too tired from working all day to exercise in the evening?

Well, you’re not alone. Being too tired after work or not having enough time in the evening after work is one of the most common reasons people fail to exercise, despite having good intentions.

Exercise Helps You To Feel Less Tired

If you are too tired to exercise after work, you should do it anyway. Exercising for 30 minutes or more each day will make you feel less tired. Once you start exercising on a regular basis you will have more energy at the end of the day than before you started your exercise program.

If you decide to skip exercising every evening because you are tired then you will end up feeling more tired than ever and if you don’t exercise at all then you will be in poor physical shape as well. This is especially true for people who sit at a desk at work all day long.

In addition, exercising for even 30 minutes per day will improve your cardiovascular health, help you burn more calories, and relieve stress. In time you will feel better than you do now. After you get used to exercising on a regular basis you will find that you will look forward to exercising each day. However, if you have health problems you should check with your doctor first before beginning any exercise program.

Too Busy To Exercise?

It seems that our lives should be getting easier these days with all of the automated equipment we have. We don’t even have to get out of our cars anymore to open the garage door. Many people have dishwashers to do the dishes for them, and we don’t even have to get up off the couch to change the television channels or adjust the volume. Despite this, it seems that most people have less time than ever. We try to cram as much as possible into each day, but we often fail to make time for even a small amount of exercise.

Schedule A Specific Time Each Day For Exercise

Perhaps the answer to this problem is to set aside a one half hour block of time each day for exercise. Schedule this time and stick to it each day.

If you feel that you absolutely don’t have time to exercise in the evening then perhaps you could take a walk each day during your lunch period. Be sure to bring a pair of good walking shoes or tennis shoes to work with you.

If you don’t have time to both eat and take a walk during your lunch, then eat something on your 15 minute break at work and then use your whole lunch period to walk. Do this even when it is cold outside.

Another method I use to find time to exercise is to exercise while watching something on TV that I enjoy. In this way, I’m getting my exercise, plus I get to watch a television show that I would have watched anyway. In this way, it’s as if I haven’t lost any time out of my day by exercising. In addition, exercising doesn’t seem so much like work when you are entertained at the same time. And finally, be sure you get enough rest so that you can fully recover from each workout and be energized for your next workout.

The important thing is that you get some type of exercise. Your body will thank you for it.

Angela has a Master’s degree in Psychology and is currently working on her doctorate. She is a fitness enthusiast and cat lover. She also maintains the websites and

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