Backpacker Girl Looking at Sunset Colorado Mountains

Some of the Best Places to Hike in the United States

If you want to experience a different kind of vacation and if you are in shape for it, you might want to consider going hiking in some of the most beautiful places in the United States. Since I love to hike, I thought I would put together a list of the best places to hike in the United States. If you love beautiful scenery and challenges then you might find these places ideal, I know that I do. So here's my list of some of the best places to go hiking in the United States. Yosemite I'd have to say that Yosemite gets my vote as the #1 spot to go hiking in the United States. Yosemite is one of California's most beautiful places to visit. It has incredible natural landscapes and the park is nearly 1,200 square miles that offers nothing but jaw dropping awe with its towering waterfalls, Sequoia trees that are thousands of years old, incredible cliff faces and some of the most unusual rock formations you can find in the entire United States. Some of the key places to visit and hike to while you are in Yosemite would be Glacier Point which is one of the most incredible lookouts to be found in this National Park and it has wonderful views of Half Dome and the floor of the Yosemite Valley itself. You can either hike there or if you don't want to do the difficult climb you can take a car to get to it. Half Dome is great for hikers and some say it's the most unforgettable hike they've ever experienced, but be warned, this is not a hike for the beginner, it's challenging from the very beginning starting at the beginning when you have to hike the Mist Trail to Vernal Falls. But if you are in shape you should be able to handle it. While hiking in Yosemite, you won't want to miss out on visiting Tuolumne Meadows. This is famous for the flat grassland, a winding river and some really good rock climbing opportunities for those who love rock climbing. It's also one of the biggest higher elevation meadows in the Sierra Nevada mountains being at 8,600 feet. This is, even with all the tourists an incredible peaceful place and to some it seems to be paradise. If you want a break from hiking you can always visit the Ansel Adams Gallery, which is free and free is always good. This gallery is located in the Yosemite Village and it offers many pieces from the work of the famous photographer who spent a lot of his life as well as his career taking incredible photos of Yosemite in black and white which are just breathtaking. Grand Canyon The Grand Canyon is one of the most incredible natural wonders of the world and if you have never been there then you have truly missed out. This canyon is about 277 miles long and can reach up to 18 miles wide and…

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Young girl running along the beach.

Important Things to Know About Running and Jogging

We all know that both running and jogging are popular forms of physical activity and a lot of people do it even in different stages of life, they just do it according to how they can handle it. Probably one of the reasons why these forms of activity are so popular for exercise is because it really doesn't cost much for you to participate except for maybe a good pair of running or jogging shoes. There are an awful lot of health benefits that one can get from both running and jogging such as: It helps to build stronger bones. It strengthens all of your muscles since you use nearly all of your muscles in the process of running or jogging. It helps to improve your cardiovascular health. Burns up plenty of calories. Helps you to maintain a healthy weight.Some people who don't do either activity often wonder what's the difference between running and jogging or is there a difference? Well there is. See, the difference between running and jogging is the intensity of the activities. Running is generally a lot faster and it uses up more calories and it does demand a lot more effort on the part of your heart, muscles and lungs. Running does require a much higher level of overall fitness than jogging does.However, jogging is good for you as well because both running and jogging are great forms of aerobic exercise and aerobic exercise is great for getting rid of body fat.If you have never done either exercise before and are suddenly thinking about taking one or both up it's always a good idea for you to think about what you actually want to try to achieve by running or jogging. You may want to do some goal setting. Getting fit – if you are truly a beginner at this it's important that you start off slow with maybe just brisk walking at first and then lead up to jogging and finally work up to actual running. This more than likely will take a few months if you stay at it faithfully. General fitness – you can do this by mixing your running with other kinds of exercise like swimming or even team sports, this way you'll maximize your overall well being. Weight loss – if you want to include weight loss with you running and jogging make sure that you adjust your diet along with it by making sure that you eat a lot of fresh fruits and veggies along with lean meat, some whole grains and low fat dairy products. You might want to cut out high sugar content foods and soft drinks with lots of sugar. Consider companionship – often it's a lot easier to meet your goals if you run or jog with a friend and if you can't find a friend to join you, you might want to find a local running club and join them. Competition – is something you only want to consider if you are at the…

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Healthy Dinners You Are Sure to Love

Sometimes I know, it's hard to come up with some great tasting food that's also pretty good for you. But it really can be done and it can be done without having to spend all day in the kitchen. If you are a person that is super busy and always on the go, you might be tempted to just grab some fast food or some frozen thing and pop it into the microwave. But, with some of the recipes I've found along the way, you really don't have to do that. You can make some healthy food and spend less than an hour in the kitchen preparing and cooking it. Here are just a few of my favorites. Pizza With Mushrooms, Onions and Basil Yes, pizza is good for you, especially if you put the right stuff on it. Here's a pizza you should love and it only takes a total of 25 minutes to prepare and cook before you can sit down and enjoy a delicious slice of pizza and not feel guilty. Ingredients Needed: Tablespoon of olive oil 8 ounces sliced mushrooms Slice up ½ of a medium red onion 2 garlic cloves minced A 10 ounce already baked pizza crust 1 cup of pre-made marinara sauce ¼ cup of sun dried tomatoes that have been reconstituted 1 cup of mozzarella cheese, shredded ¼ cup of grated Parmesan cheese ¼ cup of fresh basil leaves, sliced Cooking Directions: First thing to do is make sure your oven is preheated to 450° F. Next thing is take the olive oil and heat it in a skillet making sure it's medium heat. After the oil is heated then add the sliced mushrooms and the red onion and cook them until they are tender and you see that most of the liquid has evaporated, this should take about 5 minutes. After that stir in your garlic and take the skillet off the stove. Now take your already baked crust and put it on a cookie sheet. Take your marinara sauce and spread it all over your crust and then take and top it with your mushroom mix and then add the sun dried tomatoes. You will then take your two cheeses and sprinkle them over the top of your pizza. Put your pizza in the oven until your cheese is well melted, this should be about 13 minutes but keep a close eye on it since all ovens cook differently. When the pizza is done remove it from the oven and then sprinkle the basil over the top and serve and enjoy! Chicken Wraps: Waldorf Style This little recipe takes a bit longer than the pizza about 40 minutes overall, but it's well worth the wait especially if you a big chicken fan. Ingredients Needed: 1 Cup of plain yogurt, non-fat 2 Tablespoons of mayo 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice 2 Teaspoons of Dijon Mustard ¼ Teaspoon of regular salt or sea salt 1 Teaspoon of fresh thyme minced 1 Pound…

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Get the Kids Outdoors

Since I work with kids trying to pry them away from their phones, tablets and computers, I know how hard it can be to get kids to actually realize that there are other things to do other than games and social media. Sometimes I wonder if they even realize just how much there is to discover outside the world of the Internet. I remember when I was a kid I use to beg my parents for just a few more minutes before coming inside for the night. Now, you nearly have to pay them to go outdoors and do something. It's pretty sad too, to think that the United States has more obese children than any other country in the world, and we pretty much can thank technology for that. Not that I have anything against technology, oh heck no, but there's a time and a place for everything. So, I've decided to try and help out here by offering some ideas for some outdoor activities for kids so they can learn that it's not a hard or boring thing to get out and be active for a little bit. Things to teach them that breathing some fresh air once and a while is a very good thing. Bug Hunting for Younger Kids By nature kids are curious and we need to encourage them to use that curiosity and one way to do that with younger kids is to go bug hunting. You don't even have to go any further than your own backyard for this activity and all you need is a magnifying glass and the hunt is on. Take your kids out in the yard with the magnifying glass and talk to them about the bugs they find, talk about the colors, show them which bugs will sting them and how to protect themselves from stinging insects, explain to them how certain bugs work together to build homes and so on. Let them get as close as they can to harmless insects and have them examine them with their magnifying glass. You'd be surprised at how energized the kids will be after this simple outdoor exercise. Rock Hunting Adventure Take the kids to a local park or to a state park and have them collect as many different sized rocks of all shapes and colors, this alone will give them some exercise as they are walking along paths looking for their rocks. After the rock hunting adventure is over you can take the rocks home and then take out some paint and let the kids paint the rocks bright and fun colors, encourage them to be creative by painting faces on them or making them into little animals. Scavenger Hunt Get together with a group of kids and have them all think of different objects from nature and then put all of these on a piece of paper, you might want to make several lists and then give each kid their own list, then go somewhere you know…

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Fresh and healthy green smoothie

The Top Heart Healthy Foods to Keep You Going Strong

If you want to try and stay healthy it's important that you keep your heart healthy because without a healthy heart not much else matters. So, this means it's important that you eat the right foods that will ensure that your heart is going to remain healthy and working as it should. This means that you need to eat foods like veggies, fruits, fiber, fish and eating healthy fats and making sure to limit the unhealthy fats such as trans fats. Of course there is no food out there that's a cure all for your body but there are some pretty good foods out there that is going to help you improve the health of your heart. Here are just a few of those foods that are considered heart healthy foods. Yogurt   Yogurt is known to actually protect against gum disease which can actually increase your risk of heart disease if you have severe gum disease. It's also good for the digestion and can boost your immunity which is also very important for a healthy heart. Raisins There are plenty of antioxidants in raisins that are great for the overall health of your body but raisins can also fight the growth of some bacteria that causes inflammation of the gums and once again gum disease. So, because of this raisins seem to be able to help fight gum disease and in turn helps the health of your heart. Whole Grains   Those who eat a lot of whole grains do tend to be a lot leaner than those who don't and this puts them at a lower risk for heart disease than those who don't eat very many whole grains. This is more than likely due to the fact that whole grains also contain antioxidants, phytoestrogens as well as phytosterols all of which protect against coronary diseases. We benefit from the fiber in the whole grains as well. Studies have shown that those who have a high fiber diet are also at a lower risk to develop heart disease than others who don't have enough fiber in their diets. It's important then that you try to have enough foods that are very rich in soluble fiber which helps to lower your LDL or bad cholesterol. The soluble fiber we eat will bind with bile acid and this is the key component in digesting fat in our bodies that we make from cholesterol. Foods that are very high in soluble fiber would be oatmeal, barley, okra, any kind of beans, eggplant and citrus fruits like oranges or grapefruit. Beans Beans eaten on a regular basis are extremely good for your heart and you don't even have to eat very much of them to reap the benefits they have to offer. For example, if you were to have just a half a cup of cooked pinto beans a day could lower your cholesterol immensely. Beans because they too are soluble fiber will help bind the cholesterol and keep it from being…

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Quick, Easy and Healthy Snack Ideas

Face it, we love to snack and we don't like to mess around spending a lot of time to fix them. In today's world we want things right here and now. I get it, I really do. However, that often leads us to some pretty unhealthy eating. So, here's some ideas for some really quick, easy as well as healthy snacks that anyone can make and in very little time. However, it might take you some time figuring out which one of them you want to try first. So, let's get started shall we? Simple Fruit Smoothie All you need is to take one cup of vanilla yogurt, add one cup of frozen strawberries, one frozen banana, one ¼ cup of orange juice and puree it all together in your blender. There you go, a quick, healthy and delicious tasting snack! Yogurtwiches Here's another quicky. Take a scoop of your favorite frozen yogurt and put it between two graham cracker squares. Next take and roll the edges of the graham cracker sandwich in some chocolate chips and then freeze a little till the little treats are firm. Yum. Banana Dippers Let's dress up the banana shall we? Take a banana and cut it into 1 ½ inch chunks. Now spread one end of the banana with some peanut butter and then dip the end either into your favorite granola mix or your favorite trail mix. Fruity Milk Get your blender ready to puree away by adding 2 cups of thawed frozen strawberries, or peaches and then add three tablespoons of some white grape juice concentrate. Next stir about 1/3 cup of this puree into one cup of low fat milk. Cover and refrigerate. It's ready to drink and will last for up to five days. Chocolate Coated Orange Slices Well this one is not as fast as the others but it's well worth the 30 minutes for these tasty treats. You will need to temper about 1 pound of some finely chopped milk chocolate  with two teaspoons of some shortening. Next line a cookie sheet with wax paper and then mist it with some cooking spray. Next take your orange slices and dip them into the tempered chocolate either by using your fingers or a slotted spoon and let the excess chocolate drip off. Put the chocolate oranges on your cookie sheet and let them sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes for soft shell and up to four hours for fully hardened chocolate covered oranges. Really, really, good. You can do the same with strawberries too! Frozen Fruit Cups Ingredients Needed: 4 Cups of thawed frozen peaches chopped in big chunks 2 Cans of drained mandarin oranges 2 Cans of drained crushed pineapple 1 Can of drained fruit cocktail 1 Small can of frozen pineapple/orange juice thawed 1/3 Cup of lemon juice 6 Medium bananas that are cut into chunks Take the peaches, oranges, pineapple, fruit cocktail, bananas and the juices and combine them in a large bowl…

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