Text, baby, text
Text4baby, text4baby.com, is a service, sponsored by Johnson & Johnson, that sends ad-free texts to moms and moms-to-be. The messages cover topics including prenatal care, immunizations, breast-feeding, nutrition, substance abuse, nutrition and developmental milestones.
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Participants will receive about three messages each week as well as occasional breaking-news alerts. While the messages are not personalized, the choice of topics is intended to coincide with each enrolled woman's stage in pregnancy and her child's age. For example, pregnant women can receive a six-message "starter pack" of tips.
Parents can sign up by texting "BABY" (or "BEBE" for messages in Spanish) to 511411. The service requires parents to share the baby's due date or date of birth and a ZIP code.
Skip the sit-ups
Sit-ups once ruled as the way to tighter abs and slimmer waistline, while "planks" were merely flooring.
Now planks -- exercises in which you assume a position and hold it -- are the gold standard for working your core, while classic sit-ups and crunches have fallen out of favor, according to Harvard Medical School.
Why the shift?
One reason is that sit-ups are hard on your back -- literally, by pushing your curved spine against the floor, and also by working your hip flexors, the muscles that run from the thighs to the lumbar vertebrae in the lower back.
When too strong or overly tight, hip flexors tug on these vertebrae, which can be a source of lower back discomfort.
Second, planks recruit a better balance of muscles on the front, sides and back of the body than sit-ups, which target just a few muscles. Remember, your core goes far beyond your abdominal muscles.
Finally, activities of daily living, as well as sports and recreational activities, call on your muscles to work together, not in isolation.
Sit-ups or crunches strengthen just a few muscle groups. Through dynamic patterns of movement, a good core workout helps strengthen the entire set of core muscles -- the muscles you rely on for daily activities as well as sports and recreational activities.