Can Ballet Lessons Improve Your Football Skills?

The skills required to master the game of football include strength, flexibility, agility and mental preparedness. Many football players exhibit strength, but may be lacking in other areas. This is where ballet enters in. Ballet lessons can improve your strength, increase flexibility and make you more agile, while providing a mind-body connection and reducing your risk of injury.
Strength is a key component of playing football. If you are not strong, you will not have much success in the game. Ballet provides a total body workout that targets muscles few other exercises use. For instance, ballet strengthens the muscles in your feet. Ballet lessons will additionally strengthen your back, legs and arms, with a great emphasis on strengthening your core muscles, which are useful while playing football. Working a variety of different muscles makes your muscles more adaptable, according to American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
Being flexible may not seem like a key factor in football, but increased flexibility has many benefits to the game. Ballet provided the flexibility necessary for NFL Hall of Famer Lynn Swann to become famous for his graceful, entertaining and successful football career. Increased flexibility can also reduce your risk of injuries, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.
In addition to making you a stronger, more flexible football player, ballet can make you more agile, moving quickly on your feet, changing directions with greater balance, stability and a greater range of motion. Ballet can also help increase your speed, as it did with Dallas Cowboys running back Herschel Walker. Walker credits his speed and agility to his diverse exercise routine that included ballet.
One of the most important components of playing football is concentration, another benefit Walker credits to his ballet experience. Dance lowers your stress, stimulates you intellectually and helps you recognize and deal with patterns, spacial issues and sequences, which are essential to football strategy. Dance also trains you to perform in front of an audience, an aspect that can frighten athletes into poor operation at game time. Dance stimulates a connection between your brain and your body that helps you do your best in all activities, including football.

Can You Get Rid of Dark Circles Under the Eyes With a Cucumber?

In addition to lack of sleep, dietary choices, genetics and your sleep position can lead to dark circles and puffy eyes. You may have heard beauty mavens swear that cold cucumbers slices placed over the eyes can help reduce swelling and dark circles. Scientific evidence as to whether the cucumbers work is scant, but plenty of people swear by the strategy. Compounds in the cucumbers and their temperature may explain their effectiveness.
Scientists have isolated a number of antioxidants present in cucumbers, including cucurbitacins, vitexin, orientin and isoscoparin, along with vitamins C and K. You can absorb these antioxidants through your skin. Dermatologist Gregory Nikolaidis told the “Huffington Post” that these antioxidants may help reduce the inflammation that causes puffiness and dark circles.
Cucumber slices work best to reduce swelling and dark circles when chilled. The cool temperature eases puffiness and discourages the accumulation of fluid under your eyes. Cold, damp teabags or a bag of frozen vegetables are alternatives.
Dark circles may appear as the result of a combination of thin skin and visible veins. The skin around your eyes is quite delicate; as you age, it becomes even thinner and more fragile, so veins that run underneath appear as dark circles. According to a study published in the “Journal of Drugs and Dermatology” in 2009, Vitamin K, which is present in cucumbers, can reduce dark discolorations due to bruising in people who undergo laser treatments. Vitamin K may similarly help reduce the discoloration that causes dark circles.
The colder the cucumber slices, the better your results. “Real Simple” suggests placing the slices in the freezer for a few minutes before you apply them. When they’re ready, lie on your back and place a cucumber over each closed eye lid. Rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Using cucumbers isn’t a guarantee that your dark circles will go away, but the treatment is unlikely to do you any harm.

Epsom Salts and Weight Loss

Epsom salt baths have been promoted as a potential weight-loss solution since the 1900s, but this doesn’t mean they actually work. No scientific evidence is on record to recommend them for this purpose, according to an article on the Library of Congress website. Likewise, taking these salts internally isn’t likely to lead to lasting weight loss and could actually have some adverse effects on your health. Check with a doctor before using Epsom salts internally, as doing so isn’t safe for everyone.
Celebrities and athletes trying to lose weight sometimes mention using Epsom salt baths to slim down, but these baths aren’t likely to lead to any lasting weight loss. Most likely, any small amount of weight you lose through the use of the baths is from the hot water of the bath, which can cause sweating and water weight loss. This water weight is most likely going to come right back once you’re no longer dehydrated. Spending too much time in hot baths can also cause lightheadedness or fainting, and repeatedly going through the process could have more lasting adverse effects on your health, including weakened bones and disruptions to the menstrual cycle.
Epsom salts, or magnesium sulfate, can be used internally as a laxative. The salts bind with water from your body to make stool softer and easier to pass, potentially helping to treat constipation. As with Epsom salt baths, any weight loss is most likely water weight and not the fat loss you’re trying to achieve to help you slim down. Internal use of Epsom salts can cause side effects, including nausea, diarrhea and vomiting. They may also interact with certain medications and be unsafe for people with some health conditions, including kidney disease and diabetes. Using laxatives for weight loss can cause potentially irreversible damage to your body, such as a slower metabolism, nutrient deficiencies, laxative dependence, dehydration and electrolyte imbalances.
Adults shouldn’t consume more than 350 milligrams of supplemental magnesium per day. Each teaspoon of Epsom salts contains 495 milligrams of magnesium, and the typical dosage for laxative purposes is 2 to 4 teaspoons mixed with water one to two times per day. As a result, it isn’t hard to ingest higher-than-recommended amounts of magnesium. Symptoms of magnesium toxicity include confusion, vomiting, nausea, irregular heartbeat, low blood pressure, heart attack, coma and, in extreme cases, death.
Instead of using an unproven method to try to lose weight quickly, eat 500 to 1,000 calories fewer each day to lose weight at a safe rate, about 1 to 2 pounds per week. Limiting fatty, salty and sugary foods and beverages, including highly processed foods, and focusing on eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein foods can help you do this while getting the essential nutrients you need each day. For even better results, add exercise to your daily routine. Aim for 30 to 60 minutes per day of cardio and two sessions of strength training each week.

Basic Football Rules For Kids

Football is a fun sport for all seasons and a popular American pastime. You can play full-contact football with tackling and blocking or play two-hand touch rules with flags at your waist. The rules of the game change slightly for the different variations, but the goal remains the same — try to score points when your team is on offense, and try to stop you opponent from scoring when you are on defense. The team with the most points wins.
In flag football, the field is divided into four or five, 20-yard zones. In full-contact football, the zone lines are kept in 10-yard increments. The offense has four attempts to pass the “first-down” line, which is 10 yards, or it must turn over the ball to the other team on downs or by punting. Kicking the ball through the goalposts gives your team three points, which is called a field goal. A six-point touchdown is awarded to the team that can cross the end zone at the opposite end of the field. A point after touchdown is added by a kicker by kicking the ball through the goalposts, or your team can choose to run a play for two points after a touchdown.
Defensive players can use tackling to bring an opponent down to the ground. You can’t use your fists or tackle a player once the referee calls an end to the play. Offensive players can block defenders, but they can’t hold or hit a player below the knees. In flag football, you are not allowed to tackle another player at all. Once a player’s flag is removed, they are considered down and the play is over.
For full-contact football, safety equipment is required. Football players must wear a helmet with face mask, as well as pads over the shoulders, chest and midsection, hips, thighs and knees. In flag football, there is less contact on the field, so helmets and shoulder pads are not permitted. Instead, each player wears two brightly colored flags.

Caffeine & Breast Lumps

Many women are affected by benign, or non-cancerous, breast cysts. There are many factors that can contribute to this problem, including age, hormones and certain dietary factors, such as caffeine use. Women should be aware of the symptoms of benign breast lumps and know how to distinguish them from lumps that need to be more carefully evaluated by a doctor.
Although caffeine does not directly cause benign breast lumps, large amounts of it can cause hormone levels to fluctuate, which can be a cause of breast cysts and pain. Although the benign fibroid cysts that are linked to caffeine use are non-cancerous, they can be very uncomfortable, as well as causing worry for a woman suffering from them.
About 30 percent of women in America have fibrocystic breast disease, as reported by Healthy.net. The characteristics of this benign condition are round lumps with well defined edges that move freely within the breast. These lumps are often tender when touched. Symptoms are often worse right before menstruation and ease once the woman¡¯s period has begun. It is especially common in women who are in their later 30s and 40s.
In addition to cutting down on caffeine from coffee, teas, soft drinks and chocolate, other actions that can be taken to reduce or prevent breast cysts are to eat a high fiber diet and consume more seafood. Certain vitamins and minerals might also help, such as Vitamin A, Vitamin E and iodine.
Studies on the link between benign breast lumps and caffeine have shown mixed results. However, Medline Plus advises avoiding excessive caffeine use and lowering fat intake in order to avoid fibrocystic changes within the breast.
When in doubt about a breast lump, it¡¯s always best to consult a doctor. Although 80-85 percent of all breast lumps in women, particularly those under 40, turn out to be benign, it¡¯s better to use caution. Most women should have mammograms regularly after age 40. In general mammograms will be recommended every year or two. Those with a family history of breast cancer or who are concerned should ask their doctor for specific recommendations. Women should also perform monthly self exams to assess any changes in breasts. Certain symptoms should always warrant a visit to the doctor as soon as possible, such as unexplained weight loss, armpit lumps, nipple discharge and arm swelling. Changes in the nipple and painless lumps that have irregular borders should also be checked out further.

Exercise Plans for Softball Players

Softball workout programs need to be specific to the sport and concentrate on the movements and muscle groups that are utilized when playing the game. Players need to have speed and agility. It is particularly important to develop arm strength as well as core strength needed to transfer energy from the legs and hips to the bat and to improve throwing motion. A plan that includes cardio, weight training, sprint drills as well as agility drills will be most beneficial. A comprehensive approach to nutrition and injury prevention is also significant.
Endurance workouts three times per week in the preseason and twice per week during the season will build endurance and stamina. One 30-minute bike workout each week will help reduce running-related injuries. Fast cycling bursts of 100 to 120 rpm that last two to three minutes and are each followed by an equal length of cycling at an easy 60 to 80 rpm will build endurance and stamina as well as leg turnover. Eight to 10 sprints between home base and the outfield fence with walk-back recoveries will also build endurance and stamina. Three sets of high knee drills for 20 seconds per set will improve running form.
Two speed workouts per week during the preseason and once per week during the season will improve overall speed and increase offensive and defensive opportunities. Workouts should be done at very fast speeds with longer recoveries. Do eight to 10 sprints between home base to first base. Concentrate on staying low and pushing off with the feet to accelerate. Walk back for full recovery. Increase the distance once every other week and then sprint from home base to second base. Build quickness with eight to 10 angled sprints from the pitcher¡¯s mound to either first or third base. Start facing home base and, on a whistle, sprint to left or right at an angle.
The National Strength and Conditioning Association advocates that it is important to build core strength through sport-specific training. Exercises to build strength in the hips and abdomen include crunches, planks, bridges, v-ups, lateral oblique raises and hanging leg raises. Sport-specific core work includes swinging weighted bats and working on proper hitting technique three days per week.
Strengthening the arms and shoulders will increase arm speed and improve throwing velocity and bat speed. Strengthening these areas also helps reduce the risk of injury. Warm-up and stretch the shoulders and arms before and after practice. Two lifting sessions after core work will be beneficial. Three sets of eight to 10 reps of dumbbell presses, incline bench presses and upright rows with enough weight to cause slight fatigue by end of each set will accomplish this goal. End with pull-ups to failure at the end each lifting session.
Improving your softball skills involves more than being an accurate thrower or being able to hit a curve ball or a slider. Becoming a great athlete requires a lifestyle commitment to healthy living and nutrition. A balanced diet will fuel the body and aid muscle recovery. A commitment to properly warming up and stretching each day will also be vital in your quest to improve. Give yourself at least one day to recover after games before exercising to help reduce risk of injury.

Can You Wear Eyeglasses Playing Football?

More than 90 percent of the 40,000 sports-related eye injuries per year are preventable, according to FamilyDoctor.org. High-vision-risk sports are those played with a stick, racket, ball, bat or puck, and football is high risk because games involve bodily contact as well as a ball. If you normally wear glasses, you can wear glasses when you play sports, but you will need to make some modifications to stay safe.
Most sports-related eye injuries occur in people under 30, and most commonly in children. Three types of sports-related trauma to the eye, as reported by the University of Illinois Department of Ophthalmology, are blunt injuries, penetrating injuries and abrasions to the cornea. Eye injuries range from irritating to painful to potentially blinding. Fingernail scratches to the eye are common and don’t normally require treatment. Bleeding in the eye, called hyphema, often caused by the blunt trauma of an elbow or ball, requires a visit to the ophthalmologist. Potentially devastating injuries may occur when shards of broken eyeglasses penetrate the eye, and the UIC Department of Ophthalmology considers this type of injury to be an emergency warranting immediate treatment.
Protective gear worn during football is a must, but don’t stop at a helmet and pads. KidsHealth.org recommends the following additional safety equipment: proper shoes, a mouth guard, an athletic supporter for males and — if you wear glasses — shatterproof glass or plastic lenses. Do not wear regular eyeglasses on the field.
Many major league athletes now wear eye protection, says All About Vision. Some fitness clubs and athletic facilities even require eye protection. Proper sports eyewear, whether prescription or nonprescription, reduces the risk of injury to the eye and enhances vision, allowing the player to see better. If you want to play football, the best lens is made of polycarbonate, which is resistant to impact and has ultraviolet protection built in. Scratch-resistant coating prevents damage to the lenses and increases durability. Choose sports frames designed to fit inside the football helmet, and ensure the frames are made of impact-resistant polycarbonate or plastic. Good football frames also contain rubber padding where the frames contact the wearer’s nose and head. Avoid the temptation to buy frames that are too big, thinking that children will grow into them because frames do not protect as well if they don’t fit. Frames that a child has outgrown may also interfere with peripheral vision, increasing the risk of injury.
Some people who have trouble wearing contact lenses for long periods are able to wear them during sporting events only. Choosing contact lenses that are disposable and then throwing them away after the game, says All About Vision, is one option for those who don’t want the hassle of cleaning and storing contacts. If contact lenses are an option, you should still consider wearing nonprescription protective eyewear while playing football because the contacts do not protect against traumatic eye injuries or UV rays from the sun.

Salaries for the Top Women’s Basketball Coaches

Women’s basketball has come close to breaking through the glass ceiling and becoming a mainstream sport. While the sport does not yet have the drawing power of men’s basketball, women basketball players compete at a high level and are led by highly skilled coaches who have mastered recruiting, gameplanning and motivational tactics. The top coaches in the game are among the highest paid coaches in the sport.
Pat Summitt of Tennessee is the highest paid women’s basketball coach. Her annual compensation is $1.125 million per year in base salary. She has been the head coach of the Tennessee Lady Vols since the 1974 season. In addition to her longevity, Summitt is widely regarded as one of the top teachers and motivators in the sport. Her Lady Vols have won eight NCAA championships and 16 Southeastern Conference titles.
Geno Auriemma of Connecticut has built one of the dominant programs in women’s college basketball and is the only coach who can compare with Pat Summitt in terms of accomplishment. Auriemma earns $988,000 per year in base salary, and incentives put his pay well over the $1 million mark. Auriemma’s UConn Lady Huskies have won seven national championships and completed a record 90-game winning streak from 2008 through 2010.
Sherri Coale of Oklahoma also ranks with the highest paid coaches in women’s basketball. Receiving a base salary of $550,000, additional bonuses and incentives could earn her more than $700,000. Coale has been the head coach of the Lady Sooners since the 1996-97 season and has built a consistent winner. Her team has been to the NCAA tournament for 11 consecutive seasons heading into 2010-11.
Robin Pingeton of Missouri joined the Tigers prior to the start of the 2010-11 season after a successful run at Illinois State in the Missouri Valley Conference. Pingeton has a base salary of $300,000 and incentives could push her salary up to $600,000 per year. Pingeton began her head coaching career with an eight-year run at St. Ambrose University. After three years as an assistant at Iowa State, she led Illinois State for seven years before getting her opportunity with the Lady Tigers.

How to Eat Ice Cream While Bulking

Some bodybuilders achieve muscle growth by bulking — increasing weight and presumably — muscle by overeating. They then “cut” when going into the competition season by prioritizing fat loss and maintaining any muscle the bulking helped them build. These athletes eat for calories — not necessarily nutrition — and ice cream is often included because of its calorie density. While a muscle-building phase in a bodybuilder’s cycling is important, ideally, it includes mostly whole foods rather than foods high in sugar and saturated fats. Ice cream may be an occasional treat that adds calories, but generally opt for healthier more foods often to add extra calories and protein.
Gaining muscle requires a surplus of calories. You can’t build tissue without adequate fuel. Bodybuilders sometimes take this advice to the extreme and add thousands of calories, along with heavy workouts, to build mass. In reality, your body can only build — at most — 1/2 pound of muscle per week. To gain a half-pound weekly, you should add about 250 calories to the number you need to maintain your weight, and follow a strength-training routine targeted for muscle gain. Some people are “hard gainers” with a high metabolism and may need as many as 500 calories more per day to encourage muscle gain. Eating 1,000 or more additional calories per day, the equivalent number of calories in 2 cups of premium ice cream, only encourages an increase in body fat. If you gain more than 3 pounds per month, it’s likely that some of that is fat — not valuable muscle. Too much fat makes it that much harder to “cut” for competition and puts you at greater risk for certain chronic conditions, including heart disease. An occasional 1/2- to 1-cup serving of ice cream could be used to boost calorie intake, but it’s an exception, not the norm.
To boost muscle growth, it’s best to add calories by increasing the amount of protein you eat. Protein is a better fuel for muscle synthesis — the process that yields muscle growth — than fat is, which makes up the bulk of the calories in ice cream. Aim for between 0.6 and 0.7 grams of protein per day to boost muscle growth. This means for a 180-pound person, you’d want 108 to 126 grams of protein per day. A 1/2 cup serving of ice cream offers 266 calories with about 3.7 grams of protein and 17 grams of fat, 11 grams of which are saturated. You’ll get more nutrients and less sugar if you increase your calorie intake by adding a cup of shredded, roasted chicken meat. You’ll get 35 grams of protein in 244 calories, with 9 grams of fat, only 3 of which are saturated. A cup of low-fat cottage cheese offers 183 calories, with 24 grams of protein and 5 grams of fat, with only 3 of those grams saturated fat. Two eggs provide almost 160 calories with 10 grams of fat — 3 grams of which are saturated — and more than 12 grams of protein. Even a cup of cooked, long-grain, brown rice has 5 grams of protein in 214 calories; the rice doesn’t contain all the amino acids you need for optimal muscle synthesis, however. Mix this with 1/2 to 1 cup of black beans to get the additional amino acids to make it complete. If you’re craving a frozen treat, try making your own frozen fruit pops from Greek yogurt and pureed fruit as a higher protein alternative to ice cream. A 3-ounce portion of Greek yogurt contains 9 grams of protein. Even if you want to add fat to boost your calorie intake, you’re better off getting it from healthy, and mostly unsaturated sources such as olive oil or avocado. For example, a cup of pureed avocado contains 384 calories and 45 grams of fat, with only 5 of the 45 grams being saturated fat.
Some bodybuilders force-feed themselves certain foods, such as ice cream, to gain a lot of weight fast, but much of this is fat weight. They then have to drastically reduce calories and must exercise extraordinarily hard to lose the extra fat. The process by which you lose fat — creating a calorie deficit — is not conducive to muscle growth. You may actually lose muscle during this process, which is contrary to a bodybuilder’s goals. Eat 1/2 to 1 cup of ice cream as an occasional treat when adding calories to build muscle, but don’t go much over the daily 250- to 500-calorie surplus goal, or you’ll likely put on a lot of fat that you’ll need to drop once competition season approaches. If you want to add fat to boost your calorie intake, you’re better off getting it from healthy, mostly unsaturated sources such as olive oil or avocado. For example, a cup of pureed avocado contains 384 calories and 45 grams of fat, but only 5 grams of the 45 are saturated.
Bulking without strength training will cause you to gain mostly fat, and almost no muscle. A program that addresses every major muscle group, usually with compound exercises, such as squats, dead lifts, presses and pulls, is required for major muscle growth. Use weights that feel heavy, in four to eight repetitions and do as many as three to six total sets. Multiple exercises for each muscle group — even those that are challenging for you — may be required for the results you desire. A pre- and post-workout meal may help boost your results. Ice cream pre-lift isn’t advisable, but you could include it as a way to boost calories and improve the taste of a post-exercise shake. Blend a 1/2-cup size scoop of ice cream with low-fat milk, berries and protein powder to have within 30 minutes of your session. Account for this extra 266 calories when computing your total intake for the day.

How to Learn Kung Fu at Home

When it comes to the practice and perfection of a martial art, few things can entirely replace the intensive education of a live instructor. However, thanks to internet videos, martial arts books, and other resources, learning and training kung fu at home has never been easier. Whether you are an aspiring practitioner seeking to learn traditional kung fu on a budget, or simply want to tone your body and increase your knowledge of self-defense, a comprehensive approach to learning kung fu can have you perfecting strikes and forms in no time.
Create a schedule for your weekly practice sessions, allotting at least one hour per training session, at least one day each week. Commit yourself to your practice as much as you can in order to maintain discipline and regular training.
Designate an open space for learning and practicing your kung fu instruction. Connect your computer in a safe area where you have clear visibility of the screen. Place or suspend the punching or kicking bag in an area where you can clearly strike it.
Begin each session by stretching and warming up your body. Create a routine of basic leg, arm and spine stretches followed by sets of push-ups, sit-ups and leg exercises. Spend at least one minute in the horse stance, which is performed by placing your feet three to four feet apart and bending your knees to squat down.
Purchase or download a beginning kung fu instruction video such as David Carradine¡¯s ¡°An Introduction for Beginners to Kung Fu and Tai Chi¡± or the numerous free videos available on YouTube. Accessing the video instruction on your laptop or portable computer will allow you to practice strikes, blocks and stances along with the video instructor–and you can pause or rewind when necessary. Devote at least 30 minutes of your training session to learning new forms from the instructional video; practice new strikes and stances on your punching bag.
Recruit a sparring partner to test your strikes and techniques as you progress. Perhaps the most educational part of home training, sparring will allow you to utilize live combat to make tangible the material you¡¯ve learned in theory. Communicate with your partner and establish safety measures, as well as offensive and defensive targets. Wear appropriate sparring gear, such as gloves and feet-protection, and practice caution when engaging in full-contact sparring.
Establish a routine and stick to it in order to facilitate training. Look into local tournaments in your kung fu ¡°style¡± and practice your techniques in live competition.