In the home: Time to step up

By Carrie T. Brazeal

If you decided to be more active this year, good for you! Being physically active is an important aspect of getting and stay healthy.
You know the benefits of exercise: a healthier heart; increased endurance; healthy muscles, bones and joints; improved burning of calories; more energy; reduces stress; and improved ability to fall asleep and sleep well. These should motivate us to incorporate physical activity into our daily lives.
It doesn’t matter what type of physical activity you decide to do.
Just make sure that you are active at a moderate intensity to gain health benefits from aerobic activity. But what does it mean to be moderately intense? It means you need to get your heart rate up to a certain level called your target heart rate. There is a formula for determining your target heart rate but you have to stop your activity to take your heart rate. There are some other easier ways to help you decide if you are working at moderate intensity level.
Take the talk test. If you can easily talk while performing the activity, you are working at a light to moderate level. You may want to increase the rate of exercise slightly to make it more moderately intense. If you become out of breath quickly and find it very difficult to talk while performing the activity, you are probably working more vigorously. Slow it down slightly to be at moderate level of intensity. Remember, exercise does not have to be strenuous to be beneficial. The idea of “no pain, no gain” is not true. It may not be easy at first, but exercise should not be painful.
Take the sweat test. Regular, repetitive physical activity for 30 minutes at a moderate intensity level will probably induce sweating. Everyone is different. Some people sweat more and others less, but if you begin to work up a sweat, you are probably working at least at a moderate level intensity.
Consider a brisk walk. Walk at the level you would consider to be a “brisk walk.” Moderate activity is anything that makes you breathe as hard as you do during a brisk walk. A brisk walk at 4 miles per hour is considered a moderate intensity activity. For an extensive list of moderate-level activities, see
If you are just beginning to exercise, it is important to start slowly and pace yourself. People are all different shapes and sizes. They are also at many different fitness levels. It is important to work at a pace/intensity level where you are comfortable.
A recent study found that activity was considered more laborious and less pleasant among overweight adults when its intensity was prescribed at a level just 10 percent higher than what the individuals self-selected. Don’t impose an intensity level on your activity that makes the activity unenjoyable.
Select a pace that works for you; otherwise, you may find your enjoyment, motivation and adherence to exercise diminishing over time.

Good luck with your exercise program!

Carrie T. Brazeal is the County Extension Agent for Family and Consumer
Sciences with Texas AgriLife Extension Service. She may be reached at or 972.548.4233 or metro 972.424.1460, Ext. 4233.

Yablon’s view: Standing for Straus no way to pick a Speaker of the House

By Mark P. Yablon
The Republican Caucus earned an “F” for the final semester grade Monday, Jan. 10, 2011, in Austin. Based on its abysmal method of conducting the Texas Speaker’s race, many Republican leaders need to return to high school to learn civics and how to conduct a valid vote.
House Republican leaders acted more childish conducting the crucial business of selecting the Speaker than our kids do at a high school pep rally.

According to insiders, Republican House leadership asked those who supported incumbent Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, to stand instead of holding a secret ballot as we teach our children. Shouldn’t there have been a recorded, written ballot in such a highly-charged vote?
Even in high school, I recall using a recorded, private ballot for student council.

The public may never fully know the truth from this caucus vote. House leadership forbade all outsiders from observing. The whole process was unfortunate. Once the loyalist Straus faction stood on the called vote for only incumbent Straus, group think prevailed to the detriment of our shared values.
No vote was ever called for Rep. Ken Paxton, R-McKinney, or Rep. Warren Chisum, R-Pampa.

I don’t know Straus personally. It would be wrong to attack him personally because I disagree with him and believe most voters picked a conservative Texas Legislature, which Paxton would best lead.
Texans elected the largest freshman class of representatives (22) in about 50 years and elected the largest Republican majority (101) in more than 100 years, or more than two Republicans to one Democrat.

The 2010 election cycle was a clear and convincing victory for tea party activists, social conservatives, economic conservatives, patriots and red-blooded Americans. They are concerned citizens humbly and respectfully wanting to take back our political system and restore Constitutional law. Texans voted with a heart for “is it beneficial to all concerned,” as we say at Rotary each week.

Constitutional law is not Republican or Democrat

Rule of law infused by our Texas and U.S. Constitutions is not conservative or liberal. It just is.
Texans bestow upon elected officials the responsibility and duty to right wrongs, to protect hard-working citizens from all predators and to give us freedom to “pursue” happiness under constitutionally-mandated limited government to stay out of our lives except when needed under “limited” circumstances.
As stated earlier, many of our Republican representatives failed their first test in the 2011-12 Legislature. Let’s pray to God they immediately end this foolhardiness.
What to do?
*Vigilantly stand for our children’s’ and grand children’s benefit and all living Americans today.
*Easily move to the next crisis or more entertaining project.
*Don’t even try; takes too much effort with no guaranteed success.
*Don’t bother. Why risk being on the losing side. You can’t change “city hall.”
How will you hold our “citizen” legislators accountable for their actions or inactions? Will you support the good ones and encourage them even against the odds?
Congratulate Rep. Paxton for taking truly, bold principled action on behalf of the public at large at significant jeopardy to his own self-interest. His supporters state he is unlike most politicians in that respect.

Same is true of our respected friend Rep. Jodie Laubenberg, R-Parker, who tirelessly worked to elect Paxton for Speaker at her own peril.
Seasoned politicos, bureaucrats and lobbyists are watching us, too, with earnestness (and skepticism). They postulate that conservatives are temporarily excited and advise, “Wait them out or give them a bone, and they’ll go away as always.”
They will give us more — or less — taxes, personal freedoms, liberties, protecting the vulnerable, bringing sanity to our civil and criminal legal systems and so on.
Warning: “Say what you mean, and do what you say!”
Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2011—when the entire Legislature formally voted for Speaker Straus — is a seminal moment in returning our government to its roots – the grass roots – of citizens. We are not going to accept politics as usual!
Too many Republicans pretend to be conservative during elections to receive the grass-roots support and hard work, but later vote for liberal leaders and laws and cut deals for their own self interest. These Rinos (Republican in name only) are becoming a rallying cry for long-time and new voters, alike. Many constituents are now proclaiming they will replace unreliable incumbents, especially those who misrepresented their true selves just to get elected.
Today’s conservative movement is primed to expand beyond anything former President Ronald Reagan, my political hero, would have envisioned.

It’s hard now to comprehend that Reagan lost to President Gerald Ford, the moderate incumbent, in the 1976 Republican primary.
Liberal Jimmy Carter creamed Ford in the general election.
Reagan returned stronger than ever to win the presidency in 1980 and 1984. Reagan still dominates political thought from the grave as the United States of America’s beloved conservative standard bearer.
Reagan said in his Jan. 25, 1974 speech The Shining City Upon a Hill: “The man who has nothing which he cares about more than his personal safety is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.”
What are you willing to do to end politics as usual and restore America’s greatness for your family’s future generations to enjoy?

Mark P. Yablon is an entrepreneur in Historic Downtown McKinney.

He leads (well, tries to) his four beautiful daughters in various community and church activities, including pro-American, pro-family and pro-business causes. He was a delegate to Republican State Conventions from his hometown in Harris County, as Baylor University student in McLennan County and in 2010 from adopted hometown in Collin County.

PICTURED BELOW: A White House photographer captured this picture of President Jimmy Carter using his paddle on a fishing trip. The rabbit, which had been swimming near his boat, attempted to hop on board the President’s fishing boat near Plains, Georgia, despite President Carter’s efforts to shoo it away with his paddle.

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