Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Need a reason to work out? Here are 7 to start.

What if someone told you that a thinner, healthier, and longer life was within your grasp? Sound too good to be true? According to a wealth of research, exercise is the silver bullet for a better quality of life.
Not only does regular exercise aid in weight loss, it reduces your risk for several chronic diseases and conditions. Finding activities that you enjoy and that become part of your daily routine is the key to a long and healthy life.
The list of health benefits is impressive, and the requirements are relatively simple -- just do it.
Ward Off Disease
Research has confirmed that any amount of exercise, at any age, is beneficial. And, in general, the more you do, the greater the benefits. The National Academy of Sciences has recommended that everyone strive for a total of an hour per day of physical activity. Sounds like a lot, but the hour can be made up of several shorter bursts of activity (it can be walking, gardening, even heavy housecleaning) done throughout the day.
Physical activity is an essential part of any weight-loss program, to maximize your fat loss while keeping valuable muscle mass. But exercise has many other health and longevity benefits. It can help prevent or improve these conditions:
1. Heart Disease. Regular activity strengthens your heart muscle; lowers blood pressure; increases "good" cholesterol (high-density lipoproteins or HDLs) and lowers "bad" cholesterol (low-density lipoproteins or LDLs); enhances blood flow; and helps your heart function more efficiently. All of these benefits reduce the risk of stroke, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
Researchers at Duke University suggest that the amount of physical activity, rather than its intensity, has the biggest impact on improving blood lipids (cholesterol). According to The New England Journal of Medicine, these researchers also found that any exercise is better than none -- although more is better.
2. Stroke. In an analysis of 23 studies, researchers found that being active reduces your risk of having and dying from a stroke. According to a study published in the journal Stroke, moderately active study participants had 20% less risk of stroke than less active participants.
3. Type II Diabetes. This disease is increasing at alarming rates -- by 62% since 1990 -- and 17 million Americans now have it. Physical activity can enhance weight loss and help prevent and/or control this condition. Losing weight can increase insulin sensitivity, improve blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and reduce blood pressure -- all of which are very important to the health of people with diabetes.
In a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, Frank Hu, MD, of the Harvard School of Public Health found that a brisk walk for one hour daily could reduce the risk of type II diabetes by 34%.
4. Obesity. Overweight and obese conditions can be prevented or treated with exercise along with a healthy diet. Activity helps to reduce body fat and increase muscle mass, thus improving your body's ability to burn calories. The combination of reduced calories and daily exercise is the ticket to weight loss. And controlling obesity is critical, as it is a major risk factor for many diseases. Lowering your body mass index (BMI) is a sure way to reduce your risk of dying early and to live a healthier life.
5. Back Pain. Back pain can be managed or prevented with a fitness program that includes muscle strengthening and flexibility. Having good posture and a strong abdomen is the body's best defense against back pain.
6. Osteoporosis. Weight-bearing exercise (such as walking, jogging, stair climbing, dancing, or lifting weights) strengthens bone formation and helps prevent the osteoporosis or bone loss often seen in women after menopause. Combine a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D with regular weight-bearing exercise for maximum results.
According to The Journal of the American Medical Association, data from the Nurses' Health Study showed that women who walked four or more hours per week had 41% fewer hip fractures than those who walked less than an hour a week.
7. Psychological Benefits. Improved self-esteem is one of the top benefits of regular physical activity. While exercising, your body releases chemicals called endorphins that can improve your mood and the way you feel about yourself. The feeling that follows a run or workout is often described as "euphoric" and is accompanied by an energizing outlook. Exercise can help you cope with stress and ward off depression and anxiety.
And these are just a few of the ways exercise improves your health. Studies have suggested it can also help with certain types of cancer, improve immune function, and more.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Fitness for Kids Who Don't Like Sports   
Publication: Kidshealth.orgReviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: February 2012
Team sports can boost kids' self-esteem coordination, and general fitness, and help them learn how to work with other kids and adults.
But some kids aren't natural athletes and they may tell you — directly or indirectly — that they just don't like sports. What then?
Why Some Kids Don't Like Teams
Not every child has to join a team, and with enough other activities, kids can be fit without them. But try to find out why your child isn't interested. You might be able to help address deeper concerns or steer your child toward something else.
Tell your child that you'd like to work on a solution together. This might mean making changes and sticking with the team sport or finding a new activity to try.
Here are some reasons why sports might be a turnoff for kids:
Still Developing Basic Skills
Though many sports programs are available for preschoolers, it's not until about age 6 or 7 that most kids have the physical skills, the attention span, and the ability to grasp the rules needed to play organized sports.
Kids who haven't had much practice in a specific sport might need time to reliably perform necessary skills such as kicking a soccer ball on the run or hitting a baseball thrown from the pitcher's mound. Trying and failing, especially in a game situation, might frustrate them or make them nervous.
What you can do: Practice with your child at home. Whether it's shooting baskets, playing catch, or going for a jog together, you'll give your child an opportunity to build skills and fitness in a safe environment. Your child can try — and, possibly, fail — new things without the self-consciousness of being around peers. And you're also getting a good dose of quality together time.
Coach or League Is Too Competitive
A kid who's already a reluctant athlete might feel extra-nervous when the coach barks out orders or the league focuses heavily on winning.
What you can do: Investigate sports programs before signing your child up for one. Talk with coaches and other parents about the philosophy. Some athletic associations, like the YMCA, have noncompetitive leagues. In some programs, they don't even keep score.
As kids get older, they can handle more competitive aspects such as keeping score and keeping track of wins and losses for the season. Some kids may be motivated by competitive play, but most aren't ready for the increased pressure until they're 11 or 12 years old. Remember that even in more competitive leagues, the atmosphere should remain positive and supportive for all the participants
Stage Fright
Kids who aren't natural athletes or are a little shy might be uncomfortable with the pressure of being on a team. More self-conscious kids also might worry about letting their parents, coaches, or teammates down. This is especially true if a child is still working on basic skills and if the league is very competitive.
What you can do: Keep your expectations realistic — most kids don't become Olympic medalists or get sports scholarships. Let your child know the goal is to be fit and have fun. If the coach or league doesn't agree, it's probably time to look for something new.
Still Shopping for a Sport
Some kids haven't found the right sport. Maybe a child who doesn't have the hand-eye coordination for baseball has the drive and the build to be a swimmer, a runner, or a cyclist. The idea of an individual sport also can be more appealing to some kids who like to go it alone.
What you can do: Be open to your child's interests in other sports or activities. That can be tough if, for instance, you just loved basketball and wanted to continue the legacy. But by exploring other options, you give your child a chance to get invested in something he or she truly enjoys.
Other Barriers
Different kids mature at different rates, so expect a wide range of heights, weights, and athletic abilities among kids of the same age group. A child who's much bigger or smaller than other kids of the same age — or less coordinated or not as strong — may feel self-conscious and uncomfortable competing with them.
Kids also might be afraid of getting injured or worried that they can't keep up. Kids who are overweight might be reluctant to participate in a sport, for example, while a child with asthma might feel more comfortable with sports that require short outputs of energy, like baseball, football, gymnastics, golf, and shorter track and field events.
What you can do: Give some honest thought to your child's strengths, abilities, and temperament, and find an activity that might be a good match. Some kids are afraid of the ball, so they don't like softball or volleyball but may enjoy an activity like running. If your child is overweight, he or she might lack the endurance to run, but might enjoy a sport like swimming. A child who's too small for the basketball team may enjoy gymnastics or wrestling.
Remember that some kids will prefer sports that focus on individual performance rather than teamwork. The goal is to prevent your child from feeling frustrated, wanting to quit, and being turned off from sports and physical activity altogether.
Try to address your child's concerns. By being understanding and providing a supportive environment, you'll help foster success in whatever activity your child chooses
Fitness Outside of Team Sports
Even kids who once said they hated sports might learn to like team sports as their skills improve or they find the right sport or a league. But even if team sports never thrill your child, there's plenty a kid can do to get the recommended 60 minutes or more of physical activity each day.
Free play can be very important for kids who don't play a team sport. What's free play? It's the activity kids get when they're left to their own devices, like shooting hoops, riding bikes, playing whiffleball, playing tag, jumping rope, or dancing.
Kids might also enjoy individual sports or other organized activities that can boost fitness, such as: 
  •          swimming
  •          horseback riding
  •          dance classes
  •          inline skating
  •          cycling
  •          cheerleading
  •          skateboarding
  •          hiking
  •          golf
  •          tennis
  •          fencing
  •          gymnastics
  •          martial arts
  •          yoga and other fitness classes
  •          Ultimate Frisbee
  •          running
Supporting Your Kid's Choices
Even if the going's tough, work with your child to find something active that he or she likes. Try to remain open-minded. Maybe your child is interested in an activity that is not offered at school. If your daughter wants to try flag football or ice hockey, for example, help her find a local league or talk to school officials about starting up a new team.
You'll need to be patient if your child has difficulty choosing and sticking to an activity. It often takes several tries before kids find one that feels like the right fit. But when something clicks, you'll be glad you invested the time and effort. For your child, it's one big step toward developing active habits that can last a lifetime.

Monday, June 25, 2012

But I Don't Want To! Secrets to Self-Motivation

by Kate Luther
Published: 07/12/12
When I sat down to write this piece, I thought the “slant” was pretty obvious. There are, after all, only a few things that truly motivate us to move in one direction or another: fear, money, love, and hate.

The key to self-motivating, then, is to find a way to apply those triggers on a day-to-day basis, thereby “tricking” ourselves into getting things done. Unfortunately, this kind of self-manipulation will only produce limited results because when you get right down to it, you’re either motivated to do something or you’re not. Some of us thrive on setting goals and then seeing what we can accomplish, while others don’t feel that thrill at all. Maybe you just haven’t found your passion yet, or maybe there’s not enough fear or money to get you moving. Whatever it is, the “fire” has yet to be lit, and only you can be the one to answer why.

That’s when I realized that my original slant for this article isn’t really the slant you need. I mean, we all know how to bite the bullet and get something done when we have to. But what about when those powerful prompts simply don’t exist? Or worse, what happens when you have to overcome those motivators in order to move in a different and conceivably better direction?

Truth be told, it’s much easier to motivate us to fail or settle than it is to motivate us to succeed. We’ll stay in unsatisfying jobs, for example, because we need the money and we have bills that must be paid. We’ll stay in equally unsatisfying relationships, too, because we’re simply too afraid to leave and venture out on our own.

As a result, much of what we don’t accomplish isn’t because we’re not motivated; it’s because we’re being motivated in a different direction Therein lies the real question — how can you overcome those traditional motivators to steer your life down a better path?
Well, in true Wise Bread fashion, I’ve come up with a short list of hacks to help you get out of your own way. Here they are, in no particular order.

Eat That Frog

This is something that I picked up from Simple Truths, and it’s become my mantra for getting things done. Eat that frog simply means to tackle the worst job first (eating the frog), and then the rest of the day is, well, cake.

For my daughter, that means doing her math homework. For me, it means cleaning out my office. But once we’ve done those horrible, distasteful jobs, everything else on our to-do list looks much more appealing.

For this philosophy to work, you have to be willing to rip off the band aid and jump in. You know that it’s going to sting a little, but you also know that the pain is temporary, and once it’s done, it’s done. The same is true with those things in life that we don’t want to do. Maybe they’re painful and unpleasant, but if we can just plow through them, we’ll ultimately be glad we did. And everything else that follows will seem simple in comparison to choking down that frog.

Face Your FEAR

I’ve seen a number of different acronyms for the word FEAR over the years, but there are a few that I think were created specifically with self-motivation in mind, and they work together seamlessly to hold you back and minimize your growth.

The first is Frantic Effort to Avoid Reality. Let’s face it — we’re creatures of habit. We don’t like change, and we’ll resist and struggle desperately to stay within our bubble, even when we might actually want or need whatever results the change might bring.
As part of our Frantic Effort, we Find Excuses And Reasons that we can’t do whatever it is we need to do. These excuses and reasons help us justify putting the thing off indefinitely, while we create False Expectations About Reality. This is where we really excel.

We have a knack for making mountains out of molehills, and then allowing those seemingly impossible set of circumstances to influence our decision on how to move forward. The truth is often much less dramatic than we make it out to be in our minds, but we’ll allow these False Expectations to keep us from something to the point that Failure (is) Expected And Received.

Now, what’s really interesting about this scenario is that when we do fail — or fail to try — we’ll say it was out of our hands. We knew this was going to happen and there was nothing we could do to avoid it.

The funny thing is though, our success never stood a chance against our FEAR, and we could have saved ourselves a great amount of worry and stress by just announcing to the world that we weren’t even going to attempt this particular step in our evolution.
But then, where’s the fun in that, right?

So before you work yourself into a frenzy, see if you can face your fear instead. What is it that you’re really afraid of? Are there truly absolutely awful things that could occur, or are you just setting up those False Expectations?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Family Tips for a Successful Summer
By Liza N. Burby, Better Homes and Gardens.
Originally published in Better Homes and Gardens magazine, May 2006.

Believe it or not, school's just about out. Hectic schedules heavy with homework and activities will soon yield to the more laid-back pace of summer.

So what's to stress about? Maybe plenty. "Children -- and parents -- often find transitions difficult, and the school-to-summersummer change removes many of the structures, routines, and expectations that children rely on," says Scott L. Barking, a psychologist in Brooklyn, New York, and father of three school-age children.

"Many parents go into summer with a wish and a hope, rather than a plan for what they want to accomplish," says Virginia Shiller, a psychologist in New Haven, Connecticut, and author of Rewards for Kids! (Magination Press). "The end result can be a chaotic household with whining children who complain they're bored, argue with each other, and just generally get in Mom's hair." Here are ways to help your family slip into summer with a minimum of mayhem.

Summer Plans As Shiller says, a successful summer is a well-planned one.

Let the kids have input when planning summer activities. Suggest outings such as picnic lunches and day-trips to the aquarium or museum to stoke your kids' imaginations, then ask them for their ideas.

Keep them apprised of camp dates, daycare, family trips, and other plans by giving them a detailed calendar. This helps them visualize what's ahead and how to prepare.

Set up regular play dates now before vacation schedules make it tough to reach friends, says Jen Singer of Kinnelon, New Jersey, creator of the Web site MommaSaid.net.

Routines All children benefit from clear expectations and some structure during the summer months, says Barking, CEO of the Block Institute, a nonprofit agency that serves developmentally delayed children and adults.

Children need adequate sleep year-round for their development. Have set wake-up and bed times.

Maintain regular meals too. Poor summer habits such as skipping breakfast or excessive snacking will come back to haunt your kids next school year.

Establish daily routines, such as family game time after chores or morning walks for the dog.

But don't overschedule. Children need downtime to explore, create, and relax.

Feed the Brain Many children experience academic slippage during the summer, which can make it difficult for them to get back on track when school starts again, says Stacy DeBroff of Newton, Massachusetts, author of The Mom Book Goes to School: Insider Tips to Ensure Your Child Thrives in Elementary and Middle School (Free Press). Fight academic amnesia by keeping kids intellectually engaged throughout summer.

Set aside a regular reading routine. Many libraries offer children's reading clubs with a theme, such as detective books or science fiction.

Keep your children physically active by limiting video game, computer, and TV time. Take family bicycle rides or walks, play hopscotch, or shoot hoops.

Maintain kids' writing skills by encouraging them to keep a journal of their summer experiences. "Above all, have fun together," says Barking. "All too soon it will be back-to-school time."

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Many Benefits of Pilates Exercise
A Top 10 List of Great Reasons to Do Pilates

Excerpt pulled from following source:
Marguerite Ogle, About.com Guide
Updated February 16, 2012
About.com Health's Disease and Condition content is reviewed by our Medical Review Board
1. Pilates is Whole-Body Fitness
Unlike some forms of exercise, Pilates does not over-develop some parts of the body and neglect others. While Pilates training focuses on core strength, it trains the body as an integrated whole.
2. Adaptable to Many Fitness Levels and Needs
Whether you are a senior just starting to exercise, an elite athlete or somewhere in between, the foundations of Pilates movement apply to you. Building from core strength, focusing on proper alignment, and a body/mind integrative approach make Pilates accessible to all.

3. Creates Strength Without Bulk
Long, lean muscles are the name of the game here. In Pilates, we are not looking to build muscles for show. We are building toned muscles that work perfectly within the context of the body as a whole, and the functional fitness needs of a person as they move through life.

4. Increases Flexibility
In Pilates, we work toward a safe increase in length and stretch of the muscles and range of motion within the joints. You won't find quite as much "pretzel logic" in Pilates as you might in yoga, but a body that can stretch and bend to meet the flow of life is a very realistic goal.
5. Develops Core Strength
The core muscles of the body are the deep muscles of the back, abdomen, and pelvic floor. These are the muscles we rely on to support a strong, supple back, good posture, and efficient movement patterns. When the core is strong, the frame of the body is supported.
6. Improves Posture
Good posture is a reflection good alignment supported by a strong core. It is a position from which one can move freely. Starting with Pilates movement fundamentals and moving through mat and equipment exercises, Pilates trains the body to express itself with strength and harmony. You can see this in the beautiful posture of those who practice Pilates.
7. Increases Energy
It might seem like a paradox, but the more you exercise, the more energy you have and the more you feel like doing (to a point, of course). Pilates gets the breath and circulation moving, stimulates the spine and muscles, and floods the body with the good feelings one gets from exercising the whole body.

8. Promotes Weight Loss and Long, Lean Appearance
If you practice Pilates regularly, it will change your body. Known for creating long, strong muscles and a leaner look; Pilates improves muscle tone, balances musculature, supports beautiful posture, and teaches you to move with ease and grace.
9. Increases Awareness - Body/Mind Connection
Joseph Pilates was adamant that Pilates, or contrology as he called it, was about "the complete coordination of body, mind, and spirit." This is one of the secrets of Pilates exercise: we practice each movement with total attention. When we exercise in this way, the body and mind unite to bring forth the most benefit possible from each exercise. The Pilates principles -- centering, concentration, control, precision, breath, and flow -- are key concepts that we use to integrate body and mind.
10. There are Many Ways to Learn Pilates
Pilates instruction is easy to come by these days. The ever-growing popularity of Pilates has put it on the map all over the world. This is good because when you start Pilates training, it is important to start with live Pilates instruction at a studio or gym, and preferably from a certified instructor.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Fitness and Your 2- to 3- Year Old

What Kids Can Do

It's important to understand what kids can do and what skills are appropriate for this age. By age 2, toddlers should be able to walk and run well. They may be able to kick a ball and jump in place with both feet. By age 3, toddlers typically are able to balance briefly on one foot, kick a ball forward, throw a ball overhand, catch a ball with stiff arms, and pedal a tricycle.
Keep these skills in mind when encouraging your child to be active. Play games together and provide age-appropriate active toys, such as balls, push and pull toys, and riding vehicles. Through practice, your child will continue to improve and refine his or her motor skills.
Mommy-and-me programs can introduce toddlers to tumbling, dance, and general movement. But you don't have to enroll kids in a formal program to foster these skills. The most important thing is to provide lots of opportunities to be active in a safe environment.

Family Fitness Tips

Kids who like to engage in active play now are likely to stay active and be physically fit in the future. Walking, playing, exploring your backyard or using playground equipment at a local park can be fun for the entire family.
Also, these games provide fun and fitness for parents and toddlers:
  • Walk like a penguin, hop like a frog, or imitate other animals' movements.
  • Sit facing each other and hold hands. Rock back and forth and sing the song "Row, row, row your boat."
  • Bend at the waist and touch the ground. Walk your hands forward and inch along like a caterpillar.
  • Sit on the ground and let your child step over your legs, or make a bridge with your body and let your child crawl under.
  • Play follow the leader, "Ring around the rosy," and other similar games.
  • Listen to music and dance together.
The possibilities are endless — come up with your own active ideas or follow your child's lead. Also, limit the amount of time your child spends watching TV (including DVDs and videos) or playing on a computer.

Reviewed by:
Mary L. Gavin, MD
Medical Editor, KidsHealth
Nemours Center for Children's Health Media
Division of General Pediatrics
Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children
Wilmington, DE

Friday, April 13, 2012

Tips for Eating Healthy When Eating out
Resource: United States Department of Agriculture/ChooseMyPlate.Gov
  • As a beverage choice, ask for water or order fat-free or low-fat milk, unsweetened tea, or other drinks without added sugars.
  • Ask for whole-wheat bread for sandwiches.
  • In a restaurant, start your meal with a salad packed with veggies, to help control hunger and feel satisfied sooner.
  • Ask for salad dressing to be served on the side. Then use only as much as you want.
  • Choose main dishes that include vegetables, such as stir fries, kebobs, or pasta with a tomato sauce.
  • Order steamed, grilled, or broiled dishes instead of those that are fried or sautéed.
  • Choose a small" or "medium" portion. This includes main dishes, side dishes, and beverages.
  • Order an item from the menu instead heading for the "all-you-can-eat" buffet.
  • If main portions at a restaurant are larger than you want, try one of these strategies to keep from overeating:
    • Order an appetizer-sized portion or a side dish instead of an entrée.
    • Share a main dish with a friend.
    • If you can chill the extra food right away, take leftovers home in a "doggy bag."
    • When your food is delivered, set aside or pack half of it to go immediately.
    • Resign from the "clean your plate club" - when you've eaten enough, leave the rest.
  • To keep your meal moderate in calories, fat, and sugars:
    • Ask for salad dressing to be served "on the side" so you can add only as much as you want.
    • Order foods that do not have creamy sauces or gravies
    • Add little or no butter to your food.
    • Choose fruits for dessert most often.
  • On long commutes or shopping trips, pack some fresh fruit, cut-up vegetables, low-fat string cheese sticks, or a handful of unsalted nuts to help you avoid stopping for sweet or fatty snacks.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

5 Surprising Reasons You’re Not Losing Weight
Beat the weight loss plateau
By Denny Watkins
Health magazine
You’ve been walking the straight and narrow—counting calories, working out—and yet you’re not dropping pounds. What gives? The answer may be hiding out amid the random things you do over the course of an average day—those little habits that have seemingly no connection to weight loss, but may in fact be sabotaging your best get-fit efforts.

Ask yourself these questions, and if you answer yes to any of them, you may have found your personal diet defeaters. Outwit them and you’ll soon be back on track to a leaner, fitter you.
Do you always eat "healthy"?
A funny thing happens when you focus on making careful diet decisions. If you just "think" of your meal as a light choice, it can cause your brain to make more of the hormone ghrelin, reports a study from Yale University.

"More ghrelin makes you feel less full and signals your metabolism to slow down," says study author and PhD candidate Alia Crum. To keep your ghrelin balanced, focus on the more indulgent parts of your meal—say, the nuts and cheese on your salad, rather than the lettuce.

It also helps to pick foods that are both healthy and seem like a treat, like a warm bowl of soup with crusty whole-grain bread.
Do you pay with plastic?
Carrying cash may feel a little last century, but people who use a credit card when grocery shopping buy significantly more unhealthy, calorie-dense food than people who pay cash, according to a study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Junk-food buyers were perfectly aware of the extra calories and cost of those treats, but since they didn’t feel the immediate hit in the wallet, they gave in more easily to impulse buys, explains study co-author Kalpesh Desai, PhD, associate professor of marketing at Binghamton University.
Do you think about exercise a lot?
There’s a downside to that, says a new French study: Simply thinking about exercise can cause you to eat 50% more. Why? People assume that the upcoming workout gives them license to snack.

Avoid excessive munching with a pre-gym snack of no more than 150 calories, advises Keri Glassman, RD, author of The Snack Factor Diet. Try two slices of turkey with whole-grain crackers.
Are you laser-focused at work?
Sit for just a few hours and your body stops making a fat-inhibiting enzyme called lipase, researchers at the University of Missouri–Columbia found.

Stand and stretch every hour, and you’ll boost your metabolism by about 13%, says research published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Or, fidget all day (tap your feet or bounce in your chair) and increase calorie burn by 54%.
Do you sleep too little?
"Not enough shut-eye puts your body into a carb- and fat-craving survival mode," says Michael Breus, PhD, author of The Sleep Doctor’s Diet Plan. A study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that women who slept fewer than four hours ate 300 more calories and 21 more grams of fat the next day.

Try this to gauge your sleep needs: For a week, go to bed seven and a half hours before you need to get up. If you awaken before the alarm, you can get by with less sleep. But if you hit snooze, you may need eight, even nine, hours a night to wake up refreshed, recharged, and ready to burn some fat.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

15 Ideas for Family Fitness
Kids these days are spending too much time sitting still, and it’s becoming a major health risk. American children 8 years old and above spend an average of 6.5 hours a day engaging with media technologies including watching TV, using the computer and playing video games.1 Studies have shown that the more TV kids watch, the more likely they are to be overweight. 
Increasing physical activity improves cardiovascular fitness, helps prevent obesity, promotes a healthy lifestyle, boosts self-esteem and confidence, and reduces stress. You don’t need to have a lot of fancy equipment or a membership at a health club—there are many ways to make your family’s lifestyle more active.
To overcome resistance from reluctant youngsters, it helps to make the activity fun. For example, don’t just run with a young child—run like a penguin or hop like a kangaroo! Or have a destination like the park or zoo!

Here are 15 ideas for getting your family on the move:

1. Take active vacations (hiking, swimming, skiing).

2. At the mall or when running errands, use the stairs rather than the elevator. Get pedometers and have a contest to see who takes the most steps in a given week.
4. Start a new tradition: take the whole family out for an after-dinner walk around the neighborhood or park.

5. Take on active chores as a family (gardening, raking leaves, shoveling snow, or washing the car).

6. Spend an afternoon at the local playground.

7. Play a sport together (basketball, soccer, baseball, softball, touch football).

8. Dance to your favorite music.

9. Go for a family bike ride.

10. Plant a family garden.

11. Play miniature golf.

12. Go to the zoo.

13. Take the dog for a long walk.

14. Whenever possible, walk short distances rather than using your car. When you drive, park a little farther away from the store.

15. Play games that your kids love (tag, Simon Says, Red Light- Green Light, Duck-Duck Goos

www.pta.org (National PTA®)