5 Tips for Staying Active With Kids and Family

I just found this on Healthy.com and had to share!

Read, take note and have loads of fun this weekend with your amazing kids!

If you’ve got kids, of course you want to make sure they grow up fit and healthy. But you also know it’s hard to juggle work, family, and physical activity. Still, setting a healthy example is a good start. So if you’re looking for ways to get your kids involved, check out these tips;

Plan outdoor activities

Set aside one day a weekend to do something active as a family: swimming in the summer, sledding or hiking in the winter, or biking in the spring and fall. Taking along a picnic lunch—and splurging on some healthy snacks after a good workout—will help the day go by without a complaint.

Take classes together

Ask around at fitness clubs and community centers in your area about yoga or aerobics classes offered to parents and kids together. If your little one is too young to participate, look for classes that help you burn calories with your baby by incorporating them into your yoga moves or pushing them along duringstroller workouts. No kids? Check outpartner yoga or even doga—yup, yoga for you and your dog.

Redo your family room

Too often, family rooms are the center of laziness in a home: a comfy couch, a video-game console, a shelf full of DVDs, and nothing to encourage fitness or physical activity. There are ways to add in subtle reminders, however, without overhauling your entire room or dragging in a giant piece of workout equipment. Set a time limit on weekly television viewing and incorporate these Skinny House essentials to keep your whole family moving.

Make chores fun

Instead of relegating each member of the family to doing separate chores by themselves, turn chores into a game you can all do together. Race to see how fast you can get the house cleaned, and then try to beat your old time the next week. Play music while you’re doing laundry, and enlist the kids to sing and dance while helping to fold and put clothes away. Take the dog for walks together, and squeeze in some running, roller-skating, or jump rope while you’re at it.

Make over your meal plan

This isn’t necessarily a fitness tip, but it’s also worth mentioning: Families that eat healthier also tend to have other healthy habits, such as regular physical activity. If you want to slim down after having a baby or just want to eat better overall, get your entire family involved and you’re more likely to succeed. Take kids to the farmers market, let them pick their own fruits and vegetables, and involve them in the food preparation. They’re much more likely to enjoy their meals—and to clean their plates.

Children’s Fitness Academy: Ditch the computer games and get moving!

According to research by the Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique (STAT). 8 out of 10 of parents say their children spend up to four hours a day playing games on hand held devices, games consoles and computers and are concerned about how it affects their health and wellbeing, especially poor posture, headaches, back problems and a lack of concentration, which is why International Alexander Awareness Week (8-14 October) will this year focus on children, encouraging and supporting their parents and teachers to help children and pupils be ‘Poised for Life’.

According to the STAT survey;

  • 85% of children (who are allowed to play games on such devices) spend up to four hours a day doing so. Yes FOUR hours!
  • 78% of parents are concerned about their child’s posture while playing such games. What child sits up straight when playing games? 
  • Parents are concerned that gaming and computer use affects their child’s wellbeing with lack of concentration (32.4%), back ache (30.9%), neck ache (26.2%) and head ache (31%) all highlighted.

Angela East, of STAT, says: “Bad habits can be formed from a very young age which later lead to posture, mobility and other health problems in later life. The Alexander Technique is a great tool – it teaches you how to use yourself correctly so that you benefit from less stress and back pain and improved posture and wellbeing.

“The key is to encourage good posture and sitting among our children and young people and the Alexander Technique helps prevent bad habits, such as hunching and slouching, from creeping in and affecting their health.”

One of my top tips for posture is getting your child to sit on a gym ball when playing games.   Without knowing they will be building strength in their core because of the instability of the ball. Automatically they will have to sit up straighter and use their core section to stablize themselves – otherwise they will fall off!

The balls come in all sorts of colours to make them more appealing to you child and all different sizes (choose a size that they can sit on comfortably with their feet firmly on the ground.) They aren’t expensive either – cheaper than a computer game anyway! 

 

Healthy Packed Lunches Tips for the New School Year

Step away from the usual fizzy drinks and boring sandwiches that you keep putting in your child’s packed lunch and take inspiration from the British Dietetic Association’s (BDA) infamous New School Year Resolution: Healthy Packed Lunches.

They have recently issued some quick and handy tips to create, not only healthy packed lunches, but packed lunches that are full of flavour and variety.

Rachel Cooke, British Dietetic Association Spokesperson and Bristol Healthy School Dietitian, said:

“What children eat at a young age has a massive impact on their eating habits for life, so it is essential we get the younger generation into choosing and enjoying healthy nutritious food.

“When putting together a packed lunch, it is so easy to go down the usual route of packets of salty savoury snacks crisps, bars of chocolate, fizzy drinks and the same old boring sandwich day after day.  Many adults wouldn’t accept eating the same things day in day out, so why should children?

“Packed lunches can be exciting and full of healthy options and variety.  They need to provide children with the energy
and sustenance they need to grow and develop healthily and help them to concentrate in the school class.”

The BDA Tips for a Healthy Packed Lunch:

Back to basics – bread, cereals and potatoes…
Try to keep a selection of breads in the freezer for sandwiches. Using a different type of bread each day can make
sandwiches more interesting. Try multigrain and seed rolls, bagels, baguettes, pitta breads, wraps…the list is endless! (Children have reported they like meat / cheese or fish etc and bread separate so it doesn’t go soggy)

You could also raid the fridge for leftovers – some foods taste just as good cold such as pizza or pasta. Cook extra pasta, couscous or rice. Mix it with cut-up vegetables, a few nuts flaked tuna or mackerel.

Filling the void – meat, fish and alternatives…
Try to include lean meat, chicken, fish, eggs, nuts, beans or pulses in your 
lunchbox like
* Tuna with cucumber, green pepper, sweetcorn or tomato
* 
Low fat hummus and cucumber
* Egg and cress
* Cottage cheese and dried apricots
* 
Cooked chicken or turkey, tomatoes, and
lettuce
* 
Peanut butter and banana (my fav!)
* 
Grated cheese and tomato
* Oily fish, such as salmon sandwich or mackerel pasta salad

Remember, if you are using a spread choose a reduced fat one – or do without it completely if you are using a moist filling.

Vegging out or Feeling fruity..?
It’s important to eat 5 (or more) portions of fruit and vegetables every day. You won’t be stuck for choice when it comes to lunchtime:

* fresh fruit e.g. apple, grapes, banana, kiwi fruit (children have also said they like different fruits every day and not
always the traditional choices e.g.. wedge of  melon / peeled orange / kiwi and spoon / pot of strawberries. Why not
surprise your child with a different fruit / veg choice every day of the week?)
* 
dried fruits, e.g. raisins, apricots
* chopped raw vegetables e.g. carrot sticks, cherry tomatoes or a mixed salad
* tinned fruit in natural juice – pop in a small container or buy small tins with a ring pull

Dairy delights…
Try to include some dairy products in your lunchbox – important to keep your teeth healthy and your bones strong (remember to look at sugar levels – 5g equals about one teaspoon):
* low fat yogurt – plain or fruit flavoured
* low fat fromage frais
* small pot of rice pudding or custard
* 
Milk / fruit-based milkshakes

 Tasty treats…
Fancy something sweet in your lunch-box? There’s nothing wrong with this. Just try and make healthier choices when you can:
* currant bun, scone or fruit loaf,
* plain popcorn
* cereal bar (remember to look at sugar levels)
* 
fun sized bar of chocolate

Put in a drink…
Choose from:
* 
Plain water (still or sparkling)
* Plain milk (skimmed or semi-skimmed) or plain yoghurt combined with fruit e.g. smoothies, pureed fruit with plain yoghurt
* Pure fruit juice in small cartons or in a small bottle
* Hot drinks in the winter, e.g. soups

Keep cool…
Use a cool bag and pop in an ice-pack or freeze a carton of juice and place in with food to keep cool
* 
Keep in the fridge until morning if you make it the night before
* Don’t store your lunch next to a radiator or in the sun

Children’s Fitness Academy: Two thirds of obese children show early signs of heart disease

I found the news that two out of every three severely obese children already have at least one health problem that increases the risk of heart disease very sad today. Heart disease isn”t for kids…its for the elderly who have lived their lives to the full and unfortunately been struck down by this awful illness.

Basically be the age of 12, the study found that the kids had high blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood glucose.

 

The figures could mean that thousands of British children are also affected after experts here warned children as young as seven were being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, which is linked to obesity.

Just over half of these 307 children were boys. They tended to be more severely obese at the younger end of the age spectrum; the reverse was true of girls. So what can we do?

Starting heart-healthy habits right now, that’s what! Don’t smoke, for one. And be sure to eat healthy, exercise, and maintain a healthy weight. Your heart and blood vessels will thank you later!

Most kids don’t need to be on diets……but here’s something kids can do to eat healthier and that’s learn the difference between GoSlow, and Whoa foods.

Go Foods

These are foods that are good to eat almost anytime. They are the healthiest ones, like all fruits, vegetables, low fat diary, lean protein and water

Slow Foods

These are sometimes foods. They aren’t off-limits, but they shouldn’t be eaten every day. At most, eat them several times a week, like oven-baked chips, bread, hamburgers, popcorn and fruit juice.

Whoa Foods

These foods should make you say exactly that — Whoa! Should I eat that? Whoa foods are the least healthy and the most likely to cause weight problems, especially if a person eats them all the time. That’s why Whoa foods are once-in-a-while foods like sweets, fried foods, cheese, donuts, hot dogs, fizzy drinks and creamy sauces.

You also need to avoid anything with Trans Fats in…..they clog up your heart, as your body can’t process them! This kind of oil is used in crackers and snack foods, but it’s been found to be very unhealthy for your heart and can be listed on packaging as either Trans fats or Hydrogenated oils.  YUK!

 

Children’s fitness Academy; How to put an end to Childhood obesity

Childhood obesity is a complex issue with no simple solutions, but involving the entire family in weight loss and health may help kids achieve their goals!

A scientific statement released Monday in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Assn. reviews strategies shown to be successful in helping kids slim down.

For example why not try changing the kitchen around to make more wholesome foods more accessible?  Some studies this to be helpful in losing weight in the short-term.
or
Set small, achievable goals that are age-appropriate that may get kids to stick to more healthful habits, like walk to school three times this week, or try a new vegetable EVERY DAY!

Other useful approaches include praising kids for what they’re doing right — instead of punishing them for what they’re doing wrong – give them 50p extra pocket money when they have eaten all the vegetables on their plate, or take them to see their friends to play once they have helped you create a healthy shopping list for the week.

Sometimes a little something goes a long way – and who can put a price on health and well-being these days? No one! xx

Children’s Fitness Academy; Ways To Get Fit With Your Kids In 2012

This year, make sure your New Year’s fitness resolution includes your kids. Doing so could make working out and losing weight a lot more fun!

Top get them and you in the swing of things, my advice is to engage them with fun things and even make exercise a little unusual to get them excited about working out.

For example, if you say, we’re going to take the kids out for a walk this evening, most kids are going to say, ‘Wait, we have to leave the playstation?” so you need to make the activity fun while making it something that is sports-oriented or game-oriented!

Children need at least 60 minutes a day of physical activity, including muscle-strengthening exercises. Here are some ideas to get you started:

1. See the lights. Around Christmas and Halloween, there are plenty of interesting light displays to see in your neighbourhood – go to the areas that can’t be seen from the road and surprise them.

2. Aim for two to three activities a week, tol help you reach your daily fitness goal of 30 minutes of moderate activity five times a week.

3. Walk to school. That burst of activity in the morning can change their day and boost their concentration levels!

4. Replace pizza and a movie night with family fitness night at least once a month.Have a match using the Wii, do a dance off using a Zumba DVD or play golf, by putting the ball in a teacup. Get the kids excited about it.

5. Check out the fitness attractions your city offers. How about Kid’s bootcamp classes like mine or a running group or rock-climbing?

6. Make a fitness wish list with the kids. Write down every physical activity they’d like to do, and let them choose a few every month.

7. Play like a kid. A half-hour of IT, British ball dog or Traffic Lights is good exercise for you and your children. Ask them to teach you a new game that they might play at school!

8. Take it outside.  Go to a park or nature preserve and climb muddy hills, climb over stilies or feed the horses carrots in the local field.

9. Make eating out or after-dinner treats a physical activity. Walk to the restaurant or shop from home

10. Join a running club or event like Park Run, or a netball or football group. They all offer opportunities for you and your kids to have fun getting fit. 

Children’s Fitness Academy; Let children play in the street to prevent them getting fat,

Over-protective parents must let their children play in the street to save them from obesity, Labour’s Diane Abbott recently the Standard (thisislondon.co.uk).

Ms Abbott, the shadow public health minister, said: “I think London kids are especially at risk because so many mums and dads are fearful about letting them play in the streets. I think parents need to be tougher on their kids’ diets to save them from ill-health. Carrying on with the chips and PlayStation 3 culture is not an option.”

NHS figures have revealed that more than one in five children in London are obese by the time they leave primary school. The problem is worse in the capital than in any other UK region.

Ms Abbott, MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, said Londoners needed a “revolution” in their approach to children’s lifestyles.

“Schools should be on the front line in the battle against obesity. Healthy school dinners and the teaching of domestic science are crucial tools in improving health.

“It is important that we develop an environment where people can make healthy choices – and that we understand the significance of issues like safe play areas for kids, physical activity and also of the advertising of junk food, sugary soft drinks and alcohol.

Childhood obesity costs the capital £7.1 million a year to treat, and the National Child Measurement Programme found that 21.9 per cent of London children were obese when they left primary school, compared with 19 per cent nationally and 16.5 per cent in the South Central region, which includes Oxfordshire and Hampshire.

Children raised in towns and cities were more likely to be overweight, suggesting that outdoor play and exercise could be a factor.

Scary figures eh?

I think we do have to be very careful of letting our kids run around in the streets. But if you have a big back garden why not encourage them to get outside and play. Playstations and computer games are really not as fun as old-fashioned games like IT or tag. Why not take advantage of parks too? Swinging and climbing and swinging all use far more muscles that pressing a remote control, which burns calories and helps fight this obesity crisis affecting us. Come on parents, its time we took charge of getting our children fighting fit and in the best shape for their future!