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.

Who said you couldn’t exercise when you are pregnant??

The Children’s Fitness Academy have recently been working with the amazing ‘FittaMamma’, a fitness clothing site that supports mum’s to be and provides them with not only amazing maternity sports wear, but also provides lots of tips on eating and exercising when expecting…

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Here is what FittaMamma’s fitness expert Lucie Brand had to say about how keep exercise safe during pregnancy…

“Exercising when pregnant is perfectly safe and very important! Regular exercise will help reduce many common pregnancy complaints such as tiredness, varicose veins and swollen ankles as well as helping with some of those other discomforts such as lower back pain and heartburn.  

And  the fitter you are the better prepare you are for labour – as Nell McAndrew said in a recent interview, ‘I feel like keeping fit is preparing me for the labour – which will be harder than running a marathon!’

Even a modest amount of exercise during pregnancy releases feel good endorphins, lifting your mood, reducing stress and making  it easier to sleep.

With regard to safety you’ll need to make concessions to your growing bump but provided you follow sensible guidelines there’s no reason why you shouldn’t continue with some form of exercise right throughout your pregnancy.

It’s not a good time to take up marathon running or mountain biking and you’ll want to reduce the intensity and length of your workouts but moderate exercise is not only safe – it’s good for both mum and baby.

A good guideline is the ‘talk’ test – keep on chatting!  You shouldn’t exercise beyond the level where you’re too tired to speak – but that gives you plenty of scope for different ways to keep fit! 

Have a look at the FittaMamma website for lots of really useful information about what’s safe and what you should avoid:  www.fittamamma.com/section.php/13/1/can_i_exercise_when_pregnant 

What type of exercise do you recommend during pregnancy and how often?

My ‘3 Plan complete pregnancy and post natal exercise plan’ recommends a minimum of three hours a week –  ideally fit in an hour three times a week and, for real benefits, try and  fit in three shorter workouts as well.   The Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecologists suggest at least 30 minutes five days a week.    The key is to make exercise fun and fit into your life, if you don’t enjoy it, it will be harder to keep it up!

As to what TYPE of exercise ….personally I like a mixture of cardio and resistance training – the programme I have developed is easy to do at home with nothing more than weights and a fitball.  But walking, swimming and cycling are all good – and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t carry on jogging until you start feeling uncomfortable, just take it easy and cut down on the intensity and the distance.  Yoga and Pilates are ideal, especially for stretching and preparing for birth.

Again the FittaMamma site is a good source of information and includes some mini 10 minute workouts from my 3 Plan.  

Many pregnant women want to monitor their weight and stay healthy so they are both fit and healthy during the pregnancy and after and so that they have less to lose post pregnancy. What easy exercises can you advise to fit into your daily routine?

Try and fit in a mini-cardio sequence like this one, which also works well as a warm up before you start any more intense cardio activity.  You can make this more intense by increasing the number of repetitions or including weights.

Legs and ankles:  Stand on leg, raise your other foot off the floor and rotate your ankle. Raise your knee higher flexing back and forwards.  Repeat with the other leg

Hip and body:  With your feet hip distance apart and hands on hips, rotate in both directions.  Put your hands on your head and gently swing your body from side to side.

Warm up your arms:  Spread your arms wide, flex your wrists before circling backwards and forwards, crossing your arms in front of your body. Shrug your shoulders to loosen, reach up to the sky with each hand in turn stretching over to the side.

Increase the pace:

  • Get stepping from side to side, adding in a knee lift or curl with the opposite leg.  March on the spot, lifting your knees and swinging your arms
  • Lunge to each side, pushing alternate arms across your body
  • Half jacks, with your arms coming in and out as you step each leg in turn
  • Tap your heels forward alternately, bending the other knee and swinging your arms forward
  • Jog on the spot, bringing your knees up – alternate with jogging with your heels to bottom

For full workout routines visit www.fittamamma.com  where you can download (for free!) activity guides and yoga routines.    You can also check out the full range of FittaMamma activewear so you can look good and feel good when you work out, my pregnancy workout guide is also available here too!

THANK YOU LUCIE FOR SOME AMAZING ADVICE THERE – I WOULD DEFINATELY LIKE CHILDREN ONE DAY AND WILL BE FOLLOWING THIS ADVICE. THERE IS NO WAY I WON’T BE HITTING THE GYM! HOWEVER I WILL BE SAFE WHEN I DO IT AND NOW KNOW WHAT I SHOULDN’T BE DOING! 

 

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! 

 

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!

 

I know, I know!

I haven’t been on here for ages! What have I been doing? Planning my wedding that’s what!

To do this – I have been eating pretty clean (Of course there have been a few treats!!) and training hard! At the moment, I’m loving CrossFit.

Here is the hardest workout I have done so far!

It is a five-minute round from which a one-minute break is allowed before repeating. We’ve used this in 3 and 5 round versions. The stations were;

  1. Wallballs: 20 pound ball, 10 ft target. (Reps)
  2. Sumo Deadlift High-Pull: 75 pounds (Reps)
  3. Box Jump: 20″ box (Reps)
  4. Push Press: 75 pounds (Reps)
  5. Row: calories (Calories)

The clock is not allowed to reset or stop between exercises and on the call of “rotate,” I had to move to the next station immediately for good score. One point is given for each rep, except on the rower where each calorie is one point.

I did the WOD as prescribed for women, so I used a 6kg medicine ball for the Wallballs and 25kg for the Sumo Deadlift High-Pulls and Push Presses.

After the combo of Wallballs + Sumo Deadlift High-Pulls + Box Jumps, my legs are pretty exhausted! I’m shattered!

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.