Pink Parenting Magazine

Well, today I met up with the wonderful guys behind Pink Parenting Magazine who have asked me to write regular Kids Fitness and Nutrition features. I can’t wait to get cracking and spread the World that Fitness is fine and Healthy Eating DOESN’T have to be boring!

I urge you all to buy the next issue of the magazine and as well as enjoy the well-written features in the mag, look out for my healthy tips and tricks!

Keep moving everyone…..xx

 

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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!

 

Children’s Fitness Academy; Habits of Healthy Families. Lose fat, get fit!

Every wonder how families stay healthy, fit and thin? Well I have some answers for you! Notepads at the ready!!

Don’t go hungry – To stay at a healthy weight, you have to eat, not starve yourself. If you don’t fuel up regularly, you’ll become insatiably hungry, causing the hunger hormone, ghrelin, to spike. Keep healthy snacks around the house like almonds, chopped fruit and credites and don’t be surprised to see your kids nibbling on them throughout the day.

Make breakfast and lunch part of your day – Without a healthy go-to option for each, you’re far more likely to make bad spur-of-the-moment grabs. Starts the day with a bowl of oats with flaxseed oil, a few walnuts, and some raisins  for sweetness and make some soup for lunch. You can even ask your children to help you. You chop the ingredients up and then they whizz it up in the blender. Fun!! Serve with a wedge of crusty wholemeal bread!

Exercise 20 minutes a day—at home –  You don’t have to go somewhere to exercise, and making your way to the gym is just too time consuming! 20 minutes at home is simple; skip in your back garden, and alternate with crunches and push-ups; or do 20 minutes of a workout video; there are loads to choose from!

Be the food decider in your house – I know this can be tough for parents, but the big decisions about what to eat must be made by you at the supermarket; If you bring crisps and chocolate home, your kids (and you) will naturally want to eat them. Keep healthy snacks on hand (like nuts and pretzels) and fruit and veggies washed and chopped in your fridge. Kids will eat healthy snacks when they get hungry enough!

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!

 

 

Children’s Fitness Academy; vitamin D dilemma!

Houston, we have a problem – it seems that we could all be falling short on vitamin D, which can make us more likely to be obese!

Also know as the sunshine vitamin, it’s clear that we aren’t getting enough which causes  higher degrees of insulin resistance, when the hormone becomes less effective at lowering blood sugar. This can lead to  the development of Type 2 diabetes!

News has also stated that children who sit in front of the television for most of the day, snacking on fatty foods, are therefore likely to have lower vitamin D levels and be overweight as well. The two factors might not be biologically related !

To get more Vitamin D – you need sunshine -which means taking your children’s playtime outside in the winter sun and chomping on foods, such as oily fish, eggs and fortified breakfast cereals.

– yet another reason for you and your children to get up and get active. Why not take the dog for a walk, fly a kite or ride your bikes around the park. The brisk fresh air will not only make you feel ALIVE but also reduce you and your child’s risk of developing Type 2 diabetes!