Tips to Help Kids with Autism Get Excited About Fitness

April is National Autism Awareness Month.  To celebrate, I’d like to take this opportunity to highlight the importance of athletic training and kids’ health in the autism and special needs communities.

A great – and beneficial – activity for people with autism is exercise.

In particular, studies have shown that exercise reduces problem behaviors such as the need for repetition, disruptiveness, aggression and self-injury in people with autism.  And, these benefits can last for several hours during and after exercise.

According to Stephen M. Edelson, Ph.D. in his paper, “Physical Exercise and Autism,” for the Autism Institute, “One of the most effective treatments for autistic people is exercise. Vigorous exercise means a 20-minute or longer aerobic workout, 3 to 4 days a week; mild exercise has little effect on behavior. Many autistic children gain weight if they have an inactive lifestyle, and weight gain brings another set of problems.”

Motivating children can be difficult.  Motivating a child with special needs to exercise can really be a challenge.  Here are a few tips to help your child with autism become excited to participate in a fitness program and improve kids’ health.

  • Create progress sheets/displays. Everyone likes to see improvement.  Create a visual representation that shows where your child began (ie – 3 sit-ups), where you child is now (5 sit-ups) and displays your child’s goal (10 sit-ups).
  • Does your child have a specific interest? Shape the exercise routine to fit your child’s hobbies.  For example, if your child enjoys comic books, create an obstacle course based on a scenario from Marvel’s The Avengers using old sheets, lawn chairs, boxes or even sofa cushions and mattresses.  Pretend Loki has returned to Earth.  Your child should choose his/her favorite Avenger and use that character’s power to conquer the maze and save the planet.
  • Include the whole family. Everyone can benefit from additional exercise so become a role model for your kids by helping them try new activities.  Show them that fitness for kids can be exciting and can be easily incorporated into daily life.  Make fitness fun and teach your kids the importance of a healthy, active lifestyle from a young age.  The younger a child is when this lesson is learned, the more opportunity for a healthy adulthood.
  • Reward difficult exercises with 10 minutes of a fun activity your child selects. I’ve found that the children I train in my therapeutic fitness center for people with special needs, Fitness for Health, try their best to complete difficult tasks in order to have the freedom to choose their own ending activity.  This helps build self-esteem and empowers the child to make decisions about his/her fitness routine.

One of the most important points to consider is how to motivate your child to exercise of his/her own will. Asking your child to continually perform exercises just for a small reward will not last long, but helping your child to find enjoyment in exercise will promote lifelong fitness. This isn’t revolutionary, this is ABA applied to exercise.

About Fitness for Health:                                                    

A finalist for About.com’s Readers’ Choice Award for Best Special Needs Resource in the D.C. Region and voted Washington Family Magazine’s 2016 and 2017 Best Special Needs Camp and Best Special Needs Program in the DC area, Fitness for Health, founded by Marc Sickel who also suffers from ADD, specializes in creating personalized, therapeutic programs for children with a broad range of special needs:

  • Sensory processing disorders
  • Gross motor delays
  • Autism spectrum disorders (ASD)
  • Pervasive developmental disorders
  • Down Syndrome
  • Asperger’s syndrome
  • ADD/ADHD/LD
  • Developmental and physical disabilities
  • Confidence and self-esteem issues
  • Emotional disturbances and anxiety disorders

At Fitness for Health, you get a complete team—including pediatric fitness specialists, physical therapists, and occupational therapists—working together to create a full-service plan of care that’s expertly tailored to your child’s developmental, skill and comfort levels while providing fitness for kids. As a parent, you’re involved every step of the way.  Learn more about our therapeutic exercise, occupational therapy services, and physical therapy services today.

Fitness for Health and the Center for Communication and Learning are once again offering summer programs in August for children (ages 4-10) and teens (ages 11-16) with social communication challenges.

  • B Social Therapeutic Summer Program – This program for ages 4-10 will integrate Social Thinking® and movement in collaboration with Sue Abrams, M.A., CCC-SLP, a Speech/Language Pathologist. Concepts will be introduced in a fun and motivating way encouraging participants to explore and improve their social thinking skills and motor development.
  • B Social Team Building for Adolescents with Social Challenges – This program is specifically geared for students ages 11-16 with ADD/ADHD, Asperger’s, Social Communication Disorder and/or Autism Spectrum Disorder.  Our B Social Team Building Program focuses on developing your adolescent’s social competency.   Social Thinking® is more than just about being social. The skills and strategies we teach will impact students’ performance at school, in the community and throughout their lives.

Reimbursement of costs for the program may be available for insurance coverage and/or flexible health spending accounts.  Kaiser Permanente members with prior authorization have a possibility for large savings. 

Attend our Summer Programs Open House on Sunday, April 29, from 5pm – 6pm to learn about our social skills programs, tour our gym and give your kids the opportunity to meet – and play – with our staff members.  RSVP to Info@FitnessForHealth.org.

Sitting is Bad for Your Brain

Did you know that people who meet the The American Heart Association’s recommended guidelines of 150 minutes of moderate – intense exercise each week – are still at risk of developing “thinning” brain tissue?

A new study published in the April 12, 2018 edition of PLOS One found that too much time spent sitting was correlated with an unhealthy “thinning” of the brain tissue holding memories .  And, it may not make a difference how active you are when you’re not sitting.

“We found that sedentary behavior, but not [levels of] physical activity, was associated with less thickness of the medial temporal lobe,” a brain region that’s crucial to the formation of new memories, explained a team led by Prabha Siddarth, a biostatistician at the University of California, Los Angeles’ Semel Institute of Neuroscience and Human Behavior.

He continued, “It is possible that there may be two distinct groups: mentally active sitting and mentally inactive sitting. In mentally active sitting, individuals may be attending to cognitive demanding tasks such as crossword puzzles, documentation, writing, or computer games. In mentally inactive sitting, individuals may be engaging in less demanding, passive tasks such as watching television or movies.”

This thinning of the medial temporal lobe is suspected of being a forerunner of mental decline and dementia in middle-aged and older adults. Reducing the amount of time spent sitting could be a way to improve brain health in people at risk for Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia.

So, get off the couch and your chair at work! Take a walk around the neighborhood with your family and your beloved pet, act like a kid again and play with your kids at the playground and forgo the elevator at work by breaking a sweat climbing the stairs.  Your body – and your family – will thank you for taking active steps to prolong your health, your life and your mental state.

Are you in need of fitness assistance?  Fitness for Health can help you create a healthy, active lifestyle while having fun and sustaining weight management.  We offer customized exercise programs designed to fit your and your children’s exact needs while helping you reach your unique health goals and improve senior health. From first-time gym-goers to NFL professional athletes looking for athletic training, Fitness for Health has fitness programs to help people of all ages and abilities reach their fullest potential. And, we offer family workouts and Open Gym playtimes so families can become active together.

The Spring Cleaning Workout

Spring is here!  Because many parents are celebrating the change of seasons by spring cleaning, I wanted to bring back one of my favorite blogs. The original was blog was posted on October 10, 2013, but I think now is a great time to incorporate fitness and athletic training into your daily cleaning routine!

What does a broom handle, your infant and bottles of cleaning supplies all have in common?  They can all be used to create out-of-the-box, fitness routines!

There is no excuse for not making time for exercise in your daily schedule.  With a little creativity, any household item can be used as a weight, equipment in your cardio program or as a resistance band.  The key is to think like a kid again!

Remember when you were a child and you could reenact a medieval war using a few sticks from the backyard as swords, a scooter as your trusty stead, and a sheet and a lawn chair for your castle?  All it took was a little imagination to get a great workout and have a lot of fun.

Look around your home.  There are plenty of items that you can use to create a challenging fitness routine at home while promoting weight management.  Here are a few ideas:

  • Doing laundry? Take the tie from your robe and use it as a resistance band.  This is great for stretching your legs. Use it while lying on your back to stretch your hamstrings, IT band, or calves by simply extending one leg into the air and hooking the strap around the sole of your foot. This is also a unique weapon for ab work. Try stomach exercises where your legs are suspended out in front of you and your back is off the ground. You can loop the belt around one or both of your legs for more support and to take the strain out of your neck.
  • Do you have an infant or small child living in your house? Does he/she feel left out as you are tidying up for spring?  Incorporate him/her as a weight!  Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and hold the child with your arms extended in front of you.  Now, squat.  Or, if your child is older and heavier, slightly bend your knees and just pick him/her up in the air a few times.  The weight of your child can help tone your arms, abs, butt and thighs.  If you are looking for a real challenge, he/she can even add intensity when doing lunges. This is great for toning and athletic training!  By incorporating your child in your daily exercise, it teaches him/her the importance of fitness for kids while giving you an opportunity to play – and bond – together.
  • If you don’t have a small child, bottles of laundry detergent make great weights too!
  • Your broom or mop can also be used in your cardio workout. Place the handle on the floor so it is in front of you longways and jump over it from side to side. Practice jumping over it as fast as you can for as many times as you can.
  • Do you have wood or tiled floors? Grabs two paper plates or hand towels and place them under your feet while you are in a push-up or downward dog position.  Then, alternate sliding your feet up to your hands while remaining in your inverted position.  This is great for core, hamstrings and butt toning and sculpting – and you’ll clean your floors!

So, look around your house and use your imagination to create an intensive, athletic training workout that will be great for bone and joint health while having fun!

Visit www.FitnessForHealth.org to learn how Fitness for Health can help you create a fun, exercise program to reach your and your child’s personal goals while focusing on weight management. Whether your child wants athletic training or if a parent needs fitness for seniors, we can create a customized exercise program to fit your family’s unique needs.

MLB Workout

It’s officially springtime because the boys of summer are back!  Major League Baseball held its Opening Day on Thursday, March 29.

Are you jealous of the speed, agility, arm strength, core stabilization and leg power of Max Scherzer or Mike Trout? Here are a few, athletic training tips to help you become ready for the diamond:

Speed:

  • Include sprints into your workout twice a week.  Sprints should last 10 minutes.  According to Human Kinetics, “Five minutes of the speed workout should be devoted to doing 10 all-out quality sprints at distances ranging from 10 to 50 yards (9-46 meters). Athletes should have about 30 seconds of rest between sprints so that they are breathing easily before their next sprint.”
  • To improve your speed, you must stretch correctly so flexibility training is critical.

Agility:

  • Jumping rope is great. Try some of these variations: typical two-foot jump, stride jumps (swap forward foot on each jump), crossover jumps or single-leg jumps.
  • Use a speed ladder.  A speed ladder is a vinyl ladder you roll out onto a flat surface. Run through the ladder (always as fast as possible) with one foot in each space. Then, do two-foot jumps forward. Step sideways on the left and step the right foot in, then the left foot in, then out to the right, then back to the left and so on. Try shuffling sideways straight through the ladder leading with the left foot, then back leading with the right.

Arm Strength:

  • Triceps Dips – Sit with your hands on the edge of a sturdy bench, fingers pointing toward you, slowly walk your feet out in front of you and take your bottom off the bench.  Slowly lower and lift your body weight, being sure to fully extend the arm and maintaining perfect posture throughout (do not roll the shoulders in). Whether your knees are bent at 90 degrees (easier) or legs are straight out (harder), be sure to lower yourself straight down (keeping a 1-inch gap between your back and the bench for the entire range of motion) and not in a swinging motion toward your feet. Repeat to fatigue (strive for 12-15 repetitions).  Want a challenge?  Try stacking your heels.
  • Diamond Push-Ups – While in a regular push-up position, put your hands together so that your thumbs and index fingers are touching. It should form a diamond shape in between your hands. Doing a push-up this way will put more stress on your triceps and better help strengthen the muscle. If you are unable to do regular push-ups, rest on your knees instead of your toes. Try to complete 3 sets of 10 or as many as you can do. You will be able to do more as you get stronger.

Core Stabilization:

  • Plank – Lie on your stomach with your forearms/elbows on the ground.  Rise up so that you are resting on your forearms and toes. Your stomach should be drawn in with your back straight.  Hold for 30 seconds – 2 minutes.  Repeat 5-10 times.
  • Superman – Lie on your stomach with your arms and legs extended.  Retract your shoulder blades down and in towards the midline of your spine with your ab muscles drawn in.  Maintain this position while lifting your opposite arm and leg.  Ensure your hips stay in contact with the floor. Hold for 3-5 seconds.  Repeat 10-20 times.

Leg Power:

  • Parallel Squats – Stand with your feet parallel, about shoulder-width apart and your toes pointing straight forward or slightly outward.  Place a weighted bar (or even a broom handle) across the back of your shoulders.  Push your hips backward and lower your butt until the top of your thighs are parallel to the floor.  Your feet should be flat on the floor with your weight on your heels.  Rise back up to your starting position while keeping your heels flat on the ground.  Repeat 10-20 times.
  • Lunges – Stand like you are beginning a Parallel Squat with a weighted bar or broom handle across your shoulders.  Take a step forward with one leg so that your front knee is aligned over your heel.  Drop your back knee straight down until it is about 1/4 inch from the floor.  Use your stepping foot to push you back into your starting position.  Repeat this sequence with your other leg.  Do 15-25 reps on each side.

Are you ready to take your athletic training to the next level and train like a professional athlete while optimizing weight management and helping improve bone and joint health?  Visit Fitness for Health during our Open House for Prospective Clients at 5pm on Sunday, May 6, to learn how our EDGE Training can help you become stronger, faster and more explosive.

Most athletes only train to improve their speed, strength, agility, and conditioning.  That just isn’t enough.  Our one-on-one and group athletic performance development program, EDGE Training, helps athletes at all levels develop the skills that give them an EDGE on—and off—the field, including gross and fine motor skills, mental processing, motor planning/sequencing, and visual motor skills.

5 Reasons to Exercise This Spring

Although it is true that sustained exercise helps you achieve a great body and improves bone and joint health, it also improves your overall wellness and keeps your mind sharp.

Spring is here – supposedly!  And, that means people are beginning to refocus attention on outdoor cardio and athletic training, remembering their New Year’s resolutions to improve their health and maintain weight management, and hitting the gym to get ready for vacations to the beach.

Here are five reasons that you need to work out today:

  1. Extend your life.  Medical research has shown that by walking briskly for at least 150 minutes – not even 2 hours – each week (the minimum World Health Organization exercise recommendation), you may increase your life expectancy by 3 ½ – 4 ½ years!
  2. Ensure your heart remains healthy.  By exercising or athletic training for as little as 30 minutes a day, you can reduce your risk of a heart attack by 30% – 50% and your risk of having a stroke by 25%.
  3. Become happier.  When you exercise, you produce endorphins in your brain.  Scientists have found that regular participation in aerobic exercise has been shown to elevate and stabilize your mood, decrease overall levels of tension, improve sleep and increase self-esteem.  Even five minutes of aerobic exercise can stimulate anti-anxiety effects.
  4. Improve your brain function.  Just one cardio workout pumps extra blood to your brain which delivers oxygen and other nutrients the brain needs to perform at peak efficiency. Cardio exercise also provides the brain with endorphins and brain-derived protein (BDNF) that enhance functions such as memory, problem-solving skills and decision-making abilities. And, it doesn’t matter the age when you begin to work out! Beginning a fitness for seniors program helps to maintain and improve cognitive abilities.
  5. Bring your sexy back.  We all know that exercise burns fat, but, if you want to get lean and fit, you’ll need to intensify your workouts to firm, thin and strengthen. Yes, exercise can help you lose your love handles, but it’s also the loss of excess fat deep inside the body that boosts your overall looks and your health.  There are two types of fat – subcutaneous (what you can pinch) and visceral. Visceral fat pads the abdominal organs like insulation and is far more difficult to lose.  It can also kill you.  Excess visceral fat fuels low-grade inflammation in the body and is tied to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, colon cancer, breast cancer and dementia. It can also upset the balance of important hormones that affect your skin, hair and general appearance.

Remember, “use it or lose it!” If you don’t use your body to its fullest potential now, you risk losing your flexibility, muscle tone, heart strength and cognitive abilities later in life.

So, what are you waiting for?

Fitness for Health creates unique exercise programs based on a person’s individual fitness goals.  Want to lose weight or maintain weight management?  Interested in toning your body?  Aspiring to improve your athletic edge?  No problem!  Whether you are a young child or a senior citizen, Fitness for Health can you help you and your loved ones reach your full potential.

Has Your Gut Blossomed Along with the Spring Flowers?

It’s officially springtime!  Today is the vernal equinox – the first day of spring.  As the days get longer and warmer, the birds are beginning to sing and the flowers are starting to bloom.  Unfortunately, throughout the long winter, many of us are also seeing that our guts have blossomed.

Spring Break vacation in looming in the near future and most people are beginning to rethink their fitness routines to ensure their abs are ready for tighter fitting clothes and bathing suit season.

Wake up your abs with these fitness moves guaranteed to flatten your belly and get rid you of your muffin top:

  • Abdominal Hold
    • Sit tall on the edge of a sturdy chair (or step with four risers) and place your hands on the edge with your fingers pointing toward your knees.tall on the edge of a sturdy chair (or step with four risers) and place your hands on the edge with your fingers pointing toward your knees.
    • Tighten your abs and bring your toes 2 to 4 inches off the floor. Lift your butt off the chair.
    • Hold for 10-20 seconds.
    • Lower yourself.
    • Repeat for at least 1 minute.
  • Side Plank
    • Lie on your right side with your legs straight. Prop yourself up with your right forearm so your body forms a diagonal line. Rest your left hand on your hip.
    • Brace your abs and hold for 60 seconds. (If you can’t make it to 60 seconds, hold for 5-10 seconds and rest for 5 seconds.)
    • Continue for 1 minute. (Be sure your hips and knees stay off the floor.)
  • Low-Belly Leg Reach
    • Lie face up with your knees bent to 90 degrees with your hands behind head and abs contracted.
    • Keeping your knees stacked over your hips, lift your shoulders and crunch up. Inhale and hold for 3-5 seconds.
    • Exhale and your extend legs to 45 degrees.
    • Hold for 3-5 seconds while squeezing your lower belly.
    • Do 2 sets of 10-15 reps.
  • V-Sit
    • Lie on your back with your knees bent to 90 degrees and your feet lifted.
    • Tighten your abs as you inhale and lift your arms up and back over your head.
    • Exhale and swing your arms forward while straightening your legs so your body forms a V. (If needed, put your hands on the floor for support.)
    • Slowly straighten yourself back to the floor while bending your knees and bringing your arms overhead.
    • Do 15 reps.
  • Mountain Climbers
    • Assume a standard push-up position.
    • In one smooth motion, bring your right knee toward the right side of your chest.
    • Then, bring your left leg forward while extending your right leg back. (Avoid any lower back movement throughout the exercise.)
    • Continue alternating your knees to your chest.
    • Do 20 reps.

Are you in need of an unique exercise plan that is created specifically for your individual weight goals?  Fitness for Health can help!  Our one-on-one fitness programs are designed to assist you in reaching your personal health aspirations.  Visit www.FitnessForHealth.org to learn how we can help you become Spring Break ready.

Is Stress Contagious?

Are you surrounded by family members or friends who are constantly stressed out? It may have the same effect on your health as though you were experiencing the stress yourself.

In a new study in Nature Neuroscience, Jaideep Bains, PhD, and his team at the Cumming School of Medicine’s Hotchkiss Brain Institute (HBI), at the University of Calgary have discovered that stress transmitted from others can change the brain in the same way as a real stress does. The study, in mice, also shows that the effects of stress on the brain are reversed in female mice following a social interaction. This was not true for male mice.

“Brain changes associated with stress underpin many mental illnesses including PTSD, anxiety disorders and depression,” says Bains, professor in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology and member of the HBI. “Recent studies indicate that stress and emotions can be ‘contagious’. Whether this has lasting consequences for the brain is not known.”

Bains continues, “We readily communicate our stress to others, sometimes without even knowing it. There is even evidence that some symptoms of stress can persist in family and loved ones of individuals who suffer from PTSD. On the flip side, the ability to sense another’s emotional state is a key part of creating and building social bonds.”

This new research indicates that stress and social interactions are intricately linked. The consequences of these interactions can be long-lasting and may influence behaviors at a later time.

How can you decrease your stress levels? Exercise.

As the founder and owner of Fitness for Health, a therapeutic exercise facility assisting children through senior citizens to reach their full potential by using innovative exergaming technology to make fitness fun, I’ve learned that virtually any form of exercise, from aerobics to yoga, can act as a stress reliever.  If you’re not an athlete or even if you’re out of shape, you can still make a little exercise go a long way toward stress management.

Exercise increases your overall health and your sense of well-being, which puts more pep in your step every day. But exercise also has some direct stress-busting benefits.

According to the Mayo Clinic, “Physical activity helps bump up the production of your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins. Although this function is often referred to as a runner’s high, a rousing game of tennis or a nature hike also can contribute to this same feeling.”  After a fast-paced game of basketball or several laps around your favorite mall, you’ll often find that you’ve forgotten the day’s irritations and concentrated only on your body’s movements.

As you begin to regularly shed your daily tensions through movement and physical activity, you may find that this focus on a single task, and the resulting energy and optimism, can help you remain calm and clear in everything you do.

Additionally, regular exercise can increase self-confidence, it can relax you, and it can lower the symptoms associated with mild depression and anxiety. Exercise can also improve your sleep, which is often disrupted by stress, depression and anxiety. All of these exercise benefits can ease your stress levels and give you a sense of command over your body and your life.

So, due yourself – and those people around you – a favor by exercising to improve your health and your mood.

About Fitness for Health:

Fitness for Health creates unique exercise programs based on a person’s individual fitness goals.  Do you want to lose weight, focus on weight management as an adult or combat childhood obesity?  Interested in toning your body?  Aspiring to improve your athletic edge?  No problem!  Whether you are a child or a senior citizen, Fitness for Health can you help you and your loved ones reach your full potential.

Choosing a Summer Program for Your Child with Special Needs

It is never too early to begin researching summer programs for your child with special needs.

Since all children are different, summer program experiences can vary. And, choosing a summer program for your child with special needs can seem overwhelming.

Summer program options are as plentiful and unique as your child’s interests and abilities. So, how is a parent to decide?

Here are a few tips from Fitness for Health, a therapeutic, exercise facility for children and adults with special needs in the Washington, DC, Region, to consider as you hunt for the perfect program for your child with special needs:

  • Plan a pre-camp visit. Tour the summer program venue, meet the staff and allow your child to ask questions that are important to him/her. If your child feels comfortable in the surroundings, he/she will be excited to try new experiences and will look forward to attending camp.
  • During the visit, be very open and transparent about your child’s special needs. It’s the best way to ensure a good program fit for your child.
  • Ask about the camp’s philosophy. Is it one you’re comfortable with as a parent? Is it a good match for your child’s temperament?
  • Inquire about the counselor-to-camper ratio. The leader-to-child ratio will vary, depending on the type of program and the age of the children. Mainstream camps usually have one counselor for every 6-10 campers; the ratio at special-needs camps is often closer to 1:3. The lower the ratio, the more opportunities counselors have to work with kids on an individual basis.
  • Ask about the qualifications of the staff. Do the counselors have a background in the program’s area of focus? Do the staff members hold educational degrees and/or work in that field? Have they taught children previously?

The right summer program can help a child become more socially adept, improve self-esteem and often interested in new activities. So, selecting a camp for your child is important. Include your child in the process! Ask what summer activities are important to him/her and invite your child to attend camp visits with you. This way, your child can ask program personnel questions, meet the staff before the first day of the program and have the opportunity to meet other new campers during Open Houses.

Happy summer program hunting!

Fitness for Health and the Center for Communication and Learning are once again offering summer programs in August for children (ages 4-10) and teens (ages 11-16) with social communication challenges.

  • B Social Therapeutic Summer Program – This program for ages 4-10 will integrate Social Thinking® and movement in collaboration with Sue Abrams, M.A., CCC-SLP, a Speech/Language Pathologist. Concepts will be introduced in a fun and motivating way encouraging participants to explore and improve their social thinking skills and motor development.
  • B Social Team Building for Adolescents with Social Challenges – This program is specifically geared for students ages 11-16 with ADD/ADHD, Asperger’s, Social Communication Disorder and/or Autism Spectrum Disorder. Our B Social Team Building Program focuses on developing your adolescent’s social competency. Social thinking® is more than just about being social. The skills and strategies we teach will impact students’ performance at school, in the community and throughout their lives.

Reimbursement of costs for the program may be available for insurance coverage and/or flexible health spending accounts. Kaiser Permanente members with prior authorization have a possibility for large savings.

Attend our Summer Programs Open House on Sunday, March 18, from 5pm – 6pm to learn about our social skills programs, tour our therapeutic facility and give your kids the opportunity to meet – and play – with our staff members. Register on March 18 and receive a 10% discount! RSVP to Info@FitnessForHealth.org.

Too much TV at Age 2 Leads to Teenage Health Risks

How much TV does your toddler watch? Too much TV now can affect them in their teen years.

A new study released by the Université de Montréal’s School of Psychoeducation warns that watching too much TV at age 2 can translate into poor eating habits in teen years and poor performance in school.

“Watching TV is mentally and physically sedentary behavior because it does not require sustained effort,” said study coauthor Isabelle Simonato. “We hypothesized that when toddlers watch too much TV it encourages them to be sedentary, and if they learn to prefer effortless leisure activities at a very young age, they likely won’t think much of non-leisure ones, like school, when they’re older.”

Researchers found that every hourly increase in toddlers’ TV viewing predicted poor eating habits down the road — an increase of 8% at age 13 for every hourly increase at age 2. For every hour of increased TV watching as a toddler, there was a higher body mass index and declined physical fitness by freshman year of high school.

So, ensure children are getting enough exercise now while they are young. By encouraging a healthy, active lifestyle in their youth, parents and educators can help kids and teenagers fight childhood obesity while supporting improved health in their adult years.

Children’s level of fitness NOW affects their overall health well into their future.

Do want your kids to get off the couch? Concerned about their weight management? Searching for a physical activity where your children will have fun and want to keep coming back? Fitness for Health’s fitness programs are just the ticket. Your kids will have a blast while breaking a sweat with our heart-pumping, exergaming program. Using our state-of-the-art equipment, kids will get fit, feel good and get healthy.

Join the fight against childhood obesity and learn more today!

The Olympic Ideal of Sportsmanship

The world is watching the greatest sporting event that occurs only every four years – the Olympic Games.  For 17 days and glorious nights, people around the world are celebrating the ideals of the Olympic spirit.

During the opening ceremonies of the Olympics, each athlete took an oath on behalf of almost 3,000 assembled competitors to abide by the rules of the games “in the true spirit of sportsmanship.”  So, it’s during these Olympic celebrations, I want to take this opportunity to highlight the importance of sportsmanship on the field of play.

Good sportsmanship is when teammates, opponents, parents, coaches and sports officials treat each other with respect.  Child athletes learn the basics of sportsmanship from the adults in their lives – mainly their parents and coaches.

Adults who emphasize good sportsmanship, view winning the competition as just one of several goals they’d like their children to achieve. This helps young athletes take pride in their accomplishments and, in turn, helps children to want to improve their athletic abilities.  If children see themselves as winners, it doesn’t matter if the scoreboard declares them champions.

Here are a few ways from Fitness for Health to encourage good sportsmanship in your children:

  • Set a positive example for your child. Applaud great plays – no matter which team scores.
  • Remind children that when you lose, lose with class and dignity. Be proud of how you performed or at least be aware of things you need to improve for next time.
  • If your child feels that he/she could have performed better, offer to work on improving that skill together before the next game. For example, practice playing catch before the next game.  This will help your child’s self-confidence and will give you a chance to make lifelong memories by bonding.
  • Stay cool. Remind yourself that no matter how much hard work your child has put into practice and playing in competition, it is, after all, just a game. Your child will see if you are upset about how he/she played in the competition and may put undo pressure on himself/herself during the next game.
  • Instill “it’s how you play the game” that is important. Children need to understand that winning is not everything.  Did he try his best? Did she have fun?

Remember that whether your child’s team wins or loses, your child is acquiring new skills, making friends and learning to be gracious.  These are lifelong lessons that children will use at school, in the workplace and as parents themselves.

Encourage children to play fair, develop teamwork, try his/her best and, most importantly, have fun!

As we all know, Olympians want to win, but, without sportsmanship, no one wins.

About Fitness for Health:

Do you or your child want an athletic edge for fall sports? Want to train like a professional athlete? Want a workout like a 2018 Olympian athlete?

Try EDGE Training – Athletic Performance Development to improve hand-eye coordination, visual reaction time, peripheral awareness, agility, balance, proprioception and athletic conditioning utilizing the latest in exergaming technology.  All are areas that will make the difference – and give you the EDGE during game time.