10 Ideas to Combat Anxiety

Do you or a loved one suffer from anxiety?

A lot of people find it difficult to explain or control their anxiety. If you or know someone who has anxiety, you are not alone.

There are a lot of methods that can help to harness your emotions:

  1. Read a good book. Studies have shown that just six minutes of reading can reduce stress levels by up to 60%. That’s 68% better than listening to music, 100% better than drinking tea and 300% better than going for a walk. While relaxing with a great book isn’t a cure for anxiety, it can help you feel better while doing something you already love.
  2. Phone a friend. One of the most effective ways to combat anxiety is distraction, so call a good friend or family member and catch up when you’re feeling nervous.  This also has the added benefit of reminding yourself that you are needed and loved.
  3. Take time for yourself. Get a massage, a mani-pedi, or a haircut. Nothing says polished and well-maintained like a sexy, healthy glow.  If money is tight, look for a discount salon or a training school which offers quality services for people on a budget.  Who cares if they don’t serve peppermint tea on a silver tray — close your eyes and imagine that five-star service while you take in the pampering that you deserve – and need.
  4. Cut out caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant and raises your heart beat in addition to making your thoughts hard to control. Do yourself a favor, and ditch the afternoon coffee.
  5. Dance like no one is watching. Dancing is not only great exercise but the endorphins also help you relax. No matter your age, dancing can be a joyful experience.
  6. Head to the playground. One of the happiest times of a person’s life is the carefree days of childhood. Relive your fondest memories by bonding with your kids and head to the playground.  Play on the slides, climb the monkey bars or see how high you can swing. Make lifelong memories with your kids while laughing and remembering what true happiness feels like.
  7. Digitally detox. It’s hard to imagine but you don’t actually need to check your texts as soon as you hear the beep or answer every phone call.  People have survived – and flourished – for hundreds of years without being accessible 24/7.  Create a set time to check social media or answer calls after work hours.  And, remember, it’s never a good idea to check emails right before bed because it’ll start your mind racing and you may not be able to stop yourself from planning the next day and worrying how you’ll be able to accomplish your to-do list.
  8. Try deep breathing. According to Psychology Today, “If you’re not focused on how to calm your body through slow, intentional belly-breathing, you’re missing out. Belly-breathing is free, location independent, and easy to implement.”  The publication suggests:
  • Sit with your eyes closed and turn your attention to your breathing. Breathe naturally, preferably through the nostrils, without attempting to control your breath.
  • Be aware of the sensation of the breath as it enters and leaves the nostrils. Place one hand on your belly, and the other on your chest. Take a deep breath for a count of four. Hold your breath for a count of three. Exhale for a count of four. The hand on your belly should go in as you inhale, and move out as you exhale.
  • Concentrate on your breath and forget everything else. Your mind will be very busy, and you may even feel that the meditationis making your mind busier, but the reality is you’re just becoming more aware of how busy your mind is.
  • Resist the temptation to follow the different thoughts as they arise, and focus on the sensation of the breath. If you discover that your mind has wandered and is following your thoughts, immediately return it to the breath.
  • Repeat this as many times as necessary until your mind settles on the breath.
    Don’t wait to begin belly-breathing. The sooner you make this a daily habit, the quicker you’ll feel relaxed.
  • When you implement belly-breathing, you start the day in a here-and-now state. Better yet, you’re not wasting time worrying about the future, or reliving the past.
  1. Laugh! Who doesn’t need a good laugh?  Laughing increases endorphins and lifts your mood while making you more accessible to people.  Would you rather hang out with someone who complains or someone who shares funny videos?
  2. Exercise.  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.

 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.

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.

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.

Weight Loss in the Elderly May Reduce Bone Strength

As recently reported in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, researchers from Hebrew SeniorLife’s Institute for Aging Research, Boston University, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and University of Calgary have found evidence that weight loss in the elderly can result in worsening bone density, bone architecture and bone strength.

Douglas P. Kiel, MD, MPH, principal investigator for the study said, “The study is significant because it used data on weight changes over 40 years in participants in the Framingham Study. We showed that men and women with both shorter term weight loss over 4-6 years and longer term weight loss over 40 years had more micro-architectural deterioration of their bones than persons who did not lose weight.”

The magnitude of changes to the skeleton were an almost three-fold increase in the risk of fracture for those who lost 5% or more weight over 40 years.

Elizabeth (Lisa) Samelson, PhD, senior author of the paper cautioned that “Older adults who are losing weight should be aware of the potential negative effects on the skeleton and may want to consider counteracting these effects through interventions such as weight-bearing exercise and eating a balanced diet.”

Do you have an older loved one who could use assistance to improve balance, maintain weight management or better bone and joint health?  We can help.

Fitness for Health is proud to provide a revolutionary, 12-week Bone and Joint Health Program for adults and seniors that capitalizes on weight-bearing, fitness activities.  This groundbreaking program helps to improve posture and increase bone density, strength and balance while counteracting the effects of osteoporosis, osteopenia and aging.

The Bone and Joint Health Program elicits results faster and more effectively than traditional exercise (fitness for seniors) or pharmaceuticals through two state-of-the-art fitness technologies:

  • bioDensity™ – Weight-bearing exercises are the key to stimulating bone growth, and the greater the weight applied, the better the results. The osteogenic loading that patients receive is multiples of bodyweight, and beyond what is typically seen in exercise.  Research has shown, bone density gains that averaged 7% in the hip and 7.7% in the spine over one year using bioDensity (Jaquish, 2013). These results are multiples of what the current interventions can do for bone density.
  • Power Plate™ – Power Plate is a whole body vibration platform that allows for reflexive engagement of the neuromuscular system at rapid and repeatable oscillation. This intervention has been clinically shown to increase balance and stability in both healthy and aging-frail populations.

When used once a week, research has shown the bioDensity system alone has significantly increased bone mass density, stability and functional movement with multiple ages, health conditions and for both genders.

Learn more about how we can help you create a customized fitness for seniors program that counteracts the signs of aging while helping to maintain weight management and increase bone and joint health.

Boys are Becoming Less Fit

Boys have become less fit over the past 20 years – even boys who aren’t overweight, according to a new study that emphasizes the need to stress child fitness and not just pounds or body mass.

As reported in U.S. News & World Report, “The research, conducted by the European Association for the Study of Obesity in Malaga, Spain, tested the aerobic fitness of 11-year-old boys by measuring heart rate recovery, the speed at which the heart rate returns to normal after exercise. The use of the metric as a gauge for physical fitness and the risk of cardiovascular diseases was based on a recent study that showed children with higher body mass index, or BMI, had slower heart rate recovery, suggesting a potential connection between healthier body weight and faster heart rate recovery.”

According to the study, “Healthy-weight boys in 2016 ran the course an average of 4.8 times, as opposed to the average of 5.1 times completed by their 1996 counterparts.  Obese boys showed a less pronounced difference, completing the distance an average of 4.1 times in 2016 compared with 4.2 times in 1996. Both normal-weight and obese boys showed much lower cardiac efficacy and slower heart rate recovery at the end of the test and throughout recovery in 2016 compared to 1996.”

How can parents encourage boys and tweens to become healthier?  In my opinion, make physical activities and games FUN for the whole family!  The key to successful participation is creativity and positive reinforcement as well as scheduling a regular time during the week as “family playtime” so children will learn to emulate their parents.  Families need to work – and play – together to enhance physical fitness while building stronger relationships.  With an integrated approach, parents, grandparents and children can create fun, recreational games that also increase self-esteem – and help families bond – while increasing kids’ physical activity.

  • Celebrate the beginning of summer and get moving!  Schedule one afternoon a week for the family to do yard work together.  Studies show that you can burn about 350 calories an hour mowing the lawn or 175 calories for 30 minutes of raking last year’s remaining leaves.  Not only will you get a great workout, your yard will look great too.
  • Help kids read between the lines.  Toby Smithson, RDN, CDE, founder of DiabetesEveryDay.com and coauthor of the new book, Diabetes Meal Planning and Nutrition for Dummies, explains that it’s key to teach kids, even from a very young age, to be food media literate. “It’s important for parents and children to understand food advertising and to take a stand against it by not always giving in to it, Smithson says. Because children are exposed to thousands of hours of targeted advertising for fast food, snacks, and sugar-sweetened cereal, Smithson urges parents to help their kids read between the lines of food marketing strategies. (You can learn more about food marketing and children by checking out Food Marketing to Youth and other info from Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity.)
  • Play actively. It’s critical to keep your tweens moving throughout the day as much as possible (and to join in on the fun when you can).  Physical activity naturally stimulates chemicals that help clear glucose out of the blood and helps to prevent diabetes.  For most kids, 60 minutes or more of physical activity is recommended daily. (For more ideas to help your kids – and entire family – stay fit, check out Tips for Getting Active by the National Heart Lung, & Blood Institute (NHLBI)).

Do want your son to get off the couch?  Concerned about his weight management?  Searching for a physical activity where your tween will have fun and want to keep coming back?  Try Fitness for Health’s EDGE Athletic Training. Boys will work on mental processing, balance, proprioception, motor planning, motor sequencing, visual motor function, and conditioning. All are areas that will make the difference in sports– and give him an EDGE during game time. Call Chris Garcia at 301-231-7138 to schedule your FREE, one-hour workout.

Exergaming May Help Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI)

It is inevitable. As your brain ages, memory loss is more common and sometimes can become a precursor to dementia.

Although there is no strong scientific evidence that Alzheimer’s can be prevented, older adults with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), often a precursor to Alzheimer’s, showed significant improvement with certain complex thinking and memory skills after exergaming (combining the fun of video games, cutting-edge, high-tech equipment, and other creative tools with proven fitness tactics—such as heart-pumping movement or core building balance—to help children and adults build their strength, fitness, and self-confidence while having the most fun possible), according to a new study published in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience.

The results could encourage seniors, caregivers and health care providers to pursue or prescribe exergames (video games that also require physical exercise) in hopes of slowing the debilitating effects of those with MCI, sometimes a stage between normal brain aging and dementia.

“It’s promising data,” said Cay Anderson-Hanley, associate professor of psychology at Union College and the study’s lead author. “Exergaming is one more thing that could be added to the arsenal of tools to fight back against this cruel disease.”

“The goal is to explore even more effective ways to prevent or ameliorate cognitive decline in older adults by tailoring accessibility and level of mental engagement in interactive cognitive and physical exercise,” Anderson-Hanley said. “The results suggest that the best outcome for brain health may result when we do both: move it and use it.”

As you age, regular exercise is more important than ever to your body and mind.  And, fitness for seniors – and those of us who are baby boomers – can be fun using exergaming!

Fitness for Health is proud to utilize state-of-the-art exergaming in our Fitness for Seniors program to ensure fitness remains fun.  Not only is exercise is good for your heart, it’s also good for your brain. Exercising when young and fitness for seniors benefits regular brain functions and can help keep the brain active, which can prevent memory loss, cognitive decline, and dementia. Any exercise that gets the heart pumping may reduce the risk of dementia and slow the condition’s progression once it starts, reports a Mayo Clinic study published in October 2011 in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

Additionally, exercise boosts mood and self-confidence.  It is a fact that people have a higher rate of depression as they age.  Endorphins produced by exercise can actually help you feel better and reduce feelings of sadness. Being active and feeling strong naturally helps you feel more self-confident and improves your self-image.

Now that you know the importance of exercise for the young – and the young-at-heart, I hope to see you in the gym!

As you age, staying active mentally is just as important as staying active physically. At Fitness for Health, we can help you achieve both using our exergaming program. Our unique approach to senior wellness focuses on helping you strengthen and maintain the skills that other workouts often overlook. Learn how our Fitness for Seniors program can help you maintain weight management, increase bone and joint health and improve your cognitive abilities.

Make New Friends By Improving Social Skills

In honor of Friday, May 25th’s, Tweens & Teens Think It, Move It for Students with Social Challenges program, I’d like to discuss the importance of social skills for children.

Social skills form the foundation of our ability to make lifelong, personal connections.  They are the basis for our home, community and school relationships which tie us to other people.

Now that the school year is ending, let’s focus on summer relationships.  Summer camps are a great venue where children learn cooperation, develop friendships, improve self-esteem and establish positive outlooks while ultimately improving kids’ health.

How can you help your tween or teen – with or without special needs – improve his/her social skills this summer?

  • Smile and initiate conversation. Ask your child to smile and greet one new child each day during summer camp. Just say, “Hi” while making eye contact.  This is often enough to reduce the pressure and begin some conversations that build toward relationships.
  • Listen. Teach your teen that conversations are a 2-way street.  Just as your child would like her opinions heard, her new friend would like to discuss her thoughts and feelings.
  • Question. Asking others polite questions about themselves is a great way for your tween to learn about his new friend and look for common interests for building friendships. Teach your child how having others talk about themselves is a good way for your child to help others feel important and valued. It also removes pressure from your tween because he does not have to carry the conversation. In time, he will begin to feel more comfortable around these students and interacting with others.
  • Empathize. Remind your teen to always remember that she should be sensitive to others’ reactions. She should not only think of herself but also consider the feelings of others.
  • Take risks. Putting yourself out there to meet new people can be scary – for children and adults alike.  Encourage your tween to take small steps and don’t be upset if every interaction isn’t perfect.  The important part is your teen is trying to make new friends.

On behalf of Fitness for Health, I wish you and your child a happy summer filled with new friends!

Does your son have low self-esteem? Does your daughter experience difficulty while trying to make new friends?  Does your child have special needs? Fitness for Health can help your child blossom.

At Fitness for Health, a state-of-the-art, therapeutic fitness facility in the Washington, DC, Area created to improve adult and fitness for kids, 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. As a parent, you’re involved every step of the way.

Each plan of care combines evidence-based, therapeutic techniques with our innovative exergamingequipment—from a 30-foot trampoline to a 3-D virtual reality gaming system—to help your child improve his/her motor skills, fitness and self-esteem in the most fun way imaginable. Learn how Fitness for Healthcan help your child reach his/her full potential.

Join Fitness for Health and Center for Communication and Learning on Friday, 5/25, from 7pm – 9pm for our Tweens and Teens Think It, Move It for Students with Social Challenges program for ages 11-16. This unique program will combine the introduction of social thinking concepts with motor development. Our tweens and teens will receive didactic teaching followed by practice in a small group led by a speech pathologist and fitness staff. Following that, each student will practice what they have learned in our amazing exergaming facility.

Reimbursement of costs for the program may be available for insurance coverage and/or flexible health spending accounts.

Are you looking for a social skills program this summer? Learn more about our B Social Team Building for Adolescents with Social Challenges (ages 11-16) taking place this August.  Our B Social Team Building Program focuses on developing your adolescent’s social competency and is geared for students with ADD/ADHD, Asperger’s, Social Communication Disorder, and Autism Spectrum Disorder.  Social thinking® is more than just about being social. The skills and strategies we teach will impact their performance at school, in the community, and throughout their lives.

Our dynamic and unique program facilitates the development of:

  • Social Awareness
  • Flexible Thinking
  • Perspective Taking
  • Team Problem Solving
  • Theory of Mind
  • Mindfulness
  • Collaboration
  • Reciprocal Communication
  • Social Problem Solving
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Team Communication

Learn more today!

Bullying in the Special Needs Community

In honor of the end of Autism Awareness Month in April, let’s highlight bullying in the special needs community.  Whether face-to-face, nasty notes, harassing cell phone voicemails or cyber stalking, bullying has become an epidemic.

There are numerous statistics about childhood bullying and its growth in the computer age.  We know with certainty that bullying of children with disabilities is significant but, unfortunately, there has been very little research to document the harassment of this population segment.

Only 10 U.S. studies have been conducted on the connection between bullying and developmental disabilities, but all of these studies found that children with special needs were two to three times more likely to be bullied than their peers.  According to PACER’S National Bullying Prevention Center, one study has shown that 60 percent of students with disabilities report being bullied regularly compared with 25 percent of total students.

This should be disheartening to each of us and should act as a wake-up call to government legislators, educators and parents.

Because bullying involves an imbalance of physical or psychological power, students with special needs are especially vulnerable and frequently targeted.  For example, in the fall of 2009, responses to a Massachusetts Advocates for Children online survey asked about the extent of bullying against children on the autism spectrum.  Nearly 90 percent of parents responded that their children had been bullied. These findings are applicable to most students with disabilities.

All children deserve to feel safe in school.  The Federation for Children with Special Needs lists a few ways parents can support a child with special needs who is being bullied:

  • Tell your child that this is not his or her fault, and that your child did nothing wrong.
  • Gently emphasize that above all, your child should not retaliate or attempt to fight or hit the bully.
  • Role-play ignoring the bully or walking away.
  • With your child, make a list of adults in school he or she can go to for help, such as counselors or administrators.
  • Arrange for him or her to see friends on the weekends, and plan fun activities with the family.

Children and young adults with learning disabilities and special needs are undoubtedly at increased risk of being bullied.  And, unfortunately, a person’s disability can make it difficult to identify the type of bullying that is occurring. It is important for both teachers and parents to take the time to clearly define and describe bullying behaviors for children with special needs, so they can identify bullying and notify adults if they experience or witness bullying.

We, as a society, have somehow moved away from teaching our children about empathy and compassion. We, as parents and educators, have moved far away from teaching kids that, just because someone is different, it does not mean that they are a target to bully and tease.

As a person with A.D.D. and the founder of  Fitness for Health, a therapeutic, exercise facility for children and adults with special needs in the Washington, DC, Region , I believe that we need to relearn and re-emphasize respect and human decency for everyone. It is every parent and educator’s responsibility to speak to our kids about why some people are different and answer any questions that they have openly and honestly.  Only then, we may have the opportunity to create happier and healthier kids at school and less bullying.

Fitness for Health is proud to offer fitness programs created specifically for the special needs community that help improve self-esteem, weight management and kids’ health while helping children reach their full potential.

Better Hearing & Speech Month

With almost 15% of U.S. children aged 6 – 19 experiencing hearing loss, it is a great time to celebrate Better Hearing & Speech Month in May.

Did you know that about 2-3 of every 1,000 children in the United States are born with a detectable hearing loss in one or both ears? And, according to the Hearing Loss Association of America, while people in the workplace with the mildest hearing losses show little or no drop in income compared to their normal hearing peers, as the hearing loss increases, so does the reduction in compensation.

To help a child with hearing loss reach their full academic – and career – potential, the American Speech-Language – Hearing Association (ASHA) recommends the following to parents:

  • Know Your Child’s Rights – All children in the Unites States are entitled to free appropriate public education under the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Education services designed to meet the individual educational needs of qualified students with disabilities (including hearing loss) are provided by school districts.
  • Maximize Achievement – When it comes to managing hearing loss in schools, the use of an individualized education program (IEP) maximizes a child’s success in the educational setting. The IEP may specify audiology services, speech-language pathology services, and services of teachers of the deaf or hard of hearing. Parents have a right to participate in these meetings and are a vital part of the process.
  • Champion Classroom Technology – Technology, such as an FM system, can make it easier for a child using a hearing aid or cochlear implant to hear and understand speech in a noisy classroom. Other technology solutions, such as a sound-field system, can benefit all kids in the classroom. Your IEP team should consider the specific and unique technology needs of your child.
  • Encourage Effective Teaching Strategies – Talk to your child’s teacher about easy ways for them to help your child. Basic strategies—such as seating a child near the front, not turning one’s back while speaking, giving both verbal and written instructions on assignments, and using visual aids—can go a long way.
  • Educate about Noisy Classrooms – Noise makes it more difficult for children with hearing loss to hear classroom instruction, and it is actually a distraction for many children. Inform school personnel about ways they can make classrooms quieter. Easy techniques include placing rugs or carpets over bare floors, turning off noisy classroom equipment when not in use, and placing latex-free caps on chair legs.

About Fitness for Health:            

Fitness for Health is a therapeutic fitness facility located in Rockville, MD.  At Fitness for Health, you get a complete team—including pediatric fitness specialists,  pediatric physical therapists and occupational therapists, and physical therapists for adults—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.

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.