“Sadfishing”

Have you ever heard of “sadfishing”?  When someone solicits attention online by posting something emotional, it’s known as “sadfishing.” But some younger social media users can view emotional posts as just a way to get attention and miss the signs of serious distress.

According to a report based on interviews with more than 50,000 students ages 11 to 16, troubled children who genuinely seek emotional support online feel worse when other users suggest they’re simply trying to get attention.

It can be tricky for a teenager – or a parent – to decipher a friend’s social media postings since people may often vent or post messages with a particular audience (or individual) in mind.

Do you know how to recognize the signs that someone is in distress?

“If they seem to be having a hard time and it comes out of the blue, that could be a sign they need help,” says Shoshana Bennett, PhD, a clinical psychologist from California.

“If this person is typically dramatic and posts often in this manner, you’ll probably react differently than if the post is out of character and unusual,” Bennett said. “No matter what, if a friend talks seriously about hurting himself, check in and make sure he’s OK, or connect with mutual friends to find out if anyone else has already done so.”

If the person tends to discuss not wanting to live, it should be taken seriously.

Are you concerned about someone you know and want to take action?

According to Healthline, “Before responding, consider if you think the person is just having a hard time, or if they’re suicidal. That can help you tailor your response. Reach out via a private mention, call, or have a conversation in person. Tell them you saw their post and are concerned, or offer up a referral to counseling or a mental health support hotline.

Responding to posts online can influence mental health, so be mindful if you respond. Saying something careless could be even more distressing, as well as minimizing someone’s pain.

“If someone is deeply troubled and the issue isn’t a quick, temporary situation, social media can at least be a catalyst for the person to hopefully get professional help,” Bennett said. “It can be very reassuring to receive messages online from others who are compassionate.”

If you know someone who is in a serious mental health crisis, please encourage your friend to contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.

Did you know that exercise can help alleviate depression? Fitness for Health believes that a strong mind-body connection can improve your health and wellness. Learn more about Fitness for Health at www.FitnessForHealth.org.

Is Your Child “Specializing” In a Sport?

Autumn is here and fall sports are in full swing.  Does your child “specialize” in a sport?

A new study, published in Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine on September 18, finds that kids who specialize in a chosen sport tend to engage in higher levels of vigorous exercise than their peers and may be more likely to sustain injuries, such as stress fractures, tendinitis and ACL tears.

“But if we send out a message that says kids shouldn’t specialize, the worry is that parents and kids will just add another sport on top,” said study author Alison Field, a professor of epidemiology and pediatrics at Brown University. “So they’ll keep their current sport and do it at a very high level and just add one more sport so they’re not ‘specializing.’ That would really increase their volume, so it probably would not be a good idea.”

Instead, Field said the best recommendation is to moderate the amount of time young athletes spend engaging in vigorous physical activity — and if they must specialize in a sport, replace some of their training with different forms of exercise, such as yoga and conditioning.

Field said a common fear among parents is that if their children don’t play more and more, they’ll fall behind in their sport and won’t ultimately be as good of an athlete.

“But it may actually be the opposite,” she said. “If children do too much, they may get injured and fall behind. And it’s important also to remember that they should enjoy doing their sport; it should be something that doesn’t overwhelm their life.”

In addition to founding Fitness for Health, a state-of-the-art, therapeutic, fitness facility in the Washington, DC, region, I have been a Certified Athletic Trainer for almost 30 years. I recommend that before playing organized sports, make sure your child receives a pre-participation physical exam, or PPE, performed by a doctor or a nurse practitioner or qualified clinician under the supervision of a physician. Whomever performs the exam, the same practices should be followed including the need for a medical history.

Additionally, remind your young athletes to listen to their bodies.  If something just doesn’t feel right, tell them to let a coach know or tell you as the parent. Missing a few minutes of a practice or game isn’t the end of the world and may prevent serious injury. Would your child rather sit out a game as a precaution or miss the divisional play-offs because he strained a muscle?

Sports should be an enjoyable activity and give your child the opportunity to learn value lessons such as teamwork, cooperation, and sportsmanship. Most of all, competition should be fun!

Would your child like to have an athletic edge on the court or field this summer?  Fitness for Health offers athletic training and performance development.

Most athletes only train to improve their speed, strength, agility and conditioning.  That just isn’t enough.  Our one-on-one and group children’s athletic performance development sessions help 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 and planning and visual motor skills.

React faster, improve hand-eye coordination, think faster and up your game using state-of-the-art exergaming equipment.  Learn more today at www.FitnessForHealth.org.

Simple Changes to Help You Stay in Your Home and Age in Place Safely

I am proud to bring you a guest article today from June Duncan.  June is the co-creator of Rise Up for Caregivers, which offers support for family members and friends who have taken on the responsibility of caring for their loved ones. She is author of the upcoming book, The Complete Guide to Caregiving: A Daily Companion for New Senior Caregivers.

Enjoy!

Understandably, most seniors would like to live in the comfort of their own homes for as long as possible. One of the greatest safety concerns of living in your own home as you age is the risk of a fall in your house. Falling is the leading cause of fatal injury for seniors, and your home can be a dangerous place to get hurt if you live alone. Thankfully, there are some simple changes you can make to help you stay in your home and age in place safely.

Making Some Modifications in Your Home

Updating and installing some modifications in your home will help create a safer environment. According to NewsUSA, the majority of falls occur in the bathroom due to the hard, slippery surfaces. To help prevent falls, install grab bars inside the shower and beside the toilet for you to hold onto if you need. Also, add some non-slip mats to the inside of your shower and bathtub and to the bathroom floor in front of your sink and tub. Other hazards in your home are exposed cords. So, walk through your house and make sure that all plugs and cords are securely tucked along the wall. You may want to consider adding lights to illuminate the hallways and rooms at night to avoid tripping over small furniture.

Hire Outside Help

Another difficult aspect of living in your home as you age is managing your household. Routine cleaning chores, such as scrubbing toilets and dusting the ceiling fans, are difficult or even dangerous for seniors. A simple solution is to hire a professional cleaning service to regularly come and clean your home. If it is in your budget (these services average $170 a cleaning in New York City), this is a great option to help you take good care of your home with the risk of injury to you. A clean house isn’t just for appearance sake; it also helps keep your overall health in good shape.

Increase Your Strength and Balance

In addition to modifying your home and finding help care for it, you can also improve your ability to age in place in the comfort of your home by increasing your physical strength and balance. Despite all your best efforts to prevent hazards in your home, the best way to prevent a fall is to have the strength to catch yourself. According to Prevention, tai chi is a great way for you to improve your flexibility and balance. You can also build your strength by lifting light weights (you can pick up some affordable hand weights at retailers such as Walmart for around $2.96), practicing chair squats, and doing side leg lifts. Before beginning any new exercise routine, be sure to check with your doctor first to make sure it’s safe for you.

Have an Emergency Plan in Place

Even if you follow all these tips and are confident in your ability to prevent falls within your home, it’s still a good idea to have a plan in place in the event of an emergency. According to Forbes, there are many tech options on the market that can help you alert someone or call for help. Smart watches, smart home consoles, and voice-activated devices, for example, are all helpful devices to get you help and medical attention if you need it.

Think About the Future

Unfortunately, there might be a time at some point when an assisted living facility will best suit your loved one’s needs. For example, if he or she has trouble dressing, cooking, or taking care of any basic necessities, then they could benefit from a place that can help them address these concerns. Even if you think this won’t become an issue anytime soon, it’s never too early to start looking for an assisted living facility in your area. In addition to researching and visiting any facility that catches your eye, you need to compare prices to ensure you find one that you or your loved one can comfortably afford. For example, in New York City, prices average almost $6,000 a month, depending on the type of facility you have in mind.

Aging in place doesn’t have to be scary. By making modifications in your house, hiring professional cleaners, improving your own physical strength, and having an emergency plan in place, you can rest assured that you are safe in your own home for many years to come.

About Fitness for Health:

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.

Exercise as Medicine for the ADD and ADHD Communities

October is ADHD Awareness Month.  As many of you know, I have ADD and created Fitness for Health because I wanted to help children faced with the same challenges and assist them in achieving their maximize potential via physical fitness.

One ADD/ADHD treatment that doesn’t require a prescription or a visit to a physician’s office is exercise.  Research is finding that participating in a regular fitness routine can improve cognitive ability.

“Exercise turns on the attention system, the so-called executive functions — sequencing, working memory, prioritizing, inhibiting, and sustaining attention,” writes John Ratey, M.D., an associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and author of Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain (Little, Brown).  “On a practical level, it causes kids to be less impulsive, which makes them more primed to learn.”

Exercise is essential for everyone – especially people with ADD and ADHD.  Exercise increases blood flow to the brain and, in the process, stimulates the release of brain-derived neurotropic factors (BDNF) which promote the growth of new brain cells (neurons).  When you exercise, your brain releases chemicals called neurotransmitters, including dopamine, which helps with attention and clear thinking. People with ADD and ADHD often have less dopamine than usual in their brains.  Therefore, exercise is a vital component of treatment for ADD and ADHD and is something that makes it easier to sustain mental focus for extended periods of time.

Research has shown that innovative and creative approaches to fitness have helped kids – and adults – of all ages and abilities enjoy the benefits of physical activity.  In my nearly 30 years of experience as a Certified Athletic Trainer and as a person with ADD, I suggest these fitness tips:

  • Set aside a specific time each day for fitness. If you know that you or your child has extra energy in the late afternoon, plan to workout at 5pm each day.  This will allow the person an opportunity to unwind from a hectic day and better regulate energy needed to complete homework, cook dinner or plan for the next day.  By organizing your fitness routine, you can help yourself stay on task and better manage your time.
  • Exercise every day. Exercise will help increase blood flow and release endorphins that will boost your mood and help clear your mind.
  • Choose an activity that is vigorous and fun. If you look forward to working out, you are more likely to stick to your fitness routine.  Join a team sport or schedule walks with a neighbor.  Plan a family fun night where one night each week is designated for Wii games, dance contests, sledding or any activity that gets your family moving.  By exercising as a family, you not only have the opportunity to bond but also create lifelong memories.
  • Take advantage of fitness technology. Do you stress over documenting your fitness milestones?  Try Google’s “My Tracks.”  My Tracks activates location data from GPS, cellular tower data and Wi-Fi to automatically record your speed, distance and path when you walk, run, bike or do any outdoor activity. To ensure you stay on task, you can view your data live and hear “periodic voice announcements of your progress.”
  • Add meditation to your fitness routine. In addition to relieving stress, yoga or tai chi can help you focus your attention and improve impulse control.

If you or a loved one have ADD or ADHD, the daily demands of school, work and family can seem overwhelming. But, by using exercise as a “medicine,” you can become more organized, better able to concentrate and use your newfound focus to tackle new challenges.

To learn how Fitness for Health helps children and adults with special and/or behavioral difficulties improve their cognitive abilities through exercise, call us at 301-231-7138 to schedule a free tour of our facility.

About Fitness for Health:

Fitness for Health has been recognized as Washington Family Magazine’s 2016, 2017 and 2018 Best Special Needs Program and Best Special Needs Camp in the DC Area and a finalist for About.com’s Readers’ Choice Award for Best Special Needs Resource in the D.C. Region.  At Fitness for Health, you get a complete team—including fitness specialists, physical therapists, and occupational therapists—working together to create a full-service plan of care that’s expertly tailored to you or your child’s developmental, skill and comfort levels while using cutting-edge, exergaming technology. As a parent, you’re involved every step of the way.

Areas of improvement may include:

  • Functional movement / play skills
  • Gross motor function and coordination
  • Crossing the midline
  • Mental processing
  • Motor planning and motor sequencing
  • Eye-hand coordination
  • Locomotor skills
  • Visual motor/perceptual motor skills
  • Proprioception and balance
  • Age-appropriate social skills

Most of Fitness for Health’s exergaming equipment tracks results as they happen, so your child can gain the confidence that comes from seeing his or her performance improve over time. Learn more about our Success Builds Success approach.

Is Your Child Scared of Gym Class?

The school year has begun!  And, that means the return of the sometimes dreaded gym class.

Physical education (PE) classes at school cause fear and anxiety for many children. If your child is nervous at gym class time, these tips will help your child address his/her anxieties and learn to manage anxious situations.

Some kids love PE and look forward to burning off energy during gym class, but for others, PE is the most dreaded time of the school day. They may be embarrassed about their lack of athletic ability or self-conscious about their weight.

As the founder of Fitness for Health, a therapeutic fitness facility using innovative exergaming technology, I’ve seen firsthand how fear of gym class can keep kids from enjoying school, social activities and prohibit them from achieving a healthy lifestyle now and later in life.

Here are four tips for parents of children nervous about PE:

  • Be proactive. Find out which sports/physical activities your child will play in gym class. Practice ahead of time with your child so he/she won’t be as self-conscious when playing those games with peers at school. Kick the soccer ball around the backyard, shoot baskets in the driveway or work on serving for volleyball.
  • If you are unable to practice with your child, contact a children’s gym to register him/her for fitness or sports classes.  Children’s gyms can be a fun transition into PE class because the child can learn that fitness can be enjoyable and that all sports skills can be learned with dedication and hard work over time.  It also gives the child positive reinforcement while working at his/her own pace and the self-confidence to try new skills without the fear of peer ridicule.
  • Help your child laugh at himself/herself. Playing with your child is a great time to demonstrate how to make light of your personal, athletic weaknesses. Keep the games lighthearted and fun and don’t forget to ensure that your child understands that gym class doesn’t need to be taken so seriously.
  • Encourage your child to embrace a lifelong, healthy active lifestyle. There are many ways to stay fit, not just team sports. Give your child the opportunity to try out different activities, from swimming to hiking to dance to flag football. Some kids may like working out at a fitness center while others may like to take a jog around the neighborhood while taking that time to reflect on the day’s events.

It’s hard to watch your child suffer. But, PE class can offer a teachable moment by allowing your child to learn to overcome difficult situations with grace and determination.  A child won’t like every sport played in gym class, but maybe he/she will find a new physical activity that will be loved into adulthood!

To learn how Fitness for Health can help your child improve his or her gym class fundamentals by participating in fun, fitness programs designed specifically for children and teenagers, visit www.FitnessForHealth.org or call 301-231-7138 to schedule a free tour of our children’s fitness facility. Or, join us on Sunday, October 6, from 5pm – 6pm for our Open House.

Combat “Chemo Brain”

In honor of the beginning of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I’d like to highlight  how to combat “Chemo Brain” today.

If you or a loved one has suffered through breast cancer, you may have heard of “Chemo Brain.”  This is a common term used by cancer survivors to describe thinking and memory problems that can occur after cancer treatment.  After chemo, people commonly feel foggy and cognitive abilities can suffer.

A 2015 study suggests that aerobic exercise can fight the effects of “Chemo Brain.”  The study included 20 women who were on average 53 years old, had been treated for breast cancer within the past three years and had reported cognitive difficulties.  The researchers instructed half of the participants to exercise for six months, while the other half didn’t exercise and served as controls for the study.

“The results showed that compared to the control group, the women who exercised had improvements in several parts of the psychological tests, including verbal fluency, visual attention and switching between tasks. They also reported better quality of life and improvements in their thinking and memory,” according to the study that was presented at the 2015 annual meeting of the American Society for Clinical Oncology.

Additionally, aerobic exercise can combat fatigue in cancer patients and survivors while increasing quality of life.

The American Cancer Society explains how exercise can help during and after cancer treatment:

  • Keep or improve your physical abilities (how well you can use your body to do things)
  • Improve balance, lower risk of falls and broken bones
  • Keep muscles from wasting due to inactivity
  • Lower the risk of heart disease
  • Lessen the risk of osteoporosis (weak bones that are more likely to break)
  • Improve blood flow to your legs and lower the risk of blood clots
  • Make you less dependent on others for help with normal activities of daily living
  • Improve your self-esteem
  • Lower the risk of being anxious and depressed
  • Lessen nausea
  • Improve your ability to keep social contacts
  • Lessen symptoms of tiredness (fatigue)
  • Help you control your weight
  • Improve your quality of life

A growing number of studies have looked at the impact of physical activity on cancer recurrence and long-term survival. Exercise has been shown to improve cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength, body composition, fatigue, anxiety, depression, self-esteem, happiness and several quality of life factors in cancer survivors.  According to the American Cancer Society’s website, “At least 20 studies of people with breast, colorectal, prostate and ovarian cancer have suggested that physically active cancer survivors have a lower risk of cancer recurrence and improved survival compared with those who are inactive.”

If you have been affected by cancer, it is critical that you maintain physical activity.  In the short-term, exercise may be the last thing on your mind and you may feel that you are too tired to begin a fitness program.  In the long-term, if you battle through the fatigue, you will gain energy, achieve better self-image and regain your cognitive abilities.

Do you need help taking the first step? Whether you are looking for a fitness for seniors program or to improve your bone and joint health, Fitness for Health’s one-on-one, exercise programs can help strengthen your body and your mind. Visit www.FitnessForHealth.org for more information.

How to Involve Kids in a Healthy Lifestyle

Today, I am happy to bring you a guest article from Anita Fernandes.  Anita has been writing extensively on health and wellness for more than a decade.  She has expertise in nutrition, fitness, public health, and weight loss and has contributed content to a variety of leading digital health publishers.  Anita has a unique perspective on healthy living and lifestyle, as she has battled and overcome eating disorders and obesity.  She shares her experiences in an effort to help others overcome the physical and mental health problems that can sometimes seem insurmountable. 

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In recent years, young kids and teens have turned to an increasingly sedentary lifestyle. In fact, teens today have the same physical activity levels as 60-year olds. Excessive screen time including watching TV, playing video games and online chatting have contributed heavily towards this trend. This sedentary lifestyle also leads to other unhealthy habits such as poor eating habits and inadequate sleep. The good news is that there are several ways to encourage your kids to move towards a healthy lifestyle.

How to Involve Kids in a Healthy Lifestyle

  1. Encourage sports and physical activity

Studies show that kids and teens spend 7+ hours a day on average in front of screens (mobile, TV, computer). It is important for kids to stay active during their formative years as overweight teens have a 70% chance of suffering from weight gain and obesity as adults. A simple way to encourage your kids to stay active is to schedule family move night instead of your regular movie night. This can be any sort of physical activity including dancing or games. Let your kids pick the activity or if they are older, you can encourage them to come up with their own games. Staying active together will also help to build stronger relationships and improve your kids’ self-esteem. You can also enrol your children in fitness programs for kids that use exergaming (exercise + gaming) to motivate youngsters to get active.

  1. Include kids in meal prep

A balanced diet is one of the main components of a healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately, including kids in meal prep requires considerable time, patience and even extra clean-up. This can pose quite the challenge for parents with busy work schedules. You can involve your kids in meal prepping by getting them involved in menu planning and even their daily lunchboxes. Use grocery shopping trips to teach them about food groups and healthy food vs unhealthy food. Meal prep over the weekend so that your kids can get involved in the process. This will also help your child gain a sense of accomplishment as they are able to contribute to the family. Kids who learn to eat healthy are less likely to suffer from weight problems such as weight gain and obesity.

  1. Make soda substitutes at home

Soda is one of the most popular drinks for kids as studies show that 30% of all kids in the US consume 2 or more of these sugary drinks every day. Soda has been linked to several health issues including diabetes, heart disease, obesity and weaker bones. The high sugar content in sodas also has a detrimental effect on oral health, which in turn increases the risk of respiratory infections such as pneumonia. Teach your kids about the impact of soda on their health and help them develop a taste for healthier alternatives. For instance, you can take them grocery shopping and allow them to pick out the ingredients for lemonade or ice tea. If they are old enough, they can even help to make these drinks for the entire family.

  1. Have regular sleep timings for the entire family

Sleep is an important but often overlooked aspect of a healthy lifestyle. Most of us have packed schedules and as a result we tend to sacrifice our sleep. Recent reports show that 40% of Americans sleep for 6 hours or less each night which is less than the recommended 7-8 hours. Children learn from example so make sure that you have a regular sleep timings for the entire family. Younger kids require more sleep as compared to their older siblings – kids between 3 to 6 years require about 10 hours while kids who are 6 to 9 years old require 9 hours and teens require 8 hours. Involve your child in the family bedtime routine by allowing them to switch off the lights and perform any other pre-bedtime rituals.

  1. Encourage your child to develop lasting friendships

A healthy diet and regular exercise is important for your child’s well-being but you should also help them develop their social skills. Help your child form friendships early as it is an integral part of their social and emotional development. Studies show that there is a positive link between friendships and the development of attributes such as self-confidence, self-esteem and social competence. If your child is shy or nervous about making friends, you can allow him to help you bake a batch of cookies for the other children. This is a great way to help him make friends as he will feel more self-confident when he proudly tells them that he helped to make the cookies.

 

Shifting your family from a sedentary lifestyle towards a more active one will help all of you lead happier and healthier lives. National guidelines recommend that kids get a minimum of 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day. A simple way to meet this requirement is to exercise together as a family, after all, the family that plays together, stays together!

About Fitness for Health:

Looking for a fun activity for the whole family? Make fitness fun and schedule a Family Workout! Pretend you are on your own impossible mission and try to navigate our laser maze without breaking a laser beam! Chase lights and make them disappear on our Light Floor and Wall! Climb a rock wall or two…in our glow-in-the-dark room! Jump to your heart’s content on our 30′ long trampoline and so much more!  Visit www.FitnessForHealth.org or call us at 301-231-7138 to learn more.

Is Your Mouthwash Mitigating Some of the Health Benefits of Your Exercise?

Do you use mouthwash?  A new study suggests that using mouthwash may lessen the blood pressure-lowering effects of exercise.

An international team of scientists has shown that the blood pressure-lowering effect of exercise is significantly reduced when people rinse their mouths with antibacterial mouthwash, rather than water — showing the importance of oral bacteria in cardiovascular health.

The researchers now suggest that health professionals should pay attention to the oral environment when recommending interventions involving physical activity for high blood pressure.

The study was led by the University of Plymouth in collaboration with the Centre of Genomic Regulation in Barcelona (Gabaldon’s lab), Spain, and was published in the journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine.

Craig Cutler, study co-author who conducted the research as part of his PhD at the University of Plymouth, said, “These findings show that nitrite synthesis by oral bacteria is hugely important in kick-starting how our bodies react to exercise over the first period of recovery, promoting lower blood pressure and greater muscle oxygenation.”

“In effect, it’s like oral bacteria are the ‘key’ to opening up the blood vessels. If they are removed, nitrite can’t be produced and the vessels remain in their current state. Existing studies show that, exercise aside, antibacterial mouthwash can actually raise blood pressure under resting conditions, so this study followed up and showed the mouthwash impact on the effects of exercise.”

Cutler continued, “The next step is to investigate in more detail the effect of exercise on the activity of oral bacteria and the composition of oral bacteria in individuals under high cardiovascular risk. Long-term, research in this area may improve our knowledge for treating hypertension — or high blood pressure — more efficiently.”

Are you or your family in need of fitness assistance?  Fitness for Health can help your family create a healthy, active lifestyle while having fun.  We offer customized exercise programs designed to fit your exact needs and help you reach your unique health goals. And, we offer family workouts so families can become active together.  Visit www.FitnessForHealth.org to learn about our programs or call us at 301-231-7138.

A Senior’s Guide to Looking & Feeling Young

I am happy to bring you a guest article today from the team of medical experts at Capillus, the world’s first, clinically-proven, FDA-cleared laser cap to treat hair loss. This is an essential resource for the millions of both women and men with thinning hair or at risk for thinning hair, a condition that affects up to 50% of adult women and 80% of adult men.

Fitness for Health does not endorse any products or services that may be offered.

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Everyone gets older, but we almost all feel uneasy about the process. As we get older, there is a desire to maintain our physical youth—to look and feel decades younger than we actually are. While concerns about aging might arise, from progressive hair loss to the arrival of joint pains, there are ways in which traditional aging can be prevented. To stop time from passing, we can all take specific measures to improve our senior years, making mindful decisions to better our health even as the years pass. Here are some of the best ways you can improve your health for the future, taking steps to look and feel younger with every passing season.

Spend Little Time in the Sun

Over-exposure to direct sunlight will age your skin, producing skin spots and wrinkles over time. While you should avoid direct sunlight, especially on those hot summer days, you should make sure to put on sunscreen if you plan on spending the day outdoors. If you’d like to take it a step further, consider wearing a hat and long-sleeve shirts or pants to protect yourself from harmful UV rays.

Moisturize Daily

Just as you should wear sunscreen if you plan on being out in the sun, it’s in your best interest to keep your skin moisturized. Dryness exaggerates skin aging over time, so it’s smart to protect your skin with a daily moisturizer. Find one that is meant for the whole body, as you can effectively moisturize your face, arms, and body with such a product.

 Drink Enough Water Every Day

While moisturizers and sunscreen will protect you from environmental dryness, you also need to protect yourself from within. Dehydration has numerous negative side effects, from fatigue and poor sleeping habits; moreover, dehydration will lead to poor skin and physical conditions, including dry skin, painful joints, pale skin tone, dizziness, and more. By maintaining a daily fluid intake—the recommended six to eight cups of water per day—you can keep your skin and body healthy for the future. If you’ll be spending the day outside, remember to increase your water intake to make up for any sweating.

Eat a Well-Balanced Diet

We’ve all heard it before, but the benefits of a well-balanced diet cannot be understated. Similar to monitoring your water intake, you should keep a close eye on your diet, staying away from processed foods and emphasizing unsaturated fats, whole grains, low-cholesterol proteins, and fruits and vegetables. A good diet is the key to maintaining all forms of physical health, from skincare to haircare, musculoskeletal health to central nervous system health.

 Stop Smoking

While a cultural habit, smoking is well-documented for its unhealthy traits. Not only will it have a negative effect on your lungs and other organs within your body, but it will help to make you look noticeably older, by creating wrinkles around your mouth and eyes. Furthermore, your skin will look paler and your teeth will become seriously stained. It’s best for you to put out the cigarette if you want to keep yourself breathing easy and feeling physically fresh.

 Drink in Moderation

The health effects of drinking are still largely unknown, whether drinking in moderation can be good for you or negative. Nonetheless, it is known that heavy drinking is bad for your body and mind. If you want to feel clear-headed and free to enjoy your daily activities without feeling slowed down, it’s in your best interest to drink infrequently and in moderation.

 Stay Active

Exercise is incredibly important for anyone getting older. Similar to treating patterned hair loss, it’s best if you can take preventative measures—start exercising earlier rather than later.

Exercise, particularly aerobic exercises (walking, swimming, running, cycling), are great for the overall body, as they help to maintain your physical tone, flexibility, and heart health. Staying fit throughout life is a good way to fend off gaining weight, keeping your heart and lungs strong, and preventing minor injuries from leading to major illnesses. Furthermore, regular exercise has been shown to be beneficial for overall brain health, from improved memory to thinking skills.

 Remain Academically Active

You don’t have to be enrolled in a collegiate class to be mentally active. The benefits to remaining mentally active are innumerable, as they help to maintain memories and keep your wits sharpened. Rather than watching television or the news, consider reading about current events; find new hobbies to learn about and partake in; play thought games that require considerable attention, from sudoku to daily crossword puzzles, chess to backgammon.

 Make Sure You Sleep Well

Just like you should focus on your diet and physical activity, you should be sure to set aside enough time to rest your body, too. Getting enough sleep—usually seven to nine hours a night—is important to keep your body feeling young and lively. Sleep deprivation can have detrimental effects on your mental acuity and lead to physical downsides, causing you to look older, either resulting in bags under the eyes or simply making you look fatigued. If you’ve found yourself having trouble getting enough sleep every night, consider setting aside time during the day for naps. You’ll want to ensure you’re getting enough slow-wave sleep, which is the stage of sleep crucial to forming and maintaining memories.

 Travel and Meet New People

Similar to staying active and training your mind, you should continue having new experiences, whether in new places or with new people. Social activity is important in keeping feel mentally sharp and lively. Not only can you meet new people within the senior community, but you can experience other cultures and people of younger age groups, learning more about the world and opening your mind to the gradually progressing world.

Growing old doesn’t have to be worrisome. With some mindful choices, you can make the most out of your later years, feeling and looking younger than you might think.

About Fitness for Health:

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.

Is Your Teen Impulsive?

Impulsiveness in adolescence isn’t just a phase; it’s biology. And despite all the social factors that define our teen years, the human brain and the brains of other primates go through very similar changes, particularly in the areas that affect self-control. Two researchers review the adolescent brain across species on August 20 in the journal Trends in Neurosciences.

“As is widely known, adolescence is a time of heightened impulsivity and sensation seeking, leading to questionable choices. However, this behavioral tendency is based on an adaptive neurobiological process that is crucial for molding the brain based on gaining new experiences,” says Beatriz Luna of the University of Pittsburgh, who co-authored the review with Christos Constantinidis of Wake Forest School of Medicine.

Taking risks and having thrilling adventures during this period isn’t necessarily a bad thing. “You don’t have this perfect inhibitory control system in adolescence, but that’s happening for a reason. It has survived evolution because it’s actually allowing for new experiences to provide information about the environment that is critical form optimal specialization of the brain to occur,” Luna says.

This all suggests that self-control isn’t just about the ability, in the moment, to inhibit a behavior. “Executive function involves not only reflexive responses but actually being prepared ahead of time to create an appropriate plan. This is the change between the adolescent and adult brain and it is strikingly clear both in the human data and in the animal data,” says Constantinidis.

Ultimately, the authors believe that this phase of development is essential to shaping the adult brain. “It is important for there to be a period where the animal or the human is actively encouraged to explore because gaining these new experiences will help mold what the adult trajectories are going to be,” says Luna. “It’s important to have this conversation and comparison between human and animal models so that we can understand the neural mechanisms that underlie vulnerability during this time for impaired development such as in mental illness, which often emerges in adolescence, but importantly to inform us in how to find ways to correct those trajectories.”

It is also important to remember that social skills increase significantly in nuance and sophistication with age.  Some adolescents’ “errors” are due to the fact that they simply don’t recognize that social rules have changed.  These children and teens need additional guidance in adapting their behavior effectively based on the situation and what they know about the people involved.  This assistance will help illicit the reaction and response that are the social mores.

As the founder of Fitness for Health, a state-of-the-art, therapeutic, fitness center working with children and adults to maintain weight management, obtain occupational therapy or physical therapy, or members of the special needs community to reach their full physical potential, how can I help families develop the ability to better interpret/respond to social interactions?

Fitness for Health is proud to once again offer B Social Teen Hangouts to help teenagers develop their social skills throughout the new school year.

This unique program for ages 11-17 will combine the introduction of social thinking concepts with motor development. Tweens and teens will receive didactic teaching followed by practice in a small group led by Sue Abrams, M.A. CCC-SLP (speech pathologist with Center for Communication and Learning) and Fitness for Health staff.

Sessions will take place on September 27, October 25, and December 6 from 7pm – 8pm at Fitness for Health located at 11140 Rockville Pike in Rockville, MD. One session is $99 or all three sessions are $225. Call 301-231-7138 for more information.