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 steed, 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.

Is Your Gut Blossoming Along With the Spring Flowers?

It’s officially springtime!  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 reach your full potential.

How My Clients with Special Needs Remind Me to Be a Better Person

Today, April 2, marks World Autism Awareness Day.  In honor of April celebrating Autism Awareness Month, I want to thank my clients with special needs who remind me to a better person.

I am lucky. I have a beautiful wife and two amazing kids. I am also the founder and owner of a hi-tech, therapeutic fitness facility in the Washington, DC, area that specializes in helping people with special needs reach their full potential.

As a person with ADD, I understand how difficult it can be for kids – and their families – to navigate therapies, research medical advisors and utilize social skills to make new friends.  I don’t sympathize.  I empathize.  This is why I created Fitness for Health. I wanted families to know that I understand their struggles from firsthand, personal experience.  I want to make fitness fun for the whole family while showing children and teens with special needs that they are amazing, unique people who should be proud of their individuality.

The kids and families with whom I work never cease to amaze me.  I look forward to the time each day when I am able to coach, play and learn from my clients.  Sometimes, I think that I have more fun practicing balance on the trampoline or improving bicep strength on the rock climbing wall than the kids.  They remind me to never give up in the face of adversity and to celebrate the small successes because those tiny improvements add up to significant change.

I want to thank my clients with special needs for allowing me to be myself and trusting me to become a part of your lives. Thank you. I hope that you learn half as much from me as I learn from you.

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, 2017 and 2018 Best Special Needs Camp and Best Special Needs Program in the DC area, Fitness for Health 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
  • 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.

Is Your Child Pouring on the Pounds?

“Citing concern about children’s health, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Heart Association are calling for sugary-drink taxes, limits on marketing to kids and teens, and more precise nutritional information on packaging,” as reported by USA Today.

The two organizations released a statement yesterday announcing that they wanted to see healthy drinks, like water and milk, be the default beverages on kiddie menus and in vending machines, and they encouraged hospitals to serve as examples for how to limit or discourage consumption of sugary drinks.

“Excess consumption of added sugars, especially from sugary drinks, poses a grave health threat to children and adolescents, disproportionately affecting children of minority and low-income communities,” the 12-page paper begins.

Did you know that each 7.5 ounce can of Classic Coke has 90 calories?

You may be sabotaging your family’s weight management and increasing your kids’ odds of developing childhood obesity by satisfying your child’s thirst with the “wrong” drink.

According to Redbook’s “8 Ways You’re Drinking Water Wrong,” even some flavored waters may be considered soda. Some bottled waters use natural fruit favoring to add taste, but others use artificial flavors, colors and sweeteners which should be considered a non-daily treat – like soda. The online article states, “These artificially sweetened waters also tend to be loaded with refined sugar, piling on the calories if you guzzle a few throughout your day…there can be upwards of 120 calories worth of sugar in a standard 20-ounce bottle, or about 50 calories per cup.”

How can you begin to combat obesity?  Drink more water – plain or naturally fruit-enhanced.

The human body is comprised of roughly 60% water and water is vital to your health – especially in the beginning of spring and heading into the heat of summer when your child needs to stay hydrated to stave off heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

  • Your child will lose weight and maintain weight management if he stays hydrated. If his belly feels full, he won’t be as hungry and won’t overeat.
  • Staying hydrated will help your kids exercise because they will have less joint pain and will increase bone and joint health. Joints are fluid filled and you have to drink enough water in order for them to work properly. This is especially true of the discs between your vertebrae. If your child suffers from low back pain, drinking water can help. This is also true for your knees. Water is vital to your joints and keeps them moving freely. Drinking water can reduce pain in your joints by keeping the cartilage soft and hydrated. This is actually how glucosamine helps reduce joint pain, by aiding in cartilage’s absorption of water.  Less pain means more opportunity to exercise and stay fit.

Water is the building block of life and helps with critical functions such as maintaining body temperature, cushioning and protecting vital organs and aiding in digestion.  Therefore, it is vital that kids – and adults – try to drink half their bodyweight in ounces of water (if your weighs 80 pounds, she should drink 40 ounces of water) each day.  Your child’s body will thank her and you’ll be a hero for improving your kids’ health!

Don’t think you can break the soda habit?  Help your family swap out one sugary drink a day with plain or fruit-enhanced water and save yourself – and your kids – 90 calories! By substituting just one can of soda a day, you will lose 14.6 pounds a year, according to researchers.

Fitness for Health can help your family build a healthier body by creating a customized, exercise regimen that addresses your – and your kids’ – unique concerns.  Whether you want to help your child’s weight management,  tone, build muscle, increase flexibility or improve her athletic training, we can help your children reach their goals!  Learn how we can help your family lose weight and combat childhood obesity today!

Young Adult Colon Cancer is on the Rise

Do you think that colon cancer is an “old person’s disease”?  Guess again.  New research shows that rates are rapidly rising in younger adults. If you were born in 1990, you have twice the risk of colon cancer and four times the risk of rectal cancer compared to someone born around 1950, according to a 2017 study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

The study found that people younger than 55 are nearly 60% more likely to be diagnosed with late-stage disease than older adults. “When a 25-year old complains of blood in their stool or of a sudden change in their bowel habits, their primary care physician rarely thinks it could be cancer and doesn’t offer screening tests that can diagnose the problem, like a colonoscopy,” explains Edith Mitchell, MD, program leader of gastrointestinal oncology at the NCI-designated Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson Health in Philadelphia. “As a result, they’re not diagnosed until a much later stage. But it’s amazing how many young patients we now have. I would say that about 40% of my patients now are below age 50.”

How can one work towards weight management and improve athletic training while warding off cancer?  Celebrate spring and get moving!  Schedule one afternoon a week for the family to play in the yard.  By playing a game of tag or chasing your child in circles around the backyard, you not only delight your children, but you also can get your heart rate up and burn some major calories. As Harvard Medical School reports, 30 minutes of running will burn anywhere from 465 to 539 calories in a 155-lb. person. Not only will you get a great workout, your kids will have a blast too while combating childhood obesity.

Are you in need of fitness assistance?  Fitness for Health can help you create a healthy, active lifestyle while having fun and maintaining 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. 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.

Going Green in Honor of St. Patrick’s Day

Happy – almost – St. Patrick’s Day! In honor of the most celebrated Irish holiday of the year, are you going green? No, I don’t mean wearing a shamrock. I mean, are you planning on eating more green fruits and vegetables today – green grapes, honeydew melon, green beans, or asparagus?

Green fruits and vegetables are loaded with important vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin A, Vitamin C, potassium and folate as well as phytochemicals and fiber. Eating a daily diet rich in “greens” can reduce the risk of certain cancers, promote vision, maintain bone and joint health, provide protein for building muscle and help reduce childhood obesity.

Challenge yourself to add more “greens” to your diet. In addition to your “regular” intake of green apples, broccoli and spinach, try one new green fruit or vegetable every week.

  • Edamame – Did you know that edamame has 9 grams of fiber per serving? That’s more than if you ate four pieces of whole wheat toast! And, it has 11 grams of protein with only 120 calories.
  • Zucchini – It makes the perfect light side dish for a heavy meal. One cup of sliced zucchini has about 19 calories. That’s 40 – 50 percent lower than the same serving size for other low-cal green veggies like broccoli and Brussels sprouts.
  • Brussels sprouts – Not only are Brussel sprouts delicious; they are naturally low in fat and calories but high in protein. This means that Brussels sprouts are one of those foods that will fill you up, without filling you out, always a plus for weight loss.
  • Kiwi – A study by Collins, Horska and Hotten showed that the unique combination of antioxidants in Kiwi fruit helps protect the cell DNA from oxidative damage. Some experts conclude this can help prevent cancer. And, the fuzzy fiber of Kiwi helps bind and move toxins from your intestinal tract.
  • Limes – Limes are a good source of vitamin C, a wonderful antioxidant that helps wound healing and keeps the gums and teeth healthy.

St. Patrick’s Day comes just once a year, but good nutrition needs daily attention.  Celebrate today by beginning a balanced diet and a heart-healthy exercise regimen – not only for your health, but also for the sake of your loved ones.

Learn how Fitness for Health can help you create a heart-healthy and fun, exercise program to reach your personal goals. Whether you want to maintain weight management, improve athletic training or combat childhood obesity, we can help you create a fitness program to fit your unique needs while having fun.

Toddler BMI May Lead to Teenage Obesity

“Excessive weight gain in children under two years can lead to cardiovascular and metabolic risk factors in teenage years including increased cholesterol, being overweight and having fat around the middle,” states new research from the University of Sydney that was published in The Journal of Pediatrics.

“Our study found that there are two main pathways to obesity as a teenager — rapid weight gain in the first two years of life (early weight gain) or rapid weight gain between ages two and five years of age (later weight gain),” said senior author University of Sydney’s Professor David Celermajer, Scandrett Professor of Cardiology at Sydney Medical School and the Heart Research Institute.  “Earlier onset of a rising BMI that persisted through childhood results in greater central fat and higher cholesterol in teenagers, independent of their BMI at 14 years.”

Co-author Professor Louise Baur, Head of Child & Adolescent Health at the University’s Sydney Medical School and The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, said, “This study has shown that it is important for families and the community to understand the risks of excess weight gain in early life and to ensure healthy eating and activity are supported from a very young age.”

How can parents and toddlers remain physically fit together?  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.”

Try incorporating these games into your youngster’s playtime to ensure that he/she grows up understanding that fitness is fun:

  • Silly Shakes – Just like the Raffi song says, “Shake your sillies out!” If you do it long enough, you’ll not only end up getting a great workout, you and your child will share some laughs.
  • Balloon Ball – Play a game of volleyball using a balloon. Tie a piece of string between two chairs and use your hands to hit the balloon into your opponent’s territory.  Or, play tennis by using old pantyhose wrapped around a bent coat hanger to create a racket.  Playing balloon ball teaches and reinforces hand-eye coordination while burning calories.  (Although, be mindful when toddlers play with balloons.  Non-mylar balloons can become choking hazards when popped.)
  • Play Tag – Enough said.
  • Dance – Toddlers love music and dancing. Create your own dance party.  Raid your closets to dress up and recreate your favorite music videos.  Film them and, if you dare, load them onto YouTube to send to your extended family.
  • Pushover Pop – I read about this idea on MommyPoppins.com. Plant your feet (or stand on one foot) and see if your child(ren) can budge you. If you move your feet, he/she wins.
  • Bowling – Create your own bowling alley in the hallway. Use empty milk cartons or juice boxes as bowling pins and use a ball from the toy box as the bowling ball.  This will help your child learn depth perception and how to aim.
  • Toddler Stairmaster – Need a use for those diaper boxes? Create a “stairmaster” that your child will love.  Stack diaper boxes into a pyramid and help your child climb up and down the “ramps.”
  • Go to the Playground – Playing on the swing set or crossing the monkey bars is a great workout – for you and your child!
  • Act Like an Animal – Walk like a penguin, hop like a frog or imitate other animals’ movements while making sounds like that animal. Use this exercise as a teachable moment to help your child recognize animal sounds and get ready to head to school.
  • Play Catch – Include your whole family in the fun! Play catch – or fetch – with your dogs.  Run around your house or backyard chasing and playing with your pets.

Children who are active tend to stay active throughout their lives.  Staying fit can help maintain a healthy weight, improve self-confidence and decrease the risk of certain diseases, such as high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease.

Is 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.

Kids’ Lung Health Now Affects Them in Adulthood

Do you need another reason for your child to get off the couch? Fitter kids have better lung health as adults.

According to a study published in European Respiratory Journal, researchers found that fitter children had better lung function. Also, the more their fitness improved during childhood, the greater their lung capacity in adulthood. The findings were stronger in males than females.

“We need to keep studying these people to find out whether the association between fitness and lung function continues into later adulthood. If it does, improving and maintaining fitness could translate into important reductions in chronic lung disease,” Bob Hancox, lead researcher, said.

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!

February is Heart Disease Awareness Month

February is Heart Disease Awareness Month.  Celebrate your heart!

Follow these heart-healthy tips to keep your ticker ticking:

  • Don’t smoke or use tobacco. This nasty habit is one of the most controllable risk factors for heart disease. You start to improve your heart health within minutes of quitting. After one year, your heart disease risk is cut in half and, after 10 years of not smoking, your heart disease risk is the same as for someone who has never smoked.
  • Exercise for 30 minutes on most days of the week. Whether you hit the elliptical, jog around your neighborhood or participate in a fitness for seniors class, make your athletic training routine fun!  Play tag with your kids or take your dog on a long walk.  By involving the whole family in your workout, you can spend extra time bonding and creating lifelong memories while focusing on weight management and improving bone and joint health.
  • Eat a heart-healthy diet. Eat foods that are low in fat, cholesterol and salt. Your diet should be high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products which can help protect your heart.  Beans, other low-fat sources of protein and certain types of fish also can reduce your risk of heart disease.
  • Focus on weight management. You don’t have to be super-thin or stick to a rigid athletic training routine to reap the benefits of a smaller waistline, but according to the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, carrying too much weight around the middle raises blood pressure, affects blood lipids and does damage to the heart. Abdominal exercises are good, but remember that it’s calories in (what you eat) and calories out (how you exercise) that will make a difference.
  • Get regular health screenings. Keeping your blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol and triglycerides in check are important for good heart health. Learn your optimal levels and don’t skip your annual physical exam.

Even small, steady changes in your life can help create a stronger, more efficient heart.  More than half of heart disease is preventable, and studies have shown that 90% of heart attacks can be prevented by eating a lot of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fish and legumes; exercising; weight management; and not smoking. And, you’re never too old – or too young – to start thinking about a stronger heart!

Do you need help creating an exercise program that will benefit your heart – no matter if you are interested in athletic training or fitness for seniors?  Learn about our convenient training sessions that can be scheduled before work, during lunch or in the evenings.  We even offer child and teen-specific weight management programs targeting childhood obesity.

Celebrate Your Heart This Valentine’s Day

Roses are red,

Violets are blue,

Are you ready to exercise?

I have heart-healthy tips for you!

Thursday is Valentine’s Day.  Does the love of your life make your heart beat a little faster and your body temperature rise? So does exercise and athletic training!

By exercising for as little as 30 minutes a day, you can reduce your risk of heart disease by 30% – 40% and your risk of having a stroke by 25%.  Medical research even shows that for every minute of walking, you may increase your life expectancy by seven minutes!

In honor of Valentine’s Day, here are some heart-healthy exercise tips from the American Heart Association’s website:

Make the time!

  • Start slowly. Gradually build up to at least 30 minutes of activity on most or all days of the week (or whatever your doctor recommends).
  • Exercise at the same time of day so it becomes a regular part of your lifestyle. For example, you might walk every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from noon to 12:30 p.m.
  • Find a convenient time and place to do activities or fitness for seniors. Try to make it a habit, but be flexible. If you miss an exercise opportunity, work activity into your day another way.

Keep reasonable expectations of yourself.

  • If you’ve been sedentary for a long time, are overweight or need to maintain weight management, have a high risk of coronary heart disease or some other chronic health problem, see your doctor for a medical evaluation before beginning a physical activity program.
  • Look for chances to be more active during the day. Walk the mall before shopping, take the stairs instead of the escalator or take 10–15 minute breaks while watching TV or sitting for walking or some other activity.

Make it fun!

  • Choose activities that are fun, not exhausting. Add variety. Develop a repertoire of several activities that you can enjoy. That way, fitness will never seem boring or routine.
  • Ask family and friends to join you. You’ll be more likely to stick with it if you have company. Join an exercise group or fitness facility. There are even programs specifically for tween and teens to have fun and make new friends while combating childhood obesity and maintaining weight management.
  • Use variety to keep your interest up. Walk one day, swim the next, then go for a bike ride on the weekend.
  • Use music to keep you entertained.

Track and celebrate your success!

  • Note your activities on a calendar or in a logbook. Write down the distance or length of time of your activity and how you feel after each session.
  • Keep a record of your activities. Reward yourself at special milestones. Nothing motivates like success!
  • Visit the American Heart Association’s website – StartWalkingNow.org – to find all the resources you need to get moving and stay motivated.

Valentine’s Day comes just once a year, but your heart needs daily attention.  Celebrate on Thursday by beginning a heart-healthy exercise regimen – not only for your health, but also for the sake of your loved ones.

Learn how Fitness for Health can help you create a heart-healthy and fun, exercise program to reach your personal goals. Whether you prefer EDGE Training – our athletic training system, exergaming – a weight management program for tweens and teens, or fitness for seniors, we can create a customized exercise program to fit your unique needs.