June 17, 2024

3 Tips for a Healthy Home by Brett Klika, C.S.C.S

It has gone from a disturbing trend to a national epidemic. Our nation’s youth are becoming overweight, obese, and unhealthy due to a variety of lifestyle factors.  According to the Center for Disease control, about one-third of our nation’s youth are overweight.  17% are considered obese, of which 70% carry at least 1 risk factor for cardiovascular disease. It is estimated that 80% of these obese youth will grow to become obese adults.

A marked decrease in physical activity and an increase in the consumption of low nutrient food items are two of the lifestyle factors commonly linked to primary causes of this health calamity.

A smorgasbord of finger pointing has erupted over who is responsible for letting this happen to our children. Schools have fewer PE programs, urban communities lack safe outdoor activity areas, junk food companies target youth in their marketing, and video games command youth free-time pursuits. Before we unholster our pointing fingers to join the shootout, some compelling data out of Duke University suggests we may find a better solution by looking at how we introduce physical activity at home.

Researchers determined that parents’ attitudes and behaviors towards exercise was an extremely powerful predictor of physical activity patterns in youth under 10 years of age.  This is in line with previous research by the U.S. Department of Health.

If home really is where the health is, what can we as busy, stressed out, over-committed parents do to introduce our kids to a healthy, active lifestyle?  

Below are three simple, practical strategies to introduce your children to a life of health and happiness.

1.    Watch your language! Our children’s attitudes and behaviors toward physical activity and exercise are directly correlated to ours.  If we as adults approach physical activity as a punishment, i.e. “Dad has to do exercise because he got fat,” kids begin to share our view and act accordingly. Exercise isn’t punishment.  Highlight the positives in your language towards physical activity i.e.,  “Mom’s going to exercise so she can get some energy!”

2.  Focus on fun! If children don’t enjoy an activity, the odds of them continuing to do it are slim to none.  Forcing children into activities they don’t enjoy ensures they will avoid them whenever possible.  Longitudinal research on high performing athletes has demonstrated that the primary factor in long-term athletic success is a child’s level of enjoyment with their chosen sport. Fortunately, there are a variety of possible physical activities youth can be involved in.  Keep experimenting until you find something they enjoy then facilitate their participation in that activity whenever possible.

3.  Be active with them! Some of my favorite memories of childhood were family bike rides, whiffle ball games in the back yard, and scenic hikes to “secret” (brilliant parent marketing term) locations.  I honestly don’t remember much about sitting around watching sitcoms.

What will your kids remember about physical activity and your family?  

Go to the park, make up games, go outside, and make a conscious effort to limit technology (TV, i-devices, video games, etc.).  Technology is part of modern life, however, it can become a consuming addiction that negatively impacts every member of the household. Focus on becoming a physical activity role model for your children in your thoughts and actions. We can all do our part to reverse the current negative trends and guide our youth to one day become happy, healthy, disease-free adults.

Brett Klika C.S.C.S., author of “The Underground Workout Manual- Exercise and Fat Loss in the Real World” (www.undergroundworkoutmanual.com) is a world- renowned human performance specialist, motivational speaker, author, and educator. He uses this knowledge and experience to motivate individuals and audiences around the world through his writing, speaking, DVD’s, and free blog, www.brettklika.com.

Teens and Fitness by Maggie Ayre

The Safest and Most Effective Way for a Teen to Get Fit This Summer

From about the age of 14 we begin to think about our bodies and become body conscious. From this age many teens start wanting to look fit.

As a teenager I always felt fat and went from one diet to the next trying to lose weight. Now when I look at photos of myself as a teen I can’t believe how skinny I was. It’s lucky I was never any good at sticking to diets because I really didn’t have any excess weight to lose. Now that you’ve heard that, you may be thinking I’m crazy giving girls, many of whom are in the same situation, tips to lose body fat. But, that’s the great thing about my approach, if you’re slim/skinny and you follow them nothing will happen, you’re not going to get too thin following these tips like you may do following a calorie controlled diet, your energy levels wont drop, you wont get poorly, you won’t become grey and withdrawn in your complexion. In fact, the worst that will happen is that you will get healthier! Having said that, if you do have excess fat that you should really be shifting for health then these tips will be highly effective in helping you achieve your aims.

Getting a fit body comes down to a combination of healthy diet and exercise. Some diets encourage you to starve yourself to lose a few inches from your waist line, but this is counterproductive – starvation actually encourages the body to store fat. Instead learn to listen to your body and eat when you are hungry – but eat healthily.

Let’s educate our teens on the healthy and sustainable way to a fit AND healthy body! Start to include the following seven ingredients in your diet:

Nuts and seeds – a great filling snack, especially when combined with grapes, raisins, apricots or other fruit.

Berries and citrus fruit – bursting with Vitamin C which helps our bodies burn fat when we exercise. In fact research suggests that consuming insufficient quantities of vitamin C can severely hamper any efforts to lose weight.

Eggs – packed full of nutrients eggs at breakfast will leave you feeling fuller for longer.

Fish – the omega-3 in fish improves insulin sensitivity which helps build muscle and decrease belly fat.

Lentils – high in proteins and soluble fibre lentils are a proven belly flattener!

Yoghurt – natural live Greek yoghurt can boost your body’s fat burning mechanism, speed weight loss and trim your belly. But don’t be tempted by fat free or flavoured versions with lots of added ingredients instead flavour your own yoghurt with honey, raspberries or other fruit.

Water – if you want a fit body you must drink plenty of water. Eight glasses a day, every day is about right.

Maggie Ayre is the UKs leading Fitness Coach for Teen Girls. As well as one-to-one and small group nutrition and fitness work with teens she has developed the 3G Program designed to be run at schools as part of the PE curriculum. She also offers mentoring for PE departments on how to re-engage teen girls with PE and has recently published her third book; “Nutrition for Exam Success – A Parent’s Guide” which is now available as a Kindle and paperback at Amazon. For more information go to www.maggieayre.com or www.femalefitnessrevolution.com