If you have a child of 6 to 8 years old that wants
to start exercising and lifting weights, you may
find yourself wondering what you should do. While
some think it is perfectly fine for children to
exercise, there are others that think differently.

The long and short of it is that yes, it is
beneficial for your child to partake in exercise
or a weight training regimen although there are a
few things that you should keep in mind once this
starts to happen.

children_exercise

No matter how you look at it, children aren’t
minature adults and therefore you can’t use the
same methods with growing children that you can use
with adults, as children are different from adults
emotionally, anatomically, and physiologically.

All children have immature skeletons, as their
bones don’t mature until they get 14 – 22 years of
age. With girls, exercise during childhood can
have very critical effects on bone health that
can last for their entire lives.

Children are often times vulnerable to growth
related overuse injuries such as Osgood schlatter
disease. Children have immature temperature
regulation systems due to their having a large
surface area compared to their muscle mass which
will cause them to be more susceptible to injury
when they aren’t properly warmed up.

Children don’t sweat as much as adults do, so
they will be more susceptible to heat exhaustion
as well as a heat stroke. Due to their low muscle
mass and immature hormone system, it makes it
harder for them to develop strength and speed.
Their breathing and heart response during
exercise are also different from an adults, which
will affect their capacity for exercise.

On the other hand, young boys and girls can
drastically improve their strength with weight
training although opposed to adults, neurological
factors instead of muscle growth factors are mostly
responsible.

When you consider programs for children, first and
foremost you should obtain a medical clearance.
The first approach to designing a program is to
establish a repetition range of 8 – 12 and keep
the work load appropriate for the range.

You should ensure that workouts are spread out
enough to have at least 1 – 2 full days of rest
between workouts. The main focus when working out
should be on the form of every exercise performed,
and not on the amount of weight being lifted.

Before weight training, warm up and stretching
should be done. Start your children off with light
loads and then make adjustments accordingly. No
more than 3 non consecutive exercise sessions
should be done in a week. You should also see to
it that they drink plenty of water before, during,
and after exercise. Getting enough water is very
important with exercise, as it is often times very
easy to get dehydrated – especially with children.

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Well the dieting season is upon us again. Now is the time that people who go onto diets automatically think; starvation, cut-down, eat lettuce, bored taste buds, joyless eating, eat more lettuce. Boring diets, deprivation diets, “faddy” diets, food group eliminating diets, most commercial diets send out the wrong message. Your body is not an enemy that needs to be starved into submission to give up fat.

By building healthy eating habits into your daily food intake can and should be enjoyable. Don’t forget you need to healthy and happy at the same time.

We eat food for a reason and each food has specific benefits and potential drawbacks, take alcohol, studies have shown that alcohol can be good for you, but in the right amounts. Fat can be good for you and some are labeled essential. Chocolate is good for you but can be harmful. The above foods are said to protect against high blood pressure and heart disease. But if you eat nothing but grapefruits, lettuce and the odd tomato you will be loading up with certain vitamins but will definitely be lacking in most of the others, including the much needed minerals. The key to a healthy diet is balance. Too much of anything can hurt. But not enough of everything will hurt the body even more.

Think about it this way; How far would your car go without enough fuel, or without oil, not very far before you’re on the side of the road scratching you head saying “wonder how that happened?” The secret is to be conscious of what fuel and oil you use. Some are better than others and can help you run longer on less fuel. To Fuel your body for optimal performance whilst losing weight (fat) there are four major strategies you would need to adopt to when setting up your weight loss nutrition plan.

  • Control your food portions. You don’t need monster portions.
  • Make smart substitutions in the diet like mustard instead of mayonnaise on sandwiches; you will save 88 calories and may enjoy it better.
  • Focus on power foods. A high protein, high fibre, complex carbs gives you a filling meal rather than a starvation meal.
  • Watch your eating habits, mindless munching, emotional binging, and twice-a-day monster feedings will lower the metabolism and leave the pounds where they are.

hungry_stomach

The term “diet” really means “a way of life”

A diet is all about numbers-number of calories you eat and burn, numbers on the scale when you weigh yourself. The success of a diet is defined in terms of how well you stick to the numbers. The normal diet mentality assumes that reaching a certain weight is your key to finding happiness and solving life’s problems. But if you mess up on one day it can be upsetting-it means you’ve messed up on everything that matters in the world.

A Lifestyle change is all about you. It’s about changing your eating and physical activities to reach your specific goal. Your success is defined in terms of how the lifestyle changes make you feel about yourself. The lifestyle approach assumes that being overweight is usually the result of other problems not the cause. Addressing these problems directly is the best way to solve both the problems themselves and your weight issues at the same time. This means focusing on many things, not just the numbers in the calories that you eat or the numbers on the scale. Numbers only tell a small part of the story. The bad numbers often gives you clues into areas that need attention and change.

Going on a diet involves an external and temporary change in your eating habits. You start by measuring and counting. You stop eating some foods and substitute others. Based on a few rules of whatever diet plan you are using. You assume it is the diet that produces the results, not you yourself. The results of a diet are external; if your lucky you may change the outside but not on the inside. Normally once you reach your goal weight, you don’t need the diet anymore and then things gradually go back to “normal”. Then so does the weight, plus more. And all the problems that you hoped that the diet would solve are still there.

Making a lifestyle change involves an internal and permanent change in your relationship with food, eating, and your physical activity. You should recognize that the primary problem isn’t what you eat, or even how much you eat, but how and why you eat. Eating mindlessly and impulsively (without intention or awareness) and/or using food to manage your emotions and distract yourself from unpleasant thoughts—this is what really needs to change. Learning to take good care of yourself emotionally and physically, so that you don’t want to use eating to solve problems it really can’t. Dieting is a lifelong learning process that is constantly changing as your needs and circumstances change.

This doesn’t mean things on the surface don’t matter. Clearly, controlling how much and what you eat is vital, and caring how you look and feel is the great motivator. The key to both permanent weight loss (fat) and feeling satisfied and happy with yourself and your life is for you to take personal responsibility for what you can control, and let go of everything else that is holding you back.

Many factors that are normally out of your control can be your genes, age, medical status and your previous weight history; all will or can affect your weight and appearance. These factors may determine how much weight you can lose, how quickly you’ll lose it, and how you’ll look and feel when you’ve gone as far as you can go. When you focus too much on your weight on the scale or what you see in the mirror, you are staking your happiness and satisfaction on things you really can’t control. That pretty much guarantees that you’ll be chronically worried, stressed, and uncomfortable and will be more likely than ever to have problems with emotional eating and will struggle to lose the body fat.

When you rely too much on external (diet) tools, techniques, and rules to determine your behaviour, you are turning over your personal responsibility to the tools and techniques. If you find yourself frequently losing motivation or feeling powerless to control your own behaviour, it’s probably because you’re counting on the tools to do your part of the work for you. You’re the only one who can decide what’s right for you; only you can change your attitude and perspective to achieve what you want to achieve.

 

Winter weather can deter even the most dedicated exercisers. Less daylight, colder temperatures, and the temptation to curl up under warm blankets makes keeping up with your exercise routine exponentially more difficult. However, just because the temperature outside has dropped doesn’t mean you have to drop your outdoor exercise regimen. There are some simple ways to burn calories outdoors even while the weather is frightful. To be successful, you’ll want to make outdoor exercise as easy and fun as possible.

Stay Safe Out There

Take note of the weather conditions and wind chill factor before you plan your outdoor activities, and dress appropriately for the weather. Your best bet is to dress in layers–this allows you to remove outerwear as you get warm and start to sweat and then put them back on as you get cold.

 

Be sure to protect your hands, feet, and ears from the elements. When it gets cold outside, your body’s blood flow concentrates in your core, and this increases the risk of your getting frostbite on these areas. Wear thick gloves and socks as well as earmuffs or a hat or headband that covers your ears.

If you plan to exercise outside in the dark, you need to dress in reflective clothing. To prevent falls on the ice and snow, opt for shoes with plenty of traction.

Additionally, take care to stay adequately hydrated. You may not feel as though you need to drink as much as you would during the hot summer months, but you’ll likely still be sweating and will need to replenish the fluids lost through perspiration and breathing. If your exercise will last only an hour or less, water should be your first choice. If you’re going to be doing vigorous exercise that lasts longer than an hour, choose beverages with electrolytes, such as sports drinks.

Extend Your Warm-Up Exercises

When the weather turns cold, your body gets cold, too. You will need more time to warm up your tight muscles and get the blood flowing to prevent injuries. You can even do your warm-up exercises indoors and then head outside for the remainder of your workout.

Outdoor Exercises

Aside from the usual outdoor exercises such as walking, running, hiking, etc., there are other winter-specific ways to incinerate calories. Shoveling snow is an excellent total body workout, and it takes care of all that snow that’s been piling up in your driveway and on the sidewalk! Be sure to take frequent breaks, however, because the strenuous exercise can raise your heart rate so quickly that it increases risk of cardiac arrest.

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If you have children, grandchildren, nieces, or nephews, playing with them in the snow is a fun way to squeeze in some physical activity while also enjoying the company of your loved ones. Build snowmen or snow caves, have snowball fights, go sledding (or snowboarding if the kids are a little older), make snow angels–just get creative out there! You’ll likely have so much fun that you’ll forget how chilly it is outside.

snow

Skiing and snowboarding are a couple of outdoor exercises that you could try. Of course, these require that you live in or visit an area that is conducive to these types of exercise. Even if you are a beginner, most places have instructors that can assist you, and there are usually specific areas where beginners can safely practice their new sport.

Now get outside and torch some calories!

 

As you may know, not fueling up with the right
nutrients can affect how well your body performs
and your overall fitness benefits. Even though
healthy eating is important, there are myths that
hinder your performance if you listen to them.

Below, you’ll find some myth busters on healthy
eating.

1. Working out on an empty stomach.
If you hear a rumbling noise in your stomach, the
rumbling is trying to tell you something. Without
listening to them, you are forcing your body to
run without any fuel. Before you exercise or do
any physical activity, always eat a light snack
such as an apple.

 

2. Relying on energy bars and drinks.
Although they are fine every once in a while, they
don’t deliver the antioxidants you need to prevent
cancer. Fruits and vegetables are your best bets,
as they are loaded in vitamins, minerals, fluid,
and fiber.

3. Skipping breakfast.
Skipping breakfast is never a good idea, as
breakfast starts the day. Your body needs fuel
as soon as possible, and without it, you’ll be
hungry throughout the day.

4. Low carb diets.
Your body needs carbohydrates for your muscles and
the storing of energy.

5. Eating what you want.
Eating healthy and exercising doesn’t give you an
all access pass to eat anything you want. Everyone
needs the same nutrients whether they exercise or
not, as well as fruits and vegetables.

6. Not enough calories
Although losing weight involves calories, losing
it too quickly is never safe. What you should do,
is aim for 1 – 2 pounds a week. Always make sure
that you are getting enough calories to keep your
body operating smoothly. If you start dropping
weight too fast, eat a bit more food.

7. Skip soda and alcohol.
Water, milk, and juice is the best to drink for
active people. You should drink often, and not
require on thirst to be an indicator. By the time
you get thirsty, your body is already running a
bit too low.

Changing how you eat is always a great step
towards healthy eating and it will affect how your
body performs. The healthier you eat, you better
you’ll feel. No matter how old you may be, healthy
eating is something you should strive for. Once
you give it a chance, you’ll see in no time at
all just how much it can change your life – for the
better.

 

If you are looking for one very efficient piece of exercise, look no further than the kettlebell. Kettlebell workouts are famous for burning fat by increasing lean muscle while building balance and grace. Plus it is an amazing stress-reliever that relieves tension in both the muscles and the mind. The exercises are simple, yet effective.

When used correctly, kettleballs are wonderful conditioning tools. They can be used for various purposes such as:

  • Cardiovascular conditioning
  • Fat loss
  • Strength and stamina
  • Muscular endurance, especially the legs, buttocks and lower back

Choosing the Correctly Sized Kettlebell
When first starting out, choosing the correct size kettlebell to train with is very important. You need to pick a weight that is easy enough to handle but heavy enough to make you use your hips explosively to drive the kettlebell in to its correct position, depending upon the exercise that you are doing.

Most ladies would normally start with either a 5-10 pound kettlebell, while men would normally start with a 15-20 pound kettlebell. The size depends on the condition of the person exercising, so don’t be afraid to drop down a size to keep proper form. Initially, more repetitions are better than more weight.

Kettlebell Basic Exercises
Before you can start on a basic routine, you must first master the three basic exercises with the kettlebell. These are:

  1. The Swing
  2. The Clean
  3. The Snatch

1. The Swing
This is a simple exercise, but extremely effective using the whole body. Standing with your feet slightly more than shoulder width apart, hold a kettlebell with knees bent. Grip the kettlebell with both hands and lift to groin height. Ensure that your back is arched and that your head is upright. Keep the weight on your heels, bending at the knees, back straight and head looking up and forwards (as if you are going to sit down in a chair). Swing the kettlebell to the rear backwards, between the legs. The weight should remain on your heels and the shins should be vertical.

swing

It is essential that you perfect this movement because without it, you will never have the leverage to get your hips into the movement. You should feel the kettlebell pulling you backwards and your hamstrings contracting. Pushing through your feet and legs, quickly snap/thrust the hips forward tightening the glutes and abs (This motion is similar to jumping up vertically.) Do this quick snap of the hips motion while at the same time projecting the kettlebell forwards and away from the body. Keep the arms relatively straight and bring the kettlebell to waist, chest or head height, then allow the kettlebell to freely return to the start position and repeat.

2. The Clean
Hold the kettlebell in one hand. Swing it through the legs, bring it forward, and push up through the legs from the feet. As the kettlebell comes over the top of your hand to hit your forearm, grip the handle tight and also dip at the knees. This will assist you in absorbing the impact of the kettlebell. The kettlebell should lie on the forearm with your elbow tucked into the side. The wrist should be flat, and your palm should be facing inwards towards the body.

clean

The Swing will test your stamina, grip, and body coordination. The entire exercise can be carried out using one hand, switching at the top or bottom of the drill. It is important to keep core muscles tight to control the kettlebell at all times.

3. The ‘One-Arm’ Snatch
Swing the kettlebell back through the legs as you push through the feet and legs. Bring it up, snapping at the hips, sucking the floor up with your glutes. At this point, the body should be locked; the power of your drill should now have the kettlebell well on its way up. Remember: as the kettlebell comes over, dip at the knees and grip the handle to slow the kettlebell and avoid the impact on the forearm. The entire body should be locked with total tension that includes a strong core.

snatch

Kettlebells can make a huge difference in your strength, core, muscle tone and stamina. The exercises are simple but effective. Losing weight is an added bonus! Enjoy!

 

Recent dietary research has uncovered 14 different nutrient-dense foods that time and again promote good overall health.  Coined “superfoods,” they tend to have fewer calories, higher levels of vitamins and minerals, and many disease-fighting antioxidants.

Beans (legumes), berries (especially blueberries), broccoli, green tea, nuts (especially walnuts), oranges, pumpkin, salmon. soy, spinach, tomatoes, turkey, whole grains and oats, and yogurt can all help stop and even reverse diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and some forms of cancer. And where one might have an effect on a certain part of the body, it can also affect the health of other body functions and performance, since the whole body is connected.  With these 14 foods as the base of a balanced, solid diet, weight loss gimmicks and other fly-by-night programs can become a thing of the past in your life.

Conversely, the ill-effects of an unbalanced diet are several and varied. Low energy levels, mood swings, tired all the time, weight change, uncomfortable with body are just a few signs that your diet is unbalanced.  An unbalanced diet can cause problems with maintenance of body tissues, growth and development, brain and nervous system function, as well as problems with bone and muscle systems.

Symptoms of malnutrition include lack of energy, irritability, a weakened immune system leading to frequent colds or allergies, and mineral depletion that can trigger a variety of health concerns including anemia.

And since the body is connected, realizing that an unhealthy body will result in an unhealthy spirit only makes sense.  When we nourish our body with these superfoods and complement them with other nutrient-dense and healthy fresh foods, our spirit will be vitalized and healthy as a direct result.

Many modern diets based on prepackaged convenience foods are sorely lacking in many vitamins and minerals, which can affect our mental capacities as well, and cause irritability, confusion, and the feeling of ‘being in a fog’ all the time.

Superfoods can be the basis of a sound, healthy, nutritious solution to curing many of these ailments and more.

Nine Facts About Fiber

If you’ve been looking for a way towards a high
octane diet, you’ll find fiber to be exactly what
you need. Even though research has shown fiber to
be powerful, many people aren’t taking this nutrient
seriously.

To help you fuel your health with fiber, here are
10 facts to help.

1. Fiber fights diseases. A diet high in fiber can
help to prevent colon cancer and heart disease. High
fiber helps the body to eliminate cholesterol by
binding it in the digestive tract. For thousands of
years, fiber has been used to stop constipation.

2. Fiber can actually help with overeating. All high
fiber foods will take longer to chew and digest,
making you feel satisfied longer

3. Most popular foods don’t have enough fiber. If
you like the more popular foods, you probably need
to increase your intake of fiber.

4. Grains offer the most fiber. Dietary fiber is
actually plant matter that we cannot digest. The best
sources are whole grains and concentrated grain
products.

5. Kids need fiber as well. Children that are older
than 2 years of age should consume a daily intake of
fiber. Kids are most receptive to fiber found in
fruits, vegetables, and even fortified breakfast
cereals.

6. More fiber needs more water. In order to keep
fiber moving through your digestive tract, you’ll
need to consume a lot of water. With your diet of
fiber, you’ll need eight or more glasses of water
every day.

7. Fiber cannot be cooked out. When you cook
your fruits and vegetables, don’t worry about cooking
the fiber out, as it stays. The fiber found in
fruits and vegetables aren’t just in the skin or
in the peel.

8. You can get enough fiber. If you eat more than
50 grams of fiber in a day, you can get diarrhea
and bloating, which can interfere with your body’s
absorption of other key minerals.

9. Getting the right amount of fiber in your diet
doesn’t have to be hard. Even though you may think
so, getting the amount of fiber you need isn’t very
hard to do. All you have to do is eat the right
foods and you’ll be well on your way to a fiber
rich lifestyle.

As one of the key ingredients to healthy eating,
fiber is something you don’t want to skip. Fiber can
serve many different purposes, which were covered
above. If you aren’t getting enough fiber in your
diet – you should do something about now instead
of waiting until it is too late.