Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Exercise for Kids: How Much and How to Keep It Safe

The 95210 tenants advise one hour of physical activity for everyone, but how can you tell whether the stuff your kids do counts as exercise? The Center for Disease Control has a great resource to help you determine your physical activity needs, and the safe ranges for exercise. You can get the scoop here. 

Exercise doesn't have to mean organized sports. Just being outside goofing around, playing on a playground, or taking a family walk or bike ride can be a workout! When you do head out, heed these tips from www.FitTallahassee.com to make sure you stay safe. 
Play Hard! 
  • Focus on activities that encourage large muscle group movement, like running and jumping, and building bone strength, like resistance training. A light-hearted soccer game following by climbing some ladders on the playground is a great combination!
  • Encourage kids to cross- train, or play a variety of sports. They'll lower their chances of over- use injuries and burnout, and get a more well-rounded workout. 
  • For kids that shy away from competitive games or sports, emphasize having fun and teamwork more then winning or achieving benchmarks. It's more important that a child enjoys being active than than they excel at any particular activity.
Play Safe! 
  • If you kids play organized sports, make sure their coaches are properly trained and if coaching at an advanced level, certified for the sport they are coaching. An experienced trainer will be able to detect injuries early and ensure that you children are staying safe and functional during practices, and should be certified in CPR by the American Red Cross.
  • If your child gets hurt and you suspect a muscle or tendon injury, remember "RICE": rest, ice, compression, and elevation. If discomfort doesn't subside, see your child's doctor to rule out broken bones or more serious injuries. 
  • Hydrate, hydrate hydrate! It may not be blazing hot yet, but kids still lose water when they play hard! Water and a piece of fruit is more than adequate for replenishing lost fluids and electrolytes, so skip the sports drinks and added sugar they bring. Kids should take about 10 gulps before playing and chugging some more water every 15 to 20 minutes. Afterwards, drink another glass of water and eat some fruit. 
  • Check and stick your first- aid kid. As a minimum, it should include triple antibiotic ointment, gauze, bandages, and pain medication. 
For Every Active, Growing Kid
  • Offer your kids with calcium-rich foods and drinks, such as low-fat milk and cheese, plain yogurt with fruit, and green vegetables. These foods help bones harden and strengthen, which is critical for children. Bone mass typically peaks between the ages of 16 to 25 years, and remains relatively constant before a gradual decline throughout adulthood.
  • Get a physical and become aware of any health conditions that could hurt your child's athletic performance. Discuss the sports your child plays with his or her doctor and follow their recommendations for ensuring proper nutrition and safety. 
  • Get plenty of shut-eye. Kids need between 9-11 hours of sleep each night to perform at school and in sports. Turn off lights early enough to ensure a proper night's sleep before the next day begins. 
For more children, sports and outdoor play means just being a kid. But when emergencies occur, it's worth it to have considered these safety precautions in advance. Here's to a Spring that is full of fun, smiles, and a good sweat...safely!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

FCAT Stress? Pint-size your yoga!

Students across Leon County are buckling down for FCAT testing this week, which can bring stress and anxiety into their busy school day. A good night of sleep and a healthy breakfast, lunch, and snacks go a long way towards helping them take these important days in stride. But, for those students who need a little deliberate down time, yoga may be just the thing!
Yoga has been found to help children reduce stress, calm down in stressful environments, improve self-esteem, develop body awareness and positive body image, foster cooperation, and build compassion for others. It can also enhance flexibility, strength, and coordination. Yoga allows children to slow down and get to know themselves, and develop a longer attention span. Who isn't on board for that?

Kid-friendly yoga classes should be taught by someone who understands the challenge of holding a child’s attention long enough for them to learn about stillness, balance, focus, health, and well-being. When you are looking for age-appropriate yoga, look for classes that are full of movement and open to interpretation; the idea is to foster a love for physical activity, not focus on doing everything correctly.

Kids can take yoga classes locally at Killearn Lakes TaeKwonDo and Lakulish Yoga, or ask your favorite yoga studio if they allow children. Many do, and welcome them.

Yoga is a journey that takes discipline, practice, and patience. When children are exposed to these elements in a caring, calm, and supportive environment…well, they may just teach us a few things about how to deal with stress! Practice yoga with your kids and embark on a journey together!
Yoga counts as exercise! Log in to www.95210.org today and track all of your numbers. While you're there, check out the new quiz feature and test your knowledge of healthy living.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Tallahassee Helps You Stop Smoking Now

Smoking - we know it's bad, we know it kills, and we know it makes the people around us sick. But, many Tallahassee residents still smoke either because they want to, they feel they are addicted to it, or because they don't know how to quit. Luckily, our community is full of resources to help you smoosh that cigarette into a tiny little speck and say goodbye to it forever.

Did you know FSU will become a smoke-free campus on January 1, 2014?  The Florida State University Quit Smoking NOW program is a 6-session smoking cessation program developed by former smokers to help others quit with the help of a tobacco treatment specialist in a group setting and access to the tools needed to become tobacco-free. QSN also offers access to nicotine replacement therapies (NRT) such as patches, gum and lozenges, to help manage withdrawal symptoms. You can get more information from Chenikka Usher, MSW, CTTS, Tobacco Program Manager at 850-645-9710 or find a Quit Smoking Now group near you by using their interactive calendar: Find a Quit Smoking Now class.

Tobacco Free Leon empowers youth and adults to create a tobacco-free community through youth prevention, cessation activities, promotion of a tobacco-free lifestyle, and reducing the tobacco industry’s influence. By holding meetings at local schools, they encourage students to live healthy by understanding and appreciating the risks of smoking. You can find their next meeting here: Tobacco Free Leon Calendar

For more information about these resources and more, contact Emily Kohler, RDH, TTS, Tobacco Training and Cessation Specialist at the Big Bend Area Health Education Center, Inc.

And, if you're thinking about quitting or know someone who should, Tobacco Free Leon makes it free and easy:

Abstaining from tobacco is one of the 95210 tenants, and also contributes to a healthier Tallahassee. Log your tobacco victories and other health achievements today at www.95210.org!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Portion Control Techniques for Kids (and new features on 95210.org)

The 95210 tenants encourage five servings of fruits and vegetables, but what is a serving? When you log in on www.95210.org, you are able to indicate how much of each fruit or veggie you ate, and what a serving is. You can also look this information up using this great interactive site that breaks it down by age: Nutrition for Everyone

Beyond fruits and veggies, it can sometimes be difficult to tell whether we are feeding our kids appropriate portion sizes. This video from the www.FitTallahassee.com Healthy Kids blog explains a few ways to measure portions for kids. Try a few of them today!

95210.org Update
www.95210.org now has a new Pedometer Steps tracking page, so now youmay click the top button for "Steps" (when logged in) to track your daily steps count. There is also information related to walking and why it's so good for you, as well as links to various other sites and blogs on walking and ways in which to increase your steps each day.

Members may earn 5 points for every 10,000 steps they walk daily with a maximum of 10 points per day for walking 20,000 steps or more. 

Log in every day to track your 95210 numbers and add it up for health!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Lights Out! Tips for Better Sleep

Of all the 95210 tenets, sleep is the one that gets the most reaction. Nine hours of sleep? Really? It seems almost laughable that anyone would be able to get that much rest. But, while the 9 hours of sleep recommendation is technically aimed at children (with the recommendation for adults being 7 hours), the more sleep we as adults can get, the better we perform.

Sleep not only gives us energy, it also helps regulate serotonin, which affects our mood and ability to focus during the day. Sleep is also a great fat burner. When we stay up too long, our body slows down processes like metabolism in order to conserve energy. A slower metabolism means...you guessed it...fewer calories burned and more calories stored. So, you could consider getting more sleep to be part of your workout goals for the day!

But, turning off the light and pulling up the covers is easier said than done. But it is possible to gradually put some new habits into practice that will inch you towards getting more rest overall. It takes deliberate action, but it can happen! 

These tips and more for how to get more sleep were included in this month's Consumer Reports, along with a review of different mattresses and advice for choosing the one that is best for you.

1. Keep a consistent schedule. Sticking to the same bedtime (and waking time) within an hour or so each day, yes even on the weekends, helps shift your internal body clock to one that is more predictable and less taxing on your body.

2. Watch alcohol consumption. The benefits of moderate and safe alcohol consumption are best absorbed well before bedtime, because alcohol metabolizes as a stimulant. In addition, alcohol could make conditions such as sleep apnea and snoring to be worsened. Studies have shown that while one glass of wine has health benefits, that second glass can impair sleep. Be responsible!

3. Don't sleep with a pet. Our cuddly friends may make for warm feet, but the nocturnal habits of animals can interfere with our own ability to get truly restorative sleep. Provide your pets with their own comfortable place to sleep, not on your pillow.

4. Journal. Sometimes, the stress of a busy day weighs on us far into the evening, keeping us awake or preventing us from falling asleep. Sometimes, writing those thoughts in a journal entry or simply a to-do list for the next day can help us free our mind from them and get closure for the day.

5. Reduce your screen time. Computer screens, televisions, and smart phones are great for downtime (within that two-hour limit of course), but they can trick our brains into think it is daytime. Relax by reading a paper-and-ink book, a magazine, or listening to calming music instead.

Sleep is becoming more recognized as a powerful ally in health. While some wear their lack of sleep as a badge of honor, it is actually harmful to our bodies and lives to go without adequate rest. Put some of these ideas into practice tonight and see if you can't get to bed a little earlier!