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A One-Mile Run With My Dad Changed My Life (and His Too)

The Fourth of July always marks a very special anniversary for me. It marks the day in 2006 that I ran my first race, a simple one mile race. I was never a runner prior to that summer. I only became a runner because my dad nudged me and ran that one-mile race with me. Neither of us could have guessed what that simple one mile would do for me or our combined fitness. However, the biggest surprise of it all was what running did for our relationship.

I love telling people that my dad, Randy, is 55. He doesn’t look it or act like it. He celebrated his recent 55th birthday by running another half marathon. I was so proud of him. His running career wasn’t always solid as life got in the way and the interests of his family became time consuming. However, when he heard I was attempting to run up and down my street without stopping at the age of 24, he suddenly took a renewed interest in the sport. I asked him about that time.

“Running was nothing new to me but I loved the fact you were thirsting for every detail there was to know about it that you could get from me. Before long I knew it was just a matter of time before you would become so good at it, I would no longer be the mentor and our roles would be reversed.”

Maybe he was right, his encouragement turned me into a real runner, something I feel very lucky to share with him. I was curious if he ever thought he’d share running with one his kids.
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Saturday Morning Drill: Easter-themed Exercises

During this Easter weekend you may be spending time with your kids and family and what better way to have fun together than with exercise!

This weekend, we have been inspired by the Easter bunny so we are going to combine cardio and plyometrics with a fun Easter theme.

If you haven’t heard of plyometrics, it’s a type of exercise designed to produce fast, powerful movements. It also helps improve the functions of the nervous system. It is also referred to as explosive exercises.

These activities will be particularly useful if you’re looking for ways to help your kids come down from their sugar highs from all those goodies the Easter bunny left behind.

And as always, make sure everyone has gone through a good warm up before doing these exercises. For great ideas on how to warm up, refer to the ‘Also Read’ section below.

Bunny Hop

This is probably best to do outside, or where there is plenty of room and no risk of running into something. The Bunny Hop is a spin off of a plyometrics exercise. While standing, you jump forward several times, covering 20-30 yards.

To make this fun with the kids and family, tell them to jump like a ‘bunny’ to the finish line.
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New Study Reconfirms Links Between Diet and Childhood Obesity

Reports from a study conducted at the University of Granada in Spain revealed two important correlations pertaining to childhood obesity: Children who eat meals at home prepared by their mother have a better nutritional outlook. And children with sedentary lifestyles are much likelier to have an unhealthy BMI.

Using standard measurement methods, researchers assessed the BMI of 718 children between the ages of 9 and 17 from various schools in Granada, and also determined the consumption frequency of specific foods and daily exercise habits. Their research showed that there is a noticeable relationship between sedentary leisure habits and high BMIs. And that it is “extremely important” for healthy habits to be promoted and encouraged within the family.

This only further confirms what experts have taught us all along: Daily exercise is crucial to overall health. Meals prepared at home are are likelier to be made with healthier, fresher ingredients and served in the proper portions. And it’s crucial that healthy habits be modeled in the home.

So how do we apply this research if we struggle in this area? Consider the following problem areas and tackle them head on.
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Exercise Takes Nothing Away From Your Family

On this week’s episode of The Biggest Loser, Joe Messina left the ranch, claiming that he missed his family too much and needed to be home.

What many people don’t realize is that if they don’t take time to exercise and live their healthiest lives possible, they won’t need to worry about being there for their families. They simply won’t be there at all.

Harsh words, but true. Being overweight and out of shape can be a fast track to an earlier death.

Instead of focusing on how much time exercise takes away from the family, switch that mindset around and see how much time you can spend with your family in a productive, healthy way. Here are some of our staff’s favorite ways to include exercise and healthy living while spending time together with those you love most.
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Overweight Dads Have Overweight Kids

The phrase “like father, like son” now takes on a more serious meaning. According to an Australian study of more than 3000 families, four-year-olds who had fathers who were overweight or obese were at least four times more likely than other children to have weight problems by the time they reached eight.

The researchers investigated patterns in two-parent families, tracking their children  between the ages of four and eight. In each case, only one parent was overweight or obese. Interestingly, if the mother was overweight it did not seem to affect the weight of the children.

“We know that when both parents are overweight or obese, their children are more likely to also be overweight or obese,” said researcher Emily Freeman.

That part is logical, since parents are the providers and if they are buying unhealthy food, children have no choice but to eat what they are fed. While the study did not investigate the reasoning behind the troublesome link, it seems obvious that kids have some sort of special reverence to the way their fathers eat.
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