The benefits of yoga are far reaching for the young as well as the old. As adults, it is easy to suit up in our most flattering yoga outfit and head out to the studio so we can be guided through a series of poses until we are allowed to blissfully rest in corpse pose.
But, if you’ve ever tried to get your children to sit still long enough to practice, even for just a few minutes, you know what a daunting task that can be. The attention span of kids seems to be shortening, which is just one reason why they need to be doing a little bit of yoga every day.
Author Lynn Eddy has presented a clever way to teach your kids about yoga with her beautifully illustrated children’s book, Every Body Does Yoga.
The story begins with a young girl named Lucy who wants to go to a yoga class with her mom. Instead of taking her to yoga, because that is not always an option, Lucy’s mother decides to teach Lucy some yoga on her own. Her success in teaching Lucy how to do yoga is the result of the ingenious way she shows Lucy how many times she is actually doing yoga throughout the day on her own.
From downward dog in the garden to yogic breathing in the bubble bath, Lucy is excited to discover how much yoga she already knows and cannot wait to learn more. (more…)
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.
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. (more…)
Six-time “Mr. World Fitness,” Franco Carlotto is bringing his proven children’s fitness program, Fitness for Kids, to the United States. This program for elementary school aged children helps teach them healthy habits to combat the problem of childhood obesity. Fitness for Kids has been a success in Switzerland over the last five years and Carlotto is hoping for the same success here in the states.
The Kick-Off Event for Fitness for Kids took place at Tarzana Elementary in Los Angeles with boxing star Laila Ali and NFL player Curtis Conway acting as Ambassadors. Overall there are over 80 Ambassadors internationally. The Ambassadors range from Olympic medalists, actors, politicians and American sports icons.
The Fitness for Kids initiative aims to help American kids embrace respectful life attitudes, track daily activity and incorporate healthy nutrition into their lives. This program is a great way for kids and parents to work together towards the goal of getting kids to live healthier lives at a younger age.
Chocolate bars. Take and bake pizza and cookies. Popcorn. Lollipops. Candy canes. Candied nuts. The list of typical school fundraisers goes on and on, and none of it is any good for you.
True, there’s always wrapping paper, pencils or magazines, but how much of that does one family need? Many schools have come up with new and creative ways to raise funds, with the added bonus that some of these new fundraisers work hard to help improve the nutrition in the students. After all, kids who eat healthier have better immune systems, which translates to fewer missed days at school. Kids who aren’t tired due to a poor diet have more energy and often have less discipline issues – all benefits that every school could use.
Here are some great healthy fundraising ideas for your school to try:
The New York Road Runners serve over 100,000 kids a week across the country in their youth fitness program Mighty Milers. Currently available in every state in the country, NYRR provides schools with the tools necessary to host successful Fitness Fundraisers based on mileage goals. In March 2010, P.S. 269 in East Flatbush, Brooklyn, NY’s “Little Haiti,” held a quarter mile charity run for the victims of the earthquake in Haiti and raised $3,200. One year later, P.S. 269 had another Fitness Fundraiser and raised over $5,000 for the Wounded Warrior Project.
Tara Costa first caught our hearts during The Biggest Loser season 7, and she’s gone on to do some great things, including training for her first Ironman. Her favorite part of the grueling race? “It’s definitely the camaraderie amongst the athletes. Ever since the first race I participated in, I realized how giving and inspiring all the athletes are,” Costa said. “I am so blessed to have the opportunity to participate and be pushed by elite athletes.”
If you would have told her a few years ago she’d be competing with world class athletes, Costa wouldn’t have believed it. She sees the race as a testament to how far she’s come. “I also love when I see the finish line. Each time I have the finish line in sight, I realize that I am doing something that I would never have been able to do years back. The finish line reminds me of how far I have come and how you can do anything you set your mind to do.”
Aside from continuing to push herself physically, Costa’s been hard at work creating her own foundation Kicks4Kids. This program, designed to supply under privileged children with new sneakers and a playbook, will provide the child different exercise games/activities to help them achieve the daily 60 minutes of exercise that is currently recommended. Kicks4Kids is set to launch in Hawaii in October, coinciding with the Ford Ironman World Championship that Costa will run.
Fuel Up to Play 60 is back. (Yay!)
Most well known for the catchy, rhyming commercial showcasing NFL players, the fantastic program to help children learn to eat healthy has returned for the new school year. The commercials, starring NFL players such as Washington Redskins’ Chris Horton, hope to use their popularity to drive home to kids the message that good foods and good play go hand in hand.
Created by the trusted National Dairy Council and the NFL, working in conjunction with the USDA, this multi-faceted program covers all aspects of child nutrition and health. It has improved this year by adding a local, state and national student ambassador program.
Getting kids to eat healthy foods and exercise for the recommended 60 minutes every day has proven to be a tall task for many families. By adding support from well known and respected NFL players, it’s hoped that kids will establish life long healthy habits and stem the rise of childhood obesity. Parents and teachers who wonder how to get started with this task can find some great resources on the Fuel Up to Play 60 website, which features video clips, recipes, and exercise hints.
As school budgets get tighter, administrators are doing just about everything to cut costs, including diminishing some of the necessities like teachers’ salaries, library book funds, and even school buses.
Although diminishing school budgets is not exactly good news, some positive results may come out of the cuts. If the budget in your school district leaves hardly any room for school buses and your neighborhood is the first to get the axe, consider starting up a “Walking School Bus” in your community.
A Walking School Bus is a new initiative created by the Healthways/ Blue Zones Vitality City group in the Beach Cities area in Southern California. The Healthways/ Blue Zones group is dedicated to help their communities live longer and healthier.
Walking school buses are a group of children who ride their bikes or walk to school with one or more parent supervising. Children learn the rules of traffic in a safe environment and get plenty of exercise on their way to and from school each morning. As childhood obesity rates continue to increase, a walking school bus might be a good way to sneak some exercise into your child’s routine.
By Rita Robison
Childhood obesity is increasing at an alarming rate throughout the world. The World Health Organization calls it one of the most serious public health problems of the 21st century.
Overweight children are likely to become obese adults, who have a higher probability of developing diabetes and cardiovascular diseases at a younger age. These diseases can cause disabilities and premature death.
Globally, the number of overweight and obese children under the age of five was estimated to be more than 42 million in 2010.
While most people think being fat is a problem only in rich countries, nearly 35 million of these children were living in developing countries. The childhood obesity problem is rising rapidly in low- and middle-income countries, especially in urban areas.
The rate of children who are overweight and obese worldwide increased from 4.2% in 1990 to 6.7% in 2010, according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
As school districts continue to tighten their budget, certain classes become extinct to make way for a more fiscally efficient approach to education. If the days of playing kickball, bombardment and whiffle ball in PE classes are long gone, what is taking their place to fulfill the physical activity requirements of growing children?
In 2001, The Accelerated School in Los Angeles, California piloted a program called YogaEd, designed by Tara Guber, in an effort to bring yoga into the classroom. The objective of this strictly secular curriculum was to teach proper posture and body awareness, techniques for relaxation and stress management, and self esteem building through compassionate problem resolution. The program’s goals were to instill life long habits for healthy living, enhance physical, social, emotional and mental health, and strengthen academic performance.
In 2003 a study was conducted to determine the results of the program, and the findings were in full support of not only its continuation at the Accelerated School, but also in the advancement of sharing the curriculum with more than 150 other schools.
Maruchy Lachance is president of Running Ninja!, a lifestyle brand for runners by runners. Running Ninja! offers a wide variety of apparel and gifts for runners to keep you happy and inspired while you’re on the run.
Adopting a healthy lifestyle is difficult enough, but sometimes the biggest challenge is getting your kids on board. Here are some ways to make the transition delicious and enjoyable for them and stress-free for you.
When it comes to food the best approach is to keep the same favorite foods while substituting the ingredients. When using ground beef or ground poultry to make meatballs, hamburgers or meatloaf, save money, calories and fat by just adding seasonings and oatmeal. This healthy substitute will go undetected and keep your dish moist. (more…)