Monday, November 22, 2010

How can you stay fit and still enjoy eating over the holidays?

Thanksgiving is just a few days away and Christmas, Chanukah and New Years are soon to follow. Not to mention that the kids have school vacation and when we get out of our routines and celebrate various holidays we tend to eat more than usual and indulge in special treats. This is especially true during the winter when cooler temps often keep us indoors and make us want to watch TV and movies or enjoy video games which are often accompanied by yummy - and not so healthy - snacks. Just think of all the foods associated with the next few upcoming holidays

Regardless of the time of year, the climate or what holiday may be occurring, you can keep your kids healthy by encouraging an active lifestyle. Kids in the United States are less fit and less active today than a generation ago. Obesity and being overweight is an increasing problem amongst adults as well as kids.

Parents need to take the lead in increasing the families level of fitness, which will not only help the family members lose weight, but also reduce the risk for certain diseases often associated with obesity such as Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and hypertension.

Taking the lead means setting a good example. If parents are active, their children will follow in their footsteps. Decreasing the amount of time kids spend watching TV, playing video games and being on the computer will also help. Substitute something active to fill the time instead, such as taking a walk around the neighborhood. This is a great time of year to enjoy looking at everyone’s holiday decorations. Indoors, you can enjoy dancing and jumping around. Just be sure you have a specific area of the house where you can do so safely.

Exploracise Gymathtics is another great indoor activity. Just pop in the DVD and keep the kids active for 30 minutes while they also learn math skills. They will have so much fun they won’t even know they are learning!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Exploracise wins TWO more awards

The Exploracise Gymathtics DVD won 2 more Dr. Toy Awards - Best 100 Products 2010 & 10 Best Active Products 2010.

The Exploracise Gymathtics DVD is the Ultimate Brain and Body Workout, teaching math facts and healthy lifestyle concepts during a complete workout in just under 30 minutes. This is a fun learning exercise experience that kids like to do over again. The routine is a fast-paced, beginner workout that is great for all ages. The math vocabulary targets children who enjoy listening to the new words. The Program is recognized as one of the best kids exercise DVDs providing quality time and helping to get kids fitter and smarter.

Give your kids - and yourself - a great gift and a wonderful active, educational experience that they will want to do again and again. Learn more and order your own copy here. Check out Exploramania on facebook, too, and stay up to date on current events and happenings.

Too much TV and computer time can psychologically damage kids

Earlier this week, the journal Pediatrics published a study that found the risk of psychological difficulties increased by about 60 percent when kids between 10 and 11 years old spent more than two hours daily watching TV or playing on the computer. These difficulties include how they relate to peers, emotional issues, hyperactivity or conduct challenges.

Previous studies have linked excessive TV viewing with childhood obesity, and both TV and computer use have been associated with psychological problems and an increase in sedentary time, according to background information in the study.

This particular study wanted to see if high physical activity levels could compensate for the adverse effects associated with high TV and computer use.

The risk of psychological difficulties went up even more for children who weren't active during the day, with a 70 percent risk of psychological problems for sedentary children who watched more than two hours of TV, and 81 percent for those who spent more than two hours on the computer.

Surprisingly, being highly physically active didn't offer much protection against psychological difficulties if children already clocked more than two hours of screen time each day. The risk of psychological difficulties was still increased by about 50 percent for the highly active group when they spent more than two hours watching TV or using the computer, according to the study.

While excessive TV and computer use may create problems with a child's emotional well-being, the study wasn't designed to determine a cause-and-effect relationship between screen time and psychological problems, or if troubled youngsters are simply more likely to spend more time with TV and computers.

While parents can limit their kids time on the TV and computer, it can't be avoided altogether. When your kids watch TV or play on the computer, make it quality time. Exploramania offers a 30 minute fun, active, educational Exploracise Gymathtics DVD that will get kids moving, learning and having a great time while they watch TV. Look for educational websites that are also fun yet educational. Make learning fun for the kids so that their media time is time well spent with positive benefits.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Family Lifestyle and Obesity

Family Lifestyle is linked to obesity. A recent study in the American Journal of Sociology showed that adolescents tend to be heavier in families that frequently miss meals or spend several hours a day in front of the TV or playing video games. Weight issues also tend to run in families, not just because of genetics, but primarily because of what the family does together, what they eat and how they organize themselves as a family

It’s important not to skip meals. You will likely end up hungrier later which can result in overeating.

Family meals are also very important. When kids sit down and eat with their family, they tend to have a more normal weight because parents can give structure for the meals, provide a well-balanced meal and set limits around food, such as it’s not a good idea to skip eating vegetables and then have two helpings of dessert.

Watching TV and eating should be done separately. Kids and families who spend more time in front of the TV are more likely to be heavier.

Adopt healthy behaviors you can do as a family – quality time that’s also active – such as going for a walk, playing in the backyard, or spending time at a park playing ball. Exploramania offers you the award-winning Exploracise Gymathtics DVD series, which is a great activity that can be done as a family

Parents are role models and children will adopt their habits and behaviors, so let’s make sure we set a good example that encourages healthy lifestyle choices.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Kids Nutrition and Healthy Eating

As Childhood Obesity Awareness Month winds down, let's explore healthy eating for kids. When you can start healthy eating habits at a young age, they are likely to continue until adulthood. If you have children whose eating habits are not so great, you can change them to become more healthy.

There are many strategies that can improve nutrition and encourage healthy eating habits in children of all ages. Below are just a few of the top strategies that will help not only the kids in the family, but the adults, too

Family Meals
Children love and thrive on routine. Eating together as a family is a great way for everyone to catch up on the day's activity and connect with each other. Kids who take part in regular family meals are also:
•more likely to eat fruits, vegetables, and grains
•less likely to snack on unhealthy foods
•less likely to smoke, use marijuana, or drink alcohol
Family meals also offer the chance to introduce kids to new foods and to act as a role model for healthy eating.

Having Healthy Food Available

As simple as it sounds, just having healthy foods available at home will increase the likelihood that kids will eat them. They will eat whatever is available, so if you have a lot of junk food, they will eat that instead. Make sure your kids eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and make them a part of very meal. Healthy snacks in addition to fruits and vegetables could include cheese, low-fat yougurt and peanut butter. Lean meats and other protein sources such as eggs, nuts and fish, along with whole-grain carbs (breads, crackers, cereals) that have higher amounts of fiber, will round out a healthy diet. Limiting fat, sugar and low-nutrient snacks such as chips and cookies, will help too. Allowing kids a "treat" once in a while is a good idea so they don't feel completely deprived.

Be a Role Model

Kids will follow their parents' lead. When you eat will, your kids will do the same. Send your kids the right message by eating fruits and vegetables and other healthy foods, limiting the junk and eating appropriate portion sizes. A great part of this is that it will help you maintain or achieve a healthy weight.

Avoid Battles Over Food

Do not use food as a bargaining tool with your kids or bribe them with it. It's okay to give kids some control over what they eat. When it's snack time, offer several choices. Establish a consistent snack and meal schedule but also allow your kids to decide when they are hungry. If they skip a snack, they will know the next meal is coming at the regular time. Don't force kids to clean their plates and don't use dessert as a reward for finishing a meal. Keep mostly healthy foods at home and remember that treats are okay every once in a while.

Let Kids Help Make Decisions

When planning dinners, ask your kids to help decide what to include in the meals. Make it fun and let them help you in the kitchen, with some of the food preparation or setting and clearing the table. Let them also help decide what goes in their lunch boxes. Give them healthy choices, but allow them to pick exactly what they get to take with them and eat during the day. Getting them involved like this as children will give them good habits that they will be able to continue when they become adults.

Along with exercise and regular activity, your child will be well-balanced and healthy by following these guidelines. Exploramania wants to help you and your kids maintain a healthy lifestyle with its interactive educational experiences. Check out our website for more info and join our Facebook fan page for regular updates, current information and free Exploracise Gymathtics DVD giveaways that will help your kids achieve these goals.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Kids Exercise

This month we are focusing on overcoming the childhood obesity epidemic. September is the first ever Childhood Obesity Awareness Month. To lose weight, you must eat less and exercise more. It sounds so simple, yet there are many reasons why it is anything but easy to achieve.

In addition to helping a child lose weight and get (or stay) fit, there are many benefits of exercise. Kids who are active will:

•have stronger muscles and bones
•have a leaner body because exercise helps control body fat
•be less likely to become overweight
•decrease the risk of developing type 2 diabetes
•possibly lower blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels
•have a better outlook on life

In addition to enjoying the health benefits of regular exercise, kids who are physically fit sleep better and are better able to handle physical and emotional challenges — from running to catch a bus to studying for a test.

In today's society, kids tend to engage in sedentary activites, such as watching TV, playing video games, and being on the computer, much more so than in previous decades. Parents can help their kids and encourage them to be more active by limiting screen time. It is recommended that children under the age of 2 watch no TV. Children ages 2 and up should not watch more than 1 -2 hours of TV per day, and when the do watch, it should be quality programs or DVDs such as the award-winning Exploracise Gymathtics series by Exploramania, which, by the way, will give them an opportunity to be active WHILE they watch these 30 minute DVDs.

Children should engage in 1 - 2 hours of activity per day, whether it is unstructured play or some kind of planned exercise such as a sport or a PE class at school.

It's not always easy getting your kids to be active, but if you make it part of their daily routine, keep it fun, choose activities that they enjoy, and give them a variety of different activities you will find that it becomes a part of their lifestyle. As parents, be sure to set a good example by being active, too, and combine the exercise for you and your kids, with healthy eating habits, so that your entire family can enjoy a healthy lifesyle.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Childhood Obesity Awareness

September is the first ever Childhood Obesity Awareness Month. Childhood obesity has become such a problem that we now have an entire month devoted to awareness about it. According to the CDC, Childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years. The prevalence of obesity among children aged 6 to 11 years increased from 6.5% in 1980 to 19.6% in 2008. The prevalence of obesity among adolescents aged 12 to 19 years increased from 5.0% to 18.1%. It is of such importance to our country, that there is a Presidential Proclamation encouraging Americans to take action now. You can read it here.

The CDC explains that obesity is the result of caloric imbalance (too few calories expended for the amount of calories consumed) and is mediated by genetic, behavioral, and environmental factors. Childhood obesity has both immediate and long-term health impacts:

-Obese youth are more likely to have risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure. In a population-based sample of 5- to 17-year-olds, 70% of obese youth had at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
-Children and adolescents who are obese are at greater risk for bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, and social and psychological problems such as stigmatization and poor self-esteem.
-Obese youth are more likely than youth of normal weight to become overweight or obese adults, and therefore more at risk for associated adult health problems, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, several types of cancer, and osteoarthritis.

A healthy lifestyle, including healthy eating and physical activity can lower the risk of becoming obese and developing related diseases mentioned above. There is a wealth of information available to help in these areas.

If you have a child who is obese, take steps to help him/her get back to a healthy weight. If your child's weight is acceptable, be proactive by encouraging healthy habits so that obesity does not occur later in life.

As the month continues, we will highlight specific ways you can help your kids maintain or achieve healthy habits. It's not an easy thing to do. There is so much in society today that draws our children away from healthy habits, but fortunately there are many ways you can help. We talk a lot in this blog about Exploramania's award-winning Exploracise Gymathtics DVD. It's a great way to get physical activity that is fun and educational. There is so much else out there that we want to discuss with you. So stay tuned and be assured that Exploramania is concerned and wants to help.