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Archive for the 'Health and Nutrition' Category

Movement Is Medicine

The video below was recently passed along to me and it is certainly worthy of a look.

The basic premise does not receive nearly as much attention as it deserves. Whenever health and fitness is discussed, the conversation typically focuses on those activities that are performed as part of a formal workout. Little attention is directed towards the remaining 23+ hours each day. Consequently, there are people in today’s world who exercise more frequently than those from previous generations, yet still perform less overall movement.

I make this point not to diminish the potential of brief workouts, but instead to remind you that there is more to movement than exercise. I know all about being busy with work, parenting, and life in general. I could be the poster child for the effectiveness of short workouts. Much of my training is performed via brief, mini-sessions. Like many busy adults, I don’t always have extended periods of time that I can dedicate to exercise. Thus, during those hectic times, I make the most of shorter blocks at various points throughout the day.

I do not limit my movement to exercise however. I am a big believer in getting up to move as often as possible. Whether I am walking my dog, wrestling with my kids, splitting wood, shoveling snow, raking leaves, or mowing the lawn, there are always opportunities to include movement within the week.

Movement is medicine

Sadly, regular movement seems to be shifting towards the exception, not the rule. As I stated in past entry, the average person spends 4.4 hours of leisure time in front of a computer, tablet, or phone screen. And unfortunately, the 4.4 hour estimate comes from data collected a few years ago. Call it a hunch, but I’m willing to bet that the time spent in front of a screen has already increased and will continue to do so.

As a parent, I am also seeing more and more kids with smart phones and tablets. Kids learn by watching their parents. If a parent is always browsing his or her phone whenever they have a moment of free time, how can we expect children to act any differently? Kids learn by what you do, not by what you say to do.

When I was a kid, I couldn’t wait to get home from school so I could head outside to play. Nowadays, there are kids who rush home to download a new app. The world has certainly changed, and much of the change has not been for the better. Our population as a whole continues to move less, and that is a problem.

The human body has evolved to move. Let’s not allow technology to change that. Most people could benefit from more movement throughout the day. Even many exercise enthusiasts could benefit by following some of the suggestions presented in the video above. Movement is medicine and everyone needs a regular dose. And please note, I am not suggesting that you live in the woods without electricity. I am simply encouraging you to budget in more time to get up and move. Your body will thank you for it as the years pass.

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Lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being, while movement and methodical physical exercise save it and preserve it. – Plato

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Same Sh*t, Different Day

If you have followed this site for a while, you may recall when I used to post old clips from Jack LaLanne’s early television show. Unfortunately, many of the original videos were removed from Youtube. I am happy to note however that some of those clips have been added back under other channels.

One example can be seen below.

I first shared this video to the blog in 2007. It is hard to believe that seven years have already passed since that original entry. Yet while time has certainly passed quickly, it is unfortunate that little has changed in that time. Jack’s message is still as relevant today as it was when he first shared it.

Another example can be found below.

Don’t we all know someone who always complains about feeling tired? If anything, I would guess that more people are tired today than they were in years past. Jack LaLanne’s generation didn’t wake up in the middle of the night to browse their phones. They couldn’t even watch television as stations would sign off the air in the evening. Nowadays, people still eat crap and don’t exercise enough, but they also stay up half the night watching television and playing with their phones.

It often seems like today’s generation has more knowledge and technology, but also more problems. Despite all of the information that is accessible to all, people are still tired and out of shape. Little has changed in that regard.

Imagine if more people simply followed Jack LaLanne’s advice? Does it really need to be more complicated than that? Do we really need more research to confirm why people are lazy and out of shape? Rather than arguing and debating about what causes the problem, let’s instead encourage more people to get up and move while nourishing their bodies with real food.

Science may have evolved in recent years but most people have not. Jack LaLanne was ahead of his time and I don’t see many people today who will be able to follow in his foot steps. He was still going strong in his 90′s. Most people today are struggling to get around in their 40′s and 50′s. Perhaps we aren’t as smart as we’d like to believe. Rather than continually seeking out new information, maybe we should instead listen to the advice that Jack LaLanne was preaching to the masses many decades ago.

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Living is a pain in the butt. Dying is easy. It’s like an athletic event. You’ve got to train for it. You’ve got to eat right. You’ve got to exercise. Your health account, your bank account, they’re the same thing. The more you put in, the more you can take out. Exercise is king and nutrition is queen: together, you have a kingdom. – Jack LaLanne

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Raising Active Children

Like many proud parents, I love to see my kids in action. Words cannot describe how great it feels to see them excel. I have coached several of my son’s athletic teams already and will likely do the same for my daughter when she is old enough. They both love sports so there is no place I’d rather be than next to them assisting with their development.

It is not uncommon for us to be in the yard playing or out at one of the local fields. Whether it is baseball, basketball, football, or soccer, there’s a good chance we’ll be practicing at some point. Unfortunately, we are usually the only family on the fields. We rarely need to share. Many parents either aren’t making time or falsely assume that kids develop on their own.

Now before I begin my rant, I don’t claim that my opinion is the universal truth. I’m not a fan of generalizations so I won’t categorize all parents and kids together. I am simply sharing some of the observations that I’ve made as a parent and coach. I’ve been around plenty of kids and communicated with many parents.

I’ve also had plenty of parents make comments to me directly about my son. Just this past weekend, one such parent made a comment to me during my son’s soccer game. It’s a line that I’ve heard many times before. I was walking my dog around the field when my son scored one of his two goals that day. As I cheered his name, a parent looked over and commented,

Oh that’s your son? He’s a natural.

Before I could respond, he looked away and continued what appeared to be an ongoing conversation. Rather than start what could have been a lengthy discussion, I simply said thank you and continued walking.

Thinking back however, it is unfortunate that many parents assume that a talented child is naturally gifted. I honestly don’t know how much of my son’s ability is natural and how much comes from what has been a lifetime of activity. My kids have never known life without exercise and sport.

Since day one, they’ve been around pro fighters who come here to train. I still remember my son being amazed when he first saw a car in a garage. As a toddler, he thought every garage was a gym. He was puzzled why someone would park a car there. He wanted to know how they would train.

That’s the mentality he’s been around his entire life. Before he could walk, he would lift his head up and watch me exercise next to him. Seven years later he continues to be as eager as ever. I’ve never once told him to play sports or to go out and exercise. It’s just something he wants to do based on what he has witnessed his entire life.

He will stay outside as long as I let him. He never wants to come inside. Before school he wants to play catch. After school he wants to play basketball or soccer. It’s never ending. He always wants to play something.

My daughter is following in his footsteps. Not only does she have active parents, she’s also got a big brother to follow. I see similar examples from other kids in town. The kids who advance ahead of their peers are typically the kids whose parents are out on the fields helping. Almost every successful athlete that I’ve seen in town has a parent who volunteers.

It isn’t rocket science. The greatest gift you could ever give a child is time. Undivided attention is worth more than anything. Yet while some parents volunteer, I see others who view practices and games as a break from parenting. They drop the kids off before game time and show up late to pick them up afterward. Others sit in the car the entire time. They are oblivious to what is happening on the field. Forget about paying attention to the game, they don’t even know if their kids are safe.

Unfortunately, the kids of these parents often lose interest in sports. There is no one to cheer them on. They have no one to help, encourage, or play with outside of practice. They are essentially on their own and that’s unfortunate. It’s not a case of winning or losing a game. We are talking about children who aren’t given a fair chance to win at the game of life.

If you want your children to be healthy and active, it is your job to lead by example. Don’t wish your children would be more active. Show them how. Set an example that they can follow. And as I make these statements, please don’t misconstrue the message. I’m not suggesting that we create an army of athletes. I’ve always told my kids that I’ll support whatever they do. If my son wants to play the piano instead of baseball, I’d gladly learn alongside him. I’d simply encourage him to remain physically active by continuing to lead by example.

Whatever they do, I’ll be by their side assisting any way I can. I say this not only for athletics, but also academics. If you want your children to excel (at anything), roll up your sleeves and show them the way.

So many of the problems we face today would disappear if more parents stepped up to the plate and did their jobs. For example, childhood obesity would be all but nonexistent if more parents got up and took their kids outside to play. Most kids enjoy running around and playing outside. That’s how they start. The interest is there, but it is up to the parents to keep the flame burning. Naturally, different kids will migrate towards different interests and activities. Yet regardless of individual differences, all kids can share a love for physical activities and adventures.

Once again though, children tend to imitate their parents. If a parent sits on his ass eats himself into a coma, don’t expect the child to act any differently. Actions speak louder than words. It’s one thing to tell a child what to do, yet entirely different to demonstrate through your own daily actions. Kids will forget what you say, but they’ll always remember what you do (and did).

Lead from the front and show them the way.

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Kids spell love T-I-M-E. – John Crudele

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11 Year Old Inspiration

There’s no denying that the world has changed dramatically over the last few decades. More and more kids seem to be less and less active. Children still want to have fun, but their primary source of entertainment has shifted from outdoor play to indoor video games.

As a child, I grew up outside. You couldn’t get us to stay inside. And while I promote a similar lifestyle with my kids, doing so seems to be a rarity. When we go to the playground, we usually have full run of the entire playscape. It’s unusual to see more than a few families, and we typically see the same people each week.

Perhaps we just need to let more kids know how fun it is to play outside. As parents, the best way to do so is by leading from the front. As for potential, the video below speaks for itself. The 11 year old seen within has only been performing such work for a year. It hasn’t taken him long to progress and he’s obviously enjoying himself.

Encourage your kids to get up, get outside, and move. Life is so much more enjoyable when you do.

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Fences are made for those who cannot fly. – Elbert Hubbard

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Inspiration From Stephen Ritz

The video below features a presentation by South Bronx teacher Stephen Ritz. Throughout the speech, Ritz is both passionate and comical as he explains a program that started within his school. His classroom created the first indoor, edible wall. With the help of students and the local community, his program has already produced over 25,000 pounds of fresh vegetables.

His presentation makes for an entertaining video that is well worth a look. I’m not sharing it with hopes that everyone creates an edible wall (although that would be nice). Instead, my reasons for sharing the video are to highlight the passion of a man who took it upon himself to better his community.

Stephen Ritz is a real life example of the powerful quote listed at the bottom of this entry. His idea has already grown exponentially, perhaps even faster than his vegetables. His passion couldn’t be more real or powerful. Fortunately, it is also something that we can all possess. Once you find what you are passionate about, you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish. No one can save the world, but we all have the ability to positively impact the lives of others in some way.

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I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do. – Edward Everett Hale

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