Archive for the ‘Cardio’ Category

Surviving the HSC

October 19, 2014

HSC_English_Cramming_

Practical advice for the whole family

If your child is studying for the HSC, you’re probably feeling the stress too. Many parents want to help but don’t want to interfere.

As well as pre-exam tension, there are other common factors that can make life seem even more challenging for the whole family.

Year 12 is often the year when kids:

  • lose interest in school
  • have no plans for after the HSC
  • develop an intense relationship with a boyfriend or girlfriend
  • get their driver’s licence
  • experiment with legal or illegal drugs
  • have a part-time job
  • are a member of a sporting team
  • develop an eating disorder
  • suffer from depression.

If any of these concerns sound familiar, don’t despair. You’re not alone – and this won’t last forever.

How you can help

Richard Cracknell, counsellor and district guidance officer at Inverell High School advises that “the most obvious forms of support parents can offer are the practical, physical things,” and recommends parents:

  • Provide a good place to study, that’s quiet, comfortable, with good ventilation, good lighting, adequate desk or table space and free from distractions such as TV, noise, a telephone, interesting conversations, little brothers and sisters.
  • Provide healthy, balanced meals.
  • Encourage sleep and regular exercise.
  • Encourage them to avoid late night parties and alcohol consumption.

Less obvious, but just important, is giving your child the support they need in the lead-up to exams, which can be hard when emotions run high.

Tips to remember

  • Be supportive and encouraging.
  • Highlight strengths and successes. Encourage your child not to dwell on failures, but to see them as “mistakes”, which can actually be something they can learn and benefit from.
  • Appreciate your child maybe feeling very stressed, even if it’s not obvious to you. Many kids fear letting their family down so beware of setting unrealistic expectations. Some worry they can’t do as well as a sibling, or friend. Many Year 12 kids are feeling overwhelmed about what lies ahead: leaving home, leaving lifelong friends, the prospect of having to live in a new city.
  • Understand people under pressure become supersensitive and explosive from time to time. Family members are usually the first targets. Try not to overreact.
  • Be realistic in your expectations as to where the HSC leads. Not all HSC students will go on to university – but they can still have a wealth of excellent and satisfying career options. If they don’t get the HSC marks they needed and still really want to go on to tertiary education later, there are many other pathways. Interestingly, the success rate of mature age students is much higher than for those who go straight from school.
  • Encourage your child to seek help from teachers or the school counsellor if they are having any difficulty with subjects, study organisation, stress or anxiety about examinations.
  • Encourage a healthy balance between work and leisure. Some times kids need a total break from everything for a weekend  or so, to recharge their batteries.
  • Take an interest in what your child is doing, if they’ll allow you to (some won’t). This can include the subjects or topics being studied, how their study timetables and programs have been organised and their leisure pursuits. (Note: “Taking an interest in” does not mean interfering.)
  • Remember the occasional hug and “I love you” don’t go astray, even when they are 18 years old.
  • Encourage and allow your child to be as independent as you can possibly stand. The more independent your child is in meeting the demands of Year 12, the better prepared they will be to succeed at a tertiary level or in the workforce.

Just before exams:

  • Don’t stress about the little things like leaving lights on, leaving the lid off the toothpaste and not doing chores.
  • Don’t panic when they announce on the evening before the examination that they know nothing. (Reassure them, even if you think they could be right. “Just do the best you can. We know you’re giving it your best shot.” is a good standby.)
  • Avoid nagging, which doesn’t mean you can’t give a nudge or gentle reminder from time to time.
  • Encourage confidence by reassuring your child. If you have doubts, keep them to yourself.

According to Richard Cracknell, all parents make mistakes, and we need to bear in mind that we’re human too.

Don’t feel too badly when you forget not to nag, when you get picky, and complain bitterly that your child has the time to attend the 18th birthday party of every Year 12 student, but doesn’t have time to help with the washing up.

As parents we sometimes can’t help being over-involved and from time to time we also feel the pressure of Year 12.

Know this is a temporary stage, just like the newborn, toddler and adolescent stages you’ve already negotiated together.

Article sourced here: http://www.schoolatoz.nsw.edu.au/homework-and-study/homework-tips/tips-for-surviving-the-hsc

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Ways Dads Influence Active Kids

September 7, 2014

dad-school-age-son-and-daughter-soccer-ball
It turns out that Dads have a lot of influence in how active their kids are.
Here are 7 great ways that Dads can make a big impact:

1. Be an active role model

A study titled “Influence of parents’ physical activity levels on activity levels of young children” found that children of active fathers are 3.5 times more likely to be active than children of inactive fathers. This is the perfect reason to try something new and to show your kids how committed you are to your own physical activity.

If you aren’t already active, you’ll soon see the impact on your entire family once you get moving yourself.

2. Encourage, encourage, encourage

If the kids know Dad is interested in what they are doing, they are more likely to keep it up. So dads, pay attention to your child’s activities. Notice when your son jumps rope 20 times in a row. Ask your daughter all about her Rally Cap game and what she liked about it. Watching your child, whether in an organized sport or in the backyard, shows that what they’re doing matters.

3. Play with your child

Playing with Dad not only gets kids active, but it helps them to regulate their emotions and develop their emotional intelligence, according to this Civitas article. If a child throws a tantrum while playing, Dad can address the issue with him. Children get on better with other children and become better suited for team environments – and life in general – if they understand their emotions and how to control them.

4. Roughhouse with your kids

Mom is typically the safe, nourishing parent, which allows Dad to be the unpredictable one. Roughhousing is good for kids for a number of reasons, as this Art of Manliness article points out. It improves your child’s resilience and helps them develop grit, rewires the brain for learning, helps build social intelligence, introduces respect for limits and boundaries, builds the father-child bond, and promotes physical activity. It also gives kids confidence to explore their environments and take risks, especially when Dad is by their side.

Don’t think this is just for boys, either – girls who roughhouse with their dads tend to have higher self-esteem and self-confidence, and are more prone to socialize during physical activity.

5. Get away with your child

The father-child – or family – getaway is a great way for children to get involved in a fresh batch of physical activities. My dad used to take me camping when I was a kid. We’d set up the tent. We’d walk down to the water station, fill up our thermoses and walk back. We’d hike through the bush.

Not only did this allow me to explore my surroundings as well as my physical capabilities, but Dad taught me about respecting the wilderness and all that lived within it. Instead of trying to hide the fact that there might be bears in the woods, he taught me what I’d need to do if I ever came across one.

The kind of life knowledge that fathers can impart during outings is invaluable.

6. Pass on your knowledge

Dads have had a lifetime of learning they can pass on to their children at different times – this is also true when it comes to physical activities. From a young age, my dad was teaching me how to throw a Frisbee, how to paddle the canoe properly (he gave me a kiddie paddle for my fifth birthday), how to fly a kite, and how to cast and reel the fishing rod. These are just a handful of things I learned from my dad when we were outside, playing and being active together, but they’re all things that still keep me active today.

7. Involve yourself

This Family Education article sites a study that followed a group of boys and girls for 26 years and examined the roles of both mothers and fathers in cultivating the child’s emotional health and empathy. The study found that the most influential factor in a child’s emotional health, by far, was how involved the father was in the child’s care. Children who have involved fathers are more likely to be emotionally secure, be confident to explore their physical surroundings, and have better social connections – all of which relate to physical literacy.

This article was sourced from: http://activeforlife.com/7-ways-dads-influence-active-kids/
About the Author: Tyler Laing
Tyler has been coaching and helping coach kids in soccer since he was little more than a kid himself. Now, thanks to Active for Life, he will have a better idea of how to raise a physically literate child when he has children of his own. Tyler provides content for Canadian Sport for Life, and holds a degree in writing with a journalism minor from the University of Victoria.

Healthy Inspirations Recipe of the Week – Simple Egg Souffle

July 24, 2014

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Exercise Helps Brain Growth

July 22, 2014

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Research into “neurogenesis”—the ability of certain brain areas to grow new brain cells—has recently taken an exciting turn. Not only has research discovered that we can foster new brain cell growth through exercise, but it may eventually be possible to “bottle” that benefit in prescription medication.

The hippocampus, a brain area closely linked to learning and memory, is especially receptive to new neuron growth in response to endurance exercise. Exactly how and why this happens wasn’t well understood until recently. Research has discovered that exercise stimulates the production of a protein called FNDC5 that is released into the bloodstream while we’re breaking a sweat. Over time, FNDC5 stimulates the production of another protein in the brain called Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), which in turns stimulates the growth of new nerves and synapses – the connection points between nerves – and also preserves the survival of existing brain cells.

What this boils down to in practice is that regular endurance exercise, like jogging, strengthens and grows your brain. In particular, your memory and ability to learn get a boost from hitting the pavement.  Along with the other well-established benefits of endurance exercise, such as improved heart health, this is a pretty good reason to get moving. If jogging isn’t your thing, there’s a multitude of other ways to trigger the endurance effect – even brisk walking on a regular basis yields brain benefits.

Now researchers from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute at Harvard Medical School (HMS) have also discovered that it may be possible to capture these benefits in a pill.  The same protein that stimulates brain growth via exercise could potentially be bottled and given to patients experiencing cognitive decline, including those in the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

“What is exciting is that a natural substance can be given in the bloodstream that can mimic some of the effects of endurance exercise on the brain,” said Bruce Spiegelman, PhD, of Dana-Farber and HMS and co-senior author of the research report with Michael E. Greenberg, PhD, chair of neurobiology at HMS.

In the new study, the research team artificially increased BDNF in the brains of mice by using a harmless virus to piggyback FNDC5 molecules through the bloodstream of the mice.  After seven days, researchers found a significant increase in BDNF in the hippocampus area of the mice brains – the brain area crucial for memory and learning.

“Perhaps the most exciting result overall is that peripheral delivery of FNDC5 with adenoviral vectors (i.e. a virus) is sufficient to induce central expression of BDNF and other genes with potential neuroprotective functions or those involved in learning and memory,” the authors said.

The research team cautions that since this is an animal study, it’s far too early to conclude that the same effect will work in humans, but the significant results of this study show promise for future research into delivering cognitive benefits to the human brain via a similar mechanism. Cognitive boost for suffers of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other debilitating diseases in the form of a brain-growth pill may not be too far off.

More immediately, neurogenesis research has provided yet another great reason to get up, get out and get moving.

The research report was published in the journal Cell Metabolism.

You can find David DiSalvo on Twitter @neuronarrative and at his website, The Daily Brain.

Article sourced from: http://www.forbes.com/sites/daviddisalvo/2013/10/13/how-exercise-makes-your-brain-grow/

 

Ways to Boost Your Exercise Motivation

July 20, 2014

motivation

Debbe Geiger could summarize her feelings about exercise in two words. “It stinks,” she’d say.

But then her thinking changed when — after much urging from friends who wanted her to play with them — she joined a volleyball team. Now, she’s at the gym with a convert’s fervor on game nights because she doesn’t want to let her teammates down.

“There have been lots of reasons I could have missed, and I haven’t,” says Geiger of Cary, N.C.

Her experience illustrates what exercise experts have known for years: To stick with an exercise routine, you need a reason to carry on when that little voice inside says, “Sit on the couch. Have a doughnut.”

And just knowing that exercise is good for you doesn’t seem to be enough to get you moving.

 Carla Sottovia, assistant director of fitness at the Cooper Fitness Institute in Dallas, says, “You may have had a bad experience in school, or maybe you’re afraid you’ll hurt yourself. Maybe you’re even afraid to sweat.”

Intimidation is a factor also, experts say. When you’re out of shape, it takes courage to don workout duds and head for the gym.

If any of this sounds familiar, don’t give up hope. Here are fitness inspiration tips from fitness experts and exercise converts that are guaranteed to help you learn how to love moving.

 Be Realistic

First-time exercisers often set unrealistic goals that are too ambitious for beginners. Gerald Endress, fitness director of the Duke Diet and Fitness Center in Durham, N.C. says, “They want to go for maximal goals, but they tend to get overwhelmed.”

So don’t start off trying to work out an hour every day. Instead, set more reasonable, achievable goals, like exercising 20 to 30 minutes two or three times a week.

Keep Track of Your Progress

Remember to chart your progress, whether it’s with a high-tech online tracker or an old-school fitness journal. Seeing incremental improvements, whether it’s improved time, increased reps, or greater frequency of workouts, can boost your exercise motivation.

Don’t Expect Perfection

Another pitfall is all-or-nothing thinking, a perfectionist way of looking at life that leads to giving up when you miss a day or two or your workout doesn’t go well. Endress says if you accept that there will be some sidesteps on your fitness journey, you’ll be better prepared mentally to deal with setbacks.

Expect that you’ll get sick from time to time, and be psychologically prepared to miss a few days of exercise when that happens. Don’t let it be an excuse for giving up. “From then on, many people say, ‘I can’t exercise,'” Endress says. “But there’s always a way to exercise.”

To keep injuries from sidelining you, do your best to prevent them by warming up, cooling down, stretching properly, and not doing too much too soon.

Don’t Compare Yourself to Others

 We’ve all seen those toned, fatless specimens who strut through the gym in their Barbie-sized shorts and sports bras.

Don’t compare yourself to them, Endress says. Forget about them. Forgive them. But do not let them deter you from your goal.

Get Support

Enlist the help of your spouse, girlfriends, boyfriends, buddies — anyone who will encourage you to stay on track.

“The person should be in support, but not say, ‘Why can’t you? It’s so easy,'” says Sottovia. If helpful reassurance turns into criticism, gently remind your pal that you don’t need nagging.

 If you need additional help, hire a trainer, she advises.

Find the Fun In It

Sottovia and Endress both say it’s essential to find an activity you like. With an explosion in the number and types of fitness classes at most gyms, it has become easier to find something to appeal to you, from aerobics to Zumba.

If you’re not the gym type, walk around your neighborhood or try activities around the house, such as walking up and down stairs or dancing with the stars in your living room. If you’re motivated by being social, follow Geiger’s lead and join a team.

Break It Up

You can make it easier on yourself by splitting your exercise session into two or three sessions, says Endress. Research supports the idea that this can be as beneficial as one long workout, he says.

So, for example, if you don’t feel like exercising for an hour on any given day, do three sessions of 20 minutes each.

Make It Convenient

Do whatever you can to remove obstacles to exercise, and make it as convenient as possible, says Sottovia.

If you are time-pressed, for example, don’t spend 30 minutes driving to a gym. Try exercising at home to fitness DVDs instead. If you’re too tired to work out at the end of the day, set your alarm a little earlier and exercise in the morning.

Forget the Past

Don’t let previous bad experiences with exercise hinder you, Sottovia says.

So maybe you weren’t the most athletic kid in high school and were the last chosen for class games. That was years ago. Your goal now is not to win a letter jacket or make the cheerleading squad — you want to exercise to stay healthy and enjoy your life.

Reward Yourself

Treat yourself for making the effort to exercise — not with food, but with something that you enjoy, like a movie or flowers, says Endress

Try to think of indulgences that will reinforce a mind-body connection so you can savor the rewards of your hard work. Plan a short trip, or just an hour in a botanical garden. Go to a ball game. And remind yourself with each precious moment that you are enjoying this time because of all the great things you have been doing for yourself.

 

Article sourced from: http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/features/exercise-motivation

 

Alcohol & Weight Loss Are Enemies

June 8, 2014

almixAlcohol and weight loss are enemies, but an occasional drink can have a place in a healthy lifestyle. In fact, many experts note the potential health benefits of consuming a single drink per day, including a reduced risk for high blood pressure If, however, you are exceeding one drink daily, you might be sabotaging your weight loss plans.

Alcohol is metabolized differently than other foods and beverages. Under normal conditions, your body gets its energy from the calories in carbohydrates, fats and proteins, which are slowly digested and absorbed within the gastrointestinal system. However, this digestive process changes when alcohol is present. When you drink alcohol, it gets immediate attention (because it is viewed by the body as a toxin) and needs no digestion.

On an empty stomach, the alcohol molecules diffuse through the stomach wall quickly and can reach the brain and liver in minutes. This process is slower when you have food in your stomach, but as soon as that food enters the small intestine, the alcohol grabs first priority and is absorbed quickly into the bloodstream.

As the alcohol reaches the liver for processing, the liver places all of its attention on the alcohol. If you drink very slowly, all the alcohol is collected by the liver and processed immediately—avoiding all other body systems. If you drink more quickly, the liver cannot keep up with the processing needs and the alcohol continues to circulate in the body until the liver is available to process it. That’s why drinking large amounts of alcohol (or drinking alcohol quickly) affect the brain centers involved with speech, vision, reasoning and judgment.

When the body is focused on processing alcohol, it is not able to properly break down foods containing carbohydrates and fat. Therefore, these calories are converted into body fat and are carried away for permanent storage on your body.

Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning that it causes water loss and dehydration. Along with this water loss you lose important minerals, such as magnesium, potassium, calcium and zinc. These minerals are vital to the maintenance of fluid balance, chemical reactions, and muscle contraction and relaxation.

Alcohol contains 7 calories per gram and offers NO nutritional value. It only adds empty calories to your diet. Why not spend your calorie budget on something healthier?

Alcohol affects your body in other negative ways. Drinking may help induce sleep, but the sleep you get isn’t very deep. As a result, you get less rest, which can trigger you to eat more calories the next day. Alcohol can also increase the amount of acid that your stomach produces, causing your stomach lining to become inflamed. Over time, excessive alcohol use can lead to serious health problems, including stomach ulcers, liver disease, and heart troubles.

Alcohol lowers your inhibitions, which is detrimental to your diet plans. Alcohol actually stimulates your appetite. While you might be full from a comparable amount of calories from food, several drinks might not fill you up. On top of that, research shows that if you drink before or during a meal, both your inhibitions and willpower are reduced. In this state, you are more likely to overeat—especially greasy or fried foods—which can add to your waistline. To avoid this, wait to order that drink until you’re done with your meal.

Many foods that accompany drinking (peanuts, pretzels, chips) are salty, which can make you thirsty, encouraging you to drink even more. To avoid overdrinking, sip on a glass of water in between each alcoholic beverage.

Skipping a meal to save your calories for drinks later is a bad idea. Many drinkers know they’ll be having some alcohol later, whether going to a bar, party, or just kicking back at home. Knowing that drinking entails extra calories, it may be tempting to “bank” some calories by skipping a meal or two. This is a bad move. If you come to the bar hungry, you are even more likely to munch on the snacks, and drinking on an empty stomach enhances the negative effects of alcohol. If you’re planning on drinking later, eat a healthy meal first. You’ll feel fuller, which will stop you from overdrinking. If you are worried about a looming night out with friends, include an extra 30 minutes of exercise to balance your calories—instead of skipping a meal.

What are more important, calories or carbs? You might think that drinking liquor is more diet-friendly because it has no carbohydrates, while both wine and beer do contain carbs. But dieters need to watch calories, and liquor only has a few calories less than beer or wine. Plus, it is often mixed with other drinks, adding even more empty calories. Hard liquor contains around 100 calories per shot, so adding a mixer increases calories even more. If you are going to mix liquor with anything, opt for a diet or club soda, instead of fruit juice or regular soda. Sweeter drinks, whether liquor or wine, tend to have more sugar, and therefore more calories. In that respect, dry wines usually have fewer calories than sweet wines.

The list below breaks down the number of calories in typical alcoholic drinks. Compare some of your favorites to make a good choice next time you decide to indulge in a serving of alcohol.alcoholstandarddrinks

Drink Serving Size Calories
Red wine 5 oz. 100
White wine 5 oz. 100
Champagne 5 oz. 130
Light beer 12 oz. 105
Regular beer 12 oz. 140
Dark beer 12 oz. 170
Cosmopolitan 3 oz. 165
Martini 3 oz. 205
Long Island iced tea 8 oz. 400
Gin & Tonic 8 oz. 175
Rum & Soda 8 oz. 180
Margarita 8 oz. 200
Whiskey Sour 4 oz. 200

Alcohol can easily be the enemy when it comes to weight loss. It adds extra calories to your diet, encourages you to eat more food, and alters the normal digestive process. Not only are the extra calories a hindrance, but the changes in food breakdown sends turns those extra calories into unwanted body fat. Alcohol does have a bad reputation when it comes to weight loss, and rightfully so, so be smart about your alcohol choices if you’re watching your weight. This article has been reviewed and approved by SparkPeople’s nutrition expert Becky Hand, MS, Licensed and Registered Dietitian.

Article sourced here http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/nutrition_articles.asp?id=563

Active seniors can lower heart attack risk by doing more, not less

May 20, 2014

Maintaining or boosting your physical activity after age 65 can improve your heart’s electrical well-being and lower your risk of heart attack, according to a study in the American Heart Association journal Circulation.senior

In heart monitor recordings taken over five years, researchers found that people who walked more and faster and had more physically active leisure time had fewer irregular heart rhythms and greater heart rate variability than those who were less active.

Heart rate variability is differences in the time between one heartbeat and the next during everyday life.

“These small differences are influenced by the health of the heart and the nervous system that regulates the heart,” said Luisa Soares-Miranda, Ph.D., lead author of the study and a researcher at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston and the Faculty of Sport at the University of Porto in Portugal. “Early abnormalities in this system are picked up by changes in heart rate variability, and these changes predict the risk of future heart attacks and death.”

The researchers evaluated 24-hour heart monitor recordings of 985 adults (average age 71 at baseline) participating in the community-based Cardiovascular Health Study, a large study of heart disease risk factors in people 65 and older.

During the study, they found:

  • The more physical activity people engaged in, the better their heart rate variability.
  • Participants who increased their walking distance or pace during the five years had better heart rate variability than those who reduced how much or how fast they walked.

“Any physical activity is better than none, but maintaining or increasing your activity has added heart benefits as you age,” Soares-Miranda said. “Our results also suggest that these certain beneficial changes that occur may be reduced when physical activity is reduced.”

The researchers calculated that the difference between the highest and lowest levels of physical activity would translate into an estimated 11 percent lower risk of heart attack or sudden cardiac death.

“So if you feel comfortable with your usual physical activity, do not slow down as you get older—try to walk an extra block or walk at a faster pace,” Soares-Miranda said. “If you’re not physically active, it is never too late to start.”

 

This article was sourced and appeared on: http://medicalxpress.com/news/2014-05-seniors-heart.html