Benefits of the Barbells

BarbellThink you’re too old to lift weights?  Perhaps you’re too busy, or just don’t like weights.  I have ten good reasons to change your mind:

  1. You’ll fight heart disease.  Strength training is proven to decrease cholesterol levels and strengthen your heart muscle!
  2. You’ll be able to fight arthritis and body aches.  Studies have shown that weight training can strengthen joints and ease arthritis pain.  It can also strengthen low back muscles to alleviate low back pain by taking the pressure off the spine.
  3. Your new muscle will help fight weight gain.  When you begin to increase your muscle mass, your metabolism speeds up and you are burning more calories a day.
  4. You’ll be a stronger person.  Your everyday activities will be easier to perform and you will move around better.  You will breeze through your daily tasks!
  5. Mental health will strengthen as well.  Those that weight train feel more confident, and have a positive self-image.  There have also been studies done to prove that depression is greatly reduced in those that lift weights.
  6. You’ll be a better athlete.  Whether you are the occasional golfer, hunter, or an avid 5k runner, weight training can help in any sport by increasing lean muscle mass.  It will also help keep injuries at a minimum.
  7. Weight training helps at any age.  Strength training improvements can help those in their 20s as well as those in their 80s.  Lean muscle mass can be achieved at any age.
  8. You can reduce the risk of diabetes.  With weight gains, the chance of adult diabetes grows.  Lifting weights can increase glucose absorption by the body and reduce sugar issues very quickly.
  9. Osteoporosis will be reduced.  You can increase the density of your bones with weight bearing activities such as strength training.  Once you have osteoporosis, you can’t get rid of it, but you can prevent it from getting worse.
  10. You will lose fat and gain muscle.  One does not turn into the other.  You will decrease your body fat as you get stronger, and as you put muscle mass on, you will lose weight.

    With all these reasons, what are you waiting for?

Childhood Obesity is on the Rise (part 1 of 2)

Children not playingOpen your window on a sunny day and what do you hear?  The chirping of singing birds?  The yelling and laughter of playing children?  Today, chances are you will hear the birds outside, but not a lot of children.  Today, children are spending more and more time in front of the television, computer and video screens.  The affect of increased “screen” time has been a decrease in the physical activity and an increase in body weight.  The outcome?  Obesity in kids is now epidemic in the United States.

    One in five children today is considered obese.  Overweight adolescents have a 70% chance of becoming overweight adults.  Obese children now have diseases like type 2 diabetes that used to only occur in adults.  These are the sad facts of childhood obesity.  But perhaps even more devastating than the health problems is the social discrimination.  Children who are teased a lot can develop low self-esteem and depression.

    While there are many causes and contributing factors to childhood obesity, the main culprits are the same as those for adult obesity:  eating too much and moving around too little.  This is why parent involvement is critical.  You may not be overweight, but are you a good role model?  DO you spend hours a day in front of your computer?  Do you avoid exercise?  Remember, children form habits from their parents, and usually maintain them into adulthood.

    Answer these two questions to help see if you may be part of the problem instead of part of the solution:

  1. When was the lasdt time you took your children to rent a video or DVD?
  2. When was the last time you asked your children to go for a walk or bike ride with you?

    Children know if they are overweight. They do not need you to remind them or to tell them what to do.  They do need you to support them and show them what to do.  So the next time you get the urge to open the window and listen to the sounds of summer, why not open the door and go outside with your kids and play?

Childhood Obesity is on the Rise (part 2 of 2)

Children not playing    •    One in five children in the United States is overweight.
    •    One extra soft drink a day gives a child a 60% greater chance of becoming obese.
    •    Children with obesity ages ten to thirteen are reported to have a 70% likelihood of obesity persisting into adult years.

    The problem of childhood obesity in the United States has grown considerably in recent years.  American children are getting heavier at an alarming rate, and between 16% and 33% of children and adolescents today are considered obese.  Childhood obesity (CO) can affect anyone.   It is not influenced by culture, income, education, or race.  One of the biggest culprits contributing to CO today is “liquid candy” (sugared drinks).  Sweetened drinks like soda and sugared fruit drinks are less filling than food, but can add hundreds of calories to a person’s diet in a single day.

    To make it simple, people put on weight because they take in more calories in a day than they burn off (calories in, calories out!).  You also do not want to be fooled by low-fat products.  Many of these products are high in sugar and sugar can be converted to fat when not burned off.

    So, what can be done to help fight CO?  One place to start is with a more healthy diet.  I am not proposing a strict diet, but rather making some better choices and in some instances reducing or eliminating poor choices.  For example, after playing outdoors, quench a child’s thirst with water.  There are tons of varieties of flavored water that not only taste good, but are good for you.  Try removing soda from your house and reserve it for special occasions.

    You also need to make sure your child is getting enough physical activity.  Have you ever stopped and compared the time your child spends in front of the TV versus the time doing physical activity?  It is important that you realize your role in this.  Be a good role model.  Remember that many children will emulate their parents’ behavior, good or bad.

    Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, do not browbeat or berate your child.  Most children realize if they have a weight problem and most likely are hearing about it from their peers.  Rather than trying to embarrass them into eating right and exercising, be supportive, helpful, and positive.  Help them make better choices and set realistic goals.  Childhood obesity is a sensitive subject that needs to be dealt with in a healthy, loving manner.  This is a problem that cannot and will not change over night, so be patient with your child and yourself.