Monday, December 31, 2012

Doctor's RX: More Recess!

This article from TIME does a fabulous job highlighting the importance of recess as a part of the school day.  While the physical benefits of recess are more obvious like reducing obesity and improving bone strength, recess also allows time for social development, problem solving, and creativity. 
 Read the article for more information!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Daily Fitness Tip: Dec. 27

Motivation turns into action which turns back into motivation!  One of my favorite things about a great workout is that is motivates me for the next.  If I go too many days without some type of physical activity it's really tough to get going again.  If I stay consistent with my workouts, it's a lot easier to hit the gym the next time.  So whether it's heading to the gym, going for a walk, or out on the playground, your regular routine can motivate you day in and day out!

CDC Reports Decline in Childhood Obesity

This week the CDC has reported that childhood obesity rates among the preschool age group (2-5yrs) has declined from 16.1% to 14.9%.  While that may not sound like much, its a start!  He's the article from the New York Times if you're interested in reading more!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Allergies, Obestiy, and Bullying

Interesting article from ABC about children's health issues and their influence on being bullied, just thought I would share!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Daily Fitness Tip: Dec.8

The higher percentage of body fat the greater risk of developing hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and some types of cancer. Physical activity decreases percent body fat in kids and adults. #getactivegethealthy

Friday, November 9, 2012

Daily Fitness Tip: Nov. 9

Serving Sizes Made Easy:

We know that kids don't need servings the same size as ours, but what exactly are the recommendations for kids?  Use this chart from WebMD as an easy go-to-guide when choosing portions for your little ones!  Click on the chart to go to the WebMd website where you'll find more information, print-outs, and healthy activites for your family!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Daily Fitness Tip: Nov. 8

Portion Distortion: WebMd has an EXCELLENT Fit Jr. section with fun games, print-outs, and family tips for healthy eating and physical activity.  I really like the portion distortion section.  It is so important to know not just WHAT to eat, but HOW MUCH to eat as well!  Check out the print-out from WebMd below, click on the picture to go to the site itself!


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Daily Fitness Tip: Nov. 7

Beat the Bug! Peak flu season will be here before you know it!

It's flu season!  Be sure you and your family get flu shots, it's not too late!  Although the flu starts spreading as early as October, the CDC says that January is PEAK flu season.  So arm yourself and your family today!  Want more facts about the flu?  Click on the picture to link to the CDC website!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Daily Fitness Tip: Nov. 6

Youth who are regularly active have a better chance of a healthy adulthood.  So go out and get active today for better health tomorrow!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Daily Fitness Tip: Nov. 5

Drink more water!  As it starts to get a little chilly out, we tend to drink less water.  Carry an extra water bottle with you this week, pack a crystal light to add a splash of flavor, have a glass when you wake up and just before bed.  You may not feel like you sweat as much when its cold out, but you do!  It just evaporates quicker, so drink up!  Don't let dehydration sneak up on you!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Daily Fitness Tip: Oct. 26

Worried your kids will get hurt out on the field?  Walking, gardening, bicycling, dancing, swimming, and golf are activities with the lowest injury rates.  Don't let fear keep your family from being active!


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Daily Fitness Tip: Oct. 25

Did you know that regular physical activity reduces symptoms of anxiety & depression in adults, adolescents, AND children?  An active family is a happy family!  #makekidsfitnessfun

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Daily Fitness Tip: Oct. 24

Want more out of your workout?  
For additional health benefits it may be time to:
  • Increase your intensity - After 3-4 weeks of training at the same level, it may be time to bump it up a notch! Add an incline, increase the resistance, or try a new program on the treadmill/elliptical/or arc trainer to increase your intensity to continue getting results!
  • Increase your frequency - Not ready to increase the intensity?  No problem!  Just hit the gym, or head outside one additional day each week to keep seeing improvements.
  • Increase your duration - Not ready for the intensity, but too busy to add a day?  Just increase your duration (or amount of time you exercise) by 10 minutes for additional health benefits!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Daily Fitness Tip: Oct. 23

WarmUp before you PowerUp! 
It is important to warmup before strenuous exercise and even before stretching! Spend 5-10 minutes walking, lightly jogging, or even skipping to reduce the risk of injury.  Ways to make the warmup fun?  Play your family's favorite song so you get in the mood to move!  #letsmove #makingkidsfitnessfun

Monday, October 22, 2012

Daily Fitness Tip: Oct. 22

Looking for a way to make crunches for kids AND teach them about nutrition?  Sandwich sit-ups do the trick! Start in a standard sit-up position, lying on your back, knees bent, feet on the ground.  Reach arms up by you ears and pretend to get your "whole grain bread out of the cabinet".  Sit up and put it on your plate.  Reach back (lay back down) and get your turkey out of the refrigerator.  Sit back up, put it on your sandwich.  Continue, adding other healthy components like tomatoes, lettuce, mustard, maybe some onions, or avocado?  On your last sit-up, pretend to eat your sandwich!  You could also add healthy sides like carrot sticks or yogurt and a class of milk to drink for a healthy exercise lesson all in one! #makingkidsfitnessfun

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Daily Fitness Tip: Oct. 18

Walking Works!  The treadmill queen, stacks of giant weights, and let's not even start on the locker rooms, the gym can be intimidating sometimes! Take advantage of the crisp fall weather and go for a walk!  You get the same health and fitness benefits with walking as you do from running, and its even better on your joints.  The best part?  You can do it as a family, setting a healthy example for your kids increases the likelihood of them becoming physically active adults!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

PowerUp Instructor Training: Special Event!

Powerup Instructor Training Special Event
Saturday, December 1st, 2012 from 10:00a-2:00p
Fort Sanders Health & Fitness Center in Knoxville, TN

PowerUp® Fitness, LCC is about Making Kid’s Fitness Fun! Our mission is to promote the physical, mental, and social development of youth through fun, educational, and safe fitness programming. Owner, Stacy Scott will be hosting this PowerUp Instructor Training Special Event!

Interested in becoming a PowerUp Fitness or PowerUp Your School Instructor?  This special event combines both instructor courses, so after the session you will be licensed to teach both PowerUp Programs!

Anyone 18 years or older may attend the PowerUp Instructor Training.  There are no prerequisites for taking this introductory course.  However, it helps if you have some group exercise experience or enjoy working with children.  The key to becoming a successful PowerUp Instructor is a positive attitude and enthusiasm for making kid’s fitness fun!               

After your PowerUp Instructor Training, you can start teaching when you feel ready!  Every PowerUp Instructor is an independent contractor, so you will set up your own schedule, rates, terms, agreements, etc. with the facilities you chose.  The PowerUp Instructor Training will teach you about the PowerUp program and how to lead the PowerUp classes.  The training and program materials that are included provide plenty of ideas and copyrighted lessons to get you started!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Daily Fitness Tip: Oct. 16

It's a common myth that strength training stunts children's growth.  As a pediatric exercise physiologist, I am regularly asked about this topic.  Strength training is absolutely safe for children with proper instruction and light resistance, strength training improves bone strength, muscle strength & endurance, improves body composition, and even self-esteem! 

Resistance bands are a GREAT piece of equipment for children and perfect for introducing new strength training exercises.  It is important to start with exercises that incorporate large muscle groups, let's use squats as an example.

Chose a "light" resistance band (usually yellow or green bands indicate light resistance).  Step both feet on the center of the band.  Feet should be about hip width apart.  Hold one handle in each hand, start with hands at shoulder height. Now we're ready to squat.  Slowly bend at the knees, pretend to sit in an imaginary chair, bottom pushes back, and knees bend about 90 degrees.  Your hands should stay level with shoulders, then return to stand.  That's one!  Try 2 sets of 10 reps.  Talk to your children or students about reps and sets, you can even use it to explain multiplication (or addition for younger ones).

It's recommended that children get 60 minutes of physical activity everyday!  15-20 minutes of strength training should be included three times per week as a part of those 60 minutes!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Juice Abuse: Thirsy for the Answers?

I am excited to feature today's post by guest blogger, Jacquelyn Scott! Jacquelyn is an accomplished registered dietitian.  She earned her Master of Science in Clinical Nutrition from the University of Memphis and worked for several years at LeBonheur Children's Hospital.  Jacquelyn's experience includes health and nutrition education, motivational interviewing, weight management counseling, and comprehensive general nutrition education.  She has also been awarded for her work and has presented her scientific research on a national stage!

Today she highlights the difference between fresh fruit and fresh juice, enjoy!

Juice Abuse

"Juice is healthy because it's a fruit, right?"  As a registered dietitian, this is a question I get all the time.  It is true that the average child needs 1 ½ cups of fruit a day (2 cups per day for adults), and it is true that 100% fruit juice can count as a serving of fruit.  However, while 100% fruit juice can provide vitamins and minerals, it fails to provide some important benefits of whole fruit. 

Think about it – will drinking 4 ounces of fruit juice (1/2 cup) fill you up as much as eating an orange?  Any fruit with an edible peel, pith, or pulp is packed with dietary fiber.  Not only does fiber fill you up faster, it lingers in the stomach after other substances have emptied into your intestines, so it keeps you feeling full longer.  We also tend to eat whole fruit more slowly than we drink a few ounces of juice, so the enjoyment is prolonged and we stay satisfied longer.  That same dietary fiber can help control blood sugar, reduce cholesterol, and lower your risk of heart disease.  

Have a kiddo who shys away from fruit?  Keep it fun, and approach every food with a positive attitude.  If your child is threatened to eat his fruit or hears her mom say "I don't like fruit, it's gross," then the child is much less likely to try new fruits.  Freeze fruits like grapes and melon slices for a refreshing snack after sports practice.  Make a healthy banana split for dessert with a sliced banana and ½ cup of vanilla Greek yogurt, then top it with a raspberry.  Now, go forth and be fruit-full! 

Jacquelyn Scott, MS, RD, LDN, CNSC
Pediatric Dietitian

Have nutrition questions for Jacquelyn?  Leave a comment and she'll get back to you with the answer!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Daily Fitness Tip: Oct. 11

Fall weather is officially here - crisp, cool mornings, sunny, soul-warming afternoons and absolutely breath taking sunsets here in Knoxville, TN.  Take advantage of the fall weather before its too late!  Here are three fun outdoor activities for your family to try today or this weekend!

1. Family flag (or touch) football - find a park, or head out in your own backyard.  Have your children play QB, this encourages them to use problem solving skills as well as being physically active!  You'll get your heart pumping too, play for 45 minutes and torch around 350 calories!

My boyfriend and I in the Smokies!

2. Go for a hike - here in east TN, I try to take advantage of having the Smokies so close as much as I can!  No mountains? No excuse!  Most parks have some type of walking trails.  Live in the city?  Go for an urban hike!  Map out different city blocks that you and the kids want to conquer!

Biking across the Golden Gate Bridge

3. Go for a bike ride - get outside and start pedaling for a great family activity.  No bikes? Search online for a bike rental company near you!  (Right. Biking across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco with friends at the American College of Sports Medicine Conference!)

Let me know if you tried any of these activities!  I'd love to see pictures or stories about your family's activity adventure!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Daily Fitness Tip: Oct. 10

Today's 5 Super Stretches for Your Family to Try!

1. Alphabet stretch:  Go through the alphabet and stretch your body in the shape of each letter.  Try upper case and lower case, hold each "letter" for 5-10 seconds.
2. Sit & Reach:  Sit on your bottom, legs out straight.  Slowly fold over, lowering your chest toward your legs.  Try to keep your knees straight, hold for 20 seconds then relax and repeat.
3. Downward facing dog:  Start on with the hands and knees on the floor, hands under the shoulders, and knees under the hips, with your back straightened and relaxed. When ready, lift hips toward the ceiling, the body forming an inverted V-shape.  If the hamstrings are very strong or tight, bend your knees to allow the spine to lengthen fully.
4. Quad stretch: Great for developing balance skills and much more!  Stand near a wall or a chair for support. Reach for your ankle and gently pull your heel toward your bottom until you feel a stretch in the front of your thigh. Keep your knees close together. Hold for about 30 seconds, then switch legs and repeat.
5. Head, Shoulders, Knees, & Toes: Use this classic children's song as a morning stretch.  Reach up and over your head, then roll your shoulders, reach for your knees, then your toes.  The kids will enjoy singing along and the whole family can get a good stretch in!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Daily Fitness Tip: Oct. 9

Stretching is Super!  Flexibility and regular stretching is important for all ages!  Regular stretching can improve:

1.  Balance & Coordination: both of which are important throughout motor skill development during childhood, but also for everyday function for adults young and old!
2. Circulation:  Think better blood flow to the brain during your student's next spelling test!
3. Mood:  Stretching can offer relaxation, but also play a role in stress managment!

Make it a goal to stretch more!  Spend a few minutes in the morning before everyone rushes off to school and work or as a family before bed!

Check back tomorrow for 5 news stretches that your family should try!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Daily Fitness Tip: Oct. 8

Think positive!  While getting your kids off the couch is one thing, positive feedback is critical in keeping them off!  On the playground kids hear "slow down", in the classroom "sit down", at home "no running".  While it is important to reinforce rules and safety, too often it turns into negative feedback regarding some type of physical activity.  This week I encourage you to take the kids somewhere they can run as fast as they want, jump, climb, and swing as high as they can.  Be sure to encourage their activity through positive feedback "wow, you're a great climber!", "you sure can run fast, you'd make a great soccer player/track runner/anything!"
Your positive feedback goes a long way!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Daily Fitness Tip: Oct. 3

Does your home environment promote a healthy lifestyle or encourage sedentary habits?  A study out of the University of Sydney surveyed over 1100 parents with children starting their first year of school regarding their home environment and family's physical activity habits, diet, and screen time.

Overweight and obese children were 1.73 times more likely to exceed the recommended amount of screen time (TV, computer, video games, etc.) and 2.07 times more likely to eat dinner in front of the TV at least three times per week compared to their normal weight counterparts.

Also, overweight or obese girls were more likely to have TV's in their bedrooms and more likely to be rewarded with sweets for good behavior.

I think this study highlights the influence of a healthy (or not so healthy) home environment on the weight status of young children.  I challenge you to assess your family's home environment.  What  changes could you make today to encourage healthy habits in your home?

Like this article?  Here's the reference if you'd like to learn more!
Louise L. Hardy, Lesley King, Debra Hector, Beverley Lloyd. Weight status and weight-related behaviors of children commencing school. Preventive Medicine, Available online 16 September 2012.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Daily Fitness Tip: Oct. 2

This week I am focusing on bone strengthening activities for kids (see yesterday's post for the recommendations).  Here is a list of some bone strengthening exercises; I challenge you to try 3 of them this week!

Figure Skating
Jumping Rope
Resistance exercises (with resistance bands or light weights)
Tae Kwon Do

Monday, October 1, 2012

Daily Fitness Tip: Oct. 1

Lately, with the focus on obesity prevention and treatment, aerobic activities have been in the spotlight. Don't forget bone strengthening activities are important too! Children should include bone strengthening activities like running, jumping, and climbing at least 3 times per week as a part of their 60 minutes everyday!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Daily Fitness Tip: Sept. 28

Happy Friday!  It's almost the weekend and a lot people forget that what we eat on the Friday through Sunday counts too! Here are a few fun, healthy, yummy breakfast "treats" that the kids will love and keep nutrition in check too!

1. Carrot Cake Pancakes - Perfect  for Fall! 
Sweet, slightly spicy, and brightly colored, these lightened flapjacks use low-fat buttermilk and spices to create a dessert-like breakfast for only 315 calories. Get the recipe here: Carrot Cake Pancakes

2. Blueberry-Maple Muffins - Tastes like your traditional blueberry muffin with 4x the fiber! Get the recipe here: Blueberry Maple Muffins

3. Potato Egg Bake - For those of you that like a more savory, hearty breakfast give this one a shot!  Get the recipe here:Potato Egg Bake

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Daily Fitness Tip: Sept. 27

There is a positive relationship between physical activity and children's motor development!  Motor skills (like kicking, jumping, throwing a ball, etc.) are important aspects of physical, mental, and social development.  Think physical activity, playing team sports, and gaining self confidence all while improving kids health!  #60minutes
Want to learn more?  Check out this source: A. Kondilis, Brian H. Wrotniak, Leonard H. Epstein, Joan M. Dorn, Katherine E. Jones and Valerie. The Relationship Between Motor Proficiency and Physical Activity in Children. Pediatrics 2006;118;e1758

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Daily Fitness Tip: Sept. 26

Drink Up!  Water is a healthy, affordable, accessible, and important part of your daily nutrition! Between 55-60% of our bodies are made up of water, so drink up!  ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) recommends that we drink 8-12 cups of water everyday! So wether you like it in a bottle, or from the tap, start sipping!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Daily Fitness Tip: Sept. 25

Fun fact: September is also national yoga month! Since yoga is also beneficial and safe for kids- teach your kids a few new poses today!
Try fun animal oriented poses like downward facing dog, cat, cow, and hare for starters!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Daily Fitness Tip: Sept. 24

September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month and in the spirit of beautiful fall weather today's tip includes fun, outdoor, educational activities!  These two activities could be fun family adventures or applied in the classroom!

1. Go on a nature walk!  Collect leaves, talk about the different shapes and colors (for younger children) or discuss the biology about why leaves changes colors (with your older students)!
2. Become cartographers!  Go for a walk around your neighborhood or walk to school, the store, friends' houses, etc. Note the different landmarks, street names, and whether you turned right or left.  Then head home or back to the classroom and map your walk!  This is a great way to discuss safe routes to school or the park!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Daily Fitness Tip: Sept. 21

Start the day off right! Kids need to eat a healthy breakfast every morning in order to perform their best at school. In a rush? Keep easy to grab-and-go fruits on hand like apples, grapes, or bananas, paired with yogurt and some granola or dry cereal packed the night before! Include 10 jumping jacks before you head out the door to PowerUp kid's bodies and brains!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Daily Fitness Tip: Sept. 20

 Today's Tip: Turn off the Tube!  On average kids between the ages of 6 to 11 years old watch 28 hours of TV per week! That's more than an one ENTIRE day spent in front of the TV per week, yikes!  Turn off the TV, get outside, and enjoy the beautiful fall weather!  There will always be reruns, TV, and movies, but kid's only have one childhood!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Daily Fitness Tip: Sept. 19

Are your kids getting enough physical activity?  Kid's need 60 minutes everyday!  Be sure to include all three types!

#1 Aerobic activities

#2 Muscle strengthening

#3 Bone strengthening

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

What do you think is the government's role in the obesity epidemic?

There is a GREAT article in the Wall Street Journal about Government policy and how if affects obesity. 

In an effort to tackle the obesity epidemic Major Bloomberg of NYC recently approved a ban of sugary drinks in quantities greater than 16oz.  Also in NYC, fast food restaurants display calorie counts on the menu in an effort to educate the consumer.  Some fast food chains have taken this policy on a national, for example, even the Panera here in Knoxville, TN posts the calorie count next to each food item on the menu.  As a conscious healthy eater regardless, I know it has affected the choices I make and in some cases has even surprised me!

Here's the article: What Role Should Government Play in Combating Obesity?

What about the 16oz policy?  A few weeks ago I went to the movies, I walk up to the concessions to order a "small" diet coke and a "small" popcorn to share.  I had to hold the "small" diet coke with both hands and halfway through the movie we had barely made a dent in the popcorn.

The article also discusses influential policies on a national level.  The quality of food available on the food stamps program doesn't exactly promote healthy options...

What do you think about these policies?  Should the government enforce more policies that help tackle the obesity epidemic?  Or should the focus be toward educating the consumer but letting them make the choice?  Would they pick the healthiest option?

I want to hear what you have to say on the issue!  Leave a comment on my blog! What do you think would work?

More on this issue?  Check out this book: The Fattening of America - How the Economy Makes Us Fat, If It Matters, and What to Do About It by Eric A. Finkelstein & Laurie Zukerman

I want to hear what you have to say!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Daily Fitness Tip: Sept. 17th

Rainy Day?  Here's a list of 5 exercises you can do indoors and keep kids fit!
1. Dance - play your family's favorite tunes and show off your dance moves for a fun cardiovascular boost!
2. Alternating lunges - start standing up. Step your right leg forward and bend both knees. Push off of your right foot back to start position then repeat with left leg.
3. Jumping Jacks - another great cardio boost when its a dreary day outside!
4. Pushups - as all of my clients, and they'll tell you this is my number one upper body exercise. Whether you're on your toes or knees, give one a shot and try to work your way up to 10, then 15. Then half on your toes and half on your knees, adding one more each day!
5. Sit-ups - commercial break crunches anyone?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Daily Fitness Tip: Sept. 12

When trying to make any type of changes or improvements its best to know where you start!  So to get going take this quiz!  How fit is your family?

It only takes about 3-5 minutes!  Afterward you'll see your family's fit score, a list of your healthy habits, and ways to keeping improving in the future.

I'd love to hear from you!  Did your family's fit score surprise you?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Daily Fitness Tip: Sept. 11

Flexibility is important for all ages BUT stretching before exercise can lead to injury if you haven't warmed up properly.  It's most beneficial to stretch at the end of a workout when your muscles are totally warmed up and ready!

Want more info?  Visit

Calories In = Calories Out Right?

I think NPR does a great job of educating their readers and listeners.  This article Heavy Teens Eat Less But Weigh More Than Their Thinner Peers explains the physiological changes that happen as excess weight accumulates throughout puberty.

Excess weight and lack of physical activity can have unhealthy consequences for kids and adults!  Check out the article for more information!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Daily Fitness Tip: Sept. 10

Put activity on the calender.  Studies show that families that plan to be active, by writing it somewhere or talking about it together are more likely to meet the physical activity recommendations!  Need some ideas?  Use CDC's BAM! Body and Mind physical activity calender for kids!  Click on the picture to go to their website!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Daily Fitness Tip: Sept. 6

To make the recommendations realistic, (60 minutes everyday),  kids (and adults) should increase physical activity gradually.  Find something you enjoy and participate in 10 minute bouts to build up to 60 minutes! #makefitnessrealistic

Biggest Loser Teen Contestants?

Biggest Loser has released that the January season will have teenage contestants on the show.  I have mixed feelings about this.   The article in the Huffington post suggests that the teenagers won't be subject to the the traditional Biggest Loser tactics; they won't weight in, and the overall goal is "getting healthy."

I think the show has done a lot to encourage people of all shapes and sizes to make a healthy change no matter where their starting from.  But as an Exercise Physiologist, it is important that I mention the extreme week-to-week weight loss is unrealistic and the contestants are under medical supervision.  I hope the teens that enroll for the show feel encouraged, empowered, and in control of their own health.  Is it a good idea?  I don't know.  What do you think?