How to Set Your Fitness Goals

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Reality Illinois

Reality Illinois is a youth coalition dedicated to positive youth development and prevention of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. There are currently two chapters of Reality in DuPage. One group is comprised of high school students and led by Gilda Ross. The other is fairly new and is comprised of Middle School students and is led by Liz Seybold.

Reality Middle School chapter is the newest chapter, beginning in April of 2018. Since the group’s inception, they have already accomplished a great deal. Students have worked with the Lombard Park District and posted the smoke-free park signs, cleaned up cigarette butts and other debris at Madison Meadows park and participated in a Sticker Shock campaign meant to educate adult consumers of alcohol that providing alcohol to minors is dangerous and illegal. Outside of these community projects, the group has regular meetings where they are educated about topics such as; prescription drug abuse, harmful effects of nicotine/tobacco products, the dangers of vaping, and on the opioid crisis, our community is currently facing.  Read more

How to keep your New Year’s resolutions

Ginny Grimsley shared in a Daily Herald article that if you’re one of the millions of Americans who will make a promise to improve yourself this New Year, there’s bad news: You’re 92 percent likely to fail in sticking to your resolutions, says a recent study from the University of Scranton’s Journal of Clinical Psychology.

About 45 percent of Americans make resolutions. Ranking at the top is losing weight and staying fit and healthy ranks No. 5.

“Of course, those statistics represent the average – you don’t have to be average,” says Dr. Virender Sodhi, founder of the Ayurvedic and Naturopathic Medical Clinic. “There are plenty of things individuals can do to improve their odds of success if they resolve to become healthier and fitter.”

Dr. Sodhi, author of the new guide, “Ayurvedic Herbs: The Comprehensive Resource for Ayurvedic Healing Solutions,” believes we can move much closer to a world of disease-free societies by following the laws of Mother Nature. Individual commitment to health via New Year’s resolutions is one path to take us there. Dr. Sodhi offers five tips for staying true to your goals.

• Get away from the instant-gratification mentality and avoid unrealistic goals. Don’t expect to go from zero to 60 — 60 being your ideal body image — in just a few months, especially if you have little background in training. Unfortunately, most who have resolutions like losing plenty of weight and quitting smoking are used to easy snack foods and quick rewards. Health is long-term labor of love; commit to the love and wait for results.

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Sleep Guide For Anxiety

Alyssa with http://www.purple.comPurplethism  just published this guide on the relationship between anxiety, mental health, and quality of sleep

Anxiety comes in many forms, from the general worry that comes from everyday life to the intense fear caused by major psychiatric disorders. As debilitating as anxiety can be to our mental and physical health, it’s also corrosive to our quality of sleep—whether you’re a college student pulling an all-nighter or a veteran jolted awake from a nightmare caused by PTSD.

This guide covers how anxiety and sleep are interrelated, change with age, and what you can do to improve both.

Anxiety and Sleep

Nearly 40 million people in the US experience an anxiety disorder in any given year. More than 40 million Americans also suffer from chronic, long-term sleep disorders. Those numbers aren’t a coincidence. Anxiety and sleep are intimately connected: The less sleep you get, the more anxious you feel. The more anxious you feel, the less sleep you get. It’s a cycle many insomnia and anxiety sufferers find hard to break.

Common anxiety symptoms like restlessness, increased heart rate, rapid breathing, and gastrointestinal (GI) problems make it difficult to fall asleep.

Because insomnia and anxiety are so closely linked, one of the first steps in treatment is to determine which is causing the other — that is, which is the primary cause and which is the secondary symptom. “Sometimes, insomnia is secondary,” says psychotherapist Brooke Sprowl, “in that it is caused by another primary disorder such as depression, anxiety, or a medical condition. In this case, usually treating the primary disorder [improves] the insomnia.”

Whether insomnia is the primary or secondary cause, natural remedies like magnesium glycinate and melatonin have been shown to help with sleep, says Sprowl. Non-medication treatments like cognitive behavior therapyalong with good sleep hygiene are also effective at combating insomnia and anxiety. Read more

10 Benefits of Physical Activity

Karin A. Bilich wrote in Explore Parents that when many people decide to “get fit,” they assume it involves rigorous activity. But you don’t have to spend hours in a gym to be physically active. People can get in shape by performing everyday activities in the home. Every time you and your child throw a softball, swim a lap, climb a flight of stairs, walk to the store, or carry packages, your health and fitness levels are improving.

When someone is physically fit, she feels and looks better, and she stays healthier. The earlier a child starts getting in shape, the more she’ll reduce her risk of numerous illnesses. Here are some of the benefits that physical activity offers your child:

1. It strengthens the heart. The heart is a muscle. Like other muscles, its performance improves when it’s regularly challenged by exercise. The heart responds to exercise by becoming stronger and more efficient. Strengthening the heart muscle can help ward off heart disease — the leading cause of death in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services — even in early childhood.

2. It helps keep arteries and veins clear. Exercise reduces the amount of harmful cholesterol and fats in a person’s blood. It increases the flexibility of the walls of blood vessels and helps to lower blood pressure. This can reduce a person’s risk for heart attack and stroke.

3. It strengthens the lungs. Working hard increases lung capacity and their efficiency in moving air in and out of the body. As a result, more oxygen is drawn into the body and more carbon dioxide and other waste gases are expelled. Regular exercise helps prevent the decline in oxygen intake that occurs naturally with age or as a result of inactivity.

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Kids Aren’t Getting Much Exercise

Kate Elizabeth Queram, a Staff Correspondent for Government Executive’s Route Fifty and based in Washington, D.C. shared that more than three-fourths of children nationally between the ages of 6 and 17 do not get enough daily physical activity, and activity levels vary depending on gender and other factors, according to a recent national report card.

The 2018 United States Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth, released this month, provides a comprehensive assessment of activity levels by reviewing and summarizing national health statistics and data from multiple national surveys. Metrics are broken into nine indicators, including overall physical activity, health-related fitness and sedentary behaviors like watching television or playing video games. Each metric is given a letter grade, from A to F.

The report, released by a subcommittee of the nonprofit coalition National Physical Activity Plan, aims to assess overall levels of physical activity among minors but also to serve as an advocacy tool to help parents and policymakers “implement new initiatives, programs, and policies in support of healthy environments to improve the physical activity levels and health of our children and youth.”

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American Children’s Level of Exercise

The Editor of Children’s and Nature Network reported that a team of researchers at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio have uncovered some startling information about the amount of exercise the average U.S. child gets in a week.

According to the study, a majority of children are not getting the recommended amount of physical activity they need, and only 5% are meeting the goal of 60 minutes per day.

While this may come as a surprise to some, not everyone will be shocked by these findings.

Research has found that kids are spending more time on smartphones, tablets, or TV every year.

They also discovered that only one hour of screen time can increase a child’s chance of becoming anxious or depressed.

These results are worrisome because young children are in desperate need of physical activity.

Exercise is important for healthy growth and development, increasing bone density and strengthening muscles.

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Research Shows Eyesight Epidemic for Children Caused by Lack of Time Outside

FREYA LUCAS shared in the Sector’s Early Education News, Views, and Reviews, that scientists have concluded that children may reduce the risk of myopia (commonly referred to as being short-sighted) by spending more time engaged in outdoor play, a study recently published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology has found.
These findings echo Australian early childhood education and care (ECEC) advocates, who have called for children’s outdoor play needs to be better served by the sector, and by communities as a whole.

The study discovered that genetics played a factor in whether or not a child would become myopic, however, screen-based activities – such as time spent on an ipad or playing computer games – also increased the chance of a child becoming short sighted. This risk was reduced when children spent more time outdoors.

Researchers also found that children who entered the formal schooling system at a younger age were more likely to develop short sightedness than their peers, noting that the change in work environment from the less structured preschool years to the formal schooling system, which required more near work – such as focusing on printed words – resulted in changes to the shape of the eyeball, which is linked to myopia. Read more

Don’t Worry About All the Calories on Thanksgiving

 Jacqueline Andriakos wrote in SELF’s Food Healthy Eating section  that during the week leading up to Thanksgiving,

it’s easy to get wrapped up in healthy side dish recipes, tips for avoiding holiday weight gain, and pre-turkey workouts that make room for an extra slice of pie. But for some people, all that strategizing sucks the joy right out of a day that’s supposed to be about celebrating gratitude with loved ones over lots of delicious food.

“I tell people all the time, if you’re looking forward to Thanksgiving, or any special occasion dining experience, go all out. Eat what you want. Then get back up on the horse again,” says Liz Weinandy, RD, a nutritionist with the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. “But for a lot of people, this is easier said than done because they worry one meal makes or breaks everything.”

How much does one meal really matter?

One single indulgent meal—even one whole day of high-calorie eating—is “absolutely not going to destroy anyone’s metabolism, cause them to gain some tremendous amount of weight, or ruin longer-term goals,” says Weinandy. To gain a notable amount of weight, you’d need to continuously consume more calories than your body can burn over the course of several days.

“Let’s take a person who consumes 2,000 calories daily and maintains her weight,” Weinandy says. “Say she eats 5,000 calories on Thanksgiving. Her body is going to have to store 3,000 extra calories because it can’t burn them.” But she won’t even gain a whole pound. (One pound of fat is equivalent to 3,500 calories.) The amount of weight she’ll put on is simply not worth agonizing over, especially at the expense of enjoying the holiday, says Weinandy. Plus, she’ll burn all those calories off in the days to come, by returning to her regular eating habits and workout routine.

Craig Primack, MD, an obesity medicine specialist at the Scottsdale Weight Loss Center in Arizona, agrees that one big meal isn’t enough to cause a noticeable physical difference or weight fluctuation. Might you feel the effects of a fatty, sugary holiday dinner in other ways? Sure. “You’ll probably feel bloated, slightly dehydrated if you’re consuming alcoholic beverages, and potentially uncomfortably full,” says Dr. Primack. “But people know this going in.”

What really matters, says Dr. Primack, is how Thanksgiving influences your behavior in the following days. “It’s worth keeping in mind that you’re going into a four-day weekend full of leftovers,” he says. “And four days of eating off track can definitely have consequences, like weight gain or un-programming all of your great healthy habits. It’s about the bigger picture, not the one meal.” Read more