Posted in Benefits of Exercise, Cardiovascular Fitness, Cholesterol, Diabetes and Metabolism, Healthy Habits, Youth Fitness

A little vigorous exercise may help boost kids’ cardiometabolic health

6406743 - young boy working out
Copyright: jhandersen / 123RF Stock Photo


Date: March 24, 2017
Source: Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center
As little as 10 minutes a day of high-intensity physical activity could help some children reduce their risk of developing heart problems and metabolic diseases such as diabetes, according to an international study.

As little as 10 minutes a day of high-intensity physical activity could help some children reduce their risk of developing heart problems and metabolic diseases such as diabetes, according to an international study led by a researcher at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

The investigators found that replacing light-intensity physical activity with brief periods of vigorous exercise may provide significant cardiometabolic benefits in young people with relatively large waist measurements and elevated levels of insulin in their blood.

The study, published in the current issue of the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, analyzed data from 11,588 young people ages 4 to 18 who were included in 11 International Children’s Accelerometry Database studies in the United States, Brazil and European countries. The researchers focused on those records that included the child’s age, gender, level of physical activity and at least one biomarker — a measurable indicator of a medical state or condition — of a cardiometabolic risk. These included weight circumference, systolic and diastolic blood pressure and bloodstream levels of HDL (“good”) cholesterol, LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, triglycerides, glucose and insulin.

In evaluating the relationships between the biomarkers and vigorous physical activity while controlling for various factors (including age, gender, duration and level of exercise and sedentary time) the researchers found only 32 significant associations out of a possible 360. All 32 were related to reduced waist circumference and insulin levels. The relationships between high-intensity exercise and the other biomarkers were inconsistent.

“The results suggest that substituting modest amounts of vigorous physical activity for longer-duration light exercise may have cardiometabolic benefits above and beyond those conveyed by moderate activity and the avoidance of sedentary behavior,” said the study’s lead author, Justin B. Moore, Ph.D., associate professor of family and community medicine at Wake Forest School of Medicine, part of Wake Forest Baptist. “But as vigorous activity was independently associated with only two of the markers examined, it may be that its truly meaningful benefits may be limited, relative to less-intense exercise.”

Moore suggests that further studies incorporating additional variables — such as dietary and genetic data — are needed to better establish the relationships between various levels of exercise and cardiometabolic biomarkers in young people. “If such studies provide robust results,” he said, “a relatively brief but intense dose of physical activity — perhaps as little as 10 minutes day, which is certainly feasible for most youth — could turn out to be part of a ‘prescription’ for children to achieve or maintain cardiac and metabolic health.”

Story Source:

Materials provided by Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference:

  1. Justin B. Moore, Michael W. Beets, Keith Brazendale, Steven N. Blair, Russell R. Pate, Lars B. Andersen, Sigmund A. Anderssen, Anders Grøntved, Pedro C. Hallal, Katarzyna Kordas, Susi Kriemler, John J. Reilly, Luis B. Sardinha. Associations of Vigorous-intensity Physical Activity with Biomarkers in Youth. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 2017; 1 DOI: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000001249
Posted in Benefits of Exercise, Girl Power, Healthy Habits, Mind/Body, Motor skills, Youth Fitness

Girls with poorer motor skills more likely than boys to be obese — ScienceDaily


Date:December 19, 2016

Source:Coventry University

Girls with poorer motor skills more likely than boys to be obese Date: December 19, 2016 Source: Coventry University Summary: Young girls who exhibit a poor mastery of fundamental movement skills (FMS) are more likely to be obese than boys who have similarly low skills, according to research.

Source: Girls with poorer motor skills more likely than boys to be obese — ScienceDaily


Young girls who exhibit a poor mastery of fundamental movement skills (FMS) are more likely to be obese than boys who have similarly low skills, according to research led by Coventry University.

The study — which won an award at the recent British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences conference — assessed among other things the running, catching, and balance skills of 250 girls and boys between 6-11 years, categorising their FMS as either low, medium or high.

Researchers at Coventry University, working in collaboration with Middlesex University and the University of South Carolina, then cross-referenced the kids’ motor skills with their body fatness to investigate the relationship between the two. The children’s habitual physical activity was also taken into account.

The researchers found that:

  • body fatness was significantly higher among girls in the low FMS category compared with boys in the same category;
  • body fatness was higher for girls in the low FMS category compared with girls with medium or high fundamental movement skills;
  • there was no significant difference in body fatness across the low, medium and high FMS categories for boys.

Lead researcher Professor Mike Duncan, an exercise physiologist in Coventry University’s Centre for Applied Biological and Exercise Sciences, said “We know from previous studies that primary school children with a higher body mass index are likely to have poorer fundamental movement skills, but our research is aiming to understand this relationship in more detail — particularly how gender may play a role.

“What we’ve found is significant because it signals a need to review the strategies we have to enhance motor proficiency in girls, and means we should be engaging health practitioners and PE teachers to help explore and understand how additional opportunities or different techniques may be required compared with boys.

“The next big question — which we’re continuing to research — is whether developmental delays in acquiring these motor skills, whether in girls or boys, may actually be the cause of children gaining unhealthy weight status.”

Story Source:

Materials provided by Coventry University. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Posted in Benefits of Exercise, Exercise, Healthy Habits, Motivational, Youth Fitness

What is NOLA Fit Kids?

February 23, 2017, Jean Kottemann


28229207 - group of kids jumping isolated in whiteSo what exactly is NOLA Fit Kids?

The short answer is that NOLA Fit Kids is a program designed to:

  1. Teach proper strength training exercise protocol;
  2. Introduce movement patterns that are fun, appropriately challenging, and that will build structural integrity;
  3. Develop balance and flexibility;
  4. Introduce kids to mindfulness (meditation) and yin (releasing) yoga.

This is a program that was developed because some of my clients did not like the way exercise was being introduced to their kids in sports programs and in school, often haphazard, unspecific, and potentially harmful. They wanted a foundation-building program that would introduce fitness as a way of life.

The long roots of NOLA Fit Kids began a few years ago when, after a lifetime of training adults, and encouraged by research showing the effects of exercise on body, mood, and receptivity to learning, as well as those effects over a lifetime, I became interested in developing a program for at-risk teens in New Orleans. So I contacted Covenant House to see if they wanted to partner  up.

Of course, my program would include weight training, something I’ve taught over the course of 3 decades.  However, I had always worked one-on-one with clients using equipment, and this was going to have NO equipment and be class-style sessions.  I had to re-teach myself body weight strength training exercises.  I have a background teaching yoga (Kundalini) and added yoga/mindfulness meditation to round out the program.

In the end, that program did not last. I tried to get other local trainers involved, and to their much deserved credit, Downtown Fitness Center and personal trainer Iina Antikainen were very open to it.  However, CH wanted to limit contact with the teens to only one trainer (me).  After a few months it was clear that there were other constraints, the byproduct of Covenant House’s commitment to the safety and protection of their teens, that usurped the effectiveness of a physical training program that needed to push the teens out of their comforts zones.

I continued to be interested in building a foundational program, something kids could grow up with, and into, and use for the rest of their lives. That means not just teens, but perhaps kids as young as 10-ish.  They are really at risk of never learning proper exercise.  When I was a kid, our introduction to exercise was going outside and playing. Kids DO NOT go outside anymore.  And as I had learned many times over, if kids are eventually introduced to “exercise,” it is often ego-driven, hazardous, unprincipled nonsense.

The missing piece came when I became aware of Ido Portal, and his animal movement patterns.  If you don’t know who that is, watch THIS and THIS.  I became excited about the potential of adding the more simple animal pattern movements to round out a program for kids.  I am not a gymnast and do not have a capoeira background, so I took his movement philosophies, approached them from my yoga and strength training viewpoint, and began practicing some animal patterns.  The movements are not obvious, are just hard enough to make them work, will get you breathing heavy, and are easily achievable (no flips and handstands in the class).  They are “get-able” with a little practice, but could take a lifetime to master.  My kind of exercises.

As I talked more and more about  my movement practice and kid friendly program, several of my clients became interested and allowed me to use their children — their dear darlings — as guinea pigs. These kids are AWESOME and helped me to understand how to communicate all of this information to young-uns and get results that we could build on.  They gave me plenty of honest feedback which helped me mold the class and, as a result, we now have NOLA Fit Kids.

NOLA Fit Kids is ideal for kids ages 10- and up, but younger kids are okay, if they have the physical and mental maturity to participate in the class.

 NOLA Fit Kids is offered Saturdays at 11:00 a.m., however I may soon add classes as it is kind of popular!




Posted in Healthy Habits, Nutrition, Youth Fitness

Motivating Kids to Get Fit

PBS Parents

Family riding bikesWith childhood obesity increasing at staggering rates, parents and caregivers must play an active role in protecting children’s health. Eating healthy foods is a key factor in maintaining their overall well-being. But, this has to be balanced with regular physical activity.

Children who are physically active on a regular basis will reap enormous benefits. Studies have shown that they:

  • Are less likely to become overweight
  • Have a decreased risk of developing type 2 diabetes
  • Have reduced blood cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure
  • Have higher self-esteem and reduced incidences of depression and anxiety
  • Are more likely to build strong bones and muscles
  • Are more attentive in school

Now that we know why children need to be active, it’s time to get them up and moving. Here’s how:

  1. Focus on fun. You don’t have to call it “exercise,” just consider it an activity. Find out which ones your child likes and encourage those.
  2. Limit TV and computer time. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than “two hours of daily media exposure” for children ages two and older. When they are watching or clicking, make sure they take breaks and move around.
  3. Schedule play dates. The key word here is “play.” Have your child get together with a friend and play a game of tag, race down the block or kick a ball around.
  4. Get fit as a family. Create some funny dance moves. Put up a net and shoot hoops. You could also visit a zoo, play miniature golf or enjoy other activities where a lot of ground is covered on foot.
  5. Choose fitness-oriented gifts. For your child’s next birthday, consider giving him or her a jump-rope, mini-trampoline, hula-hoop — something that will encourage movement.
  6. Clean up. Chores don’t have to be a bore. Sing a silly song with your child as you both wipe tables and counters. See how long both of you can hold a funny face while folding and putting away clothes. Older kids can help wash the car. On a hot day, this can turn into water play.
  7. Skip the mall. Go to the playground. Sure, most malls have kids’ play areas. But, when the weather is nice, enjoy a local park or playground instead. Fresh air always does a body good; especially a little one.
  8. Be a model of fitness. It’s much easier to motivate kids to be active, if you lead an active lifestyle. Whether you follow a structured fitness program or are lucky to get in some morning stretches, let them see you moving. It will likely inspire them to do the same.
  9. Encourage walking or biking whenever feasible. This is easy to accomplish if you live near stores, libraries or other places you visit regularly. If you live in a remote area, establish a safe route to tour on bike or on foot with your child.
  10. Be a fitness advocate at your child’s school. Do you know how much physical activity your child gets at school? Now’s the time to find out. If you don’t like the answer, gather support from other parents to enforce positive changes.

Notes: The American Heart Association recommends:

  • All children age 2 and older should participate in at least 30 minutes of enjoyable, moderate-intensity physical activities every day. These activities should be developmentally appropriate and varied.
  • If your child does not have a full 30-minute activity break each day, try to provide at least two 15-minute periods or three 10-minute periods in which they can engage in vigorous activities appropriate for their age, gender and stage of physical and emotional development. Any concerns about your child’s physical or overall health should be discussed with their pediatrician.
Posted in Healthy Habits, Weight Loss, Youth Fitness

Incorporating exercise into classroom lessons increases children’s physical activity levels
Date:March 25, 2015
Source:Montefiore Medical Center
Short-burst exercise program incorporated into classroom lessons increases children’s activity levels, a study confirms.

Children who participate in a short-burst exercise program incorporated into their classroom lessons take 300 more steps per day than children who do not participate in the program, according to a study published in the journal Childhood Obesity. CHAM JAM (Children’s Hospital at Montefiore Joining Academics and Movement) is an audio CD consisting of 10-minute, education-focused aerobic activities led by teachers in the classroom, that has been shown to increase children’s activity levels when performed up to three times per day.

While 60 minutes of exercise per day is recommended for children, few kids actually practice this regularly. The approach of incorporating exercise into the classroom could be beneficial for adding physical activity to a child’s daily routine and has the potential to decrease children’s risk of obesity and associated illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease.

The study followed children in kindergarten and first-grade classes in four Bronx elementary schools, and was led by Marina Reznik, M.D., M.S., attending physician, Division of General Pediatrics, Department of Pediatrics, Children’s Hospital at Montefiore, and associate professor of Pediatrics, Albert Einstein College of Medicine and colleagues, including Principal Investigator Philip O. Ozuah, M.D., Ph.D., executive vice president and chief operating officer, Montefiore, and professor, Departments of Pediatrics and Epidemiology & Population Health, Einstein.

Two schools were randomly assigned to receive the CHAM JAM intervention and two schools served as the control group. The number of steps taken daily by children in all schools were similar at baseline; however eight weeks later the schools that incorporated CHAM JAM during lessons saw a significant increase in steps taken. The data were derived from a concealed pedometer that all participating children wore for five consecutive school days at baseline and again post-intervention.

“Childhood obesity is a national concern, but it is even more prevalent among minority communities in urban areas such as the Bronx where rates as high as 26% have been recorded among school children ages six to 11 years old,” said Dr. Reznik. “We know that Physical Education (PE) is an important part of the school day but barriers such as lack of space and resources have contributed to a reduction in PE in schools nationwide. Research shows that physical activity can have beneficial effects on kids’ musculoskeletal and cardiovascular health, as well as reduce body fat and we want to give our children an opportunity to gain these advantages. The CHAM JAM program was created to combine education and exercise, and we’re pleased to report that it does indeed improve children’s activity levels while also focusing on academic goals.”

Dr. Reznik also notes that nearly half of all participants — 461 children in the intervention group and 464 in the control group — were obese or overweight, and that activity improvements found were consistent irrespective of gender, grade level or weight status. “CHAM JAM was created to address the increasing levels of childhood obesity in the Bronx,” she says, “and we believe this cost-effective method of integrating physical activity that complements the classroom curricula could be a helpful asset to other educators across the country.”

The educational material included during CHAM JAM is based on the approved curriculum for each grade level. Children respond to questions pre-recorded over different types of contemporary music, such as “Can anyone tell me what animal is from Australia, has a pouch to carry its babies and jumps really high? That’s right, a kangaroo! Let’s hop with both feet like kangaroo,” and “Today, we’re going to learn about adding numbers while we exercise. Okay, what’s 2 plus 2? Right, it’s four. Let’s do four jumping jacks. Go!”

Teachers reported that CHAM JAM was a helpful tool in encouraging children to exercise but beyond that it also helped them to focus better on lessons afterwards and encouraged them to do the exercises together with their families at home.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Montefiore Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Journal Reference:

  1. Reznik Marina, Wylie-Rosett Judith, Kim Mimi, and Ozuah Philip O. A Classroom-Based Physical Activity Intervention for Urban Kindergarten and First-Grade Students: A Feasibility Study. Childhood Obesity, March 2015 DOI: 10.1089/chi.2014.0090

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Posted in Benefits of Exercise, Healthy Habits, Youth Fitness

Strong link between adolescent obesity, high blood pressure

Date:  March 3, 2015
Source:  Oxford University Press USA

A recent study published in the American Journal of Hypertension has found that body mass index (BMI) in healthy adolescents has a statistically significant association with both systolic blood pressures (SBP) and diastolic blood pressures (DBP), and highlights the significance of the global trend of rapidly increasing adolescent obesity.

The study, led by Yaron Arbel, M.D., Department of Cardiology, Tel Aviv Medical Center, examined 715,000 Israeli adolescents, both male and female, aged 16-20, who had received medical exams from 1998-2011.

There was a statistically significant link observed between BMI and blood pressure, both of which saw significant annual increases during the study. The percentage of overweight adolescents increased from 13.2% in 1998 to 21% in 2011, while the percentage of adolescents with high blood pressure (SBP > 130mmHg) rose from 7% to 28% in males and 2% to 12% in females.

The association of BMI to blood pressure was more pronounced in females than males. While the reason for this is not immediately clear, researchers hypothesized that it may be attributable to certain hormonal factors.

“An important finding in our analysis is that BMI was positively associated with SBP and DBP in both the normal weight and overweight groups,” says Dr. Arbel. “This highlights the importance of BMI as a marker for cardiovascular health in all body types.”

Dr. Arbel feels that the study highlights the need to address childhood obesity: “Obese youth are more likely to have risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure. They are much more likely to be obese as adults and are consequently more at risk for adult health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, numerous types of cancer, and osteoarthritis.”


The above story is based on materials provided by Oxford University Press USA. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Journal Reference:

  1. Yaron Arbel et al. Trends in Adolescents Obesity and the Association between BMI and Blood Pressure: A Cross-Sectional Study in 714,922 Healthy Teenagers. American Journal of Hypertension, March 2015 DOI: 10.1093/ajh/hpv007


Posted in Benefits of Exercise, Healthy Habits, Youth Fitness

How parents juggle work hours may influence kids’ weight

Posted in Benefits of Exercise, Healthy Habits, Motivational, Nutrition, Youth Fitness

Your genes are not your fate – Dean Ornish

Published on Jan 17, 2013

View full lesson:…

Dean Ornish shares new research that shows how adopting healthy lifestyle habits can affect a person at a genetic level. For instance, he says, when you live healthier, eat better, exercise, and love more, your brain cells actually increase.

Talk by Dean Ornish.

Posted in Healthy Habits, Nutrition, Weight Loss, Youth Fitness

The Science of Appetite – Beating Overeating

Published on Aug 14, 2012


Want to lose weight but can’t stop eating? There’s a reason for that. Find out how you can beat the desire to overeat and bring yourself one step closer to being your healthy self!

Written and created by Mitchell Moffit (twitter @mitchellmoffit) and Gregory Brown (twitter @whalewatchmeplz).