Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Connection Between Avatar and Fitness

This article by Michael W. Smith comes to us from New Jersey Newsroom.  I really liked the message, and the author was succinct.

Your fitness 'Avatar' 

Last night I saw Avatar, the box-office smash hit, in IMAX 3-D.
Wow, what a great story and the special effects (3-D/IMAX) were amazing to say the least. I literally felt like I was running through the forest and flying on raptors from Pandora. But, anyway ...
I couldn't help but think about what is means to stand for something, what it means to believe in something.
I know what I stand for and what I believe in – family, fitness, and peak performance in all areas of life. I know my passion and why I exercise, which is to provide the means to pursue that passion ... or Avatar if you will.
So my question to you is, "Why do you exercise and want to tone your body and feel unlimited energy?"
If that question is hard to answer then it's time to find YOUR Avatar – find your passion, act on it, and use exercise to look and feel awesome. Period.
Remember that knowledge is not power. Knowledge is only potential power.
It's action that takes it to the next level.
My message is simple: Get up, get out, get moving, get fit (or get fat), and change your life by believing (in yourself and your body). 
 - Michael W. Smith 

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Does Keeping Kids Physically Fit Improve Their Grades?

In general, I think kids who are more fit will have better attention spans and better self esteem.

However, too many kids love to show off their gray-matter muscle more than doing push-ups.

I personally would like to see a few more studies on the subject.  Here is an eye-opening news story, courtesy Ivanhoe

Kids + Fitness = Better Grades
(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- New evidence underlines the idea that physical fitness is associated with academic achievement in young people.
"As children's health continues to be a concern -- especially when it comes to obesity -- some have suggested that children's physical fitness is associated with their academic performance," study presenting author Lesley A. Cottrell, Ph.D., associate professor of pediatrics at West Virginia University in Morgantown, W.Va., was quoted as saying. "The research, however, had not developed enough to define the nature of that relationship."
Dr. Cottrell and colleagues analyzed the body mass index percentiles, fitness levels and standardized academic test scores of 725 fifth grade students in Wood County, W.Va. The researchers focused more on the children's fitness level than on their weight. They compared that data to fitness and academic performance two years later when the students were in the seventh grade.
They separated the participants into four groups of students who were:
• in high physical fitness levels in fifth grade and remained so in seventh grade;
• fit in fifth grade but had lost their fitness by seventh grade;
• not fit in fifth grade but were physically fit by seventh grade;

• not physically fit at the beginning of the study, in fifth grade, nor at the end of the study, in seventh grade.
Children who had the highest standardized test scores in reading, math, science and social studies were fit at the start and end of the study. The next best group, academically, in all four subjects, was made up of children who were not fit in fifth grade but had become fit by seventh grade. The children who had lost their fitness levels between fifth and seventh grades were third in academic performance. Children who were not physically fit in either the fifth or seventh grades had the lowest academic performance.
"The take-home message from this study is that we want our kids to be fit as long as possible and it will show in their academic performance," said Dr. Cottrell. "But if we can intervene on those children who are not necessarily fit and get them to physically fit levels, we may also see their academic performance increase."
The study suggests that focusing more on physical fitness and physical education in school would result in healthier, happier and smarter children, Dr. Cottrell said.
SOURCE: Presented at the American Heart Association's Conference on Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism, March 4, 2010

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Ice or Heat for Injuries?

Here is a question I get often: When I have an injury, should I use ice or heat?

For some people, this is a subjective topic. There are people who have preferences based on what feels good to them.

Here is my take: When there is an injury, use ice immediately to helps reduce swelling. Remember the old adage: RICERest, Ice, Compression, Elevation.

Once the bruising leaves and there is still some stiffness or pain, go ahead and apply heat. Topical ointments like Ben Gay or Tiger Balm work well. I also like hot, moist washcloths.

Self-medication is recommended for minor injuries that occur on a regular basis, i.e., joint aches, sore muscles and other mild pain that rest doesn't heal, and aches and pains that are more a bother than a medical issue.

When an injury occurs, always check with your physician as soon as possible. Be smart and be healthy.