How To Keep Kids Fit Brooklyn Style

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When I was a kid all we needed to stay fit is a stoop and a ball.

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Lucky for us we had a few more things, like a rope to play tug-of-war.

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And touch football in the streets was popular.

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And we loved jumping rope.

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Or playing with hula hoops.

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Girls also played softball & boys were in little leagues. My team was The Monkeys. What?

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We all held hands & sang Ring Around the Rosy and London Bridge Is Falling Down.

Children playing in the park

And there was the horse shoe toss game.

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In gym class one kid spotted another one for sit-ups.

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And we did jumping jacks.  Not in boots.  Must have forgotten gym clothes. Happens.

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Another after school favorite activity –rollerskating.

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We didn’t even wear helmets.  And our skates looked more like this.

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We played basketball in the streets.  Darn cars got in our way. We’d make them wait.

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We also loved stickball.  We usually fashioned one out of an old broom.

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We jumped over fire hydrants. Sometimes, all them on the block. One. After. Another.

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And used chalk for hop scotch and other creative games that kept us moving.

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Somebody’s Mom always kept an eye to make sure we didn’t get hit by a car.

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As if they could do anything but scream. They never bugged us dinner.

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Then, we heard some serious yelling to get inside.  NOW!

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Then, it was back to playing outdoors. One kid had a pool. Two words. Marco. POLO!

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We also walked around the neighborhood a lot.  No need to make a play date.

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We played Hide n’ Go Seek or “Tag, you’re it!” and ran around laughing a lot.

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Sometimes, our destination was nearby Dyker Heights Park so we could ride swings.

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As our Dads played Bocci (like outdoor bowling for grown Italian men) there…

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We sauntered to the adjacent golf course & got in trouble chasing & collecting golf balls.

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Kids run REAL fast when men waving golf clubs chase them.  What a workout!

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We also played handball after getting chased off the golf course.

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Or rode our bikes.

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We were always moving.

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Even while indoors, we played games that had us moving, like TWISTER.

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Or we danced to records imitating dancers on American Bandstand and Soul Train.

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It all meant we burned off enough energy to  STOP EVERYTHING for Mr. Softie.

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Then, kids sprinted downstairs or upstairs for money. There was also Danny,

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Danny, the ice cream man. But, we weren’t obese because we weren’t sedentary.

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No iPADS, no iPHONES, no sitting on the couch all day for us.  When school was done, we were outside playing and didn’t go back inside until weheard the screams for dinner.

Since we got out of school at 3 p.m. and dinner wasn’t usually until 7 p.m. we got a full
4-hours of physical activity and that didn’t include gym class at school.

Kids today look more like this.

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Or this when they get home from school.

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A study recently published in Experimental Physiology examined the effects of prolonged sitting (three continuous hours) on girls ages 9 to 12.

One group was asked to sit still, either watching a movie or playing video games for three hours, while another group exercised lightly at the beginning of each hour before sitting again.

At the end of the experiment, researchers found the group that sat still for the entire three hours experienced a major decrease in vascular function.

That 33 percent decrease in function means  the leg arteries were no longer working as well as they should.  In adults, this very thing—over time—has been linked to increased risk of developing heart disease. 

The bottom line is kids suffer from being sedentary just like adults.

When it comes to kid’s fitness it doesn’t cost much to keep them active. So take a note of all the things we did to stay fit while we were kids in Brooklyn to spark a few ideas.

A stick from an old broom, Spaulding ball, hula hoop, a jump rope, a handball, a waffle bat & ball, chalk, radio, roller skates, a rope for tug-of-war, TWISTER game, softball, basketball net, basketball, horseshoe toss –are all things still available and cheap.

Socializing in real life is just as important for kids as it is for adults.

Some of the things we did didn’t cost a penny.  Jumping jacks, dancing, running, walking, swimming and jumping hydrants were all free.  Limit gadget and TV viewing.  Encourage creativity when it comes to keeping them moving while having fun, even while indoors.

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Healthy kids are happy kids that will grow up with healthy habits.

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Stay healthy!

maria.dorfner@yahoo.com

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No Flu For You! How To Tell If Your Kid Has the Flu or Worse

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It’s that time of year.   Fun.  Fun.  Fun.

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In the Cold, Cold, Cold.   Right?  Or NOT.   Freezing temps can lead to not so fun aches from a cold, the flu or worse.

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When it’s your child feeling lousy, you’ll want to pay extra attention to their symptoms.

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Sniffles.  Sneezes.  Coughs.  Temperatures.
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Pay attention for wheezing. Dr. Carolyn Clear tells me that’s the warning sign.
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 Keeping kids healthy is a priority.
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When kids get sick it can spread to make the whole family miserable.
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First, let’s distinguish between a cold or the flu.
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Since a lot of folks confuse the two, here is a comparison of symptoms:
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Next, let’s look at what to do if you get either:
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 How can you tell if your kid has something WORSE than the flu?
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TODAY, I talk to Dr. Carolyn Clear fromWest Depford Pediatrics in West Depford, NJ and parent advocate Lindsay Mathis to discuss the flu, RSV, and the differences between the viruses. 
LINK TO INTERVIEW with DR. CAROLYN CLEAR and LINDSAY MATHIS:
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They provide essential information about seasonal viruses and how all parents can protect their children this winter.
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Learn how to tell if your child is suffering from flu symptoms or different seasonal contagious virus.   
At the height of winter and cold and flu season, children are at an increased risk for contagious seasonal viruses.
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By following a simple checklist, parents can be proactive about their family’s health and renew their commitment to healthy living.
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According to the recent announcement by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the flu is now at epidemic levels, with more than 21 pediatric deaths as a result of the virus across the country.
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The CDC says the epidemic is spreading and the number of states with a high amount of influenza-like activity increasing. Children are especially vulnerable.
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While the flu and Enterovirus have been at the forefront of the infectious disease conversation, what may not be top-of-mind is RSV, a common virus contracted by nearly 100 percent of babies by their second birthday.
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Often mistaken as a common cold, RSV can bring serious complications, is the leading cause of infant hospitalization, and is responsible for approximately 8 times more infant deaths each year than the flu.
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Doctors say it’s typical to see a spike in RSV cases in the winter, as we’re in the height of “RSV season,” which typically runs from November through March.
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While every baby is at risk of contracting RSV, premature babies are at an increased risk for developing severe RSV disease due to their underdeveloped lungs and immature immune systems.
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RSV is very contagious and can live on skin and surfaces for hours.
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So parents should remember to:
·       Wash your hands and ask others to do the same
·       Keep toys, clothes, blankets, and sheets clean
·       Avoid crowds and other young children during RSV season
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Parents can fulfill their commitment to better health this winter by educating themselves about common circulating viruses and following a simple checklist to help protect their families:
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 See your children’s primary care physician for an annual checkup Work with your children’s doctor to determine what seasonal vaccinations, such as the flu vaccine, your children are eligible for.
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Know the signs and symptoms of several of the most common winter illnesses, including:
o   Cold
o   Flu
o   Enterovirus
o   Sore throat
o   Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)
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Remember a strong immune system is built by eating right, avoiding sugars, junk food and processed food, toxic beverages, getting enough sleep each night, daily exercise and good hygiene.
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 You CAN make it through with NO flu or virus for you!!!
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For more information please visit http://www.rsvprotection.com
 
headshot1  Maria Dorfner is the founder MedCrunch, a division of Healthy Within Network (HWN).

7 Health Benefits of Playing Soccer

1.  ENDURANCE – Ability to do multiple contractions repeated over a long duration.

2.  TEAMWORK – Each player must rely on the next to reach a goal. 

3.  TONE MUSCLES – The constant stop and go mimics interval training.

4.  BRAIN BUILDING –  You’re alert to anticipate what IS happening & what COULD. 

5.  BONE STRENGTH –  Headers, throw-ins, kicking keep you strong.

6. GREAT FOR YOUR HEART – Non-stop running really gets the heart pumping.

7. BURNS CALORIES – Hundreds of calories burned. Midfielder runs up to 5 miles. 

Why You Need to Stretch

Reasons why stretching is so important for soccer players:

  • Increase Flexibility – A good athlete is flexible. Flexibility works with speed, endurance, strength, agility, and skills to create your total athletic ability.


  • Prevent Injury – Flexibility limits risk of sports injury. Studies show female soccer players are at higher risk for knee injuries; stretching during all practice and games helps prevent that.  Always warm-up before stretching.  So important. 

    The Basics

  • Hydration – Drink plenty of fluids before you exercise to give your muscles the fluids necessary to perform to their best,.


  • Warm-Up – Always warm up before stretching. Jogging or jumping jacks for 5-10 minutes will warm-up the muscles.


  • Breathing – While stretching, remember to breathe slowly and evenly to increase oxygen to your body.


  • Stretch for the right length of time – hold each stretch for at least 10-30 seconds maximum.


  • Stretch evenly – stretch both legs, arms equally. Stretch all of your muscle groups. Don’t stretch the front of your thighs (quadriceps) without stretching the back of the thighs (hamstrings). Also, stretch your whole body, not just your legs – stretch your arms, back, neck, stomach, chest, etc.

    What NOT to do

  • Don’t Bounce – Use slow even movements when stretching, bouncing places too much stress on your muscles and joints.


  • Do Not Over Stretch – Be patient, and never force your joints to go further than they want to.


  • Keep Good Posture – Keep your back straight while stretching, or you risk injuring your back muscles.


  • Do Not Overextend Your Joints – Hyperextending your joints (bending them farther than they were meant to go can cause injury, and does not help you in any way. Female soccer players should pay special attention to their knees, to avoid injury.


  • If It Hurts…DON’T DO IT – Always listen to your body. Stretching correctly, you should feel tension on the muscles, and possibly some discomfort – If you have any sharp or serious pain during a stretch or exercise – STOP!, you may doing harm to your body. Remember, pain is your body’s way of telling you that something isn’t right, listen to it.


  • If you do have an injury, ask your doctor about any exercise or stretching and follow their advice



    WHAT TO EAT:  Soccer Nutrition and Carbohydrates 


    The slow and fast running which you utilize may easily deplete your glycogen stores. To avoid that you need to eat quality carbohydrates.

    Research have shown that amateur soccer players only eat 1300 calories of carbohydrate/day, which is far below the recommended level of 2300 to 2900 calories.

    The main energy source for your muscles are the glycogen fuels. Glycogen is produced from carbohydrates you eat (apples, bananas, bread, milk etc). It is vital for your performance to have enough glycogen. If not, you will have a fatigue felling, your concentration will be poor and recovering from a match/practice will take longer time.

    If your glycogen fuels are low in the beginning of a game, you will most likely have few carbohydrates left in your muscles at the beginning of second half. This simply means that your performance will decrease significantly. You will for example run slower, sometimes by as much as 40-50 % compared to your first half of the match. Your cover distance will also be reduced by 25% or more with low glycogen fuels.

    Do I need to eat fat?
    Well, as soccer player you will burn many calories but the fat should still be minimized in your soccer food because it is not an efficient provider of energy. This doesn’t mean that a diet for soccer players should not contain fat, instead, you should try to keep it low, because in long running sports, like soccer, your body will use glycogen fuel which is found mainly in carbohydrates.

    What about protein, do I need it?
    As soccer player you need normally to eat 0.6 to 0.8 grams of protein per pound of your body weight per day (1.4 to 1.7 g/kg/day). Protein is a vital part of your soccer diet as it will repair your muscles plus boost your immune system. You may also use protein as fuel before practicing sessions or match but it doesn’t give you any boost of energy as carbohydrates does. Some good sources of protein include fish, chicken, milk and yogurt.

    Is it necessary to drink much water?
    During your practice or matches, your body will lose a lot of water (especially in hot and warm weather kinds). By drinking water you will be able to keep your body hydrated which will give a boost on the field. This is one of the most important parts of nutrition for soccer players and you should really put effort in getting it right.

    Soccer nutrition and sports drinks
    Sports drinks usually claim to boost your performance but they are just full of fast carbohydrates that will just increase your blood sugar for a while. This will not increase your performance to some high level. My advice is to plan your meals and only consume sports drinks when you really don’t have time to eat.

    When To Eat?
    The recommended energy diet for soccer players state that you should eat at least 700 carbohydrates 3-4 hours before the start of your game. After the end of match you should attempt to consume enough carbohydrate to replace all the fluid you have lost during the match.

    MORE STRETCHING TIPS AT LINKS BELOW:

Hope you learned something.

Stay healthy! 🙂

    [photo: Saint Joseph by the Sea Soccer Team Champs Go to Italy in ’09]

 

 

Read more on what muscles soccer works out: http://www.livestrong.com/article/479769-what-muscles-does-soccer-work-out/#ixzz1qULg1ILu