Giving Children the Nutrition They Need

Each phase of a tyke’s advancement has its own basic sustenance prerequisites. Did you realize that:

75% of mind limit creates amongst birth and age three. By age five, mental health is 90% finished.

Beginning at age two, kids ought to eat tolerably low-fat sustenance to maintain a strategic distance from wellbeing issues later.

Between ages eleven and sixteen, kids regularly encounter a noteworthy development spurt.

It is never too soon to get your tyke off to the right dietary begin. Logical research proposes why this is vital.

In an investigation of family nourishment and physical movement, the American Dental Association found that while at any rate half of guardians think their children purchase a sound lunch at school on most days, just around 36% of children really do. Whatever is left of the time they are purchasing fast food and candy machine snacks in more prominent amounts than their folks figure it out.

Concerning sound dietary decisions, the U.S.D.A reports that 85% of youngsters eat less than the suggested five servings of leafy foods every day. More regrettable yet, the greater part of those vegetables come as potatoes, for example, french fries, and tomatoes which come as ketchup. Today’s fast food is shoddy, advantageous, accessible in pointlessly super-sized segments, and it speaks to children who are by and large less mindful than grown-ups when settling on sound nourishment decisions.

Futhermore, numerous youngsters are not as dynamic as they used to be. Youngsters infrequently stroll to class and as a general rule play computer games rather than find the stowaway. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) takes note of that 36% of kids don’t practice by any stretch of the imagination. Nothing unexpected, then, that youth corpulence is on the ascent, and as indicated by a few evaluations, upwards of 43% of kids is being determined to have sort 2 diabetes.

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Nutrition For Your Young Athlete

Strikingly enough, not very many logical studies on thenutrition of kid competitors have been distributed. You don’treally should be a researcher (or a chemist) to make ahealthy menu for your dynamic youth, however. All you needis a tad bit of innovativeness, and, obviously, the factsabout various types of sustenances. As is managed by practical, it’s vital for children who are dynamic to consumemore caloric vitality than their sofa potato counterparts.Sometimes, they should take in a few hundred – or even athousand – solid calories more than the normal child,depending upon their age and upon the force of thesport they’re taking an interest in.

So what sorts of sustenance would it be a good idea for you to give your athlete? I’llhelp you out.

In General

Regular sustenance requires a solid adjust of protein,calcium, vitamins and minerals. The most critical sort ofcaloric consumption for a kid competitor is carbohydrates.Without sugars, the body can’t promptly replenishits stores of vitality in the muscles and in the liver.

Straightforward sugars, similar to those found in many confections andchocolates, are typically insufficient: they are spent tooquickly and if eaten before contending can bring about changes inblood weight (obviously, you can rampage spend each once in for a moment – just not always).

Pasta, bread, and rice – as it were, sustenances from grain- – are best generally for starch consumption. Organic products andvegetables are superb wellsprings of carbs and of vitaminsand minerals. Dairy items are particularly imperative forbuilding solid bones and teeth. Meat – or meat substitute- – is required for protein consumption.

Did you realize that on the off chance that you know…if you set up beans and rice together, they make an immaculate protein?

Most plants don’t deliver the majority of the proteins we as humanbeings need to survive – yet in the event that they are eaten at the sametime, they give all of you the protein you require. That meansyou can have refried beans with rice, or meatless chiliwith rice, or an assortment of different mixes, if indeedyou don’t have any desire to eat hamburger, chicken, pork, or different animalproteins.

Childhood Obesity and Nutritional Needs

A standout amongst the most genuine and proceeding with issues that guardians of today’s kids need to manage is that of adolescence corpulence . Not just are youngsters who are overweight or stout for their age bunch at more serious danger for mental and social advancement issues, they are confronting increasingly wellbeing dangers that have for some time been considered grown-ups just issues. One in three American youngsters and high schoolers are named either overweight or fat. Some terrifying insights about youngsters (particularly teenagers) and weight:

– The quantity of US teenagers that are overweight tripled from 1980 to 2004 from 5% to 17%.

– US teenagers will probably be overweight or large than their companions from different nations.

– 47% of 11 year old young ladies thought they were overweight and were on or thought they ought to be on an eating regimen. The quantity of young ladies age 15 who thought along these lines was 62%

(Source: Papalia, Olds and Feldman, 2008)

The outcomes of these measurements:

– Overweight youngsters ages 7-13 are at an expanded danger of coronary illness at age 25.

– Children, ages 6 to 11 are twice as liable to have diabetes as offspring of typical weight.

– Children who watch two to four hours of TV are 2.5 times as prone to grow hypertension over the individuals who observe less.

(Source: Lippert, 2009)

Solid Food Needs Not Diets

Before you begin an eating regimen for your youngster, it is vital that you work with the pediatrician. A tyke’s requirements for calories and supplements are as essential as an adult’s. Decreasing calories too definitely can prompt difficult issues for the tyke’s advancement, physically as well as rationally too.

A tyke still needs to get the perfect measure of calories, however frequently needs a change on where those calories are originating from. It is frequently a matter of getting the youngster up and moving around additional, for the duration of the day and in addition restricting the time that is spent before the TV and the PC. Ensure that the tyke is as yet getting the correct measures of fats, proteins and starches for his/her age bunch. Additionally, ensure that the youngster is not fixating on his/her weight and oppose doing likewise. Enroll your tyke’s assistance in picking better sustenances, including snacks and have them cook supper so he feels more in control. Keep in mind, there are no “awful” sustenances, and an infrequent treat is not a terrible thing, the length of there is control and work out. In the long run, most kids will have a development spurt that will leave them somewhat taller so that the weight they have is all the more equally appropriated. The pediatrician will give you rules for the quantity of calories and supplements that your tyke ought to have, however a general rule for protein needs:

Age Group

Protein grams per kg of body weight

Infant to six months


Six to twelve months


One to three years


Four to six years


Seven to ten years


Eleven to fourteen years of age


Fifteen to eighteen years


Ages nineteen or more


(Source: US Guidelines on Protein and Diet)

Protein assumes a key part in each cell in the body and should be incorporated, yet ought to be lower in fat, at whatever point conceivable. Deciding on plant proteins and protein supplements can be more fortifying for youngsters and additionally their folks.

Adding a Supplement to a Child’s Diet

On the off chance that the youngster’s pediatrician concurs with it, including a protein supplement as either a feast substitution or a between supper nibble is gainful for various reasons. To start with, protein can help the youngster from feeling like he is excessively eager since it adds to sentiments of satiety. Second, protein since it is so essential for kids, ought to be incorporated as a major aspect of any sort of supplement. Third, there are such a variety of choices, that you and your youngster can locate the right sort of protein in the right sort of supplement that will suit everybody’s tastes and needs. Lastly, there are various advantages from the different sorts of protein and protein supplements including muscle building repair and support. Supplement alternatives include: protein shakes, powders, bars and fluid protein supplement shots.

Protein powders incorporate soy, whey, egg and rice proteins. The quantity of teenagers who are veggie lovers or vegetarians is genuinely high, even among the individuals who are overweight (or maybe as a result of it) so on the off chance that you are wanting to propose including one of these, ensure that you are picking the right one for the youngster.

Soy is a finished protein, implying that it has every one of the eight vital amino acids that the body can’t make all alone. It and rice protein are both suitable for veggie lovers and vegans. Whey protein is produced using a side effect of cheddar creation and is not reasonable for veggie lovers. Ovo-lacto veggie lovers can have both whey and egg protein powder supplements.

A fluid protein supplement shot is likewise a decent choice for kids and high schoolers alike. It is little and comes in bundling that they may discover quite cool. (It would appear that a plastic test tube vial). It has stand out hundred calories yet gives an entire 25 grams of protein for every serving and comes in flavors that will engage kids including: Blue Raspberry, Grapefruit-Mango, Fresh Citrus Berry and Cool Melon Splash. It additionally gives 100% of the day’s vitamin C and 10% of the day’s vitamin B complex, yet has zero sugars and zero fats.

Other Nutritional Considerations

Ensure that youngsters are getting the majority of the supplements that they require including calcium and others. Low fat milk is an incredible after-activity drink for youngsters, and gives them calcium and also 9 grams of protein.

Creature proteins are finished proteins, supplying the majority of the crucial amino acids. In youngsters, there are nine crucial amino acids: leucine, isoleucine, valine, threonine, methione, phenylalanine, tryptophan, lysine and histidine.

Plant proteins are not finished in light of the fact that they need one or a greater amount of these vital amino acids. The special case to this principle is soy protein which is finished. Selecting lower fat variants of either kind of protein and in addition getting intricate sugars rather than straightforward carbs is better for your whole family, not only the overweight tyke. One of the best protein sustenance sources from the creature world is turkey bosom which can be utilized as a part of spot of some of the kids’ most loved nourishment decisions.

Learn substitutions for your youngsters’ most loved dinners and in addition more beneficial decisions for when the family is eating out. Try not to stress over when your kid is out of your sight such a great amount, the length of he is getting sound nourishments 80% of the time, the other 20% won’t be so harming. Make a point to support exercise for the one youngster as well as for the entire family too.


Joan Lippert Downsizing the American Child: How to Get Your Kid Healthier and Happier. Heart Insight Magazine. August 2009

Diane E. Papalia, Sally Wendkos Olds and Ruth Duskin Feldman. A Child’s World: Infancy Through Adolescence. Eleventh Edition. McGraw-Hill Publishing Company. Joined States 2008

The US Guidelines on Protein and Diet. The United States Department of Agriculture

Nutrition Basics: Part I

Here’s an intriguing inquiry. Why do we eat? In the event that it were dependent upon me, I wouldn’t manage the bother of concocting then cleaning the supper, washing the dishes and so forth. Add on top of that having children, dealing with them and all they need to eat, in addition to they make significantly more chaotic heaps! Why do we need to eat sustenance?

1. We eat for vitality.

2. We eat in light of the fact that our bodies need nourishment to recuperate and repair itself.

3. On the off chance that we don’t eat, we would keep from need from supplements.

Supplement. The base word for sustenance. Did you realize that Nutrition is really a science? Nourishment concentrates on the associations between living creatures, (for example, people) and their sustenance. Sustenance incorporates the investigation of the organic procedures utilized as a part of devouring nourishment and our body’s capacity to utilize the supplements contained in that sustenance.

To separate things for you, there are six classes of supplements that each have a part inside the body:

1. Water – water is found in all tissues of the body and makes up 55-60% of the body. Your body can go 8 weeks without sustenance, however just days without water.

2. Protein – proteins are amino acids, which give the body catalysts, antibodies, hemoglobin and hormones.

3. Fats – fats make 15% out of the body, it is the vitality source, the building hinders for cell films. Fats are required for the ingestion of numerous vitamins and for the assimilation of sustenance for appropriate vitality control. Some great fats to incorporate into your eating regimen are fish oils, flax oil, icy squeezed additional virgin olive oil, coconut oil and genuine margarine.

4. Sugars – 2% of our body is starch based. Carbs give fuel to the mind, a brisk wellspring of vitality, directs protein and fat digestion system and is a decent wellspring of fiber.

5. Vitamins – vitamins make 1% out of our body and capacity as partners that are fundamental for development essentialness and wellbeing. They likewise help with assimilation, disposal and imperviousness to ailment. An exhaustion of vitamins in the body can prompt an assortment of clutters and general wellbeing issues.

6. Minerals – 4% of our body is made out of minerals. These are what stays of the body in powder, when tissues are blazed. Out of 103 known minerals, no less than 18 are crucial for good wellbeing.

When you eat your dinners for the duration of the day, you need to ensure you have the best possible equalization of supplements. You can do this at every dinner or look over your entire day to decide your parity.

Here’s a Basic Nutrition Eating Guide:

– 40% Carbohydrates-for the most part veggies, a few grains and natural product

– 30% Proteins – meats, poultry, fish and dairy

– 30% Fats – genuine spread, coconut oil, olive oil, flax oil, supplement with Omega 3’s and Fish oils.

What does this intend to you? What do these rates mean? Essentially these rates depend on your caloric admissions every day. Be that as it may, who numbers calories? From my experience, just individuals who need to get thinner or put on weight! As you are understanding this, snatch a bit of paper and draw a circle on the paper. This will help you get a visual of what I’m discussing. Consider this circle speaking to a plate, a plate that you eat your sustenance on. Presently draw two lines that meet in the center, two lines that take up 40% of your circle. Presently in favor of your circle that you have left, draw a different line from the center of the circle, isolating what is left of the circle into equal parts. This makes two 30% segments.

The dominant part of your carb admission ought to be vegetables that are crude or marginally steamed. Incorporate 2-3 new entire organic products (not squeeze) every day. Once in a while incorporate boring carbs like entire grain breads, cocoa rice, and so on. At whatever point conceivable select natural items, since they are dependably the best for our bodies. Particularly picking things with flimsy skins like apples, grapes and strawberries. Maintain a strategic distance from all prepared and refined starches, this incorporates all sugar/white flour items. Along these lines, in your circle, in the expansive segment, place vegetables into segment, those are your carbs.

Fuse great wellspring of proteins into your eating routine, as:

– grass-encouraged meat

– unfenced poultry

– entire, crude or refined dairy items

– natural unfenced eggs

– Low-poisonous quality fish

Keep away from:

– Soy

– Farmed Seafood

– Pasteurized and homogenized milk

Fuse fats into your eating routine by:

– Eating nuts and seeds

– Raw, chilly handled oils from nuts and seeds (these are in dull jugs and holders, not clear)

– Cold-handled, additional virgin olive oil

– Saturated fats from solid sources

– Butter and other crude dairy fats

– Raw, natural coconut oils

Maintain a strategic distance from:

– Hydrogenated and incompletely hydrogenated fats

– Highly prepared vegetable oils

– Trans unsaturated fats

– Fried sustenances

Healthy Nutrition and Childhood Obesity

The UK has higher levels of obesity and overweight people than anywhere in western Europe except for Iceland and Malta,according to the results of an authoritative global study that raises fresh concerns about the likely health consequences The rapid increase in child obesity is particularly disturbing, as being overweight at a young age can set children up for a lifetime of poor health.

This suggests that it is important for parents of children struggling with childhood obesity should be aware of the facts about childhood obesity and the health risks associated with it.

Schools play a large role in preventing childhood obesity by providing a safe and supporting environment with policies and practices that support healthy behaviours.

At home, parents can help prevent their children from becoming overweight by changing the way the family eats and exercises together. The best way children learn is by example, so parents need to lead by example by living a healthy lifestyle.

The risks for obese children can be both emotional and physical.

The emotional aspects are that obese children can often suffer discrimination and teasing which in turn leads to low self esteem anxiety and depression. The physical aspects are that they can suffer from early puberty, problems such as asthma and other related respiratory issues. They can be also affected by skin problems and musculoskeletal disorders.

Perhaps the biggest and yet probably most ignored problem related to childhood obesity is that of type 2 diabetes which was previously only thought of as an adult condition. Children may also start to have problems with blood pressure, raised cholesterol and metabolic syndromes which may not become evident until they cause problems in adulthood.

Healthcare professionals such as pharmacists and dietitions can advise parents on healthy and exercises needed for children to maintain a healthy weight.

Additionally they can suggest weight management plans (WMP) for overweight and obese adolescents. These plans focus on righting the balance between energy intake and expenditure. To achieve overall weight loss, individuals must reduce caloric intake while also increasing physical activity.

WMP’s include dietary recommendations that suggest initiating a low-fat diet,that include fibre-rich foods such as oats,beans,grains,wholegrain bread,brown rice and pasta and at least five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables each day. Fried foods,sweets which are high in added sugars and fat and high fat foods such as takeaway meals or fast food should be avoided. The following is also recommended:

1. Reducing the amount of sugary drinks,including fruit juices with added sugar and drinking more water

2. Daily scheduling of predefined meals and snacks may help reduce energy intake by restricting the amount of food eaten between meals.

3. Eating regular meals, including breakfast, in a pleasant, sociable environment without distractions. Parents should eat with their children and make sure that everyone is eating the same food

4. A gradual reduction in portion size will restrict daily intake, as will the institution of healthier snacks.

5. Taking a healthy lunch to school

Children should never be put on a specific weight-loss diet without getting advice,as this can affect his or her growth. Any concerns about a child’s weight should be discussed with their GP.

Keeping off the Winter Fat

Keeping Fit in the Off-Season

As the days shorten and the weather gets chillier, who doesn’t tend to move indoors and put on a little `winter fat’? Wouldn’t it be nice, come spring to already be in shape so you can enjoy your horse, and make it through the competitive season without aches and strains?

Many people associate getting fit with carving out time to drive to a gym. The good news is that with some smart tweaks to your lifestyle, you can significantly improve your ability for riding, or fitness for barn chores without breaking the bank for equipment purchases. If you do have a gym membership, you can maximize your workout opportunity to help you in ways that directly benefit you back at the barn or out on the trail.

No doubt about it: if you care for, ride or work with horses, you are probably one of the busiest people you know. Fitting fitness into your schedule can sometimes be a real challenge. If you are like 52% of the Canadian population, you know you need it. You may even suffer from back pain, pulled muscles, repetitive strain or fatigue due to the demands of barn chores, or riding.

The question is, when, and what type of fitness regime?

It’s important to understand that most injury, muscle and joint strain occur when the body cannot respond to sudden demand, or from repetitive strain caused by overuse of specific muscles. Balance and flexibility are very important to riding performance and enjoyment, and to your general ability to perform daily activities around the house or barn.

All riders can benefit from exercises which help improve your self-carriage as a rider, and ability to control your body to produce more effective aids, without strain on joints or muscles. Simply put, the fitter you are, the more you can just enjoy your horse.

If you compete in equestrian sports, cross-training can keep you in top shape for competition early in the season and those long days at the show grounds. Pleasure riders are often more prone to injury and strains such as back pain, or even cardiac issues due to the familiar weekend-warrior syndrome. Muscles are simply not strong or flexible enough, and the cardio-vascular system is not as efficient as it could be to support the demands made by occasional riding.

Barn chores are not only demanding on the body, but repetitive and tend to work specific muscle groups, but do not also strengthen all the counterbalancing or stabilizing muscles. Weaker muscles leave joints more vulnerable to strain. Lower back pain, knee and shoulder strains are common complaints.

The good news is that with some smart tweaks to your lifestyle, you can significantly improve your ability for riding or barn chores without breaking the bank for equipment purchases.

The first key to better fitness is to keep the basic fitness components in mind: nutrition, body composition, cardio-vascular ability, muscle strength, and flexibility. Depending on what you are doing in the saddle or barn, your cross-training program may focus on one or two of these areas more than others.


Eating properly is one of the biggest factors affecting your energy level, and ability to sustain prolonged periods of activity around your horses. You probably know the calcium content of your horse’s feed, but could pay a little more attention to your own nutrition. The Canadian food-guide recommends 5-10 servings of breads, 5-12 of fruits and vegetables, 2-3 of meats and 2-4 of dairy per day. Your basic calorie requirements are calculated based on your weight, and activity level.

Generally, your body is more efficient at extracting nutrients from food in smaller quantities (under 400-600 calories at a time), so eating smaller, more frequent meals not only meets your needs for dine-on-the-go with your busy schedule, but is also healthier.

Body Composition

Simply put, body composition is described by your muscle/fat ratio, or BMI. It is not healthy to exceed 25%. Body composition is not about thin-ness or weight, as much as it is about the amount of fat your body is carrying around your organs, and how much work your muscles have to do to move your body.

For riding and barn chores, an out of balance body fat percentage means greater risk for disease, and places your muscles and joints at greater risk for strain because they are asked to move dead weight. Maintaining a balanced riding position can also be more difficult.

Your lack of ability to balance and control your body weight distribution in the saddle may be a significant factor in causing strain on your horse’s joints, ligaments and muscles as your horse seeks to maintain its balance. While it isn’t necessary to be petite, good riders have the self-carriage they expect of their horse, freeing the horse to perform at his best without risk.

Cardio-vascular or Aerobic Exercise

Fitness guidelines suggest 30 minutes of cardiovascular activity that elevates your heart-rate 3-5 days a week. A healthy resting heart-rate range for an adult is between 60-75 beats per minute. For most people, the target training zone is somewhere between 120-145 bpm, and is calculated based on your age and resting heart-rate. You may need very little additional cardio-vascular exercise if you are already engaged in more rigorous activities on your horse. You might get an adequate extra `push’ for your cardio-vascular health simply by rounding out your week with a couple of brisk walks. If you are engaged primarily in activities which are less demanding for your heart, additional cardio-vascular workouts will improve your stamina for your sport, while burning calories and helping you stay more heart-healthy.

With cardio-vascular activity, it really doesn’t matter what you do, as long as your heart-rate is elevated into your target training zone for at least 10-30 minutes, depending on your fitness level.

Your target training zone should feel like work, but comfortably sustainable, without leaving you short of breath. If you are really pressed for time, try increasing the intensity of some other activity such as barn chores or grooming, so that you are doing the activity in your target training zone for the 10-30 minutes you need, then drop the intensity back down. You’ll not only get the chores done faster- you’ll get your heart in shape while doing them!

Strength Training

Regardless of your equestrian activity, demand is placed on specific muscle groups over long periods of time, or in short bursts of force. Muscles work like elastic bands counterbalancing across your body and joints to maintain alignment, and minimize undue strain on joints. Muscles that are strengthened without their counterbalancing muscle group also being worked, end up pulling your body out of alignment and causing strain. Muscles that are not fit for an activity, but are placed under sudden stress, will pull and tear. While it is not necessary to bulk up, training your muscles evenly will reduce opportunity for strain. Common errors are to either focus on exercises that train muscles already in high use, or else to do no muscle conditioning at all.

For example, riding places a high demand on the gluteus maximus (buttocks) and hamstring muscles. These are very powerful muscles connecting the back of the leg, to the pelvic area. The counterbalancing muscles are the quadriceps and psoas major, or hip flexors. Many riders complaining of lower back pain seek to address the issue and to develop better posture through strengthening the abdominal and erector spinae (long back) muscles.

While a strong core is an important part of complete rider conditioning, often the problem is an imbalance in the leg muscles from back to front, tipping the pelvic area, throwing back alignment off. The much smaller erector spinae and abdominal muscles were never designed to effectively counterbalance the glutes and hamstrings, and exercising them cannot compensate for weak quads and hip flexors. It would be more appropriate in many cases to have a strength training program that balanced the hamstring and glutes with the quads and hip flexors so that the pelvis was properly supported.

To help your body cope appropriately, it is important to do exercises for each muscle group, at least twice a week, with a break of at least 48 hours between two workouts for the same muscle group. It is more important to exercise your whole body weekly, than it is to worry about how much weight you are using for the exercises. For many people, exercise bands, an exercise ball and a few free weights are completely adequate, very affordable- and portable.

A good rule of thumb when doing strengthening exercises is to start with your larger muscles, and work down to the smaller ones: legs, chest and back, then arms, then abs. Going back to our example, an effective exercises that strengths quadriceps and hamstrings evenly is a simple, body-weight squat that can be done anywhere.

Even if all you have is 20 minutes a day, and no equipment, you can do body-weight exercises and movements which will help you achieve and maintain balanced body carriage. Whether you choose Pilates, simple home exercises, or hit the gym, you will see benefits in less fatigue, more energy, and better ability to exert yourself for longer with less likelihood of strain. Strength training has added side-benefits of improving bone and ligament strength, and reducing likelihood of injury when a sudden or unexpected demand is made on your body.


Flexibility is perhaps one of the easiest fitness components to integrate into your week- and yet it is often the most ignored. The problem with ignoring stretching is that you leave your muscles tight, and tight muscles tear when demand is placed on them. Also, ligaments and tendons which are tight cannot flex and respond in sudden strain situations.

Going back to the above example of a rider with tight glutes and hamstring muscles, strength training the counterbalancing muscle groups is only part of the equation. It is also very important to have even flexibility, so that muscles are not only strong, but also supple and available to respond effectively. An imbalance in suppleness has similar effects to an imbalance in strength for pulling your body out of alignment.

Canada fitness guidelines suggest incorporating stretching into your life daily. The easiest way to do so without added demand on your time is to take every opportunity you can: waiting in line, talking on the phone, watching TV in the evening, taking a breather in the barn.

A common error many people make is to stretch before placing demand on muscles: before a workout, or ride. This is not a good idea because the muscles are cold, and stretching them before asking them to work places them at greater risk of strain during the workout. Stretch when you dismount, after your workout, or after barn chores while your muscles are warm.

A rule of thumb to keep in mind is to stretch until you feel it, but not until it is painful, and to hold the stretch for several deep breaths, relaxing a little more at each breath.

In summary, you do not have to become a workout fanatic to keep yourself fit, and keep off the winter fat during the colder weather. As the days shorten, adding a little smart fitness time into your day will not only keep you on top of your game, but will help keep you feeling good when you can’t be engaged in your favourite activities or sports.

The Key to Good Nutrition in Combating Childhood Obesity

The increasing incidence of obesity in our society calls for a careful analysis of possible causes, as well as investigation and application of useful advice. Here is the key to a solution that sound simple but is, in fact, not so easy to comply with: Just pay attention to the quality of the food you choose; eat small portions of it, and schedule your meals.

The global economic crisis is affecting different countries in different ways, when it comes to its effects on the obesity epidemic. One would expect a reduction in food consumption, and therefore a decrease in the incidence of overweight patients. It makes sense. But here, in the United States, the increase in the price of food may augment the consumption of fast food, which is cheap and easy to acquire. When we add up the cost of buying fresh food, the time it takes to prepare, and the fact that it tends to spoil quickly if it is not consumed in time, like in the case of fruits and vegetable, the math may favor a visit to the nearest fast food joint.

It is worth to look at other societies for guidance. Spain is a good example for comparison. Spaniards value their food dearly; eating is a rite and everybody still schedules their day around meal breaks. Quality is of first importance; they don’t just eat anything available. They would rather eat small amounts of good quality than indulge in large portions of junk. Meal times are scheduled and everyone gathers around the table, rather than eating on the go.

Since they follow the 3 key components for good nutrition, their incidence of obesity and cardiovascular disorders is still low, when compared to ours. The impact of fast food restaurants, offering poor nutrition at an affordable price, finds its main clientele among the very young in Spain. The main core of the population won’t replace good food with fast food. A Spanish newspaper published recently that the economic crisis is causing a decrease of near 60% in the number of citizens that eat out. They do have plenty of restaurants able to prepare fish, good meats and legumes they like to consume. But since good food is getting more expensive, they can’t afford to visit those good restaurants as often. Their alternative is to stay home and cook the food themselves. The fast food option doesn’t seem to be a viable one for the majority of the population.

Very different from what we do here in America. We work hard and we work fast. There is no time for a daily trip to the grocery store; there is no time for food preparation; there is no way we can afford to waste food – we think. Instead we waste our health. Television ads remind us that for $5 we can have a large meal for two consisting of sizable amounts of carbohydrates and bad-for-you hydrogenated oils and preservatives, together with a mug of an all-you-can-drink combination of sugar and water.

Old habits are hard to break. I suggest you start now, especially if you have young children in your family. They are going to learn the eating habits they experience at home; they are going to learn from you. Fast food should be a treat to use exceptionally.

Cooking is an art and a stress relief at the end of the day. I also suggest doing most of the shopping and cooking on the weekend, when we have more time, and keeping prepared food in the refrigerator or freezer for the rest of the week.

Quality, Quantity and Timing are the Keys to Good Nutrition:

  • Schedule 4 meals per day, consisting of breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner.
  • Make a menu for each day of the week and buy only the ingredients you need for food preparation.
  • Eat small portions and stop when you are full.
  • Drink only water or milk.

It sounds simple, but it takes some time to create the habit.

Don’t know how to cook? Try watching Jose Andres, a world-renowned chef who shares his recipes on a 30-minute television program shown in PBS. The name of the show is Made in Spain. It is fresh, it is easy and it is HEALTHY. The smells coming from your kitchen would amaze you, your family and your friends.

Are You Getting Your Essential Nutrients?

Do you eat a balanced healthy diet? Eating a balanced diet will ensure that your body is receiving the essential nutrients that it needs to function at an optimal level. When you don’t get these essential nutrients the bodies functioning diminishes. Overtime the lack of essential vitamins and minerals causes nutritional deficiency as well as a decline in health. It can cause health threatening diseases such as obesity, metabolic syndrome, fatigue, or weakness, deficiency diseases such as scurvy, beriberi, or kwashiorkor, or chronic systemic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and osteoporosis. In very severe cases it can lead to death.

The body is a unique organism the functions entirely on its own. The chemical composition of the body is so extraordinary that everyday scientists and researches learn new processes, substances, and reactions that occur within the body. One of the many extraordinary aspects of the human body includes the ability to synthesize its own substances. These elements also known as non essential nutrients are produced by the body and used in the body. However, not all the synthesized substances are produced in adequate amounts. These are called essential nutrients because even though the body can produce small amounts of the elements it still needs additional resources from outside the body. Furthermore the substances that the body cannot manufacture such as vitamins and minerals have to be introduced through food sources otherwise the body lacks essential nutrients.

The essential nutrients that the body requires are vitamins, dietary minerals, essential fatty acids, and essential amino acids. In addition water and oxygen are required to sustain life and cannot be created adequately within the body, however most often than not they are not included in the list of essential nutrients. Essential nutrients are substances that enrich the body by building and repairing tissues, providing energy and heat and regulating metabolism. If just one of these essential nutrients is missing then certain functions within the body will deteriorate until they stop working. Most often the initial signs of deficiencies are missed, however overtime the symptoms grow.

Due to the American lifestyle deficiencies are becoming more and more frequent. Junk food, fast food, high fat content and processed sugars run rampant within the diets of Americans. Foods that are high in fat, sugar or grease don’t have any of the essential nutrients that the body needs. This has led to the increase of disease, obesity and death within our society. Natural and organic foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein are all excellent sources of essential nutrients and should be consumed on a daily basis as part of a balanced diet. If you are concerned about your diet or want to learn if you have any nutritional deficiencies contact your medical provider. Nutritionists, chiropractic physicians, acupuncturists, herbalists and other medical professions can determine if you are nutritionally deficient. They can set you up with meal planning, nutritional supplementation and guidance to help alleviate these problems.

Nutritional supplementation is one of the fastest growing health markets available today. One of the reasons is that nutritional supplementation although regulated by the FDA; they do not fall under the same guidelines as conventional food and drugs. Therefore manufacturers are required to market safe supplements but are not required to register their products with the FDA. Nutritional supplementation is a great way to decrease your symptoms of deficiency, improve your health and regulate body function. However finding the appropriate supplementation is important. Always check with your physician before taking a nutrition supplementation. Check the ingredients to make sure you are not allergic and to make sure there are no additives that could be harmful to you. Not all nutritional supplements will have the same effect on every person. Although it is OK to take an overabundance in some essential nutrients because the body will excrete the extra amount, however other nutrients can be harmful in extra large amounts therefore it is important to make sure you need to be taking the supplement before you waste your time and money. A simple blood test can determine the most common deficiencies.

Childhood Obesity – Links To Childhood Nutrition

Childhood obesity can not be attributed to a single factor, but to multiple elements including prenatal and postnatal nutrition, heredity, and physical activity. Obesity is a result of the combination of these elements. This article is focused on prenatal and postnatal nutrition only. See my other article “Child Obesity – An American Tragedy!” for additional information on the general subject of child obesity.

Childhood nutrition starts in the womb. Studies have suggested that the number of fat cells a person ultimately has is a factor of the nutritional intact of the mother while pregnant. Too many calories at this early stage of development have been shown to increase the number of fat cells formed and retained for life. The mother should have a healthy, balanced diet that is supplemented as needed according to her obstetrician.

After being born, then the debate of breast feeding verse bottle feeding is the main point of discussion. Most experts agree that breast feeding, when possible, for the first six months of life is the “Gold Standard”. Studies have shown that many children are weaned to early, so if possible wait the full six months. Breast feeding provides all of the nutritional needs to grow strong and healthy. It has also been shown to reduce the development of allergies or asthma and to protect against bacteria and viruses. If not possible, then bottle feeding with a complete nutritional formula is the next best thing. Check with your pediatrician if you have questions or concerns. Bottle feeding can be a major factor in childhood obesity because people tend to force the baby to drink the entire bottle, even when they show signs of being full. Take your cues from the baby; they will let you know when they are full and when they are hungry again. Doctors have found a relationship between rapid weight gain during the first four months of life and being overweight by age seven, typically due to overfeeding.

After six months, then children should be feed fresh or fresh frozen baby food. A combination of mild fruits and vegetables is a good start. There are studies that show that rice and other highly processed grain cereals could actually be the worst foods for infants, so avoid these items at first. The right amount of calorie intake is essential to make sure your children have the energy they need to play hard and grow strong. For vegetarians, you need to make sure the child gets enough calories and proper nutrients that a varied diet would normally supply. For new parents it is hard to know when, what, and how much to feed their child. There is a wide variety of resources available online and from your pediatrician, so ask questions and seek out help. Many parents will give more food than the child needs to be healthy. They are children and need child size portions. Our pediatrician once told us not to force or kids to eat, he said they would not starve themselves. Eventually they would be hungry and eat. Our job was that when they finally got hungry to make sure they had a healthy meal, instead of junk food fillers.

It is important to help you child develop a healthy view of food at an early age. This can help them make better choices as they grow into teenagers and ultimately adults. As parents it is our duty from the moment of conception until they are old enough to make choices for them selves to see that they have a healthy, balanced diet. Good luck and good health.

Sports Nutrition

Everyone knows you need to drink water before, during, and after exercise to replace lost fluids. But how about what you eat and when you eat it? The following guidelines should help athletes decide how to best fuel their bodies.

How the Body Uses Fuel During ExerciseWhen exercising, the body first uses blood glucose and glycogen stored in muscles for fuel. Moderate aerobic activity can be fueled for about two hours before the body turns to fat and protein stores, so most recreational athletes do not need to worry about anything more than having enough blood glucose and glycogen. Blood glucose can be increased with carbohydrate drinks and energy gels or bars. Even after the first two hours of activity, when the body turns to fat stores, it needs carbohydrates to help burn the fat, so it is important to continue eating carbohydrates during the workout. Before ExerciseOne hour before exercising, eat some carbohydrates to increase glycogen and blood sugar levels. Eating oatmeal or other cereals helps fight off fatigue and decreases hunger during exercise.

An alternative is to drink a protein/carbohydrate combination drink half an hour before working out, to help protect muscle protein from being broken down. Also, half and hour before your workout, drink 14-20 ounces of water or a sports electrolyte drink. This will delay dehydration, help you sweat more to cool your body, and moderate the rise in body temperature. The time delay is important, as physical exercise immediately after a meal reduces the body’s absorption of amino acids in the intestines. During ExerciseDrink water throughout your workout to replace water lost through sweating. Athletes should remember that thirst is not a good indicator of hydration. When you feel thirsty, you are already becoming dehydrated. You should need to use the restroom every two to three hours and your urine should be clear, if you are properly hydrated.

Water alone is sufficient for workouts lasting less than an hour. For longer workouts, use sports drinks to replace lost electrolytes. Electrolytes (potassium, sodium, and chloride) have specific functions, and their imbalance can be fatal. Juices and soda also contain electrolytes, but they also contain a higher amount of sugar that can cause cramping. During a workout, you should drink 6-12 ounces of fluids every 15-20 minutes.

Also, if it’s a long workout, consume some protein and carbohydrates during exercise, in a 4:1 carb to protein ratio. The carbohydrates will decrease the release of cortisol, a hormone produced during intense exercise that breaks down muscle tissue. The protein intake will keep the body from breaking down muscle to get protein for fuel.

After ExerciseThe timing of nutrient intake after exercise is important. Nutrients consumed more than 45 minutes after exercise have much less impact in helping muscles regenerate than nutrients consumed earlier. Consume a carbohydrate/protein combination to stop muscle breakdown and initiate rebuilding. This rebuilding occurs by stimulating the release of insulin, which sets a cascade of events into motion that speeds muscle recovery. It will increase the number of amino acids (protein building blocks) that can get into muscles by 50%, increase the production of protein by 2/3, and slow the breakdown of muscle proteins. The carbohydrates will also help replenish glycogen levels.

You will also recover faster by consuming foods that have a large amount of leucine. Leucine is found in meat, dairy, power bars, and sports drinks. It stimulates muscle protein synthesis, provides fuel for muscles, and helps maintain blood glucose after exercise.

You should also drink 12-24 ounces of fluids within thirty minutes of your workout to continue replenishing lost fluids.

ProteinProtein has been shown to fuel activity more efficiently than carbohydrates, and it also aids in recovery after exercise. The more protein you use for energy, the more you risk soreness as muscle fibers break down. Cortisol is a hormone produced during strenuous exercise, and it can cause muscle fiber damage by boosting protein breakdown to fuel muscle movement. Free radicals are also produced during exercise. These cellular waste products lead to muscle damage and also weaken the immune system. (This is why many high-level athletes consistently come down with nagging colds.)

A 2007 study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research showed that a drink containing protein, when compared to a carbohydrate drink placebo, consumed after exercise, helped improve anaerobic power production in athletes, but did not change strength, endurance, or body composition. This study, therefore, shows that athletes involved in mainly anaerobic activities (sprinters, wrestlers, sprint cyclers, and swimmers) need to supplement themselves with protein post-workout.

When an athlete switches from one phase of training to another, at least two to four weeks are required to readjust energy levels and protein intake and output. Longer adjustment are necessary if body mass is lost or gained, such as a fall football player adjusting to the winter wrestling season.

Protein should be 12-15% of the calories consumed by athletes in hard training. Carbohydrates should make up 55-60% of caloric intake, to reduce the chances of protein catabolism.

As there are many different types of proteins, dietary variety is the only way to increase the potential for ingesting high-quality and complementary proteins. For the average athlete, to calculate the amount of protein you need daily, divide your weight in pounds by 2.2, and then multiply that number by .8 and 1.0. This is the number of grams of protein you need to consume daily. A serving (3 ounces) of meat, poultry, or fish contains about 21 grams of protein. Half a cup of cottage cheese is 14 grams, half a cup of tofu is 10 grams, a cup of milk or yogurt is 8 grams, and an egg is 6 grams.

High-level endurance athletes need to ingest 1.2-2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, daily. Strength athletes need to consume 1.76 grams per kilogram per day. Most athletes get the protein levels they need without thinking about it, simply because they ingest more calories. Protein supplementation is usually not needed.

SupplementationJust as nutritional supplements are becoming more popular for wellness, there are supplements that will specifically aid athletes. Digestive enzymes will optimize the nutritional benefits derived from foods and other supplements. Glucosamine and MSM are useful for maintaining joint integrity. Boswellia, essential fatty acids, ginger, and turmeric all help control the inflammation associated with the wear and tear of exercise. Coenzyme Q10 and carnitine aid endurance and help athletes avoid “hitting the wall.” Electrolyte replacement will lead to less soreness and cramping. Vitamins B1, B2, and niacin are all needed by the body in direct proportion to the intensity of exercise, so adjust your B-complex vitamin accordingly. A broad-based multivitamin/multimineral supplement containing nutrients at about 100% of the Recommended Daily Allowance will lower the potential for reduced vitamin and mineral status.

For specific sports, Vitamins A and B1 are generally deficient in football players and wrestlers. Wrestlers are also usually low in potassium. Distance runners generally are low in iron.

Conclusion Keep a logbook of food and fluid intake with your exercise log to track your sports nutrition progress. Take notes on how your workout feels and look back and see how you ate and drank that day. You will start to notice your own trends and realize that healthier eating habits will make your workouts feel better, and your competitions much more effective! References:Baechle, Thomas R., ed. Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning. National Strength and Conditioning Association, 1994. Beck, Travis W., et. Al. “Effects of a Drink Containing Creatine, Amino Acids, and Protein Combined With Ten Weeks of Resistance Training on Body Composition, Strength, and Anaerobic Performance.” Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 21(1) (2007): 100-104. “Boosting Fitness: Recovery Phase.” Energy Times Mar 2003: 70. Dewon, Joyce. “Summer Sports Nutrition Guide.” Energy Times Jul/Aug 2004: 26-31. “Maximizing Your Muscle: How Much Protein Do You Really Need?” Aurora Healthcare Healthy Diet Newsletter Oct 2004. “Sports Nutritionals.” Chiropractic Economics Sept 2006: 35-40. VanErmen, Christina, RD, CD. “Running on Empty.” Aurora Healthcare Sports Page Nov 2004.