The Next Level
I'll come clean...
I've had a video game console of some variation since the early
days. I can remember having Telstar Video with the infamous
"Pong" game... Atari with "Space Invaders", "Pac Man" and classic
other titles... and was an early friend of Mario and Luigi on the
original Nintendo console (actually, I met Mario earlier when he was
still jumping barrels in Donkey Kong).
Endless hours of mind melting, addictive
fun... but it certainly never did much to improve my health... but
then sitting on the couch moving your thumbs can't be expected to
burn very many calories!
The average child
spends four to five hours each day in front of the TV or computer, or
playing video games. This "screen" time has been directly linked with
childhood obesity. The more
time a child spends in front of the screen, the higher the child's body
mass index (BMI) has been likely to be. With the childhood
obesity epidemic (and overall fitness) being such a concern
nowadays, and gym classes being watered down to almost nothing, it
is good to see the video game industry turning the corner for the
gaming consoles! Thanks to new games on different systems,
results have changed and some video games are now considered
beneficial for children.
Certain video games offer kids both fun
and physical activity at the same time. This gives parents peace of mind
because they can improve their children's health. This is a fairly new idea
called exergaming or active video game play. These
video and computer games promote physical activity by getting kids
moving. Traditional video games rely solely on handheld remote controls
to play the game. In exergaming, the user must move his or her body to
play. For example:
- Dance games require
players to follow fun, fast dance steps to score points. Some versions
of dance games tell users how many calories they burned at the end.
- Another gaming system
lets users play virtual sports. Depending on the game, the remote
control can be used as a racquet, baseball bat, or bowling ball, for
- Exercise and Fitness
games put more of a classic exercise flavor to the exergaming and even
track progress and goals as a personal trainer would.
The American Council on Exercise did
a study and discovered that persons ages 12-25 had a major increase
in exercise intensity when playing a fun exercise video game. Older
adult participants burned even more calories. Out of those observed, the subjects
on average burned five calories per minute on light mode, six
calories per minute on standard mode and eight calories per minute
on difficult mode. So for an hour of playing time you could lose at
least 300 calories.
A report was published in the September
issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. In
it, McManus and Mellecker found that compared
with resting children, 39 percent more calories per minute were burnt
playing the video passive game, 98 percent more calories per minute were
burnt playing the active bowling game, and 451 percent more calories per
minute were burnt playing the action/running game. Moreover, the
researchers found that heart rates were significantly higher during the
active game and the action game compared with playing the seated video
It's not recommended that children
spend long periods of time playing video games, even those that are
exercise related. And it's not a good idea if this is their only
sources of exercise. But, kids exercise games such as Dance Dance
Revolution, Wii Fit and some Xbox Kinect games do have their
benefits. Overall, a better option is to conduct fun kids exercise
activities outdoors or even creative kids indoor exercises.
Video games do have their benefits,
but it's a good idea to set some ground rules for your kids. Don't
let them sit and play games all day and night. Give them a time
limit and play with them so you know they abide by the rules. Remember that the reason to learn about kids
exercise games is to give you skills and knowledge necessary to
help your children become the healthiest people they can be.
learn how to have fun while playing exercise games
Playing active video games resulted in
meaningful amounts of energy being expended in comparison to the normal
seated game environment.
"In the J-Mat game -- Jackie Chan Action Run -- the children raised
their heart rate to 160 beats per minute, expending more than 5
kilocalories of energy per minute compared with only 1.3 kilocalories
when seated. "When using the XaviX Bowling game, which
essentially is a standing game with light intensity movement, children
expended 0.6 kilocalories per minute more than seated computer game
Active video games are also a good option
for children who otherwise wouldn't be active, such as kids who don't
enjoy sports and those who don't have a safe place to exercise. For
children who are shy about their weight or ability to play sports,
active video games can offer them an uninhibited way to exercise. What's more, many children enjoy playing
video games. It may be a chore to get your son or daughter to clean his
or her room, but with exergaming, your child may not mind exercising.
ref. 'Video Games and Kids'
Jeff A Wise
ref. ABC News
HealthDay Reporter - Steven Reinberg
ref. Jenilee Matz, MPH,
Staff Writer, myOptumHealth
Recipes for Health
to put this article off... and I succeeded for a little while... but
since my cousin Sheila won't let it go, I just had to put it in
I've never really been a recipe kinda guy, but I do appreciate a
healthy dish that also has good taste. So that's what this new
section is all about.
I think that an even better idea is to
make this a group effort! That's right, I'm going to open this
column up for guest editors to send in your favorite healthy
recipes. So come on folks... smoothies, entrées, soup, salad,
whatever... shoot me an
email with the ingredients, details, and
nutrition information if you got it. I'll publish a new one
each month and put your name on it... deal?
here's the first one... sent to me last month by my cousin Sheila
Alexander (thanks Cuz). Sounds like a good candidate for your
Super Bowl party this weekend when you watch the New York Giants
take it to the Patriots again ; )
1 can black eyed peas, drained & rinsed
1 can Green Giant
shoe-peg corn, drained
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
4 stalks scallions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 Italian Tomatoes, diced
1 pack Good Seasons Italian Dressing (dry mix), prepared
according to package directions
1 can sliced black olives
Mix all ingredients together and serve with healthier bean-based
chips (if you're trying to be good).
Click Here to submit YOUR
favorite healthy recipe idea!
Bodyweight Exercise of the Month!
Now this one is pretty tough, but
you gotta like the nostalgia of the old school gym class days
when we used to climb the ropes! So sad that most
schools don't do that anymore, nor can the kids actually climb
a rope. Of course, climbing indoors with a low ceiling
can be a challenge sometimes, but this exercise provides some
of the same challenge if not more. This climb exercise
is pretty much tailor made for the
Strength Apparatus (USA) but you can certainly use a
rope attached to the ceiling as well if you want more of a
grip challenge. If the back
and bi work isn't enough, the added challenge of keeping your
legs up will really burn your abs! Love it!
Target: back, arms, and
(latisimus dorsi, biceps brachii, rectus abdominus)
Description: Start in
a seated position on the ground and reach up to the highest
rung you can grab on the USA (or rope). Tighten your abs
so that you hold your legs up the entire time. Alternate
hand over hand, reaching up to grab higher each time while
pulling yourself up, climbing to the top. Reverse your
direction in order to lower yourself back down to the ground.
Repeat for maximum number of climbs.
It's COLD... I
don't like COLD. But I also know that a lot of people
are of the same frame of mind. This is the time of
year that I often get the personal trainer emails and phone
calls from people saying "I have 2 months before we go on
vacation and I have to put on a bathing suit... I need to
lose some pounds... what can I do?"
This last minute
scrambling is kinda like cramming for a test at the last
minute. Although you can certainly make some progress,
there's really just so much you can safely accomplish in a
condensed time frame. But still, you can make
progress, and better yet, start making some habits that will
carry through past your upcoming beach time and get you
ready for the summer!
Ok... so first of all let's talk
about the pounds. 3,500
calories equates to roughly a pound of body fat. Given
that knowledge, you can pretty much figure out that you
would need to create a calorie deficit of 500 calories per
day in order to drop a pound per week (compared to what you
are doing right now). Now this doesn't mean that you
have to stop eating all together to meet the deficit... it
can be a combination of both diet and exercise. Yes,
that also means that the deficit would be roughly 7,000
calories to hit the 2 pound mark!
Making these changes can be more
difficult for some than for others. For someone that
has bad eating habits that doesn't workout... the change is
pretty straight forward. Put less into your mouth, and
more energy into working out! However, for someone
that is doing pretty well with their diet and exercise, it
is more of a matter of taking it up a notch... not always
easy to do.
Now as far as the diet part
goes, there are many different ways of making a change.
PLEASE, don't think that cutting out breakfast is a good
thing... wrong answer. Your metabolism is way low in
the morning which means that you're not burning a lot of
calories. Even eating a small, healthy breakfast is
enough to put fuel in the furnace to burn calories while
providing you much needed energy to have a productive day.
You'll most likely find that you get hungry earlier when you
each breakfast than when you don't... this is a perfect
example of your metabolism at work!
Besides starting off your day
with some healthy oatmeal, yogurt, or vitamin packed
cereal... you'll want to keep that furnace stoked by eating
frequently. This does NOT mean eating more. You
can make your meals smaller and still eat more frequently.
Start by cutting your lunch in half and eating some of it
earlier or later. This spreads the calories out, makes
more effective use of them, and helps your stomach to digest
each meal more thoroughly. Eating HEALTHY food every 3
hours or so is a good target, with apple slices, carrot
sticks, almonds or a variety of other choices as good snack
Portion Control! I'm a big
offender of this. But when I have to, I know that this
little tweak in my diet can have a big impact! Many of
us over eat, mainly because we like food... not because we
are really THAT hungry. We really don't need as much
as we take, and end up eating. This is particularly
true at dinner or when we go out to eat. It is a good
idea to plan ahead of time how much we are going to eat, and
then stick to it. Even if it means that we are taking
home leftovers or wrapping stuff up for tomorrow.
Even when we think we are
hungry, we don't give ourselves enough time to feel
satisfied. We woof our food down and then complain
later that we are stuffed. Although it may not always
be practical, slowing down our meals can allow us the time
needed to get past that. Usually around 20 minutes or
so after eating you should get past the hunger pangs.
There are so many tricks and
tips that can help as well. Things like using smaller
plates, forks, spoons and cups at home help with portion
control. Starting your meals with a full glass of
water or a salad will help you control your need to overeat.
Soda bad... deep fried foods bad... grease bad... sweets
bad... and yes, alcohol bad. I know, no surprises
there... but cutting out any of those that you consume
regularly can really add up in your weekly calorie deficit.
Start out by just cutting them out during the week, and then
treat yourself (moderately) over the weekend... it gives you
something to look forward to!
Exercise! Gotta do it
folks! Best bet is to do both cardio AND resistance
(weight) training. Cardiovascular exercise burns
calories while your engaged in the exercise, but resistance
training will increase your caloric burn for hours after you
are done. In addition, the more muscle that you build,
the more calories that you burn at rest due to an increased
metabolism! You can get a better idea about the
estimated caloric burn (for your bodyweight) during exercise
If I could give
one suggestion for your cardio sessions, it would be to look
into incorporating some interval training into your cardio
sessions. Interval training has been proven to be the
best form of cardio that you can do to lose fat and increase
cardiorespiratory performance. If you've been good
about getting your 30-45 minutes per session, 3-5 times per
week on the treadmill, elliptical, or bike... then try this.
Keep a nice "cruising" pace for a minute, then go all out
for 30 seconds, go back down to cruising pace for a minute,
then back to high intensity for 30 seconds. Continue this
2:1 ratio of low intensity to high intensity for as much of
your workout as possible. Don't overdo it to a point that
you feel dizzy, but challenge yourself during the high
interval and recover during the low. Walk/jog...
jog/run... interval training can apply to all different
modes of cardio exercise.
I can go on and on and on about
various ideas for the resistance training portion, but if
you are looking for some exercises, I have started to
compile a decent library of exercises from these newsletters
that you can perform with little to no equipment.
Here's a link to the
Soooo... 2 months to go before
the cruise? That gives you a safe potential of 8-16
pounds of fat gone, more muscle, increased conditioning, and
better overall health. Worth training for?
It's Go Time!
January is done...
How are those New Year resolutions holding up? Are you
in the statistics of people that fail miserably and bail, or
did you power through, fully engaged, basically just getting
started? If you had a few setbacks, don't feel bad...
You haven't failed until you quit trying! Regroup, reset
your goals if necessary, and get back on track! There
are no shortcuts to any place worth going!
For most of us
winter is a tough time for energy levels. The cold,
gloomy weather doesn't do much to encourage us to go
outside... the chill in the air doesn't make us want to get
out of bed until we absolutely have to... and it's dark in the
morning AND in the evening... just not fair! Still,
where there's a will there's a way, right? As most of my
coaches used to say in high school... "SUCK IT UP!" If
your health and your goals are important enough to you, you'll
get yourself focused and make time, not excuses! Put
your mind to it and you can accomplish anything
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"Ability is what you're capable of doing. Motivation
determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do
youtube of the month -->
How Bad Do You Want It
Inspirational video about determination against all odds.