Exercise US

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exerciseuslogoThe official date has been set regarding the ninth annual Exercise US program which is now scheduled for September 28, 2017. Due to many requests, the event has been moved from October to September in honor on National Childhood Obesity Awareness month. Feedback from around the country has been outstanding, as the schools and organizations involved loved the concept. We hope that year nine of the event will be just as successful! Thank you to all schools and organizations involved in the Exercise US program during the first eight years, as your support made the program a big hit. If you are new to the program this year, visit this link.

Health, Happiness And Well-being

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By Mandy Kester

joggersWhat Does it Mean to be Well or Healthy?

It would seem that well-being or wellness are the latest buzzwords when it comes to talking about our health and lifestyle. Such terms refer to a general reference for the positive condition of an individual or group.

However, well-being and wellness are not the same thing. Well-being refers to a more holistic whole-of-life experience, whereas wellness refers just to physical health. This can also be applied to different areas of life, such as general health, psychological and emotional aspects. According to Naci and Ioannidis, wellness refers to diverse and interconnected dimensions of physical, mental, and social well-being that extend beyond the traditional definition of health. It primarily includes lifestyle choices and activities aimed at achieving our physical pinnacle, mental alertness, social integration and a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction tied to personal fulfillment. A large part of achieving and reaching a positive sense of well-being is the pursuit of happiness and being happy. How do you obtain such a lofty goal? Easier said than done we know but, it is possible.

The Pursuit of Happiness

Everyone wants to be happy and yet very few people are truly happy. Why is that? What does happiness entail? According to psychologist Martin Seligman, the proponent of Positive Psychology, happiness is not the result of good genes or luck. Rather, real, lasting and meaningful happiness results from focusing on your own strengths and not on your weaknesses. By doing so, you will improve all aspects of your own life. Again, easier said than done.

Achieving happiness can also be as easy as trying or learning a new thing. For example, a new hobby, learning a foreign language, trying an exotic food, traveling, etc. You get the picture.

Happiness is always tied to health. It is interchangeable. If you are unhealthy, you will likely be unhappy. So, it makes sense that working on your health is key to achieving real, lasting and meaningful happiness.

Health and Well-being

healthyheartWe all have a different understanding and notion of what health is. Health means a lot of things. It could mean being able to walk a mile, not to feel aches and pains, to feel energized. In short, the list is endless. The World Health Organization defines health as a “state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease”. Our health is affected by many factors such as the environment, the existence or absence of a support network (like family or friends), where we live (city vs. countryside), our finances or lack of them, as well as, our lifestyle. Some of our lifestyle choices can lead to good or bad physical health.

Some of these may include but are not limited to:

* Level of activity/exercise we choose (ranging from light walking to hardcore aerobics or bodybuilding)

* Diet (whether it is balanced full of vegetables, fruits, grains, proteins and carbs or full of junk food)

* Sleep (not only the amount but the quality is important)

* Alcohol consumption (this pertains to the quantity and frequency and whether or not it is abused)

* Smoking (this should be avoided as much as possible)

* Knowledge (being informed is crucial in today’s health conscious world. Sites like Reviewy are full of comprehensive health articles and reviews)

Final Thoughts

So, how do you achieve well-being? Is it via achieving happiness? Through being healthy? Or all of the above? The combination and method is up to you. The important thing to remember is that you need to work from within to better yourself and your outlook on life. Everything else will fall into place.

Flex Belt

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Review coming soon about the Flex Belt! I have been asked to give this device a try to review it….so keep posted for further updates.

Flex BeltThe Flex Belt Ab Belt Workout – FDA Cleared to Tone, Firm and Strengthen the Abdominal Muscles.

How Does the Flex Belt Work?

Here’s how it works: The unique construction of the Flex Belt features three pre-positioned, medical-grade GelPads, covering the central abdominal muscles and external obliques.

Signals from the ab belt reach out to nerves where they are most concentrated.

These nerves branch out to reach all the abdominal muscles (not just those under the pads) causing them to relax and contract naturally, working all the muscles at the same time.

To learn more about the Flex Belt, please click here.

Project ACES

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exerciseProject ACES was a huge success on May 3rd 2017. Millions of children exercised around the globe for a short period of time to promote healthy lifestyle in children. After the event, so many great posts occurred on social media regarding the day. Check it out:

#ProjectACES
#ACESday
#ProjectACESday
#theworldslargestexerciseclass
#theYFC

Thanks to all the schools and organizations who supported Project ACES worldwide. Mark next year’s date on your calendar, May 2, 2018.

And please do not forget, PACES Day is tomorrow. Signup your family to exercise with thousands of other families around the globe.

S & S Field Day Headquarters

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Get Ready for Field Day Fun!

S&S Worldwide Field Day Headquarters has everything you need!

* Download a FREE Guides with Top 12 Field Day Activities and Event Cards

* 7 Themed Activities for Your Field Day Event

Use offer code B4260 to get 15% off plus Free Shipping Over $59!

New Research Study Goes Against Popular Belief On “39-week” Pregnancy Rule

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pregnantThis article is courtesy of the Baylor College of Medicine, please share your comments below. Questions or concerns about the article should be addressed directly to the Baylor College of Medicine.

Women who are managing low-risk pregnancies are advised to follow the “39-week rule” – waiting until they are 39 weeks to deliver. This rule is intended to eliminate elective inductions and cesarean deliveries at 37 and 38 weeks, when outcomes for the newborns are believed to be worse than those born at full term.

But new research by a Baylor College of Medicine epidemiologist suggests that babies delivered after elective induction at 37 to 38 weeks may not have an increased risk of adverse neonatal outcomes, compared to those infants who are expectantly managed (i.e., medical observation or “watchful waiting”) and delivered at 39 to 40 weeks. The findings appear in the current issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

“Our findings caution against a general avoidance of all elective early-term inductions and call for continued research, based on better data, in what is still a relatively new arena,” said Dr. Jason Salemi, assistant professor of family and community medicine at Baylor and lead author of the study.

The national initiative to eliminate all elective deliveries before 39 weeks began to gain momentum around 2008, Salemi said, and was supported by professional organizations and adopted by healthcare institutions.

“Until then, I had never observed a campaign so enthusiastically embraced and that resulted in such widespread implementation of practice improvement efforts,” Salemi said.

But he saw limitations in many studies used to justify the 39-week rule. Most notably, he recognized what he believed to be an inappropriate choice of comparison group for elective early-term deliveries.

“A number of studies reporting worse outcomes for elective early-term deliveries compared them with later term spontaneous deliveries, a low-risk group. However, the clinical decision that must be made is not between elective early-term delivery and later spontaneous delivery, but between elective early-term delivery and expectant management, in which the outcome remains unknown,” Salemi said.

Salemi and his colleagues conducted a retrospective cohort study that used data on more than 675,000 infants from a statewide database. All live births were classified on the basis of the timing and reason for delivery. The research study compared elective inductions and cesarean deliveries at 37 to 38 weeks to expectantly managed pregnancies delivered at 39 to 40 weeks.

“We focused on serious conditions in early life. Our outcomes included neonatal respiratory morbidity, sepsis, feeding difficulties, admission to the neonatal intensive care unit and infant mortality,” Salemi said.

Salemi cautions that the research findings do not lend support for elective deliveries before 39 weeks and, in fact, provide evidence that supports the avoidance of elective early-term cesarean deliveries. The study found that infants delivered after cesarean delivery at 37 to 38 weeks had a 13 to 66 percent increase in the odds of damaging outcomes.

However, infants delivered after elective early-term induction experienced odds of adverse neonatal outcomes that were largely the same as infants who were expectantly managed and delivered at 39 to 40 weeks. Through the research findings, Salemi hopes to increase awareness on the many issues that surround the timing and reasons for delivery.

“Each pregnancy is unique,” He said. “I cannot overstate the importance of open and ongoing communication between pregnant women and their healthcare providers so that the potential risks and benefits of any pregnancy-related decision are understood fully.”

Other authors that contributed to this research study and article are Dr. Elizabeth Pathak, during her time as an associate professor of epidemiology at the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine, and Dr. Hamisu Salihu, professor and vice chair for research in family and community medicine at Baylor.

This research was funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (grant number R01HS019997).

Understanding Nutrition During Pregnancy

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This article was submitted by the Baylor College of Medicine, please share your comments below…..

PregnantFor everyone, a nutritious and well-balanced diet is essential to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. But for pregnant women, nutrition is doubly important – it’s a key factor for their own health and that of their baby.

“Pregnant women should eat three meals a day and between-meal snacks,” said Dr. Nina Ali, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Baylor College of Medicine. “Meals should include foods from all five food groups: grains, fruits, vegetables, proteins and dairy.”

Ali advises women to be mindful of their diet choices and to drink plenty of water to help curb the out-of-control cravings.

“Try to choose food with nutritional value and allow yourself to indulge in small quantities,” said Ali.

Cravings are hard to avoid while pregnant. However, Ali recommends that pregnant woman avoid specific foods altogether.

Women should not consume unpasteurized milk, hot dogs, lunch meats and cold cuts (unless they are heated to steaming hot), raw or undercooked seafood, eggs and meat, fish with high mercury content such as swordfish, king mackerel or tilefish, said Ali.

Nutrition choices also can play a role in minimizing morning sickness that many women experience during pregnancy, she said.

“Ginger candy and ginger tea can be soothing for nausea,” Ali said. “Eat small snacks throughout the day rather than large meals, and avoid heavy or spicy foods. When these measures do not help, talk to your ob-gyn doctor about nausea medications.”

In addition to maintaining a healthy diet while pregnant, Ali recommends women continue to manage a balanced diet after giving birth.

“A healthy, well-balanced diet is an essential part of the mother’s recovery after giving birth,” said Ali. “Also for moms who are breast-feeding, caloric demands and nutrition needs are even higher than while pregnant. I recommend moms continue prenatal vitamins for 6 weeks or as long as they continue breastfeeding.”

During and after pregnancy it is essential to eat nutritious meals and be mindful of good dietary choices.

“A well balanced diet will give your body the building blocks it needs to maintain good health for you and for your baby,” said Ali.

Study Finds Genes Linked To Happiness, Depression And Neuroticism

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This article was submitted by the Baylor College of Medicine, please leave your comments below…..

womanwinkHow people think and feel about their lives depends on multiple factors, including genes. In a paper published in Nature Genetics, a multi-institutional team, including a researcher from Baylor College of Medicine, reports that they have found genetic variants associated with our feelings of well-being, depression and neuroticism.

This is one of the largest studies on the genes involved in human behavior. More than 190 researchers in 140 institutions in 17 countries analyzed genomic data from nearly 300,000 people.

“In this paper, we applied advanced statistical analyses and meta-analyzed, or combined, results across a large number of studies, which is the most powerful way to conduct this type of genetics research,” said Dr. Alexis Frazier-Wood, assistant professor of pediatrics and nutrition at the USDA/ARS Children’s Nutrition Research Center at Baylor and Texas Children’s Hospital. “I served as the analyst for one set of data included in the overall results. We report that we found three genetic variants associated with subjective well-being – how happy a person thinks or feels about his or her life. We also found two genes harboring variants associated with depressive symptoms and 11 genes where variation was associated with neuroticism.”

The researchers advised caution when interpreting the results of the study. The genetic variants do not determine whether someone develops depressive symptoms, neuroticism or has a poor sense of wellbeing.

“Genetics is only one factor that influences these psychological traits. The environment is at least as important, and it interacts with the genetic effects,” said Dr. Daniel Benjamin, associate professor at the Center for Economic and Social Research in the University of Southern California Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and corresponding author.

The information in this report allows researchers to look at possible ways to study these conditions. “We can start studying the functions of these genes to begin to understand why biologically some people are more predisposed to feel this way than others,” said Frazier-Wood.

For the names and affiliations of the other contributors, and grant information for this research, go to Nature Genetics.

Born To Run

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Thank you to the Baylor College of Medicine for this article, please share your comments below…..

pregnantBaylor College of Medicine researchers have discovered that female mice that voluntarily exercise during pregnancy have offspring that are more physically active as adults. The research appears in The FASEB Journal.

Dr. Robert A. Waterland, associate professor of pediatrics – nutrition and of molecular and human genetics at the USDA/ARS Children’s Nutrition Research Center at Baylor and Texas Children’s Hospital and senior author of this work, noted that although their research studied mice, “several human studies have reported results consistent with ours.”

For example, observational studies have found that women who are physically active when they are pregnant have children who tend to be more physically active. But these results could be attributed to the mothers’ influence on the children after they were born. Or, mothers could pass to their offspring a genetic predisposition to be physically active.

“Our study in a mouse model is important because we can take all those effects out of the equation. We studied genetically identical mice and carefully controlled the amount of physical activity of the mothers before pregnancy,” said Waterland.

The Baylor team selected female mice that all enjoyed running. Then they divided them into two groups. One was allowed access to running wheels before and during pregnancy, and the other was not.

During early pregnancy, the females with running wheels ran an average of 10 kilometers a night. They ran less as pregnancy progressed, but even by the beginning of the third trimester they ran (or walked) about 3 kilometers each night.

The researchers found that the mice born to mothers that exercised during pregnancy were about 50 percent more physically active than those born to mothers who did not exercise. Importantly, their increased activity persisted into later adulthood, and even improved their ability to lose fat during a three-week voluntary exercise program.

This study supports the idea that movement during pregnancy influences fetal brain development, making the offspring tend to be more physically active throughout life. “Although most people assume that an individual’s tendency to be physical active is determined by genetics, our results clearly show that the environment can play an important role during fetal development,” Waterland said.

If a similar effect can be confirmed in people, it could represent an effective strategy to counteract the current worldwide epidemic of physical inactivity and obesity.

Increasing physical activity has major health implications. According to the World Health Organization, insufficient physical activity is one of the 10 leading risk factors for death worldwide.

Several expert groups including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists already recommend that, in the absence of complications, pregnant women get 30 minutes or more of moderate exercise a day. “I think our results offer a very positive message,” said Waterland. “If expectant mothers know that exercise is not only good for them but also may offer lifelong benefits for their babies, I think they will be more motivated to get moving.”

Jesse D. Eclarinal, Shaoyu Zhu, Maria S. Baker, Danthasinghe B. Piyarathna, Cristian Coarfa, and Marta L. Fiorotto, all from Baylor, also contributed to this work.

This work was funded by grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture [CRIS 6250-51000-055 and CRIS 3092-5-001-059] and from the NIH [AR46308].

ACSM, Walk With A Doc Program Announce Partnership

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familywalk2This article is courtesy of ACSM, please share your comments below…..

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) announced a new partnership with the Walk with a Doc program today, forged to promote walking for better health. Walk with a Doc encourages healthy physical activity in people of all ages, because it can reverse the consequences of a sedentary lifestyle and improve the health and well-being of Americans.

ACSM is an international leader in promoting the benefits of exercise. “Walking is a safe, easy and effective way for all people to become healthier through physical activity,” said Jim Whitehead, ACSM’s EVP/CEO. “ACSM brings the expertise of 50,000 clinicians, researchers, educators and exercise professionals to this collaboration to team up with Walk with a Doc’s efforts to promote physical activity through walking.”

With close to 250 communities and thousands of doctors across the United States, Walk with a Doc sees the partnership with ACSM as a way to expand its impact as scores of additional communities stand to benefit from the collaboration. “With a doctor’s approval, walking is low impact and safe for people with orthopedic ailments, heart conditions and those who are more than 20 percent overweight,” said David Sabgir, MD, founder of Walk with a Doc. “Working with ACSM can help us meet our goals to help Americans become more active and meet national guidelines for physical activity.”

Walk with a Doc is following ACSM’s lead to answer the Surgeon General’s Call to Action on Walking and Walkable Communities, released in September 2015. The call to action recognizes the importance of physical activity for people of all ages and abilities and encourages Americans to be more physically active through walking and asks leaders to better support walking and walkability in their communities.

Walk with a Doc will also be supporting ACSM’s signature program, Exercise is Medicine®, by promoting the EIM health care provider’s pledge to encourage patients to participate in regular physical activity to support their health.