The Hays Daily News from Hays, Kansas on September 22, 2002 · Page 51
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The Hays Daily News from Hays, Kansas · Page 51

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Hays, Kansas
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Sunday, September 22, 2002
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Page 51
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with yourself: If you can remain on your program consistently for six months, treat yourself to a present. A shopping excursion, a trip, a new jigsaw for the shop — whatever it takes. Dangle it out there as an added incentive to take real action'. Exercise: Five days a week Families should take a group walk after supper, throw a football, toss a Frisbee, play chase in a park — anything to break our society's sedentary cycle. It will be good not only for the kids, but for parents as well. But leisurely activity is just the beginning. You also need a structured exercise routine. Numerous studies, including many conducted at our own research institute in Dallas, have shown' beyond a doubt that regular exercise is beneficial for several health problems, such as high cholesterol, heart disease', joint pain and low energy. An outstanding program for Kent and Nancy would be to develop a workweek workout routine. Exercise needs to be part of every workday % That will give each of themifive sessions per week, and ttie goal ' , People^often^lk, : >i'VVhat's the ideal exercise?'? The < answer:/the* one y,ouTldo t on a regular basis! Developing a^p'lan' you' will stick to over the long term is essential. Kent and Nancy might find that the most practical time to exercise is first thing in the morning, before, the daily grind gets started. Having a piece of aerobic exercise equipment in the house (such as a treadmill or a stationary bike) is more likely to keep Kent on a consistent program. A recumbent stationary cycle would be ideal for Nancy; it would keep her troubled joints in a comfortable position while she does a low-impact exercise session. First and foremost, work on consistency and length of time, and don't worry about pushing the intensity. That's a common mistake: People try to work out too hard and too fast, which is a recipe for disaster. Instead, slow and steady wins the race. Flexibility is important for Nancy and her aching joints as she ages. If she works with a trainer, or perhaps even a physical therapist, to develop a program of range-of-motion exercises, it will keep her more functional as well as be a great stress reliever. After Nancy develops her general fitness program, she should focus,on light strength training. Again, take it easy. No one ever got out of shape overnight, and no one will ever get fit overnight, either. Diet: Junk some popular foods American eating habits have changed significantly over the past few decades, and the way teenagers eat puts them at particular risk of poor nutrition. Many of them subsist on sodas, salts and sugars. As a result, our children are becoming "super-sized." A study published in the December issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association looks at national trends. Since the 1980s, childhood obesity has skyrocketed, hitting boys especially hard. Other at-risk populations include children who are African-American, Hispanic or from the South. To try to blame this trend on any one thing is difficult. Truth is, we are all part of the problem. Parents, allow children to spend more time in front of televisions and computers. Schools have,given younger kids access to soda and snack vending machines. Consequently, those who should be responsible for providing healthful nutrition to kids (that's us!) are not doing their jobs. ' . *' >':' Therefore, you should limit access to junk foods at your house.. My wife and I make a rule that during 1 the, workweek the kids will have nutritious meals with desserts limited to things like low-fat yogurts and. fruits: We try to follow the same routine ourselves, ! Emphasizing fruits and vegetables as part of the diet is important, and although we periodically .have to explain to the kids that a food is not necessarily poison because it's green, we're making headway. Their culinary horizons have expandedrand our kids don't reflexively gag at the sight of good foods, as some of their friends do. Nancy already works on her diet She enjoys fruits and vegetables, and like Kent, she tries to focus on poultry and fish. But they both enjoy snacks and sometimes eat too much at night Working toward improving their eating patterns, particularly focusing on not eating sweets late at night, can be a big plus for long-term weight control for both of them. And it will steer Gabe and Ben in the right direction, • Folks, this isn't rocket science. When we decrease our activity and increase our calorie intake, we gain weight. Children are developing patterns of behavior that last a lifetime. Chubby children tend to become chubby adults, and the earlier we instill good behaviors in them, the better off they will be. Experts: Work with schools, doctors Believe it or not, pressure from parents can change things at the local school. It is important to know not only what's on the lunch menu, but also what junk food is available. Work through the parent-teacher association to improve the school 'cafeteria. Give the , kids healthful alternatives. If this task seems too overwhelming, then take charge by providing lunch * for your kids.,The results will be worth the effort. Also, does the school's curriculum include physical education? More and more schools have dropped PE from their.schedules, giving the not-so-subtle message that activity, is not important.!, • Finally, everyone in every family needs a doctor's care. Kent is smart: He gets annual checkups so his. doctor can monitor his cholesterol, .heart .health and,, other problems,that may appear,with age. Routine- follow-up with a physician who knows your history" 'helps'to identify.problems early and serves as ambti- •yational tool to keep you focused.; , v- , -; • ,-> • „'.'.-' There you have'it: four areas .where small,'steady •" investments of time and energy ( 'cari'pay ; big!'divK dends. I urge you to start your family's health sayings"' plan today. C3 .'" • '" ; ; '' vv ^''' ""*<•"' ''' CanMnfiingtothis'ivportPatty Mwfe '7*, ' ' v -_, •,.,-"i-j?^ -/',.,• '•«• ' > •*-.? , -"v;*j f; • 11*- •' , USA WEEKEND-Sept. 20-22,2002 7

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