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Friday, May 25, 2012

3 Ways to Encourage Kids to Exercise


According to some startling statistics from GetKidsinAction.org, kids ages 2 to 19 are hardly getting enough exercise to support a healthy lifestyle.

As of 2006, less than 33% of 15-year-olds met the minimum requirement for physical activity during the weekdays. On the weekends, this number dropped to a shockingly low 17%. When you consider the fact that the average kid spends 5 ½ hours a day plugged into media, it's no wonder that kids have become accustomed to a sedentary lifestyle.

If you want to take a stand as a parent, here are three helpful tips that you can use to raise children who have a natural love for physical activity:

1.    Lead by example. You're only going to breed resentment if you command your kids to go outside and play while you spend the day holed up inside watching TV. Instead, take time after dinner to go on a walk as a family or to play in the backyard with your pets.

Spending more time outdoors with your kids whenever possible will naturally instill in them how fun it is to stay active and how good they feel each time they exercise.

2.    Stay positive. As a parent, it's more important than ever to watch the words that come out of your mouth. If you find yourself constantly criticizing your kids about their appearance or complaining about your diet, your kids will soon begin to pick up on the fact that staying healthy isn't fun at all.

Make it a point to speak positively about eating healthy foods instead of junk food, reinforcing to your kids how good it feels to eat fresh, whole foods instead of packaged snacks. And when your kids hear that you can't wait to get to the gym to workout, they'll be asking to tag along soon enough!

3.    Teach your kids to play instead of exercise. When you tell your kids that they have to log 30 minutes a day of exercise, it will soon turn into a chore. Even adults dread going to the gym to jump on a treadmill for a half-hour three times a week. Turn the tables by making exercise fun again! Encourage your kids to run outside while they fly kites or have a contest to see who can run the fastest across the yard.

When you include games in regular physical activity, your kids will break a sweat and burn calories without even realizing it. After a fun day of playing outside, don't forget to fuel your kids with healthy snacks like fresh fruit, veggies, whole grains, and lean protein to seal the deal.


Bethany Ramos is a full-time freelance writer that co-owns her own e-commerce website, The Coffee Bump. The Coffee Bump specializes in a wide variety of coffeemakers Bunn and assorted coffee and espresso products.


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Soccer Workout: Prepare to Succeed


Whether your children play soccer on a school team or as a hobby, using soccer workouts specifically designed for the sport will help them improve stamina, conditioning, and skill to accelerate their game as they play.

If your kids  play soccer competitively, these workouts are even more important to help them train efficiently to boost performance the next time they hit the pitch. Although soccer primarily uses the lower body, it pays to condition with a full body workout routine to provide balance and get even more powerful results:
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            Warm-up the right way. The basic foundation of an effective soccer workout is your warm-up. This warm-up is best performed with a partner: begin by kicking the ball on the inside of both feet back and forth with a partner to loosen and warm up legs. They can also perform slow drives with a ball down the field to pass while jogging to warm-up legs even further.

Finally, stretch it out before they begin to train for the workout. Hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds without bouncing. For the best results, stretch lower body with leg swings, knee to the chest stretches, and deep stretches of quads and hamstrings.

·         Improve balance. Before they start running on the field to improve stamina, kids need to make sure that your balance is up to par. Have them continue to work with a partner by balancing on one foot and tossing a medicine ball back and forth from hand to hand.

This will help to strengthen their core, which is vital to support on the field as they run and stop on a dime to change positions.

·         Boost agility. A basic recipe for success for any soccer player is to improve agility and increase speed through regular interval training. Before soccer practice begins, have them take at least 10 minutes to sprint in 30 meter intervals back and forth across the soccer field.

It's best to continue to work with a partner so that they can time their sprints and provide them with feedback and motivation to increase speed. To improve agility with each sprint, stop and turn quickly before continuing instead of coming to a full stop at the end of each exercise.

·         Increase stamina. During a soccer game, they will need to be on the field for long stretches at a time, constantly moving to follow the ball. Make sure that stamina is on track by running/jogging/walking at least 3 miles five times a week.

To avoid hitting a plateau, continue to increase mileage accordingly, up to one extra mile every two weeks.

Bethany Ramos is a full-time freelance writer that co-owns her own e-commerce website, The Coffee Bump. The Coffee Bump specializes in a wide variety of Bunn coffee makers and assorted coffee and espresso products.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Sensory Processing Disorder - Part 2

We all have sensory qualities that make us who we are. However, when these neurological qualities interrupt our participation in life in a negative way, it should be recognized and accommodated. There are many children with an array of diagnoses that are subject to sensory hyper - or hypo-sensitivities, motor difficulties, and social differences including Autism and Aspergers, ADHD, Sensory Processing Disabilities, Anxiety, and many other Developmental Disabilities.
Why not make their clothing possess some of the very neuroscience qualities that could help enhance their social and emotional well being? As a mother of a child who suffered from sensory processing disorder and as a long time Sensory Pediatric Occupational Therapist and advocate, I know firsthand it is not easy for our children. Parents, therapists, and educators often express to me the benefits of weighed garments, chew objects, compression garments, and a child’s desire for soft materials. However, they frequently state that what is offered to them is too “therapeutic looking” and therefore stigmatizing. It’s hard to use many of these garments throughout “normal” life.
When a garment is being constructed to address children who suffer sensory processing difficulties, specific consideration should be made to address ease of function, tactile sensitivity, relevant design, safety, consistency in design for spatial orientation, and proprioceptive input (the unconscious awareness of sensations coming from receptor’s in one’s joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments). This helps promote independence as well as organization, alertness, and simplicity where quickness of dressing is often expected throughout the child’s day. When choosing a weighted vest or blanket for instance, it is significant to hear the child ask specifically for the “soft one,” the “cool one,” or the “nice one.” It is as significant to give their parents beautiful, easy to use, and superior fabrics that are relevant and stylish. It is the right of the child and their parents to have non-stigmatizing products.
Just as important is the idea of play, and accommodating products should express the darling nature and playfulness inherent in children. Respect, pleasure, playfulness, comfort, and a feeling of security are aspects that can be inherent in children’s clothing. As the design of the child’s apparel and play products are considered, it is important that as many of their personal characteristics are taken into consideration, in addition to the ability for children to take some therapeutic qualities along with them anywhere all day long. There are so many strategies that help a child with Sensory Processing Difficulties. Considering the aspects in their clothing is just another way a parent can simply use a non-invasive strategy aimed at helping their child and letting the child know that you understand and accept what they are feeling!
Susan Donohoe, OTR/L is a Pediatric Occupational Therapist with certification in Sensory Integration and an advocate for children with special needs. Susan graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and has been practicing O.T. for 30 years. Through many years of active practice and working closely with educators, therapists, manufacturers, and experts in Design founded Kozie Clothes as a way to incorporate Neuroscience Principles into relevant designed apparel for children with special needs. With her passion and commitment, she developed the concept for a line of adorable coordinated sportswear and products that offer therapeutic value which are non-stigmatizing.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Sensory Processing Disorder - Part 1

The following article is a reprint written by Susan Donohoe. She's the owner of Kozie Clothing, the newest line of compression and weighted clothing that can be found at SensoryEdge
Many Children with Aspergers experience sensory processing difficulties or sensory processing disorder (SPD). Sensory Processing is the neurological processing and interpretation of sensation within one’s own body and from the environment. In short, it is the brain’s organization and interpretation of the sensory input from everyday use. This is a complex interrelationship of processes, hence the term sensory integration.
Modulation is a term you may hear describing the neurological process which the child’s central nervous system appropriately regulates (continually adjusts) behavior responses to continually changing external and internal sensory stimuli. If this modulation is not working well the child may seem under responsive, over responsive (seeking stimuli), or both, or may be overwhelmed to sensory stimuli. When this behavior interferes with a child’s “occupation” in life (social, emotional, play, school, attention, body mechanics, self-care, etc.), then it is termed a disorder, hence sensory processing/ integration disorder. It is important to note that anyone and everyone has some sensory processing or integration problems from time to time because any kind of sensory stimuli can temporarily disrupt ones normal functioning.
The three main sensory systems we are referring to are tactile/ touch (influencing motor control and emotional development), proprioception (sense obtain through one’s own muscles, ligaments, deep pressure to the skin - therefore giving a sense of body position, organization, and calibration of movement), and Vestibular (sense of movement and gravity specifically postural control, muscle tone, coordinated use of both sides of the body, coordinating eye movements, etc.). Other sensory systems include olfactory (smell), auditory, visual, and gustatory (taste). Sensory processing disorder and sensory processing difficulties are individual to each child. Some may be mildly affected while others have greater difficulty functioning in life. It is important to note that symptoms vary and not all are present. Also it is a marker of neurological dysfunction that a child may show symptoms one day or with one activity and not the next.
The main type of therapy for SPD, with a trained Sensory Certified Occupational Therapist, includes a safe and challenging level of sensory stimulation encouraging movement to focus the child on tolerating and integrating sensory input, which is driven by the child’s interests and the “occupation” of play. Other therapy focuses on making environmental adaptations (such as in the home and school).
Common symptoms of SPD include: clumsiness (tripping, bumping, falling); poor fine motor skills; delayed self-care skills; poor muscle tone; difficulty initiating tasks; poor timing; poor posture; poor hand-eye coordination; learning disabilities; poor handwriting; poor organization skills; becomes easily frustrated; difficulty with social relations; constantly touching objects; doesn’t like to be groomed (hair, teeth, etc.); difficulty with clothing seams, socks, waistbands; seeks only soft clothes; likes tight clothing, small spaces, weight of blankets; opposed to being touched, would rather be the one to touch; hates being tickled or cuddled; often touches people or objects too hard; difficulty with eye contact; often smells objects; poor attention skills; picky eater; stuffing food or objects into mouth; difficulty with transitioning; hypersensitive to noise (things are too loud); hyposensitive to noise (doesn’t seem to notice); Hypersensitive to touch (certain fabrics, surfaces, etc.); little awareness to pain and temperature; hyposensitive to touch (may not notice when clothes are twisted or on improperly); hypersensitive to light; movement produces an anxious reaction (swinging, roller coasters, bike riding, spinning, rolling); over-seeks movement (swinging, spinning, rolling); takes excessive risks in movement, extreme activity levels; walking on tiptoes.
Dressing for Success! As mentioned above, making adaptations within the child’s everyday life is also a part of understanding the child. Every child deserves to feel comfortable and adorable in their clothing. What if that same clothing could offer qualities that address sensory discomfort and therapeutic input? The child’s image of themselves and how they feel in their environment can enhance the social and emotional quality of life when that child feels organized and calm.
Susan Donohoe, OTR/L is a Pediatric Occupational Therapist with certification in Sensory Integration and an advocate for children with special needs. Susan graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and has been practicing O.T. for 30 years. Through many years of active practice and working closely with educators, therapists, manufacturers, and experts in Design founded Kozie Clothes as a way to incorporate Neuroscience Principles into relevant designed apparel for children with special needs. With her passion and commitment, she developed the concept for a line of adorable coordinated sportswear and products that offer therapeutic value which are non-stigmatizing.