For people who are regularly active, watching one’s weight isn’t as important as being aware of body composition. Heart disease and diabetes are still common issues in active people when they are retaining too much body fat. This isn’t meant to suggest that a certain body type is better than another, or that the goal is to become muscle-bound, buff, or “swole” as the kids are calling it these days.
The era of virtual reality is upon us! Soon we will all be wearing those wrap-around goggles, completely absorbed in a realer-than-real scenario of our choosing. A brave new world indeed, and maybe a little scary ... or exciting, depending on your point of view.
Here’s a typical scenario I see a lot as a therapist: a young Orthodox couple has been married a year, and unfortunately they have not been successful with adjusting to intimacy. The problem could be with an unconsummated marriage, pelvic pain, or libido concerns. As a parent, what makes this story even more heartbreaking to me is that their parents have no idea that this is happening and that their children are really suffering. Furthermore, the situation the couple has been struggling with was potentially a preventable one.
Many parents ask me what book I’d recommend for teaching girls about their developing bodies. I often respond that American Girl has several books that are geared toward providing girls with information and ideas related to the areas of physical and emotional development. One of my favorite books from American Girl is “The Care & Keeping of You: The Body Book for Girls” by Valerie Schaefer.
Just the other day, my mother sent me an advertorial, written by a naturopath, extolling the virtues of a special herb found in the Chinese medical pharmacopeia. This herb was so effective at treating a certain condition, he wrote, that he was “surprised” that Chinese medicine wasn’t already using it for the condition he had identified.
Obesity is currently the most common pediatric chronic illness in developed countries. In a 2016 study published in JAMA, authors reported that one out of three children in the United States are overweight and nearly one out of five classify as obese based on body mass index percentiles. Obesity is associated with many other cardiac risk factors for early heart disease, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, or pre-diabetes. Additionally, obese individuals can develop joint problems, sleep apnea, and social/psychological problems. Poor diet including high glycemic foods, specifically high fructose drinks, larger portion sizes, fast food, less structured play with less exercise, and increasing screen time are likely contributing to this epidemic. A 2016 New England Journal of Medicine study linked early cardiac death with childhood/adolescent obesity. As a pediatric cardiologist, I see many patients with these problems, and strive to help them take the necessary steps to prevent later-onset heart problems. Intervention is necessary, as the current generation of children is on track to have a lower life expectancy than their parents.
Men and women alike exercise to get stronger, faster, thinner, more muscular, and healthy overall. All of these are physical results, but the benefits of exercise can be mental, too. As a therapist, I use weight training as a tool for recovery from bullying. The act of lifting weights alone is an empowering experience. Exercise is also an effective way of reducing stress. Mental health professionals will often suggest engaging in physical activity as part of their clients’ regimens.
In a recent interview, Richard Louv, co-founder of the Children and Nature Network, was asked about his description of children as having “nature-deficit disorder.” Louv described how recent research is beginning to indicate that several physical and psychological challenges, including attentional difficulty, emotional illness, and obesity, are significantly reduced through the simple act of children experiencing nature personally. Louv pointed out that humans have functioned for the vast majority of history through honing all of their senses, working physically within natural environments, and taking calculated risks to their physical well-being. Abandoning this heritage to a technology-rich world leaves children restless and underdeveloped when faced with adversity later in life.
For some people, it can be easy to find the right balance in their lives to get in enough activity and good food to keep them feeling active and healthy. For others, finding the right balance can be challenging. I’ve found that keeping an account of your workouts and meals each day gives you the clarity to see how well you have been keeping to your activity and meal commitments.
Allergy symptoms can lead to a major disruption in quality of life. And unfortunately, they affect a lot of people. Nearly 60 million Americans suffer from allergic rhinitis (also commonly known as hay fever), according to the American College of Allergy Asthma and Immunology.
Now that the weather has warmed up, it’s a great time to start taking advantage of the amazing trails and parks available in the Greater Washington area. This would also be a good time to work on either a steady walking or running program. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) guidelines suggest either 30-60 minutes of moderate-intensity activity five times per week, or 20-50 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity three times per week. Walking would be considered moderate intensity, and running would be considered vigorous. In order to properly build a program, you would need to find out the heart rate goals for the individual client in order to assess if the intensity is appropriate. You may want a fitness professional to help walk you through (no pun intended) any of the many questions you may have during your program-building process.
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