September is Self-Improvement Month

By DeDe Hausmann

September has been declared Self-Improvement Month and that can mean many things.  To me, that means Let’s Get Healthy and maybe we need a month to really look  at ourselves and ask, “Am I as healthy as I could be”?

Being healthy brings two lifestyle areas to mind, physical and mental health.  If you don’t feel good about yourself in these areas, you might need to make some changes.

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ROC UR Body Family Fun Fest 2012 at Howard Park

By DeDe Hausmann

Mark Friday evening, September 14th, on your calendars for the 2nd ROC UR BODY FAMILY FUN FEST.  It’s from 5:30-7:30pm at Howard Park in downtown South Bend and it’s FREE!!!

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Annual National Exercise With Your Child Week

By Diane Ruyack

Children need to be active to be healthy!  August 5 – 11, 2012 marks the 2nd Annual National Exercise With Your Child Week™. This week encourages parents and guardians to exercise with their children as part of a healthier lifestyle.  Coming to the Indiana State Fair is a great way to help children learn about nutrition and activity.  In the Riley Fun Park, the Fuel Up to Play 60 tent will allow children to run through an agility ladder, build muscles, jog and find out what fuels their body the best!  Engaging in physical activity as a family can be a fun way to get everyone moving. Studies show that kids who believe they are competent and have the skills to be physically active are more likely to be active.   And those who feel supported by friends and families to become active, or surrounded by others interested in physical activity, are more likely to participate.  Children need 60 minutes of play with moderate to vigorous activity every day.  It doesn’t have to occur at once because it all adds up!  Here are a few activities and steps that you and your family can consider to get started on a path to a healthier lifestyle: Continue reading

Spring Is Here! Time to Garden!

By Diane Ruyack

Spring is here and the last frost date is around the corner. Lose that winter weight and get gardening! You may not be aware of how beneficial gardening is for your health. You’re actually doing a decent amount of exercise while you’re preparing a garden or while you’re  turning a compost pile. Continue reading

Food & Nutrition for Athletes

Food has to be one of life’s great pleasures. For an athlete, it becomes vital to consume healthy foods for optimal performance. Here are some ‘food’ tips for athletes:

Eat breakfast.
Of all the nutritional mistakes you could make, skipping breakfast is the biggest.  Muscle glycogen (main way the body stores glucose for later use) levels are typically lower when you wake up in the morning, so you need to replenish by consuming food. Any breakfast is better than no breakfast and a nutritious, high-carb breakfast is best for athletes.

Simple carbohydrates before, during, and after exercise.
Complex carbohydrates (breads, pastas, starches) are great, but don’t forget that value of consuming simple carbohydrates during exercise or competition.

Simple Carbohydrates: found in fruit (bananas, grapes, watermelon, cantaloupe), beverages (sports drinks like Gatorade), or snacks (granola bars) can give you energy quickly because they are more readily available to be absorbed by the body. Since these carbohydrates are to be used for energy right away, it’s best to consume them before, during, or immediately after you exercise. 

Eat every two to three hours throughout the day.
It’s a good idea to eat a combination of simple and complex carbohydrates throughout the day. Even if just small snacks, eating and drinking throughout the day can help prevent your performance from suffering due to dehydration, severe electrolyte losses, and loss of energy do to muscle glycogen (storage of glucose for later use) depletion. Combine your carbohydrate with protein. For example cheese and crackers or apple and peanut butter.

Drink plenty of water.
Water can definitely be the most important factor effecting sports performance. Not only is it a good idea to drink throughout the day, but also drink a few days or throughout the week before a race or big competition to acclimate your body. On the flip side, make sure you are also consuming nutrient rich foods that are packed with vitamins and minerals, like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and low fat dairy (milk, cheese and yogurt). You might be surprised to know your fluid (water) needs. Take you weight (in pounds) and divide by two and that is about how many ounces of fluid you need. If you are getting strenuous exercise, you will need even more!

Post exercise nutrition drink, snack, or meal.
After intense exercise it is important to eat to help your body recover for your next workout. It’s a good time to consume carbohydrates and protein within at least 30 minutes post exercise. One of my favorite recovery foods is low fat chocolate milk. Low-fat chocolate milk naturally has many of the nutrients most commercial recovery drinks have to add in the lab – including high-quality protein and key electrolytes like calcium, potassium, sodium and magnesium.

Healthy Weight Week

This morning I was listening to the radio and heard an alarming statistic: Millions of Americans make a New Year resolution to lose weight, and by the second week of January, 92% of people have already ‘fallen off the wagon.’  They have blown their diet and are back to square one. I dedicate Healthy Weight Week to those 92%. Healthy Weight Week is January 15 – 21.

 According to their website, Healthy Weight Week “is a time to celebrate healthy living habits that last a lifetime and prevent eating and weight problems, rather than intensifying them, as diets do. Healthy Weight Week promotes healthy non-diet lifestyles for children and adults of every size. It helps them move ahead to healthy habits they can live with long term – sound, reasonable habits that allow them to live well and get on with their lives. Eat well, live actively, and feel good about yourself and others.”

I know a lot of people want that quick fix but that simply won’t last. It really does take a lifestyle change. Many people reading this are rolling their eyes right about now. But honestly, it does take small gradual changes. You have heard it before – physical activity, smaller portions, eat from all the foods groups, lots of water and the list goes on.  So I will give you another tip that you can add to your list.

Try adding a little protein to each meal.  Infusing your diet with foods and beverages made with high-quality protein can help space protein intake throughout the day and help curb hunger. Protein takes longer to digest and helps stabilize your blood glucose levels. That means your stomach feels fuller for longer periods of time. When that happens, you may look at food that you would normally be craving only to decide you simply are not hungry. When your glucose (aka blood sugar) levels are low, you feel hungry. If you start out the day with a good source of protein and/or fiber, you may be well-nourished until lunch, which will help you avoid overeating or overindulging while waiting for noon to arrive.

Your body uses protein all day long. Try protein-rich yogurt, milk or cheese to help get your protein. Experts suggest spreading protein intake throughout the day may be more beneficial compared to consuming one high protein meal.


Ways to Stay Active this Winter

By Kimmi Devaney

In my family, the holidays are a crazy busy time of year. Between trying to see everyone, coordinate travel schedules and shop for gifts, healthy eating and exercise can easily be pushed aside. The good news is that with so many healthy recipes, eating healthy doesn’t have to be a chore. More good news: exercise doesn’t have to either! It just comes down to setting aside time for it. Think of it as ‘me time’ or time to relax.

There is no one-size-fits-all plan for exercise. Luckily, there are so many varieties that you won’t get bored! Let’s start at the gym…

  • Most gyms have treadmills, elliptical machines, bikes and more. Getting your cardio in no longer has to be a bore. Don’t forget your music!
  • Want to add some muscle and tone up? Don’t wait until January 1st to start those New Year’s resolutions. Many gyms also have personal trainers on hand to show you how to use a machine, or you can purchase some personal training sessions if you are looking for some more guidance in the weight room.
  • Classes galore! Whether you want to meditate, dance or workout boot-camp style, you are sure to find a class to fit your mood. Remember, it’s supposed to be fun! Who cares if you are new and don’t know all the moves yet, chances are a lot of other people don’t either. Continue reading