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Category: Health

Top 5 Health Tips To Promote Family Fitness

Family fitness is an important life priority and a healthy goal for everyone in the family. Engaging in family fitness activities such as physical exercises provides us with an opportunity to spend time together as it also acts as an excellent model for young children. Thus, being physically active and focusing on fitness is important and should begin at childhood to build healthy habits.

There are a couple of health benefits associated with exercising together as a family. Exercising aids in building self-confidence, reducing anxiety, improving sleep, reducing stress, and increasing physical and cardiovascular health.  Therefore, helping your kids to build healthy future habits is possible when you become physically active together.

The following are a few health tips to promote family fitness.

1. Build Healthy Habits & Hobbies

In a family setup, coming up with an endless list of healthy habits and hobbies is one of the best ways to inspire family fitness.  Hobbies may include things like cycling, swimming, dancing and hitting the gym. In order to ensure that, your list is exhausted and the entire family benefits from those physical activities, fixing one event at a time into your schedule on a daily basis is the best way to go.

Hitting the gym, offers great deals for a family membership, thus motivating you and your entire family to get active. Or if you love salsa dancing, teach your kids a few moves and make it a family activity.

2. Try Family Challenges & Contests

Occasionally, a little family contest can be motiving. Hence, taking part in family challenges and competitions are all you need for a healthy family life. Bike riding is full of fun for all ages; everyone can take part in it. Most importantly also is the fact that you can turn this activity into a family competition. 

Taking a family bike ride gets your whole family moving, i.e., enduring rides through the woods or back roads for enhanced physical activity and unifying adrenaline rush.

3. Engage More In Outdoor Activities

There are countless ways you can be active outdoors with your family. However, most of these outdoor activities depend on seasons.  Nevertheless, there are lots of fun outdoor family activities to take part in together. Engaging in such physical activities is not only good for your family’s health but can also be revitalizing for all no matter the age.  Family outdoor activities are fit for children, parents, and grandparents all together.

Swimming, for example, is one of the popular summer season activities full of fun and experiences for you and your kids. Apart from serving as a physical activity for family health and fitness, swimming can also be done competitively or recreationally.

 4. Taking An Evening Walk

Taking an evening walk as a family, while everybody talks about their day is yet another important way of strengthening family bonds as well as a natural way of exercising. We all have tight work schedules during the day, and if we don’t check on collective activities to bring our family members together after a busy day, we are going to lose it as parents or guardians. 

Family walks may be scheduled either daily or a few days in a week to help you and your family members pick yourselves up away from the workplace stress or school work for children. In most cases, an evening walk can either be before dinner or after dinner as agreed by the family. However, a walk after dinner works best because it will help improve digestion.

5. Keep Track Of Your Family Goals

Every family has a unique set of targets and goals as far as family fitness and health is concern. The difference is on the family composition whereby some families have people engaging in certain physical activities while others don’t due to health-related complications. But keeping track of your entire family goals helps everyone to maintain relevant workouts or diet routine that suit every family member.

Not everyone in your family will be on the same page, but trying to strike a balance and letting everyone set their own goals is the best thing you can do. Then later harmonizing on the way forward to ensure that the family still gets active and fit.

Therefore, it is only through continuous family fitness sessions, that you will build a permanent family connection that will last for ages as you also learn to adapt to this healthy lifestyle.

Health Care by Participation

No matter where babies are placed as they are born, there is little question that U.S. obstetricians and midwives will change current practices from immediate cord clamping to optimal cord clamping; it is just a question of when. I fully anticipate that within a decade, immediate cord clamping will no longer be a routine of third stage labor regardless of whether the baby is premature, full term, born vaginally or by cesarean. The evidence against this practice is too strong.  Dr. Alan Greene is more optimistic and is calling for an end to immediate cord clamping, like, today!  He says we can accomplish this with public health by participation. Please participate by asking your midwife or doctor to practice optimal cord clamping for your child and by sharing this information with your healthcare provider and your social network.

Editorial: Time to Implement Delayed Cord Clamping

In a strongly worded editorial published in Obstetrics and Gynecology, the journal of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), Dr. Ryan McAdams recommends that babies should be held at the level of the introitus for vaginal births and on the mother’s thighs above the level of the uterus during cesarean births while waiting two to three minutes to clamp the umbilical cord. Dr. McAdams writes, “In term neonates, delayed cord clamping has been associated with decreased iron-deficient anemia and increased iron stores with potential valuable effects that extend beyond the newborn period, including improvements in long-term neurodevelopment.” He cautions that, “Failure to adopt beneficial practices, especially evidence-based ones, may constitute unnecessary harm. Reluctance to implement delayed card clamping nationally may place thousands of children born this year at unnecessary risk for neurodevelopment delays, cerebral palsy, and behavior problems.”He concludes, “For those privileged enough to participate in the birth of neonates, there is a need for increased appreciation and awareness of which precious minutes may count most.”

Why does it matter when we cut the cord?

Oxygen

Allowing the placental transfusion has immediate, as well as longer term, benefits for your child. One of the most time-sensitive and critical jobs a newborn must accomplish is to make the switch from gas/cord oxygenation to lung breathing. An understanding of newborn transitional physiology is emerging that stresses the importance of the blood volume and increased red cell supply provided by the placental transfusion to the start of lung breathing (Mercer, 2002; see also Goer and Romano, 2012, page 403). Furthermore, while this transition to lung breathing is underway, the oxygen-rich blood flowing to the baby provides a potentially helpful secondary source of oxygen for the baby during the delicate process of switchover (van Rheenen, 2011).

Iron

“Anaemia is now a recognized complication of early cord clamping”
—(Downey and Blewly 2012).

Researchers are now connecting the dots between the global public health problem of anemia in young children worldwide and the practice of early cord clamping.  The authors of a recent, well-designed study found that delayed cord clamping significantly improves iron status and reduces anemia and iron deficiency to 4 months of age (Andersson, et al, 2011).  Others have followed the benefits of improved iron stores to 6 and 7 months (Chapparro, 2006; Mercer, 2010).

Interestingly, this time frame tracks with the general period recommended for exclusive breastfeeding. And, curiously, as perfect a food as breast milk is, it does not supply iron to our babies. Could it be that nature has designed it such that a few minutes of blood transfusing at the time of birth ensures the necessary iron for the baby’s development for the first half-year? It would appear so. Unfortunately, this means that if cords are clamped according to current practices, our breastfed babies are at the highest risk for iron deficiency.

Iron deficiency, the primary cause of anemia, is of concern because it can negatively impact a child’s cognitive and motor development (Andersson, 2011).  With a quarter of the world’s population experiencing anemia, a simple shift in practices at the time of birth may potentially help our next generation, especially those who are exclusively breasted for their first months, to start life on the outside with iron levels that support optimal brain development.

Stem cells

This is no ordinary blood we are discussing. It is chock full of stem cells, those immature, self-renewing cells that can turn into a variety of tissues. The authors of a recent study published in the Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine suggest delaying cord clamping in order to realize “mankind’s first stem cell transfer”:

“Nature’s first stem cell transplant occurs at birth when the placenta and umbilical cord start contracting and pumping blood toward the newborn… This phenomenon occurs in most placental mammals and this transfusion of blood is allowed to end physiologically in most species except in human beings. Human beings manipulate the transition from foetal to neonatal life by early clamping of the umbilical cord, meaning that nature’s first stem cell transplant is curtailed, thus depriving infants of additional stem cells” (Tolosa et al., 2010).

They describe the essential role stem cells play in the development and maturity of many organ systems including the central nervous, respiratory, cardiovascular, haematologic, immunologic and endocrine systems. They write:

“…the artificial loss of stem cells at birth could potentially impact later development and predispose infants to diseases such as chronic lung disease, asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s disease, infection and neoplasm” (Tolosa et al., 2010).

Thus, a simple delay in cord clamping may permit an inborn stem cell therapy that can “promote acute benefits in the case of neonatal disease, as well as long-term benefits against age-related diseases” (Tolosa et al., 2010). It is possible that the greatest health benefit to a newborn when we delay clamping the cord may come from the increased volume of stem cells whose value we are only starting to understand.

Aside from a healthier baby, there are benefits for the mother as well. Allowing the placental blood to drain has been shown to help the placenta detach in a timely and uncomplicated manner (Soltani et al., 2005; Jongkolsiri & Manotaya, 2009).

It makes no sense that this valuable secondary source of oxygen for your baby’s first minutes, important iron for your child’s first months and miraculous stem cells whose impact may last a lifetime, end up in the medical waste bin. This good blood belongs to your baby.  Make sure your child receives it.

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