Attend a free information session about the Center for Wellness and Prevention's fitness center and classes every Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. at the Martha Morehouse Medical Plaza, 2050 Kenny Road, Suite 1010. No registration is required.
Alex and Lisa Wong make time for physical activities with their children, Kalan and Kaia. When the weather permits, they head outside for playtime.
Exercise is a family affair in the Wong household. Nearly every night after dinner, the troupe — dad, Alex; wife, Lisa; son, Kalan, 6; daughter, Kaia, 2; and dog, Sadie — heads outside for a walk or bike ride.
"For us, it's nice that our kids enjoy being outside and active and don't feel it's so much a chore," says Alex, an athletic trainer with Ohio State Athletics.
Besides the nightly walk, the family takes hikes in Hocking Hills and, in the summer, runs around with water balloons. "We try to be outside as much as possible," he notes.
The Wongs have the right idea. Instilling good exercise habits in children sets them up for success in all areas of their life, according to Kelsey Logan, MD, FAAP, assistant professor of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics at The Ohio State University.
"It's for good health — physically, mentally and emotionally," she offers. "It helps them be more physically active and outgoing and feel better about themselves."
Ever wonder about the nutritional value of sports drinks? Here's some good news: They are a great way to hydrate athletes and people who exercise for extended periods of time.
"While water remains the best source for fluid replacement, there are certain advantages of some sports drinks," says Michael Jonesco, DO, a sports medicine physician. "Most sports drinks are designed to replace water, electrolytes and energy that athletes lose through activity."
He recommends drinking water for activities that last less than an hour. But after an hour of fitness, when the body's energy metabolism changes, a sports drink is a good alternative. Because it has carbohydrates, it can provide needed energy.
Still, not all sports drinks are created equal, he says. Stay away from those that have carbonation or are made of fruit juices, which can bother your stomach. Also avoid drinks with caffeine.
Unfortunately, many children are not physically active. Approximately one in three children are either overweight or obese in the United States, Dr. Logan states.
"Parents have lots of challenges when trying to get their kids moving and doing things as a family," she says.
Besides the usual suspects — the proliferation of video games and junk food — another culprit of this epidemic is lost playtime, according to Dr. Logan. Children just don't go out and play "kick the can" or "hide and go seek" like they used to. That has been replaced by organized activities, which include sports. As beneficial as organized sports are, they are not and should not necessarily be the only ways children get physical activity, she says.
"It's simple enough to go the park and play together or go and play tag in the front yard," she explains, noting that children may not be expending as much energy as parents may think at baseball or basketball practice. Letting kids be kids and not overprogramming them is a great way to bring physical activity into their lives, she adds. Also, parents can participate because they are not shuttling their children to and from soccer practice.
"One of the things I stress with families is it's OK to take a season off from organized activities and do things as a family," Dr. Logan says. "Keep kids physically active — take them bowling, go on bike rides. Develop a love of physical activity early on."
And there's nothing wrong with indoor activity at home. Parents can clear an area for tumbling or for resistance training.
"It's OK to be indoors as long as you're moving," she says. "We need to take away every possible barrier to movement."
One of the best ways to increase physical activity in your kids is to be a role model and exercise, Dr. Logan says.
"Children are much more likely to see that it's important that way," she says. "Also, it really helps you to get to know your children if you participate with them in a play environment. You're able to talk. You're able to learn things about them rather than driving them in a car somewhere."
Alex and Lisa, who are physically active themselves, agree. "It's hard to send your kids outside if they know mom and dad will be sitting inside," Alex says. "It's nice if you find an activity you can all do."
Keep Your Head
Concussions are serious business. If they are not treated appropriately, risks include prolonged or permanent symptoms, recurrent injury or even catastrophic brain injury or death.
"Cognitive function can be permanently impaired, creating difficulty in both academic performance and daily activity in extreme cases," says Paul Gubanich, MD, a sports medicine doctor at Ohio State.
To prevent concussions, athletes need to wear proper-fitting equipment, adhere to the rules of the sports (e.g., no leading with headshots) and avoid returning to activity too soon after sustaining a concussion, he says.
Symptoms of concussions range from headache to ringing in the ears to sleep disturbance. Treating a concussion includes physical rest, cognitive rest, abstaining from alcohol and driving and a medical evaluation.
Ask Your Advocate
Q. What does BMI measure and how is it determined?
A. BMI is one way in which we estimate body fat. It is calculated as weight (in kilograms) divided by height (in meters) squared. It is a good gauge of your risk for diseases that occur at higher levels of body fat. The higher your BMI, the higher your risk for certain diseases such as heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, gallstones and sleep apnea. In adults, a BMI of greater than 30 is considered obese. In children, a BMI of greater than the 95th percentile for age is considered obese. Visit your primary care doctor regularly to have this calculated and to discuss the health implications of your/your child's BMI.
Find a Physician
For more information about scheduling an appointment with CarePoint Lewis Center or with Dr. Taj-Schaal, call 800-293-5123.