This year’s National Family Health & Fitness Day falls on September 29th, and as every year, on the last Saturday in September. Events are scheduled in local communities throughout the United States, to promote family involvement in physical activity. There are many ways, and just as many reasons to participate.
Lifestyles have changed through this country’s evolution to its present state, and so has the level of physical activity in its families. This is commonly evidenced by the overall American state of health. The American Health Foundation says that health improvement in the U.S. has declined more than 69 percent over the last decade, as compared to the 1990s.
Various issues are often purported to be the root of this decline, yet, regardless of cause, the evidence is still the same. American families need more physical activity.
Physical activity is beneficial to the health of both mind and body. This applies to anyone, at any age. Parents who set an example for their children, in scheduling regular physical activities for the family, are setting them up with healthy habits that could last for a lifetime.
These activities may not need to take much extra time, if any at all. You might easily integrate some into regular daily activities, such as walking to work or school. Still, if you are uncertain as to how much physical activity is necessary to maintain a healthy body, there are some suggested guidelines to work with.
Adults require two types of physical activity, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These include moderate-intensity aerobic activity for 2 ½ hours weekly; accompanied by two or more days of muscle-strengthening activities, that work all the major muscle groups.
For younger family members, The National Institutes of Health states that most children need at least an hour of physical activity each day. A few of the benefits that this one hour can yield are stress relief, a healthy weight, and raised self-esteem.
On the other end of the spectrum, a lack of physical activity may yield the opposite effect. According to the Mayo Clinic, physical activity helps to prevent, and even to heal the effects of such inactivity. These include high blood pressure, obesity, and depression, to name a few. These types of issues often come together, making it easier to prevent them than to overcome them.
Alarmingly, these issues are no longer exclusive to adults, as many had once considered them to be. Obesity itself is now considered at epidemic levels, and affecting any age.
Aside from unwanted physical and emotional health issues, obesity has unexpected financial costs, and thus creates expense that anyone can afford to lose. An infographic from Forbes offers some surprising insights into this aspect.
It offers straightforward facts such as, in America alone, in the year 2010, medical costs related to obesity were at $160 billion. Gas consumption, due to increased passenger weight in earthbound vehicles, went up an extra 938 million gallons for that same year. Airline fuel consumption soared, as well. Yet, these are just a part of the unnecessary expenses associated with obesity.
This epidemic must be faced.
Hence, family health and fitness is one venue to empower each family member individually, as well as the family as a whole.
Empowerment could mean that you or your child may never need to take on the challenges and associated health risks of an obesity issue; or it could mean that a family member who already has can experience the thrill of victory, with overcoming these same things.
Physical activity puts your family more firmly in control of its own physical health, and hence, of its own financial health.
National Family Health & Fitness Day can be that first step in a healthier direction, or it can be another step on the road to family fitness. It matters not what level of fitness your family is at, it is a day to re-empower your whole life, and the life of your whole family.
The National Family Health & Fitness Day website offers suggestions on where you may find these events held in your local community. These can include your local YMCA, schools, health clubs, and various other community locations. Your local newspaper may have events in your area listed in its community events section.
If you happen to live in an area without an event held nearby, you can still participate in the day. Invite your family for some physical activity, and enjoy the benefits in more ways than one.
Suggestions for the day might include:
* A walk
* A bike ride
* A game of Frisbee golf
* Line dancing
* Rollerblading, roller skating, skate boarding
* Any sport the whole family enjoys participating in
Whatever you do, be creative, have fun, and be actively involved in your family’s health and fitness.
Saturday, September 29 2012 is an important day for America. It’s not an anniversary of a battle, although it could be seen as a day to engage in battle against the so-called Obesity Epidemic that is sweeping America and the developed world. Family Health and Fitness Day USA aims to promote health and fitness across America by keeping it in the family.
According to the US Surgeon General’s report on physical activity and health, more than 60 per cent of American adults and almost half of the nation’s children do not engage in enough physical activity to maintain health. Family Health and Fitness Day USA aims to encourage parents and children to enjoy activities together and learn how to live a more healthy lifestyle.
Organized by the Health Information Resource Centre (HIRC), 2012’s event is the sixteenth of its kind. It’s a national and local initiative, with organizations such as schools, hospitals, parks, malls, health clubs and Christian groups such as the YMCA and YWCA hosting non-competitive health and fitness functions for all the family to enjoy.
Family Health and Fitness Day USA is a national wake-up call, aimed at getting families together to learn about nutrition, health and fitness and participate in fun events across the country. It’s a day for families to focus on fitness and make a dent in the frightening statistics relating to obesity and poor health.
The Obesity Epidemic in America
According to the Get America Fit Foundation (GAFF), more than 60 million adults are obese, while 9 million 6 – 19 year olds are overweight. The presentation of hypertension, diabetes and other obesity-related conditions in children is on the rise. As these life-threatening diseases are normally associated with obesity in adulthood, there is a real danger that the current generation of America’s children may not make it into old age.
The statistics make for sobering reading. In the space of around thirty years, childhood obesity has effectively trebled, with almost one third of America’s youngsters either overweight or obese – that’s around 23 million kids.
Why the big rise? Children are now eating around 1,000 calories a day more than they need, and spending up to 6 hours a day in front of the television, computer or games console. Back in the 1960s, almost half of all children cycled to school, but fear of crime, changing weather and increased affluence mean that these days, kids are either taken to school or drive themselves there. In addition, physical education is no longer a priority on the school curriculum.
Why it’s important to be fit and healthy
In purely monetary terms, overall fitness and health benefits both individuals and the government. Work days lost through illness affect both the employee who loses out on income, and the government, which loses out on income-related taxation. Then there’s the burden on the health service, medical insurers and the social security system.
On a more personal level, maintaining a healthy weight and staying fit reduces the risk of contracting obesity-related diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, some forms of cancer, arthritis and cardiovascular disease. Avoiding these potentially life-threatening conditions makes for a longer life, which means you get to see your children – and probably your grandchildren – grow up. Currently, the average lifespan for Americans is 78.2 years, which is low compared to other developed, relatively prosperous countries.
Just 30 minutes of vigorous exercise five times a week can help maintain physical and emotional health, yet only31% of Americans take enough exercise to obtain those health benefits. Exercise can also boost your immune system, making you less prone to sickness and disease. It's also an acknowledged mood lifter - people who exercise regularly are less likely to suffer from depression.
Involving your organisation in Family Health and Fitness Day USA 2012
Local organizations across America can register to host an event by filling in the registration form on the official website. On receipt of the registration form, organizations will receive a resource pack with ideas and information, and access to the official website. Registration costs $30, and includes a license to use the official logo in publicity material for your event. Small organizations running a single event may qualify for free registration.
Participating in Family Health and Fitness Day USA 2012
Check out the local press for details of events in your area. Local schools, churches, hospitals, medical centres, gyms and sports centres may also be hosting events, so ask around. Available events will depend on the organizations hosting them and local interests. Typically, these events may include workshops, health screenings, games, organized walks and exercise sessions. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on events in your area.
Family Health and Fitness Day USA 2012 is an ideal opportunity to learn more about health and fitness, while enjoying a great day out with the family. Exercise doesn’t have to be an ordeal – when the whole family have fun together, getting fit and healthy can actually be a pleasure. Remember, the family that plays together can look forward to staying together for much longer.
What events are you or your facility planning?
(Leave your answer in the comments)
Some fun items to include in your event
With students returning to school, what better way than to kick-start September by participating in National Yoga Awareness Month, introducing more people to the healthy benefits of Yoga. All across the country, Yoga studios will be hosting activities such as Yoga classes, concerts, and other special events to inspire people to "practice Yoga and create a more balanced lifestyle".
To start off, the Yoga Health Foundation, a non-profit organization registered in the State of California is offering one week of free Yoga to new students. By giving interested persons a "Yoga Month Card", it serves to initiate interest and awareness in Yoga. The card has no monetary value and is good from September 1 to October 30. Invite your family and friends to take advantage of this offer; encourage your neighborhood Yoga studio to participate and/or register events; have an expert come into schools or physical education classes to lead student-wide Yoga sessions.
Presently, over 1600 studios have registered and are involved in National Yoga Awareness Month. For your free pass to get started in Yoga, please click here.
After the month of activities are over, a culminating event will take place on September 30th, 7:00 pm local time. Yoga students of all experience levels are encouraged to practice an international observance with their teachers by doing a "worldwide Yoga practice". This will be an hour-long practice, followed by Savasana at 8 pm, and 15 minutes of meditation at 8:15 pm, focusing on universal peace and well-being. Savasana is also known as the corpse pose, a resting position that signifies the final relaxation of a Yoga session.
This final event will encompass a virtual worldwide wave-effect, spanning nations and countries, coming together through various time zones to end National Yoga Awareness Month with one big bang.
For a person who is new to Yoga, there are many styles to choose from; it may be a bit daunting at first as where to start. Yoga studios, being quite prolific these days, no matter what type of Yoga they teach, practices are all based on the same poses. The only difference is the emphasis or focus placed on movements, whether they are for flexibility, strengthening the core, or addressing injuries, etc.
Most importantly, you should try to find a style that suits your personality, needs, and purposes. Yoga has been around for over 5000 years, and as such, people have been practicing Yoga for various and numerous reasons: body toning, stretching after a workout, reducing stress levels, clearing the mind, boosting the immune system, for detoxification. The benefits are manifold. Listed below are the five most common types of Yoga styles.
A great starting point for beginners is "Hatha Yoga". Begun in India in the 15th century, this type of Yoga is both gentle and slow-moving, focusing on deep breathing practices and meditation. Basic poses are introduced to students, along with relaxation techniques. The benefits of Hatha Yoga are for managing stress, as physical exercise, and improving techniques.
Vinyasa Yoga is a variation on Hatha Yoga, where rhythmic breathing is synchronized with moving from one Yoga pose to another. This style of Yoga emphasizes the Sun Salutation pose, leading to a flowing series of 12 poses, breathing in and out with each movement. "Yoga Flow" is a popular class in many studios, where Tai Chi is incorporated with Yoga moves into one continuous fluid motion that is choreographed to Zen music, a form of Yoga that is both uplifting and cleansing in nature.
Vinyasa Yoga is great for building lean muscle mass throughout the body, plus total body conditioning. At the same time, this style improves strength and flexibility, along with toning abdominal muscles. This practice helps reduce risks of hypertension, heart disease, and Type II diabetes. It is appropriate for both beginners and students at advanced levels.
Ashtanga Yoga is also known as "power Yoga", where emphasis is placed on the eight limbs of the body. However, these are not physical limbs, but rather, aspects of a person's psyche: mental, emotional, and spiritual. This kind of Yoga is fast-paced and intensive, with many push-ups and lunges, designed to maintain body strength and stamina. At the same time, these moves help to relieve stress, improve coordination, aid in weight loss, and address the spiritual self. For a more detailed explanation on all eight limbs, please click this link.
Lyengar Yoga covers all 8 aspects of Ashtanga Yoga, but its concentration is on aligning and balancing the body. In this style, props are frequently used to strengthen poses: Yoga blocks, straps, blankets, etc. Standing poses are emphasized and held for long periods of time. In this way, alignment and balance is improved; body strength is built; and recovery from injury is sped up. This kind of Yoga is therapeutic in nature and beneficial for chronic conditions like arthritis, as well as being a good introductory course for beginners.
Bikram is also therapeutic in nature, known as "hot Yoga"; it takes place in a heated room of 95-100 degrees Fahrenheit. The aim of Bikram is to flush out toxins through sweating, and to loosen tight muscles with endurance stretching and deep heat massaging of various poses. In addition to cleansing the body, Bikram Yoga enhances flexibility and can speed up recovery from injury. These classes are appropriate for beginners, advanced students, and people with physical injuries.
No matter what type of Yoga you choose to practice, you can find studios all across America and around the world. To find a Yoga studio nearest you, click here. Additional websites are also available if you want to do some exploring. If you haven't already joined the Yoga movement, now is the perfect time to start, as National Yoga Awareness Month is here to initiate and inspire you to lead a healthier, wealthier, and more balanced lifestyle.
Video about Daily Maintenance of the LeMond RevMaster Indoor Cycle
- This video will demonstrate how to properly maintain your Lemond Revmaster.
- Tools needed:
- 15mm Pedal Wrench
- Equipment Cleaning Wipes, Soap and Water, or a Proper Cleaning Solution
- To begin do the daily recommended maintenance as follows:
Note: Left and right side are determined as if you are on the bike
- Using a 15mm wrench make sure the pedals are tightened fully into the crank arms
- Turn the left pedal counter-clockwise to tighten
- Turn the right side clockwise to tighten
- Inspect the pedals for loose or missing hardware
- Inspect the straps for wear or damage
- Wipe down the machine daily with soap and water or a diluted, non-abrasive cleaning solution or use Sportsmith's equipment wipes
- You just want to wipe it down every day to make sure no sweat or contaminants sit on the equipment and get under the paint or chrome and begin the corroding
- Don't forget to wipe down the inside the handlebar and seat posts on the frame as well as the slide portion of the seat and handlebar to be sure that nothing gets to set in this area and begin the rusting process
For more Lemond Revmaster maintenance videos:
Instructional Video about How to Assemble a Wooden Plyo Box by Sportsmith
- In this video we show you how to to assemble a Sportsmith wooden plyo box
- The first step is to unpack the plyo box and make sure you have:
- (4) Side Panels that include two marked "A" and two marked "B"
- (1) Bag of Hardware that includes 16 Screws
- (1) Top Panel
- Note: Though wood glue is not included, it is highly recommended
- Take caution when assembling parts
- Using one panel "A" and one panel "B" lean them against each other as shown
- Using one of the included screws, install a screw into one of the pre-drilled pilot holes
- Once you have assembled one panel "A" to one panel "B", set it aside and assemble the other half of the plyo box
- Now that you have both "halves" assembled place them together as seen in the video and start the six screws that will attach the two halves together
Be sure you have not tightened any of the hardware completely before the next step
- NOTE: Though wood glue is not included, it is highly recommended for assembly of this Plyo Box
- Set the top piece in place. Then align one edge and install a screw through the top panel using one of the pre-drilled holes
- Now move to the opposite edge and make sure the top panel is aligned before installing the screw
- Make any final adjustments to the alignment and install the last two screws into the top panel
- Make sure all alignment is correct and then tighten all hardware
Click here to view Sportsmith Wooden Plyo Boxes.
Recently, Plyometric Boxes have really taken off as a great way to cross-train, especially with programs like high intensity interval training. SPORTSMITH carries a wide variety of Boxes, ranging from those that are adjustable and made of all-metal frames to fixed ones that come pre-assembled. Recently, we started carrying a new style Box, and it’s really nice!
These Wooden Plyo Boxes are made of super sturdy plywood, and have a landing surface that is entirely covered in a non-slip, high grip surface. The non-slip surface is very handy when trying to quickly knock out high repetitions ob box jumps. All of these new Boxes feature beveled edges for extra safety, and are angled like a pyramid for maximum stability. So no need to worry about coming down on a sharp edge. They’re also perfectly designed for heavier athletes, as they have hardwood support slates secured inside them. This not only makes them extremely sturdy, but also allows you to stack them for storage. Being able to stack these bad boys is huge! No need to worry about the boxes getting stuck on top of another one. Plus, stacking is a great space saver. Pre-cut hand holes allow for easy transportation, as well.
SPORTSMITH offers these new Boxes in three sizes. Sixteen inch, twenty inch, and twenty-four inch. They also come either assembled or unassembled. The unassembled ones can be put together very easily will save you a bundle on shipping costs. Lastly, we also offer a Box that has a really handsome red mahogany finish (pre-assembled only). You’ll be the envy of your gym when you bring in one of these! Get yours today!
With the holiday season and the New Year fast approaching, many of us will be looking to get fit and to lose some weight to look our best. Sadly, many of these resolutions don’t last beyond the first month. The key to sticking to your resolutions is to find a good health club or fitness center that’s right for you. It has to have good, motivational staff that will encourage you to achieve your goals. It has to offer facilities, activities and workouts that you want to keep you going back. Most importantly, it has to be clean, affordable, and convenient.
A health club or fitness center with well trained staff that can motivate you is particularly important for beginner gym-goers. The staff must be able to answer your questions about any workouts and show you how to use the gym equipment. Be sure to ask about the staff and their qualifications. Also inquire if there are personal trainers available. A few sessions with a personal trainer can also be helpful to help you to map out your goals and encourage you along the way.
Some health clubs or fitness centers offer only the most basic facilities while others have pools, saunas, and perhaps even a spa that offers massage therapies. Larger gyms may also have nutritional therapists attached. Ask about these additional benefits but try not to be dazzled by them. Too often, many of us sign up to these fitness centers with the best of intentions but do not use any of the facilities. Decide on what you want and don’t over commit yourself to an expensive contract. If undecided, ask if the health club or fitness center has a trial period so you can determine what facilities you will really use.
Before committing yourself to a gym, ask for a tour of the facilities and ask to test some of the equipment to make sure it is well maintained. There should be a wide variety of machines, including guided machines and cardio equipment like treadmills and ellipticals. If you enjoy working with free weights, make sure these are plentiful. Other popular equipment include fitness balls and floor mats.
Group fitness classes
We all have different workout preferences, with some preferring solitary workouts while others enjoy more structured programs with a larger group. If you prefer classes, make sure your gym has a good mix of group classes at convenient times throughout the day. Aerobics, Yoga and Pilates are popular options. If there is a specific workout program that you would like to try like Zumba or High Intensity Interval Training, equire if the gym offers those programs.
On your tour of the facilities, make sure the health club or fitness center is clean, with appropriate locker space and well maintained toilets and showers. The workout area should have plenty of gym wipes, or disinfecting spray bottles dotted around the room with paper towels so you can wipe down the equipment after you have finished.
Contracts and costs
The right health club or fitness center should be within your price range. Most offer a variety of contracts to suit every budget. Some will have pay per use contracts while others charge a little more in exchange for allowing its members to visit different gyms in the chain. Some contracts will be monthly while others will be for the whole year. Shop around and compare prices, making sure to only pay for what you need. Also, enquire if you can put the contract on hold in case of illness or travel.
One of the most important factors to consider when choosing a health club or fitness center is its convenience for you. If it is a hassle to get to, you will be more likely to give up your workout for the day. Make sure the gym is in a suitable location for you, with the appropriate operating hours. If early mornings are the only time that will work for you, make sure the gym opens early. If group classes are more your style, make sure these are at times that suit you. Visit the gym during peak times to ensure that it isn’t overcrowded as this will reduce your enjoyment of the workout. If you will need a child minded while you are working out, ask if the gym has childcare facilities. Don’t forget to ask about their operating policies during the holiday season.
The right fitness center or health club has to feel right for you. To help you decide, watch out for free trials or ask if they have a pay as you go option. Some gyms also have incentive periods where they waive joining fees or offer discounted trial memberships. Remember – the more you like the gym, the more likely you are to stick to your resolution so don’t be too quick to decide on the right gym for you.
Every time I go into my gym, the treadmills and elliptical machines are being occupied, and there seems to be a never-ending line at the weight benches. While these pieces of equipment are all fantastic and should be included in your workout, I must bring attention to a simple piece of equipment that always appears to be forgotten, the stability ball. Stability balls are a wonderful way to shape and strengthen your core. They force all of your abdominal muscles to work to perform the exercise, thereby giving you a complete core workout. Too often, sit ups or crunches only touch on some of the abdominal muscles, which only cheats you of the fitness and health goals you want. Benefits of a strong core include better balance, more energy, better posture, and less risk of injury. Here are four stability ball exercises to fire up your core now:
1) Leg Tuck: With this exercise, you work your lower abs. Put your hands on the floor and toes on ball like you’re in an elevated push-up stance. Roll the ball to your chest by bending your knees and then roll it back. Feel free to roll diagonally to work the obliques.
2) Around the World: Sit on the stability ball with your feet to the floor. Circle your torso to the left and then back to the starting stance. Repeat on the right side. This will work your obliques as well.
3) Ball Sit: Lean against the wall with the stability ball separating you. The stability ball should be against your lower back. Go down so that your legs make a right angle. Hold for a minute. This will work your glutes and core.
4) Ball Sit-Up: This is a sit-up on the stability ball. Sit on the ball and put your feet out so that your knees make a ninety degree angle. Place your hands behind your elbow and lie all of the way back. Squeeze your abs and come all the way up. Fall back and repeat.
When one envisions the classic Olympic sport of gymnastics, they generally think of the traditional equipment. The pommel horse, the uneven bars, and of course, the rings. The rings when used in Olympic events are some of the most physically challenging routines in the whole of gymnastics, but the rings aren't just for performing mind-boggling feats of strength on. They're also great for getting in a challenging, unique workout, and can be used by anybody, not just perfectly honed Olympians.
When used as an exercise device, the rings allow for "bodyweight training", which has become immensely popular as of late, as it requires little floor space to use, and requires little in the way of equipment. Just the rings and straps and a place to hang them is all you need. The military has especially taken interest in these types of exercises for it's troops, as the equipment is extremely portable, and they can exercise and stay fit even when deployed to remote locations, where they wouldn't have access to traditional weights and other equipment.
To use the rings, you simply need to hang them from a sturdy surface. Then, you can do a variety of exercises, including push-ups and pull-ups. The "wobbly" nature of the rings forces you to constantly try and maintain your balance, not unlike a balance board, but instead of maintaining full-body balance, the rings force you to keep balance with specific parts of your body, which isolate certain muscles and give you a workout literally like no other available. Imagine doing a push-up, but the surface your hands are on is continually shifting and moving. You're going to have to keep in constant motion yourself to keep your balance, and this will exercise muscles that rarely get used, giving your body a stronger core and building incredible muscle tone and mass quickly and effeciently. Ring exercises are also a known way to overcome "plateaus", which is when your body reaches a level of fitness where it's difficult to achieve any higher progress. The rings force you to make movements that you've never had to before, and will overcome these plateaus.
SPORTSMITH currently carries two different types of exercise rings. The first is the EFX Gymnastic Rings. These are sold in pairs, and come with everything you need to begin exercising right away. They're light, portable, and have 3 different grip surfaces for different types of exercise. You can hang them just about anywhere, making them ideal for an apartment, or for places not suited for lots of exercise equipment. The second type we sell are the Wright Gymnastic Rings. These rings come with an extra long attachment strap (18 feet long, to be exact), and are made of a high-impact polycarbonate material that is super strong, yet lightweight. SPORTSMITH is proud to carry these exercise rings, and provide our customers with yet another option in their never-ending quest for fitness and strength!
How to install Gymnastic Rings, click here.
As fitness professionals, you know the importance of incorporating strength training into a workout regimen. With that being said, you also know not everyone is willing to hop under a bench press or settle under a squat rack. And while these tried-and-true exercises are often associated with strength training, they’re not the only options.
A number of health professionals are introducing clients to alternative forms of strength training. Instead of bench presses and dead lifts, they’re using free weights—dumbbells and kettlebells. And some are even taking it one step further. They’re forgoing the use of physical weights and opting for resistance bands.
As it turns out, a number of people trying to whip themselves back into shape prefer these methods of strength training. They’re not as daunting, especially for those who are out of shape or elderly. Dumbbells and kettlebells offer more varied usage than, say, a bench press. With dumbbells an individual can perform exercises that hit pectorals, biceps, triceps, forearms, and a number of muscles in your shoulders and back.
When individuals use dumbbells, kettlebells, and resistance bands, they have more control over their workout. They get the strength training they need without enduring some of the hardships, like injuries, associated with the more common methods.
For more information, be sure to view our strength training products page.