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Kids Playing Freeze Dance

Activities To Keep Your Kids Moving While Stuck Inside

Having your kids at home during a worldwide pandemic is truly no easy feat. Between homeschooling, your own personal job, and making sure your family is staying healthy and safe in quarantine, there’s a lot to do in a given day. Exercise and physical activity is extremely important, especially for young kids who are continuing to grow regardless of a lock down. So keep your kids moving by implementing some fun exercise/sports-like games in their day. There’s plenty of things kids can do during their daily at-home “recess” time indoors that will keep their bodies and minds active and engaged. Here are a few ideas to help inspire you:

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Obstacle Courses: What kid doesn’t love the thrill of an obstacle course? One of the benefits of setting up a course in your home/on your property is that your kids can get involved in the creation process using things from all around the house. So this activity isn’t just engaging your child’s body, but mind as well to problem solve and figure out what obstacles would be the most fun/challenging for them. 

Animal Races: A new and fun alternative to racing with your little ones is called animal racing. You can do this same type of race for any kind of category that allows participants to act out whoever/whatever they get assigned; for example Disney Princesses, mythical creatures, actors, etc. Fill a bowl up with various types of animals and have everyone draw one. Then set up a race track where every participant will have to act like their assigned animal until they get to the finish line.

Balloon Ball: In another classic indoor birthday party activity, balloon ball follows the same basic protocol as “The floor is lava!” game, which is another great option by the way. Fill up a bunch of balloons and try to keep them off the ground by passing them back and forth. “Level up” by adding more and more balloons into the mix until it’s nearly impossible to keep all of them up at once!

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Freeze Dance/Musical Chairs: This is another easy option that kids can even do on their own! YouTube offers a multitude of freeze dance videos that cycle through a variety of songs, many of which are oriented towards kids, and randomly pauses the music throughout to indicate when the kids should stop dancing. Besides that, the only requirement it would have from you is pressing the play/pause button. 

Clean-Up Race: We all can relate to our parents tricking us into cleaning our rooms/the house by offering some sort of “prize” or proclaiming the fastest to clean is the winner. While this may be a sneaky tactic, it really is one of the most effective ways to get your kids to clean up after themselves, hence why it’s been used for so long. Incentives/Prizes don’t have to be too complicated either, you can simply offer your kids an extra serving of desert or the ability to choose the next movie to watch on family movie night. 

Between all of these options and others – like pillow fights, fort building, jump rope, tag, red rover, chalk, etc. – there are plenty of activities your kids can be doing daily to keep their minds, bodies, and spirits active and moving. It can be hard to remember to take care of ourselves as much as we are our loved ones during this pandemic, so get your kids to play in the yard for the next hour, and take a load off, you deserve it.

Two Girls Working Out at Home

How To Keep Yourself Entertained During Quarantine

In times of global pandemics, it’s important to remember to do things to keep your mind occupied and distracted from the constant updates and statements about a rapidly spreading virus. Binge-watching your favorite shows and taking on some new hobbies are just two general examples of ways you can keep yourself busy during times of quarantine, so what should you try today?

Thanks to the many art and cultural institutions throughout the world, you can bring the likes of museums, Broadway plays, theatrical productions, and opera performances, right into your living room. Google’s Arts and Culture Department has collaborated with over 500 of the world’s most famous museums to offer virtual tours and lessons on some of the most famous artwork in history. 

In addition, Broadway has its own streaming service, and BBC is offering a digital “Culture in quarantine festival” for fans of all things theater and dance. The Metropolitan Opera is also streaming exclusive versions of some of its most famous performances every night. 

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Another great way to keep yourself occupied, while also feeling like you’re doing something to benefit your physical health, is doing an in-home workout routine. There are plenty of free options covering a multitude of types of exercise on YouTube. Not only will you ensure that you’re keeping your body running to the best of its ability, but exercise also is a great mood-booster, especially when you’re stuck inside. 

Along those same lines, taking an online yoga or meditation course, or simply going on YouTube for free, will also improve your physical health while improving your mental well-being as well. The overall goal of keeping yourself entertained when quarantined and distanced from the outside world, is to do things that are enriching for your mind, body, and soul. 

You don’t want to simply sit in front of the TV and distract yourself with mindless reality shows all day, although that’s not the worst option, you want to do things that will keep you from being in your head too often throughout the day. 

The more time you spend just thinking, the more likely it is that you’ll get trapped in an endless stream of consciousness about all things COVID-19/pandemic related. While it’s important to stay informed, it’s just as important to completely separate yourself from that narrative that we’re constantly hearing about at all hours of the day. 

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Some local entertainers are taking to their community Facebook groups to host online dinner parties, happy hours, hangouts, or even concerts. Just because we can’t all physically spend time with our distanced friends and family, living in a time of advanced technology gives us that ability. We have endless access and communication to whoever we want to talk to, whenever we want to, so might as well take advantage of it. 

“Join us tonight from wherever you are! Social distancing is good for the world right now, but still hard on us as individuals — emotionally, mentally and even physically. So let’s stay connected and, for the love of Pete, let’s keep making music!!” wrote New Jersey local singer Meghan Carey on her artist Facebook page before performing a virtual concert on Saturday.

Finally, make sure you’re going outside and getting some fresh air at least once a day. Just because you need to be socially distancing yourself from others, doesn’t mean you can’t go on a solo walk around town, assuming there’s natural spaces for you to go. Many national parks and services around the US are waiving their fees to encourage people to go for more walks while keeping a safe distance around other people. 

Fresh air is good for your physical and mental health, so like anything, just make sure you’re maintaining those two important aspects over anything. It can be easy to get trapped in a binge-watching marathon but that won’t be good for your mind or body in the long run, so get outside, do some yoga, and take a deep breath, we’re going to get through this.

Woman Waking up from good night sleep

The Key To A Better Night’s Sleep Is A Healthy Lifestyle

Sleeping is one of the most important things we can do for our health. Our bodies need rest in order to recharge and replenish our body’s natural systems so that they’re performing to the best of their ability. Many of us have certain sleep issues, whether it be having a hard time falling asleep, staying asleep, or trouble waking up in the morning, whatever it may be, there’s certain changes you can make to your everyday routine that can help improve your nightly slumbers, and get you the eight hours you need to feel great in the morning. 

One of the simplest solutions for improving sleep is ensuring that you’re in a dark environment. Dark rooms obviously support better sleep as there’s less sensory stimulation. Light exposure interferes with our bodies natural sleep cycle and circadian rhythms; which is a fancy term that refers to when your body tells you to wake up and when to fall asleep. 

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Investing in blackout curtains is the easiest solution if your sleeping situation involves a room with a window that’s facing the sun at any given point in the morning or evening. Heavy and thick curtains not only block out the intense natural lighting of the outside world, but also encourages a more relaxed sleeping environment in general. Dark colored curtains will typically always do the trick, however, if a lighter color would better fit your rooms aesthetic, there are plenty of online options of light colored curtains with thick enough linings to darken any space. 

If you’ve done any research regarding sleep or insomnia, you’ve definitely heard about blue light emissions and their negative effects on our bodies ability to fall asleep. Electronic devices typically always have a “blue light” undertone that has been proven to disrupt our circadian rhythms specifically when we’re going to bed; as many of us like to mindlessly scroll through social media before falling asleep. 

This blue light suppresses the production of melatonin in our brains, which is the chemical that tells the rest of our body when it’s time for bed.  Some phones have a “night mode” setting that turns your screen a more amber hue to combat that harsh blue emission, and there are numerous screen-protector like products that do the same, however, the best thing you can do to promote a more solid night of sleep, is to avoid electronics at all cost at least an hour before going to bed. This can be tough for a lot of us who have developed a nighttime routine that involves some entertainment on our devices, but the only way to ensure you’re body will keep producing melatonin at a normal rate, and keep you rested throughout the night, is to unplug it all and read a book instead before bed. 

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What you eat and drink throughout a day also has a heavy effect on your natural sleep cycle. Depending on when you go to bed, you should stop eating at 8 pm the latest. The later in the night you eat, the more your body will have to digest while you’re resting. This is an issue because our bodies digest at a much slower metabolic rate when we’re sleeping, which can either lead to an unpleasant middle-of-the-night bathroom trip, or an overall feeling of grogginess in the morning. 

Following a healthy meal plan that avoids processed foods and sugars will also keep your energy levels in a more natural and stable state, so when it comes time to unwind, your body will have no problem doing so because it received all the necessary nutrients it needed throughout the day. 

Finally, along the same lines as a healthy diet, getting regular exercise will improve how well you stay asleep throughout the entire night. Even just 10 minutes of activity a day can show positive results. So many of us get trapped in the 9-5 bubble of sitting at a desk all day and then going home and just sitting on the couch to unwind. When you keep up with an active exercise schedule, you’re lowering your risk for certain sleep conditions such as sleep apnea. 

Regardless of what issues you have when it comes time to turn the lights out, keeping up with healthy lifestyle habits will always help improve the way your body functions, regardless of if you’re conscious or not.

Heart Healthy Diet

5 Healthy Habits That Can Help You Live A Decade Longer: Study Suggests

In a massive study conducted by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, researchers and health experts alike studied the impact of healthy lifestyle habits and life expectancy. The individuals involved in conducting the study had access to medical data that provided a huge pool of subjects with decades worth of medical records to go through. When all was said and done researchers were able to draw conclusions using data from over 120,000 participants; 34 years worth of records from 78,000+ women, and 28 years worth of records from 40,000+ men. 

The researchers specifically focused on five areas of life/health: diet, physical activity/exercise, body weight, smoking, and alcohol intake. The data regarding these five categories was collected through a series of regularly administered questionnaires that would be validated through a multitude of actual medical records; all participants completely consented to the study. These five particular categories were chosen because, based on the death rates in America, these five areas pose the largest risk of premature death when attributed with unhealthy habits. 

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Obviously, researchers also had to take every individuals specific genetic make up into consideration as well, so they took data on age, ethnicity, medication use, and other health conditions as well. Within the study this is how researchers defined “healthy habits” within each of the five categories. 

  1. Healthy diet, calculated based on the reported intake of healthy foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains, healthy fats, and omega-3 fatty acids, and unhealthy foods like red and processed meats, sugar-sweetened beverages, trans fat, and sodium.
  2. Healthy physical activity level, which was measured as at least 30 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous activity daily.
  3. Healthy body weight, defined as a normal body mass index (BMI), which is between 18.5 and 24.9.
  4. Smoking, “Healthy” here means never having smoked.
  5. Moderate alcohol intake, measured as between 5 and 15 grams per day for women, and 5 to 30 grams per day for men. Generally, one drink contains about 14 grams of pure alcohol. That’s 12 ounces of regular beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits.

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Once the study was concluded, researchers determined that healthy habits make a huge difference in terms of life expectancy, and not in the obvious sense. The analysis showed that women who met the criteria for all five healthy habits lived, on average, 14 years longer than those who didn’t; for men it was a 12 year difference. If an individual didn’t meet the criteria for any of these healthy habits, they were much more likely to die prematurely from either cancer or cardiovascular disease; the two top causes of death in the world in terms of disease. 

Beyond these results, the study also concluded that if any of the subjects adopted just one of the healthy habits listed above their life expectancy would likely be prolonged by two years, regardless of gender, especially if they were over the age of 50. 

The experts behind this study want the individuals who observe the results to take away a very specific message. In America, our health care focus is too concentrated on fancy and expensive medications to combat deadly disease as opposed to ways of preventing those diseases in the first place. This isn’t the first time in which experts have stated that the best, and easiest, way to inspire the masses to adopt healthier lifestyle habits is through “public health efforts and policy changes.” 

While we wait for those systematic changes to occur, however, it’s never too late to make even the slightest of changes to our lifestyles to give us the best shot at living a long and healthy life. Start slow, as the data stated even one habit adoption can add two years to your life, so what are you waiting for?

Apple Watch and Iphone Activity

Apple Partners With Gyms to Offer Perks for Working Out

If you own an Apple Watch, you may already be motivated to go to the gym thanks to the watch’s various fitness features, including heart rate monitoring and automatic exercise detection. However, Apple is planning to incentivize owners of the Apple Watch even further by partnering with gyms to offer perks like discounted membership fees and even gift cards for frequent visitors of the gym. Apple’s plan is called “Apple Watch Connected,” and in order for a gym to partner with Apple under this plan, they need to meet a set of standards set by the technology company. In order for a gym to be granted Apple Watch Connected branding, it’ll need to offer four things: an iPhone and Apple Watch app that presents information like class times; Apple Pay support; perks like membership discounts for Apple Watch users; and equipment that supports GymKit, a system Apple uses to sync Apple Watch data with machines like treadmills and ellipticals.

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The partnership should improve the gym-going experience for Apple Watch users, who already enjoy the benefits of continuous heart rate tracking and tracking of other statistics while working out. By using a treadmill that supports GymKit, for instance, gym members can record exact data about their distance and speed while walking or running. The partnership should also encourage more gyms to develop their own apps, which should improve the workout experience for technology fans. In theory, the partnership should benefit Apple as it should expand the number of gyms that support its products, but also the gyms themselves, as the partnership could help them attract and keep customers. 

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As of today, four gyms have already announced their participation in the Apple Watch Connected program, which are YMCA, Crunch Fitness, Basecamp Fitness, and Orange Theory. Initially, the program will only apple to select locations, but Apple hopes to expand its network of participating partners as time goes on. The perks that are offered to Apple Watch customers varies by gym; Crunch Fitness offers membership discounts to regular visitors; Orange Theory is offering gift cards; and the YMCA will donate classes to kids. Apple recognizes that one of the primary appeals of the Apple Watch to consumers is its ability to function as a fitness device, and seeks to capitalize on this demand by giving its customers as many reasons to visit the gym as possible.

Healthy Lifestyle

Study Finds That a Healthy Lifestyle can Add a Decade of Life Free From Disease

Everyone knows that practicing healthy habits, such as dieting, exercising, and avoiding cigarettes, can extend one’s life span and improve one’s quality of life. However, it can be difficult to conceptualize exactly how much of a benefit these habits offer in one’s life, as it’s easy for these metrics to become somewhat abstract. As such, a study published in the British Medical Journal sought to quantify exactly how much a healthy lifestyle benefits one’s life, and found that practicing a healthy lifestyle can expand one’s disease-free lifespan by an average of ten years.

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The study looked at five factors associated with a healthy lifestyle, which included drinking alcohol in moderation, not smoking, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, and eating well. The study, which looked at more than 100,000 people, found that people who practiced four of these five traits lived as much as ten years longer without diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, than people who practiced none of these habits. Not only does a healthy lifestyle allow people to live longer lives, but the quality of life increases when people practice healthy lifestyle habits, as the risk of developing diseases decreases dramatically.

Specifically, the study found that women who practiced any four of the five traits in question lived an average of 84 years without disease, whereas women who practiced none of the five habits only lived an average of 74 years without disease. Likewise, men with four out of the five healthy habits lived to 81 years old without disease, whereas men who practiced none of the healthy habits lived to 73 years old without disease. The most unhealthy characteristics a person can have, the study found, were smoking more than 15 cigarettes a day or having a BMI greater than 30, which is defined as obesity.

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While the study shows that moderate drinking is far healthier than heavy drinking, it’s important to note that other studies have shown that no amount of alcohol is good for you, despite persistent rumors that suggest that having a glass of wine with dinner can improve one’s health. In fact, using recreational drugs at all is widely considered to have either a neutral or a negative impact on one’s health, and definitely not a positive one. Instead of relying on drugs as a method of reducing stress, doctors recommend other methods that help to both relieve stress and improve health. Regular exercise, for instance, has been shown to improve one’s overall mood, and meditation, a practice whereby people focus on paying attention to their experiences in the present moment, can improve mental health as well. If, like most people, you’re concerned about extending the longevity and quality of your life, it’s not a bad idea to think about the various ways in which your current lifestyle habits might contribute to disease and develop strategies to improve your lifestyle habits.

Girl Waking up Happy

Tips for Getting a Good Night’s Sleep

Though we tend to focus our attention on events that transpire during our waking lives, we spend roughly a third of our lives sleeping. Sleep is an often-overlooked part of life that affects nearly all aspects of human health and well-being, but many of us neglect to prioritize a goods night’s sleep, often erroneously thinking that we can be more productive during the day if we spend less time sleeping. While caffeine can temporarily mitigate the effects of poor sleep, sleeping poorly for a long period of time is linked to a number of health problems, including depressed mood and increased risk of heart disease and obesity. As such, this article will discuss several strategies you can use to improve the quality of your sleep so you can enjoy a more alert and productive waking experience.

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The practices associated with high-quality sleep are referred to as “sleep hygiene,” and include a number of important behaviors, all of which are essential for sufficient rest. Perhaps the most important factor is limiting your use of electronic devices in bed or near bedtime. Ideally, usage of electronic devices should be eliminated before going to sleep, as electronic devices with light-emitting screens stimulate the mind and make it difficult to rest. However, if it’s not possible to avoid using electronics late at night, it may be helpful to activate a blue-light filter on your computer, phone, or other device. These filters tint the screen to a reddish-orange hue, reducing the output of blue light which is thought to inhibit sleep by reducing the body’s production of melatonin. In general, the bed should only be used for sleep and sex, as setting these boundaries helps to create an association in your mind between being in bed and falling asleep, subconsciously helping you to fall asleep faster.

Conditions like depression and anxiety can wreak havoc on your sleep/wake cycle, causing you to get too few or too many hours of sleep and sleep at inappropriate times

Making various lifestyle changes can also help to improve sleep quality. Two of the most important lifestyle factors that contribute to sleep quality, as well as overall health, are diet and exercise. Tiring yourself out for a half hour or more of strenuous exercise per day not only improves your cardiovascular health and strength, but it can also relieve anxiety and stress, reduce tension, and prepare the body and mind for sleep. While exercising immediately before going to bed probably isn’t a good idea, exercising earlier in the day can help you feel more tired and prone to sleep later in the night. The food you eat also affects your sleep; eating a large meal immediately before going to bed can keep you awake as your body uses energy to digest food, whereas a diet high in sugar could cause you to wake up several times throughout the night. A healthy diet that includes fresh fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat proteins can not only help you maintain a healthy weight but also improve the quality of your sleep. Be mindful of foods that cause heartburn, as any heartburn sufferer knows that it can prevent you from going to sleep.

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Good psychological health is also important for quality sleep. Conditions like depression and anxiety can wreak havoc on your sleep/wake cycle, causing you to get too few or too many hours of sleep and sleep at inappropriate times, so if you’re experiencing symptoms of mental illness, be sure to seek treatment from your health care provider, as these illnesses can often be treated with therapy and medication. One of the actions you can take to improve your mental health, alongside diet and exercise, is to begin a mindfulness meditation practice, which can reduce stress and negative emotions by training the brain to observe experiences with openness and acceptance. Another good way to support mental health is to maintain a regular daily routine, ensuring that you wake up, eat, exercise, and go to bed at the same time every day. Doing so will naturally support the body’s circadian rhythms, helping you to feel tired enough at night to fall asleep quickly and alert enough in the morning to start your day. 

Vegetarian Bowl

Top Tips For a Healthier New Year

For many of us the start of a new year is the perfect time to start looking at our health habits and see if there are any areas that we can improve on, and let’s face it, there are many ways we can get healthier. But with the New Year also being the beginning of a new decade, it seems the ideal time to look deeper and see exactly how we could be making changes to our lives.

A study in 2019 of nearly three million people found that severely obese people had a much higher chance (50%) of dying early than participants who maintained a healthy weight. By combining a healthy diet and increasing the amount of exercise you do, you can prolong your life significantly.

There are many different ways you can maintain a healthy diet including reducing your intake of “ultra-processed” foods as they can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and in some cases, cause premature death. A study in 2019 found that packaged snacks and ready meals were both usually high in fat, sugar, and salt meaning that by dropping these types of foods from your diet you can increase your health significantly.

While we are looking at diets, 2020 could be the year you reduce your intake of meat. The average person should only be eating 7 grams of meat each day, which equates to roughly one bite of a sausage. By reducing your meat intake you not only reduce your chances of an early death, but you will also be doing your bit to help the planet.

However, it is important that you maintain your vitamin intake. Researchers at the University of Oxford in England have announced that a low-meat diet could increase the risk of a stroke due to the lack of vital vitamins that meat provides. Maintaining a low meat diet – or even going vegetarian or vegan – can be healthy so long as you make sure you are getting your nutritional needs.

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If you are a coffee addict – and with Starbucks making sales of $19.7 billion in America alone it appears we all certainly are – than you may worry about the impact caffeine could be having on your health. While we have been told that our daily intake could be stiffening our arteries, therefore causing heart issues, recent research states that so long as you do not drink coffee in the later part of your day, you should be fine.

It is not just our diets that we should be looking at. 2020 could be the year we start setting our alarms earlier. A recent study shows that by getting up at a decent hour can bring improvements to both your physical and mental health. Even those who stay up late found that by setting their alarms two hours earlier than their normal waking time, woke up feeling more refreshed and able to face the day ahead.

Another great way to live longer is to have children. While many parents up and down the country may feel this is incorrect, a study from early 2019 indicated that our immune systems become “refreshed” when our children head off to kindergarten. It is a known fact our immune systems can start to weaken throughout our lives, however, the many infections that our children bring home from school will help parents to keep their immune systems healthy.

Obviously having children is a huge social responsibility, not just in our own lives but also in relation to our planet, so having children is an important decision that should not be taken lightly.

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If you are still not sure what you should be doing for a healthier life why not try asking for help? Alexa, Siri and Google all offer health advice – with Alexa joining forces in the UK with their NHS to offer specific tips – and it could be the easiest way to find out what you should and should not be doing.

Or why not download a few apps? There are many apps available from professionals to help you lose weight, get fit, stop smoking and reduce your drinking as well as self affirmation apps to help you get through your day.

If the gym is not really your thing or you are not part of a sports team it can be hard to maintain a good level of exercise. Yet just one jog a week can lower the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease. Running for less than 50 minutes a week at a speed of around 8kmph should see a significant improvement in your overall health.

Finally one of the most important ways to improve your mental health is to increase your positivity. Research proves that happier people live to around 85 years old – and some even longer.

By looking at the positive side of things, as well as believing good things are heading your way, you should be able to balance your behavior and emotions easier as well as handle stress more productively. Positive thinking people also seem to have healthier habits, which will also be an improvement on their health.

However you decide to spend the next year – and decade – we hope you all have a happy and healthy time.

Girls Playing Soccer

Study Finds Kids Value Having Fun and Working Hard in Sports over Winning

A longstanding myth has held that when it comes to sports, girls consider the social aspects to be the most fun, whereas boys most enjoy the competitive part of sports. However, a recent study published by Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal contradicts this claim, finding that both boys and girls consider trying your best and working hard to be the key to having fun, ranking winning as 40th in the list of things they find fun about sports. The findings suggest that kids have an intuitive understanding of the values that ensure organized sports remain enjoyable for all participants, and that boys and girls have more similar attitudes surrounding sports than is commonly assumed.

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According to Amanda J. Visek, an associate professor of exercise and nutrition sciences at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health, “what counts most for girls and boys are things like ‘trying your best,’ ‘working hard,’ ‘staying active,’ and ‘playing well together as a team.’ These findings are the same for athletes at younger and older ages and across recreational and more competitive levels of play.” The recent study expands on a previous study involving soccer players between the ages of 8 and 19 which attempted to map all of the factors that contribute to sports being fun for kids. The older study uncovered 81 “fun-determinants” within 11 “fun-factors,” and the newer study more closely analyzed this data, finding that of the 81 fun-determinants, winning was ranked 40th on the list, far lower than anyone had expected.

Despite the relative similarities across ages and genders, however, the researchers did uncover some interesting differences in fun priorities between demographics. For instance, young players felt that it was important to have a coach who allowed them to “play different positions,” whereas older players were less concerned about this factor. Additionally, boys felt that “copying the moves and tricks of professional athletes” and “improving athletic skills to play at the next level” contribute to whether or not they have fun more than girls did, suggesting a difference between how boys and girls learn to improve their athleticism.

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Researchers hope that the results of the study will be useful for sport organizations looking to improve their programs, making them more fun for kids and encouraging them to play sports for longer throughout their childhood and into adulthood. While sports are popular among elementary school students, kids who drop out of sports tend to do so around middle-school age, complaining that they no longer consider sports fun. This trend is of particular interest to researchers and medical professionals, as continuing to engage in sports throughout adolescence is linked to maintaining a healthy lifestyle as kids age. Exercise is connected to a wide range of health benefits for both body and mind, and as habits can be ingrained into a person’s personality for life starting in childhood, encouraging the healthy habit of exercising in children is a priority for public health officials. This concern is of particular urgency considering the rising trend of obesity among Americans and the decline in US life expectancy that began several years ago.

Despite its promising results, the study had some limitations which are worth considering. For one, all of the participants were soccer players, and as such it is possible that players of other sports have differing views on what makes sports fun. And as the study relied upon children’s self-reported interests, it may be possible that some participants were biased towards giving the researchers the answers they thought they were looking for. Nevertheless, the research supports the claim that reinforcing gender stereotypes and emphasizing the importance of victory reduces kids’ enjoyment of sports, suggesting that methods of coaching that focus on having fun are more effective when it comes to instilling healthy exercise habits in children.

Diet Plan

The Best Diets To Try In 2020

It’s 2020: a new year, new decade, and a new opportunity to improve on your own life with some New Year’s resolutions. One of the most common resolutions to date is to eat healthier and exercise more. Leading a healthier lifestyle in general is always a great goal to have, but it can be difficult to get organized and stay motivated enough to follow through with a schedule. However, following a specific diet and exercise regimen can be half the battle, as it’s all about finding what works best for you personally. 

Every year the US News and World Report ranks the “best diets” to follow in the new year. This list is used by thousands of Americans to determine what will work best for their own personal goals and lives. This year, the Mediterranean diet took first place for the third year in a row as the “best diet” to follow. 

“The hallmarks of a ‘best’ diet include balance, maintainability, palatability, family-friendliness, sustainability, along with healthfulness. The Mediterranean diet gets check-marks in all of those boxes,” said Dr. David Katz, who was one of 25 judges on the U.S. News and World Report panel, to CNN.

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The Mediterranean diet emphasizes what most individuals looking to be healthier really want in a diet. The food is simple and fairly easy to make, and it promotes plant-based cooking. It also pulls the focus from eating things such as red meat, saturated fats, and artificial sugars. Within the US/World Report, the Mediterranean diet won first in four categories, including best diet for healthy eating and easiest diet to follow.

A major aspect to all of the top listed diets involves the practicality of each plan. For example, the Mediterranean diet doesn’t specifically state all the things you are no longer allowed to eat, but instead tells you how you can enjoy those things in moderation (some more than others). 

Right under the Mediterranean diet is the DASH diet. Individuals who have been using the DASH diet have been involved in multiple studies regarding the long term health benefits the diet offers. Specifically, this diet helps to lower blood pressure and prevent future heart issues that one could develop (heart disease is the number one killer in the world). This diet also promotes that you eat more natural foods, like fruits and veggies, and avoid anything with high levels of fat and salt. The fact that so many studies have been conducted on this diet in particular is the reason it holds the second spot on the list. 

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“We’re interested in diets that have proven staying value — not fad diets that are here today, gone tomorrow. The diets that perform well are safe, sensible and backed by sound science. That’s going to be consistent from year to year,” said Angela Haupt, managing editor of health at U.S. News & World Report. 

The MIND diet and WW (formerly known as Weight Watchers) take the other two top spots on the list. The MIND diet is a combination of the Mediterranean and DASH diet and is geared towards helping lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, or slow it down in those already experiencing symptoms. The acronym MIND literally stands for “Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay.”

WW was fourth ranked, but also won first place in the US/World Report for “best weight loss” and “best commercial weight loss” programs. The food in the program has always been healthy, but the judges on the report really responded to the amount of support groups/offers it gives to the dieters using the WW plan. 

Regardless of what plan you choose this year, always make sure you’re listening to your body. Don’t deny yourself certain pleasures because you want to look a certain way, but instead modify your current situation because you want to feel/be healthier. Start slow, do your research, ask a few friends, and check off your resolution goal by December 2020!