Keeping the kids off the couch this weekend

Thousands of calories,  numerous  fat grams, and sky-high levels of sodium.

Sure, Thanksgiving dinner is only served up once a year. But recent studies show that this one meal can have adverse affects on our health. Processing the extra fat can cause cells that line blood vessels to function less efficiently.

Making exercise a Thanksgiving tradition

Researchers say that exercising 12 or more hours before the meal may prevent damage from triglycerides, a type of lipid stored in the fat cells in the body. High levels of triglycerides can increase the risk  of heart disease.

More on the effects of one fatty meal on the body.

As researchers learn more about heart disease and stroke in adults, they are discovering that the process begins in childhood and can progress over time. Recently, the American Academy of Pediatrics released new guidelines on monitoring cardiovascular risks in children during well child visits.

Making exercise part of holiday celebrations can establish healthy habits early in life.  PowerPlay, a physician-supervised weight loss program for teens, passed along ten tips to help keep kids moving — instead of entering couch-potato mode this weekend:

  • While watching TV, propose a contest to see who can come up with the most fun exercise during commercial breaks — like jump roping with an invisible rope .
  • Bring a football, soccer ball, basketball on vacation. Get outside with kids and join the fun or invite a bunch of kids over to join in.
  • Head to the mall –  walk, window shop, and burn some extra energy at the mall.
  • Indoor Activity Centers – Visit  indoor jump houses, indoor trampoline houses, and  indoor playgrounds that have open play for kids.
  • Walk to see holiday lights – instead of piling in the car to drive the neighborhood, walk to see the holiday lights.
  • Develop an indoor scavenger hunt – Depending on the age of your children, you can develop a hunt that will get the kids moving around the house. – Try “Safari Hide and Seek” –hide the Elephant and different animal toys and the child has to find it.
  • Have a Challenge – See who can do the most sit-ups, push-ups, jumping jacks or any other activity that will get your kids heart’s pumping.
  • Buy Active Holiday presents – try to purchase at least one present for the kids that will get them up and moving.  A Skipping rope, movement based video game, or even a hacky sack will encourage more movement.
  • Train and Race in a Charity Run together – many towns have holiday fun runs for charity.  You can train together for the big event and then run or walk the race together.
  • Create A Holiday Tradition –  Whether it’s a yearly ski trip, a trip to the woods to cut a Christmas Tree, or a visit to the outdoor skating rink – replace sedentary holiday traditions with more active ones.

There are three PowerPlay locations in the Valley.

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