Raising Healthy Children: Tip # 5 Sleep

By Dr Jennifer Barham-Floreani: Tip # 5 Sleep

Sleep

Poor sleep habits can also contribute to unnecessary stress in the household…

If a child does not wake up easily and with energy each morning, this could indicate they are not getting enough quality sleep. This in turn will affect their personality, their learning and their health in general.

Tired children cannot concentrate, learn tasks, or play sports well. And just like adults, typically tired children crave sugary foods that leave them prone to yeast imbalances.

The parents role

As parents, we often miss our child’s ‘tired cues’ and then we have great difficulty trying to put them to bed when their brain has moved back into fourth gear. If your child consistently wakes up tired or is slow in the morning, then try getting them to bed an hour earlier for a period of time and watch how this can transform grumpy or emotional behavior. Over the years I have learnt that a set routine for dinner and bedtime makes getting to sleep earlier easier, and life easier for everyone. This means aiming to feed children early—well before they are tired. Plan an ideal time for bed and give yourself plenty of time for baths and the reading of evening books, etc. Some nights you will be able to have luxurious, long baths and other nights you will need to be drill-sergeant.

It is a good idea to limit the number of late nights that children have in a week. With social, school and family activities, bedtimes can gradually become later and later for older children; however, sleep requirements remain just as vital for teenagers as when they are younger. It turns out that teenagers may actually need more sleep than in their
younger years.

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Raising Healthy Children: Tip # 4 Immune System

By Dr. Jennifer Barham-Floreani: Tip # 4: GET DIRTY – Benefits to the Immune System

Many of us have been led to believe that germs are the root of all evil. And that we should go to great lengths to avoid them…

Anti-bacteria hand creams, sprays, and wipes, fill our handbags and counters. Yet, compelling research tells us that we have gone too far. Some exposure to pets, dirt, and other children, for example, are vital for stimulating the immune system to work effectively. In experiments where we grow animals in completely sterile (germ-free) environments, their immune systems do not develop normally. In a conclusion, they develop severe immune diseases, including allergy and autoimmunity.

When our “microbiome” (our internal network of helpful and harmful bacteria) becomes imbalanced, our digestion, immune function, state of mind, and general health and wellbeing in time become compromised. Scientists now believe, an imbalanced microbiome to be one of the primary causes of several diseases and disorders. Such as:

  • Chronic infection
  • Inflammation
  • Autoimmunity
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Cancer
  • Neurological problems such as Alzheimer’s, autism, and schizophrenia.

The Canadian Medical Association Journal just a few months ago stated that “the disruption of the gut balance [is linked] to an increasing number of diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer, allergies, and asthma.”

Studies now tell us that exposure to dirt and germs is incredibly essential. We need regular exposure to bacteria and viruses to strengthen our immune system. In our own homes, among our own families, we want to take the opportunity to build up our immune systems.

Here are a few quick tips:

  • Letting children crawl on the floor is fine, playing in the dirt is a good thing; we encourage having family pets and sharing a spoon with your sister is, again, fine.
  • Cleaning away visible dirt or grime on any surface — sinks, floors, or door handles with thorough washing and cleaning products that are free of harsh chemicals — is usually enough without constant sterilizing. And also using disinfectants such as bleach (which probably kills everything in the air around it, too!).
  • Washing our hands with simple soap dislodges and removes surface particles without stripping everything on the skin. Antibacterial soaps kill both good and bad bacteria. They also strip the skin of the environment it needs to sustain good bacteria.
  • Be less concerned about germs but instead focus more on considering how strong is your child’s digestive power and immune system.

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8 Benefits of Exercising

We all have an extremely busy lifestyle and quite a few of us may not have the time to exercise. Additionally, summer is coming up and most of us would want to get ready for the beach body. But as a health practitioner, it is my duty to emphasise the importance of exercise, how it changes the body and how much of an impact it has other than just looking good.

Here is a list of some reasons why we know exercising consistently is important:

  • Reduces the risk of osteoporosis.
  • Increases bone and muscle strength.
  • Lowers blood cholesterol levels.
  • Lowers blood pressure.
  • Decreases the risk of type 2 Diabetes.
  • Increases endorphins which makes us feel good.
  • Decreases the risk of dementia.
  • Improves posture.

We have special little things in our body’s mitochondria. These mitochondria act as the power generator. They generate energy in our body, also known as ATP, from oxygen, fats, sugar and protein.  These ATP are what fuels the body to do what it needs to do, anything from muscle contractions and conducting nerve impulses is generated by ATP. Exercise promotes a process called mitophagy. Mitophagy is the removal of damaged or defected mitochondria after a period of stress. This promotes new and healthy mitochondria to take over providing a more efficient system to burn fat and sugar. As a result, this leads to bigger and stronger muscles.

I’m not asking you to be an athlete and exercise over 2 hours a day. but, as a recommendation, doing 30 minutes of exercise every day is enough. We may already be exercising every day without knowing it such as mowing the lawns and walking to work. If you are not regularly exercising, I’m going to ask you to go for a brisk walk for 30 minutes after dinner around the neighbourhood!

There are plenty of different types of exercises but the main two are cardio and weight training. In the next two weeks, I’ll be covering the benefits of each. Just remember we should all go for a 30 minute walk after dinner this week!

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Kids Balance Exercises: Hop

Kids Balance Exercises: Hop

To finish up the week for ‘kids balance’ week, we will be jumping around a bit, but you will have to do it with one leg!

Steps:

1. Stand on one leg and tuck the other leg up behind your bottom and hold it with the opposite hand.
2. Hop on the spot 5 times.
3. Hop 5 times and turn to the left each hop.
4. Hop 5 times and turn to the right each hop.

Concentrate on:

Keeping your spine nice and tall and looking straight ahead, not down at your feet.

What is balance and coordination? Why is your kids balance important?

Balance is the ability to maintain a controlled body position whilst performing a task, whether it is stepping up onto a kerb, sitting at a table, walking the balance beam. We need to maintain controlled positions during static (still) & dynamic (moving) activities.

What is Static balance?

The ability to hold a stationary position with control (e.g. “Freeze” or “statue” games).

What is Dynamic balance?

The ability to remain balanced while engaged in movement (e.g. running or bike riding).

Why are balance and coordination important? Why is your kids balance important?

Balance and coordination allows the child to be involved in the sports with a reasonable degree of success. Age appropriate balance aids fluid body movement for physical performance (e.g. walking a balance beam or playing football).

Being involved in sport is helpful is great for maintaining self regulation as well as building a social network and having a sense of belonging in a community. It can also help children develop controlled body movement during task performance. This can save energy therefore limit fatigue.

Kids balance is important as with good balance and coordination there is less likelihood of injury. How? The child is likely to have better postural reflexes when needed (e.g. putting hands out to protect themselves when they  fall off their bike). It also allows appropriate posture for table top tasks and at fine motor tasks.

 

For treatment and a check up you can visit our Revolution Chiropractic and wellness clinic in Auckland, North Shore. 

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Balance & Reach: Kids Balance Exercises

Kids Balance Exercises: Balance & Reach (Part 2)

Now we will make the balance and reach exercise a bit harder! Chiropractic care for your kids can greatly benefit their physical and mental development including improving their balance. Kids Chiropractic care is gentle, precise, and effective. Here’s a tip on how you can help your kids improve their balance.

STEPS to Balance:

1. Start on all fours.
2. Reach your LEFT ARM and RIGHT LEG out straight, hold for 10 seconds, relax it down.
3. Now, balance your RIGHT ARM and LEFT LEG out straight, hold for 10 seconds, relax it down.

CONCENTRATE ON: keeping your body still and not leaning over or letting your shoulders drop when you do the exercise. Be sure to hold the exercise for 10 seconds.

 

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Kids Balance Exercises: Balance & Reach

Kids Balance Exercises: Balance and Reach

This is great coordination and core strength exercise for adults and children alike! Chiropractic care for your kids can greatly benefit their physical and mental development including improving their balance. Kids Chiropractic care is gentle, precise, and effective. Here’s a tip on how you can help your kids improve their balance with Balance and Reach.

STEPS for Balance and Reach:

1. Start on all fours.
2. Reach your LEFT ARM out straight, hold for 10 seconds, relax it down.
3. Reach your RIGHT ARM out straight, hold for 10 seconds, relax it down.
4. Reach your LEFT LEG out straight, hold for 10 seconds, relax it down.
5. Reach your RIGHT LEG out straight, hold for 10 seconds, relax it down.

CONCENTRATE ON: keeping your body still and not leaning over or letting your shoulders drop when you do the exercise. Be sure to hold the exercise for 10 seconds.

 

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lqnv1-ioRPs[/embedyt]

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Kids Balance Exercises: Snow Angel

Kids Balance Exercises: Snow Angel

This activity will help your child to forge stronger sensory and movement connections to their limbs. Chiropractic care for your kids can greatly benefit their physical and mental development including improving their balance. Kids Chiropractic care is gentle, precise, and effective. Here’s a tip on how you can help your kids improve their balance with Snow Angel.

STEPS for Snow Angel:

1. Have your child lie on the ground face up with arms by their side and legs together.
2. Have them close your eyes.
3. As the parent you will tap an arm or a leg to indicate for your child to move it outwards then bring it back into their body.
4. You can tap an arm, or a leg, or both at the same time. And voila, snow angel.

 

LEVEL 2: Instead of tapping the limb you will tell them “left arm” or “right leg”.

 

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jTiOxlXbgFE[/embedyt]

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Kids Balance Exercises: Tap and Hop

Introduction

Chiropractic care for your kids can greatly benefit their physical and mental development including improving their balance. Kids Chiropractic care is gentle, precise, and effective. Here’s a tip on how you can help your kids improve their balance with tap and hop.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sw4rezd3Gw0[/embedyt]

 

Kids Balance Exercises: Tap & Hop

This week’s activities focus on sharpening up your child’s body and brain connection. For this purpose, we will use the movement and stimulating the joints. Helping your child develop better balance and become more aware of their body position in space can improve their capacity to learn!

STEPS for Tap and Hop:

1. Firmly tap your knees three times.
2. Then tap your elbows three times.
3. Then tap your shoulders three times.
4. Crouch down and hop as high as you can.

GOAL: do this 5 times.

 

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Should I Warm Up Before & Cool Down After Exercising?

Throughout any intense exercise session, the body is handling stress and has a risk of injury. This can be minimised by warming up and cooling down before and after your workout.

Before getting into your sport or strength training session, you want to get a warm up. This is going to prepare your body for exercise and increase your heart rate and breathing. Ideally, your warm up routine will consist of two-parts: a general warm up and specific warm up.

The general warm up

consists of jogging, biking, rowing or any other cardio exercise followed by dynamic stretching. Dynamic stretching is not your typical “touch your toes” stretching. It consists of movements that take your joints through their ranges of motion to warm up and stretch the muscles. For example, you can perform leg swings, shoulder circles and bodyweight lunges. The bodyweight lunges serve as a nice stretch for your hip flexors while also adding a little resistance exercise for your quads and glutes to warm them up.

The specific warm up

consists of specific exercises that closely resemble movements that you’ll be performing in your actual sport or training. For example, jumping exercises before getting onto the basketball court or some lightly weighted squats before your leg session in the gym.

The warm up is essential for your performance as it increases blood flow and oxygen to muscles, increases neural impulses to wake up your muscles and, most importantly, decreases the stiffness of connective tissues (ligaments and tendons) to avoid any muscle tears. Studies have shown that a structured warm-up can reduce your chance of injury by more than 50% and that’s on top of helping you perform better!

The cool down

is also important as it helps flush out any lactate (waste), prevent dizziness from blood pooling. It also decreases muscle soreness after your session. It consists of gradually decreasing your heart rate and stretching out your muscles. This also has two parts: general cool down and static stretching/foam rolling.

The general cool down

is similar to the general warm up since you can use jogging, biking or any activity at a progressively decreased intensity. Your aim should not be to sweat and go fast at this point, you just want to go through the motions and let your body slow down to a relaxing stop.

Following your general cool down you can get into some static stretching, which is the basic stretching where you hold stretches for around 15-30 seconds. You can also choose to use foam rollers or massage balls after your exercise to restore length in the connective tissues. The stretching and foam rolling helps reduce muscle soreness, increase muscle flexibility and stimulate circulation to flush out the lactate.

Be sure to hydrate well and eat a healthy meal after your workout to keep your body fuelled and recovering well!

Stay tuned next week for when we’ll take you through our ideal general warm-up and cool-down routine to cover all your bases!

Chiropractor Auckland

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What You Need To Know About Sugar

Is sugar bad?

 

Should you avoid it? This is possibly one of the most controversial topics in diet and health, but today, we’re going to tackle it with hard-core science and unveil the facts you need to know.

First, let’s define exactly what we mean by sugar. Is it the white stuff you scoop into your coffee? Well it can be, but that’s only one type of sugar, called sucrose. Sugar is actually a group of molecules that share a similar structure, so it’s actually more appropriate if we refer to them as sugars. Sugars are a type of carbohydrate known as “simple carbohydrates”, which means they digest more quickly.

You have taste receptors on your tongue for sugars that tell you “this is delicious” because naturally, sweet foods like fruits are full of vitamins, minerals and energy. Nowadays, there are some not-so-nutritious foods that are packed with sugar. The tricky part about this is that everyone reacts to sugar differently. Genetically, some of us want it more, some of us like it in small doses and some of us like it so much that the more we eat, the more we want.

 

What does the data say about sugar’s link to weight gain?

 

Well no single thing – including sugar – causes weight gain. A study was conducted comparing the low-carb diet to the low-fat diet when the calories were kept the same and the researchers concluded that there was no advantage to either diet over the long term.

One thing that definitely contributes to weight gain is an increased caloric intake. So if you’re one of those people that loves sugar so much that it always leaves you wanting more; then it’s a good idea to restrict yourself from sugar because eating it will most likely make you eat more of it and that will increase your overall caloric intake, which can lead to weight gain. It’s all about experimenting with your body and finding what works.

 

What does the data say about sugar’s link to diabetes?

 

 The short answer for this one is that managing sugar intake is just one piece of the diabetes-prevention puzzle. The biggest change you can make to prevent or reverse diabetes is to limit your fat intake that comes from all the animal products you eat such as red meat, pork, cheese, dairy milk and eggs. Research has shown that these types of fats are actually the biggest culprit driving diabetes. For more info watch the documentary ‘What The Health’ on Netflix.

This doesn’t give you permission to have fizzy drinks with your meals (bad idea). What it does is give you more insight on what you SHOULD focus on when looking to prevent diabetes, which is weight and body fat management. This is backed up by a LOT of research.

 

So… How much should I eat?

 

The point of this article is not to remove your guilt of eating sugar.  It’s not a health food and it doesn’t even add a whole lot of nutrient value like protein or omega-3 fatty acid does. But you can’t blame one thing for all your health problems. Being aware of your sugar intake is probably a good idea. As a guideline, limit sugar to 10% of your intake. But ensuring that you’re eating real whole foods for proper nutrients and finding a way to move and exercise more often has far greater benefits. Focus on the big rocks before the pebbles, and you’ll find navigating health a whole lot easier.

 

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