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Monthly Archives: August 2016

  • Back to School: Helping Your Kids Avoid Sports Injuries

    Posted on August 30, 2016 by Core Products

    By Brian Acton

    Now that school is back in session, parents with young athletes are gearing up for sports season. Extracurricular sports are a valuable activity: they teach kids the value of teamwork, discipline and how to use their bodies to achieve a goal. But with these rewards come risk – over 3.5 million children under 14 are injured playing sports annually.

    There are too many variables at play to completely shield your kids from sports injuries. But you can help them reduce the likelihood of injury and stay safe while having fun out in the field. Check out these tips to get started:

    Get them Checked Pre-Season

    You should take your young athlete to the physician for a physical evaluation prior to the season. In fact, many school-sponsored sports programs require this as a prerequisite for your child’s participation. Even if they don’t, it’s a good idea regardless. In some cases, your child’s regular physician can perform the evaluation. In others, the physician may recommend a specialist. An evaluation can clear your child for the sports season or identify any issues that need to be treated or monitored carefully during the school year.

    Get the Right Equipment

    Make sure you send your child to practice with the right equipment. If your child is re-using equipment from the previous year, double check everything to make sure it’s in good shape – you don’t want helmets, pads or other gear with too much wear and tear. The right footwear is a sound investment, as well – many sports require specific footwear and sending them to practice with basic running shoes won’t suffice.

    Finally, a water bottle is key as hydration is essential!

    Evaluate the Sports Programs

    Do your research on the sports program, team and coaches. If you can, talk to the coaches about their methods and how they work with players. Talk to the other parents as well – no one can give a better impression than the parents who are already involved. Attend practices and games yourself to see what your kids are experiencing in action.

    Finally, ask your kids how they’re doing and what they think about their programs. If something doesn’t feel right – for instance, an abnormal amount of injuries during practice - you may want to investigate what’s going on.

    Emphasize the Importance of Warmup and Recovery

    Stretching and warming up before strenuous activity is essential to athletic performance and reducing the risk of injury. Rest and recovery is just as important – your child’s muscles need to repair and recuperate after an intense workout, practice or game. Make sure to emphasize this with your child – kids sometimes tend to feel invincible and believe they can hop in and out of intense physical activity without issue.

    This can be especially risky when jumping back into a sport after a summer of relative inactivity. Make sure both your child and the coaches understand the importance of pre and post workout routines.

    In Closing

    Sports deliver many benefits to young people, including friendship, teamwork skills and confidence. But the threat of injury is real. Make sure your child is protected before they suit up and head out to practice. You can’t protect your child 100% of the time, but you can make sure they’re taking the right precautions and participating in activities that are fun and as safe as possible.


    This post was posted in Company

  • Tips for Encouraging Activity with Kids who Aren’t Athletic

    Posted on August 22, 2016 by Core Products

    By Brian Acton

    encouraging-activityThe modern childhood – with the temptations of video games, the online world, and indoor creature comforts – can be all too accommodating to kids who are disinterested in team sports or athletics. Add in shrinking recess times and large homework loads and you have increased demands to spend time indoors and a decreased demand for outdoors exercise.

    As you probably know, exercise is crucial for your child’s health, and childhood obesity rates are at an alarming level. But for children who aren’t into competitive sports or other outlets for physical activity, it can be difficult to motivate them to get their heart rate up and burn some calories.

    Here are a few tips to encourage your non-athletes to get more physical exercise:

    Choose Alternatives to Team Sports

    Some kids just aren’t into team sports – they may not be competitive or team-oriented. For those kids, activities that can be done alone or with friends in a non-competitive setting is preferable. Hiking, swimming, or rock climbing are great examples, but it all depends on what you have available in your area and your child’s preferences.

    Try to participate with your child as much as possible. It may take some trial and error before they find an activity that is a great fit.

    Limit Screen Access

    One of the greatest drains to child activity in is the time they spend in front of a screen. On average, kids can spend anywhere from two to six hours in front of a screen every day: this counts television, tablets, computers, and video games. Too much screen time takes away from opportunities to exercise and also becomes extremely habit-forming.

    Limiting screen time can help kids get motivated to exercise. If kids can’t entertain themselves through passive entertainment, they’re more likely to find alternatives to occupy their time.

    A few techniques that can help you do this: keep televisions and PCs out of your kids’ bedrooms. Keep the computer in a mutual family space that can be supervised. And use a timer to track screen time.

    Gamify the Experience

    Kids today understand video game logic – and you can encourage exercise by applying that logic to the real world. Video games tend to reward players by completing tasks in game, helping make their characters more powerful or giving them new abilities.

    If you’ve ever made a chore chart for your kids (with rewards, stickers, or points as motivation) you’re already familiar with the concept: giving your kids incentive to complete activities by giving them a way to track progress and reward themselves.

    The details on how to do this are up to you, but all you really need is a system for rewarding exercise:

    • Fitness apps track activity and even provide rewards or point-based systems to completing tasks. If the whole family gets them, you can engage in friendly competitions or challenges to see who can be the most active. One of our favorites – Zombies, Run! – uses headphones and an app to motivate users to outrun zombies, rewarding players with virtual supplies to build up a base in game.
    • Instead of fitness apps, you can use an analog approach and have an exercise chart on the wall – logging your child’s exercise. A certain amount of points can result in a treat such as a trip to the movies.

    Feel free to get creative. Games are a great way to motivate kids and adults to have fun while taking fitness seriously.

    Lead by Example

    It’s difficult to make your kids see the value of exercise when you’re splayed on the couch watching Netflix all night long. If you can’t make time away from the screen to exercise, your kids will likely follow in your footsteps. And wanting them to be more active is a perfect opportunity for you to practice what you preach. You can start by participating in activities with your kids – playing catch, gong for a walk, visiting a museum or park – and extend that to times when you’re on your own, as well. Your kids will take notice of your behavior, even if they don’t come out and say it.

    In Closing

    Team sports are a great way for kids to introduce themselves to fitness and physical activity, but they aren’t for everyone. Luckily, there are so many alternatives that fit a variety of personalities. By limiting screen time, incentivizing exercise, and leading by example, you can help your child develop a love of exercise that will benefit them for their entire lives.


    This post was posted in Company

  • Tips for Staying Active at a Desk Job

    Posted on August 16, 2016 by Core Products

    desk-jobBy Brian Acton

    Staying healthy and active is difficult in the modern era of the desk job. For those of us who perform most of our work in front of computers, it’s difficult to get out of our chairs and get the circulation going. But if we don’t make an effort to fight the negative health affects of a desk job, we may end up paying for it in a big way.

    Health professionals have begun referring to long periods of inactivity and their results on our health as “sitting disease. “ But instead of one condition, research has linked extended periods of sedentary activity with a wide variety of negative affects and harmful conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, heart attacks and strokes.

    While this information isn’t necessarily new, more recent studies has suggested that even people who exercise and eat right on a regular basis are still at far higher risk for health problems if they sit for long periods of the day.

    For those of us who spend 40+ hours of work sitting down, all is not lost. Here are a few ways you can counteract the desk job and its health risks.

    Break Up Periods of Sitting with Light Activity

    You don’t have to eliminate the chair from your daily routine. Instead, you can focus more on mixing in activity throughout the day. Getting out of your chair every so often to walk, stretch, or perform any other moderate activity will help fight the affects of extensive sitting.

    The key is to do it regularly – you could set a reminder to ping you each hour and remind you to out of your chair for a few minutes. Many fitness bands, phone apps, and even desktop calendars can easily be set to remind you periodically to get moving.

    You could even schedule walking meetings – instead of sitting in a conference room, take your team on a walk around the block while you talk out a problem.

    Even standing periodically can help - during meetings or phone calls, you always have the option to stand – especially if you have a hands-free headset.

    Standing Desks

    For those hours logged in front of the computer, an adjustable standing desk is a great option. Rolling this solution out office-wide may require cooperation from coworkers and management. But a recent study found that 67% of office workers wished they had adjustable desks, and over half believed they would be more productive if they had the option to stand and work. Which is to say you may not have trouble finding some likeminded coworkers to team up and make a strong case for adjustable desks that can be moved from a sitting to a standing position.

    For management, purchasing adjustable desks for everyone may be a sizeable investment. But the returns on employee health could be compelling – standing more during the day builds muscle, helps posture, increases blood flow, and burns calories.

    Take the Stairs

    If you typically take the elevator, you may want to take the stairs instead – climbing 3 to 5 flights of stairs a day in lieu of the elevator burns calories in a big way – there’s a reason you see so many people on Stairmasters or elliptical machines at the gym. If you work on the 20th floor and can’t start your day with that kind of climb, you could always take the elevator to the 15th floor and start from there.

    Sit on a Balance Ball

    You’ve probably seen office workers sitting on a fitness or balance ball instead of a chair. While they are a bit silly looking, they’re doing wonders for core health as they keep your core muscles engaged all day. They’re also great for posture.

    Conclusion

    It doesn’t necessarily matter what you’re doing to fight long periods of inactivity at your desk – as long as you’re doing something. If you already hit the gym and exercise frequently, it may be disheartening to learn that regular workouts don’t counteract your desk job inactivity that much, but that isn’t a reason to ditch the gym. Instead, work in regular, light activity – such as standing, walking, or stretching – periodically instead of staying glued to your chair. The long-term effects can be tremendous for your health.


    This post was posted in Company

  • Basic Essentials for Building a Home Gym

    Posted on August 8, 2016 by Core Products

    home-gymBy Brian Acton

    Building a home gym comes with a number of fantastic benefits. Gym memberships can be expensive, and in the long run home gyms can save you a lot of money. Just getting to the gym can be a pain. It’s much easier to motivate yourself to work out when you don’t have to leave the house, and it’s less time-consuming as well.

    Finally, one of the biggest advantages is that you don’t have to share your home gym with the general public. That means your favorite machines are always open, you only listen to the music you like, and strangers aren’t sweating all over your equipment. Sounds pretty nice, right?

    If you have the space and the money for the upfront cost, a home gym is a great option to stay in shape. We know everyone’s fitness goals are different, but there are a few gym staples that will help anyone build a great home gym. Here are a few of the best starter choices for gym equipment that will have you working out in the comfort of your own home in no time:

    Cardio Equipment

    A good cardio workout is the best way to work up a sweat and burn calories. While there are a number of ways to get your heart rate up – including low-cost or no-cost exercises like burpees, jumping jacks or jump rope – for a long cardio workout you’re probably going to need a decent machine. Here are a few great options:

    • Treadmills: for the walkers, joggers, and runners, nothing beats a treadmill. Treadmills let you run to your heart’s content without having to suffer through extreme weather or temperatures. And to switch it up, many modern treadmills have different programming pre-sets to adjust your workout – for instance, interval training or various inclines. As for price, treadmills can range from a few hundred dollars to thousands – so know what you’re looking for and research your options before you buy.

    Another bonus of treadmills: they’re easier on the knees than running on the road.

    • Rowing Machines: Rowing machines let you sit down, but that doesn’t mean this is an easy workout. Rowing burns calories fast, has great cardiovascular benefits, and works almost all the muscles in your body. Rowers are generally much cheaper than your average treadmill as well.
    • Exercise Bikes: Just like treadmills, exercise bikes give you the benefit of the exercise without having to experience the weather. Most are programmable or come with pre-set workouts with different difficulty and training levels. Exercise bikes are fairly inexpensive, but do your research on quality – you don’t want something that breaks down quickly.

     

    Weightlifting

    Weightlifting is the best way to build strength and muscle. The advantage of a gym membership is that you get access to all the weights and weight machines you can dream up – but those aren’t strictly necessary. Weights are very affordable and budget-friendly compared to complicated machines. Here’s all you need to get started:

    • Dumbbells: For a beginner’s home gym, the best way to start with lifting is a set of dumbbells of varying weight. They’re inexpensive, don’t take up much space, and can be used in dozens of ways to build muscle. Or, consider adjustable dumbbells which you can easily set to the weight needed for your set of lifts.
    • Barbell and Weight Set: All you need to perform many of the exercises that gym machines provide is a barbell, a set of weight plates to put on that barbell, and a weightlifting bench. If you’re starting out, there’s no need to be intimidated – you can put on any weight you desire, and so barbells lifting can be challenging or relatively easy.

     

    …Additional Essentials

    • Medicine balls: Medicine balls can be used in a number of great workouts that target all body parts, especially your core. If you want a strong core, a medicine ball gives you many great exercise options.
    • Resistance bands: Resistance bands look like giant rubber bands, and come in many different sizes and resistance levels. You can use them to target your arms, legs, and even make common exercises more challenging.
    • Foam rollers: For recovery after a hard workout, foam rollers are essential. They work out tough spots in tight muscles and speed up the recovery process. And yes, this process hurts sometimes – the same way a massage does. That’s because it’s breaking up tension in tight, sore muscles. Check out our blog on some of the best foam rolling exercises to learn more.
    • Entertainment: Do you know what can make a long workout unnecessarily difficult? Thinking too hard about the workout while you’re doing it. Music, television, and even audiobooks can help you concentrate on something other than the hard work while your body takes over.

     

    There you have it – a list of some of the best equipment for building a home gym. Everyone’s needs are different – if building muscle isn’t important to you, weights may not be an essential need. But these basics can help you get a home gym up and running so you can cancel that expensive membership. If you have the space, the initial money needed, and the motivation, you can make a home gym that serves you just as well as a multimillion dollar sports complex with the latest technology.


    This post was posted in Education

  • Tips to Promote Good Posture in Your Kids

    Posted on August 1, 2016 by Core Products

    By Brian Acton

    “Stop slouching!”

    If you were raised by parents who cared about posture, you likely heard that phrase in your childhood more times than you can count. Aunts and uncles, gym teachers, and coaches also liked to get in on the (good-natured) corrective action.

    Yet, odds are you still have suboptimal posture habits. According to the American Posture Institute, 90% of the population still has posture that will negatively affect their health. Posture goes hand-in-hand with your spinal health, your nervous system, and other aspects of your physical well-being. Bad posture can have negative effects on your physicality and quality of life.

    The thing is, you know the basics of good posture and how to practice it – it’s just hard breaking bad habits. This is why it’s important to develop good posture habits early in life. And if you have kids, you may be wondering how to promote good posture with them beyond nagging them to sit up straight. After all, you can’t monitor their posture 100% of the time.

    So to help you out (we’re cool like that!), here are a few tips to keep your kids practicing good posture.

    Postural Examinations

    Every child should have a postural examination – to determine if they exhibit good posture, and also to examine for abnormal spine curvature. These exams should take place by age 6, and can be performed by your child’s pediatrician or a specialist – although in some cases, schools will bring in medical professionals as a service.

    These exams can serve as a baseline for future examinations. After the initial exam, your child should have an annual follow-up to make sure their spine and posture is developing in the right way.

    Backpacks

    School age children tend to carry overloaded backpacks that put too much strain on their backs and force them to lean forward or arch their back to carry the load, rather than standing up straight. This is terrible for posture and spinal health in general. You should help your child organize their backpacks and leave behind things they don’t need each day – using lockers or keeping unneeded books at home. Check out our blog on this very topic for tips on keeping your child’s backpack load light.

    Avoid Tech Neck

    Both children and adults these days spend a lot of time looking at screen – our phones, tablets, and computers. While interacting with our technology, our tendency is to position our necks toward the screen in our hands, lap, or desk. This can cause major problems by putting too much unnecessary weight and pressure on our necks. Read our blog on tech neck to learn more about the potential damage we’re doing to ourselves every time we crane our necks toward a screen, and how we can combat this modern malady.

    Sports

    Several activities and sports promote good posture through the nature of the movements required. Gymnastics, yoga, and swimming are all great examples of activities that require close attention to body positioning and form.

    Lead by Example

    Lastly, promoting good posture is a case of leading by example and providing motivation. When your children practice good posture, make sure they know they’re doing the right thing – kids tend to thrive on positive reinforcement. In addition, kids tend to emulate their role models. For young children, that’s still you (enjoy it while you can!).

    All the good advice in the world may not mean much if you’re still slumping and slouching your way through life. Stand tall and your children will be more likely to stand with you!


    This post was posted in Education

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