Fall is here...and we are all tempted to sit cozy around
a fireplace. But there is no better time to implement
smart and realistic fitness goals as today.
In this spirit, we hope that you will enjoy our tips and
information on getting fit, or maintaining your fitness.
|Quick Tip - Dog Walking for Weight Control
Does your lifestyle permit you to have a pet? One way
to develop a healthier lifestyle is to take on the
responsibility of a dog that has to be walked each day,
twice a day. Dogs develop overweight and heart
problems just like humans do. They require daily
exercise to stay heart healthy. You will keep your dog
trim and healthy by taking your dog on long daily walks
and you will find that this routine will help keep YOU
trim and healthy as well. If you take your dog out for a
4 to 5 mile walk each day you will discover that weight
control will be easier and you will experience other
benefits as well.
There is solid scientific evidence that caring for a pet is
an antidote to depression and daily exercise is a mood
enhancer as well. Taking care of your pet with two 30
minute walks a day is another way of taking good care
of yourself - both mentally and physically.
Here's another tip: If boredom on your walk is a
problem, try using Books on Tape to keep yourself
entertained. You will enjoy your walk more and both
you and your pet will be healthier and happier.
Visit our site for more information! »
|Support Somebody You Love With This Gift!
This beautifully designed gift basket contains
everything that you need to get started or continue
developing healthy fitness habits.
What a great gift for the holidays right around the
The basket includes:
The Asian Diet Cookbook,
Healthy Weight, Healthy Living,
Fitting Fitness In,
On Your Way To Fitness,
10,000 Steps Program, and the
Shape Up America! members get a 10% discount!
To order your basket go here! »
|Toxic Trends - Overweight and Smoking
A May 2002 report from the American Association of
Retired Persons (AARP) warns that too many people
aged 50 and over are carrying around excess weight.
Smoking rates are declining in folks in this age group,
but they are packing on the pounds.
Smoking is one way to introduce poisons - toxic
substances - directly into your lungs, and from your
lungs these toxins pass immediately into your
bloodstream. As you assault your entire body with
these poisons, your body's defenses kick into action
and the result is an INCREASE in your metabolic rate.
Your metabolic rate is the rate at which your body
burns calories. Smoking causes an increase in that
rate. That explains why smokers tend to be thinner but
they get sicker and die at a younger age than
When you quit smoking, your body is able to lower its
defenses. Thus, with smoking cessation there is a
small DECREASE in your metabolic rate -- which can
cause a weight gain of 10-12 pounds. This weight gain
is entirely avoidable if you take steps to compensate.
Here is what you need to know:
If you have quit smoking or are planning to, you
don't have to gain weight. Become a member of Shape
Up America! and visit the Shape Up America!
CYBERKitchen for a crash course in energy balance.
The CYBERKitchen will help you assess your daily calorie
needs and will also help you take off a few pounds
while eating REAL FOOD.
Physical activity will help you take your mind off the
stress of quitting. It will also help you ward off the
tendency to gain weight. You can design a
comprehensive program of physical activity to help you
avoid weight gain in the Shape Up America! Fitness
THE SOLUTION: When you quit smoking, to avoid the
weight gain, you can take steps to compensate -
literally. The Shape Up America! 10,000 steps program
is a great way to help you decrease the stress of
quitting while at the same time increasing the calories
you burn each day. The benefit is you avoid the
weight gain associated with quitting smoking and you
are very likely to produce some weight loss as a
dividend. These positive effects will reinforce your
commitment to smoking cessation -- so it is a way to
double your winnings.
Take Action, Become A Member! »
|Childhood Obesity - It Takes a Family
(The following article contains excerpts from the Shape
Up America! Parent's Guide to the Assessment and
Treatment of the Overweight Child. The entire Parent's
Guide is available on the Shape Up America! website -
www.shapeup.org--and - and is available free to
members or for a small fee to non-members)
You may have heard that when a child is too fat, the
risk of diabetes looms like a dark cloud that threatens
the health of the overweight child. For the first time in
history, 8 year old children are suffering
from "Diabesity" - obesity-induced type 2 diabetes.
What is just as upsetting, overweight children are
subjected to ridicule and teasing from their friends and
schoolmates. It is not surprising that nearly one third
of these children are depressed. What steps can you
take to protect the mental and physical health and well
being of your children? How do you know if your child
Unlike assessment of obesity in adults, the assessment
of overweight in children is NOT simple or
straightforward. It is important to keep in mind that
some children are simply large for their age rather than
overly fat. The correct assessment of a child is vitally
important to the child's health and emotional well being.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
has issued a set of growth charts that are used to
evaluate the growth of children. Your child's
pediatrician will know how to use these charts. Growth
assessments every year are important for your child.
The CDC now offers new growth charts that are used
for the purpose of assessing your child's weight status.
The charts utilize the Body Mass Index or BMI, which is
calculated after careful measurements of your child's
height and weight.
The BMI is not used directly in children as it is in
adults. A child's BMI is considered relative to that of
other children of the same age and gender. Your
pediatrician will know how to measure your child and
determine the correct gender- and age-specific BMI
percentile. If you are concerned about the possibility
that your child may be overweight or obese, gender-
and age-specific BMI Percentile is essential information
for assessing the weight status of your child.
The BMI percentile for your child will tell you how your
child's BMI compares to other children of the same age
and gender. If you have a boy who is 8 years old and
his BMI falls at the 60th percentile, that means that
40% -- that is, 40 out of 100 -- 8 year old boys have a
higher BMI than your boy, and 60% -- that is, 60 out of
100 - 8 year old boys have a lower BMI than your
child. If you know your child's BMI percentile, you
know how to compare your child's BMI to the BMI of
other children the same age and gender.
If a child's BMI falls at the 95th percentile or higher,
the child meets the definition of "overweight," but this
definition of overweight is not perfect since the child
may be large rather than fat. A more definitive
assessment of overweight can only be done by your
child's pediatrician or other qualified health professional
who repeatedly evaluates your child in person.
A child who falls between the 85th and 95th BMI
percentiles is considered to be "at risk for overweight"
and should be closely monitored by a pediatrician or
other qualified pediatric health professional. A child
who consistently tracks at a lower BMI percentile but
suddenly jumps up to a much higher percentile may be
at risk also and requires monitoring.
At this time, there is no accepted definition of "obesity"
in children. Few clinics can measure body fat in
children and accepted standards of body fat in children
are not yet available. So, from a practical standpoint,
it is not appropriate to categorize a child as "obese."
Moreover, calling a child "obese" may be harmful in that
it stigmatizes a child and may hurt his or her feelings.
Using names that make an overweight child feel even
worse is not helpful and should be avoided.
What to do if your child is overweight will be published
on our November issue.
More on this topic »
|How Much Exercise is Enough???
The answer depends on whether your goal is weight
management or improved health.
In 1996, the U. S. Surgeon General issued a report on
Physical Activity and Health. In that report, the
Surgeon General recommended 30 minutes of physical
activity each day for the purpose of improving your
health. The Surgeon General's recommendation to
accumulate 30 minutes of activity a day is indeed a
health enhancing recommendation. However, for most
people, 30 minutes of activity a day is insufficient for
The Institute of Medicine (referred to as the "IOM")
issued a report in September 2002 that sets new
recommendations for calories and other components of
the daily diet that are based on how active you are.
But we know that very few Americans are "Active" and
close to 65% of the American people are either
completely inactive or nearly so.
How much activity do you have to engage in each day
In order to consider yourself "Active"? The IOM says
that "60 minutes of daily moderate intensity physical
activity (e.g., walking/jogging at 4 to 5 MPH) is
recommended, in addition to the activities required by a
What exactly does that recommendation mean? First,
it recognizes that there is at least some activity
associated with living a sedentary lifestyle. The IOM is
recommending that you accumulate 60 minutes of
physical activity is ON TOP OF your customary
activities associated with living a sedentary life. To
meet the recommendation, you could go for a walk or
perhaps several walks to accumulate a total of 60
minutes of EXTRA activity each day.
Second, the recommendation is for exercise
of "moderate intensity." For walking, that means you
should walk at a pace that is approximately 4 to 5 miles
per hour. If you walk for 60 minutes at that pace, you
will cover a distance of somewhere between 4 and 5
miles. Remember, you don't need to do all of your
walking at one time. You can break it up if that is more
If you dislike walking and prefer biking or some other
activity instead, a "moderate" level of intensity would
be one you would consider to be "somewhat hard."
Some people think of moderate intensity to be a level
that allows you to talk, but would not allow you to sing
as you do the activity. In other words, if you can sing,
you need to pick up the pace and work a little harder
until you find you can still talk, but can't sing.
Find out more about our 10,000 steps program