News - Page 7 of 9 - YMCA of Southwestern Indiana

Conquering Cancer…Then a Canyon

The LIVESTRONG at the YMCA program is a free community program for cancer survivors that focuses on the whole person – not the disease – by providing support and guidance to help rebuild and gain strength. We recently received this empowering message from one of our participants:

I want to share my great excitement with all of you. My son and I just got back from a 7 day rafting trip in the Grand Canyon, and I was able to do most of the hikes, one of which was an hour long major stair-stepper hike up the side of the canyon. I was so full of emotion, gratefulness, and LIFE at the top of that hike that I broke into tears (of joy of course). It was simply soooo amazing! Didn’t matter that I was the next to the last person to the top. I really made it. Praise to God!

In this picture, Jordan and I are near the top of our hike. If you zoom in over my left shoulder, you can see our two blue rafting boats and camp, which is the beginning point from which we hiked.

LIVESTRONG at the YMCA helps cancer survivors regain strength and spirit.
Many, many thanks to LIVESTRONG, fellow Survivors & Thrivers, Sally, Dusty & Denise, and of course the YMCA for caring enough to invest in our health and recovery from Cancer, all the encouragement & prayers, and making this possible for me!

Dena
-LIVESTRONG at the YMCA Participant

Summer Screen Time: How Much Is Too Much?

Summertime means more free time for youth. Without the school day to occupy them, many children and teens find themselves entertained by TV, websites and digital devices.  While these devices can be comforting on a rainy day or a necessary means of decompressing, many parents and caregivers may wonder: How is screen time affecting the health and development of the youth in our lives?

The answer is in the research:

  • By the time children turn 10 years old, every additional hour of television they watched as toddlers is associated with lower math and school achievement, reduced physical activity and victimization by classmates in middle childhood (JAMA Pediatrics).
  • For every hour of television children watch, they are 8 percent less likely to eat fruit every day, 18 percent more likely to eat candy and 16 percent more likely to eat fast food (Time).

Meeting the needs of human connection and holistic support are key to the healthy development of all youth—and there’s a real concern by many youth development specialists that screen time may be replacing those critical moments in a child’s life.

So, how much summer screen time is too much?

According to the Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (HEPA) Standards, caregivers should eliminate screen time for children under two years of age. For children over two, screen time should be limited to less than 30 minutes per day for children in half-day programs and less than one hour per day for children in full-day programs.

Here are some helpful strategies to help families limit screen time with youth:

  • Connect interactive lessons to popular media to engage youth without the screen. Make apps, games and shows come alive through building, sculpting and acting. For example, learn about the culture, community and population depicted in a popular show. Explore commonly eaten foods, popular physical activities, climate and so on.
  • Start screen-free weeks and use the time to help kids explore new interests outside of media consumption.
  • Introduce new clubs or activities that children help plan, lead and organize. Involvement increases personal investment, peer engagement and leadership opportunities.

4 Healthy Habits to Start Right Now

Learning how to eat right, manage a social life, get workouts done and work a full day seems impossible sometimes. It can be so tempting to attend every fancy event and happy hour, but it’s also important to take care of yourself. Let’s discuss some habits to set you up for success.

1: Get Good at Eating Vegetables

If there’s one habit you should start young and never stop, it’s eating vegetables. So basic, so simple, but it’s the truth. Vegetables are full of nutrients, high in fiber and low in calories. To eat a healthy diet, vegetables must be part of your daily routine.

First, take notice of how many vegetables you’re eating. Look at your fist and figure out how many fists of vegetables you eat a day. Slowly start adding more, reaching a goal of 6-10 per day.

Consider the following strategies:

  • Bring veggies with you everywhere you go. Chopped carrots, peppers, celery, broccoli, cauliflower and radishes are great on the go.
  • Always order vegetables when you’re out. It doesn’t have to be a salad, but it could be a side of veggies, or swapping some of your starch for a veggie.
  • Keep a bag of greens in your fridge at all times. Throw them in soups or over eggs, or use them as a side for dinner, or a base of a meal. Eat raw, sautéed, steamed or microwaved. Greens go with everything and are so easy to incorporate into your routine. Frozen greens work, too.
  • Use fat, spice and acid to make it taste better. Add oils, butter, cheese, any spice you like, vinegars, lemon or lime to get more vegetables into your routine. Over time, you may notice you don’t need as much added flavor, but do what you’ve got to do.

2: Splurge — in Moderation

Sugar, fried food and alcohol aren’t going away. Quite frankly, they shouldn’t, as splurges are a wonderful and tasty part of life. When you jump into the working world, you may notice how many treats and cocktails effortlessly enter your daily routine. Work meetings, networking opportunities and social events add up. You might go “all or nothing” with this and have weeks or months where you’re drinking and eating an excessive amount, and then challenge yourself to weeks or months of no sugar or alcohol. Although this can sometimes be successful in the short term, it’s exhausting and likely not going to set you up for long-term success. A smarter move is to accept that these foods are in your world, and be strategic about it.

  • If you’re going to a party, eat a balanced meal before you go, so you don’t walk into a splurge-filled situation with a ravenous stomach.
  • Set a rule before you go. Give yourself a number of  treats you’re going to allow yourself before the event starts. Walk in with a plan to keep you focused.
  • Brush your teeth. If you brush your teeth midday at work, it may be easier to say no to the treats at the office.
  • There are scenarios that insist you take the birthday cake, the glass of punch or other splurge. You don’t have to eat it all. You can have a bite or a sip, or even two, and then set the plate or glass down with no one noticing.

3: Put Yourself First

This seems strange, but putting yourself first is a skill, a worthy one that takes practice and time to make it a habit. There are countless moments throughout the day when you can decide to put your goals of a healthy lifestyle over following the pack. For example, take the stairs, even if your friends take the elevator. Be the one at work who goes to the gym at lunch hour, even if it’s for a quick 20- to 30-minute workout. Be the one at the office who has vegetables for an afternoon snack, rather than a cookie. Your health has to be the priority. Unfortunately, if you just go with the flow, you’ll likely eat too much and not move enough. It requires effort to put a healthy lifestyle before anything else. It doesn’t have to be dramatic, but little changes make all the difference.

  • Have a water bottle with you at all times to stay hydrated.
  • Do 10 to 20 push-ups and squats in the morning and/or evening if you can’t get longer workouts in your schedule.
  • Pack the week’s veggie snacks on Sunday nights.
  • When everyone is ordering a heavier meal, instead find a vegetable-rich salad, a veggie side or consider ordering a meal with the dressing, sauce, cheese or fried stuff on the side. That way you can manage your decisions and create a plate that works for you.
  • Find a workout that’s convenient to you so it fits with your lifestyle.
  • Turn off the TV/computer/screens at a certain time so you go to bed at a reasonable hour.

4: Say No

If you say yes to every social offer that comes your way, and every splurge food that’s put in front of you, you won’t feel so well after a year in the “real world.” Realize the power of saying no. You can do it with a smile on your face and still be a team player. If it’s someone’s birthday party, you can sing and celebrate without eating a gigantic piece of cake. You could take a small piece, or have a bite, or simply smile and say “no thank you.”

  • When your co-worker wants to take an afternoon walk for a mocha and a cookie, you can join and simply have coffee or tea. If you want something sweet, consider sharing the cookie rather than each buying your own. Ask your co-worker how he’s doing and enjoy the conversation. There’s no need to have a calorie-filled afternoon snack just because your co-worker wants to.
  • Smile as you say no. Practice right now: Smile and say no aloud. Avoid judging, saying “ew” or making someone else feel bad for ordering something not in line with your values. Smile first, say “no thank you,” and move on.

Pay attention during this exciting time in your life. Have fun! But take time daily, or hourly, to be sure you’re also prioritizing your health. You can thank yourself later.

Source: Jae Berman, The Washington Post. 6/14/17.

Age Better, Hurt Less: 7 Tips That May Help

Do you know people who seem to defy the stereotypes of ageing – especially when it comes to pain? They may have occasional aches. But they’re moving through life with zest well into their retirement years.

What’s their secret to aging so comfortably?

Ask them – and you may find they rely on positive steps like theseto help prevent or reduce muscle and joint discomfort. And their secrets may work for you as well.

  1. Keep Moving: It’s important to stay as active as possible. Even people who have arthritis pain benefit from keeping joints limber and muscles strong. If you’re just starting an exercise program, begin gradually – and build from there.
  2. Exercise All Your Options: Find activities that you enjoy. You’ll be more likely to stay active if you like what you’re doing. If you’re looking for an aerobic activities that are gentle on the joint, consider biking, swimming and walking. Stretching exercises, including yoga and tai chi, can improve flexibility and may help ease or prevent pain.  Most healthy adults should aim for at least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise a week. Make strength exercises part of your routine as well.
  3. Balance Action With Rest: Some downtime is important too. Schedule regular rest days between workout sand other physical activities, so that your body can rejuvenate and repair tissue.
  4. Meet Weighty Issues Head On: It isn’t fun math: each pound you gain adds nearly 4 pounds of stress to your knees. And it increases the pressure to your hips 6 times over. If you’re carrying excess weight, talk with your doctor about way to lose it. It’s a big step for better health – and you may have less pain too.
  5. Protect And Preserve: An injured joint hurts –  and it’s also more likely to develop osteoarthritis . So guard your joint from damage. If you play sports, wear protective gear. And when lifting, have your own back – by using proper technique.
  6. Accentuate The Positive: People who focus their attention on what they can do, rather than what they can’t, may cope better with pain. If your limitations are getting you down, make more room in your life for activities – and people – that make you feel energized, happy and upbeat.
  7. Listen To Your Body: If you have a nagging injury or suddenly develop pain that limits your movement, stop what you’re doing – and talk with your doctor.

Source: UnitedHealthcare.com

4 Healthy Habits to Start Right Now

Learning how to eat right, manage a social life, get workouts done and work a full day seems impossible sometimes. It can be so tempting to attend every fancy event and happy hour, but it’s also important to take care of yourself. Let’s discuss some habits to set you up for success.

1: Get Good at Eating Vegetables

If there’s one habit you should start young and never stop, it’s eating vegetables. So basic, so simple, but it’s the truth. Vegetables are full of nutrients, high in fiber and low in calories. To eat a healthy diet, vegetables must be part of your daily routine.

First, take notice of how many vegetables you’re eating. Look at your fist and figure out how many fists of vegetables you eat a day. Slowly start adding more, reaching a goal of 6-10 per day.

Consider the following strategies:

● Bring veggies with you everywhere you go. Chopped carrots, peppers, celery, broccoli, cauliflower and radishes are great on the go.
● Always order vegetables when you’re out. It doesn’t have to be a salad, but it could be a side of veggies, or swapping some of your starch for a veggie.
● Keep a bag of greens in your fridge at all times. Throw them in soups or over eggs, or use them as a side for dinner, or a base of a meal. Eat raw, sautéed, steamed or microwaved. Greens go with everything and are so easy to incorporate into your routine. Frozen greens work, too.
● Use fat, spice and acid to make it taste better. Add oils, butter, cheese, any spice you like, vinegars, lemon or lime to get more vegetables into your routine. Over time, you may notice you don’t need as much added flavor, but do what you’ve got to do.

2: Splurge — in Moderation

Sugar, fried food and alcohol aren’t going away. Quite frankly, they shouldn’t, as splurges are a wonderful and tasty part of life. When you jump into the working world, you may notice how many treats and cocktails effortlessly enter your daily routine. Work meetings, networking opportunities and social events add up. You might go “all or nothing” with this and have weeks or months where you’re drinking and eating an excessive amount, and then challenge yourself to weeks or months of no sugar or alcohol. Although this can sometimes be successful in the short term, it’s exhausting and likely not going to set you up for long-term success. A smarter move is to accept that these foods are in your world, and be strategic about it.

● If you’re going to a party, eat a balanced meal before you go, so you don’t walk into a splurge-filled situation with a ravenous stomach.
● Set a rule before you go. Give yourself a number of  treats you’re going to allow yourself before the event starts. Walk in with a plan to keep you focused.
● Brush your teeth. If you brush your teeth midday at work, it may be easier to say no to the treats at the office.
● There are scenarios that insist you take the birthday cake, the glass of punch or other splurge. You don’t have to eat it all. You can have a bite or a sip, or even two, and then set the plate or glass down with no one noticing.

3: Put Yourself First

This seems strange, but putting yourself first is a skill, a worthy one that takes practice and time to make it a habit. There are countless moments throughout the day when you can decide to put your goals of a healthy lifestyle over following the pack. For example, take the stairs, even if your friends take the elevator. Be the one at work who goes to the gym at lunch hour, even if it’s for a quick 20- to 30-minute workout. Be the one at the office who has vegetables for an afternoon snack, rather than a cookie. Your health has to be the priority. Unfortunately, if you just go with the flow, you’ll likely eat too much and not move enough. It requires effort to put a healthy lifestyle before anything else. It doesn’t have to be dramatic, but little changes make all the difference.

● Have a water bottle with you at all times to stay hydrated.
● Do 10 to 20 push-ups and squats in the morning and/or evening if you can’t get longer workouts in your schedule.
● Pack the week’s veggie snacks on Sunday nights.
● When everyone is ordering a heavier meal, instead find a vegetable-rich salad, a veggie side or consider ordering a meal with the dressing, sauce, cheese or fried stuff on the side. That way you can manage your decisions and create a plate that works for you.
● Find a workout that’s convenient to you so it fits with your lifestyle.
● Turn off the TV/computer/screens at a certain time so you go to bed at a reasonable hour.

4: Say No

If you say yes to every social offer that comes your way, and every splurge food that’s put in front of you, you won’t feel so well after a year in the “real world.” Realize the power of saying no. You can do it with a smile on your face and still be a team player. If it’s someone’s birthday party, you can sing and celebrate without eating a gigantic piece of cake. You could take a small piece, or have a bite, or simply smile and say “no thank you.”

● When your co-worker wants to take an afternoon walk for a mocha and a cookie, you can join and simply have coffee or tea. If you want something sweet, consider sharing the cookie rather than each buying your own. Ask your co-worker how he’s doing and enjoy the conversation. There’s no need to have a calorie-filled afternoon snack just because your co-worker wants to.
● Smile as you say no. Practice right now: Smile and say no aloud. Avoid judging, saying “ew” or making someone else feel bad for ordering something not in line with your values. Smile first, say “no thank you,” and move on.

Pay attention during this exciting time in your life. Have fun! But take time daily, or hourly, to be sure you’re also prioritizing your health. You can thank yourself later.

Source: Jae Berman, The Washington Post. 6/14/17.

Screen Time: How Much Is Too Much?

To occupy them, many children and teens find themselves entertained by TV, websites and digital devices.  While these devices can be comforting on a rainy day or a necessary means of decompressing, many parents and caregivers may wonder: How is screen time affecting the health and development of the youth in our lives?

Conquer Overeating by Learning How to Tell How Hungry You Are

The most helpful health-eating tool is not about what or what not to eat – it’s about tapping into how hungry or full you feel.

Learning (or relearning) how to listen and respond to your body’s hunger and satiety cues is an invaluable key to nourishing yourself well and avoiding overeating.

Overcoming the “Ew” Factor: How to Get Kids to Try Foods Again

Help kids love foods they tried before and didn't like.

Soggy spinach? Stringy asparagus? Mealy apples? Ew!

According to science, our taste bids dull as we age, so it’s no wonder that tiny tongues and younger noses may have heightened responses to textures, flavors, and smells.

Classifying kids as “picky eaters” is not a helpful way to relate with their food experience, which may differ from an adult’s. At the Y, we recommend replacing “picky” with positive and encouraging language that inspires youth to “take polite bites”, “try again later” and consider trying food in different formats. For example, broccoli flavor varies depending on how it’s prepared (raw with dipping sauce, steamed, roasted, sauteed) and the texture of a sliced avocado (on toast and salad) is different than a smashed one (like guacamole).

Use these tips to reintroduce kids to the yummy side of nutrition and watch their “ew”-face disappear.

  1. Give different fruits and vegetables fun names. Giving a more fun name to a food can give it a second chance against a bad experience or negative review. Instead of brussel sprouts, try muscle sprouts.
  2. Let kids develop the menu. When children feel ownership of a project (like a meal), they are more likely to support its success. When grouped with siblings or friends, they are also more likely to try something that others are trying as well. When children feel ownership of a project (like a meal), they are more likely to support its success. When grouped with siblings or friends, they are also more likely to try something that others are trying as well.
  3. Involve children in the prep process. Even better, start a garden so kids can plant, harvest and eat the foods they helped grow. Offer healthy options for adding flavors (like Greek yogurt dipping sauce or fresh cracked pepper) so they can personalize their snack.
  4. Make fruits and vegetables part of a lesson. Create a polite bite “passport” to learn about produce from around the world and share fun facts about the produce being offered. A sticker or stamp can be awarded for every new food explored!
  5. Focus on presentation. If a fruit or vegetable looks unappealing, children may hesitate to give it another try. Some foods might be gentler on the eyes, so start there.  Offer a baked sweet potato instead of a smashed turnip, for example.
  6. Model the behavior you want kids to imitate. Children look up to adults so it’s important to model good food behaviors. Share why you like a particular fruit or vegetable and name some favorites. If there is a particular vegetable or fruit you don’t like, make a habit in front of children to say that “it wasn’t my favorite but I would like to try again in a different format”. This will encourage open-minded thinking around new flavors.

Overcoming the "Ew" Factor: How to Get Kids to Try Foods Again

Help kids love foods they tried before and didn't like.

Soggy spinach? Stringy asparagus? Mealy apples? Ew!

According to science, our taste bids dull as we age, so it’s no wonder that tiny tongues and younger noses may have heightened responses to textures, flavors, and smells.

Classifying kids as “picky eaters” is not a helpful way to relate with their food experience, which may differ from an adult’s. At the Y, we recommend replacing “picky” with positive and encouraging language that inspires youth to “take polite bites”, “try again later” and consider trying food in different formats. For example, broccoli flavor varies depending on how it’s prepared (raw with dipping sauce, steamed, roasted, sauteed) and the texture of a sliced avocado (on toast and salad) is different than a smashed one (like guacamole).

Use these tips to reintroduce kids to the yummy side of nutrition and watch their “ew”-face disappear.

  1. Give different fruits and vegetables fun names. Giving a more fun name to a food can give it a second chance against a bad experience or negative review. Instead of brussel sprouts, try muscle sprouts.
  2. Let kids develop the menu. When children feel ownership of a project (like a meal), they are more likely to support its success. When grouped with siblings or friends, they are also more likely to try something that others are trying as well. When children feel ownership of a project (like a meal), they are more likely to support its success. When grouped with siblings or friends, they are also more likely to try something that others are trying as well.
  3. Involve children in the prep process. Even better, start a garden so kids can plant, harvest and eat the foods they helped grow. Offer healthy options for adding flavors (like Greek yogurt dipping sauce or fresh cracked pepper) so they can personalize their snack.
  4. Make fruits and vegetables part of a lesson. Create a polite bite “passport” to learn about produce from around the world and share fun facts about the produce being offered. A sticker or stamp can be awarded for every new food explored!
  5. Focus on presentation. If a fruit or vegetable looks unappealing, children may hesitate to give it another try. Some foods might be gentler on the eyes, so start there.  Offer a baked sweet potato instead of a smashed turnip, for example.
  6. Model the behavior you want kids to imitate. Children look up to adults so it’s important to model good food behaviors. Share why you like a particular fruit or vegetable and name some favorites. If there is a particular vegetable or fruit you don’t like, make a habit in front of children to say that “it wasn’t my favorite but I would like to try again in a different format”. This will encourage open-minded thinking around new flavors.