Fit NOLA

In 2012 Mayor Mitch Landrieu and City Health Commissioner Dr. Karen DeSalvo unveiled a comprehensive plan that focuses on New Orleans becoming one of the top ten fittest cities in the United States by 2018.


“In order for us to out-educate, out-build and out-innovate the rest of the world, we must prioritize wellness now. Making an impact and improving child wellness requires action on the part of students, parents, school leaders, policy makers, community partners and businesses.”

- Mitch Landrieu


Fit NOLA will focuses on increasing awareness by  providing resources for families and the community to be fit, and empower youth to be advocates for healthy policies. It strives to to improve access to affordable, nutritious food, safe environments for physical activity, and opportunities to exercise.

A few examples of Fit NOLA forums include:

Girls on the Run: Girls on the Run is a positive youth development program for third through fifth grade girls which inspires girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running. Lessons provide girls with the tools to make positive decisions and to avoid risky behaviors.

Youth Run NOLA: Youth Run NOLA is an after-school, youth development program for middle and high school students in the Greater New Orleans region. The organization is led by adult mentors at school-based chapters and operates on an 8-month school calendar. Running is used as a medium to inspire and prepare students for success on the track, in the classroom and in the community.

Kids Rethink New Orleans Schools: Kids Rethink New Orleans Schools is a group of students in New Orleans who want to rethink and rebuild our schools after Hurricane Katrina. Their vision is a great education for every kid in our city, no matter the color of their skin, what neighborhood they stay in or how much money their parents make.

Early Childhood and Family Learning Foundation: The Early Childhood and Family Learning Foundation focuses its programs on the crucial role of high quality early childhood education in closing the achievement gap between children who are socio-economically challenged and those who are advantaged.

HealthCorps: Co-founded by Dr. Mehmet Oz and his wife Lisa, HealthCorps is a proactive movement fighting the obesity and mental resilience crisis by getting American students and communities across the country to take charge of their health.  Dr. Shawn Hayes gave an overview of the methods to assess healthy weight and behaviors.

New Orleans is well on its way to contending for a top ten spot as one of the fittest cities in the United States. Keep up the great work New Orleans!


Staying Hydrated During Sweaty Summer Workouts

HOW HOT IS IT?

As summer kicks into high gear dehydration is a key problem for athletes.  Staying properly hydrated is fundamentally important in any summer exercise regiment.

First, take time to acclimate yourself. It takes the body 10 days to 2 weeks to acclimate to steamy summer heat. So, expose yourself regularly!

Drink water! Good old H20 is critical for rehydrating when the body experiences fluid loss, such as when we sweat. To maintain good hydration during a moderate summer workout it is recommended that you drink 20 ounces of water 2 hours before exercise, at least 8 ounces before heading out into the heat, and then a gulp every 15 to 20 minutes during your workout. To stay better hydrated drink fluids with food throughout the day.

If you are working out for longer than an hour or participating in a high intensity train session you will probably need to replace electrolytes, which are minerals in the blood and other body fluids that carry an electric charge. Electrolytes affect the amount of water in your body, the acidity of your blood, your muscle function, and other important processes. You lose electrolytes when you sweat. When you sweat a lot it is important to replenish your store of electrolytes. This can be accomplished by drinking sports drinks or electrolyte-enhanced waters. If you aren’t into sports drinks, electrolyte-enhancing tablets, coconut water, or homemade sports drinks are great alternatives. (Click on the link below for a homemade sports drink recipe.)

Pay attention to your body. If you are feeling light headed, dizzy, dry mouthed, or have a headache, you are probably dehydrated. The body is approximately ⅔ water. Losing some water throughout the day in sweat, tears, and urine is completely normal. That amount of water lost is easily replaced by sipping water or other drinks (sorry - no the alcoholic kind!)  and eating foods.

There are two quick and easy ways to tell if you are dehydrated.

1. Check the toilet. If you are taking a break during your workout check the color of your
urine to make sure you are staying hydrated. 

2. Pinch yourself. Skin’s elasticity is an easy way to test your hydration. If the skin snaps back into place, your hydration levels are looking good. If the skin takes a few seconds to return to normal, you may be dehydrated.

When planning your next sweat session be sure to plan ahead and drink enough water. By doing this you will decrease your chances of injury while at the same time fighting fatigue and prolonging performance.



Recipe for homemade sports drinks: http://www.modernalternativemama.com/2013/05/16/recipe-collection-electrolyte-drink-sports-drink-replacement/#



Yoga and Academic Performance

 

We all know that it is important for children to be active. Dozens of noncommunicable diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, chronic respiratory diseases are caused by inactivity. We also know that lifelong habits are set early in the developmental years of childhood.

 

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, childhood obesity has doubled over the past 30 years. This means that 1 out of 3 children in the United States are now obese. Clearly, we have to get kids moving for health reasons!

 

But what about academics? What if fitness could also improve test score? What if our nation’s lack of movement was actually contributing to our less than stellar performance in international academic rankings?

 

Promoting physical fitness is a way to improve mental fitness. Clinical studies have shown that yoga not only improves physical fitness in children but also contributes to better academic performance and emotional balance. Scientifically, the mental benefits of children’s yoga result from calming heart rate, which signals the brain to activate the parasympathetic nervous system response. Body systems such as circulation, glandular balance, digestion, and immunity are also enhanced.

 

Because children are subject to sensory overload, just like adults, the sympathetic nervous system (“fight or flight”) is often engaged and creates stress. By activating the parasympathetic nervous system, yoga can reduce stress and increase the ability to focus and learn.

 

The following are some of the benefits of yoga to support the education of the whole child, thus maximizing the learning process:

  • Provides students healthy ways to express and balance their emotions
  • Promotes a more relaxed, comfortable state of being - the perfect state for teaching and learning
  • Brings students into the present moment – the most basic requirement for learning
  • Encourages community and connectedness within the classroom
  • Helps to create an atmosphere of confidence, enthusiasm and non-competitiveness where everyone can succeed
  • Provides opportunities for beneficial motor breaks throughout the day
  • Eases anxiety and tension (such as pre-test or performance jitters)
  • Enhances focus, concentration, comprehension and memory
  • Provides opportunities for reflection, patience and insight, reducing impulsivity and reactivity
  • Supports social and emotional learning
  • Improves listening skills
  • Wakes up sluggish minds and creativity as needed
  • Enhances organizational and communication skills
  • Improves posture, assisting students to sit comfortably for long periods
  • Enhances motor skills and balance
  • Improves mind/body awareness and connection
  • Improves confidence and self-esteem
  • Encourages respect for oneself and others
  • Creates a calm, harmonious classroom


Classroom Yoga Routines: Go with the Flow

Yoga Calm offers several short movement flows that can be integrated into the school day. These can get kids moving, increase heart rate and develop core strength, balance and flexibility. For example: