If your child breaks a bone or tears a ligament playing sports, you'll know it--these injuries easily show up on diagnostic tests and have obvious symptoms, like swelling or inability to move a joint or limb.
But if your child's brain is injured, things aren't so clear-cut. Concussion symptoms are hard to see and, sometimes, easy to dismiss. But treating a concussion with sufficient rest and recovery time is crucial. That's the message Patrick Larimore is trying to spread far and wide. He's a former college football player who gave up the game after suffering multiple concussions. Now he's become an advocate for people who have suffered traumatic brain injury. They can share their stories and find community online at MyHeadHurts.co.
I asked Patrick about "invisible injuries" and what parents can do to protect their kids. I think his responses on the topic of concussions in kids are important for all parents to read--whether or not you have kids who play contact sports.
Photo courtesy Patrick Larimore
And do your kids? One of the most popular posts on this blog is an old one in which I reviewed Zumbatomic, a series of Zumba DVDs for kids. They've since been discontinued. But even back then, the DVDs were tough to find--although lots of people were looking for them.
So when I learned that the Zumba empire has produced a video exergame for kids, I knew I had to tell you about it. Here's a rundown of all the Zumba for kids options, from in-person classes to the new game. Enjoy the party!
You've read the blog. Now hear the podcast! Author Jonathan Bailor and I had a great discussion about nutrition, exercise, food rewards, and role modeling--how to motivate yourself and your kids to make healthy choices. Give it a listen!
Jonathan's new book, The Calorie Myth, comes out on New Year's Eve, and it explains a saner, more effective alternative to calorie-counting for weight loss: "When we're hungry, we eat smarter foods until we're full. When we work out, we do smarter exercise for a shorter period of time." Find out more about The Calorie Myth.
We are excited for family visitors, an amazing meal and lots of Thanksgiving fun together this weekend! I wish the same for you, and I am very grateful for your support of me and this site. Thank you for reading, listening, following, chatting, and pinning. Thanks to for your feedback and ideas. They are welcome anytime. Enjoy your holiday!
Last fall, I posted about a Fuel Up to Play 60 event held at my kids' elementary school. Fuel Up is a program, funded by the National Football League and the National Dairy Council, that encourages kids to play actively for at least 60 minutes a day, every day.
Now that my daughter is in middle school, she gets to participate in Fuel Up events every month! Better yet, she was selected to be a Fuel Up leader and help organize these monthly events. I wrote about this over at Family Circle's Momster blog this week--I'm so glad my daughter's school makes time for play.
What are you doing on the day before Thanksgiving? The American Council on Exercise (ACE) has a suggestion: Fit in a workout. "Thanksgiving is a favorite holiday for many, and we want people to enjoy it by balancing their activity and nutrition just as they would outside of the holiday season," says ACE CEO Scott Goudeseune. "That's why, in addition to identifying ways to improve the nutrition content in Thanksgiving recipes, we're also launching a national initiative to get people moving the day before."
They're calling the effort Workout Wednesday, and there's even an associated contest. Take a photo of yourself exercising and post it on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #ACEWorkoutWed and you'll be entered to win prizes throughout the month of November. The grand prize is a trip to a wellness and spa resort in the Dominican Republic.
When school started this fall, I was a little surprised to see "heart rate monitor strap" on my middle schooler's supply list. Teachers use the monitors in gym class to help educate kids about the intensity of their exercise.
I wouldn't be surprised to see activity trackers (like the popular FitBit) become standard equipment for middle and high school kids--they already are for many online physical education students. These trackers are popular for a reason: They really motivate us to move more.
For littler kids, a simple pedometer can do the trick, especially if you try some of these fun pedometer activities too. If your child doesn't have a pedometer, consider wrapping one up for Chanukah or slipping one into his Christmas stocking!
It's almost time for the first synchronized skating competition of the season, so my daughter's team is working harder than ever to get ready. Their coach is scheduling extra practices as often as she can scrounge up ice time (and parent volunteers are very busy preparing everything for our trip out of state).
But while my skater has been on the ice a lot these last few weeks, I'm not worried--yet--about whether she's overdoing it. At Family Circle's Momster blog, I wrote about how I determine whether my child's dedication has turned into overspecialization. Three simple questions help keep her safe, yet still moving forward.
Photo: Catherine Holecko
The 2014 Winter Olympic Games are fewer than 100 days away! Opening ceremonies in Sochi, Russia, begin on February 7, 2014. With both a hockey player and a figure skater in our house, we are excited to see all the winter sports on display. To build support for its athletes, Team USA is running a Road to Sochi tour from now through February. The tour lets fans try curling, ice hockey, cross-country skiing, and even street luge, plus have a photo op with a ski jump and a bobsled.
Is your family looking forward to watching the Olympics?
A few weeks ago, at Momster, I wrote about how kids' needs--and the things we parents need to do for them--evolve rapidly as they grow. We stop banishing monsters under the bed to give kids post-game pep talks, and we wash soccer uniforms instead of tiny sleepers.
The same goes for shared family fitness activities. What works for babies certainly doesn't work for teens or even toddlers. So what you do changes, and so do your goals for shared, active play. Still, the big picture remains the same: Showing kids that fitness is important--and fun.
Photo: Erica Greis