Dancing class helps pregnant women get ready for childbirth

Dancing for Birth classes bring together dancing and birthing education. They’re being offered for the first time in Central Florida at Florida Hospital. The classes are open to women are who are planning to become pregnant, are pregnant or have a child under age 1.

Are You Doing Recess Right? A New Tool Can Help

Despite the proven benefits, students probably aren’t getting the most out of recess, finds a new study that offers up a 17-point checklist to optimize the playground experience.

While there’s little doubt that children get exercise on the playground—recess accounts for up to 44 percent of their steps taken during the school day—schools often underestimate the social, emotional, and academic potential of playtime and fail to design recess to optimize those benefits.

To help educators understand what works on the playground—and what doesn’t—researchers visited nearly 500 elementary schools spanning 22 urban and metropolitan areas in the U.S. The researchers hoped to develop a tool that looked beyond simple questions of physical activity and playground equipment and toward a broader review of “safety, resources, student engagement, adult engagement, prosocial/antisocial behavior, and student empowerment on the playground.”

To learn more, including tips to maximize recess, read this article from Edutopia.


Exercising in Florida’s Summer Heat

By Jana Griffin – Orange County IFAS/Extension, Family & Consumer Sciences Agent

Living in Florida has its perks with lots of opportunities to enjoy exercise outside with access to beaches, walking trails, and parks. As you are encouraged to take advantage of these many opportunities, please be cautious of the heat and the damage it can cause to our bodies. Dehydration and heat exhaustion are just a few conditions that can happen in areas that have high heat and humidity. Signs and symptoms can range from light headedness, nausea, confusion, fatigue, loss of consciousness, and in extreme cases, death. This summer, as we continue to enjoy the outside pleasures our wonderful sunshine state has to offer, please remember to follow these simple tips to make it a safe, memorable and happy summer for all.


Hydration– Drink plenty of fluids and carry a bottle of water wherever you go. Make sure to drink more fluids than you are losing.

Electrolytes– In cases of prolonged sun exposure and fluid loss from sweating, remember to replace electrolytes. This can easily be done by consuming a sports drink like Gatorade or Powerade.

Appropriate clothing– Wear clothing that is light in color to help reflect sunlight. Choose material that wicks moisture away from the skin, allowing for quick evaporation and helping your body cool.

Time– Consider the time of day when choosing outside fitness activities. Morning time before 10 and afternoon time after 3 are better options as times between 10 and 3 are typically the hottest of the day.

If you choose physical activity options outside, these tips will help you continue achieving your fitness goals and remain safe. Always listen to your body and discontinue all activities if you begin to feel any of the above symptoms.

Exercise in Class May Improve Math and Spelling Scores

Adapted from

Schoolchildren may have an easier time learning if exercise is part of their math and spelling lessons, a new study suggests.

Dutch researchers found that second- and third-graders given “physically active” lessons did better on math and spelling tests, compared with their peers who learned the old-fashioned way.

Experts not involved with the study called the findings “encouraging.” But they also said it’s too soon to push for physically active classrooms everywhere.

Weaving exercise into traditional lessons could offer the “amazing possibility” of helping kids learn, while also helping them stay healthy, said Sara Benjamin Neelon, an associate professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, in Baltimore.

“The take-home message is that physically active lessons may be a novel way to increase physical activity and improve academic performance at the same time,” said Benjamin Neelon, who cowrote an editorial published with the study.

Click here to read more about how exercise may increase math and spelling scores

Be a Healthier Family

family bike ride

Adapted from

Living a healthy, busy and active lifestyle is important for children and adults alike. Establishing an active schedule can help everyone meet exercise goals.

The Let’s Move website offers the following tips for a healthy and active lifestyle for your family:

  • Provide kids with toys that promote physical activity, such as jump ropes, balls and kites.
  • Encourage participation in sports and other exercise.
  • Avoid putting a TV in a child’s room. When you do watch TV, make it a family rule that you don’t sit still during commercials.
  • At least a few times a week during nice weather, plan a safe walk to and from school.
  • Go for a short walk after each meal.
  • Skip the elevator and take the stairs.
  • Schedule active family fun days at a park.
  • Set exercise goals for the family.


Bonding With Others May Be Crucial for Long-Term Health

Group Of High School Students Giving Piggybacks In Corridor

Group Of High School Students Giving Piggybacks In Corridor

Adapted from

Social ties are as important to your long-term health as exercise and healthy eating, a new study suggests.

“Our analysis makes it clear that doctors, clinicians, and other health workers should redouble their efforts to help the public understand how important strong social bonds are throughout the course of all of our lives,” study co-author Yang Claire Yang, a professor at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill, said in a university news release.

For the study, the investigators analyzed data from four surveys of Americans who ranged from adolescents to seniors. First, they looked at social integration, social support and social strain. They then evaluated four indicators of health — blood pressure, waist circumference, body mass index and systemic inflammation — that are linked to heart disease, stroke, cancer and other diseases

The more social ties people had at a young age, the better their health early and late in life, the researchers found.

The study was published Jan. 4 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Click here to read more

Obesity May Affect Classroom Performance

Weight scale BMIA study recently published in the Pediatric Exercise Science journal suggests children who are overweight and less active have a more difficult time learning.

While the study found an association between physical activity and mental skills in children, it did not find a cause-and-effect relationship.

For more information on this study, visit Medicine Net

Fourth Annual Live.Life.Healthy Health Fair

Create your own organic face maskStudent leaders of Live.Life.Healthy (LLH)—a Winter Park High School (WPHS) initiative designed to help inspire fellow students to live a healthier lifestyle—hosted their fourth annual health fair September 30, including a roving limbo station, a chance to test hand-washing skills and homemade face masks.

The health fair consisted of a variety of booths that touched on all aspects of a healthy lifestyle—including eating healthy foods, getting exercise, dental health, stress reduction, and taking steps to avoid skin cancer.

Students staffing each booth provided information and got students involved in related activities.

For example, at the stress reduction table, students were provided with information on healthy foods, physical activity, and other tips to help reduce their stress levels.  Students also received a free stress reduction ball.

Since hand washing is an important way to avoid illness, the LLH student leaders gave other students the chance to wash their hands and then used a special light and container to show how much dirt remained. Students received tips to help them do a better job next time.Stress reduction

At the Sugar Busters table, students were asked to guess how much sugar could be found in popular candies and then compare to the sugar in vegetables.

Also popular was the natural face mask booth where students learned how to create a homemade face mask with items commonly found in the home.

Other booths foMaking smoothiescused on the difference between a vegetarian and a vegan, a taste test between fat-free and regular ice cream, a juicing booth,  a smoothie bar, a make a better sandwich bar, and the necessity of good dental health.

LLH student leaders also used the occasion to continue to promote the bike share program which enables students to check out bicycles for free.  Additionally, LLH students used mobile technology to poll students about their happiness.  A follow up survey, based on the responses from this survey, will be conducted later in the year to identify common barriers and then brainstorm solutions to happiness.

LLH is a student-created and led initiative, founded and supported with grant funding from the Winter Park Health Foundation, to encourage all students to eat healthier and be more active.

Visit Live.Life.Healthy on Facebook or on Twitter for more information about the health fair and other healthy activities.

Active Kids Perform Better In School

It doesn’t take a lot of activity to get the brain fired up.   Researchers have found moderate activity-like a brisk walk around the neighborhood-increases brain activity.  This in turn, when your child goes to school, can translate into better test performance.  Simply put, physical activity will help kids learn better.  Take a look at this brain scan of a child sitting quietly for 20 minutes versus walking for 20 minutes.  After the child walks for 20 minutes, his/her brain lights up with activity.  Screen Shot 2014-08-13 at 2.15.11 PM

So if physical activity will help your child in the classroom, then as parents it is our job to find ways to get our kids active.  The best way is to lead by example.  We have come up with a list of active activities that you can do with the entire family.


Walk or ride your bike to school

  • There is no better way to get active for class time then to walk or ride your bike to school.  Walk or ride with your child if you are able to.  This will give you time to talk with your kids and lead by example.

Make a weekend activity calendar

  • Map out what kind of active activities you will do over the week and weekends.  Display the calendar in a public area, like the kitchen or living room, and cross off the activities once they’re done.  This will show the family what is coming up and what you have done.

Make family time active time

  • Instead of watching TV after dinner, go for a bike ride or a walk around the neighborhood.  Play a game of family basketball or other group sport.

Think outside the field

  • Maybe your children don’t like traditional sports like football, basketball or soccer.  Try alternative sports like rock climbing, hiking, swimming or martial arts.  Find out what your children enjoy and stick with that.

Take advantage of your local parks

  • Winter Park, Maitland and Eatonville have beautiful parks.  Make a family trip to the park and take advantage of these free, fun activities.


What other ways do you like to stay active with your family?   Tell us in the comments below, post it on our Facebook or tweet us at @HealthyKids2Day.

Weight-Loss Tips

weight loss tips (12) As parents, you would think running after your kids would be enough exercise to keep the pounds off.  But when you need a little extra help, there seems to be an endless array of options. There are many weight loss programs on the market today that help you to drop weight quickly. The problem is, can you then keep it off? Summer has just arrived and you want that beach body to last until the kids go back to school! With the help of USA Today’s article, nutrition experts give us 10 great ideas for losing weight and keeping it off.

1. Motivate yourself

  • Take that old pair of jeans from your 20’s and try hanging them in the kitchen or a place that is out of your closet. Keep yourself inspired!

2. Set realistic weight-loss goals

  • Be real with yourself and set goals that are attainable and healthy. A half a pound to two pounds a week is about right.

3. Cut out liquid calories

  • Eliminate soda and sugar drinks from your diet. Sports drinks, alcoholic beverages and sweet teas will add on those extra calories. Try to liven up your water with lemon, mint or cucumber!

4. “After 8 is too late”.

  • Live by the motto and try not to eat snacks or even dinner past 8 p.m.

5. Keep track of what you consume

  • Research shows that dieters who keep track of everything they consume lose twice as much weight as those who don’t.

6. Portion control

  • Too much of any food is not going to help to lose the weight. Be aware of the portion size you are eating. For example, meat, poultry or fish should only be the size of your palm.

7. Exercise is key

  • Move it or lose it! Even if it is just a bike ride, research shows doing a physical activity for two to four hours a week will help drop those extra pounds.

8. Hydrate!

  • Drinking two glasses of water before meals and throughout the day will help you eat less.

9. Step on the scale

  • Those who manage to maintain weight loss weigh themselves regularly to see the progress.

10. Reward yourself

  • Once you have achieved your goal have some fun! Go to a movie or buy something that you have had your eye on. Just don’t reward yourself with junk food!


Still need more tips? Click here to get the full list from USA Today. We would love to hear from you! Share your own tips for weight loss in the comment section below, post them to our Facebook or tweet them to us at @HealthyKids2Day.