Typically, couch potatoes are people who spend a lot of time in front of the television. And many people have blamed television and video games as a major reason for the rise in childhood obesity in this country.
But your television can actually serve as a catalyst to help you lose those unwanted pounds AND bring your family closer together.
Don’t believe me? Then you’ve obviously never strapped a white Nintendo Wii controller to your wrist. Mickey DeLorenzo is a regular guy from South Philadelphia who lost weight with his beloved Wii and had fun doing it. In 2006, he began his “Wii Sports Experiment,” in which he simply added 30 minutes of Wii Sports to his day for six straight weeks. Pounds melted away and a media onslaught followed.
We caught up with Mickey for an interview. We asked him about the details of his workout regime, his favorite Nintendo game, and got him to share some tips for people who’d like to try using their Wii to get fit.
Run Time: 20 minutes, 52 seconds | Subscribe with iTunes
In our recent tournament, chocolate chip cookies were declared the All Time Greatest Childhood Food. Of course, you want to enjoy these treats as adults, but they are not so friendly on the waist line. I guess we aren’t burning as many calories now, compared to when we were seven years old. Give this healthy recipe a try and don’t forget to dip ‘em in milk.
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup butter or trans fat-free margarine, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup firmly-packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup quick oats
1/2 cup bran flakes
1/2 cup semisweet or dark chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silpat mat. Or spray with nonstick cooking spray.
Stir together the flour, baking soda and baking powder in a medium bowl. Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat the butter until creamy with an electric mixer. Beat in the sugars. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture until well combined. Stir in the oats, bran flakes and chocolate chips.
Drop by teaspoonsful onto prepared cookie sheet approximately 1 inch apart. Bake 12 to 14 minutes. Cook on wire racks. Serve warm or store in a tightly-covered container for up to three days.
[Hat tip to kidscooking.about.com]
Of course, it’s hard to beat a good old fashioned snowball fight when it comes to getting the heart rate up and burning some calories. We highly recommend at least one slingfest per year. (Just make sure you’re not using ice balls.) Here are a few more untraditional games you can play in the snow:
Build the Biggest Snowball
Break up into teams of two or three apiece. The goal of each team is to roll the BIGGEST* snowball. The end comes when the teams can no longer physically roll their snowball (or you run out of snow.)
Once you have those big “snowballs” created, you can assemble them into a plump, happy snowman. It’s always fun to accessorize him (or her) with some household items like carrots, buttons, pipes, and sunglasses. You can add to the activity level by topping your creation off with a hat that you try and toss Frisbee style from several yards away. Or…
If you have a more “destructive” inner child, take turns pummeling Frosty by throwing snowballs (or real Frisbees) at him. Perhaps the goal is to see how long it takes to turn your creation into something that looks like a Picasso creation. Pretend he’s your boss and you can release even more stress. (Unless your boss is one of those rare, Adultitis-free types, of course.)
The Super Bowl is usually in a sunny locale, but that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the pigskin fun just because you live in a snowy climate. Find an open place to play — a backyard or nearby park will do. With some spray bottles filled with a water and food coloring mixture, mark out a large rectangular area to serve as the playing field. The teams line up at opposite ends of the field for the kickoff. When someone on the receiving team catches the ball, they try to advance across the other team’s goal line by running with it or passing it to a teammate. Play stops if the player is tagged by an opponent or slides out of bounds. The play then resumes on the spot. Each team gets four tries to score a touchdown or the ball goes to the other team.
*Send us a picture of you next to your giant snowball, and we’ll make it worth your while!
Kim and I love going on walks. The sub zero temperatures here in Wisconsin and new baby have temporarily put the kabosh on that exercise routine. Maybe you’re also feeling a little cooped up and are looking for an activity to make you feel sort of like you’re exercising. How about some balloon volleyball?
It’s safe to play indoors and you can get the whole family involved — even Grandma. There’s something addictive about trying to keep a balloon in the air, don’t you think? Even most hard-hearted, cross-armed, Adultitis carriers have a hard time resiting a little playful punch when the balloon invades their space.
All you need is string or yarn and a balloon. Hang the yarn across the room (tied to something immovable and safe at each end.) Separate into two teams and hit the balloon back and forth over the yarn. The goal is to volley the balloon as many times as possible, rather than trying to get the other side out. The only rule is that you can’t catch the balloon and then hit it over. You can keep track of the number of minutes you’re able to keep the balloon in the air or how many times it’s hit over the yarn, and then try to break your record!
• Add more balloons for a bigger challenge.
• Require that the balloon must be hit by everyone or by everyone in a specific order.
• Make players twirl around once either before or after they hit the balloon.
• Allow players to only hit the balloon with their non-dominant hand.
An exercise routine doesn’t have to involve drudging to the gym and doing boring reps. Blechh…that’s SO adult (and not very fun.) Wouldn’t be a novel concept to get the heart rate up and put a smile on your face — at the same time?
Pull that old hula hoop of yours out of storage (or buy one for five bucks at Toys R Us) and let the gyrating begin! Seriously, it’s probably the best and cheapest piece of weight loss equipment you can buy.
According to expert weight loss consultant Jennifer Jolan:
There is only 1 hula hoop exercise that you need to do. Simply twirl it around your waist. You don’t need to get fancy or anything. That’s it. For maximum weight loss using hula hoop exercises, you must use the hula hoop in short bursts… 2 minutes at a time. Using a hula hoop in just 1 session is a mistake. Your metabolism gets much more of a boost doing short mini-workouts throughout the day.
What I like to do is this… I use 2-minute tv commercials to exercise. I’ve found this to be best for results… as well as best for my busy schedule. This allows me to watch tv and relax, but still workout for about 22 minutes over 1 hour. (Note: There are about 22 minutes of commercials and dead time during a 1 hour tv show.)”
So there you have it. The hula hoop as a weight loss gadget. Fun comes standard, and the melting pounds are a nice side effect. Send us photos or a video of YOU having fun with a hula hoop, and we’ll send you a fun prize!
It’s that time of year again. The beginning of each new year brings with it the inevitable urge to get healthy; to eat better, exercise more, and lose those love handles. Usually the effort lasts a solid week or two and then most of us fall off the wagon.
It seems like one of the reasons for the sudden and predictable collapse comes from our tendency to “adultify” our plans. Our plates get filled with food that would have any self-respecting child running for the hills. And our workout routines involve overly structured regimens and boring reps. Blech.
Let’s throw the current childhood obesity epidemic out the window for a second. I’d place a wager that when you were a kid — six or seven years old, for instance — you were in pretty good shape. Back in the day, most kids were. And they weren’t eating shrubbery for dinner and running on a treadmill for thirty minutes every day.
A big key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle is injecting it with a healthy dose of fun. Many people dread working out, because that’s what it is: working. It’s a monotonous chore that gets old quick.
Unless you’re a body builder or training for a triathlon, exercise is really just a fancy way to say, “be active.” Kids don’t “exercise” at all. But they do spend their days doing things like playing tag, hopscotch, and kickball, riding bikes, jumping rope, dancing around, climbing the monkey bars, flying kites, roller skating, and running through the sprinkler.
Some of the best ways to be active might involve activities that you wouldn’t normally consider exercise at all. I enjoy playing basketball. Even if there is no one around to play one-on-one with, I just like shooting around. Sometimes I have a contest with myself to see how many free throws I can make in a row, or how many I can make out of a hundred. It’s fun. And it can turn into quite a workout; shooting the ball and chasing after rebounds gets the ol’ heart rate up. The funny thing is, I never think of it as “working out.” Because it’s fun.
I’m sure there are a number of things you enjoy doing (or used to enjoy doing) that get you just as active, but which don’t come to mind when you think you need to exercise. Think back to your childhood for some ideas. In addition, making something into a game or competition, incorporating music, and involving friends or family are all things you can do to make things more fun.
The other side of the healthy lifestyle coin involves food. And again, diets usually conjure up images of bland food and boring (if any) desserts. Moderation is a big key here, but I am a big proponent of not cutting out your favorite foods. Chocolate is one of the greatest things God ever invented, and a little here and there is good for you and your soul. (By the way, a small bar of dark chocolate every day can keep your heart and cardiovascular system running well.)
Look at some of your favorite foods from childhood, and see if there’s a way to make a more nutritious alternative. Peanut butter and jelly on whole wheat bread is still a pretty tasty (and healthy) lunch. Mac and cheese made with whole wheat pasta and real cheese is way better for you than the stuff that comes in a box.
Most people get in trouble because the portions they eat are too big, and the stuff they eat is over-processed. It is my belief that food should be fun, and as long as you don’t overdo it on portion size and keep the stuff made in a factory to a minimum, you should have no problems maintaining a sensible weight.
Getting and staying healthy should be a priority for everyone. Life is meant to be lived to the fullest, and it’s hard to do that with a body that is broken down due to carelessness and neglect. Eating well and staying active will forever be the cornerstones to a healthy lifestyle. But injecting fun and making it enjoyable are the keys to making it stick.
We all know the importance of staying active, and of course, burning a few extra calories is never a bad thing for the ‘ol waistline. In fact, more than 120 million Americans, or 64.5% of the adult population, are overweight, and almost 59 million, or 31%, are obese. If you’re like me, however, exercise can sometimes feel like a chore, inducing Adultitis.
When I was little I had no problem being active. In fact, I distinctly remember my mom shaking her head at me and saying, “I wish I had your energy!” My secret? I was having fun! Running around playing tag sure didn’t feel like exercise, and it certainly wasn’t as boring as running on a treadmill. Play is a child’s work. So, if you’re looking at the scale and wondering how you’re going to manage to lose those pounds in 2009 without losing your sanity, check out these ideas from years past. This list is the 9-5 of childhood. Be inspired to add a few of these ideas to your 5-9.
1. Go on a bike ride.
2. Build a snowman.
3. Have a dance party in your living room.
4. Play hopscotch.
5. Walk around a museum.
6. Enjoy a rousing game of flashlight tag.
7. Climb a mountain or hill.
8. Play kickball.
9. Go swimming.
10. Have a water fight.
11. Plant a garden.
12. Build a sand castle.
13. Play musical chairs.
14. Take a factory tour.
15. Decorate your driveway with sidewalk chalk.
16. Go horseback riding.
17. Play catch.
18. Try archery.
19. Learn to juggle.
20. Fly a kite.
21. Play home run derby.
22. Go ice skating.
23. Join a team for a sport you love.
24. Take a walk with your camera.
25. Play dodge ball.
26. Run through an obstacle course.
27. Go fishing.
28. Take a sunrise walk.
29. Play tag.
30. Enjoy some mini golf.
31. Go bowling.
32. Work on a home improvement project.
33. Learn to play an instrument.
34. Go on a walk with your binoculars.
35. Play with a Wii.
36. Jump rope.
37. Take a dance class.
38. Go to a zoo.
39. Try skiing.
40. Roller skate or roller blade.
41. Play Red Rover.
42. Go Christmas caroling.
43. Have a snowball fight.
44. Learn martial arts.
45. Take a nighttime hike.
46. Play H.O.R.S.E.
47. Skip rocks.
48. Play frisbee golf.
49. Have fun with a pitch back.
50. Go sledding.
51. Paddle a canoe.
52. Ride a scooter.
53. Play pickle.
54. Run through the sprinkler.
55. Toss water balloons.
56. Play capture the flag.
Annihilate the Adultitis in your life. A handy full-color guide featuring all 40 Escape Plan challenges. Perfect for printing so you can keep yourself on task even if you don’t have access to a computer. 10 pages.
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