The Energy Balance: Power In and Power Out

To be lean and strong, you must balance the amount of food you eat with the amount of food-power you use. If you eat more food than you need, your body changes the extra food into fat and stores it on your body.

Here’s the idea:

When we eat, our bodies break down the food and chemically change it to make it usable for our needs.

Some of it gets turned into the stuff that builds our bodies but much of it is burned to produce energy.

We use this energy to power our bodies and for our everyday movements like breathing, walking and talking.

We can measure how much energy we get from different foods.

Just as we use a “mile” to measure distance and a “pound” to measure weight, we use a “calorie” to measure food energy.

Every day you take in calories from the food you eat and burn them when you move.

KeepMoving

Your body is designed to “KEEP MOVING!”

How much time do you spend watching TV, using computers and talking on the phone? If you spend more time sitting than moving around, you may be in for trouble! 



Your body is a wondrous machine, but it was designed to keep moving. All the systems run better when the body is active. The blood moves around more easily to deliver nutrients to cells and expel wastes. The lungs bring in more precious oxygen and expel more waste gasses. Physical movement even helps food get through the system more efficiently.

 It has never been more difficult to get kids to engage in physical activity as it is today. The video generation slouches in front of TVs, sits for hours mesmerized by fantasy games and communicates (usually superficially via greatly abbreviated text language) via not-so-social computer screens.

There was a time when kids played games like hopscotch, tag, and jump rope not knowing that it qualified as exercise. It was just fun! But hopscotch improved balance and coordination, the constant stop-and-go running in a healthy game of tag elevated heart rate to more efficiently burn calories, and the regular interval in jumping rope pumped the heart steadily and was an efficient form of aerobic exercise.

Exercise that isn’t exercise is easy.
 
Just walking the dog everyday is a sure-fire way to maintain regular exercise, which is much more advantageous, in the long run, than intermittent exercising. Jogging or walking at a brisk pace floods the body with endorphins and has several other health benefits.
 
Kids can help carry groceries, cut the grass, rake leaves or help wash the windows. By doing so kids are not only moving and stretching, but they are also making a positive contribution to their family and raising their own self-esteem.
 
There are many ways that physical activity can help improve a child’s self image and be part of a joyful family experience.  Consider the part that the simple bicycle plays in a child’s life. From first learning on a tricycle to the celebrated arrival of the two-wheeler, riding a bicycle is a milestone in the lives of most kids. Mastering the bicycle is something that can be viewed as an achievement as well as an easy way to increase a child’s physical activity. Biking helps children develop coordination, balance, work the back muscle groups that aid good posture, and build up leg muscles. It becomes a win-win activity.
 
There are many ways to make fitness a family event. Of course we are a little prejudiced in this regard. We believe that gardening tops the list. Digging, carrying, raking, weeding, pulling, pushing and reaching all keep the body in shape while the wonders found in the garden stir the mind and the joy of gardening refreshes the soul.