HELP YOUR CHILDREN GROW AND LEARN

A healthy, nutritious diet helps children grow and learn. It also helps prevent weight-related diseases, such as diabetes and obesity. Children need different amounts of specific nutrients at different ages. They need to eat three meals daily and have healthy snacks in between. The more active your child is, the more calories he or she needs. Here are some ways to encourage your child to follow a nutritious diet:

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SODIUM AND YOUR HEALTH

Sodium is an essential mineral for life. It is regulated in the body by the kidneys. It helps control the body’s fluid balance, affects muscle function and helps send nerve impulses. An Australian study showed the brain responds to sodium in the same way it responds to substances such as cocaine and heroin, which may explain why we tend to overindulge in high-sodium foods.

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HEALTHY EATING TIPS

A balanced healthy diet should contain a variety of nutritious foods and sufficient vitamins and minerals. Such a diet can help you maintain a healthy body weight and reduce your risk of many diet-related problems, such type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers. It’s recommended men have around 2,500 calories a day and women 2,000 calories a day. Studies indicate eating a typical Western diet filled with packaged meals, takeout foods, processed meats and sugary snacks may lead to stress, high rates of depression....

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When shoe shopping, consider whether you will be walking, running or cross training. “There are differences in design and variations in material and weight,” said Dornfeld. “For a walking shoe, look for a comfortable soft upper, smooth tread and a rocker sole design that encourages the natural roll of the foot during the walking motion.” The shoe should be light- weight and have extra shock absorption in the heel and under the ball of the foot.


The jogging shoe is slightly different. “The features of a good jogging shoe include cushioning, flexibility, control and stability in the heel counter area as well as lightness and good traction,” said Dornfeld. “Joggers should wear a shoe with more cushioning impact because it can help prevent shin splints, tendinitis, heel pain, stress fractures and other overuse syndromes.”


If you play tennis, pay attention to the sole of the shoe. “Tennis players need a shoe that supports the foot during quick side-to-side movements or shifts in weight and a shoe that provides stability on the inside and outside of the foot,” said Dornfeld.

When you’re choosing shoes for a particular activity – be it running, tennis or aerobics – being practical and comfortable are the two most important things to consider.


“We recommend a gym shoe that is close toed and has a non-skid tread on it,” said Melissa Miller of Transformation Personal Training.


With the right pair of shoes, you can perform better and prevent injuries. If you have a coach for your specific sport, ask him or her for a recommendation because he or she will have knowledge about the best shoe for your sport. In the past, there used to be one universal pair of gym shoes that worked for everybody, but that is no longer the case.


“One brand does not meet the needs of everyone,” said Jessica Dornfeld, marketing communications manager at the American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society. “The latest innovation or most expensive shoe with all the features may not be your best choice.”


Shoes are designed for specific sports for good reason. “You do not necessarily need a different pair of shoes for every sport in which you participate, but generally you should wear sport-specific shoes for sports you play more than three times a week,” said Dornfeld.

CHOOSE THE RIGHT SHOES FOR YOUR ACTIVITY

JAMIE LOBER

Jamie Lober is a Staff Writer for Health & Wellness Magazine

more articles by Jamie Lober

If your sport is soccer or another sport that involves running on a field, you should choose a shoe that is cleated, studded or spiked. Cross trainers should wear shoes that have features from more than one of the categories because they are participating in more than one sport.


Your feet will change and may become larger after a workout or at the end of the day, so that is an important time to try on a shoe to make sure it fits well. You also want to try the shoe on with the same socks you will wear when you participate in the sport. Comfort is key, and tighter is not better.


“When the shoe is on your foot, you should be able to freely wiggle all your toes,” said Dornfeld. “The shoes should be comfortable as soon as you try them on. Make sure your heel does not slip as you walk or run.”


Shoes can last a long time if you’re mindful about taking care of them. “After 300 to 500 miles of running or 300 hours of aerobic activity, the cushioning material in a shoe is usually worn down and it is time to toss the shoes,” said Dornfeld.


When you find a shoe you like that works well for you, stick with it. Ask the employees at the shoe store for help. “The best designed shoes in the world will not do their job if they do not fit properly, so you want to find a shoe store that employs a professional shoe fitter who knows about the different shapes and styles of shoes,” Dornfeld said.


If you have foot or ankle issues, adjusting your shoes can offer the relief you need. “Many simple devices are available without prescription,” Dornfeld said. “A heel cup provides an effective way to alleviate pain beneath the heel. An arch support can help treat pain in the arch and a metatarsal pad can help relieve pain beneath the ball of the great toe or beneath the ball of the other toes.”


Arch supports and many others products can be custom made for your feet. If you still have questions or concerns, consult with an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in diseases of the bones and joints. You can stay healthy and fit while wearing great footwear.