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Crock Pot Madras Lentils

Crock Pot Madras Lentils

This is such a fun recipe discovery! We got a sample of this dish at Costco…it is a yummy substitute for mild chili (you could spice it up) and a fun convenience food the way it is sold at Costco but here’s an easy recipe for a quick, inexpensive and delish go to meal for a busy night!

Crock Pot Madras Lentils

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 4 hours

Total Time: 4 hours, 15 minutes


  • 1/2 lb dried lentils
  • 1 4 oz can diced green chilis
  • 1 15 oz can small red kidney beans
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 6 cups beef or vegetable broth
  • 1 TBSP chili powder
  • 1 TBSP cumin
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Combine all ingredients EXCEPT HEAVY CREAM in slow cooker and stir to combine.
  2. Cover and cook on LOW 4 to 5 hours.
  3. Stir in heavy cream.
  4. Using an immersion blender (or a blender or food processor in batches), puree until to desired thickness.
  5. Salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Serve alone or over rice, and top with cheese and/or sour cream.
  7. Recipe is shared from the following website:

Top Foods for a Healthy Nervous System

Top Foods for a Healthy Nervous System

The health of your nervous system is vital for maintaining all your body’s functions and avoiding a range of potentially serious health problems. But if you’re not getting a sufficient amount of the nutrients needed for good nervous system health, you can experience such as numbness, nervous twitches or even muscle cramps. Fortunately, one of the easiest things you can do to help ensure a healthy nervous system is to eat the right kinds of foods.

Here’s a quick overview of several nutrients that play a key role in keeping your nervous system healthy and working the way it should.

Vitamin B1 (thiamin)

A deficiency of this vitamin can give you that pins-and-needles sensation in the toes or burning feet, especially at night. Good foods for vitamin B1 are beef liver, seafood, brewer’s yeast, beans, eggs and sunflower seeds.

Vitamin B6

Nerve cell communication suffers without this vitamin. Two key neurotransmitters, dopamine and serotonin, depend on vitamin B6 for their production. Bananas, potatoes, and chick peas are good sources.

Vitamin B12

A shortage of this vitamin can result in tingling and numbness in the hands and feet. Clams, fish, eggs, meat and dairy products are key sources of vitamin B12.


Like vitamin B6, this mineral is essential for the production of neurotransmitters. A severe lack of copper in your diet can lead to spinal cord degeneration and a progressive failure of nerve function. Liver and oysters are the best sources. Add prunes, spinach and kale (as well as other dark, leafy green vegetables), and nuts to your diet for even more copper.

Healthy foods for good nervous system function include the following:

Spinach—In addition to containing a powerhouse stock of nutrients and vitamins, this leafy green vegetable also contains an abundance of antioxidants to boost overall health and slow down the aging of the brain and nervous system.

Whole grains—Brown rice in particular contains high levels of vitamin B6, which helps to protect against mental deterioration caused by high levels of harmful homocysteines. Whole grains also include magnesium, which is important for the health of your nervous system. Stabilized rice bran contains one of the highest levels of antioxidants of all known foods.

Cocoa—This contains a powerful antioxidant that puts the brakes on oxidative stress that can lead to Alzheimer’s and similar neurological ailments. It is also high in magnesium.

Whey—An excellent food for a naturally calming effect. Rich in L-tryptophan, which the body cannot produce, this essential amino acid is vital in the production of serotonin, an essential neurotransmitter. Low levels of serotonin can lead to depression.

Garlic—This not only includes antioxidants, but garlic can help prevent aging of the brain and prevent infections, too.

So try working more of the above foods into your weekly menus, and feel pleased that you are doing something good for the health of your nervous system!

If feel that you need help with improving your eating habits and diet, we are just a phone call away! You can call at Oblander Chiropractic at 406-652-3553. Dr. Oblander is always willing to meet with you to discuss your nutritional needs!


Asian Grilled Salmon – Yummy!

Asian Grilled Salmon – Yummy!

Asian Grilled Salmon

Yield: 6

Asian Grilled Salmon


  • 3 lbs of fresh salmon, skin on
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon minced garlic


  1. Brush a grilling rack with oil to keep the salmon from sticking. Leave it on while you cut the salmon crosswise into four even pieces.
  2. Combine the mustard, soy sauce, olive oil, and garlic in a small bowl, whisking until it’s an interesting shade of yellow-brown.
  3. Pour half of the marinade onto the salmon, spreading it lovingly with a brush and allow it to sit for about 10 minutes
  4. Place the salmon skin side down on the hot grill and grill it for 5 minutes. Turn carefully and grill the other side for another 4 to 5 minutes.
  5. Quickly transfer the fish to a plate, skin side down, and add the rest of the marinade on top. The fish might seem like it’s not entirely cooked, but that’s fine. It’ll continue cooking itself while it rests.
  6. Allow the fish to rest for 10 minutes before removing the skin.
  7. Prep time: 5 minutes
  8. Cook time: 9 minutes
  9. Recipe shared from

How Much Money You Can Save From Losing Weight at Different Ages

How Much Money You Can Save From Losing Weight at Different Ages

Today we are sharing an article from Forbes magazine on how losing weight can save you money. Just ask our doc – Dr. Greg Oblander, losing weight saves you more than just money. Think that you are doomed to all of the health woes and diseases that have plagued your parents and grandparents? Would it surprise you to know that genetics only affect about 5% of health issues? Yup, it’s true. Our health is mainly determined by our health and lifestyle choices. Love that Big Mac? Well…it doesn’t love you! Today’s article cites a report that estimates that losing weight will save the average person at least $10,000 over a lifetime. We think that estimate is way low. (Think cost of cancer treatment, heart surgery, escalating medical costs). Money issues aside, how much is it worth to you to not have chronic pain, joint issues, arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, cancer…and the list goes on? Deciding now to get rid of extra weight and adopt the habit of exercise and eating real food will save you both health woes and money! An added bonus is that you will learn a greater degree of self-discipline! If you would like to change your lifestyle habits and/or lose weight, we can help! Call our Oblander Chiropractic office at 406-652-3553 and schedule your free consultation!

Please enjoy today’s article from Forbes magazine:

Losing weight can save you money over your lifetime.

Want another reason to lose weight? How about making your wallet heavier? In our study just published in the journal Obesity, we showed how much money that losing weight can save at any age, whether you are Millennial at 20 years old or a member of the Greatest Generation at 80 years old.

Five members of our Global Obesity Prevention Center (GOPC) at Johns Hopkins University (Saeideh Fallah-Fini, Atif Adam, Lawrence J. Cheskin, Sarah M. Bartsch and I) developed a computational model that simulated an adult at different starting ages and weights and calculated what could happen to the person’s weight, health and associated costs over time for the rest of his or her life. (Dr. Fallah-Fini is also an Assistant Professor of Engineering at the California State Polytechnic University.) Think of this model as a virtual person whom we can follow like a friend while the person ages.

For example, a simulated person could start as overweight at age 20 and then with each passing simulated year of the person’s life gain or lose weight and develop different types of chronic weight-related conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer, just like a real person. The simulation would continue until the person died from either age-related causes or a weight-related condition such as having a fatal heart attack.

At the end of the simulation, we could then tabulate the amount of medical costs that occurred (e.g., hospitalizations and medications for stroke) and the amount of productivity losses that resulted (e.g., lost salary from being disabled or missing days of work for hospitalizations, clinic visits, falling ill or passing away early). By running the model with different starting weights (e.g., within the ideal body weight range) and then comparing the results, we could then see how medical costs and productivity losses may change with losing or gaining weight.

The model utilized data from a variety of sources such as the Coronary Artery Disease Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) and Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) studies, the Framingham Heart Study (FRS), the Northern Manhattan Stroke cohort study, the National Cancer Institute database, the National Health Interview Survey, the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Dr. Adam played a major role in assembling and analyzing all of this data to help construct the model.

On average, going from obesity to normal weight, a 20-year-old could save a net present value of more than $28,000 throughout their lifetime, a 40-year-old more than $30,000, a 50-year-old more than $36,000, a 60-year-old more than $34,000, a 70-year-old more than $29,000 and an 80-year-old more than $16,000.

Going from overweight to an ideal weight range could save more than $10,000 at any age from 20 to 80, peaking at age 60 ($18,604). It may be that “love don’t cost a thing,” but obesity or being overweight certainly do.

In nearly all situations, at least half of these costs are from productivity losses (lost salary). In many cases, productivity losses constituted as high as nearly two-thirds of the costs. Since we used median wages, if you make much more, then losing weight could save you substantially more than the numbers we reported.

These numbers actually may be underestimates because the model focused on just a handful of major weight-related health conditions. We didn’t account for costs associated with a number of other weight-related issues such as joint problems and mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.

Extra weight not only hits you in the gut, but potentially in the heart, the brain, the liver, the kidneys and other parts of the body, and also the wallet.

And since we are all connected with each other via taxes (assuming that you pay taxes), insurance premiums (assuming that you pay for insurance) and the economy (assuming that you are a person and not a wombat), extra weight for someone else also may end up hitting your wallet, too.

Today’s article is shared from the following website:


Nine Reasons to Lose Weight That Have Nothing to Do with Fitting into Your Skinny Jeans

Nine Reasons to Lose Weight That Have Nothing to Do with Fitting into Your Skinny Jeans

We talk a lot about the importance of reaching a goal weight and how to stay motivated. Sometimes, though, it still seems like a laborious task. If you’re carrying extra weight, you probably already know there are a myriad of health-related reasons to slim down. While it may seem impossible, little steps will carry you bit by bit down your weight loss path to your ultimate goal.While keeping your eyes on the big prize, it may help you to realize that even small changes in your weight may improve blood sugar, blood pressure, heart health, reduce cholesterol, and decrease your chances of developing diabetes. We’ve shared many motivational tips, but did you know that when you lose 10% of your bodyweight, you are instantly healthier? There’s no doubt that dropping weight will make you look and feel better, but there are numerous other benefts that you can realize while on your weight loss journey, which have nothing to do with how you look in your skinny jeans. Read more: Strategies for successful maintenance after weight loss.

Fewer Asthma and Allergy Symptoms

The link may not be immediately obvious, but new research has found that for some people, being overweight can make their asthma and allergy symptoms worse. Carrying excess weight on your body puts a burden on the adrenal glands, and your adrenal glands help manage asthma and allergies. In addition, being overweight strains your respiratory system and can make allergy symptoms worse.

Arthritis Relief

Not only does losing weight help relieve arthritis pain, it can also help keep you from developing arthritis—the less you weigh, the less stress on the joints. In addition, recent studies have shown that when you have arthritis and you lose weight, your pain is reduced and your joint functionality significantly improves.

Less Foot Pain

You may not really think about it, but excess weight can put a lot of pressure on your feet, even if you don’t have arthritis. In a recent study, people who had lost an average of 90 pounds found that their incidence of foot pain lowered by 83%. This is understandable because your feet support your entire body, and therefore your entire body’s weight. Relief from foot pain is motivation enough for losing weight.

Glowing Skin

There are numerous ways being overweight may affect your skin, which is the body’s largest organ. Both skin elasticity and color can be altered by lack of proper nutrition, and a diet high in carbohydrates and sugar can cause pale skin and skin tags. Darkness around the eyes can also signal poor nutrition, such as iron defciency, diabetes, protein anemia, or stress.

Better Mood

When you are overweight, your entire system will be out of balance, including the hormones that affect your mood. Losing weight may increase your overall sense of well-being and decrease feelings of depression. Many overweight people suffer from extreme depression, and depression may increase a person’s chances of being overweight, setting up a cycle that is hard to break.

Improved Cognition and Memory

A recent study found that older adults who were overweight scored worse on cognitions tests than adults who were at a healthy weight. Past studies have linked excess weight in animals to cognitive decline, but little has been previously understood about the interaction between obesity and the brain. However, new research suggests that being overweight weakens the blood-brain barrier, and this allows substances manufactured by fat to flow to the brain. Researchers also discovered that 12 weeks after weight loss, memory significantly improves.

Sounder Sleep

If you’ve ever suffered from insomnia, you understand the benefits of a good night’s sleep. During sleep, your cells are repaired and your brain processes and remembers the day’s events. In fact, the most common prescription for sleep apnea is weight loss. In studies involving people with diabetes and sleep apnea, those who lost a greater amount of weight had the most significant drop in sleep apnea symptoms. It only takes a weight loss of 5% in obese people to start seeing results.

Reverse Type 2 Diabetes

Almost everyone has either heard or read about the global epidemic of type 2 diabetes and its link to obesity. It may be a surprise for many to learn how effective losing weight can be at reversing the impact of type 2 diabetes. In fact, many people can avoid the disease altogether by achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. Studies have shown that type 2 diabetes patients on a restricted eating plan, such as the doctor-supervised ChiroThin Weight Loss Program, were able to lower their blood sugar and insulin levels to normal within seven days. If you have type 2 diabetes, reversing the condition and avoiding future complications could just be the best benefit of your weight-loss journey.

Economic Savings

Many complain that eating a healthy diet is costly, and sometimes it does seem like fast food, junk food, and convenience food is cheaper. However, in the long run, slimming your waist can plump up your wallet. When you calculate the cost of medical bills, missed days at work, short-term disability, low-productivity, workers’ compensation, and more, there is a real difference between the financial health of obese people and their peers who have healthier weights. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to look good in your clothes, but the harsh reality is that being overweight can take up to 20 years off your life. Reducing your weight by even 5% can have a positive effect on your health, and it is a great beginning for your transformation. If you are ready to start your weight loss journey, call our office at Oblander Chiropractic to find out more about the doctor-supervised ChiroThin Weight Loss Program.


The office phone number is 406-652-3553




What Are the Best Sources of Fiber?

What Are the Best Sources of Fiber?

fruits in supermarket

Getting adequate amounts of fiber in your diet is important for a variety of reasons. The primary ones are that it improves digestion and contributes to lowering your risk of contracting chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease. The FDA recommends that adults get at least 25 to 30 grams in their diet every day. However, our typical western diet, which is high in refined grains and processed food, provides the average person only about 15 grams of fiber per day.

There are two different types of dietary fiber: soluble and insoluble, each of which fulfill an important task. Soluble fiber dissolves in water (and our stomach’s digestive juices), transforming into a gel-like substance that helps to lower levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol and reduce high blood sugar. The primary purpose of insoluble fiber is to work as an indigestible bulking agent to keeps things moving along the digestive tract, which aids elimination and reduces the risk of constipation, hemorrhoids and diverticulosis. Fiber may also help you to lose weight, and is important in maintaining general bowel health.

Among the best sources of both soluble and insoluble fiber are the following:

  • Beans and lentils – Make a three-bean salad, a bean burrito, some chili or soup. Hummus (chick pea puree) is another tasty option.
  • Bran cereal – You don’t have to endure Grape Nuts to meet your daily requirement. Any cereal with 5 or more grams of fiber per serving is considered high in fiber.
  • Whole grains – Chuck the white bread for whole-grain bread and pasta. It tastes better, and it does not make your blood sugar spike so quickly due to its higher fiber content.
  • Brown rice – Has a great, nutty taste and is particularly nice with a little soy sauce added.
  • Vegetables – Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and celery are among the vegetables with the highest fiber. Be sure not to overcook them though. They should remain crunchy.
  • Popcorn – A low-calorie snack (if you skip the added butter) and an easy source of fiber.
  • Nuts and seeds – Those highest in fiber are almonds, pecans, walnuts, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds.
  • Baked potatoes – Be sure to eat the skin, as it’s the part with the good fiber.
  • Berries – There’s a lot of fiber contained in the seeds and skin of berries.
  • Oatmeal – Steel-cut oats are the best in providing good amounts of cholesterol-lowering fiber. If you’re in a rush, instant oatmeal provides fiber as well, if at a lower amount.

So be sure to add more from the above list to your weekly menu and enjoy the many benefits that increased fiber has to offer! If you have questions about your diet choices, always remember that you can call either of our Billings offices and schedule an appointment to meet with Dr. Oblander or a member of our staff!

Beating the Odds: How Some People Stick with Diet and Exercise Plans

Beating the Odds: How Some People Stick with Diet and Exercise Plans

Billings Chiropractic Diet Services

How long did your last diet or exercise plan last? If you’re like many people, your answer is “not that long.” In fact, one UK survey found that the average length of time a person stays on a nutrition plan is 19 days. A slightly more positive poll found that women tended to quit their diets after five weeks and two days. If these statistics sound distressingly familiar, it might be time to reassess how you approach your own diet plan.

How Do People Stick with Their Diet and Exercise Plans?

If you want to make sure your diet and exercise plan doesn’t become just another statistic, a change in attitude can make all the difference. In order to create a diet plan you can stick with, it’s important to be honest with yourself about what types of changes will fit into your lifestyle. Diet plans with long lists of “bad” foods might help you cut back on calories in the short term, but do you really plan to go the rest of your life without cake? People who stick with their diet plans take a more moderate approach, making small changes that they can live with in the long term.

Exercise plans can be just as difficult to carry out. People who stick with their exercise plans view physical activity as a regular part of life, not something they do only when they have the time, energy, and motivation. Of course, sticking with physical activity is much easier when it’s enjoyable. Rather than slogging it out on the treadmill, try yoga, martial arts, or another exercise program that stimulates your mind as well as your body. And variety helps too!

You Don’t Have to Go It Alone

Whether you’re building a diet plan or an exercise program (or are making changes in both areas), the people around you can make a huge difference in your level of success. If your spouse, children, or friends tend to turn to food in celebration or out of boredom, it’s easy to forget about your diet goals. Getting enough exercise is a lot more difficult if the people around you would rather watch TV than go on a walk.

Fortunately, when it comes to sticking with your diet and exercise plan, the people around you can also be a huge help. Making dietary changes as a family can help everyone involved lose weight and improve their health, while exercising with a friend can make the time go by much more quickly and pleasantly.

Having the support of a chiropractor who really understands the power (and challenges) of making healthy lifestyle changes (think nutrition, exercise, sleep and stress management, for example) is another way to help you meet your goals. The staff here in Billings at Oblander Chiropractic can work with you to make targeted, realistic adjustments that you’ll be able to stick with in the long term. Sticking with a diet and exercise program isn’t always easy, but you might be surprised by just how easy it is to make the changes you’re looking for with the right type of advice and support!

Staying Healthy at the Office

Staying Healthy at the Office

Staying Healthy at the Office
Staying Healthy at the Office

When you work in an office job—even one that’s otherwise rewarding—it’s easy to feel trapped in a day-to-day pattern that doesn’t seem to leave much room for physical exercise or healthy eating. And this is true even though more and more Americans are becoming aware that sitting for long periods of time, often without a break, is hazardous to your health.

The simple truth is that they’re right to be concerned. One study conducted in 2010 indicated that “men who reported more than 23 hours a week of sedentary activity had a 64 percent greater risk of dying from heart disease than those who reported fewer than 11 hours a week of sedentary activity.” And yet the nature of office work is essentially sedentary. So what can you do to change that fact and improve your health? This article lists a number of suggestions that may help.

  • Eat breakfast. Studies have shown that workers who eat breakfast have better concentration than those who only drink coffee in the mornings. In addition, those who eat breakfast tend to eat less during the day than those who do not, and thus more easily avoid gaining weight.
  • Bike or walk to work. If you live close to work, biking or walking can provide much of the exercise you need each week, and you can arrive at work feeling more energized after spending some time in the fresh air. If you take public transportation to work, consider getting off one or two stops earlier and walking the rest of the way.
  • Take frequent short breaks. Even if you take a longer break for lunch or to go to the gym, sitting for long, uninterrupted periods of time can still be hazardous. Studies have shown that taking micro-breaks (getting up from your desk and moving around every 15 minutes or so) can be more valuable than taking a longer break only once a day.
  • Use the stairs. Why ride in a stuffy metal box with 10 other people when you could get a little healthful exercise?
  • Drink lots of water. Experts recommend you drink 4 to 6 glasses a day to keep yourself hydrated and healthy. If you have to get up to refill your glass from the drinking fountain or the refrigerator, that’ll also provide an opportunity for another micro-break.
  • Don’t forget about fresh air. Offices can often be stuffy and under-ventilated.  If possible, open a window near your desk. If not, be sure to take occasional breaks outside the building, even if only for short periods of time.
  • Bring a healthy lunch and snacks from home. Rather than eating in the cafeteria, make a healthy lunch at home and sit outside when eating it. Instead of eating sugary snacks from vending machines, bring fruit and nuts and snack on them.
  • Think ergonomically. Adjust your chair to fit your body and sit with your feet flat on the floor. Position your computer monitor at eye level and your keyboard at elbow level, so that your wrists are straight when you type. Move your whole arm when you use the mouse, not just your wrist.
  • Stretch at your desk. You may not be able to jog or do push-ups at your desk, but you can certainly stretch and release tension from your arms, neck, shoulders, and fingers.
  • Exercise before you go home. After a long day at work, many people get home and just want to sit down on the couch and relax. If you are a member of a gym or jog regularly, doing this directly after work will improve the likelihood that you’ll actually exercise.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Brain Health

Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Brain Health

omega3 food
omega3 food

Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids that are deemed “essential” because they fall into a category of nutrients that the body needs, but cannot synthesize in sufficient quantities by itself. They must be consumed in our foods or in the form of supplements so the body receives enough omega-3 to meet its needs.

Recent research is indicating that, in addition to the well-known benefits of omega-3 fatty acids for the cardiovascular system and other organs, they’re pretty essential in keeping our brains healthy too. This suggests that they may also play a significant role in our cognitive development and mental health. One of the reasons for this may be the presence in omega-3 fatty acids of docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA. DHA has been identified as an important nutrient responsible for proper brain development and optimal brain function.

Studies have linked omega-3 fatty acids and DHA to improvement of symptoms of depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia, and other studies have found that children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) tend to have low levels of omega-3 fatty acids. A number of recent studies have found that reduced intake of omega-3 fatty acids is strongly associated with cognitive decline and dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. Scientists in these studies have hypothesized that omega-3 fatty acids and DHA provide a kind of protective barrier against Alzheimer’s.

In a more recent study published in the Journal of Neuroscience in February 2014, researchers found that DHA may even be a major factor in how our brains are created in the first place. In the study, monkeys fed a lifelong diet high in omega-3 fatty acids and DHA were found to have brains with highly connected and well-organized neural networks, similar to those of humans. At the same time, monkeys raised on a lifelong diet low in omega-3/DHA had much more limited brain networking.

A study published in the journal Neurology in January 2014 also found links between omega-3 fatty acids and brain volumes in humans. In the study, more than 1000 post-menopausal women had blood samples drawn and MRI scans taken at the start of the study, and then 8 years later. The data indicated that overall brain size was smaller in women in the lowest quartile of omega-3 levels, compared to women in the highest quartile. It also indicated that the hippocampus—the area of the brain in charge of cognitive function—was significantly smaller in the brains of the women in the lowest omega-3 level quartile. As one of the researchers phrased it, “…when we look at the whole picture, omega-3 fatty acids are a major component of brain tissue and they are metabolized to anti-inflammatory compounds that could reduce brain cell death. We can certainly make a good story to support the idea that omega-3 fatty acids are good for the brain.”

So if you’re concerned about keeping your brain as healthy as possible and preventing its decline as you age, adding more omega-3 fatty acids to your diet may be part of the answer!


Want Your Kids to Be Active? Here Is Why YOU Should Be their Lifestyle Role Model

Want Your Kids to Be Active? Here Is Why YOU Should Be their Lifestyle Role Model


It’s not news—obesity is a growing national epidemic among young people. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that obesity in children has doubled in the last 30 years and quadrupled in adolescents. Nearly 20% of children 6-11 years old are obese as are almost 23% of teenagers. This places them at increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease, diabetes, bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, type 2 diabetes, stroke, several types of cancer, and osteoarthritis. Finally—and even more concerning—studies have shown that people who are obese as children tend to be obese as adults.

What’s happening here?  In large part, it comes down to our lifestyle choices. Record numbers of both adults and children are succumbing to the temptations of TV, computers, and video games, and many of us simply don’t get the exercise our bodies need to stay healthy.

Naturally, parents who read statistics like these may be—and should be—concerned about their kids. More and more often, they ask themselves questions like “What can we do to help our kids be more active and physically fit?” One answer to this question is pretty simple: To get your kids to be more active, engage in more active pursuits with them. One of the keys to getting children to exercise more is to have them see their parents exercise more. That’s the finding from a new study published in the journal Pediatrics

In the study, researchers at the University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine in England fitted 554 mother-child pairs with equipment to measure how much exercise they were getting when they were together as well as when they were apart. Accelerometers tracked their exercise levels, and GPS devices measured how close they were to each other. Over the course of seven days, the findings were clear – the more physical activity the mother was engaged in while with the child, the more active the child was during the rest of the day. In fact, for every minute of moderate-to-vigorous activity the mother got, the child was likely to get ten percent more of the same activity. Conversely, for every minute the mother was sedentary, the child was 0.18 minutes more sedentary. Both of these effects were more pronounced in girls than in boys.

These findings seem to indicate that parents can be effective role models for their children by getting more active exercise themselves. But specialists emphasize that parents don’t have to drop their other priorities to do this. Physical therapist Teresa Beckman suggests, “Incorporate small changes into your daily life. For example, rather than playing a board game together, go outside and play hopscotch. Or if you’re planning a trip to your local playground, try walking instead of driving.”

Other suggestions for becoming more active with your children include playing more sports with them, walking more with them (if you take the bus, get off one or two stops early and walk the rest of the way), riding bikes together, and even playing Frisbee. Dancing is good exercise, so you can encourage your kids to take lessons in various forms of dance and then set a good example for them by attending the classes yourself. You can join exercise classes together, schedule regular pre-dinner walks or runs, or just play family games of basketball or soccer.

You are your child’s most important role model when it comes to teaching them about the importance of exercise. And exercising together is just as good for you as it is for them. So switch off that TV or computer and go out to play! You’ll both be doing something good for your health and having fun at the same time!


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