Fit Kidz™ is an exciting new series that empowers kids to take charge of their own health. The show helps kids understand the importance of nutrition and fitness by showing them fun activities and introducing them to a healthy, new way of life.
What Readers Are Saying
Question 1: Dr. Ro: I am a 20-year-old college student with elevated cholesterol on a mission to a healthier lifestyle of diet and exercise. My doctor recommended that I eat under 3000 mg of sodium a day. What can I do to try to achieve this goal that seems too hard? Is it even possible? Answer
CONGRATS! Now that you're on a healthful mission, the rest will be a breeze. Having elevated cholesterol isn't exactly the fate worse than death that it may seem. Being restricted to 3000 milligrams of sodium is easier rule than you may think to follow. Basically, 3000 to 4000 milligrams of sodium a day is little more than a diet that includes no added salt. Since sodium also holds water in the body, an added benefit is that by restricting your sodium intake, you won't hold excess body fluid, and therefore, as long as you are consistent with exercise and an otherwise healthful diet, you won't gain weight. To implement your sodium-restricted diet, you'll want to stay away from salty snacks, such as salted nuts, chips, corn curls, etc. Cut back or cut out hard cheeses like cheddar (also usually high in fat), processed foods (anything in the can except tuna), boxed foods that add sauces, such as macaroni and cheese mixes, and other sauce mixes, and processed meats. Eat mostly FRESH fruits and vegetables and whole, fresh, unprocessed foods. Wash those good foods down with plenty and water and enjoy your new HEALTHSTYLE!
Question 2: Dr. Ro: Can you tell me if aquatic exercises will be beneficial in helping me tone and shape my legs? What works to flatten my tummy? Answer
Any fitness expert will tell you that swimming is an excellent and fun way to get fit. First, it works almost all muscle groups in your body. Swimming or doing the crawl for an hour burns about 540 calories for a person who weighs 150 pounds. If you weigh less, then the energy you expend will also be a little less, but you've got to admit, it sure is a fun way to be healthy. As for getting tight abs, semi sit-ups and their modified versions are good tummy tighteners. First, lie on you back with your legs bent at a 90 degree angle. Keep your chin tucked as you slowly raise your head and shoulders off the floor. Hold the position for five seconds, then slowly lie back down, and repeat it 10 times. Follow the same procedure, but raise your head and shoulders to the right 10 times. This modified version works on the obliques (those love handles we love to hate). Doing this exercise not only works those abdominal muscles, but also helps to strengthen your lower back and other muscles that support the spine.
Question 3: Dr. Ro: I am a 25 year old mom with two beautiful daughters, ages six and four. I am recently engaged and would really like to look better. I am a size 9/10, but before my girls, I was a size 3. Their father didn't care enough about us to encourage me to exercise. Why can't there be a quick fix? What can I do as a single working mom of two to keep motivated? Answer
Wheww! Where to begin??? Okay, okay, let us start at the beginning, with your seemingly low self-esteem. My sistafriend, you must care enough about yourself to get fit, not depend on the encouragement of others. Sure, it would be nice to have the man in your life be on board with your fitness picture, because your fitness indirectly affects the fitness of the whole family, but to be frank, girlfriend, that's YOUR size 10 and your heart and muscles to account for, and no one, but no one, is responsible for them but YOU! So for starters, thank the Creator that you've got those two beautiful queens in training (your four and six year olds). The four-year old alone is enough to get you on the road to recovery and keep you there. Can you say energy-run-a-muck? Kids her age have enough energy just in the normal course of what they do to keep you on your feet. But don't take her energy for granted. According to the American Council on Exercise, only 37% of American kids are considered physically active by the time they reach high school age. Make your health and fitness a family affair. If you don't already have them, get bikes for yourself and your girls. It would be a good idea to get the fiancé in on this too. Go on nature walks with the family (especially the girls) and step up the pace for burning calories. Teach them about new flowers, trees, birds. I still remember the birds from walks with my mom as a kid. It seemed like a drag then, but I came to appreciate the walks as I grew older and understood the true added value. Get your kids help in doing yard work and work around the house, get out of the house on weekends and use it for quality family time to get movin'!
Question 4: I have a small waist, but very large buns. What can I do to get rid of my thighs and buns? Answer
I love it (actually, I don't) when people want to work on "just that part of my body that makes me sick". Listen up, it's much more useful to work on toning, strengthening, and making fit, your WHOLE body than trying to isolate muscle groups as though the others don't need development or maintenance. First, you'll have to do cardio at least 45 minutes a day four-five days a week, to tone and burn excess calories. By the way, this will help to slim thigh and booty "problem areas". Here are a couple of exercises to let the strengthening begin… leg raises, which can be modified to increase energy output, are a good place to start. First, sit on the floor with your hands slightly behind you, extend one leg and bend the other at the knee. Pull the toes of your straight leg toward you and press the back of the knee down. Raise your straight leg six-eight inches off the floor then lower it slowly. Relax and repeat for a set of 10. Try side leg raises, back leg raises, and inner thigh leg raises for a variation. When it feels too easy and you can do them with little effort, add one pound ankle weights.
Question 5: I am a 23 year old college student who works out but needs serious help with what to do about sweating my hair-do away. Answer
You should be commended for working it out. That said, the hair issue is a big one for all sistas as it is for me. Here are a few suggestions for keeping your tresses dressed while keeping your body running like a well-oiled machine. First, if perms are out of the question (they usually are for sisters whose hair is too soft, fine, or damaged to stand up to the riggers of chemical processing), then try natural styles. Any reputable natural stylist in your area should be able to tell you how to care for your hair, no matter what the length is. If you want more versatility, try braids, African twists, twists with extensions, weaving, or interlocking. Any of these will give your natural hair a breather as you work your body. And these are all style options that give you the freedom you need to roll to the gym (or wherever you work out) then off to class or work, without the headache of figuring out "what to do with my sistah-girl hair"? Good Luck!
Question 6: Dr. Ro: I just recently started a fitness program with the goal of gaining 10 pounds. Problem is, I'm loosing weight instead. What to do? Answer
YOU are practically on top of the world if your problem is gaining weight. Since half of all African American women are overweight, as problems go, yours just might be a blessing! But not to worry, so as not to trivialize your plight (I am aware of you and yours out there somewhere who have a legitimate concern for weight gain) here's my take. My first question is: How old are you? If you are under 25, I'd say be patient, your time will come. If you're between 25 and 35 and you still consider yourself "too thin", it is probably a function of your individual metabolism. It's probably high. However, if gaining weight is the goal, increasing calories is the number one fix. Eat more of the healthy foods you currently eat (larger portions), fruits and juices, vegetables and whole grains (including pasta, brown rice with margarine or a pat of butter), and enjoy whole milk dairy products including cheese, and have an occasional ice cream treat. You can even afford to have stuffing with your turkey or chicken, as well as generous portions of fish, but still little lean red meat (high-fat meat of any variety is just not heart healthy). Eat more beans for fiber, protein and complex carbohydrates (a healthy thing to do, no matter what your nutrition goals are). And finally, include weights in your work out to build muscle and a little bulk. Together, these suggestions ought to "beef up" your fitness and health picture.
Question 7: Dr. Ro: I've been trying to eat healthy, three meals and two snacks a day (usually fruit). But I'm still starving after meals and snacks. What can I eat that in addition to snacking on fruit? Answer
First, you're on the right track by eating five-six times a day. To improve what you've got going, try eating more foods that taste good, but that leave you satisfied and with a feeling of fullness. I suggest beans. They're a great complex carbohydrate and protein source, they're filling, so you don't get hungry right after consuming them, and they're high in soluble fiber (which means they lower your bad cholesterol HDL-cholesterol). Other fiber rich foods which also stay in the gut and leave you feeling full, and not hungry are: complex carbohydrates such as Kashi (a fiber-rich cold cereal), oats, wheat and barley. Vegetables are a good bet, too. You're already snacking on fruits, so try snacking on veggies (try some of the ready-cuts available in most produce sections across the nation). Other good snack bets are Luna bars (a protein bar, my favorite is Nuts Over Chocolate), Soy nuts (I love the teriyaki flavor), dried veggies, dried fruits, Ostrim Ostrich Sticks (they look like Slim Jims, only they're made of ostrich meat, 90 calories, 13 grams of protien, and only 1 gram of fat!). Wash all of these snack ideas down with a hefty glass of water. Getting 8-10 8 ounce glasses will not only fill you up, but an added bonus is that water will speed up your metabolism. Bon appetite!
Question 8: Dr. Ro: I am 26 years old, 5'8" and weigh 182 pounds. I can't get rid of fat in buttocks, abdomen, and thigh area. I snack a lot and usually indulge in largest meal at end of the day. Answer
You are too easy. If I had a dime for every sister who's told me she needed to get rid of the "cellulite" in her problem areas, I'd be a rich woman. First, there is no such thing as cellulite. It's called FAT! The "c" word is a nice-sounding fancy way of calling fat something else that sounds good to the beauty industry. So now that I've got you back in the real world, let's deal with what you're doing wrong. The short answer? EV-ER-Y-THING! But don't despair. Help's on its way. First, a healthy weight for a female of your height ranges from 125 to 150 pounds. But it isn't the end of the world. Eating at the end of the day works against you because your body starts shutting down to prepare for the next day after 3 p.m. Between 3 p.m. and midnight, your stress hormones go on break. (They peak between 6 a.m. and 3 p.m.) It's better for you to get the bulk of your energy producing foods (complex carbohydrates, e.g., dried peas and beans, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains) during the earlier part of the day. Start to eat five-six small meals a day, not one big meal at night. The danger in saving your calories up for one big evening meal is that it almost always tempts you to overeat. Snack on fruits (not juice), vegetables, whole grains and protein foods (drained tuna, which is now available in a package that travels easily), ostrich sticks, breakfast and protein bars, fruited yogurt, cheese and crackers and fruit. Step up your usual workout routine from 30 to 45 minutes a day. In two weeks, add 15 minutes more (you'll be walking for an hour). Pick up the pace, and watch the difference a little more commitment makes.