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Strategies to Move a Couch Potato Kid

It’s an era of sedentary activity– of children and adults who spend evenings and weekends glued to the couch. Many children have been trained to sit still for hours at school and then follow it with an hour or more of homework each evening. So when they have free time, naturally a child will retreat into … the stillness of video gaming, TV and social media?! It’s true, many parents find it difficult to get their blobs school-age children active without the structure of an organized sport or the promise of a bribe (in the form of more time for video games, naturally).

Intuitively, many caregivers understand that it’s important for children to move, but don’t always know how. Here’s a start.

Get ’em Off the Couch:

  • Avoid using sedentary activities, including screen time, as rewards and physical activity as punishment as this teaches kids that sedentary activity is more desirable than physical activity.
  • Explore out-of-the-box options until your child is having fun, such as wall climbing centers, guided hikes at national parks, trampoline parks, or hiphop dancing.
  • Make it a family affair by going on family hikes, riding bikes together, shooting hoops in the driveway, putting together an at-home obstacle course or doing yard work together.
  • Bring along a friend to the community pool or local playground and consider arranging for your child and their bestie to sign up for an organized sport together.
  • Establish a routine such that every Wednesday night after dinner the family goes for a walk or on Saturday mornings the kids go swimming at the YMCA.
  • Provide the materials for physical activity, such as soccer balls, jump ropes and sprinklers to run through.
If your child is still avoiding movement, they may benefit from support with coordination, muscle tone, balance, or body awareness. A pediatric occupational therapist might be able to help.
Need more ideas to get your kiddo engaged? We’ve got your back. Check out our Pinterest boards for lots of activities. If concerns persist, Intuition Wellness Center can help you and your family connect to resources.
At Intuition Wellness Center we specialize in services and wellness programs for children, young adults and families and supporting other like-minded professionals in doing good work. Call us at 520-333-3320.

Written By: Brandy Baker, PsyD

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Taekwondo Wellness Therapy Group Announcement

TKDKidsFlyerHello,
We have exciting news about a new Taekwondo Wellness therapy group for kids ages 7 and up that will be starting on May 24, 2016 at Intuition Wellness Center. We are currently accepting referrals for kids, teens, and adults who may benefit from an alternative approach to overcoming emotional, behavioral, and social challenges. The cost will be $35 per 60 minute group session. We are a provider for BCBS insurance and group therapy services may be billable. Please note that this can be an adjunct to current counseling services or a standalone service for clients.
Please call 520-333-3320 to register or visit us online to learn more about Taekwondo Wellness therapy groups and other services we provide. Here are two flyers, one for kids TKD and the other for teens and adults TKD. Please feel free to email (contact@intuitionwellness.com) or call (520-333-3320) if you have any questions about Taekwondo Wellness therapy groups. Below is a bit more info about Taekwondo Wellness.

Taekwondo Wellness Difference

What sets Taekwondo Wellness apart from your typical Taekwondo school? We incorporate three distinct services into our classes that are aimed at helping youth, adults and their families improve their mental health and family and peer dynamics. The first key component is psycho-education, which teaches psychological hygiene, coping skills, and social skills. The second key component is parent coaching that helps families improve their communication and interactions with their kids and others. Mindfulness meditation is the third key component, which is incorporated into each session to take advantages of its many benefits such as improved attention span, pain relief, and decreases in anxiety to name a few.

Taekwondo Wellness Core Curriculum

  • Clinical Interview & Treatment Plan: Participants will each be evaluated by one of our clinicians who will help identify mental health needs and treatment plan.
  • Taekwondo Philosophy: Students will learn about the core Taekwondo principles and how yin jang concepts of Taoism can be applied to our daily lives to reach a state of harmony.
  • Poomsae: Students will learn and practice a set pattern of defensive and offensive techniques as a means of improving power, speed, and balance while striving for self refinement.
  • One Step & Self Defense: Students will learn to apply Taekwondo blocking and striking techniques to real-life situations building self-esteem and sense of security.
  • Olympic Style Sparring: Intermediate rank students will learn sparring rules, skills, and strategies of Taekwondo sparring while developing good sportsmanship, coordination, balance, self control, and self-reliance.
  • Board Breaking: Students will learn to focus their minds and overcome fear to achieve feats of strength and build confidence.
  • Physical Fitness: Through rigorous exercises using interval training students will see improvements in their endurance and strength as well as managing their weight.
  • Flexibility Training: Students will practice stretching regularly for improved range of motion not only for higher kicks but for its physical and stress relieving benefits as well.
  • Psycho-education & Mental Training: Students will learn about self talk, goal setting, and energy, stress and anger management in addition to other psychological issues and risk factors.
  • Parent Coaching: Parents observing class will get parenting tips and learn how to manage or redirect unwanted child or adolescent behavior.
  • Meditation: Students will learn and practice mindfulness meditation for its physical and psychological benefits, including stress, pain, and mood management.
  • Body Awareness: Students will became aware of their bodily sensations and the difference between tension and relaxation, as well as, a better understanding of how stress can be stored in the body.
  • Fun: Last, but not least, is fun! Students will laugh, smile, and have lots of fun while practicing Taekwondo. Humor has been shown to have physical benefits such as boosting our immune systems and energy and diminishing pain, in addition to improving mood and relieving stress.

Written by Yoendry Torres, Psy.D., Clinical Psychologist

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Obesity in the US – Mental Health Implications & Recommendations

US Obesity Trends Map

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Obesity in the United States is a major public health concern affecting not only an individual’s physical health but also their mental health and the emotional health of their family. Obesity is defined as having a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or higher, which is calculated using one’s weight and height. Weight gain and obesity result from consuming more calories than the body requires given the level of physical activity.

Two of the leading culprits of obesity are sedentary lifestyles and the quantity and quality of one’s diet. Some other factors that impact obesity include genetics, metabolism, endocrine problems, and culture. The Surgeon General (2010) recommends 60 minutes of moderate physical daily exercise for children and teenagers and at least 150 minutes weekly for adults. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has updated its Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommending half your plate be fruits and vegetables and half be grains and protein.

Here are some alarming statistics from the Surgeon General 2010 Report that will hopefully move one to make meaningful lifestyle changes that lead to happier and healthier lives.

  • Obesity contributes to an estimated 112,000 preventable deaths annually (Surgeon General, 2010).
  • Obesity increases one’s health risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease (Surgeon General, 2010).
  • Mental health problems such as depression are associated with obesity (Surgeon General, 2010).
  • Obesity is also an increasing problem for children, rising from 5% in 1980 to 17% in 2008 (Surgeon General, 2010).
  • There are disparities among some racial groups: 29% of non-Hispanic black teenagers and 17.5% of Hispanic teenagers are obese, while the prevalence for non-Hispanic white teenagers is 14.5% (Surgeon General, 2010).
  • Obesity is “more prevalent in persons with mental illness with some reports indicating 83% of people with serious mental illness being overweight or obese” (Surgeon General, 2010).

These statistics are shocking and getting worse every year, just check out the CDC US Obesity Trends by State Map. Many health providers and even First Lady Michelle Obama with her Let’s Move initiative have seen this crisis as a call for action and are working hard to ameliorate this issue. However, the focus has usually been on the physical impact of obesity, often neglecting or downplaying the mental health implications.

MENTAL HEALTH IMPLICATIONS
Given the increasing number of obese or overweight people in the United States and the associated mental health problems such as depression, one can speculate that depression rates will also increase. Addressing depression and other mental health issues associated with obesity is important because one’s emotional state can affect compliance with treatment plans and medications. Depressive symptoms include:

  • Low energy
  • Low motivation
  • Fatigue
  • Poor concentration
  • Anhedonia (i.e., diminished interest in previous enjoyable activities)
  • Depressed mood
  • Irritability
  • Decreased or increased appetite
  • Decreased or increased weight
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Thoughts of death and suicide

Each of the above depressive symptoms can complicate treatment for obesity; for example, having low energy, motivation, and fatigue reduce the likelihood of following through with workout routines, taking medications, complying with treatment plans, or adhering to nutritional recommendations. Furthermore, family members are affected by partners and children who are depressed, as it can be difficult living with a depressed individual who may be easily irritated or has little to no interest in doing anything fun. Not surprisingly, children of depressed parents are at higher risk for their own psychiatric problems, interpersonal difficulties, and academic challenges.

RECOMMENDATIONS TO REDUCE THE RISKS OF OBESITY AND MENTAL HEALTH IMPLICATIONS

  • Seek professional help – Just like you go to a doctor to treat diabetes or go to a mechanic to fix your car, seek professional counseling/psychotherapy to treat depression or other mental health illnesses.
  • Make lifestyle changes – Implement longterm health driven changes to your diet and exercise routines rather than temporary ones.
  • Manage stress – Stress can zap your energy leaving you tired and irritable, so manage it actively by incorporating coping skills such as meditation, exercise, or play into your daily routines.
  • Make exercise fun – Discover alternative ways to get exercise by joining a group fitness class, enrolling in a martial arts school, taking dance lessons, going for a bike ride, or training with a friend.
  • Take a hike – The magnificence of nature can be therapeutic so go for a hike at a nearby trail to burn some calories and reflect on life.
  • Limit TV – Keep TV out of children’s rooms and limit TV time. Instead encourage children to participate in sports or other physical activities that foster moral and social development.
  • Get plenty of sleep – Lack of sleep not only impacts your energy level but also your mood and concentration so get to bed early on a regular basis. Create nighttime wind down routines to relax and promote good sleep.
  • Eat in moderation – Do not supersize your meals, instead eat smaller, recommended portions. Don’t forget to manage your stress as it can increase emotional eating.
  • Eat healthy foods – Avoid greasy, fatty, processed, fried foods and put down sugary drinks such as sodas. Eat more fruits and vegetables and drink lots of water. Make healthy snacks easily accessible at home.
  • Make it a family event – Working out with your partner can be motivating and reinvigorating to your relationship while going to a park with your children to play can create stronger bonds and teach family values.
  • Lead by example – You are your children’s biggest role model, if you start eating fruits and veggies and begin exercising so will they.

Author: Dr. Yoendry Torres, Clinical Psychologist

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