Organization makes effort to get community involved in health and fitness

Story image for Health & Fitness from WDVM 25

A local organization in Montgomery County is hoping to get the community involved in fitness and raise money for a cause with the new event.

The instructors at “Club Fit” in Montgomery County provided Zumba, yoga, and bootcamp sessions.

Every year Empower Through Play organizes a mission trip to help children in need that live overseas. The organization provides shoes through local donations while empowering the youth to live healthier lifestyles.

“Were going on a mission trip to Columbia, were bringing sneakers and cleats and donating physical education equipment so that way we can empower those kids” said Charles Yinusa, founder of Empower Through Play.

The organization is also accepting shoes and sports equipment for donations.

[“source=ndtv”]

5 Natural Ways To Stay Healthy During Holiday Travel

Traveling during cold and flu season can feel like a game of Russian Roulette and I’ll be completely honest — I avoid it like the plague, pun intended. If you’re trying to visit loved ones over the holiday season or treat yourself to a sandy getaway to escape the dreariness of winter, however, there are some things you can do to protect yourself.

Before we go any further, I’ll just clarify that I’m not a doctor and there are plenty of people who will scoff at this list. It’s important for everyone to feel confident in the decisions they make for their own health so, definitely do your own research. Also, yes, many will argue that getting sick is simply a part of life and builds immunity but that’s not true for everyone (plus, it’s so frustrating to spend money on a trip that you can’t enjoy because you’re sick!).

We have six children and I have traveled extensively most of my life. I also have a weakened immune system and, at one point, was catching so many viruses that I was hospitalized for most of one four-year period of my life. After making some changes, that all stopped.

Here are a few of the natural strategies I use to stay healthy while traveling, especially during cold and flu season.

Pick a Window Seat

When I was young, I loved being able to sit in the window seat and watch the landscapes changing below as we made our way to our destination. Now, I choose it for a completely different reason — protection! If people on the plane are coughing around you, you can turn your face toward the protective barrier of that wall. Additionally, studies have shown that sitting in the aisle seat may increase your risk of contracting a stomach virus.

Let’s not forget the unfortunate soul who received an apology from Delta after discovering that his legs and feet were covered in dog feces left behind by a service dog on a previous flight. So, while you’re sitting in your superior window seat, wipe down the armrests, seat belt, tray and that window blind with a disinfectant wipe. Carry sanitizer to clean your hands before eating or touching your face. Avoid the bathroom, if you can, and keep your shoes on.

Next level tip: Wear a mask designed to guard you against airborne illnesses and allergens. It’s becoming more and more common (even celebrities are doing it!) so don’t feel embarrassed to pull one out of your carry-on. In fact, bring an extra in case your seatmate wants protection, too!

Stay Hydrated

Make a conscious effort to stay hydrated on your next flight because the conditions inside an airplane can dry out the lining of our nose and throat, leaving us more vulnerable to the germs floating around the cabin. There is also evidence to suggest that staying hydrated can give our immune system a boost while helping our body fight off viruses.

You don’t need to drink a whole gallon of water (especially since that might send you to the bathroom that you’re trying to avoid!) but sipping throughout your journey can keep you from getting too parched which, in addition to increasing your risk of getting sick, can leave you feeling tired and irritable. Drink up!

Next level tip: Skip the ice as it’s not always handled in the cleanest ways. Ask for the bottle of water or can of soda and wipe the lid before opening to avoid contamination.

OnGuard Essential Oil

My collection of essential oils comes from several different companies but, when it comes to giving my immune system a boost, nothing compares to doTERRA’s OnGuard. You can use it daily for prevention this time of year but it can also be used after you’ve come down with something.

Again, whether you believe this claim is entirely up to you and, to be honest, I wasn’t sure about it myself until I tried it. My partner and all six kids had come down with something while I was away this summer. I immediately started using OnGuard to protect myself and help them. Not only did I never get sick (despite cleaning up after a house full of feverish people) but their symptoms stopped progressing. This has happened several times and I’m a believer. I do not travel without it.

Where to buy: Visit doTERRA’s site to learn more and search for a Wellness Advocate in your area. I’ve also had success at local massage studios and chiropractic offices.

Grape Seed Extract

A while back, someone told me that drinking eight ounces of 100% red grape juice could prevent the spread of a stomach virus if you’ve been exposed to someone who has been vomiting. We started doing it immediately and, of course, I can’t prove anything but I can say that no belly woes made the rounds in our house during that time.

It’s not convenient to find pure grape juice on the road, though, and, as someone who avoids sugar, drinking a bottle felt terrible. After reading a study about Grape Seed Extract and how it could be used to fight Norovirus, I picked up a bottle. Months later, when my significant other and I traveled to see my grandmother, he became violently ill. I immediately took my GSE (and OnGuard) and managed to escape unscathed. Now, I take it wherever I go.

Where to buy: You can find it in vitamin and supplement shops online or in-store. My go-to product is Nutribiotic’s Maximum GSE Liquid Concentrate which I order from Amazon.

Elderberry Syrup or Tablets

While I’ve tried Zicam to prevent and treat colds and I’ve been known to suck on Airborne lozenges during a flight, if I’m traveling and things are feeling a little sketchy (or I was in a crowded haunted house during Halloween Horror Nights), I find the nearest drug store and buy elderberry syrup or dissolvable tablets.

One early study showed that 93% of patients infected with the Influenza B virus given Sambucol, a black elderberry extract, were completely symptom-free within two days while those in the placebo group recovered in about six days. Since then, other studies have yielded similar results including a recent one suggesting that Sambucol can reduce cold duration and symptoms in air travelers.

Where to buy: Many health food, vitamin and supplement stores will carry some type of elderberry product. For my family, I keep it simple and buy the Sambucol Quick Dissolve Tablets or Sambucol Great Tasting Syrup from Walmart.

An Ounce of Prevention…

During cold and flu season, being proactive about staying healthy can go a long way. While you don’t need to wrap yourself in bubble wrap (unless you really want to), washing your hands before eating, touching your face and after touching germy surfaces (door handles, debit card machines and public bathrooms, for example) can go a long way toward preventing illness.

If you’re already sick, you should also make a concerted effort to protect the people around you. Wear a mask, cough and sneeze into the crook of your elbow and throw away used tissues immediately. Of course, if you’re really ill, you may need to cancel your plans and stay home. It’s unfortunate that you’re under the weather but don’t selfishly spread that misery to others.

[“source=forbes]

Trainers and Fitness Pros Can’t Help People of Color While Remaining Silent About Racism

Group workout

On any given day, a Google image search for the word “yoga” serves up an endless, scrolling gallery of mostly thin, blond women getting their om on. It’s laughably predictable. Try it!

But seriously. The fitness industry has long been catering to a predominantly white audience. As a result, it’s usually oblivious to issues of access, diversity, inclusivity, and intersectionality, as are a great many of its trainers and instructors, both in terms of staff at a given gym and more prominent influencers. In general, it doesn’t seem like fitness professionals are interested in the greater conversation about racism in America. This is something that became painfully apparent to me in August 2017. In the wake of the events in Charlottesville, which unequivocally revealed that racism is indeed still an issue in the United States today, I noticed in my own social media feeds that many of the industry’s most influential figures chose to remain silent and continue about their lives and typical posting habits, business as usual. At a moment when my feeds were otherwise full of people talking about and processing their feelings about Charlottesville, so many white fitness pros were choosing to stay silent on those topics. But as a health and fitness professional who’s been a trainer for the last four years, I can tell you that it’s crucial that our industry considers the intersection of race (and racism) and fitness.

Fitness and wellness go far beyond exercise and nutrition.

After all, mental, emotional, and spiritual health are equally important to a person’s wellbeing. All of these aspects of wellness have a direct impact on physical health. We can’t adequately take a holistic approach to wellness without addressing racism and how it affects wellbeing and prevents some people from feeling safe in their bodies.

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For many people, especially white people, this may be an entirely new consideration. When you aren’t personally affected by racism, it’s easy to lack the awareness about its effects. That’s a result of privilege. Privilege doesn’t mean you haven’t had any struggles or don’t work hard. Having privilege just means that there are certain things you haven’t had to struggle with. If you aren’t living in a black or brown body, you haven’t had to struggle with the mental and emotional trauma caused by racism, whether it’s caused by daily microaggressions, the persistent threat of physical violence, or systemic barriers to resources. While it may feel easier to keep these considerations out of our practice, creating inclusive fitness spaces that truly do attend to the wellness needs of our clients requires that we discuss racism as well as a myriad of other -isms that inevitably negatively affect our clients.

“Love and light” is not all right.

If you spend much time on fitness social media, you’ll notice influencers and trainers using phrases such as “love and light,” that emphasize a desire (and an imperative) to focus on positivity. Yes, engaging in fitness can (should!) be a positive experience that adds value and allows us to lead vibrant, full, and energized lives. But the fact that exercise can enrich our lives doesn’t grant trainers and instructors permission to ignore the less-than-hyperpositive aspects of people’s lives—specifically the harmful reality of racism—in favor of lighter, happier topics. After something like the events of Charlottesville or the death of another black person at the hands of police, or any other hate crime, “love and light” isn’t going to make me feel like my reality is being taken into consideration. Focusing on “love and light” without acknowledging racism and its effect on the mental and emotional health of people of color minimizes and erases their trauma. How can anyone feel welcome and seen in a space if the person running the space makes them feel invisible or unimportant? People of color need a dose of solidarity and action to go along with all that “love and light.” Engaging in a wellness culture that emphasizes positivity to the exclusion of any other reality dismisses the fact that some of us face difficult things nearly every single day, and we can’t always choose to ignore them in favor of “love and light.”

As a trainer, I frequently encounter clients from diverse backgrounds and need to be able to engage in uncomfortable conversations in order to see things from a different perspective—my clients’ perspectives. I may not experience everything they experience, but I can do my best to understand, empathize, and hold space for them. Most importantly, I can be open to learning more and accepting feedback without centering myself in the conversation. By seeing my client as a full person, I can better understand them and what they need from me, the fitness professional who’s helping them pursue health and wellness.

There are simple ways to make your gym more inclusive, and evaluating the gym space and being open to critique are great places to start.

I used to work out at a gym where a number of non-black clients were using a racial slur while rapping the lyrics of a song. When I expressed my discomfort with the owner, I was told, “they were just singing along to the song. I think you’re taking this too personally.” He disregarded my concerns without even attempting to understand my perspective. While it’s nearly impossible to control what individual members are saying, there is an opportunity correct situations which are brought to our attention. A simple solution to this particular situation is to use the edited versions of songs.

On a separate occasion, I visited a gym that had a sign hanging on the wall which read, “We don’t see color.” While the intention was probably well-meaning, in reality, the sign was offensive. Pretending to not recognize color is erasing people’s identity along with the things they experience every single because of it. The key is to acknowledge people’s differences while still treating every individual with dignity and respect. We can create welcoming spaces without erasure. I took the opportunity to discuss it with the gym manager, and we had a wonderful dialogue. He followed up with me two weeks later to inform me that not only had the sign been taken down, but he also held a meeting with all staff to educate them as well.

If fitness professionals are sincerely interested in serving all clients, and helping them pursue wellness, it’s imperative that we take an industry-wide intersectional approach and embrace conversations about racism and how it affects our clients. And we also need to acknowledge and have a working understanding of gender, sexual orientation, ability status, body diversity, and more, and how those identities, especially when they intersect, affect people’s lives in and out of the gym. This requires taking time to acknowledge and examine our own internalized biases and beliefs and will likely lead to some discomfort—but discomfort is not a bad thing. In fact, leaning into uncomfortable feelings gives way to growth and evolution.

And if this degree of discomfort feels prohibitive to you, just imagine the degree of discomfort that someone who experiences racism in everyday life feels.

This is your call to action.

If this is an entirely new perspective for you, it may feel a little overwhelming. I encourage you to start by broadening your understanding of racism and learning more about intersectionality. If this makes sense to you, or seems like it could, but you’re wondering where to start, one of my favorite resources for people individuals who find it difficult to talk about racism is the book White Fragility. Some organizations who are doing an excellent job of taking an intersectional approach to fitness are Women’s Strength Coalition, Fear Her Fight Athletics, and Decolonizing Fitness. Expand your social networks and genuinely attempt to develop relationships with people of color and other fitness professionals who are already having these conversations. If your location makes this challenging, social media provides ample opportunity to connect with people from diverse backgrounds all over the world. Start somewhere, but start.

Chrissy King is an ISSA-certified personal trainer, a strength and nutrition coach, powerlifter, self-proclaimed truth teller, and writer with a passion for intersectional feminism. She empowers women to stop shrinking, start taking up space, and use their energy to create their specific magic in the world. When she’s not serving her clients by empowering them to create stress-free and sustainable lifestyles and feel confident and empowered in their skin, she spends her time lifting all the weights, reading, traveling, and hanging with friends and family. Follow her on Twitter here, on Facebook here, and on Instagram here.

[“source=forbes”]