The Death of Us

The Death of Us

Our Sedentary Lifestyles

 Are you tired all the time, stressed and have a hard time doing things that use to be easy for you?  Do you feel that YOU are not all you can be?  Did you know that many Americans has adapted to a sedentary lifestyle and that this is killing us.  A sedentary lifestyle is more than just spending an excessive amount of time sitting each day.

This lifestyle has negative health influences including increased anxiety, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression and more.   Some people have jobs that require them to sit all day, others sit in front of the TV all the time. A sedentary lifestyle is a type of lifestyle with no or irregular physical activity. We joke a call people couch potatoes, well that’s what we are doing turning our body’s into curved, rounded versions of the image God created us in.

State of mind

As a kid I would go to school and sit most of the day but at least at school you get to get up every 45 minutes and move around; then there’s PE/athletics, Band, lunch and other activities as well.  Our problem is that then many youth in today’s society then go home to sit in front of a TV or computer screen all night and in their free time.

Why?  Well its simple we are training our kids this way.  When they are young, very young; we stick kids in front of the TV to entertain them and keep them busy.  As they grow up they get more and more technology; as adults we get busier and busier and spend less time out of the house doing things with people.  We mentally enjoy that time sitting, doing NOTHING in from of the TV; but it’s at the cost of our health.

Coupled with our changing diets, as we eat less fresh, more processed foods without paying attention to what we are putting into our bodies.

Obese but full

Did you know that just because you are full does NOT mean you are being nourished?  Fatty food seem to fill you and keep the hunger away longer but it’s not putting anything in your body you need.

Today’s society is overweight but under-nourished because we are putting junk in our bodies.  In school we learned Garbage-in/Garbage-out when working with computers.  It’s the same with our bodies.   What are you putting into your body.

Activity

As our population grows heavier and struggles more and more to do daily activities we all have to look at our activity levels.  Yes, YOU, and me and everyone we know.  I’m not saying we all need to goto the gym and become the next Arnold but we NEED to become active.  We need to take time with our kids going places, doing things, and getting out of the house.

Since man was created we have been walking….. Walking, walking, walking.  We all need to remember that our bodies are built to be in an horizontal (sleeping) or vertical (standing)  position; not the bent over form you have when sitting down.  Let’s all try to spend more time up and moving, on our feet.

Ultimately I thin it is imperative to get involved with an activity that requires movement that you enjoy on a regular basis if you want to stay with it.  Whether it be a sport, hobby or activity; its up to each of us to find SOMETHING to get us more active.

Desk Jobs

Ultimately, experts urge people to get out of their chairs and start doing something.   While this may not seem practical for those stuck in an chair or cubicle but small, simple changes like taking phone calls standing up can help. I encourage you to redefine our workouts into all moments, have a weight or stretch-band at your desk.

I spent five years sitting in a call center environment and growing chubbier and chubbier for it.   It’s so easy to grab a bag of chips from the vending machine or a coke from the machine.  if you have been on a job where you’re on the phone all day you understand the need to have something to drink.  Well let’s all try water.  I know yeah, water.  A friend of mine, Patty, introduced me to putting fresh fruit (cucumber, watermelon) into water to give it flavor without the additives and such that are in a lot of the drink mixes.  YUM!  It tastes good too.  I need to start doing more of this; but so do YOU!

Let’s do it!

This is not something easy for you to do alone, get your whole family involved, your co-workers and those that are around you!  Lets make a positive change in our lives TODAY!

Well I have been sitting here typing this for too long, time to walk around and do something less sedentary.  Same to you, right now DO IT!  Let’s go up, on your feet.  Right NOW!

Written by Matthew Hite  Amarillo, Texas

Winter Weather Advisory

Winter Weather Advisory

By Matthew Hite  of Amarillo, Texas

 

As the days get shorter and the temperature gets colder and colder I think it is important to remind everyone of a few quick facts that may save your life…. Ok a little dramatic for most but at least make your existence been and more enjoyable throughout the Holiday seasons and the cold weather that is coming.

 

Ok let’s put you to a test and see how you do! Before you read on please click and take this quiz

http://firstaid.about.com/library/quiz/bl_hypothermia_quiz.htm

Brrrrr Cold

Do you know why you shiver when you are cold?  When your body temperature drops a few degrees below its normal temperature (~98.6 F) your blood vessels constrict decreasing your blood flow to reduce heat loss from your skin’s surface.  Shivering is your body’s defense and it actually generates beat by increasing the body’s metabolic rate.

To avoid cold emergencies be sure to wear enough clothing to stay warm and dry, dress in layers and don’t forget your hat and gloves .

General advice

Always wear appropriate clothing and dress in layers.  Keep clothing dry, when possible. Did you know you can lose up to 40% of your body heat through your head?  WEAR a HAT!  Wear a facemask, scarf or even a bandana to help hold in heat and to help protect your lungs.  Be aware of icy and slippery conditions.  If you are going to be out in the cold for a long duration of time…. bring a buddy if and when possible. Be sure to drink plenty of water and stay hydrated.

Take a bite out of winter

Avoid prolonged exposure to the cold elements (wind, sleet, rain and snow) when at all possible.  Be prepared for an events that could happen to you.  Do you have a blanket and extra sweater or two in your car, do you have an ice scraper?  Even if your car is normally in a garage many times these few item can save your life if you have car troubles.

Don’t let winter bite you back

If your loosing feeling in your fingers, toes or ears (extremities you could be on your way to being bitten.  I’m referring to frostbite.  Initial symptoms of frostbite include stinging coldness tingling or loss of movement to an exposed area.  The skin may have a waxy appearance and may have greyish white patches on their skin.  You may notice an intense pain when you try to bend or move the extremities and then slowly lose the feeling of pain as that pat of the body begins to go numb.  Blisters and blotches may also appear with prolonged exposure.   Frostbite can be very serious.  Prolonged frostbite can result in amputation or loss of function in that extremities, forever.

Freezing to death

Yes it really can happen.  I was not joking at the beginning of this blog.  When you hear of someone freezing to death or dying of exposure the killer was probably hypothermia.  It occurs when your body loses more heat than it can generate over a period of time (sometimes less time than others based on the weather conditions).  You will most likely NOT get hyperthermia by walking from your house to a heated car without a jacket on but if you decide to walk across town without proper clothing you could be in danger.

What does true hypothermia look like.  The first symptoms are uncontrolled shivering, and the inability to do complex motor functions, mild confusion and lethargy.  As hypothermia progresses the person seems dazed and confused and their speech become impaired.  Their behaviors, motions and actions become irrational, worse than a drunken state even.

If you come across someone that is undergoing hypothermia please calmly follow these steps to help them out.  gently help move the victim into a warmer area away from wind and wetness if possible.  Call 911 or have someone around you call. If they are not coherent maintain airway and circulation and perform CPR if needed (and if you know how) remove any wet or frozen clothing and cover the victim with a dry, warm blanket, remember their body may not be producing much internal heat if any at all.  If the victim is awake and can do so try having them drink something warm.

Other helpful links/information

 

Tips for Improving your life through Healthy Living

In today’s fast pace society a lot of us, including myself, forget that we have to maintain the flesh and bones and keep ourselves healthy.  We over-extend ourselves and push ourselves further than we should and don’t take time to smell the roses.

We can all improve our quality of life by making small healthier choices every day.  Here are six categories that will help you improve your life please take a few minutes to review them and to implement them!

1.  Stress is a mess–everything causes stress…. even good things in your life.  It is important to learn to manage your stress.  Stress has been known to lead to serious health issues such as depression, obesity, self-inflicted wounds and even death can come from being too stressed.   Take some time each day to clear your schedule, get organized and your street will be easier to manage.  Set realistic goals and work toward them.  If you get in over your head, STOP, close your eyes (if your not driving) and then take a few deep breaths which will also help to enhance your blood circulation.  Eat antioxidants because they fight stress hormones on a regular bases.

2. Eat Healthy–you are what you eat is very true.  Many of us spend too much time eating processed food and we eat out too much.  These foods are NOT what our body needs, our body needs a balanced diet of foods and minerals and fresh fruits and vegetables are king!  Also drink, yes drink but drink the right thing.  Everyone should keep hydrated with WATER.  There really is NO substitute.  Avoid drinks loaded with sugars and caffeine. COKES are NOT good for you!

3. Put your feet up–everyone need to have some “me time” prop up your feet, relax, take deep breaths and think about what you are successful at instead of dwelling in the negatives.  Did you know you can build your immune system up by laughing.  Endorphins are released into your body when you laugh.  Schedule time to relax, its important.  Also laughing will help your blood flow and can give you a great abs work out; LOL.

4. Sleep–everyone needs 6-8 hours of sleep each night but did you know that less than 75 percent of people get that.  Games, computers, texting, and social media keep people in contact 24/7 and we need time to rest, our body has to have it.  Shut it off and go to bed!  Between school, work, sports, family, church and other activities who has time to sleep in today’s fast paced world?  The answer:  Truly Successful people do.   Zzzzzzzz

5.  Preventions and check-ups–be sure to know your body, know your limits and don’t step outside of what you can safely do.  Its ok to push yourself a little but don’t push too hard.  get a yearly check-up and physical, sometimes we don’t realize there are issues because they creep up on us gradually. Regular checkups can help you prevent/detect serious health issues.

6. Scare yourself–this is my personal favorite.  We need to scare ourselves or do something to cause our heart to race at least one a day.  The most common way to do this is to exercise but its very healthy to get your adrenaline up and get some blood flowing.  Just don’t do anything that will physically put you in harms way.  In all seriousness we all need to spend more time with a raised heart rate, even a 30 minute walk each day is better than just sitting at the computer, it does not take a high intensive workout to maintain and keep yourself healthy.   Remember to BOO someone, it might help them stay healthy.

Blog post by Matthew Hite, Executive Director AAYC, matt.hite@amarilloyouth.net

On guard, Ready? Fence!

“On guard. Ready? Fence!”

By Anthony Diller
 
With those four words, I was introduced to the sport of fencing. I had no idea that over the coming months I would develop a real passion for what looked like at the time a bunch of kids poking each other with metal rods. I never knew that I would be waiting all week just to go to a local Boy Scout meeting hall for a few hours and practice the art.
 
  
That first night is what took me in. I remember walking in wearing a hoodie and jeans, feeling as nervous and awkward as any thirteen year old kid ever has. The first thing I saw almost knocked me down: A guy with a wire screen mask tipped back on his head, a long sleeved white jacket, and a vest that looked straight out of an alien horror flick walking toward me with a sword in his hand!
 
 
I froze for a minute, not quite sure whether to run or stand and shake. The man introduced himself to me as Coach Matt Hite, and explained he was the fencing coach. He told me that I was more than welcome to mix around with the fencers and see if I was interested in fencing.
 
 
There wasn’t much time to drift. Before I even knew it I was standing in line doing warm-ups with the rest of the group, trying to follow their footwork and hold my hand behind my back. About twenty minutes before the end of class, I managed to get a mask and sword and step onto the strip. Matt explained that the first of us to reach five points was the winner. Needless to say, I didn’t last long. At the end of the night, Thomas, another fencer, asked if I was planning on coming back the next week. “Try to stop me!”
 
 
From that point on, I was obsessed with the sport, the competition, and the atmosphere of honor and respect within the fencing community. I learned many things about both fencing and myself. The hours of practice on footwork and sword technique increased my physical health; the hours spent sparring with friends helped me keep busy and out of trouble; and class gave me something to look forward to during the week.
 
 
But what stood out above all of that was something that I was taught on that very first night. In the sport of “physical chess,” two fencers step onto the strip; a tiny little battlefield where they’ll test themselves against each other physically as well as mentally. But there’s no resentment, no anger, no trash-talking. The fencers step on, test their weapons, and then proceed to their ends. Before you are allowed to put on your mask or take your stance, you have to salute your opponent with your sword. When the battle’s over, the very first thing you do is salute again, remove your mask and shake your opponent’s hand, usually congratulating each other on a good bout. It’s something you won’t find in any other sport.
 
 
Young people today are faced with challenges unique to their generation. They need to be supported in every way possible to make good choices and be able to stand behind those choices; and they need to know they’re not the only one making those good choices. The AAYC is a safe haven for these young folks. It is run by individuals who all have the same dedication and genuine care for seeing the people who walk through the door succeed in life. They’re doing a lot of good in a lot of lives through their clubs and community service. That’s something that we should ALL get behind!
 
 
I drifted away from fencing in high school, but the values it taught me have stuck with me all through the years, and I will be forever grateful to the Hite brothers for teaching me the sport and it’s core values, as well as to my parents, who made sure I never forgot those values and supported me to follow my goals and to never stop until they were reached.
 
 
I would encourage anyone and everyone to bring your kids out to the AAYC, and to support them in any way you can, because they are doing a HUGE good.
 
 
Anthony DillerWritten by Anthony Diller  anthonypdiller@gmail.com

The Youth of Today

The Youth of Today

 

We have all heard it, “The youth of today…” fill in the blank, it has been said. The most common I hear is this: “The youth of today have no ambition”. People can talk all they want to about the youth of today, but all they are doing is just that, talking. In order for things to change, something must be done, something for Amarillo’s youth. When AAYC opened their doors many youth saw it as a place they could go to have fun and be safe. A place where they could go and learn something new and get to know other people who they may not have ever met.

I participated in several community service events at the AAYC in order to get into the program I wanted to for college, and I worked with several people who were there for other reasons. We were expected to respect each other and get along, which was not hard because when it came down to it, we were all kids needing something this program had to offer. These times taught me a lot about the other kids, some did not have access to food and some did not have goals once they got out of high school. I saw several occasions the staff making sure these kids had food and talking to them about college admissions. Looking back at it now, I am glad this program was able to go above an beyond for the kids that needed it.

The program I was most involved in as a teenager was the fencing program. I started in the program when I was in middle school and continued it as it changed into the AAYC program. The idea of fencing brings many ideas to mind: from using pickets and nails to the older form of fencing. The AAYC offers the modern Olympic style classes one night a week, but what most do not realize, it teaches you more than swordplay.

During my years in the program I was taught how to work in a team; relying on others and having others rely on me for our success. Even though fencing is an individual sport, having others there to support you and guide you is important, even if it is to hand you a bottle of water.

I learned what sportsmanship is about. In fencing you can loose over and over, and still move on to the elimination rounds. What I found unique about fencing is the level of respect that is asked win or loose. You salute each other and the referee each bout and you shake hands at the end. After a loss it was not uncommon for your opponent to coach you in what you should have done. I don’t know of any other sport where your opponent will help improve your skills.

As for ambition, I learned what it was going to take to succeed and I worked towards it. I was not aiming to be an Olympic level fencer, but rather someone who was enjoying something they loved.

Though I am no longer involved fully with the fencing program, its lessons will always stick with me. Think before you act, follow the rules or you will injure yourself, be there for your team and most of all work towards your goals. This program is here to serve the youth of Amarillo and guide them to being the best person that they can be. The AAYC has had an impact on my current life, leading me to currently working on my masters degree so I too can work with children who are needing someone that they know is there for them, just as I have seen this program do.

carajohnson1      This blog post was written By Cara Johnson cljohnson8952@gmail.com