Keeping your Teen Healthy and Active

Keeping your Teen Healthy and Active

Keeping your teen healthy and active can be a challenge for most of us parents. Many teens would prefer to sit down to a video game, their smart phone or favorite TV show rather than be physically active. The challenge, as a parent, is to find activities outside of the house that they enjoy and be around people that they like. It’s a huge added bonus when they realize that the rules of these sports can be applied to their everyday life.

Here are some ideas for your teen to stay healthy and active while potentially learning many life lessons in the meantime:

Swimming: There are many health benefits to swimming. It’s never too late to take swim lessons if your teen has not yet learned how to swim. There are many health benefits, aside from lowering the risk of drowning, from swimming. It provides increased cardio vascular health, an increase in stamina, flexibility, strength and calorie burning. It is a good social activity as well as a sport. Unlike many other sports there are many fewer injuries associated with it than others and can be enjoyed for a lifetime. Many people that have disabilities or medical conditions that prevents them from doing other sports can enjoy the sport of swimming.

Tennis: Tennis has many benefits for a teenager. It is a great way to spend time with friends and create a healthy competitive spirit. It is also a fantastic opportunity to stay fit by increasing your Cardio Vascular health, improving flexibility, bone density and muscle strength; all of which will aid in reducing risk of heart disease and obesity. Playing tennis helps improve coordination and balance. It provides a good workout for your brain function as well. Tennis requires planning, coordination of different body parts and tactical thinking and etiquette.

Golf: Did you know that walking an 18 hole round of golf is roughly the equivalent of a 5 mile walk? Did you know that you can burn up to 2000 calories if you carry your clubs during the round? Golf also helps develop coordination, balance and muscle strength. It is a great way to socialize with close friends and enjoy the beauty of nature at the same time. Learning the rules of the game will help your teen to learn things like Humility, Respect, Punctuality, and Honor. For the most part it is a self-governed game so Honesty and Gratitude is a huge part of the game as well.

Group Exercise: Group exercise is a very popular way to get your teen to participate in an exercise program. Many studies show that working out with one or more people net more results than if they exercise on their own. There are many different options for all exercise levels. If your teen is just beginning there are introductory classes that teach the basics and allow them to feel more comfortable until they move on to a regular class. Your teen may be more likely to stay interested due to the social environment and the music choices of the class. There is a feeling of acceptance and accountability once they’re accustomed to the class and attend on a regular basis.

Teen years can be challenging on many levels but can also be an amazing opportunity to for them to find an interest or a lifestyle that can last a lifetime.  Introduce them to something outside of their normal routine. They may thank you for it.

Looking to keep your Teens active this summer?

Columbia Athletic Clubs offers Summer Camps for teens as well as younger ages all summer long.

Each week will offer theme-based activities (indoors or outdoors) that typically include arts, science, sports, swimming, and games. We will have all of your kids favorite camps, plus ones thrown into the mix. No matter what the activity, your child will have a great time.

Click here for more information

Four Healthy Exercises To Lower Blood Pressure

First of all, let’s look at some high blood pressure facts from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM):

  • High blood pressure (also referred to as Hypertension) is defined as a chronically elevated blood pressure greater than 140/90 mmHg. Also stated as “one forty over ninety”.
  • Elevation in blood pressure increases chances of a heart attack or stroke
  • More than 75 million Americans have high blood pressure
  • Three out of every four people over age 60 has high blood pressure
  • Many men and women don’t even know they have high blood pressure
  • High blood pressure can be controlled
  • Death rates from heart attacks and strokes in the United States have decreased by 40-60 percent over the last 30 years

That’s good news. And those who are physically active tend to live longer, healthier lives. But let’s explore how you can lower your blood pressure with some simple exercise.

In 2011, the ACSM recommended for healthy adults at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity (working hard enough to break a sweat, but still able to carry on a conversation) five days per week. Or 20 minutes of more vigorous activity three days per week. Combinations of moderate and vigorous intensity activity can be performed to meet this recommendation.

The ACSM also states that a well-rounded physical activity program includes Aerobic Exercise and strength training exercise, but not necessarily in the same session. Let’s focus on Aerobic Exercise:

According to the American Heart Association (AMA), with an average weight of either 150lbs or 200lbs, adults can expect to burn the following calories with the following exercises:

Walking at 3mph: 320 – 416 calories/hour

Running at 5.5mph: 660 – 962 calories/hour

Cycling at 12mph: 410 – 534 calories/hour

Swimming at 25yds/min: 275 – 358 calories/hour

Most of us find it difficult to add exercise to our already busy day — even if it will improve our health. However, the physical activity required to lower blood pressure can be added without making major lifestyle changes. The ACSM suggests these simple measures to increase activity as a part of your existing daily activity:

  • Park your car further away so you can add some walk time to and from work
  • Take the stairs, instead of the elevator
  • Take a 10-15 minute walk during your lunch break
  • Choose a restaurant with low-fat, low-cholesterol options and walk to it for lunch
  • Take your children or grandchildren to the park
  • Take a 30-minute window-shopping walk around the mall when weather is bad
  • Wake up 30 minutes earlier in the morning to start your day with exercise (Most people find they look forward to their exercise time!)

You can vary all of these activities to make exercise interesting!

Before You Exercise

The ACSM recommends that, prior to beginning any exercise program, you should see your doctor and ask for an medical evaluation. It’s important for your doctor to clear you for strenuous activity. This keeps them in the loop as to your daily life and goals, but also allows them to provide critical, personal advice on how to go about your activities.

The ACSM warns, “Not all exercise programs are suitable for everyone, and some programs may result in injury. Activities should be carried out at a pace that is comfortable for the user. Users should discontinue participation in any exercise activity that causes pain or discomfort. In such event, medical consultation should be immediately obtained.”

Columbia Athletic Clubs provides everything you need to achieve your health and fitness goals. Talk to a Columbia staff member today!

American College of Sports Medicine

American Heart Association

Achieving your New Year’s Fitness Resolution

January 1st seems to be a magical date in some of our lives. Millions of Americans take this opportunity to decide, with good intentions, to change our unhealthy behaviors and bad habits or just simply want to feel better from the previous year.

Unfortunately, for most of us, our good intentions fade and by March we fall into the same behaviors. So we procrastinate and start to rationalize with ourselves and set the next special date to begin our goals anew. “I’ll start my diet on Monday”, “I’ll start my workout program after ‘Walking Dead-Pizza-Night-Sundays’ are over”  You get the point. Your new starting point leads to another and pretty soon January is on the horizon again.

Here are some tips to help make your 2015 transition to a healthier you more successful:

1. Set smaller goals that are attainable. We have to stay realistic. If exercising more frequently is your goal, schedule 3 or 4 days per week at the gym to start instead of seven. If weight loss is your goal then set weekly or even daily goals of exercise and dietary intake to achieve your much bigger goal.

2. Take more steps to achieve your goal. Go the extra mile when it comes to your everyday life. Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator. Stand and walk around while you’re on the phone. Park further away when you go shopping. Take your dog for an extra walk per week.

3. Avoid sabotage. Be aware of your environment. If your goal is to get smaller then avoid social settings that revolve around unhealthy food. Instead of meeting friends for a meal, meet them for a brisk walk. Avoid the aisles at the grocery store that tempt you. You know which aisles I’m talking about. Remove those tempting foods from your pantry.

4. Support and accountability. Enlist friends and loved ones that may have the same goal in mind and help one another. Countless studies show that you get far more success from an exercise program when you have a workout partner. They can motivate you and you can motivate them. Hold yourselves accountable.

5. Get help. Stay humble and never assume that you know everything. If you want or need help… get it. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice. There are countless sources in bookstores and on the internet that specialize in what your ultimate goals are. Study up. Hire a personal trainer or coach to help you with proper form to avoid injury.

There are many important things to consider during your New Year’s Resolution process but the main thing to remember is that your unhealthy behaviors didn’t happen overnight and changing them won’t happen overnight either. Your new healthy choices require time to develop into habits. Remember that the changes you seek are for a positive reason so be patient in the process. You’ll love the outcome.

You’re taking care of yourself and that’s always a good thing.

Dan Engle, Membership Director CAC – Silver Lake

Prepare for IMPACT!

Columbia Athletic Clubs is excited to announce the expansion this winter of our IMPACT training program from just the Silver Lake location to all three athletic facilities, including Pine Lake and Juanita Bay. IMPACT training, which is an acronym for “Intense/Multi-faceted/Performance-driven/Athletic/Cross-Training” represents the best of CAC’s fitness and athletic offerings and encompasses a whole host of small-group training (SGT) options. Classes range from weekly classes, short and long-term series, to youth and athletic offerings all designed to maximize the benefits of both personal and group-based training.

All new small-group offerings:
Small-group training has been a part of CAC programming for years, but recent and upcoming upgrades in facility, equipment, and programming at all three Club locations has spurred the expansion and evolution of the IMPACT training program. SGT is an ideal way to take advantage of personal training without the financial investment of regular one-on-one training, as classes will range in cost but typically fall in the $15 to $20 range per one-hour session. SGT also allows participants to experience new exercises and techniques, and research has shown that class-based training yields higher results than training alone. IMPACT training classes will join GRAVITY at Juanita Bay, and encompass all current SGT and IMPACT training at all three Clubs as an ideal complement or focal point of our members fitness routines. Class schedules will be posted throughout the Club, online at, as well as in this issue of INSPIRE, so take a look and see what interests you!

Benefits of Functional Training and HIIT:
Many of CAC’s IMPACT training classes are designed as functional training, exercise that is defined as training designed to improve function in everyday living. Functional strength training can result in better movement, strength, balance and flexibility in everyday life, and is a crucial component to traditional exercise routines. Many IMPACT classes will be tailored to specific functional movements, such as sport-specific conditioning, speed and agility training, balance and flexibility based sessions, and more. HIIT, or high intensity interval training, will also remain an important component of many of CAC’s IMPACT training classes. HIIT is very high-intensity exercises alternated with low to moderate exercises. TABATA classes, cross-fit style workouts, and some cycle and interval-based classes are all examples of HIIT. While HIIT-based classes may not be for every member of the Club, studies have shown again and again that this style of exercise is one of the most effective ways of burning calories, stimulating muscle growth, and increasing metabolism throughout the day. HIIT, like functional training, is an important element to traditional exercise routines.

Look for more information throughout the Clubs this winter:
As we move into the fall and winter months, look for more information in your home Club regarding IMPACT training classes and all SGT offerings taking place this season. For more information, please contact the Fitness Director at your club.

Brandi Ohlsen, Fitness Director, CAC – Juanita Bay:
Debbie Bredeweg, Fitness Director, CAC – Pine Lake:
Bobby Sorenson, Fitness Director, CAC – Silver Lake:

Health Benefits of Water Exercise Classes

Contrary to popular belief, water exercise classes are for everyone, not just the elderly, those rehabilitating injury or for the physically challenged. Water exercise classes offer multiple benefits for all fitness levels. Here are some of the main benefits to water exercise classes:

Low impact: This may be the single most important benefit of aqua classes or utilizing the water for parts of your workout routine. Exercising in water makes you feel about 90 percent lighter according to the American Council on Exercise. When you jump or run in the water, your body does not experience the same impact that these moves cause on land. Many of the exercise movements have little to no impact at all on your joints. This makes water exercise an ideal activity for those with arthritis, back problems, foot or leg injuries, and knee conditions. Those that are pregnant or severely overweight benefit tremendously with this type of exercise.

Calorie Burning: Many can expect to burn between 400-500 calories per hour in a water exercise class, according to the Aquatic Exercise Association. The actual amount you burn will depend on your size, the intensity of your movements and water temperature and depth. In general, faster movements, incorporating the upper and lower body in deep water, elicit the greatest calorie burn.

Flexibility and Range of Motion: Water exercise, especially in warm water, allows many people the ability to exercise where they are limited on land. For those that are overweight, or have other physical challenges, water provides the ability to make movements that may be impossible on land. Many will experience much better flexibility and range of motion after only a few classes in water.

Increased strength and bone density: When you exercise in water you experience 12 times the resistance of air according to an article published in “American Fitness.” Simply kicking and cupping the water helps contribute to muscle development which translates into increased bone density and a higher metabolic rate. Many classes incorporate equipment like water paddles, noodles, single or double buoys, and kickboards to further increase resistance to increase strength gains.

Emotional Health Benefits: Many sufferers from fibromyalgia indicate that water exercise classes decrease the instances of anxiety associated with a regular workout routine. Some studies indicate that exercise therapy in warm water can decrease depression and improve mood as well. Water exercise classes can improve the health of mothers and their unborn children and has a positive effect on the mother’s mental health. Water exercise helps lift spirits, and provides healthy social interaction in a group setting.

Always check with a doctor before starting any exercise regimen. Some people experience allergic reactions to pool chemicals so it’s a good idea to check with the facility you will be choosing for the chemical content of the water. A salt water pool may be a better choice for you.   Some may need to use earplugs or nose clips. Showering thoroughly after a workout with a chlorine-cleansing soap and applying moisturizer afterward helps avoid itchy skin. Check out our aquatic schedules online at

Good After-school Activities for Kids

Keeping your child occupied in the time between school and bedtime can be one of the biggest challenges facing a parent during the week. As parents, we want our kids to stay positive and active after school and at the same time have peace of mind that they’re in a safe environment. Many working parents rely on programs outside of the home to keep their children safe and active, while stay at home parents are challenged to keep their children free from boredom.

Here are a few ideas to keep them occupied:

Organized Sports: There are many nationally organized sports for kids. Check with your local community for signups for Little League Baseball, AYSO Soccer, AYF and Pop Warner Football, ASA and NSA Softball, AYBA and YBOA for Basketball… and these are just a few of the organizations out there. Many more sports are offered on a more regional basis such as Lacrosse, Hockey, Tennis, Golf and Swimming. Each of these sports will have seasons so your kids can play more than one sport during the course of the year.

Playing sports is a fun activity for your kids but some of the health benefits can be surprising. Did you know that kids that play outdoor sports are less likely to have vision problems? Your kids will also be less likely to develop obesity and be more likely to develop better social skills. Success as an individual and as a team member builds confidence and self-esteem, and failures build character and coping skills. Additionally, many lifelong friendships are started as teammates in sports.

Health and Athletic Clubs: Many health and athletic clubs have programs for kids for most ages. At an Athletic club your kids can be active while being supervised. Many have activities such as Group Exercise classes, recreation rooms with board games, ping pong and foosball. Many have dance classes and will offer lessons for sports like Basketball, Tennis and other racquet sports, swimming and Golf. A number of facilities also offer areas of the club to do homework as well.

Creative projects: Many children love to be creative with just a little bit of direction. Tell them a story and then give them a paper and pen or a piece of sidewalk chalk. Recycle an ordinary item, such as a light cardboard box, and have them transform it into something that flies or maybe a mask. Have them take that item and have them think about how it was made, how it was used and its main purpose. Stage a scavenger hunt within your home or neighborhood with your child and a small group of their friends. Use the found items to make a project.

Field Trips: Although it’s impossible for most of us to do field trips on a regular basis, an occasional one can go a long way. Kids love to learn about new things. A trip to a museum or zoo may have them talking about it for weeks or longer. If your child is used to just a few people around take them to an event with a large crowd. If they’re used to a bunch of people around in their everyday life then go take a walk or hike on a nature trail. A visit away from their everyday life can teach them life lessons about empathy as well. Talk to them about the environment they’re visiting and how their life would be different if this were their day to day environment. Talk about the people you encounter and the things you have in common with them as well as the differences.

While you’re navigating through your child’s younger and teen years just remember that your child craves knowledge and activity and it’s important that we, as parents, direct them toward healthy and safe choices. Remember what was important to you as a child and don’t forget that this isn’t the same world we grew up in. Teach them what your world was like but be mindful that their environment is different. Open up their world to endless possibilities.