“Play” Matters

Why “Play” Matters
By Club Fit Briarcliff Assistant General Manager, Ted Gilsinger

Ted

Don’t underestimate child’s play. It may look like leisure time, but when children are playing, fighting imaginary dragons or organizing a game of kickball, they’re actually developing crucial life skills and preparing their brains for the challenges of adulthood. The bad news, child development experts say, is that free playtime has been shrinking for children over the past three decades.

Play teaches kids to play nice!
Research published in the Early Childhood Education Journal in 2007 revealed that both free play and guided plan can help preschoolers learn awareness of other people’s feelings. Playing also teaches kids to regulate their own emotions, a skill that serves them well as they move through life. “You get to try things out with no consequences,” said Kathy Hirsch-Pasek, a child development psychologist at Temple University. “Play allows you to wear different hats, to master social rules and that’s huge.”

Play allows children to use their creativity while developing their imagination, dexterity, and physical, cognitive, and emotional strength.
Play is important to healthy brain development. It is through play that children at a very early age engage and interact in the world around them. Play allows children to create and explore a world they can master, conquering their fears while practicing adult roles, sometimes in conjunction with other children or adult caregivers. As they master their world, play helps children develop new competencies that lead to enhanced confidence and the resiliency they will need to face future challenges. Undirected play allows children to learn how to work in groups, to share, to negotiate, to resolve conflicts, and to learn self-advocacy skills. When play is allowed to be child driven, children practice decision-making skills, move at their own pace, discover their own areas of interest, and ultimately engage fully in the passions they wish to pursue.

Summer Camp Play

Summer Camp play

The Club Fit Summer Camp aims to promote a healthy active life style while fostering the benefits of play. Our full-day campers build new friendships all summer long while engaging in a multitude of developmentally aligned activities. Campers from kindergarten through 8th grade have the opportunity to try out new activities such as yoga, tennis, karate, and Zumba, each taught by certified specialists. In addition, campers are encouraged to build positive relationships with their peers and counselors through a variety of sports and gym games where sportsmanship is key. Energy Camp is dedicated to fostering a spirited summer community through camp-wide events like weekly theme days and special events all summer long.

Club Fit’s Summer Preschool Program aims to attend to the whole child by nurturing their psychological, social, emotional, and physical needs. Through a daily morning circle routine, campers will engage with picture books and develop both their number and time sense. In addition, circle time is an opportunity for our young campers to develop meaningful relationships with their peers and teachers. As a community dedicated to the health and physical well-being of our program participants, preschool campers will also engage in a variety of gross-motor activities such as Super Soccer Starts, Quick Start tennis, movement through music, and daily swim.

Check out the new Free Lunch Menu for Summer Camp! Meet our Summer Camp Co-Directors!

Learn how to prevent changes in balance for a fall-free future

Learn how to prevent changes in balance for a fall-free future.
Practice exercises to improve your balance!

Debbie Lenihan
PT Director
Physical Therapy at Jefferson Valley

As we age the ability to maintain balance becomes more difficult. Balance and stability are important factors for aging adults to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Loss of balance is the primary factor in falls, which often results in serious injuries.

Many factors influence good balance. Some of them are biological and some we are able to influence and improve. Good balance is dependent on sensory input from the eyes, the correct functioning of the balance system in the inner ear, posture and center of gravity, and our ability to sense the position and movement in our feet, legs and arms. Vision affects the balance system, as the eyes send messages to the brain, telling us where objects are in space.

Aging adults are affected by a loss of muscle mass and strength, and have an increased risk of falls and hip fractures. Weakness in the ankle musculature may cause difficulty in recovering lost balance more quickly. Strong quadriceps muscles are necessary for good balance and walking. Evidence shows that strength and aerobic training can lead to a reduction in falls.

Loss of flexibility occurs with age. This may lead to difficulty climbing stairs, transferring from sit to stand and/or getting out of bed without difficulty. Much of the loss of flexibility is due to inactivity.

Postural changes can develop as people age which includes rounded shoulders, forward head postures and an increased thoracic curve in the spine. These changes affect the center of gravity in the body, moving it forward. With changes in the center of gravity, older adults are more prone to loss of balance and an increased risk of falls.

There are many ways we can adapt to the changes in our bodies as we age. Different forms of exercise, such as strengthening exercises, flexibility and stretching exercises, yoga, tai chi, and aerobic exercise, such as walking, will all contribute to decreasing the risk of falls and improving balance.

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Join Physical Therapy at Club Fit Jefferson Valley for a free lecture: “Use it or Lose it” on March 31!

If you would like to attend this free presentation contact Physical Therapy at Jefferson Valley at (914) 245 – 8807 to reserve a seat. Space is limited to 10 participants.

Keeping Our Kids Healthy by Avoiding Childhood Obesity

By Ashley DiSalvo, School Teacher and Summer Camp Co-director

When we think of childhood, we think of laughter, playing with friends, and being carefree. However, childhood obesity rates have been on the rise for the last three decades and that means a trend toward devastating physical and mental health implications for our nation’s youth. Luckily, one of the most effective preventative measures is simple: more time spent playing.

The CDC recommends 60 minutes of daily activity for children age six to seventeen. While 77% of children ages 9 -13 reported spending free time on physical activity during the seven days prior to the survey, that number dropped to just 27.1% for high school students! Studies show that by senior year, only 35% of students are even attending weekly physical education classes.

As rates of physical activity decrease, the rates of children and adolescents who are overweight and obese continue to rise. According to the CDC, in 2012, one-third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese. Sadly, the obesity rate of children age 6 – 11 rose from 7% in 1980 to 18% in 2012. In addition, children and adolescents are at risk for many of the same weight-related ailments as adults. For example, obesity increases risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease such as high blood pressure and cholesterol. Other health issues include joint problems, sleep apnea, and prediabetes, a condition where high glucose levels indicate a high risk for developing Type 2 diabetes. Since childhood obesity is a strong indicator of obesity in adulthood, these health issues can expand to include greater risk of stroke and certain types of cancer later in life.

As adults, we are constantly bombarded with media outlets that inform us of the newest super foods and how to “slim down in 7 days,” but the reality is that healthy eating habits and engaging in regular physical activity are habits that are formed over time and they are solidified by genuine enjoyment in the benefits of those habits. Who wants to go hike a mountain, or attend a spin class, or challenge their flexibility in a yoga class if they don’t enjoy it? That’s why at Club Fit’s Summer Camp we provide a variety of physical activities such as Zumba, yoga, karate, swim, and a variety of sports so that all of our campers can find an activity that they truly enjoy and can develop into a lifelong “healthy habit.” Regular physical activity in children and adolescents improves strength and endurance and aids in the development of healthy bones and muscles. But the benefits don’t stop at the physical. Physical activity has also been shown to decrease anxiety and stress and to improve self-esteem. In addition, an increase in self-esteem is linked to greater academic performance as reflected by achievement and more time spent on task during the school day.

National trends depict us as a nation less inclined to physical activity as we age and therefore more apt to develop life threatening illnesses. At Club Fit’s Energy Camp, we encourage children to develop healthy and active lifestyles by providing opportunities for physical activity that are more aligned with “play” than “exercise.” Whether the campers are trying out pickelball for the first time or taking tennis lessons from a pro, summer camp is one of the best ways to introduce children to a variety of physical activities that can help establish lifelong healthy habits.

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Learn more about how your kids will stay healthy and active at Club Fit Summer Camp!

Click here to Meet our Camp Directors!

Want to get your kids involved in an activity or sport now? Check out some of our ongoing programs for kids by visiting the “Sports” section of our website!

Here are just a few things we offer:

Basketball
Flag Football
Sports Nights
Football Kickoff
Pickleball
Pick-up Sports
Soccer
After School Sports
Sports Scramble
Volleyball
Self Defense
Zumba
Yoga
Karate
Tennis
Swimming

We offer programs for various ages from Preschool all the way through High School and Adulthood! Come visit us and try our facilities for free and see what living a healthy lifestyle in a healthy family oriented environment can do for you!

Kids should Lead Active Lifestyles!

By Summer Camp Co-director and School Teacher, Kristyn Reczek

Get kids off devices and into an active lifestyle! They may just thank you for it!

In today’s society, most of us rely on technology to communicate with our friends and family. Cellphones, iPads, and computers have become such a large part of all of our lives, including even our youngest children. Kids today are using various types of technology to learn from, play on, and stare at. Although, there are many benefits from our ability to use technology so readily, we should also want to show our children how beneficial it is to put down our technology devices and be active. “Regular physical activity in childhood and adolescence improves strength and endurance, helps build strong bones and muscles, help controls weight, reduces anxiety and stress, increases self esteem, and may improve blood pressure and cholesterol levels” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

During the school year, kids are allotted time for activity during physical education. Over the summer months, camps can provide a great source of physical activity for our kids. Educator, author, and psychologist Dr. Peter Scales stated “Camp is one of the few institutions where young people can experience and satisfy their need for physical activity, creative expression and true participation in a community environment.” Activity during a camp day can include playing games and sports, dancing, swimming, or even just running around. But, camp can also help children to build healthy social skills. Camps help children to interact with friends but can also help them to interact with new peers that may turn into new friends. Many children of today find friends not only in school but also online, through social media websites and even by playing video games. Camp provides them with the opportunity to interact face to face with peers to create new friendships.

Summer camp is a fun and interactive way for kids to put down their cellphones and iPads, step away from their computers and enjoy physical activity with some old friends and maybe even some new ones.

Meet our Summer Camp Directors, Kristyn and Ashley!

Click here to learn more about Summer Camp at Club Fit Briarcliff or Club Fit Jefferson Valley! We also offer Tennis Camp at Briarcliff and Jefferson Valley and Swim Lessons at Briarcliff and Jefferson Valley!

Sign up today and receive 15% off enrollment!

Summer Camp Fun

Summer Fun at Club Fit

Stabilization & Balance: From Athletes to the Elderly

Master Trainer & NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist Jen Schildwatcher

Master Trainer & NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist Jen Schildwatcher

By Jennifer Schildwachter
Personal Trainer and Fitness Coach Leader

When you hear the terms “corrective exercises”, “prevention of injury”, and “functional strength”, what type of person comes to mind? Although the common answer to this question would be possibly a post-rehab senior with serious injuries, these terms also apply to athletes on their off season maybe dealing with a pre or post season injury or muscle imbalances to correct. When you think “athlete” you often think speed & agility drills or Olympic weight lifting, but the need for core stabilization and balance are needed for all!

Balance is the key to all functional movement and it should also stress a person’s limits of stability, or their “balance threshold”. By training in a multi-sensory environment, the nervous system’s ability to activate the right muscles, at the right time, and in the right plane of motion is vital to the elderly and athletes alike to enhance performance in every day life or an athletic event. All levels of fitness need to infuse this much needed balance and core stabilization exercises to benefit all planes of motion. Both of these needs can be fulfilled in NASM Certified Personal Trainer, Corrective Exercise Specialist, and Performance Enhancement Specialist Jennifer Schildwachter’s paid program; Correct, Select, and Never Neglect. Participants of all adult ages and fitness levels, learn that there is an inherent difference between functional strength and functional stabilization, which both come into play when trying to improve balance.

Core Stabilization and balance go hand in hand. The main goal of an athlete or senior would be to continually increase their limit of stability by creating progressive balance exercises in a controlled but unstable environment.

A good example of an exercise that you could give an athlete or senior, would be: “Single-Leg Dumbbell Shoulder Scaption”

How to do it:
A. Stand with a light dumbbell in each hand; lift one leg directly beside balanced leg.
B. Keep thumbs pointed up while raising arms to shoulder height at a 45-degree angle in front. Slowly lower. Repeat; alternate legs in each set.

This exercise and more can be learned in this class as well as the improvement in balance and stabilization in all physical abilities!

Interested in taking Correct Select and Never Neglect with Jen? You can sign up for the upcoming session beginning on February 17! Feel free to email Jen with any questions at jschildwachter@clubfit.com!

Take Care of Your Heart Health

[written by guest blogger and Club Fit member John Fisher]

Master Trainer Beth Kear and Club Fit Member John Fisher

Master Trainer Beth Kear and Club Fit Member John Fisher

I had just completed another cardio fitness session with Beth Kear, a Master Trainer at Club Fit/Briarcliff and went up to the cafeteria to get a snack and relax. Once there, I paused to reflect on just what brought me together with Beth (a remarkable person, 100% experienced trainer and a compassionate and spiritual mentor who is teaching me to connect my mind to my stretches to feel my body’s response and stop mechanically counting seconds).

Anyway, my story begins about three years ago…and what I have to share just might save your life, or that of a loved one.

Then 75, physically trim and active, an avid tennis player, the first awareness of diminishing capacity came when when I began to find my reaction time and movement on the tennis court diminishing. It was driven home to me when the captain of our men’s indoor winter tennis doubles game approached me awkwardly to ask me to drop out of the group because I was beginning to drag down the quality of play. I attributed my reduced mobility to a lack of fitness, and signed on for a series of sessions with another Club Fit Master Trainer, Mike Cohen.

After our first package of sessions, I decided I could carry on by myself, using Club Fit’s FitLinxx equipment and supplementing that with a regular exercise program at home. But that required a level of self-discipline I just didn’t maintain. Sound familiar?

Now we come to 2013, and I find myself experiencing shortness of breath at the slightest exertion. I cannot keep up with my wife and friends on hikes, walking the streets of NYC or getting about on our son’s farm, having to stop periodically to catch my breath before continuing. Just wheeling our garbage can 150’ up our inclined driveway twice a week became a challenge.

“Do something about it!” I scolded myself. Time to resume a disciplined fitness routine. So in late 2013 I re-contacted Mike Cohen. But he could not fit me into his crowded schedule, so he introduced me to Beth. Well, at the end of my 2nd 1-hour session, I went to stand up after stretching on a table…and blacked out momentarily. Fortunately, Beth caught me before I hit the floor. After regaining my equilibrium, I lectured myself, not to sit up and then stand so abruptly so blood does not drain from my head suddenly, causing light-headedness. Enter self-deception/rationalization once again.

One week later, at the end of my next session, I again felt light-headed as I stood up, but immediately caught myself, sat down and avoided another blackout. That did it!

A call to my family physician at the Mt. Kisco Medical Group, a CT scan of the chest, a referral to their chief cardiologist, and the diagnosis: “You’re headed for open-heart surgery. You have calcification of the aortic valve, which needs to be replaced. And while they’re in there they’ll also need to perform a triple bypass to restore adequate blood flow, currently acutely compromised by blockages in three main arteries.”

I asked my cardiologist where he’d take his heart if he were facing the same circumstances. He gave me the names of two heart surgeons, one at Columbia Presbyterian and the other at Vassar Brothers Medical Center in Poughkeepsie. I chose the latter…with a highly-regarded team of cardio-thoracic surgeons, the best in the mid-Hudson Valley.

I had the surgery nine months ago, on April 4, 2014. Five days in the hospital; left for home pain-free, with a new tissue (cow) valve. Six weeks of monitoring at home by a nurse from the Westchester Visiting Nurse Service, followed by 40 closely-monitored sessions at the cardio rehab center run by Northern Westchester Hospital at Chappaqua Crossing, after which I resumed training with Beth. Beth and Mike Cohen (who also happens to be a cardio-rehab specialist) got together to review my progress report from the NWH cardio rehab center and designed a cardio fitness program to transition me to Club Fit.

I can report goodbye to shortness of breath; lung and heart functioning normal; and I feel like a completely new man at 78. All that remains is to test — and win — the quest for self-discipline. Stay tuned!

John also uses MYZONE heart rate and effort monitoring system as part of his health & fitness regimen.

Jimmy McDonough Cancer Foundation

[written by Club Fit blogger Lisa Skelton]

Jimmy McDonough Foundation founder Suzi McDonough

Jimmy McDonough Foundation founder Suzi McDonough

It takes a special person to take a family tragedy and turn it into a positive, but that’s just what Suzi McDonough did. When her husband, Jimmy, a longtime member of Club Fit Jefferson Valley, was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2004 and passed away less than a year later, Suzi and her family didn’t turn inward. They founded the Jimmy McDonough Foundation, a nonprofit that supports cancer patients and their families in the local community, and makes a big impact despite keeping a low profile.

“Our goal is to relieve as much stress as possible for families going through a cancer diagnosis and treatment,” says Suzi. “My family and I know firsthand the importance of a good support system, and want to provide that to those who don’t have the support they need.”

Her husband’s diagnosis was a surprise to everyone. Father of five, Jimmy never smoked and was focused on his fitness routine, working out at Club Fit almost every day. He was an involved and enthusiastic supporter of his community and kids’ sports in Mahopac, continuing to coach even after his diagnosis. He was being treated for pneumonia when a CT scan and subsequent biopsy revealed Stage 3 lung cancer. He passed away in February 2005, after seven months of chemotherapy and alternative treatments, but he and his family remained optimistic and positive throughout.

Since its inception, the Jimmy McDonough Foundation has helped countless people in our community. From rides to appointments to financial assistance to family outings, the Foundation supports families through their cancer journey. Family members serve on the Foundation’s board, and their single fundraiser is a golf outing held every May at Mahopac Golf Club. “One hundred percent of our fundraising proceeds go to funding our services,” says Suzi.

An additional fundraiser was held last year at FDR Park in Yorktown, a 5K Run that involved Club Fit’s Jason Needle, who is also battling cancer. “Jason is so like Jimmy with his positive attitude, and he is such an inspiration,” says Suzi. “His enthusiasm during the 5K event reminded me of Jimmy’s optimism throughout our family’s ordeal.”

Suzi has kept herself busy in the years since Jimmy’s passing, not only with the Foundation, but as Town Councilwoman in Carmel. She also works for the State Senate, and enjoys spending time with her five now-grown children. “I have a choice,” says Suzi. “I can wilt away or look ahead.”

But the Jimmy McDonough Foundation is clearly her priority. “Through the work we do, Jimmy’s legacy will live on,” says Suzi. And Club Fit Jefferson Valley is jumping on the bandwagon, donating all proceeds raised at the club’s Open House on January 31 to the Foundation. With a $50 donation, attendees received raffle tickets for prizes including massages, tennis lessons, a week of summer camp, a big screen TV, etc. A win-win for everyone! If you couldn’t make it and would like to help Suzi and her family make a difference in the lives of cancer patients in your community, you can mail your donation to The Jimmy McDonough Foundation, 72 Lockwood Lane, Mahopac, NY 10541, and know that you helped brighten someone’s day!

A Winter Fitness Boost!

By Liza Forster, RYT
Group Fitness Manager
Club Fit Jefferson Valley

Has Old Man Winter got you grounded? Being confined to home because of winter weather doesn’t need to put a cramp in your fitness routine. In fact, changing up how and where you exercise can actually give you an unexpected fitness boost.

First of all, remember that you don’t have to do everything all at once. 10 minute “legs” or intervals of exercise lets you crosstrain and keep you interested and more likely to push your own personal envelope. Three or four of these and you’ve exercised for 30 or 40 highly respectable minutes by the end of your day. Plus, jumping from isometrics, to endurance to strength work, etc, will keep your body and heart out of it’s comfortable routine, and out of it’s comfort zone. Combine the following as you like. Get your kids off of the laptops and make it a competition.

Ropeless jumproping- Put on your favorite music, and jump, jump, jump. One minute interval, 30 seconds of rest, repeat until you are at ten minutes total. Fast jump, joggy jump, skipping jump. Not only is jumping great cardio, but the impact lays bone on bone, increasing bone density. If you have bone issues, land lightly. Stepping in place is a safe alternative for delicate, more fragile bones.

Plank – Nothing like a straight arm plank to build some super strength. This one isn’t just for fighting the winter blues. Make this part of a daily practice all year round. Start at 30 seconds, and you progress, rock a 90 second plank. Pull your belly button firmly into your spine and keep it there. Wrists under shoulders, knees under hips. Can you say arms to die for?

Bicycle – Your grade school gym teacher got this right. Bicycle is a game changer. Back to one minute intervals on your back, 30 seconds rest in between. Alternate the work, fast bicycle for the first one, then S-L-O-W it way way down. Third one normal speed but hold the the elbow to the opposite knee as you cross, stay out of your comfort zone Keep your lower back flat on the ground.

Prisoner Squats – Nothing like squats to cut and define the glutes, quads, and hams. Lace fingers behind neck, elbows pulled back. Take a wide stance with feet parallel. Sit back into an imaginary chair, keeping knees over ankles and elbows pulled back. Up slowly and repeat. Exhale on the descend, inhale up and keep it slow. 4-6 rounds of 45 seconds with 30 seconds rest in between.

Wall handstand. Take a down dog (facing away from wall) with heels against a bare wall. Look in between hands at the floor. Walk your feet up the wall so that your legs are at a right angle from the wall. Hold for thirty seconds and walk down. As you progress, walk legs farther up so body is straight and almost perpendicular to the wall.

Repeat the series, and switch it up as needed throughout your snow day. Don’t forget to stretch everything out. 10 long breaths in a beautiful down dog hits the entire back of the body, sink into those heels, bend knees if you have any back pain. Don’t forget to shovel and have a snowball fight!
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Winter Weather Workout with Susie!

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By Susie Reiner, M.S., HFS, PES
Fitness Director, Club Fit Briarcliff

Unfortunately sometimes Mother Nature gets in the way of getting your workout in at Club Fit. Your safety is the most important on days where it’s dangerous to travel, so here are some exercise ideas for you to try at home:

Shoveling – the dreaded activity that is an essential part of living in the Northeast! Shoveling can be a great workout – if you do it right. Warm up ahead of time, do some dynamic stretches -toe touches side to side, side reaches, back extensions (hands support lower back), high knee pulls, quad stretches alternating, etc. Dress warmly with layers that you can take off if you get overheated. Be sure you are bending your knees EVERY time you pick up snow and switch sides/hands that you are throwing the snow with. Stretch your lower back, shoulders, and neck afterwards to avoid strain later on in the day. If you complete all these steps you will have a safe total body cardio and resistance workout. I’ve personally worn my Myzone belt while shoveling and got up to 200 MEPS in that time!

Got stairs? – There are a number of exercises you can do that strengthen your lower body and core while engaging cardiovascular benefits as well.
1. Step ups (up up down down) facing the step
2. Lateral step ups (step knee step touch)
3. Running the stairs – use the way down as recovery
4. Or try these fun exercises!

A great online resource for body weight workouts is Fitness Blender, a free website created by a husband and wife duo who felt like there was a lack of reliable health and fitness information on the web, and too many people in the industry were more focused on appearance than they were on good health. I’ve completed several of the workouts at home on this website and I can attest that they are safe and effective!

Need more advice? Please contact me at sreiner@clubfit.com and be safe in the snow!
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CPR and Practical First Aid for Caregivers

If you are a parent, nanny, aunt, uncle, grandparent or anyone that spends any amount of time watching children, you need to know these essential lifesaving skills.

Anyone who spends time with infants, toddlers and adolescents knows that kids can get into all sorts of crazy situations and experience an injury. Nearly every parent has been through a mild to severe choking episode with a child that is learning to eat solids. We all see our kids fall at the playground at some point and most of the time, hopefully, it’s a superficial injury, but what about when it’s worse? What about small children and water safety? How do you know what to do in an emergency? Have you had prior training? What you can do is arm yourself with these practical skills in case you need them . . . and hopefully you never will!

What you need to learn in order to feel confident in handling just about any emergency that is child related:

• Conscious and Unconscious Choking
• Chipped Tooth
• Anaphylaxis and Epi-pen Injectors
• Responding to Breathing Emergencies
• Controlling Bleeding
• Signs of Shock & How to Care for Shock
• Diabetic Emergencies
• Sudden Illness
• Concussion Awareness Training
• Recommended First Aid Kit Products
• Appropriate Antiseptics
• Basic Safety Facts and Statistics

first aid for care givers

first aid for care givers

Club Fit will be offering CPR and Practical First Aid for Caregivers on February 20, 2015!
This course is designed to provide participants with lifesaving skills. Gain the confidence to effectively administer care for breathing and choking emergencies in adults, children and infants. Empower yourself with the knowledge to perform practical first aid skills. This course is designed for parents, expecting parents, care givers, and anyone who is looking to become certified in CPR and learn first aid skills.
American Red Cross CPR for the Professional Rescuer Certification upon completion

CPR and Practical First Aid for Caregivers will leave you prepared in the event that you encounter a situation that needs attention. For more information on CPR and Practical First Aid for Caregivers visit us online. Questions? Contact Club Fit Briarcliff Aquatics Director, Ruth Garcia at rgarcia@clubfit.com.

The Importance of Play

By Noelle Napolitano
How can Club Fit help your child develop critical early learning skills?

We can answer the above question with one simple word; Play.

Parents can become overwhelmed, questioning if you are giving your child enough vegetables, the best preschool, etc, however, the most important thing you can be giving your child is something as simple as the time to play.

We can become so structured, and live our lives according to where our smartphones are telling us we need to be at a certain time, or running so many errands just to accomplish daily tasks, that we may forget to take the time out of our days and just let our children simply play.

Play helps your child build crucial early education skills such as sharing, socializing, logic, critical thinking, and imagination. These are the skills they will be building on for the rest of their lives, and we need to give them the best foundation.

Play also helps keep your child fit & healthy!

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Kids playing in nursery


Club Fit can do all of the above, and beyond!

Dropping your child off in our nursery while you workout gives your child such a great opportunity to help develop these skills. They are building key emotional and social skills, learning to separate from a parent, and bonding with others. They are forming their own social relationships right here at Club Fit! They are learning to explore and make their own decisions. That puzzle you see your child working on? They’re building their problem-solving and logic skills. Those cars you see your child driving down the ramps? They’re helping your child learn motion, gravity, size, & colors. The kitchen set up in the back? They’re role playing and using their imaginations!

Want to have your child’s party here at Club Fit? They will not only have a great social experience with their friends, they will also be developing their gross motor skills, by running, jumping, and getting fit while they have fun!

Take the time to introduce your child to all of the great offerings at Club Fit! Whether it be a trip to the nursery, a game of kickball in the Energy Center, or a Nerf Dart Tag Party, we surely have a way to help your children learn, get fit, and most importantly, have FUN!

Want more information on the importance of play?
Take a look at “10 Things Every Parent Should Know About Play” posted by The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)

The American Academy of Pediatrics have also done a study, and you can find more information here.

To learn more about the different programs and opportunities for families at Club Fit, visit us at www.clubfit.comor send an email to nnapolitano@clubfit.com to find out about what’s happening in the Nursery!

Doing a Bosu Burpee

If you’re a fan of the burpee this is for you! The Bosu Burpee is a variation on the traditional burpee. This exercise adds weight to the upper phase and stability to the lower phase.

Here’s a closer look at what a Bosu Burpee should look like:

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Demonstrating this move is Maura Maloney. Maura is training for the NYC Half Marathon and is a hopeful for the 2015 NYC Marathon! Good luck Maura!

The Desk Workout: Part 1

Here is some important advice to keep your body active even during your work day! Desk workouts are important!
Here is a suggestion from our very knowledgeable Fitness Director, Susie Reiner M.S., HFS, PES:

The most important thing to do is to stand up! Take time each hour to stand up, stretch your back (hands on the small of your back and lean back to extend your spine), and walk around the office a bit. If it’s possible to walk to someone’s office instead of calling/e-mailing them, always do it! It not only does your body good but more meaningful work relationships come from face to face interactions! When seated at your desk, be aware of your posture, sit up straight with your feet flat on the floor, your shoulder blades pulled down your back, your computer at eye level to avoid kyphotic tendencies.

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Check back for more tips from Susie and her team on how to workout from your desk! Visit us online for more information on our fitness programs and how you can be part of our community. health is for everyone! www.clubfit.com

Welcome New Club Fit Briarcliff Manor Staff – December 2014

Cemar Jesurum

Briarcliff Manor ReceptionistJesurum

Cemar joined the Club Fit team in December 2014. He is currently a student at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. He enjoys playing sports, being active and being in the company of other people.

                                                                                                                        

Ellen Pollack, Briarcliff Manor

Group Fitness Instructor

Pollack

Ellen has a powerful background in core conditioning, Pilates, spinning, heart rate training, group exercise and Pilates personal training. Her hobbies include kayaking, hiking and swimming.  Ellen loves the family friendly atmosphere and supportive learning and teaching environment at Club Fit.

                                                                                                                        

 Melanie St. Pierre, Briarcliff Manor

Group Fitness Instructor

StPierre

Melanie loves teaching classes and working out!  She is a certified Group Fitness, Boot Camp and Mad Dogg Spinning instructor.  When not working out, Mel is an adjunct professor for the Developmental Reading/Writing and Business Departments at Mercy College.  She has a BS in Elementary Education from SUNY New Paltz and a Masters in literacy from Mercy College.  Melanie is excited to join the Club Fit team and has found our staff to be friendly and warm.

                                                                                                                        

Joseph Suschinsky

Briarcliff Manor Receptionist

Suschinsky

 Joe Suschinsky joined the Reception Team in December 2014.  He is a Pace University graduate. He enjoys basketball, hiking, reading and music.

How to perform the Bulgarian Split Squat

It can be difficult to try new exercises on your own. That’s why we are dedicating a series of posts to help you learn the ins and outs of these particular strength exercises.

Liz Roarty, Fitness Coach and long time member, performs a Bulgarian Split Squat with her toe propped up on a high step behind her. When you are executing this exercise, be sure to center your weight between both legs.
HoistFacebook Split Squat

Bend the back knee into a 90 degree angle, keeping the front knee in line with the heel. Keep your shoulders back and your abs tight as you move through this exercise.
Hoist Facebook Split Squat

Stay tuned in to our series of Hoist Circuit Strength exercises with your favorite Personal Trainers and Fitness Coaches! If you have questions or would like to sign up for Personal Training session, visit our website to find a Club Fit Personal Trainer who is right for you! Contact Fitness Director, Susie Reiner with questions comments or concerns.

Are you new to the HOIST ROC-IT circuit? We have Fit Coaches available to you at all times to guide you through the equipment. We are excited to be offering our members the newest technology in Circuit Training while delivering a safe and effective workout!

Squatting during Pregnancy, Labor and Birth

By Perinatal Exercise Specialist, Denise Weber

Denise Weber

Denise W.


Squatting is one of the most advantageous positions for labor and birth. Women the world over have used it for centuries, yet it is much less commonly practiced in the United States.

In times past, women relied more on their bodies, and less on intervention, with midwives guiding them through the process of labor and birth. “Prehistoric figures and ancient Egyptian drawings show women giving birth in the sitting or squatting position. Midwives and birthing stools are also mentioned in the Old Testament.” 1

So why squat?

Labor has been compared to an athletic event, and an athlete prepares for the event with specific exercises geared to improve the outcome. The exercises are done for weeks or months, depending on the event, strengthening the muscles needed, and increasing endurance. There is no last minute “cramming,” as this could certainly lead to injury. Squatting is one such exercise specific to pregnancy.

Done correctly during pregnancy, squatting can have many benefits that prepare our bodies for labor and birth.

Increase leg strength.

Stretch the muscles of the inner thighs.

Increase mobility of the pelvic joints and hips.

Relax the muscles of the pelvic floor.

Alleviate back pain and pressure.

Improve pelvic circulation.

During Labor, squatting encourages proper positioning of the baby, and can help bring the head in contact with the cervix, thus increasing the strength of the contractions. It aids gravity and encourages dilation of the cervix.

Squatting during birth has been shown to shorten the duration of time spent pushing, Yeah!! Because it shortens the birth canal, and helps to relax and open the pelvic floor muscles. It can also help encourage the “urge to push,” if it is lacking.

1. The start of Life: A history of Obstetrics, J. Drife, January, 2002

Always check with your doctor before you begin any exercise regime. In certain instances, squatting can be contraindicated or need modifications. Women with bad knees or varicosities should talk to their caregiver before practicing squats. Sitting on a stability ball or a stool can modify the position of a squat Sitting on the stability ball has the added benefit of alleviating pressure on the pelvic floor if vaginal varicosities are an issue.

Denise Weber teaches various prenatal and postnatal classes. She is available for Personal Training, private and semi-private. Do you have a group of friends you would like to take a prenatal or postnatal class with but nothing is scheduled? No problem! Small group classes can be arranged.

For a list of classes available at Club Fit Briarcliff, Click here.

For information on Prenatal and Postnatal classes at our Jefferson Valley location Click here or contact Tricia Weinbaum at tweinbaum@clubfit.com for more information!

Club Fit Employee Chris Becker

Club Fit employee Chris Becker with some happy campers!

Club Fit employee Chris Becker with some happy campers!

Beyonce enters a room and people holler “B!!” or “Queen Bey!!” Justin Bieber hits the stage, and followers scream “Biebs!!” or “JB!!” And when Chris Becker strolls into the energy center, his fan base is equally animated. Unlike Beyonce and Bieber, Becker has no nickname. Still, the sound of children calling out to him is sweet music to Chris’s ears.

“When I walk into the energy center and the kids are like, ‘Chris, Chris’ — and they want to hang out with me — it’s such a rewarding experience,” he says. “It’s hard to call it ‘friendships’ when you’re talking about 2 or 10-year-olds — but there’s a real connection, there’s a bond between us. I love the kids here, I really do.”

Chris Becker has worked at Club Fit since the summer of 2011. Initially hired to work as camp counselor to four and five year olds, Chris returned periodically to work at the club during breaks from his studies at SUNY Buffalo (where he majored in early childhood education). Since December 2013, Chris has worked nights and weekends at the club while pursuing his masters in elementary and special education at Mercy College. The only thing consistent about Chris’s schedule is that kids are involved…otherwise, it’s up for grabs. Sometimes Chris is watching infants in the nursery. Sometimes he’s monitoring older kids after school in the energy center. And sometimes he’s hosting weekend birthday parties. That’s the task he enjoys the most.

“Parties are fun; there are so many different options. You could do a two-year-old’s birthday party — where there’s a maze and then you go into the bounce castles — or you could do a 12-year-old’s birthday party where you’re playing dodge ball and capture the flag,“ Chris says. “I like seeing how excited each kid gets.”

The oldest of three children, Chris grew up in Mahopac. He says that a few excellent teachers he had along the way inspired him to want to work with kids. His education on how to handle children has occurred on multiple fronts. Through college classes, substitute teaching, and interactions with kids at Club Fit, Chris learned that to successfully manage children you must a) be patient, b) have the confidence to lead, c) be quick on your feet, and d) be compassionate and empathetic.

“I feel like being able to interact with the kids on their level is really important because the way you interact with one kid is different than the way you interact with another,” he observes. “If one kid has a very strong personality, you’re going to deal with him in a different way than a kid who is very sensitive or shy. I think [working] camp and birthday parties have helped me out most by making me a leader of 20 kids. I have to be completely in charge.”

One thing no one is completely in charge of is life; life has a way of throwing curveballs at us. That certainly happened to Chris. Although he didn’t play baseball in high school, Chris pitched on a college development team and wound up receiving an offer (and academic money) from Clark University in Worchester, Mass. Enter… curveball. “I turned it down because I tore my Tommy John (elbow) ligament,” he says. “But everything happened for the best. I was able to find a different athletic path and still be able to compete.” That path turned out to be running. Chris is a marathoner whose best time is 3 hours and 50 minutes; his goal is to get under 3 hours and 30 minutes. He finished 103rd out of 450 runners in the Brooklyn Marathon and plans to run the New York City half marathon in March.

Chris’ s professional and personal plans for the future are simple. Ideally, after completing his masters, he’d like to land a teaching job somewhere in the Yorktown, Mahopac, Putnam Valley area. And he’d also like to settle down. “A bunch of my friends want to travel the world and do all these crazy things — I just want to have what my family has: A very stable house, dog, kids, family — that’s what I want,” he says. “ I just want the traditional family.”

Know this: The Club Fit family is proud to call Chris one of our own. And if you enter the energy center on any given evening, you may hear loud, verbal evidence that this is true. “Chris, Chris, Chris!!”

Bey and Biebs….eat your heart out!

— by Guest Blogger Joy Cain 

Joy Cain

Published Author and Guest Blogger, Joy Cain