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Back-to-School Sole Searching

Posted in: Family, Fitness, Preventative Health // 0 Comments

It is back-to-school shopping season, and the shoe aisle is lined with adorable little kicks that range from stylish platforms to old-school high-tops. You and your child approach the selection, and he runs up to a pair that speaks to him. He tries them on and walks around for a minute. He looks up with a gleam in his eye and states confidently, “They fit great!” He also told you earlier that day that he saw a rocket ship land in your backyard, squashing your daffodils. You look at him skeptically. How do you know if the shoes actually do fit?

Children are active people, and their toes need space to move. Rounded toe shoes with plenty of depth so the top of the footwear does not press on the toes are ideal. Materials such as leather, canvas, or mesh allow for their feet to stay cool as they race around the playground.

Dr. Amanda Bartell says, “Be sure to evaluate your child’s shoes throughout the school year because a young foot can change quickly and cause fitting issues.”

The North Florida Foot & Ankle Center has on site pediatric orthotics and inserts for all ages of children.

For more information on pediatric foot care, visit or call 904-236-5023 to schedule a professional foot evaluation.

Dr. O Knows

Posted in: Family, Fitness, Healthy Eating // 0 Comments

One of Jacksonville’s leading pediatricians shares her top ten tips on how to start the school year on the right track

As summer ends and families on the First Coast gear up for the next school year, there are some important things to keep in mind to be proactive about the shift from vacation mode to education overdrive. Success at school starts at home, and studies have shown that students perform at a higher level academically with good nutrition, healthy sleep habits, and a supportive learning environment. We sat down with Dr. Alyin Ozdemir of Pediatric Associates of Jacksonville, and she gave us her “Ten Commandments” designed to kick start your school year off in the right direction.

1. Enforce healthy habits of eating, sleeping, snacking and playing (computer games.)
2. Stick to a routine. Kids like consistency.
3. Create a “Launch Pad”- have a single place to put backpacks, jackets, etc.
4. Designate a quiet study space for homework, where you are on hand to assist.
5. Read, again and again. Read books to them, with them, and let them “catch” you reading to yourself. Children learn by example.
6. Learn always – There’s only so much teachers can do. Look for ways to teach your child throughout the day. For example, cooking combines elements of math and science. Use the time when you make dinner as an opportunity to read and follow directions, to discuss fractions, to make hypotheses (“What will happen when I beat the egg whites?”), and to examine results.
7. Take the lead – Children learn by example. Let your kids “catch” you reading. Take time to learn a new skill and discuss the experience with them. Sit down and pay bills or do other “homework” while your kids do their schoolwork. If you display a strong work ethic and continually seek out learning opportunities for yourself, your kids will begin to model that same behavior in their own lives.
8. Talk Often – Do you know how your child feels about her classroom, her teacher, and her classmates? Talk with her about what she likes and doesn’t like at school. Give her a chance to express her anxieties, excitements, or disappointments about each day, and continue to support and encourage her by praising her achievements and efforts.
9. Show interest – Meet the teachers and stay in regular contact by phone or e-mail so that you can discuss any concerns as they arise. Not only will it pave the way for you to ask questions, but it will also make the teachers more comfortable with calling you if they have concerns about your child.
10. Expect Success – Perhaps the most important way you can support your child’s efforts at school is to expect him or her to succeed. That doesn’t mean that you demand they be the best student or the best athlete or the best artist. Rather, let them know that you expect them to do “their best” so that they’ll be proud of what they can accomplish. If you make that expectation clear and provide a home environment that promotes learning, then your child will have a greater chance of becoming the best student they can be.

Workplace Workout Exercises

Posted in: Fitness, Heart Health, Preventative Health // 0 Comments

The sedentary eight hour shift can leave a person feeling more than sluggish. Here are some ways to work fitness into your desk job, and relieve some of the stress that weighs on us during our work day.

1. Seat Clenches: Get your glutes in shape with this simple exercise at your desk. While seated, tighten your buttocks by squeezing your glutes. Hold for 5 -10 seconds and repeat until your tush is tired, or you wrap up that afternoon conference call.
2. Power Punch: Tone your arms while releasing some pent up stress with the Power Punch. Make a tight fist with your hands and punch into the air alternating arms. Keep your core engaged with each punch and continue for 60 seconds or more.
3. Hip to It: Some work is best done under the table. While sitting at your desk, lift your left foot a few inches off the floor and keep your knee at a 90 degree angle. Hold it until your hips cry for mercy, then alternate to your right foot.
4. Like a Prayer: Whether you are praying for a promotion, or that your boss will not notice your long lunch break, this exercise is designed to strengthen your arms. With your feet flat on the ground, place your hands in prayer position in front of your heart. Push your palms together as hard as you can and hold for 20 seconds. Let go and repeat until your prayers have been answered.
5. Back Twist: Hunched over the computer all day can take its toll on your back. Sit tall in your chair and engage your abs. Keep your back off the chair back and lengthen through the top of your head. Twist to the left from engaging your lower back, while lengthening upward, and look over your left shoulder. Release and repeat on the right side. Do as many times as it takes to shake that late afternoon slump.

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