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Piloxing: Making Exercise Fun for Youth in Houston

Piloxing 6

Watch out, Zumba – Piloxing is the hot new way to stay healthy while having fun!

Founded by a former dancer, Piloxing combines standing Pilates, boxing, and dance to tone the body and burn fat. To intensify the workout, weighted gloves are usually worn and exercises are done to 145 beat-per-minute music. Piloxing gained popularity quickly, and there are now more than ten thousand certified instructors in over fifty countries.

To test the trend, campers at the 2015 BOUNCE (Behavior Opportunities Uniting Nutrition, Counseling, and Exercise) summer camp, in Houston, Texas, tried Piloxing for the first time.

“It was hard but cool,” said Kyla Carrier, 12. “You get to have fun while working out.”

The BOUNCE camp was founded in 2005 by Dr. Norma Olvera and her research team at the University of Houston and is held annually to empower Hispanic and African American girls, aged 9 to 14, to live healthy lifestyles. Campers and their parents are exposed to physical activities as well as nutrition and self-esteem counseling during the multi-week-long camp.

After exercising vigorously all week at BOUNCE camp, Melissa Chible, 11, especially appreciated how “Piloxing helped with soreness.”

“I do Zumba a lot,” said the volunteer Piloxing instructor Olga Hernandez, “but Piloxing is able to provide that extra challenge I need.”

To find out more about BOUNCE, visit http://bounce.uh.edu.

Today’s post was written by a new guest blogger, Joyce Chen, who is President of the Teen Board of The Oliver Foundation, a Houston-based 501(c)(3) non-profit operating foundation dedicated to the prevention of childhood obesity.

Energy Balance: Make it a New Summer Ritual

Family Breakfast

We always love sharing great resources from our partner, TogetherCounts!

After nine months working hard in school, children look forward to a more relaxed schedule over the summer. For parents, it can be one long period of negotiating. From bed time to keeping up with the summer reading schedule, kids find a way to wear you down!

As members of the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation (HWCF), we encourage healthy summer activities like those you’ll find free as part of their free Together Counts™ program. The summertime months are typically an unhealthy time for kids as they are away from school and engage in more screen time and likely less healthy food options. The OrganWise Guys fully support getting healthy as family during the summer and year round!

At TogetherCounts.com you’ll find creative ways to get kids thinking about healthy habits over the summer months. Activities designed to continue the learning at home are developed by the experts at Discovery Education. This month there’s a fun one called “H is for Healthy Habits” and the entire family can get involved by doing an audit of their energy balance for a typical day. Kids especially like “playing teacher” over the summer months. This hands-on project helps them identify the entire family’s habits and complete a chart checking the energy balance and routines for each member in the morning, afternoon and evening. It provides opportunities for discussion about nutritious foods and the importance of being active each day. Thousands of children use the energy balance curriculum in schools, and the learning can continue at home.

But wait, there’s more! Once your family knows if they are in balance throughout the day, they can move on to part two of the activity and implement small changes where needed. The whole family can benefit by committing to one or two new “family” habits such as committing to eat a nutritious breakfast each morning or taking a walk after dinner. Finally, print and sign the “Proclamation of Energy Balance” included in the activity packet and post it on the fridge as a reminder throughout the summer.

Join the energy balance conversation by following the Together Counts program on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/togethercounts

Park and Recreation Month: Celebrating 30 Years


July 1st marks the start of Park and Recreation Month. The annual monthly celebration encourages people to get out and experience the benefits of parks and recreation – from health and wellness to nature and everything in between. This year is the 30th anniversary celebration of July as Park and Recreation Month. To celebrate, the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) is encouraging retro, 1980s-type activities at local parks and recreation facilities, while also promoting the enduring benefits of parks and recreation. We’ve been fortunate to work with the NRPA and a number of parks and recreation sites around the country for the last few years and we love that they are focusing on creating healthier children!

Here’s how you can join in the celebration and celebrate Park and Recreation Month:

  • Include mention of Park and Recreation Month in newsletters and other communications (blog, social media, emails) throughout the month. 
  • Spread the word through social media using: #JULYPRM30
  • Download and post the web graphics and/or logo to your websites, social media platforms or include in your communications to show your support.
  • Grab your eighties gear and slang and participate in the Throwback Thursday Instagram Video Challenge. This sounds like tons of fun … we can’t wait to see these!

You can find all of the information at www.nrpa.org/july

Make sure and download your OrganWise Guys retro-inspired coloring sheet to celebrate parks and recreation this month!


Why Winning a New Playground for a School Matters

Colorful Playground

There are about 70,000 elementary schools in the United States and a few weeks ago a couple of them had a whole lot to celebrate. The “Healthy Playground Makeover Sweepstakes” announced that two lucky schools are the winners of a $30,000 grant and new playground. If you are a parent with a child in elementary school, you know how much recess and outdoor play means to the everyday happiness of your child. You may have even entered on behalf of your school or shared the news with your PTA. It’s a big deal!

As members of the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation (HWCF), we promote this annual event and the Together Counts™ program that’s behind it. What a phenomenal opportunity for these schools to receive a brand new playground for kids to take part in all of the fun and physical activity that comes along with the playground experience. The OrganWise Guys are all about energy balance and encouraging playtime outdoors as part of a healthy lifestyle, so this is something we support completely!

With so much need in schools these days, it is no wonder that nearly 400,000 entries were received in this year’s sweepstakes. According to the latest report from the National Center for Education Statistics, 27% of all elementary schools in the United States have outdoor play spaces ranked as “fair” or “poor.” That number jumps to 34% in schools where 75% or more of the students are at or below poverty level, or classified as “Title 1” eligible. To sharpen the point—“fair” is defined in the report as meeting “minimal conditions but is not dependable, breaks down frequently, or has other limitations.” Even worse, a rating of “poor” states that “a particular feature or system as it exists is inadequate to meet even the minimal needs of the school.” Terrible, right?

In light of these bleak statistics, it feels good to share the news that two deserving Title 1 schools were the top 2015 winners of HWCF’s sweepstakes.

When Artspace Charter in Swannoanoa, North Carolina learned they won the grand prize, they were literally jumping for joy and dancing in the hallways.

The winning entry for Southside Elementary in Nortonville, Kentucky was submitted by Christina Estrada, who teaches 1st grade, and has been at the school for 6 years. She’s a great example of a dedicated teacher who went above and beyond to drive change at her school.

Encouraging outdoor play is just a part of what you’ll find at TogetherCounts.com, the hub of free energy balance resources for families and schools. You’ll find information on community partners, including Playworld Systems, who make the free playground program possible year after year.

Please follow news of these special schools and more at https://www.facebook.com/togethercounts

Healthy Summer Programming Works

Healthy Summer Programming

What better way to celebrate National Get Outdoors Day than talking about some amazing happenings in parks and recreation sites all over the country!

We are so excited to share the feature story from the June issue of National Recreation and Park Association’s, Parks and Recreation magazine, which includes exciting results from fantastic work done in hundreds of sites around the country thanks to the Walmart Foundation. Specifically, there is a particular focus on the impacts of the nutrition literacy curriculum and the healthy eating and physical activity (HEPA) standards in out-of-school time programs.

Download and read the entire article here or you can read the Parks and Recreation magazine in its entirety. You will definitely be interested to read how healthy summer programming can make such a great impact on kids, families, and the entire community!

Lastly, here are some fun ways to celebrate National Get Outdoors Day with your family today!