Sunday, June 17, 2012

Teach Your Child A Healthy Lifestyle Now!

It’s my belief that long-term good health is a combination of wise choices and good habits. I have read too many articles written by people over the age of 65 who, when asked if they could turn back the time-clock and change just one thing, what would it be.  Almost 100% of all people asked that question said their health. They wish they would have taken better care of their health at a much younger age. 

In order for future generations to live out their golden years with a good quality of life, you need to teach your children to enjoy good health now. Youngsters must learn how to eat right, the long-term value of exercise, how to control stress, and be responsible for personal choices. In addition, they need to be aware of what to do in an emergency and when to say "no".

Bad habits can be replaced.

It’s possible to teach your children about lifestyle choices like eating nutritious foods and understanding the relationship between physical and emotional health. Help your child grow up healthy. Your child's ability to learn and the chances for a longer and more productive life can be greatly improved by teaching the absolute importance of making healthy choices now.

Every child needs to feel self-confident.
I believe it is the parents and teachers responsibility to nurture a sense of self-confidence in children. When a child is confident they are more successful in every day interactions with others. They are better equipped to ask for what they need and set boundaries when necessary.

Establish open communication and recognize all the things they do well, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant. Do this and watch your child become self-confident.

Teach them to eat the right food. 

Good nutrition does not mean your children cannot eat their favorite foods. What it does mean is to have variety and learn moderation. We have become a super-sized nation.  The portions sizes and amount of fat in the most common fast food is alarming. It can be tempting to give into your child's demands for McDonald's or Pizza Hut when you're tired from a long day at work.  Think about the example you are setting if you give in.

Children need to know the importance of exercise. 
Exercises, like jumping, increase the heartbeat, which strengthens the heart and muscles, improves endurance, and conditions the total body. Slower movements teach balance and coordination.

Here are some suggestions.
1. Arm Circles. Stand tall with knees slightly bent. Rise on your toes and slowly circle your arms inward and upward, until arms are straight over head. Inhale deeply. Continue circling your arms backward and downwards while lowering your heels and exhaling. Do this exercise slowly and
smoothly. Repeat 5 times.

2. Swinging March. Stand up straight with feet shoulder-width apart, hands at your sides. Alternate right and left arms in forward circle motions. At the same time, lift your opposite knee so that when the right arm is circling forward the left knee is raised and vice versa.  Do 10 complete circles with each arm and then switch arms to swing backward. Repeat 10 full circles with each arm.

3. Pendulum Push. Stand straight with arms at your side. Step to right, bending your right knee. Raise arms overhead and push toward the ceiling. At the same time, rise on your right toes and lift your left leg off the ground, keeping all the weight on the right foot. Put your left leg back on the ground, bending both knees and placing hands on shoulders. Repeat to the left side. Repeat 10 times on
each side.

4. Jumping Jacks. Stand straight with feet together. Jump up and land with your feet shoulder-width apart as you swing arms to shoulder height. Jump back to starting position while clapping your hands over your head. Jump up and land with feet apart while bringing your arms back to shoulder height. Jump back to starting position while lowering arms to your sides. Repeat this 4-part jumping jack 10-20 times at a slow, controlled pace.

Children should warm up their bodies for about five minutes to get muscles and joints ready for action and to prevent injury. They will be warmed up when they start to sweat and breathe heavier.

     All exercises have been adapted from Get Fit!, published by the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, 701 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Suite 250, Washington, DC 20004.

What exercises do your children find fun?


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