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Monday, May 20, 2013

Raising Mentally and Physically Healthy Kids

*Consideration was received for the editing and publishing of this article.

Sara Stringer

Keeping your family healthy doesn't have to be a tedious job. It can actually be quite enjoyable. A healthy family is a happy family, but health is only part of what builds a bond that will last a lifetime. Quality time is essential in understanding your children. Even when they act like they don't care, your kids are craving your attention. According to the Centers for Disease Control, in 2010 more than 1/3 of children and adolescents were overweight. To put that into perspective, in 1980 the amount of children (ages 6-11) who were considered obese was at 7 percent. 2010 saw that number climb to nearly 18 percent in the same age bracket. Adolescents (12-19) jumped from 5 percent to 18 percent during the same time frame. If you add "overweight" into the numbers, we - as a society - are seeing numbers greater than 1 in 3. In short, we're getting fatter, and it's time to take action to reverse the trend. 
With shows like the "The Biggest Loser" bringing this to the forefront in its last season, it is hopeful that we will see a decline in these trends in the years to come. But it isn't the responsibility of a television show to make sure your kids are healthy. This is something that should be done at home, and you - as a parent - should be the one to take charge. 

Exercise as a family
Incorporate health and fitness into your daily lives and do it as a familial unit. If you are going to be working in the garden, invite your kids to help. Better yet, insist that they help. This will help them to better understand what they are putting into their bodies as well as it will provide a source of exercise for you all.
Take family bike rides and walks into your routine. This can be a weekly thing or it can happen daily. This time can be spent talking about their day, school, friends and pretty much anything that comes to the surface. 

Be your children's psychotherapist
Remember, health is not limited to eating habits and physical fitness. Mental health is something millions of people (young and old) struggle with daily. Giving your kids an outlet to talk about the things that are on their mind will develop better communication between child and adult and let you always have an idea bout what's bothering them.

Run away from your problems
If you have ever been a runner, then you are aware of the benefits not just on your body, but your mind. The time withdrawn from society where nothing matters but the trail ahead and the music in your headphones is quite relaxing and a great escape from the day-to-day grind. You know how this feels, so it falls on you as a parent to help share this with your kids. Running or even walking as a family makes a great bonding experiment and gets you out of the house for some much needed exercise. 
There are of course dangers that come with any type of exercise, and it's important that you don't get so caught up in your conversation that you or your precious cargo aren't paying attention during your walk, run, or bike ride. Should an accident occur outside of your home it's important to know whether you have a legitimate slip and fall claim, and what resources are necessary to ensure that you are up and running again soon. While injuries can often be avoided with proper caution, there are situations that are absolutely outside of our control.
Regardless of what the activity is that works for you, as a parent you are responsible for monitoring your child's well-being. This is equally important to schoolwork, eating right, and ensuring that they learn proper manners. Stop overlooking physical health while you are molding these young minds. 
Limit their video games, and indoor activities. On a nice day, make them go outside if even just to soak in some natural Vitamin D. But don't sit on the couch while they are outside, join them. The best leaders lead by example, and if your children see you exercising regularly, they're eventually going to want to join you. If not, at least you've planted the seed. Now, the key is just finding what works for your family, your schedule and your fitness level. Good luck!

*Consideration was received for the editing and publishing of this article.

1 comment:

Misty Rios said...

Finding time to spend with your kids is so important, especially in today's world where everyone is so busy. Great post <3

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