Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. ~ World Health Organization
Fitness is a lifestyle. It is a deliberate action which is directed by a purposeful intention. If we desire for our children to live and lead healthier and happier lives, then we must conscientiously set out to model a positive example.
“Western society is in a state of health never seen in history. We are fatter, less productive, and at a higher risk of developing disease, early osteoporosis, and clinical depression than ever before.” (Brazier, 2009, p. 3) What has caused the decay of our society’s health and wellbeing? Is it that we are less driven or motivated? Is it that our time is occupied with technological or occupational endeavors preventing us from being fit? Whatever our excuse, whatever the reason, we must learn to embrace the need for a healthier lifestyle.
The lack of physical activity can compound our internal and external stressors. “Chronic negative stress also is linked to insomnia, anxiety, and depression.” (Starr & McMillan, 2010, p. 297)
The benefits of fitness are countless. Living a fit life will lead to having a healthier life.
BE A POSITIVE ROLE MODEL
As a parent, you do not have to be a star athlete, a potential Olympian, or a guru of health and wellness to know the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. Living a healthy and active lifestyle offers many advantages. Physical activity can take on a variety of forms: simply walking, joining a fitness class, or participating in a sports team.
You can become nutritionally savvy by reading current literature produced by the Department of Health and Human Services; Health Canada; Agricultural Research Service; Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion; and many other private and public forums.
Know the facts; there are many myths about health and wellbeing. Do not fall for the false arguments being presented on the internet or through unreliable sources. “When it comes to health, there’s a lot of ‘information’ floating around on the grapevine, and not all of it is recognizable for what it is – which may be anything from truth to half-truth to nothing-like-the-truth.” (Jenkins, 2012, Online)
ENCOURAGE AN ACTIVE LIFESTYLE
Fitness is a source of pride. A good physique is reflective in a good mindset. Children and adults who keep themselves physically active are more likely to enjoy healthy self confidence and self-esteem. Our society has become one of lethargy. Children who are taught to be fit early on, are commonly taught healthy approaches to life. What are some healthy approaches to life?
1. Be a positive role model of activity. Even those with health limitations can be active.
2. Reduce our chances of contracting or developing physical diseases. “A healthy diet can reduce the risk of major chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, and some cancers.” (USDA, 2012, Online)
3. Employ a healthy diet. “The healthiest diet is one high in plant foods and low in salt and saturated fats (which are found in meat and also in dairy products that aren’t nonfat).” (ADA, p. 249)
4. Encourage active play. Limit the amount of time that your children are being inactive (i.e. playing video games, watching the television).
5. Assign chores ~ chores encourage responsibility and an active lifestyle.
6. Encourage active outings. Rather than going to the latest movie, consider going for a hike, bike ride, a swim, or some other outdoor activity. Strive to be physically active.
SAVORING EVERY MOMENT
Have you ever considered how time simply flies by? Our overall Life is very reflective of our eating habits. For many of us, eating is about filling a void rather than experiencing a moment in time. It is important that we take time to savor our food as we should savor life.
It is never too late to learn healthy eating habits. “Savor your food. Eat slowly, enjoy the taste and textures, and pay attention to how you feel. Be mindful. Eating very quickly may cause you to eat too much.” (USDA, 2012, Online)
Furthermore, it is never too late to learn to live a healthy life. All aspects of life should be an evolutionary concept. We should constantly be seeking to evolve in our thoughts, mind, body, and spirit.
HEALTHY LIVING, HEALTHY LIFE
The greatest wealth is health. ~ Virgil
A truly healthy life is comprised of our entire being. Good physical and mental health is pivotal to living a healthy life. Consider the last time you were under-the-weather. Did you feel energetic, motivated, or inspired? Were you up to running a physical or mental marathon? It is difficult to consider tackling life’s challenges when we are under-the-weather. Yet, when we are feeling healthy, we are capable of conquering the greatest of obstacles. It is essential that we not focus on a singular aspect of our being, rather that we consider our needs from a global perspective.
Authors: Dr. Asa Don Brown, Ph.D. and Deborah Pickering is a Bachelors of Science student with an emphasis in Psychology at Capella University
American Diabetes Association, ADA (2005) Preventing type 2 diabetes in children and teens. Diabetes Spectrum 18 (4), 249-250
Brazier, B. (2009) Thrive fitness, Mental and physical strength for life. Toronto, Ontario: Penguin Group
Jenkins, K. (2012) 25 health myths exposed. Retrieved April 17, 2012 from http://www.canadianliving.com/health/prevention/25_health_myths_exposed.php
Starr, C. & McMillan, B. (2010). Human Biology. (8th ed). Belmont, California: Brooks and Cole
United States Department of Agriculture, USDA (2012) Build a healthy meal, 10 tips for healthy meals. Retrieved April 18, 2012, from http://choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/downloads/TenTips/DGTipsheet7BuildAHealthyMeal.pdf
United States Department of Agriculture, USDA (2012) Dietary guidelines for Americans. Retrieved April 18, 2012, from http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/
Canada’s Food Guide http://hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/alt_formats/hpfb-dgpsa/pdf/food-guide-aliment/print_eatwell_bienmang-eng.pdf
Fitness for Life http://www.fitnessforlife.org/
*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA