Physical Fitness and Our Careful Motivation of children and teens.

In 2002 the government cut the amount of funding for physical education in public schools. Health and physical education which were once a mandatory class to graduate is now an elective if offered. These cuts leave very little money available for hiring physical education teachers and ordering equipment. Over the past two years I have noticed a few bad fitness situations with children and the school system.

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I was disturbed at the story regarding the 9 year old sent home with the fitness letter from school.  I feel it was a bad decision to send the letters home with the children. Children are inquisitive by nature! Letters of this nature should have been mailed to the homes. Why not discuss this matter with the parent on parent/ teacher night? I’m also quite sure the teachers have the ability to email the parents. Most important is the message that can be perceived by children and teens.

  • If they are not skinny/ slender they are considered overweight or obese.
  • Classified as overweight or obese if not as physically active or fit as peers.

We are creating a feeling of inferiority and self-consciousness. We should be motivating our children and teens to be healthier. When the fitness examinations are taking place is the following considered…

  • Body structure.
  • Physical lifestyle outside of school.
  • Physical abilities and inabilities.
  • Nutritional habits.
  • Health

There is a better way of promoting physical fitness to children and teens. Through thorough research as well as collaboration between school and home. We are sure to break the epidemic of obesity. A few tips to get started are as follows…

  • Start by making physical fitness fun.
  • Become more active as a family.
  • Educate children and teens about the benefits of physical fitness.
  • Reduce TV and computer time.
  • Make physical fitness mandatory in schools.

Let’s keep in mind that physical activity must take place at home as well as in school. As parents we have to take time out of our busy schedules to become more involved in our children’s physical well-being. It is not necessary to bully or embarrass children and teens into physical fitness with secret letters or pressure to get involved in sports. Find the present fitness level of the child/ teen and build upon that. What is the current physical interests of the teen? As an ex- certified fitness trainer, I would recommend 60 minutes of aerobic activity a day. A few fun activities children and teens can do for exercise are:

  • Play soccer
  • Brisk walk
  • Run
  • Bicycling
  • Dancing
  • Rollerblading

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A strength training regimen should not be implemented until after puberty and with a professional. What is most important is to stimulate and maintain their interest in a supportive and non- aggressive manner. I feel the change in the approach taken towards the subject will make a huge difference. Motivational and open conversations between teachers and parents as well as parents and their children will contribute to keeping our children physically fit. Making fitness and health a community- wide effort will make up for the lack of physical education professionals in our schools.

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The Small Symptoms that Changed My Life

Do you live a fairly active or very active lifestyle? Is it safe to say that it is a part of your regimen to work out 3 times per week at the least? I’m not talking about going and sitting on the bicycle, casually walking on the treadmill or sitting in the sauna to get a good sweat. A workout regimen that consists of raising your heart- rate during your workout, be it strength training, cardio, or an aerobics class.

Weight is not an issue for you and never has been. You have maintained a healthy weight most of your life. Eating habits are not the best but they are balanced, nutritional and mostly healthy. Of course we all have those occasional cheats or maybe even a binge but nothing to feel depressed about. If this is a good depiction of your habits towards exercise and nutrition then I can definitely relate.

I was a certified personal trainer for 8 years, I served 4 years in the U.S. Navy. No stranger to discipline and fitness. Yes, Navy personnel are known for being heavy drinkers who party quite frequently. Some of us shipmates are not very disciplined in our eating and exercise habits. Although, there are those who may have partied or who currently party but continue to maintain fitness as a priority. Fitness was and is the core of who I truly am.

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Five years ago I occasionally found myself experiencing weird symptoms. I never paid attention to these weird occurrences. As a personal trainer and even a healthcare worker, we hold ourselves to a certain standard that we think illness will not affect us. Sometimes, I would get this frequent urge to urinate this is no matter how much I had to drink. It was most times accompanied by a sweet jolly rancher aroma. This baffled me because I could not blame it on fresh fruit smoothies. Have you ever drank so much water or juice that you could not quench your thirst? You could not eat because you’re full of liquid? Ever since high school I can remember going to sleep with something to drink. Waking in the middle of the night almost dying of thirst. I constantly have something near to drink throughout the day. Back then I thought of it as being a side effect of consistently working out.

Unfortunately, the last straw for me was fainting in the gym while training a client. This is even after eating meal 4 of a 6 meal a day diet. No, I don’t mean just a protein bar as a meal. None the less, I woke up in the hospital and informed that I had diabetes. WOW!!! Are you kidding me? That was my first reaction. I worked out 6 days a week with a 30 minute strength training and a 20 minute cardio regimen. I consumed chicken and fish, lots of greens and low carbs. No fast food, 2 or more liters of water daily. 5 feet -2 inches tall, my weight ranged from 110 to 130 pounds, body- fat as low as 10% and never over 22%. I….with a body most women envied… Diabetic?!?!?!

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How did I get this? What did I do wrong? What is going to happen to me? For me it’s in the genes. My father, his mother and her father were all diabetic. My great uncle and a child of his has been diagnosed then myself, no one after me. I must admit I was disappointed when I first found out. As I look back I realize the disappointment was due to lack of knowledge. Let’s also add a bit of vanity. There is no true hindrance just what we put upon ourselves.

Yes, it has caused my lifestyle to somewhat change. Nothing too drastic. I eat differently than I used too. I’m never deprived or hungry or bored with my meals. My indulgence in Red Velvet cake which is my absolute favorite  desert is rare. Workout routines and frequency is different. I’m no longer a beast in the gym. Hour long strength training, yoga, Zumba and an occasional spin cycle class has reduced. I maintain an active lifestyle by working out 5 days a week doing yoga, calisthenics, jogging and walking. I still maintain a weight of 125 pounds, I’m not as lean and cut as before but I feel and look good. There are days when the illness makes me drag through my day but they are very few. I’m not on insulin or any other medications. My diet and exercise keep me in great health and shape even with diabetes. Diabetes does not end your life nor does it cripple you. Pay attention to your health and the symptoms that may seem weird. For even the weirdest feeling may be the one that saves your life.

 

American Diabetes Association

Images Courtesy of Pixabay.com

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