The following is a blog from our guest contributor, Mackensey Stang of BLEND*.
It seems to be all around us lately, this newfound idea of wellness. While you may hear it often, you may also find yourself asking what is wellness, exactly? It can encompass many different areas of health, but more and more of what we are seeing is a focus on physical wellness. This is not to say that this means there is an increased focus on weight loss or dieting. Rather, physical wellness is striving to take care of our bodies through regular healthy eating and exercise to be in the best physical state possible. We are transitioning to a lifestyle where our goal is to proactively prevent health issues, rather than reactively treat them. It is easy to hop on board and get excited about new wellness initiatives. As a program specialist with BLEND (Better Living: Exercise & Nutrition Daily), I am all too familiar with the importance of wellness, and the value of teaching children to lead an active, healthy lifestyle. Despite our good intentions and hopes for a healthier tomorrow, this is often easier said than done, and it is not something we can expect children to do all on their own. Wellness is a way of life, not a diet or a trend. It is building healthy habits that are engrained in our everyday lives. We can cross our fingers and hope that our schools and daycares are providing adequate nutrition, playtime, and exercise, but that all goes out the window if healthy living is not a part of life at home.
This is where parents come into the picture. Children look up to their parents, and more often than not, try to emulate their behaviors. If mom loves to go for runs or do work in the garden, it is likely that the little ones will, too. The same goes for poor habits; if television and lying on the couch are what children grow up watching us do, it is likely that they will continue on with those behaviors as they grow. It is important to make a point of being active and healthy as a family. Not only will everyone reap the health benefits, but it will allow for more quality time and bonding as a family. Some tips for getting up and active as a family include:
- If your schedule allows, walk your child to or from school. This can even be just one or two days a week when your schedule allows, but can be a great time to bond, learn about their day, and be active together.
- Invest in toys that promote activity, such as balls, kites, or jump ropes.
- Live near a grocery store or park? Pick a place that you often drive to, and make it a point to walk or bike there instead.
- Allow your children to try out a variety of activities, whether it is through community education, their school, or even your church. Your children will never know they love playing soccer or cross-country skiing if they never give it a try!
- Replace an hour of TV time with an hour of family activity each day. Go for a walk, play catch in the backyard, or get together with neighbors for a game of tag or hide-and-go -seek.
- Make a habit of going for a walk around the block after dinner.
- Don’t let the Minnesota weather hold you back! Build a snowman, go sledding, or try out ice skating during the winter months. There are opportunities to be active as a family all year round.
- Get your children involved in household chores. It will get them up and moving, and you will be rewarded with a clean house!
The key to forming healthy, lifelong habits truly is to do it as a family by making it a part of your day to day routine. Making these changes and putting a focus on being active as a family will bring positive health effects to everyone involved, and you as parents will be rewarded with more quality time with the ones you love.
Thanks for reading, now let’s get up and moving!
CentraCare Health Foundation
BLEND Program Specialist
Phone: 251-2700 x53807
*The views, opinions and positions expressed within these guest posts are those of the author alone and do not represent those of Plaza Park Bank. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are not guaranteed. We accept no liability for any errors, omissions or representations. The copyright of this content belongs to the author and any liability with regards to infringement of intellectual property rights remains with them