Good Habits are “Caught”–not “Taught”

As a doc, I’m going to suggest some good health practices like physical activity. I know you want to stick around long enough to meet your grandchildren and great-grandchildren! Plus, you’ll benefit your kids.

You’ve heard it–example is the best teacher. Others say good habits are “caught”–not “taught”. If we’re fit and active, our kids most likely will be too.

I know how it is. Coming home from work or enjoying the weekend, all we want to do is eat, drink, and collapse in front of the TV. When the game is on, our couch potato urges get even stronger.

Now I’m not recommending giving up TV or the football season. No way! But you can get up at halftime and during commercials (Superbowl excepted) to do something active with your kids.

I prefer “getting active”to “exercising.” After all, the word “exercise” conjures up unpleasant mental images of sweating it out at the gym or jogging around the park while your neighbors gape. Sayings like “No pain, no gain” make us want to avoid exercise.

So I Say Don’t Exercise. Get Active!

How about one of those indoor basketball hoops you can hang up  in the living room? As soon as the commercial comes on, get up and play a round or two with the kids. During half-time, go out and throw the football. If your girls want to stay inside, great. Dance with them or give a dramatic, lip-synching performance. (The remote makes a good impromptu mic!).

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost half of American adults are obese. Heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and even some forms of cancer are obesity-related. Every year, obese people spend about $1500 more on medical costs than people in healthy weight ranges.  Who needs that?

Only about 20% of kids are obese. Why? Because they’re so active! Still, thirteen to fourteen million kids are obese. Don’t let your kid be one of them.

Make activity fun. Crawl around on the floor and let your kids pretend you are a grizzly bear and climb on your back. Play Hide-and-Seek with them (it’s still really fun, trust me!). Get a dog you have to take on walks or a kitten who yowls to be chased. Take the teenager on a hike in the woods (even if he or she tells you at first to take a hike).

Active people get floods of feel-good, natural chemicals in their brains. The mental benefits of activity–staving off anxiety and depression–are well known.  Being active even helps kids with ADHD.

 

 

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