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Archive for the 'Health and Nutrition' Category

Leading and Enabling

In a recent post, I discussed the significance of leading from the front (see here). Children imitate their parents so it is important that we are positive role models. As I’ve mentioned before, my children love coming to the gym. They enjoy mimicking what they see. They have become mini gym rats because that is the only life they’ve ever known. Living an active life has certainly sparked a similar interest in my children.

Setting a positive example is not enough however. As parents, we must also enable our kids to find activities that they enjoy. Leading from the front is a step in the right direction, but it isn’t enough to do what you enjoy while hoping that your children hop on board and follow suit. Kids need the opportunity to enjoy their own activities, rather than always copying what we do.

Unfortunately, many parents become too busy with their own lives to make time for extracurricular activities for their children. As an active parent in the community, I am used to seeing the same kids at all of the local events. Meanwhile, there are loads of kids who remain home without the opportunity to participate.

Being a parent means sacrificing your time for your children. We are all busy in today’s world. A busy lifestyle isn’t an excuse. Many of us work long hours. I am well aware of the challenges that parents encounter trying to balance their schedules with those of multiple children. It isn’t always easy, and there are many times when it seems like we (the parents) have a million things going on at once.

Yet despite the often clashing and hectic schedules, there is nothing better than watching your child have an opportunity to compete in an event that they enjoy. Earlier this week, my son (pictured above) participated in a track and field challenge that has been hosted annually for the last 14 years. He won first place in the 400 meter race.

In the two days since, he can’t stop talking about it. All he wants to do is race again. Fortunately, it didn’t take long to find another event in the area next month. Now my son is asking how to train for the upcoming race. I wouldn’t trade that excitement for anything in the world.

My kids cannot find these events on their own however. They don’t read the newspaper or browse the web. It’s up to the parents to find activities that their children can participate in. My kids have played baseball, soccer, track, gymnastics, etc. I give them the chance to try whatever they like. I am not pushing them to follow my interest in boxing. I want them to find what they enjoy.

Unfortunately, kids won’t know what they enjoy if they aren’t given the opportunity to participate. While my children are out playing sports, plenty of others are at home sitting in front of the television. Upon speaking with one of the local race directors, she mentioned how participation has declined steadily over the years. Fewer kids come out to participate in these free community events. She was adamant that more and more kids sit in front of the television rather than playing outside.

Research tends to support her observations. One recent study found that children between the ages of 8 months and 8 years were exposed to an average of 232.2 minutes of background television per day. That’s almost 4 hours a day!

Parents need to stop being so lazy. Don’t use the television as a distraction to keep your child occupied. Doing so does nothing for their development. Kids need the opportunity to get outside and explore the world. Not every child needs to be an athlete, but at least give them the opportunity to participate. Children involved in sports learn valuable lessons about teamwork, competition, discipline, and respect. The kids also have fun!

As a coach in the town, I can say with certainty that most kids enjoy playing sports. I always have kids who want to stay after practice. The kids want to be there. More parents need to step up and enable their children to participate. Regularly sitting your child in front of the television so you can do your own thing is pathetic. Your child is your responsibility. Children do not come fully trained and ready for the world. How they develop depends on how you develop them on a daily basis.

Children are like sponges. They soak everything up around them. It is our job as parents to make sure they have the opportunity to absorb beneficial activities that they will enjoy and learn from. Leading an active lifestyle is a great way to encourage such a life for your child. Let your kids get out and find what they truly enjoy.

Lead from the front while enabling them to pursue their own passions.


Don’t handicap your children by making their lives easy. – Robert A. Heinlein


Lead From The Front

Three years ago today I posted an article about fostering an active lifestyle for your children (see here). My son was 3 years old and my daughter just 15 months.

At the time, I wondered if my kids would remain as enthusiastic about exercise as they grew older. No one knows what the future will bring. All that I could do was encourage the kids to remain active and hope that they followed suit.

To my surprise, their eagerness about playing in the gym has changed. As toddlers, they always asked for gym time but their attention spans were limited. Three years later, they still ask to play in the gym, but now I can’t get them to leave. My son wants to practice sports before school. He heads right to the gym after school. My daughter wants to practice new “moves” while her brother is at school so she can show him up after. A day doesn’t pass without the kids asking for gym and sports time.

Ironically, I have never once told my kids to exercise or play sports. They want to do what they see their parents doing. My kids have grown up watching us train. When my kids see me do something, they want to try it. It is human nature for kids to imitate their parents.

Telling the kids to do something is not nearly as effective as personally demonstrating through daily actions. Children are much more attentive than many realize. They listen to what you say. They watch what you do. They watch how you act. They watch how you interact with others. Everything that you do around them is taken in and processed. Kids are like sponges. They absorb everything.

If you want your kids to become more active, become more active yourself. Change starts at home. Parents need to lead from the front. It isn’t the world’s responsibility to raise your children. The most important job of a parent is to serve as a valuable role model.

And please don’t confuse my message. I’m not here to suggest that we force our children to become athletes. I just want my children to be healthy and active so they can enjoy the world around them. Most kids start with an eagerness to play. They enjoy running around. They enjoy being physically active. Parents need to continually encourage and promote such activity. Fortunately, it is easy to do. Get off your ass and play with them. Go for a walk. Go for a bike ride. Throw the ball. Do something.

If all your kids see you do is text on the phone and watch television, that’s what they are going to do. Kids will follow your lead. If you remain active, it’s likely they will too. If you sit around and do nothing, that’s the life that they will learn to live.

Lead from the front.


You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth. – Khalil Gibran


Is Sugar Toxic?

Below is a video that recently aired on the CBS show 60 Minutes. It focuses on the over-consumption of sugar and the associated toxicity.

Discussions about the video have spread rapidly over the past few days. I’ve seen blog entries, forum discussions, and video responses. Many people seem to be genuinely surprised at how potentially harmful processed foods filled with sugar can be.

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And while enhanced awareness is certainly a plus, it is unfortunate that educated adults are still surprised by the news. If you take a look below, you will see Jack Lalanne preach about the harmful effects of sugar. He was preaching this message long before many people who read this blog were even alive.

Unfortunately, it still appears that the masses have yet to heed the warning.

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If man made it, don’t eat it. – Jack Lalanne


Minding Your Mitochondria – Dr. Terry Wahls

Terry Wahls, M.D. is a clinical professor of medicine at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine. She teaches internal medicine residents in their primary care clinics. She is also involved in clinical research and has published over 60 peer-reviewed scientific abstracts, posters and papers.

In 2003, she was diagnosed with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis and soon became dependent on a tilt-recline wheelchair.

In the video below, she discusses how she overcame the disease through a complete dietary overhaul. The speech is quite interesting and certainly worth a look…

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It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory. – W. Edwards Deming


Food, Inc.

December 2010 – This past entry has been updated with a new link to the full movie

Below is a brief trailer to Robert Kenner’s film Food, Inc. The documentary focuses on how food production has gone from being locally developed to being controlled by multinational corporations.

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Those familiar with Veoh can watch the full film at the link below.  It is well worth 90 minutes of your time.

Food, Inc. – Full Movie



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