Celebrate the ‘heroes’ within you and carve a fit, healthy future for your children

Since most of us around the world are confined to working from home, it is imperative that we remain disciplined and maintain active lifestyles. It is of great significance for parents to educate their children to stay healthy, by dedicating at least 60 minutes everyday (just 4% of the day or one episode of your favorite TV show) to help boost your child’s mood, and keep them happy throughout the day.

A recent study by WHO states that India has the second-highest number of child obesity rates in the world, a close second to China. (Source). With over 14.4 million obese children in India, we are facing boundless threats, and the number is only increasing rapidly. Diving deeper into statistics, as of 2018, over 40 million children under the age of 5 years were overweight or obese in the world, and amongst the children aged 5 to 19, over 340 million children and adolescents were overweight (WHO Source).

While the numbers are shocking, it is also a sad reality, and we fear that these numbers can only rise with situations like the current world pandemic. Fitness advocates believe that it is best to instill healthy habits and introduce the concept of fitness amongst children as early as possible, to curb these ever-increasing health concerns. When children work towards keeping themselves fit and healthy, it makes their bones and muscles stronger; thereby, improving cardiovascular endurance. It also helps reduce stress by producing endorphins that keep them happy and energetic. It increases their self esteem, and more importantly decreases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

As a father of a 4-year old, and also a certified fitness trainer specialising in children’s fitness, I recommend all young parents to start investing time with your children. And, prepare them for a fit and healthy future. These tips are based on my experiences with my son, and by personally dealing with thousands of children from different walks of life and fitness levels over the past few years.

Essential health tips for young parents to pass onto their children:

Stay Active (like Dash from The Incredibles)

Ensure that you try to get at least 60 minutes of structured fitness throughout the day. You may divide the activities into two slots of 30 minutes or 3 slots of 20 minutes. Apart from this, kids need to be given an opportunity to take up a sport they like that will encourage them to stay active throughout.

Eat Healthy (like Popeye the sailor man)

Consume a healthy and balanced diet  comprising of protein, carbs, fats and fibre. It is important to eat a minimum of three meals a day, including a heavy nutritious breakfast. Serve a variety of food and try to mix and match meals as much as possible. Try being a role model yourself by sticking to healthy food habits.

Hydrate Hydrate Hydrate (like Aquaman)

This is of paramount importance. Since our bodies are made up of approximately 70% water, it is important to stay hydrated by sipping water throughout the day. Remember to stay away from sugary and aerated drinks.

Sleep Well (not as much as Captain America)

Sleeping for 8-9 hours every night keeps you fresh throughout the day and improves your productivity, regardless of if it is for fun or studies. Kids who sleep well have improved attention, behavior, learning, memory, and overall mental and physical health. (Source).

No Sugar (to look like Thor (PS- not Thor from Endgame)

The body gets all the sugar it needs from natural sources such as fruits. Added sugar in children may lead to obesity, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes (Source). Try limiting intake of sweets, snacks and sugary drinks to once or twice a week.

The need to prioritize and focus on leading healthy lifestyles is more important than ever today. Let’s start off by making small changes that will lead to positivity and wellness in the future. Here’s to a healthy and fit tomorrow.

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