As a former school counselor, LFY teacher Jess Belanger has a unique perspective to share with us. She will be contributing a monthly article to our conversation, offering information to help parents and teacher support their kids. To learn more about Jess and all of our LFY teachers click here: http://littlefloweryoga.com/about
Throughout the school year, we have discussed many important topics here in our little corner of the world, including yoga for academic success, stress management, and ways you can reach every student in your group. One issue, however, that has yet to be addressed is perhaps one of the most pressing concerns regarding today’s youth: childhood obesity. According to recent reports from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one third of children are considered either overweight or obese. Those who fall into the category of being overweight often end up becoming obese and are at a greater risk for a number of serious, life-threatening diseases that develop during childhood and their adult years.
With these scary statistics, it is imperative that we teach our children healthy habits and encourage regular physical activity. In an effort to do so, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has declared the month of May as National Physical Fitness and Sports Month. Among their many messages, the Department is striving to create an educated network between parents, schools, and children that will spread the importance of physical activity and wellness. To implement this message on a more local scale, it is important to consider just how beneficial physical activity is to our children’s lives. As we encourage more movement among our kids, we are also helping to:
- Strengthen their developing muscles and bones
- Manage weight
- Ward off disease
- Establish a better sleep cycle
- Create a healthy body image
- Foster self-esteem and academic motivation
So how, as parents and yoga teachers, can we help our children become more active? To begin, simply get your child moving. Whether through group sports or classes organized by the school or even a family walk after dinner, encourage your child to increase their physical activity whenever possible. If you are short on outdoor space, perhaps you frequent a local fitness facility that you could bring them to. By demonstrating a healthy lifestyle, your child will pick up on these actions and you can gently encourage them to join in. From a teacher’s standpoint, try to include class activities that involve movement when relevant. When you are able to, indicate other situations where the child may use these techniques or movements in every day life. The key to increasing physical activity is to make it fun, easy, accessible, and frequent for all ages and abilities. With time, healthy habits will begin to form and your child or student will surely reap the benefits in all areas of their life.