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Hop, Skip and Jump Start Your Kids

"Investing In the Stock of Exercise And Nutrition"

In this day and age, it is harder than it may appear to keep kids on track with good nutrition and an active lifestyle. All signs direct us to unhealthy fast convenient ways, to save time and energy. The fact is energy output equals energy input. Think ahead; be progressive in your thoughts and actions, as today's actions will influence the future. As a parent, the motivation to make better lifestyle choices is to help rear your kids to become strong healthy adults with strong immune systems. The incentive to put the time in now (which is work) is the knowledge that this action will build a strong foundation of healthy habits and smart choices for years to come. Who knows what the world will be like in twenty years, but in any case, our children need the best possible start to cope with tomorrow's problems. Maybe your children will one day have to take care of you, hopefully with the same degree of care and attention. Look at your time as an investment into a 'mutual fund'.

It's important to start right off the bat to introduce kids to healthy choices, but mom and dad must be good role models as well. The staples of food in the home must be sound. If you are reading this magazine, then you obviously have an interest in health and wellness. Starting from 'the ground up' the very first principle is simple and yet of paramount importance.

"THE SOLUTION TO POLLUTION IS DILUTION"

Filtered water, pure water, water, water and more water. Kids don't need to drink anything else, unless it's a protein shake for breakfast or before and/or after exercise, or freshly squeezed juices consumed immediately after being pressed. Pop, juice, slurpees, milk - all treats which should be few and far between, otherwise it's not a treat, it's a staple. One of the reasons that children (and adults) crave sweets is because they are not getting enough high quality protein in their diet. It's that simple. A blender shake made with whey protein will improve liver function, enhance the immune system, keep the blood sugar stable and reduce cravings for sweets. Don't be misled by false and irresponsible media reports that discourage the use of sports nutrition products for children. The truth is, and the science supports this; these products are safe for children involved in sports and athletics.

First we educate ourselves, and then we educate our kids. There are so many great tasting protein powders on the market, I'm sure you can find one your child will enjoy. Make a shake ahead of time, put it in a thermos and take it with you so it's ready after your exhausted ravenous child is finished playing their sport. Convey the message of why they should make consuming a protein shake after exercise or physical activity. This should be a top priority. Some of the benefits include: reduction of fatigue, speedy recovery of injuries and increased mental alertness so that they are sharper for the game.

ACTIONS SPEAK LOUD WITH WORDS

Get into it and be a part of it. Be creative and aware. Try to develop a respect for the younger generation (I remind you this is an investment, like making a bank deposit). Instead of conveniently hopping in the car, plan your strategy and WALK. Walk to school, walk to the corner store, or walk to the park. This builds stronger legs and is excellent for heart health. But walking goes beyond the benefits associated with physical activity. In addition, walking creates an appreciation for our environment and teaches us how to become responsible pedestrians. Remember to STOP, LOOK and LISTEN. Instill the importance of fresh air and physical movement; tell them why with simple facts and analogies. DANCE. Dance, jump, skip and twist with your children. Introducing your favorite 'toons' and listening to theirs is a catalyst to bridge the generation gap. You'd be surprised how many calories you can burn while you're 'hopping around' and having a good time. While you're walking, make up games such as Eye Spy, or sing songs and as the kids get older ask about school and friends. It's astonishing how much a teen will open up when walking abreast with an adult. Asking the right questions combined with a truly genuine interest is healing and good for the everyone's soul.

DEVELOPING GOOD SPORTSMANSHIP

We all know that kids (and adults) watch their favorite sports heroes on TV with great enthusiasm and expectation. But to what degree does the conduct of these superstars, both on and off the 'field', influence the behavior patterns of our children in sport? Personally, any athlete who demonstrates disrespect, arrogance or intentional violence does not impress me. The essence of true sport has nothing to do with such behavior. Good sportsmanship mirrors inner character and is arguably the most important component of sport and one's manner in the game of life. It starts at home with parents, and should be reinforced by coaches, teachers and in PE.

Exercise and sport should be fun, fun, fun! Many professional athletes have admitted, that what started out as an experience motivated by pleasure and personal enjoyment, changes into a lifestyle contaminated by politics, business and greed. Introduce your child to as many sports as possible when they're young, give them a variety and see where their interests lie. Always support their choices. Exercise and sport should teach mind & body discipline, coordination and the importance of being a team player. Moods and mischievous behavior are often nothing more than displaced energy. 'Idle hands are a devils' workshop'.

Public school nutrition standards are outdated and do not reflect the current science of whole food nutrition. For example, Sports Day (without exception) always includes the provision of the worst possible standards of food (pop, chips, freezies, ice cream, hot dogs, pizza, cotton candy). Instead of doing the kids a favor, consuming such 'foodless' foods causes organ reserve depletion and reinforces the corporate deception that consuming such substances is acceptable and poses no down side.

The synergy of an educated parent working with their child, using exercise and good nutrition, is undoubtedly a winning combination. This results in a strong and successful lifetime bond and provides a no risk guaranteed return on your investment. Start saving today!

Tracy Holly Bio

Tracy Holly is a health & fitness activist and writes nutrition and fitness articles for various health magazines. She is a great believer in alternative natural health care and incorporates the principles of health and fitness advocated in the sports nutrition field. In addition to being a full-time mum, she works as a public relations officer, MC and is now serving as the Trade Show Expo fitness event coordinator on behalf of the Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA). Tracy also teaches Latin & Ballroom dancing and competes in Ms. Fitness, natural bodybuilding and masters' track and field.