Over the years I’ve done quite a bit of work nationally with NASM, with clients and now Shape Up (SF) around healthy eating and exercise. Why? I want help change the direction of our obesity epidemic and I feel like these avenues are the way I can help effect change.
- NASM-I work with NASM to help train personal trainers on behavior modification and about how to work with clients around exercise in a different, more effective way so that clients feel good about and stick to an exercise program.
- Clients-I am fortunate to be able to work with many clients around diet & exercise to help them overcome their mental & emotional barriers to exercise. This is the key to healthy eating & adherence to an exercise program. If your brain is telling you ‘it’s too hard’, trying all the diet and exercise programs available is not going to shift behavior until your thinking changes.
- Shape Up-Have you ever read the book Spark? Spark (among other things) talks about how important PE/PA is for children. There are many reasons that it’s important: health, growth, intelligence, movement, functionality and foundationally because it helps kids get higher grades. Selfishly because of Shape Up my hope is that if children can get the recommended amount of exercise so they grow up having more confidence, greater self-esteem, be able to handle stress more effectively, sleep better and have less depression and anxiety. If this doesn’t happen, not only will obesity continue to rise but kids will continue to get worse grades and higher levels of depression, anxiety, stress all leading to illness and disease.
I believe 100% that healthy eating & exercise behaviors need to start in childhood and this is why I volunteer with Shape Up SF. We are fighting for all children to have access to healthy foods and exercise and in SF we are making some headway. We have a long way to go but every city or town should be so lucky!
What about other areas of the United States. An article in the July 10th NY Times, Despite Obesity Concerns, Gym Classes Are Cut, talks about how gym classes have been cut mainly due to budget cuts and about how people who understand the benefits of exercise are trying to find creative ways to keep it.
I remember when I was in school. I had PE everyday. I may not have liked it at the time but I know realize how it set the stage for my life in so many ways. The biggest way is this, if I had not had PE I probably would not have gotten involved in High School sports. Although I am not going to share my story in this blog, suffice it to say that High School sports saved my life; almost literally.
Childhood sets the foundation for everything we do in our lives; who we become as adults. When kids don’t grow up with access to healthy foods and exercise it follows them into their adult lives. I have so many clients who are interested in working with me for this very reason: their childhood messages around food and exercise and lack of access did not permit them to learn how to take care of themselves in these ways. Vigorous exercise affects the brain, learning process and student behavior; current school PE programs need re-examination
I encourage you to fight for what’s important for your kids future. Although in our short amount of time I’ve not been able to give all of the great reasons that kids should have access to healthy foods & exercise I am hoping I’ve peaked your interest enough to do two things: read more information particularly on the psychological benefits of exercise and be an active advocate for your local school. Don’t your kids, any kids deserve the right to grow up healthy & happy?
Photo credit: sparkinglife.org