Winter is here to stay and the majority of us want to hole up in our homes and places of work. It is smart to want to stay warm. However, we still need to take care of our minds, bodies and spirit and not let them become idle. It is also important for us adults to set the standards for our kids so they understand the importance of staying healthy.
Our nation has the highest rate of obesity it has ever had. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “More than one-third (34.9 percent) of U.S. adults are obese. Youth obesity has declined but is still too high at 17 percent.”
This winter try to think of ways to engage yourself and your kids in a physical activity. You can go outside and take a brisk walk or head to the Big Dipper to walk. You can take the kids outside and play in the snow. If you have equipment, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and skijoring are always good forms of exercise. Play an indoor sport, play Xbox or Wii games for exercise, do exercise programs or start an exercise program in your own living room. There are lots of organizations that you and/or your kids could get involved in. 4-H has the Social Dance Club that provides great exercise. Do it morning or night, but whatever you do, get moving and include your kids.
How about your mind? How can you keep it healthy? Play games like Scrabble, do crossword/Sudoku puzzles, read books and get outside for fresh air. It has been proven that if you exercise your brain and your body, you can help prevent or slow the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and memory loss. We need to keep our brains active so let’s turn off the TV and go play a game with the kids or friends and keep our brains functioning and learning.
I work with an individual who is always talking about going to her Zen place or taking care of Zen. Whatever a person calls it, there is a part of us that is our inner balance that needs a break from our daily tasks and time to focus on it. Whether this is through meditation, yoga, a religious ritual or whatever, we need to stop and just let our inner being have some cleaning time.
According to the Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation, there are now 5.5 million Americans with Alzheimer’s disease. The foundation’s website notes, “Every 68 seconds a person gets Alzheimer’s and it is the sixth leading cause of death in America.” The foundation also talks about the 4 Pillars of Alzheimer’s Prevention. Two of them are diet and exercise for both the body and mind
We can help ourselves and our youth to have a better, longer, healthier life if we stay active in mind, body and spirit and teach them the importance of it also. So this winter when it is tempting to sit down and veg out in front of the TV, stop and think about where you want your life to be in 10, 20, 30, etc. years from now. Most importantly, spend time with your family and friends through fun and engaging activities.
4-H is a youth organization for youth K-12 that helps youth learn about certain items of interest to them, but also teaches them life skills that will help them in the future. 4-H is a club structure that has leaders who are adult volunteers with current background checks. To learn more about the local 4-H program, contact Marla Lowder, Tanana District 4-H agent, at 474-2427 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also check out our web page at www.alaska4h.org/fairbankstanana-district.html.