As the children return to school in person, parents across the country breathe a collective sigh of relief. Just take a look at your social media feed and you can feel the excitement, it’s palpable! After an endless year of virtual learning, our children are finally back in their place. While we may be out of workout, it’s time to get serious about reestablishing evening school routines, filling lunchboxes with nutritious foods, and building habits for our kids. healthy to be successful.
Each fall, kids swap their active, carefree summers for long, sedentary school days. Despite research showing that exercise promotes focus and attention, physical activity often falls low on the college agenda. “Our children’s activity level drops dramatically in the fall, especially in middle and high school,” says Amy Horton, doctor of chiropractic and associate professor at Northwestern Health Sciences University (NWHSU). “There are many creative ways to make small movements during the day without being disruptive.”
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, only a quarter of children ages 6 to 17 get 60 minutes of exercise per day, the recommended amount. Fortunately, every little bit counts. Children can move their bodies in less obvious ways so as not to disturb their classmates. Subtle movements such as wiggling, squirming, and stretching can release energy built up from inactivity, while tight, relaxing muscles can prevent joints and muscles from contracting. After a day of sitting and listening, their bodies crave for a rapid heartbeat and release of endorphins. The exercise will propel them through the end of their day and prepare them to focus on math or science homework due the next day.
School-sponsored sports not only get kids active every afternoon, but they also develop healthy habits that can last into adulthood. However, parents should book a sports physical exam to make sure their child is ready to go to the court or the court. Pediatricians recommend, and most schools require, a sporty physique when registering for team sports. This is because a lot of things change from year to year. Growth and weight gain can leave a child’s body with asymmetric muscles and unbalanced posture. An annual medical exam can track these changes and minimize the risk of sports injury.
“Chiropractic adjustments help normalize function and improve range of motion, but they also work within the nervous system to optimize everything from breathing and heart rate to immunity and mental health, âexplains Horton.
Ergonomics for children
One area that can determine your child’s overall health is their posture. Poor posture constricts the artery that runs along their spine. Like a garden hose, when you stretch it, water will flow freely. Roll it up and you risk cutting off the water supply. Likewise, when we slouch, we restrict the flow of blood, oxygen, and nutrients to the brain. In addition to fatigue, brain fog, loss and loss of concentration, this behavior puts harmful pressure on joints and muscles.
âIf it’s feasible for your family, consider setting up a homework station,â says Horton, who goes on to explain that sitting at a desk can properly align the arms and legs at 90 degrees. âEncouraging children to change positions every hour, from sitting to standing, can also help them find the right alignment that redistributes potentially damaging pressure. “
A desk or dock that is slightly elevated at eye level will also ergonomically align a child’s body and facilitate movement. With forethought, parents can work with their children to form good postural habits. By prioritizing useful exercises and making them a fun way to make them part of your family’s daily routine, you can strengthen their backs and make them stand straighter than ever before:
- Visualize a pencil or pencil between your shoulder blades and squeeze them firmly. This movement strengthens the rhomboids, brings the shoulder blades together and stretches the chest.
- Trace the letters of the alphabet in the air with your arms or do the YMCA to circulate blood and oxygen throughout your body.
- For small children, songs with accompanying movements like I am a little teapot Where Head shoulders knees and toes can give your kids a fun brain break while providing range of motion.
Children and adolescents should also take precautions with their backpacks. As they transition between classes carrying heavy items, the bags get heavier and weigh their bodies down. âIn general, it is safe for children to carry ten percent of their body weight. Nothing more, and you risk injuring your child’s shoulders and back, âwarns Horton.
Nourish to flourish
After a long day of work, carpooling, and extracurricular activities, not to mention dinner, homework, and bedtime, the last thing a tired parent wants to do is cook lunch for the next day. The importance of a balanced breakfast, however, cannot be overstated. A diverse and complete diet plays an important role in the development of body and mind. Nutritious foods help your students focus and perform better in school. So what should an exhausted parent do?
âSimplify and don’t overthink it,â says Paige Prestigiacomo, sports nutrition resident at the Human Performance Center at the NWHSU. âIt helps divide breakfast into four categories: protein, carbs, healthy fats, and color. “
- Protein is essential for turning food into energy and for circulating oxygen throughout the body. Examples include cold cuts, peanut butter and jelly, hard-boiled eggs, Greek yogurt, and cottage cheese.
- Crabs satiate you and satisfy your hunger. Along with essential nutrients, carbohydrates are a great source of fiber. Examples include bread, tortillas, bagels, and crackers. Whenever possible, choose whole wheat.
- Healthy fats provide essential fatty acids, which help you absorb fat soluble vitamins. These vitamins, including A, D, and E, cannot be processed by the body without fat. Examples include almond or peanut butter (sun butter or seed butter for nut-free schools), mashed avocado, and hummus.
- Color will provide a variety of nutrients that support the immune system and overall health. What is called Rainbow Eating can almost guarantee that you won’t miss out on much. Examples include colorful fruits and vegetables.
And, again, don’t worry too much about every piece of food your kids put in their mouths. âYou would never expect your child to score 100% on every test, so neither should we expect them to eat perfectly all the time,â says Prestigiacomo. “Rotate for 80 percent whole foods to fuel the body, leaving 20 percent for the fun stuff.”
Inadequate hydration causes a host of problems, from fatigue to constipation. Unfortunately, the school day leaves little time for water breaks. Save your kids a trip to the water cooler and keep them hydrated by slipping a water bottle into their backpack. âDehydration can have serious consequences on your body, both short term and long term,â says Horton. “Drink half your body weight in ounces. I like this general rule because it’s easy to remember.” Athletes, she warns, should drink more fluids to match their activity level.
Located in Bloomington, Northwestern University of Health Sciences is a pioneer in integrative natural health care education, offering degree programs in chiropractic, acupuncture, Chinese medicine, massage therapy, medical assistance, medical laboratory programs, post-baccalaureate / pre-health, radiation therapy and completion by BS. His Bloomington Clinic is open to the public and offers chiropractic care, acupuncture, Chinese medicine, massage therapy, naturopathy and cupping.
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