Having just written a post about the importance of REST, we at Nurture want to get you motivated for the other end of the spectrum– getting your body MOVING!
Yes, these activities of rest and then movement seem at odds, but the human system is designed to be dynamic. Too much of a good thing can be bad, and we are always striving for balance.
What is also so important is the impact of movement on our mental health, not just how we feel physically.
Are you ready? Here is what our intern at Nurture, Radka, has to say about taking the time to get your body moving! Look for the links at the bottom for activities that you can do at home with your kiddos.
We’ve also added some tips from guest blogger Jenny Wise, who is currently home-schooling four.
Guest post written by Radka Pribyl Pierdinock
Exercise. It’s usually a New Year’s Resolution for many.
If it is not on your list, or you are slowly falling off of the New Year’s Resolution train, I encourage you to hop back on or hop in!
Exercise is very important not only in helping the mind physically but also mentally.
Exercise is extremely crucial for one’s mental health. Working out decreases anxiety, depression, and unhappy moods, overall improving one’s mental health. Anxiety and depression are decreased by participating in physical activity because endorphins (neurotransmitters that help to relieve stress, reduce stress and trigger positive feelings), generally increase when you work out.
Due to the mind always juggling hundreds of thoughts throughout the day, working out helps limit these thoughts by simply allowing the mind to concentrate on the physical activity. Ultimately, this helps to clear the mind. For example, if you are in a Zumba class, your thoughts are generally focused on learning the choreography and following the rhythm. You can’t think about much else!
Physical activity has important physiological benefits. Consistent exercise helps manage diseases and health conditions such as strokes, arthritis, different types of cancer, high blood pressure, etc. Physical activity increases the body’s “good cholesterol” or HDL cholesterol. HDL cholesterol helps decrease excess cholesterol from one’s bloodstream. If there is too much excess cholesterol and LDL cholesterol (“bad cholesterol”) there is the potential of clotting up your arteries.
Physical activity also increases one’s metabolism, which can help reduce one’s weight. Daily exercise can also help to improve your sleep cycle.
Exercising can take many forms, not just weightlifting and running. Zumba, yoga, boxing, dance cardio, and powerwalking are all examples of other types of physical activity. Try out online classes from your local workout studios or look up workout videos on YouTube. Whatever it is, find a type of exercise that YOU LIKE!
Also, try inviting a friend to workout with you. Friends are a great way to hold you accountable and help motivate you during the workout. Include your children in your workouts. By children seeing their parents workout, healthy habits are ingrained in their brains.
Wishing for happy and healthy workout sessions for you and your families!
Some Nurture resources you might enjoy (physical activities with kiddos):
Mayo Clinic Staff. “Exercise and Stress: Get Moving to Manage Stress.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 18 Aug. 2020, www.mayoclinic.org
Mayo Clinic Staff. “HDL Cholesterol: How to Boost Your ‘Good’ Cholesterol.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 10 Nov. 2020, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/in-depth/hdl-cholesterol/art-20046388.
Sharma, Ashish, et al. “Exercise for Mental Health.” Primary Care Companion to the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, Physicians Postgraduate Press, Inc., 2006, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1470658/.
The following contributed by homeschooling mom, Jenny Wise
Families are in a whirlwind of stress these days as everyone adjusts to the COVID-19 crisis. In an effort to keep kids entertained, parents eventually run out of ideas that don’t involve countless hours in front of a television or video game console. If you want to keep your kids occupied and active until you’re comfortable sending them back to preschool, here are some great tips from someone who is at the front lines:
Exercise Is Good for Mind and Body
Just because children are spending time indoors doesn’t mean they can’t stay moving. Exercise has been proven to stimulate the brain for study and learning, so your children are entertained and improving skills at the same time.
DIY Crafts, Science Experiments, and Recipes
The online world has an endless supply of craft and science articles and videos, so why not take advantage of them?
These are great for kids of any age, as they often assist with building problem solving, creativity, and resiliency skills. Finding age-appropriate experiments and activities with a quick online search is a breeze, and many of the necessary supplies are staples you probably have around the house. You can also spend time baking together with easy recipes, which can help develop your child’s cooking skills.
Bring School Lessons to Real Life
Sometimes, you can find lessons where you never looked before. Have your children plan and design their own playground, or design their own home and backyard, or encourage them to take it a step further and design a neighborhood.
Washington Native Plants Society suggests kicking it up a notch and having your child research which flowers and plants are native to your region. Then encourage them to come up with a design proposal for your garden. You can even assist them in drawing a layout of your yard, and give them a chance to suggest where shrubs and flowers should be planted. This gives everyone something to look forward to, and they’ll feel invested knowing they’ve been allowed to make decisions.
If you have any musical instruments gathering dust around the house, it’s time to put them to good use. If you have a budding musician on your hands, encourage your child to access online music tutorials to help them become more familiar with an instrument. There are plenty of resources to help with piano, guitar, or any other instrument you have on hand.
Don’t Be Afraid to Seek Help
If you’re still not comfortable sending your kids to school or daycare, it can feel overwhelming to consider leaving your house with children in tow. If you need to run an errand, you don’t need to leave the kids at home alone, nor do you need to subject them to potential COVID-19 exposure.
These days, you can find a sitter online without much effort. Not only can they give you a helping hand when it’s time to run an errand, but babysitters can also take the reins if you need to simply step away from the kids for a while, whether it’s for an emergency or to just gather your thoughts.
Many of these activities are so much fun your kids might not realize they are actually boosting skills and learning. Remember, if the first activity doesn’t grab their attention, spend some time with them to help them grasp it, or move on to the next activity until you find something your child enjoys and that sparks a real interest. They just may find a new passion in the process.