It’s a fact some schools have been cutting physical education classes and other activities like recess and team sports in order to save money and allow more classroom time. However, removing physical activity from school kids’ days may actually have a detrimental effect on their scholastic abilities.
Carolyn Wassell, M.Ed. is the principal of the West Charleston Enrichment Academy (WCEA) where staying active is seen as an integral part of the school day. The long-time teacher and administrator feels physical activity has an incredibly positive impact on her students’ academic performance.
“Children have many academic periods at school where they must be cognitively focused,” she told DietsInReview. “Physical activity provides a break from concentrated instruction. Instead of going from one mental task to another, physical activity serves to relieve stress and actually lessen distractions. This allows students to return to academic tasks with increased focus and with the ability to do better on their assignments.”
Spring sports are a great way for kids to enjoy the warmer weather and get active. What is not so great are some of the snacks that are provided after practice or a game is done.
Kids do need to refuel after practice, but healthier choices can be made than the snack cakes and soda that are usually made available. Registered dietitian Mary Hartley, our resident nutrition expert, recommends fruit, yogurt, hummus with pita and vegetables, or healthy homemade muffins as wholesome foods that make good after-practice snacks. She warns against soda, candy, chips and other processed foods that contain a lot of sugar and fat. Though eating something after practice is an important step in refueling the body, it shouldn’t take priority over hydration.
After a long practice, it is most important for kids to rehydrate. “Water is fine, but if heavy sweating is an issue, have a sports drink,” said Hartley. She also recommends chocolate milk as a good drink for refueling muscles because of its ratio of carbohydrates to protein. Chocolate milk can also be a good substitute for sugary snacks by providing kids the nutrition they need and satisfying a craving for something sweet. (more…)
By Abra Pappa for Nutritious America
There is something inherently playful about August. Even as we are bombarded with the reality that fall is just around the corner and the kiddies will soon be off to school there is a bubbling mischievous and naughty nature about the final weeks of summer. We just want to play hooky, have fun, let loose, experience life, swim, frolic and laugh.
What if we allowed ourselves to do just that? What if play became more important and food less important? What if you spent a day like any 4-year-old where food was absolutely secondary to FUN.
There is a delicate balance that begs to be struck between nourishment from life and nourishment from food. When life is out of balance (unhappy career, long work days, little to no sleep) food can creep in to try to fill the void. When our very essence is begging for fun and our “busy trap” keeps us from having fun it’s amazing how food seems like the solution. What if we satisfied the need for fun? Would food become less important?
Here are three ways to increase your play and upgrade your fun in these last few weeks of summer and allow food to be secondary to the immense joy that a summer frolic can offer. (more…)
The summer brings about several wonderful things. Kids long for the summer because they don’t have to go to school, and parents can often look forward to summer vacations and spending more time together as a family. While you are running around trying to find activities for the kids to do this summer, it can be easy to lose track of your own fitness.
Many summers involve family travels and vacations, summer camp, sleepovers and swimming activities. With just a little creative thinking, you can continue to get your daily fitness activities in regardless of the number of summer activities you’re juggling. Just because the summer is here doesn’t mean you have to neglect your body and well being. Everyone can use the summer to become more fit and enjoy the extra sunlight. Try some of the following recommendations to fit in fitness during the hectic summer months when schedules can be a little crazy.
Do you and your family schedule time to be together? Whether it’s dinner, activities, or events, it’s important to make these things part of your regular routine. This wouldn’t have been a novel idea years ago, but in today’s over-scheduled world, it’s unfortunately true that we have to pencil in time to spend with our families.
That’s why we’re encouraging families to dedicate one evening a week to Family Play Night. We want to see families get up and move together while getting reacquainted with each other and their back yards. Or the front yard, or the park, or wherever it is that you want to play.
“Play is a way for families to connect. Children connect and learn primarily through play,” says our resident mental health expert, Brooke Randolph, LMHC. “Play helps build healthy attachment and positive relationships. Families who play together will be healthier, happier, enjoy each other more, and work together more effectively.” She continues that “Play helps parents enjoy their children and communicate to children that they are valued beyond their behavior. Play helps everyone relax and recover from stressors.” And who couldn’t use a little lighthearted, calorie-burning stress relief? (Read more from Brooke in Healthy People Play.) (more…)
Healthy people play. I first heard that phrase from Dr. Karyn Purvis at an adoption conference. I copied it down in my notes, probably with an exclamation point or underlining. It may not be a profound statement, but it resonates with the truth of the ethos. It is something that we all know intuitively and yet often ignore. If you are not healthy, physically or emotionally, you will not play. In the same way, play helps you to be healthy, both physically and emotionally.
The National Center on Accessibility defines play as “a physical or mental activity that has no purpose or objective outside of pure enjoyment or amusement” (Definition of play, 2004). While children learn so much through play, their goal is pure fun. This fun helps us to relax and makes us better learners. Although, the goal of play may be pure fun, play is educational and a path through development. Play helps us to grow cognitively, emotionally, socially, and physically. We learn more about our world, ourselves, and others through play, all via the vehicle of fun. Even as adults, play can benefit us in all the same ways. Play helps us to grow in creativity, abstract thinking, problem-solving, empathy, confidence, cooperation, conflict resolution, concentration, vocabulary and more. It allows us to be physically active, practice taking risks, practice interpersonal skills, and try new things.