Wednesday, February 6, 2019

WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: Are Your Kids Connected with Nature?

“We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us.  When we see land as a commodity to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.”
                                   --Aldo Leopold, from A Sand County Almanac

Children should be active throughout the day, especially kids ages 3-5.  For kids 6-17 years of age, 60 minutes or more of physical activity is recommended by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Due to technology and smart phones, however, many kids are spending too much time on their screens and not enough time outside. 

Children who are overweight or obese as preschoolers are 5x as likely as normal-weight children to be overweight or obese as adults.
We need to get better at encouraging outdoor playtime as a community strategy for reversing childhood obesity.  Kids need to be able to research bugs, follow butterflies, and listen to the birds. 

A healthy love of nature was encouraged for my brothers and me as we grew up in California.  We went camping under the Redwoods, the oldest living trees on the planet, enjoying hikes through the Sierra and Coastal Mountains and swimming in the cold northern California lakes.  This habit of playing outdoors and connecting with nature was established when I was little and is still one of my favorite habits.

When kids smell a gardenia or watch a butterfly dance on a flower, their senses come alive and pure joy awakens the curiosity that makes our journey through life meaningful.  Connecting with nature teaches kids how to manage stress and live a balanced life. 

Image result for kids playing outside "org"

Are your kids connected with nature?  Are they outside playing, running, and exploring?  If they are, they will thank you the rest of their lives.

In gratitude,
Nancy Heinrich, MPH
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids, Inc.  

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: Gratitude in the New Year

"Gratitude is the fairest blossom which springs from the soul." 
                                                                                    --Henry Ward Beecher

Happy New Year! 

Waking up each morning and greeting the day is a profound experience to me.  Taking slow, gentle breaths to help focus my energy, thoughts, and intention is a gift I open every day.  Seeing the beauty of a flower lifts my spirits and makes my heart dance. 

As adults, we choose how we live.  Children do not have that choice.  They live where we live, they eat what we feed them, and they play when we tell them to play. 

Choosing to be a positive role model for children is a job I take seriously in my work with Growing Healthy Kids.  When I take groups of children to local Farmers Markets and introduce them to the farmers who grow vegetables and citrus, they learn respect.  When we visit organic farms to walk the fields with the farmers and talk about growing foods that keep us in health instead of making us sick, they learn the truth about what real food is.  When we prepare foods and converse together over a shared meal, they learn lifelong skills for staying healthy. 

Enjoy each day.  Say “thank you” often.  Smile.  Be grateful for your opportunity to life a profound life.  Be grateful for the opportunity to be a positive role model for your children.  

In gratitude,
Nancy Heinrich, MPH
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids, Inc.

Photo credit:  Barbara DuPont