Sherri McMillan

Our Kids Are Struggling Through COVID-19

Although most kids probably love that they get to sleep in, many are really struggling right now. They are missing their friends, teachers and social life. Many are struggling with trying to stay focused with online, virtual education. They hear the scary news broadcasts. They listen to adult conversations and can assume the gravity of the situation. Bottom line – they are anxious and experiencing stress at a high level whether they understand that or not. Just like their parents, they need a positive, outlet to manage their emotions and to participate in things that make them feel good.

In addition, since going outside and playing with your friends isn’t encouraged right now, they are stuck at home watching more TV and playing video games which was already a problem before COVID-19 surfaced. The temptation to sink into couch potato-land is a scary reality which is adding to these startling stats:

  • Children today are approximately 40% less active than they were 30 years ago
  • 40% of children and teens are overweight enough to threaten their future health
  • 40% of children already have at least one risk factor for heart disease and reduced fitness due to an inactive lifestyle
  • Children spend an average of 26 hours a week watching television and also spend 25-30 hours a week sitting behind a desk

The importance of physical strength, mental health, stress relief and our immune system is critical, now more than ever, for adults and our youth!

Here’s some goals you should strive for during and after the required Stay-at-Home order.

  • Children should be involved in daily physical activity like walking or cycling around the neighborhood, performing household chores or running errands
  • Go for a walk with your kids every day. Make it a ritual every morning or every night after dinner to walk your neighborhood and talk.
  • Throw a football or play a game of basketball with your kid
  • Go to the Beach and enjoy some outdoor water activity
  • Children should exercise three times a week for at least 20 minutes with activities that require moderate to vigorous levels of exertion, like brisk walking, stair-climbing, racquet sports, jogging, dance, swimming laps, hiking or cycling.
  • Plan a family hiking or biking outing – there are so many beautiful NW trails that are still accessible in our area
  • Sign up for a virtual race together. WHY Racing events offers Free 5K and Kids Triathlon events that you can sign your kids up for. Create a training program for them so they have something positive to focus on. On race day, create a mock finish line and a post-event party to celebrate their accomplishment. Sign Up Here.
  • For most children, they can perform 15-20 minutes of resistance or strength training sessions twice a week using higher repetitions (25 reps) and lower resistance as long as there’s proper instruction and supervision
  • Many facilities are offering online virtual youth sports conditioning and PE classes. Get your kids signed up. Email me at sherri@nwpersonaltraining.com if you would like more information.
  • Children should stretch on alternative days for 60 seconds each stretch
  • Take a virtual yoga class together. Kids need to focus on deep breathing, meditation and stress relief too
  • Involve children in deciding which activities to do

Kids who exercise can experience the following benefits:

  • Daily physical activity builds a healthy heart and stimulates muscle and bone growth
  • Healthy, fit kids have more energy, sleep better and often have better eating habits than their sedentary peers
  • One study found that the academic performance of students who exercised regularly had significantly improved compared to students who did not participate in regular physical activity
  • It appears that children benefit from better concentration, memory, creativity, problem-solving ability and overall mood for up to two hours following exercise
  • Exercise can boost a child’s self-confidence and self-image. It also reduces aggression and decreases anxiety and depression.

Our kids need us to create the best scenario to help them thrive during these challenging times. If you can understand how many adults are struggling with depression and anxiety through all of this, you can only imagine the tole it’s taking on our kids.

Yours in health & fitness,
Sherri McMillan

Note: As an avid Columbian reader, you can redeem a complimentary initial virtual personal training appointment to help get you started. Email us for more details.


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Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan, holds a master's degree in exercise physiology and has been inspiring the world to adopt a fitness lifestyle for more than 30 years. She has received numerous industry awards including 2010 CanFitPro International Presenter of the Year, 2006 IDEA Fitness Director of the Year, 1998 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year, 1998 CanFitPro Fitness Presenter of the Year and 2005/2006 ACE Fitness Educator of the Year - Runner up. She is a fitness trainer, fitness columnist for various magazines and newspapers, author of five books and manuals including "Go For Fit - the Winning Way to Fat Loss" and "Fit over Forty" and the featured presenter in various fitness DVDs. She has presented hundreds of workshops to thousands of fitness leaders throughout Canada, Australia, Mexico, Jamaica, New Zealand, Germany, England, Spain, South America, Asia and the U.S. She is the owner of Northwest Personal Training in downtown Vancouver and Salmon Creek, hosts races at WHY Racing Events, participates in various community fundraisers and can be found running, biking, or hiking around the community. Find more information at nwpersonaltraining.com.

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