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BayouKidZ: Leading an Active Lifestyle

By Katie Sloan
In Bayou Kidz
Oct 30th, 2017

Setting a Good Example for Our Kids

Article by Cindy G. Foust

Happy Fall, Y’all…I saw that on a t-shirt or somewhere, and I’ve been dying to say it in my column, like I’m the Paula Deen of BayouLife or something. Well, I wouldn’t say Paula Deen, I think I would compare me more to say Lucille Ball. Yeah, I just need an Ethel, so I might get Cassie to put an ad in the magazine, so I can have a partner in crime, you know, to help me write this column, and well, live my life every day.

I seriously need a handler. Any takers out there? Probably not, since you kind of have to be willing to talk about your personal life, like in depth, and make fun of yourself, and sit around for an entire month at a time, and worry about what you will write about again next month, like I’ve been doing this whole week. You know, some people are scared of clowns or spiders or being stranded somewhere because you missed your flight and not having clean underwear, but me, well, I’m scared of writing a column every month that bores my readers to tears. So yeah, that’s my fear. So, no, probably no takers for an Ethel, and I guess I will continue to pilot this aircraft all by myself.

So, here we are on the eve of my favorite holiday in the middle of my favorite time of year, and we are finally enjoying a cool snap. I mean, the first day the temperatures were in the 70s, I wore a sweatshirt and Ugg boots to the football game, and, well, everyone was staring at me like I had just snapped on skis and pulled my face mask down so that I could wedge (ski school language in case you didn’t know) down a bunny slope. But I looked good, and it is better to look good than to feel good, right?  Well, as good as a 51-year-old, mother-of-three, heart patient can look, I suppose.

In case any of you have been worrying about me since last month’s column, when I shared my unfortunate medical crisis, I am happy to report I am doing great (see, somehow this column always circles back to me). I am actively participating in my cardiovascular therapy, of which I have made quite a few new friends. I hate to admit that this is the most structured, consistent exercise I have had in quite a few years.

In fact, this week I was on the treadmill, just staring out the window, and listening to “Your Mamma Don’t Dance and Your Daddy Don’t Rock and Roll,” I had a sort of self-awareness moment. In that moment (like something off Star Trek), I felt really guilty at the lack of physical exertion I had been doing prior to my, shall we say, cardiac “episode.” That’s code for…I led a rather sedentary life. Oh, I’ve written before about good nutrition and the importance of physical activity, for everybody, not just kids, and really challenged even myself to “get off the couch.” But I was pretty bad at even taking my own advice.

Now, however, I have a new motivation, and that’s my good health. Which got me to thinking, what are we doing for our kids at home, in the way of physical activity? I’m lucky in that regard, I suppose, because both my children led pretty physically active lives. But not all children play sports or dance or cheer, and what I want to encourage, is getting those kids off the couch.

How so? A very wise pediatric cardiologist told me one time that our overall health as a child will impact the health we enjoy as an adult. Think about it. If you are overweight and sedentary as a child, you could likely be the same in your adult years. He also pointed out that our “weight” (present company included) significantly impacts our health, both children and adults, and triggers diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure, to name a few. So what can we do to get our inactive kids in the right lane? I’m no fitness buff, but do you have to be in order to encourage and motivate your kids to get active? Sure, I am all about putting them in a gym if that is a good fit for your family, but what are some other options?

For one, this reprieve in the weather has made getting outside pure joy, so how about just starting with a family stroll or bike ride in the afternoons? I say take the dog and get the family moving down the street.  Or how about heading to the park to enjoy the nature trails or bike trails? You can even take your dog to Kiroli Park so they can participate in the kick-off for Fam Jam (okay, I know this is a popular YouTube channel, but I’m “borrowing” it because it sounds like something Kool and the Gang would sing about) to get your family healthy. Here’s something easy, and fun for the family, how about some sidewalk chalk for hopscotch? Or an old-fashioned jump rope? And then there’s gardening. Listen, you don’t have to the Fannie Farmer to plant mums during the fall or cultivate (I’ve been dying to use that word in my column) a small herb garden. Also, most people have a swing set, so get those kids swinging or sliding their afternoon away. You could also head to the hardware store for a few extra rakes and get the family raking leaves or pine
straw. Do you know how much fun your kids would have raking? Okay, that idea would go over like a leaded balloon, but I had to throw it in because occasionally a dad will read my column, and I thought he might like that.

Readers, there are so many options for getting up and getting out (hey, that might be our new tagline),and rather than just sending your kids out to play with they get “bored,” why don’t you join them? This is not rocket science; but hopefully it will be just a little motivation from someone who finds themselves in a new lane, a more physically active and more healthy lane, that is, and wishing they would have started this a long time ago.

Listen, I know not all children are wired to be athletes or win a gold medal in the Olympics in pole vaulting, but everybody, no matter the age, has the capabilities to be physically active and healthy. And for children, I believe that mentality starts at home and when they are young.

So what do you say, readers? Are you rushing out to by rakes and bicycles? You don’t even have to spend money, just organize some family walks, or jogs, or a trip to the park. Take the time, while your kids are still at home, and invest in their future health. It might require a life-style change, like it has for me, but in the end, your investment will enhance your child’s overall well-being, both mentally and physically. And that’s what we want, here in the BayouLife community, happy, well-balanced and healthy children who grow up to be happy, well-balanced and healthy adults.