I wanted to do a continuation of yesterday morning’s post since many of you had interesting points of view on the decline of our nation’s health. Pretty much everyone agreed that the shift in family values, and inexpensive cost of “junk” food both attributed to the downward trend, but you also commented about a lack of activity that could easily be to blame, as well.
I definitely concur with this component, seeing it pretty much on a daily basis, that my students do not make fitness a priority.
I had mentioned in the comment section that our class only has gym two days a week. Yesterday they were asked to do a five-minute warm-up on any of the cardio machines before they could participate in open gym, or basically do any activity they wanted that wasn’t sitting around.
The whining that took place, and arguing with the poor gym teacher, about a measly five minutes on either the treadmill, elliptical or bike, was almost unbearable. They spent more than their allotment of cardio trying to get out of it, than actually moving their bodies that had been sitting for nearly 6 hours before!!
But this topic does not just apply to the youth of my classroom. My co-teacher readily admits that after getting his kids ready for daycare, coming to school, coaching, or doing some other obligations he has after school, he just doesn’t make extra time for his own work-outs. And that’s ok. He is not a lazy guy by any means, but he claims, he wants to be in better shape, cut out the sodas, etc. and just doesn’t prioritize it into his life.
As a society we have a lot going on. Days are filled with stuff, whether it be work, family, errands, technology, community commitments…sometimes it just seems easier to swing by Wendy’s and skip a thirty minute walk.
Via comments, someone made a suggestion to me when I was discussing my need to exercise on a treadmill She questioned why I don’t go outside and enjoy the fresh air, or walk to do some of my errands.
And the answer is I would love to do that! But when I have time to be active is before school when it is dark, meaning I do not want to be alone in the park closest to my house, that is wooded and remote, and kind of scary if you are a lone female at 5:00 a.m.
AND I live in a super rural area. There is nothing in walking distance of me other than farms, fields, and homes, which I am sure is the case for many of us.
Could I, or should I, break from my habitual treadmill obsession…probably, but it is not nearly as easy to prioritze fitness when I don’t schedule it in the morning. So you kind of have to do what works for you, which can sometimes be a good excuse for people to not do anything.
BUT there is a flip side to this conversation…
I was talking to my aunt the other night, about how my cousin Skylar was transitioning into 7th grade. She had pretty many problems with female bullies at the end of last year and I was hoping to hear a more positive report.
Fortunately the cattiness has declined, but she is now having problems at lunch.
What kind of problems?
“The other girls don’t like to eat, because everyone comments on what they have on their trays. It’s just easier to wait until you get home, or not eat at all.”
WHOA! Hold the phone.
Now my cousin is a little picky…she went through a phase last year where she wouldn’t “eat anything with a face,” and really, there aren’t many vegetarian options at our school, so I can understand her difficulty at finding choices that fit her “lifestyle.” But she could have packed, or there are things like PBJ, string cheese, baked chips, etc.
So the real reason she was uncomfortable in the cafeteria was peer judgment.
I don’t blame her! I still struggle when my kids (or anyone for that matter) make rude comments about my brown bag choices! I told a student last week that he should focus more on himself rather than being so negative to others, and he just looked at me quizzically.
I wouldn’t want to be the only person eating at my lunch table, if everyone else was sitting there with their bottles of water talking about how the popcorn the school provides will make them fat. I too was this way in 7th grade, super self-conscious and ultra-selective with my food, but I packed my lunch because my friends were STARVING by 6th period, and usually had a full plate of food.
I would have rather been joked with about my LL Bean lunch sack than the fattening cookie I wanted for dessert. It breaks my heart that this problem is becoming more and more prevalent because it just sets these kids up for an unhealthy relationship with their bodies, and food, and generates a seriously low sense of self-esteem.
My point to my little a.m. rant yesterday was not to completely put down the processed food industry, or those who make choices on convenience or economics rather than wellness. The thought behind it was to promote balance and moderation, something I am REALLY trying to achieve myself.
I like having a salad at lunch, and enjoy some greek yogurt with fruit, but I have found that I also like cookies, crackers, and granola bars, which often come in a package.
I also want to try to get away from such structured forms of exercise. Physical activity has and always will be a major part of my life, but in the recent past I have completely relied on solitary sessions on cardio machines rather than the hikes, tennis or walking 18 holes, my husband and I used to enjoy. Maybe I need to shift my schedule in order to make these things happen again, but that is all up to me, the choices I make.
The leaves are changing, and we live pretty darn close to a wooded area that is great to trek through anytime during the year, but particularly in the fall. I hope to transition to doing more of those types of fitness, and Zumba with my friends, rather than pounding away on a treadmill with just me, my headphones and the 5 a.m. news!
I hope I didn’t come across as accusatory or offensive because I understand the ease of making choices that may not ALWAYS be in your best interest, but I feel that a life of moderation is the best for mental health, which is equally as important, but perhaps less emphasized, as the physical.
Have a fabulously balanced thursday!
P.S. On a similar note, check out my guest post on a moderation vacation, as I prepare for our anniversary trip to The Food and Wine Festival in Walt Disney World!