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Healthy Food and Exercise in Children: Key Elements in Quarantine

Confinement has inevitably reduced physical activity for children and teens, after school sports classes, practices, and sports tournaments were canceled, and open spaces for playing, running, or climbing trees are not accessible. Staying at home also can be a pretext to eat more junk food or overeat, without respecting schedules.

What Happens When Physical Activity is Reduced?
Sedentary lifestyle affects the musculoskeletal system and is a risk factor for being overweight. After a long stage of inactivity, it loses aerobic capacity, which can lead to a permanent state of fatigue or decline. Conversely, exercising releases wellness hormones that reduce stress and
improve mood.

How Can I Help My Children to Exercise During Quarantine?
If you have a back garden, organize outdoor activities, if not, it does not matter, even indoors you can do physical activity. The idea is to keep moving for at least 30 minutes, once or twice a day.

These are some tips to exercise while having fun indoors:

  • The Mirror Game: Someone has to perform made up movements and others must imitate him.
  • Animal Footsteps: Imitating the steps of different animals: frogs, cats, elephants, birds, etc.
  • Video Games with Movement: Not all video games are for sitting on the couch, there are motion sensor consoles for dance games or simulation of various sports.
  • Learn Viral Dances: The Internet is full of fun and simple dance challenges.This activity involves a high level of concentration, so your kids, besides to exercising, will put aside negative thoughts, improving their general mood.

Promoting Good Nutrition
According to nutritionist Dr. Fran Sabal, author of Emotional Nutrition,  the food we eat needs to provide our cells with the nutrients they need to stay healthy. This reduces anxiety, since our body will be satisfied, while our defenses are raised.

What Happens When We Don’t Eat Well?
Many people use food to calm stress or anxiety. During this season, it is possible that children, either from nervousness or boredom, eat more than normal and lean towards foods with little nutritional value, but this is counterproductive, since being ultra-processed food, with refined and conservative sugars, they only affect the organism and promote weight gain.

As you are responsible for the food that comes into the house, it’s simple to get your kids to stop eating junk food – just don’t buy it! Trade your grocery list for healthier options. These are some tips from Dr. Sabal to improve the quality of the food you and your family eat:

  • Buy whole foods, which it maintain all their nutrients and give a greater feeling of satiety.
  • Search for new recipes, the Internet is full of simple and healthy recipe options that you can make with your children. When they take part in preparing a dish, they are much more likely to want to eat it.
  • During your visit to the supermarket, buy enough nutritious foods that can be stored for weeks or months, such as quinoa, oatmeal, brown rice, nuts and frozen vegetables. This will avoid running out of supplies and opting for unhealthy options from your nearest mini-mart.
  • Eat fruits and vegetables daily. These foods are sources of vitamins and strengthen the immune system.

Remember that the best way to teach is by example. This is an excellent opportunity to exercise together as a family and for everyone to adopt healthier eating habits, this not only benefits health and prevents disease, but also improves mood.

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