Solon: Getting kids moving

Pio Solon

AS WE transition into different versions of quarantine, it’s important to get our children healthy now more than ever. Covid-19 is a disease we know little about. From the little we know, it seems that there are population sub-groups who are more vulnerable to Covid-19. This includes the elderly and those with existing chronic diseases regardless of age.

Coach Adrian Ding, chief empowerment officer of Maximum Impact Philippines, and founder of The Academy for Extraordinary Teens, invited me to lecture on fitness and exercise to his teens recently. And it got me thinking, if our kids do not take care of their health now, years down the road, they might join the vulnerable population due to lack of exercise, good nutrition and quality sleep. We emphasized these points to his teens.

One of the questions I was asked was, “What is fitness?” In the dictionary, fitness is defined as being in a condition of being fit and healthy. Personally, fitness is being able to do what I need to do and what I want to do on a daily basis. This means being able to do my work, errands, projects and tasks, and enjoy quality time with the people that matter most to me without feeling exhausted at the end of the day. For an Olympian, fitness might be able to train for multiple hours in a day without getting injured and burned out, and have the strength, power, stamina etc. for his sport and goal. Fitness varies from person to person.

Another question I was asked was, “What’s the unhealthiest food that I know of.” We try not to label food as good or bad. Assuming someone has no chronic disease, we try to encourage people to have a healthy relationship with food. A slice of sugary cake is fine as long as you have it once in a while. The challenge is to know when the indulgences are getting too much. We want to see people be responsible and wise enough to choose nutritious food even when they feel like having junk food most of the time and even if fast food is easier and cheaper to access. Most of us are aware that eating more fruits and vegetables is key. We don’t like to tell people not to eat this or don’t eat that. We also don’t want to see people get into that place when they have diseases and would need to stay away from certain foods.

Everyone is in different phases of his or her own journey in health. Health is never a destination. It is a journey. Your health is the sum of the daily choices in your food, exercise, sleep and stress management. We asked the kids, “What can you do today that will make your health better?” It helps all of us to ask this question every day.