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Weekly tips and encouragement to help you handle stress, stay fit, and find joy in parenting

6 Important Ways to Promote Life Long Health and Fitness

I can remember my mom saying she just wanted to live long enough to see all of her three children reach adulthood. But while I was in college something came along to change that game plan. It was Seth, the first of her twelve grandchildren. She did live to see all of these children born. A favorite photo I have of her is her racing my youngest son, Kian. with his three year old arms flung in the air in victory.

As parents and potential grandparents, we have an investment in guarding our own health and fitness. We don't just want to watch from the sidelines but we want to be able to go and do with the younger people in our lives. We have an even stronger urge to protect their health and fitness.

Here are six important facts to help you...

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How Exercise Helps Children Learn

Physically fit children have an easier time learning. Research shows that they concentrate better, identify visual stimuli faster, and can apply more of their cognitive resources to a task for a longer period of time than sedentary children can. They pay more attention after a period of exercise. So combining exercise with lessons you want your child to absorb just makes sense. They not only enjoy it more but they will learn it faster and remember it better. Add to this the research that shows that they will also be better behaved, have higher self-esteem, less depression and anxiety, and perform better in school.

Imaging studies have shown that exercise increases blood flow to the portion of the brain that controls memory. It also...

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What an Olympic Champion Teaches Us about Persistence and Priorities

I was struck listening to what Bodie Miller had to say just after winning his first gold medal. Rather than talking about the thrill of victory , he was talking about how difficult it was to get up the focus, desire, and motivation to take the risks necessary for his event. He said it was very hard to make someone outside the sport really understand what it takes to do event after event. I was also touched when they asked him if he had anything to say to his daughter at home and he said, “Poppa loves you.”

I don’t know about you but even performing the necessary tasks each day can sometimes, in the words of the Cheers theme, “takes everything you’ve got.” And “taking a break from all your worries...

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Family Fitness During the Olympics

Here's an idea from my family to yours. This is an excerpt from the book, Exercising Values. Give it a try. My kids are teenage and beyond but they still enjoy participating in this tradition we established when they were young.

When my oldest children were still very small we started a tradition that we still do today. This is despite the fact that four of my six children are now old enough to vote. Since our family loves to follow the Olympics and I knew that that would involve a lot of sitting around watching television; I wanted a way to balance that with activity so we instituted the Olympic Challenge.

Every Olympics, from the time the torch is lit at the opening ceremony until it is extinguished at the closing ceremony, our family...

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Value your Children by Leading by Example

I heard a cute story on the radio this week. It was about a mom who called her very young daughter only to hear her respond."what". Her mother realized that she had never taught her daughter a better response so she had a little talk with her and explained that it would be much nicer if she responded, "Yes, Mommy" when her mother called. The little girl agreed and went back to her playing. In just a little while the girl called for her mother who responded , you guess it, "what". The little girl then explained to her mom that it would be so much nicer if she, too, responded with a yes. Such are the trials of raising little ones. They are always watching, always noticing how we live compared to what we teach.

How did your eating go this...

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Why Being Real with Yourself Makes You an Effective Parent

I often write about how getting fit will enhance your life and the life of your child. Only you know if you are motivated to consistently exercise because you want to lead your child into a fit lifestyle where they can avoid the many health problems associated with a sedentary lifestyle: things like obesity, diabetes, heart disease and even things like earning less income and social rejection. Let's face it, appearance matters to people. In fact, the Bible says "men look at outward appearance but God looks at the heart". We're all grateful that God considers and knows our motivations and intentions when someone just looking from the outside might dismiss or condemn us for something they observe. But there is also much o be learned by...

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How to Instill Character, Good Habits and a Love of Fitness in Children

This is a great sports day for us. Not Super Bowl Sunday but cheer for my kids Saturday. For some reason these days always seem to involve a lot of driving. First forty minutes to my daughter's basketball game then immediately after another forty minute rush to see my youngest son's gymnastics meet. Then finish the triangle by driving home.

At the basketball game, I ran into someone I began home schooling with back in 1987. We exchanged updates on children and grandchildren. She commented that what she remembered about me in those days is that I was always pushing a stroller. That jarred my memory to those days with very young children. I recalled many happy moments spent with my children. Exercising Values is designed to help the next...

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Parenting: What to Do Until There's an App for That

Do you have fifteen minutes a day that you could spend teaching your young child to love physical fitness and teaching them desirable character qualities such as patience, truthfulness and compassion? I hope so because there are plenty of advertisers, writers of inane television shows and others with their own agenda that are vying for your child’s attention and loyalty.

The Kaiser Family Foundation issued their report on the time 8-18 year olds are spending interacting with entertainment media. They surveyed more than 2,000 students from Oct. 2008 to May 2009. They found that each day the average child is devoting seven and a half hours to their smart phones,computer, television or other electronic devises. Due to multi-tasking...

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How to Apply the Latest Research on Fat-Loss

I am still synthesizing all the material from Joel Marion’s outstanding conference, Transformation Domination. It was packed with information and I definitely encourage you to attend next year. One of the presenters, Vince DelMonte, has been a guest blogger on Exercising Values before. One of the concepts Vince drives home in his No Nonsense Muscle Building and 6 Pack Abs Quest programs is that you don’t really know something until you apply it to your life.

So in addition to sharing information with you I plan on also sharing with you what I learn by actually applying that knowledge.. Some things that I’ve known for a long time were presented in a way that just makes me more likely to do them. For example, ...

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Discipline, Weight Loss, and Reaching for the Stars

I'm sitting in the lobby of a St. Louis hotel waiting for my son's gymnastic's meet to start. On the  drive in from Kansas City,  I asked him how old he was when he first thought he'd like to twirl around a  bar. He had no idea. I then asked how old he was when he first thought it would be a good idea to let go of that bar. Again, he had no clue. His sister, who is now a gymnastics coach, chimed in that she couldn't imagine not being able to do those things.

It, of course, takes a lot of practice hours to perfect those skills. Last night, I was at another daughter's basketball game and they executed plays with the fluid motion that comes from hours of team work. Finding a sport that your child loves will give them many...

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