There’s no way around it. It’s hard to be in the present moment if you don’t pay attention to your physical needs – including movement. It drives me crazy that my eleven year-old son who just started middle school is scheduled for only one half-year of gym, one day a week – Crazy I tell you! This means that some time in 2015, they will let him and his classmates experience a small dose of release from their pre-teen fidgets. Some time in 2015, they will get a small dose of a very simple way to feel more calm, centered, and mindful. What’s wrong with this picture?
Studies show that physical exercise increases cognitive functioning, including improving memory and attention. We know this! It’s a no-brainer (pun intended). Worried about your child’s P.E. program? Take a look at the BOKS program sponsored by Reebok, and the Spark Research-Based PE Program to learn more about getting more physical education in your child’s school.
Try this mindful routine:
- Take advantage of school year weekends to get outside and move.
- Create family rules around screen time during day-light hours.
- Model physical exercise without any serious goals – in other words have fun. Show your child that you don’t have to be on a varsity sports team to move your body. Climb a hill, sit on a swing, crawl through a tunnel.
- Remember that if you take your kids to a park for an hour, your brain activity will improve too! Take a look at this image of the brain before and after a twenty-minute walk:
Follow this link for tips to get your middle-schooler moving, stretching and making mindfulness part of everyday life: Middle school mindfulness
You don’t have to be a teenager to get fidgety. Shaking out your nervous energy is one of the best ways to calm an anxious mind – and it’s fun. We may have forgotten that simple fact.
Why are you reading this post? Get outside already! Can’t get outside? What do you think your brain activity looks like after a twenty-minute indoor Pandora dance party? I bet it’s beautiful!
It may take some practice for you to remember fun movement. But it’s well worth it, for your mental well-being as well as your muscle well-being.
Take part of the Foundations of Well-Being Course this fall to learn more about vitality.
We wish you twenty minutes of mindfulness every day!