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Use this communication to parents as a letter to send home or as a news piece for school website or school/PTA newsletter.
February, American Heart Month, brings to mind thoughts of Valentine's Day and images of hearts and love. Much more than a symbol, the human heart is a vital organ that pumps blood and delivers nutrients and oxygen to the brain and body. Good heart health is achieved through proper nutrition, regular physical activity, sufficient hydration and adequate sleep. That is why I encourage your family to get your hearts in shape to improve your well being for a lifetime.
Did you know that one in three American adults suffers from heart attack, stroke, or other forms of cardiovascular disease? Chances are that you or a member of your family has suffered from heart disease, the nation's number killer. Cardiovascular activities like walking, jogging, biking, and swimming, increase the heart rate to strengthen the heart muscle and increase lung capacity. A healthy heart is vital to a healthy mind and a healthy life, so start now to strengthen and protect your heart.
Good health habits begin early in childhood. Here are some suggestions to help your family develop healthy habits:
- Parents should be positive role models. Make healthy habits a family priority.
- Fit families fit together! Get the whole family physically active. Vary the activities so that everyone's interest stays high.
- Change "sitness" into fitness. Limit activities that involve sitting. Did you know that standing burns more calories? Try standing while talking on the phone or watching TV, and add some push-ups or curl-ups during TV commercials for added activity time.
- Set goals as a family for physical activity. Calculate how many total calories you burned as a family in one week, or how many miles you covered. Record exercise repetitions each family member does during a TV commercial, then see if you can beat that total during the next commercial.
- Celebrate successes as a family! Be supportive so that teens and kids develop a good self image. Create a list of rewards that the whole family would enjoy, and are not food or candy. Have several smaller rewards to keep the interest high.
- Review the family's eating habits and include healthy foods. Eat dinner together as a family to encourage quality time for conversation and sharing. Ask your children to share the types of activities they have learned in physical education class that they can use outside of class.
- Let kids be involved in planning, shopping and cooking family meals. Compare foods for nutritional value to know which foods to include and which to avoid.
- Increase water intake and decrease soda drinks.
- Be an advocate for healthy, active children. Learn about what foods are served in your school's cafeteria. Encourage daily, quality physical education. Support programs like Jump Rope for Heart or Hoops for Heart at your child's school. Visit the American Heart Association for more details at www.americanheart.org.
Physical Education Teacher
© 2013 American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance