4 Healthy Habits for Kids in the New Year

New Year’s resolutions can be hard to keep, but what about forming new habits? Doable—and recent research shows you can create them in as little as three weeks. To be fair, the study also revealed it takes an average of 66 days to solidify a new habit. That’s just over two months of discipline for what could be a lifetime of change. Now, what about helping your kids form new habits? Here are four good ones to try.

Fuel with Food

Adults typically rank dieting high on the resolutions list, but setting new standards for nutrition can be much more effective and healthful, especially for kids. If your child is a young athlete, help them understand that food is actually fuel, and meals can be part of training.

You likely know the general rules, meaning, include lean sources of protein, healthy fats, fruit and vegetables as much as possible. The Harvard School of Public Health provides an easy-to-follow food pyramid. You’ve also likely heard breakfast is important, but now researchers are understanding just how important—especially for growing kids.

“The brain uses more energy than any other organ in the body: more than half of an infant’s daily kilocalories, and at least 20 percent of what older children and teens need,” explains Robert Murray, MD., in an article he wrote for the American Academy of Pediatrics. “Brain scans during prolonged periods without food show activity mainly in the mid-brain, the area associated with anxiety, agitation, irritability, and mood swings.” In other words, without proper fuel, your child won’t be able to focus at school, let alone play well during practice.

Move More

Exercise is always a common goal at the start of every new year, and helping children build a habit of it is key, especially if they desire to be athletes. Encourage kids to be active as much as possible (the Mayo Clinic recommends at least three times per week). That can mean limiting TV or video-game time, and creating regular family outings such as hikes or frisbee sessions. Install a basketball hoop or even a pull-up bar, or schedule weekend runs or trips to the pool. No matter which sport your children might play, cross-training and exercise in general can naturally turn into a life-long habit they’ll want to keep.

Watch Screen Time

Getting enough sleep is likely something you’ve already been working on—for both yourself and your children, and an important step is limiting screen time. Too many minutes in front of a computer or TV can disrupt snooze time (not to mention that exercise routine you’ve been trying to create). The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than an hour each day for young kids, and monitoring closely from there. You’ll also want to make sure screens are off at least an hour before bedtime.

Take a Breather

Countless studies have shown the benefits of meditation: increased focus, stress and anxiety relief, and even lowered blood pressure. And you can reap results with as little as five minutes of focused breathing each day. (An easy method to try: Inhale and exhale for four counts each, and focus on the physical sensation of the breath.)

Research on meditation as a complimentary health practice has recently shown a regular practice can benefit kids, too. Many schools now offer mindfulness programs, yet whether yours does or doesn’t, it still might be nice to practice with your children for five minutes in the morning. (You can do it before that wholesome breakfast!) Or even better, try simply walking outside. A 15-minute, mindful stroll has been shown to boost happiness. Now that’s a habit you’ll want to keep.

~~~

Lara Rosenbaum is an award-winning journalist and wellness expert whose work has appeared in Women’s Health, Shape, Men’s Health, Runner’s World, Men’s Journal, Prevention, Yoga Journal and other publications. Lara is also a former elite athlete, having traveled the world as a member of the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team.

Exciting New Program Ahead!

September means Back-To-Cheerleading, and the Power Cheer Gym is ready for a great season. PCG Viper teams start at 5 years old (Tiny/Mini) and run all the way up through Youth (7-11), Junior (8-14), Senior (12-18) and past University to the ‘Open’ division (17-Adult). There are four different levels of competitive teams, and novices are always welcome. The Vipers Special Needs program will also be starting their fifth year on September 8.

Sadly, there are no longer any competitive or stunt-based cheer teams at London high schools, but PCG is open and ready for all levels of high schoolers looking to get involved in this demanding and diverse performance sport. It is never too late to start Power Cheering. Call now: 5196670565

 

The Academy

NEW at the PCG at this year is The Academy, which we are proud to introduce. It’s an exciting new acrobatics, aerial arts and dance program that promises to be an awesome addition to the lineup at the PCG.

The Academy will offer a year-round program for committed members of its performance team, as well as casual drop-in classes and specialty workshops open to the public. Members of the team will follow a structured acrobatic, aerial and dance syllabus, with their efforts culminating in live performances and participation at various dance competitions around Ontario.

Program Director Meaghan Wegg attended the National Circus School in Montreal and obtained diplomas in Circus Arts Performance and Professional Circus Coaching. Meaghan toured globally with Cirque du Soleil, The Seven Fingers, and various other international companies, and she’s now focused on coaching the next generation of dancers and acrobats through her work as Division Manager at Acrobatic Arts. Meaghan is also the founder of Move With The Beat dance competitions, and she looks forward to sharing her experience at The Academy @ Power Cheer Gym.

The Academy launches September 10. For more information, email Meaghan.coaching@gmail.com.

It’s Never Too Late!

At Power Cheer Gym, we are often asked, “Is it too late” for my daughter/son to start cheerleading? The answer is, “Almost never.” And here are a few scenarios:

1. We missed the tryouts — can we still find a place on a team and register?

Answer: YES – absolutely. We hold ‘tryouts’ in the spring and again in September as a general call to get athletes interested, enrolled and started on teams and classes, but the reality is that we place athletes on teams ALL year long. Tryouts are actually just a group evaluation session and we will always arrange a time to fit in individuals who contact us throughout the summer.

2. My daughter/son is no longer involved in gymnastics. Is it too late for her to start cheerleading?

Answer: No – cheerleading is often the next sport or follow-up sport for kids who have left gymnastics (and acro-dance). The best part is that their gym training will carry over very well, and they almost always enter cheerleading with well-developed skills, strength and body awareness. We loooove ex-gymnasts, and they loooove the team atmosphere.

3. I am hoping to cheer at university, but my high school doesn’t have a cheerleading team. Is it too late to start, and what are my chances?

Answer – Probably very good – but you need to start now. The reality is that there are very few high school cheer teams left in Ontario (and almost none in the London region). A high school student can absolutely begin their cheerleading even at the age of 14-16 and, given the right environment, they can reasonably expect to eventually earn a spot on a collegiate squad.

The Power Cheer Gym is home to three of the strongest collegiate cheer programs in the nation (Western University Coed and All-Girl, and the Fanshawe College Black Falcons). And of the close to 80 team members, well over three-quarters of them did not start cheerleading until they were in high school. Similarly, of the 27 members of the Canadian National Coed team that won a bronze medal at the World Championships in April, only six members had cheered before they were in high school. (Note: this team trained exclusively at the Power Cheer Gym and had 10 members from the Western squad). Clearly, it is never too late to start cheerleading!

The Power Cheer Gym offers low-cost recreational ‘Cheer 101’ summer classes, as well as competitive and recreational half-year teams (ages 5 to 17). Click on the Programs button up top, or drop in to the gym any weekday evening in the summer!