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Episode 41: What’s Happening to our Kids?

Video Highlights

- Cardiovascular fitness for kids, age nine to seventeen, is fifteen to eighteen percent less than that of their parents.
- We know that brains are developed through movement and play.
- 3 strategies to help kids learn to move and enjoy movement.

Scroll down to the bottom to see the recommended books…

Hi Z-Health community.  Dr. Eric Cobb back with you.

I hope you’re having a fantastic week.

This week I want to talk about children’s health. I don’t know if you have kids, but I’m sure you have family members, friends, acquaintances, that have kids.

What I’m talking about today is something that’s really, really important to me. I’m going to give you some specific strategies to think about in the coming week.

Let me set the umbrella idea here. There was a study that came out about two weeks ago. It was released by the American Heart Association. It relates to a study performed by researchers from South Australia. What they did is, they looked at the cardiovascular endurance of children aged nine to seventeen. What’s interesting is that they didn’t look at a few kids. They actually looked at fifty studies that looked at the fitness of twenty-five million kids in twenty-eight different countries over forty-six years.

What they found, and this is what’s really eating at me, they found that the cardiovascular fitness of children is progressively declining decade-by-decade.

What that means in the real world is that kids today, age nine to seventeen, their cardiovascular fitness is fifteen to eighteen percent less than that of their parents thirty years ago. That really starts to make me think. The way that the researchers put it, they said, “Listen. It’s pretty simple. If we take most kids today, have them run a mile, they will run the mile about a minute and a half slower than their parents did.” You may not care about running, but what that is indicative of is a decreased level of activity and play.

For Z-Health, as a company, that’s something that we can’t really tolerate. It drives us nuts, because one of our basic slogans is “Moving is Life.” The things that we know: we know that brains are developed through movement; brains are developed through play. What I want to give you as we go forward into the holiday season, I want to give you three specific ideas and strategies to begin considering how to bring more movement into your life and, as a result, into the kids’ lives who are watching you.

If you’re a friend, a parent, a teacher, a trainer, if you deal with kids at all, or would like to, helping them learn to move and enjoy movement I believe is one of the biggest gifts you can give them.

Three strategies. This is pretty simple stuff, but it’s important, because I want you to realize that I’m not saying we can fix everything today or this week. I believe that we have to generate enough information, education, and inspiration in ourselves to make these changes happen.

We’re going to start with a little bit of reading. I want you to read two books for me. I’ve mentioned these books before, but I’m going to say them again. I’m going to put links below the video.

Book number one is called Play by Dr. Stuart Brown, a fantastic look at how movement and play shape our brains for the better.

The second book is called Spark by Dr. John Ratey. Dr. Ratey, who is also a brain scientist, talks a lot about how exercise is good for brains.

You want to have smart, thriving children? Help them move more. Learn to exercise with them. Exercise in a way that’s fun, that’s playful, because when we’re playing, we want to do it more. We don’t want it to be burdensome. Step number one: read those books.

Step number two: pull out a calendar. We’re coming into the holiday season. If you’re going to get an opportunity to spend time around kids, take five minutes. Look at the dates that are coming through the rest of the year and sketch in thirty minutes here, an hour here, another hour here. Just put it in your schedule.

One of the hardest things about playing with kids is, it seems kind of random. As a result, it doesn’t fit into our busy adult schedules. Take the time to do it. Book it like an appointment. Get outside and run around with them. Have a great time. It’ll be good for both of you, or all of you.

The third strategy, and this is, again, just to get us thinking … Where could we fit exercise in? What could we do in changing the environment, changing the surroundings, to promote more movement in our kids’ lives? Strategy number three: for the next two or three weeks, I would love for you to track screen time.

What I mean by screen time is any time spent in front of television, a computer, or a video game. Again, statistics are staggering. If you look at this United States, kids age eight to eighteen spend, on average … You may not believe this, but, on average … four and a half hours per day in front of a television, an additional hour and a half a day in front of a computer screen, and a final hour playing video games. That is a total of seven hours a day in front of a screen.

If you watch anything I ever teach about vision … Last week I did a two-day presentation with Creative Live on Easy Exercises for Improving Your Vision. In fact, in that program I talk quite a bit about close work, what happens when we spend all of our time looking at screens. Not only is there an impact on just lack of movement; there’s an impact on vision and other things that, literally, will affect our kids through the rest of their lives.

As I said, we’re trying to set the stage for a longer conversation. Set the stage for us to develop our own ideas and inspiration around, How do I want to get my kids, my friends’ kids, my family’s kids moving more, feeling better, and actually improving, not only their physical fitness, but their brain fitness through movement?

Check out the links that follow the video. I hope that you found this interesting. I hope that you also find it actionable.

Like I said, this isn’t a problem that can be solved in a day’s time; but, as we educate ourselves, I believe that we’ll learn more and more about the things that we can change and modify in our own environments and the environments of our kids to promote a much healthier generation that’s coming.

Thank you so much for listening. I hope you have a fantastic week.

I’m looking forward to talking with you next week as we move further into the holiday season.

Have a great week.

Recommended Reading:

Book number one is called Play by Dr. Stuart Brown, a fantastic look at how movement and play shape our brains for the better.

The second book is called Spark by Dr. John Ratey. Dr. Ratey, who is also a brain scientist, talks a lot about how exercise is good for brains.

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