- Healthy Habits: The Importance of Good Foundations and Balance in Living our Healthiest Life
For the Whole of Their Life.
Healthy Habits: The Importance of Good Foundations and Balance in Living our Healthiest Life
Habit: A settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up
Balance: A situation in which different elements are in the correct proportions
As teachers, we have the privilege of watching and guiding our students as they transition from total parental dependence, to independence. Through this time, we seek to help our young people to understand the value of their current and future health, and to see that the consequences of the health choices they make now, can have a cumulative effect in the long run. This aligns with our vision statement in the PDHPE Teaching Team:
Through relevant, engaging, inspirational and challenging learning opportunities, we seek to lead students to develop a clear sense of their future healthy self (as gifted from God), and to encourage and empower them to align their attitudes and behaviours (as guided by God) that will enable them to realise this desired outcome.
Healthy habits and healthy living can be compared to maintaining and servicing the engine in your car. Although you can “get away with” neglecting regular oil changes in the short term, the negative effects will soon begin to build up and will ultimately be felt further down the track, potentially in more costly ways. Similarly, daily poor health choices and habits, whilst easy to overlook at the time, can contribute to a negative long-term health outcome.
There are some key habits, choices and routines, supported by research, that we believe are of paramount importance in establishing a healthy lifestyle for our students. We encourage our parents and caregivers to continue to guide, supervise, and promote healthy boundaries in their own homes in an effort to help build the following essential, life-giving habits for the young people in their care.
Think well to live well: Healthy people capture their thoughts and test them for their truth and worth. This habit can take years to form, but needs to be put into practice from an early age. For young people, the opportunity to share their thoughts out loud, and have the input of a trusted voice, can be invaluable to ensure that negative thought habits do not take root and become default. Neuroplasticity research shows that maintaining honest, positive and optimistic thoughts about ourselves, and the world around us, is one of the most powerful habits we can form in holistic health.
Sleep well to live well: Recent findings show that approximately 70% of Australian adolescents sleep less than the recommended minimum for healthy growth, learning and development. Recommendations are:
5-13 years of age: 9 - 11 hours of sleep
14-17 years of age: 8 - 10 hours of sleep.
Links between shorter sleep times and higher rates of anxiety and depression are well supported. The silver bullet from all the advice around good sleep hygiene, is to consistently go to sleep at the same time each night and remove screens from rooms.
Eat well to live well: Fussy palates, time pressure and competing priorities can make it easier to skip breakfast than to take the time to eat. Due to its role in boosting metabolism and increasing brain concentration, breakfast really is a good dietary habit that should be a priority for young people. Protein rich breakfasts have been shown to have a unique effect on boosting Serotonin levels, which can help stabilise emotions, decrease anxiety and increase focus and energy.
Move well to live well: Our modern lifestyle is causing us to become increasingly sedentary, requiring less daily activity that helps to keep us upright and mobile. As a result, it is also causing our bodies to struggle to maintain their intended form and function. Habits that include movement as part of our everyday regular routine have been shown to be as important as set exercise and movement. The key is to find joy and consistency in movement, which makes it easier to build as a habit and incorporate into our routine.
Overall, the balance of our 24/7 is what matters most. Perhaps the season of COVID-19 has changed your perspective and has revealed things about your family’s lifestyle and habits that will now give you the opportunity to make positive changes for the sake of better health outcomes. Making changes and implementing new habits can be challenging, so keeping a whole of life focus is key to maintaining motivation.
Director of Health, Sport and Fitness
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