August is “What Will Be Your Legacy” Month, which invites us to reflect on our past and present actions, and commit to those that will uplift future generations. The seeds we plant in our children’s lives will grow and reflect our teachings, so let’s make them positive! Here’s an interesting twist on the question: What is your Health Legacy? This could be described as the way you model healthy living to those that look to you for guidance.
Does this mean you always set a perfect example? That’s a tall order for anyone. We’re all essentially a work in progress! However, it’s important to maintain some basic standards that you consistently gravitate towards. These tips can help you establish a positive health legacy:
Show that you care about what you eat
Many Americans are on autopilot when it comes to food. You can change this in your own family. The key is to build awareness about how our food choices affect our mood, energy, and overall wellbeing on a daily basis. It’s a learned behavior! Kids respond to information, and you can have tremendous impact when you discuss─as well as demonstrate─your ideas to young, impressionable minds.
Exemplify healthy, daily fitness
Kids and other family members are watching as you dash off for a jog, grab a yoga class, or enjoy a bike ride. They probably want to join you! So, why not find ways to enjoy fitness together? Tap into kid’s interests─in swimming, tennis, baseball, ballet, whatever─and foster their development. Yes, it takes time, and sometimes money, but what a great investment!
Help kids get a nutritional edge
When it comes to eating, we’re not always perfect. The idea is to eat as well as we’re able to, and then responsibly address the inevitable gaps with protective nutrients. That way, we enter “battle” (against free radicals, environmental toxins, pollutants, etc.) well armed. It’s a tremendous health advantage, and supplementing vitamins can help. It’s never too early to explain why you take your daily multi-vitamin, fish oil, etc., and to help children make that intellectual connection. It’s all about covering your bases!
Teach positive communication
When kids learn to communicate in a positive manner─even during conflict─they experience better mental health, higher quality relationships, and greater overall opportunities than those who don’t. Teaching by example means being genuine with them, even you’re stressed and overwhelmed. By giving them the chance to empathize with us, they learn empathy.
You may find that you’re already setting an exemplary health legacy. If so, bravo. Conversely, if there’s room for growth, go for it!