2016 was a tough year for a lot of us, and as I look forward into 2017 to formulate my goals and targets I have come to realize that a three-pronged ideal can help us find better physical and emotional health. Therefore, this year I suggest we all adopt the following mantra: “Stand Up. Stand Up Straight. Stand Up Strong.”
These words double as a fitness reminder and a social cue. Anyone with a goal of improved physical shape and health should simply stand up more, walk more and sit less (or at the very least stand up and move every 30-minutes). Likewise we should all stand up for preserving our own personal values as well as America’s tenuous democratic values as we forge into unknown (and for many of us very scary) territory with Trump at our helm.
Stand Up Straight:
I often address the rampant increase of postural distortions in adults and children here in my blog, but this year I am on a personal mission to help everyone improve their health by observing and improving their posture. Your spine is the gateway between your brain and the rest of your body. If you have curved-in shoulders or hips, and knees or ankles that rotate inwards (pronate) you are cutting off and/or shorting out a lot of nerves that bring signals to and from your brain. So set a phone or watch reminder, or buddy up with a friend and remind yourself several times a day to stand up straight and tall, keep your shoulders squared and relaxed, and remember to breathe low and slow.
Stand Up Strong:
This one can be taken both literally and figuratively. First, you must remember no matter how tough your path is currently, this too shall pass. But the key to improving your emotional or circumstantial life is to stay strong emotionally (and physically) and remember how strong you really are. Stand up for yourself and show your strength! Second, we must all stand up in a show of solidarity and strength so we can change that which is not working for all of us. We truly need to stand up strong together against racial, gender, and LGBT discrimination, double-standards of wages and rights, religious persecution, women’s rights, and the general bullying of anyone who disagrees with the “moral majority’s” opinions (that starts with the Oval Office)!
For those of you who find this post a bit too soap-boxy, please indulge me as I am a child of the 60’s and it’s in my nature to stand up for my rights, my health and my peers. So if you agree, repeat after me (and then DO IT): Stand Up. Stand Up Straight. Stand Up Strong!
Every day I work diligently to guide my daughter, all her friends, and my nieces and nephews to understand how to eat and exercise so as to have healthy bodies, and more importantly, to accept (and appreciate) the bodies they have. But lately more and more I hear about the increase of cyber bulling, text bullying, and body shaming that is running rampant in many schools and it really riles me up.
Girls of all shapes and sizes are ridiculed and taunted, whether they’re over-fat, over-thin, too tall, have acne, are shy, have large breasts, are smart, you name it, they’re made to feel inferior, shameful or inadequate. Even when their bodies offer nothing to be attacked, bullying tactics often target girls (and boys) who are sweet natured and “considerate” personalities – the back-biting cliques that have shunned them label them “nice kids” as if it’s distasteful.
Recently one of my nieces suffered from bullying at school from one of her supposed friends for standing up to her for attacking other friends. Another daughter I know, was picked on for being over-fat since she was three, and it got to the point that by high school she wanted to drop out because she felt so isolated and alone. Another girl I know was labeled a Lesbian when she stood up to lies and rumors that she was easy with boys. “Oh make up your mind you little twits,” I wanted to scream!
Now this subject is not new and my goal today is not to stand on a soapbox and scream we must stamp out bullying in school and on the internet although clearly WE MUST! But today my goal is to offer a concept that has the potential to reduce some of these malicious posts, emails, and texts, and get these kids to realize once and for all that they’re all the same!
It’s simple, let’s get these kids off their electronics and work their butts off. They say “idle hands are the devil’s workshop” and clearly truth to this concept – when kids enjoy the safety and anonymity of communicating via technology combined with too much free time – trouble ensues. It’s just too easy to be mean and feel free from repercussions. Plus, somewhere along the way humans in the awkward teen years have developed a need to put others down to make our own feelings of out-of-placeness more palatable. Instead of seeking positive reinforcement, we negatively lash out at others which makes us feel bigger, better, smarter, prettier, etc. Kids have not cornered the market in this — just look at most offices and you’ll find a scattering of immature adults (and women with low self-esteem) doing the same thing to co-workers.
So I say let’s take all these middle-schoolers and high-schoolers and give them one hour a day of intense boot camp-style fitness. Put them together in clusters of sizes, personalities, colors, and ages and push them to work past their insecurities and force them to work together for a common goal as well.
A myriad of positive results would ensue: fat-loss, energy boost, mood improvement, emotional barriers cleared, and, if done right, force camaraderie across clique lines through shared hardship.
It may sound idealistic but I dare say we have nothing to lose in trying. It works for soldiers, it works when people rally to a shared cause, and it’ll work with kids, which in turn might make a future generation stop this divisiveness.
I’ll be happy to create and present this boot camp to any parents and schools who are interested. Meanwhile, I’ll continue my quest to teach girls to use their voices, and love their bodies!