Weekly column by fitness experts Adam Wright and Jacqui Watson for the Waterford News & Star, in association with Kingfisher Fitness Club
WITH us all slowly emerging from lockdown and trying to have a somewhat normal summer, we are back to work, the kids are back to school and with Covid-19 still lingering in the background, it is now more important than ever before to keep the whole family active and healthy and boosting all our immunities.
Never mind the fact we may have gone form daily at home workouts and online PE classes with the kids, endless walks, swims and cycles, to now a more sedentary lifestyle with work and school, time with the kids will be precious as will your own personal exercise time. So why not all get active and healthy together.
I am going to give you some practical and fun tips and tricks to keep you and your family as healthy and as fighting fit as you can be this autumn and make it a part of your everyday life eventually.
‘Studies show that exercise can in fact increase the number of killer cells in the adult body, and can do the same for kids.’
Firstly, I’ll start with foods. Eat the rainbow is a great term, this means give your kids as much variety in their fruits and veggies as you can, from carrots and green beans to strawberries; these foods in particular should be your go too staples in your child’s five a day, as they contain carotenoids which are basically immunity boosting nutrients. The kids will for sure need as much of that as they can returning to school in such uncertain times. If your child is a fussy eater try hide these fruits in smoothies or homemade pasta sauces.
Secondly be more aware of probiotic rich foods. Probiotics are great for gut health and I have noticed supermarkets making an extra effort to stock fab kiddy friendly probiotic foods such as kefir yogurt drinks, slurpys and fruit pouches etc, you can find them in the fridge with all the children’s yogurts.
And lastly on the food, try include oily fish in the whole family’s diet at least twice a week. Omega 3 fatty acids are found in oily fish, such as salmon and mackerel, and are also found in hazelnuts and green leafy veggies too. It has been proven that omega 3 is also beneficial for fighting infections in children so jump on that straight away. Again, for the fussy eater, maybe try an omega supplement, it’s that important!
When it comes to everybody in the household’s exercise, it is so important that we are all active. Studies show that exercise can in fact increase the number of killer cells in the adult body, and can do the same for kids. We need this right now! Guidelines from the HSE state that kids should get at least 60 minutes of vigorous exercise a day. That might prove difficult at this time with many schools putting PE and extracurricular sports on hold for now. Best to get the rain coats and wellies out for the next few weeks to keep up with these daily guidelines, and it will mean mum and dad, grannies and grandads will all be out and active and all together spending quality family time with one another. The benefits of fresh on the mind and body is huge, I could chat about it for days, so get outside today!
And after all this activity and fresh air the kids, and adults will be exhausted. Embrace this and let’s get bedtime sorted. Regular sleep is the foundation of a strong immunity. While you sleep, your body produces a hormone called melatonin, and this hormone stimulates new immune cells. Younger kids need more sleep, so setting a bedtime routine and getting them to sleep early and through the night is vital. For example, three to 12-year-olds need 12 hours sleep a day! Amazing! The adults will enjoy the sleep too.