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Let's Teach Our Children What Health And Fitness Is Really About

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HEALTHY CHILDREN
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Beach season is right around the corner, so we are going to be bombarded with hot chicks who are bikini ready, and buff dudes who probably never wear shirts... ever.

I had the chance to do a 15 minute radio spot with Dahlia Kurtz on CJOB 680 in Winnipeg, we talked about the state of health, fitness, and what needs to change.

One of the most disturbing facts to me is the above mentioned models are going to be lending their bodies to promotions about "getting ripped in three weeks with four simple belly fat shredding moves" or something similar.

It's not just young women thinking their bodies should look a certain way, young boys are being bombarded by big muscles, expectations of athleticism and zero body fat.

Here's what I know -- it doesn't work like that, and it's definitely not what the models did to get their physique.

Here is what really concerns me -- it's infected my social media feed. Instagram is full of half naked fitness models of both genders, all fighting for my attention by showing as much skin as possible. If they are in my feed, chances are they are in your feed, and worse yet, they are in your kids feed.

It's not just young women thinking their bodies should look a certain way, young boys are being bombarded by big muscles, expectations of athleticism and zero body fat.

Alarms should be ringing because according to stats on The Heart and Stroke Foundation website one in three children are obese or over weight. That's not to mention Government Statistics from 2006 putting out numbers that nearly 1.5 per cent of females 15-24 struggle with eating disorders. Or the fact that four per cent of boys in grade 9 and 10 have used anabolic steroids.

All those stats are over a decade old, predating social media and the constant bombardment of diet, "ideal" body, and the nonsense that has over taken the fitness world.

Speaking of "diets," why are our children under the age of 12 feeling the need to put themselves on restrictive diets to lose weight? Depending on where you look or how you define a "diet" more the 25 per cent of children under the age of 12 have dieted to change their body image.

We need to do four things, and we need to start fast:

1. Get kids playing and understanding a healthy body is needed for adventures.

I've said it time and time again, my greatest memory to this day was a Contiki Tour of Thailand. I climbed mountains to see temples, and get the most amazing views of the bluest oceans in the world. Adventure lasts a life time, travel makes memories. Being healthy allows us to go play, move, and tell stories about the things we've seen.

2. Teach health to kids.

We need to start addressing steroids, crash diets, fat loss fads, and social media fame. We all want to get more likes on social media- it's a strange addiction. Our youth need to be taught that you can use restrictive diets to bring your body fat down past healthy, and that's what fitness models do. They need to know that a growing percentage of the athletes out there use anabolic steroids, and that it isn't something to idolize. Our kids, because of social media, are bombarded with misinformation and carefully crafted accounts to get them to believe, and then purchase unhealthy and potentially dangerous products. This needs to be addressed.

3. We need to teach our youth what food is again.

Take them to farms, and show them where food comes from. Talk to them about eating real, fresh, and delicious food. Show them how to cook, teach them to value life so we don't over eat meat and forget that an animal has given its life. We need to bring, and support Home Economics in schools again. Our kids need to learn from educated role models how to eat healthy.

4. Perhaps the most critical, is as adults we need to get our health under control.

Our ideal doesn't need to be the Instagram model or the cover model. Our ideal needs to be able to avoid the hospital from preventable disease, and able to engage in an active lifestyle without risking our health.

I'll end with this thought. I love going to the gym, and I love having specific workouts in my life to get my body moving. It may not be for everyone, and simply put, it doesn't need to be. But I use my time in the gym to get stronger, fitter, and healthier so I can enjoy life and take every chance I can to go on adventures.

I'm working on a project to film simple workouts, I'm grateful that Towers Realty allowed me to use the gym in my home apartment to film a series of workout videos. I'll be using them in my blog with the Heart and Stroke Foundation and my work promoting the fact that "Wellness and Success go hand in hand" with Canadian Footwear.

Johanna Seier joined me to help pefect these videos, she is a great fitness motivator and advocate for hard work and focus on living an entire healthy life.

Try doing each circuit below three times at 10 reps each exercise. Warm up with 5-10 minutes of easy cardio, depending on your schedule. In between each video, do five minutes of cardio to bring your heart rate up. You can run, skip, bike, or simply walk.

These workouts will make your entire body move, use a weight that is challenging. If you can, ideally, hire a personal trainer to take you through something similar to ensure your form is correct. The workout isn't about getting skinny, it's about getting strong, fit, and ready for adventure.

Use the gym, and exercise to get your body ready for adventure. Use food as a fuel to make sure you can go hike and explore all day.

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