The human body is a machine. As the owner of this machine, we can take care of it or allow it to fall into disrepair. So many people exercise regularly, stay hydrated, and get the right amount of sleep. In doing so, they maintain and fortify their one, only, and sacred vessel. By dedicating time to care for our machine, we receive the gifts of vitality and a longer, stronger, healthier life.
Canadian writer, Robin Sharma, wrote, “If you don’t make time for exercise, you’ll probably have to make time for illness.” Exercise releases endorphins, the human body’s naturally occurring deterrents to depression and anxiety. It also enhances cognitive function, builds tolerance against fatigue, and extends life expectancy. Even just fifteen minutes of exercise per day can make a massive difference. Especially during the golden years, a regular exercise routine offers a superior quality of life. We often take the wrong approach to fitness; it is not a destination. It is a way of life.
Let children witness dad’s intentional commitment to physical activity. Together as a family, make experiences with fitness fun and enjoyable. Play games and sports that they love; go for bike rides, swim, dance, and involve them in team sports they enjoy. Challenge them, but don’t make a physical endeavor so difficult that they get discouraged. Remember, a variety of activities keep exercise interesting—rotate between things like hiking, yoga, soccer, and jumping on a trampoline to keep things fresh. Encourage children to reduce their screen time, including TV, video games, and smartphones. We can better set (and enforce) limits on sedentary activities by creating and nurturing happy, healthy alternatives.
Some children never develop a love for exercise—but all children should learn about its importance. Pay attention to their interests and talents. Be patient. Avoid pushing them too hard. If they show interest in a sport or activity, support them unconditionally. When children see exercise as positive and enjoyable, they develop a healthy attitude toward physical fitness that will serve them well throughout their lives.
“Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.”
There is an old Slovakian proverb that says, “Pure water is the world’s first and foremost medicine.” Inadequate hydration leads to a gauntlet of problems, including but not limited to muscle cramps, reduced endurance, decreased coordination, and impaired cognitive functions with things like concentration and memory. Water plays a key role in digestion and metabolism, helping our body break down and absorb nutrients and maintain a healthy weight.
Let’s make a habit of intentionally drinking water in front of the kids. Use simple, age-appropriate language, and teach that water helps us feel better, gives us more energy, and allows our bodies to work properly. Help them understand that by the time they actually feel thirsty, they are already suffering the consequences of dehydration; it is important to drink water all the time. Teach them to recognize signs of dehydration, such as dark yellow urine, dry mouth, tiredness, dizziness, and headaches.
Stock watermelon, cucumbers, and oranges, making it easy for children to reach for water-rich fruits and vegetables. Consider limiting their drink choices to only water from a young age, discouraging them from juice or sugary beverages. Teach that water is the healthiest choice. Make hydration fun by using colorful water bottles, let kids choose their own cup or bottle, maybe add slices of fruit to their water for flavor. As with so many lessons learned throughout childhood, the importance of hydration is an ongoing process. Even when water is readily available, children may not realize they should be drinking throughout the day, and they often forget to do so; let’s consistently remind them to stay hydrated.
“Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” —John 4:13-14
American Cartoonist, Charles M. Schultz, wrote, “Happiness is waking up, looking at the clock and finding that you still have two hours left to sleep.” From repair to rejuvenation, good sleep is foundational for mental and physical health. Among a much longer list of benefits, adequate rest supports our attitude, memory, concentration, problem-solving abilities, and creativity. It delivers improved coping mechanisms and reduced susceptibility to stress and anxiety. One more blessing is that sleep gives way to dreams… American sleep researcher, William Dement, wrote, “Dreaming permits each and every one of us to be quietly and safely insane every night of our lives.” Recommended Daily Sleep Hours Below (including naps):
- newborns: 14-17 hours
- 4-12 months-old: 12-16 hours
- 1-2 years-old: 11-14 hours
- 3-5 years-old: 10-13 hours
- 6-12 years-old: 9-11 hours
- 13-18 years-old: 8-10 hours
- 19+: 7+ hours
A calming nighttime routine will naturally compel children to wind down; a warm bath, reading, and prayer all introduce soothing energies. If possible, avoid stressful or anxiety-inducing topics leading up to bedtime. Reduce the consumption of liquids in the hours leading up to bedtime. Reduce exposure to screens (TV, computer, tablet, smartphone) as bedtime approaches; the blue light they emit can interfere with the production of the sleep hormone melatonin. A child’s bedroom should be quiet, dark, and peaceful at night—setup blackout curtains or maybe plugin a nightlight—comfort is key. If sleep problems persist or if you suspect an underlying sleep disorder, consult a pediatrician for evaluation and guidance.
Sometimes, when we want to sleep, our brain screams at us, “Nope, we have to stay up together and go over every bad life decision we have made.” When this happens, remember the wise words of Indian civil rights leader, Mahatma Gandhi, who wrote, “Man should forget his anger before he lies down to sleep.” Italian inventor, Leonardo da Vinci, wrote, “A well-spent day brings happy sleep.” When we live honorably, remaining faithfully committed to our values, it’s easier to rest easy.
“Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” —Matthew 11:28 NLT
The human body can exercise, even if we aren’t in the mood. The human mind is more difficult to convince; but remember, exercise IS just a choice. American writer Jim Rohn, wrote, “Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.” American philosopher, Henry David Thoreau, wrote, “Water is the only drink for a wise man.” English playwright, Thomas Dekker, wrote, “Sleep is that golden chain that ties health and our bodies together.” With healthy habits of exercise, hydration, and sleep, we teach children the importance of taking care of our bodies.
PLEASE NOTE: As an Amazon Associate, Fathers Truly Matter earns from qualifying purchases. The information in this post should not be construed as providing specific psychiatric, psychological, or medical advice, but rather to offer readers information to better understand the lives and health of themselves and their children. It is not intended to provide an alternative to professional treatment or to replace the services of a physician, psychiatrist, or psychotherapist.