How to Keep Kids Active in the Virtual Learning Era

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many schools opted to switch to virtual learning to get the curriculum moving. Unfortunately, the schools were in charge of taking care of our kids during the day, and schedules were totally up to them. Now with my kids at home, it has not been easy to keep them active while the center of their lives seems to have drifted to their devices.

 

Thankfully, changes such as these demand that we adjust accordingly, which made me learn a few techniques to keep kids active. Here is a simple guide that has become my saving grace, and maybe it will be yours too.

 

1. Create a Schedule

Now that I cannot rely on my kids’ teachers to create and monitor their schedules, I have to do it myself. I found that the best way is to try to mimic the daily school schedule as much as possible.

 

Such a program involves:

 

  • When to take virtual lessons
  • When to have interim breaks
  • What to do after an extended learning day
  • Being mindful about the lunch hour
  • Including after school activities
  • Keeping bedtime and waking time consistent

Apart from the after-school activities, the rest will find a productive balance between schoolwork and play. Your schedule might include more things than mine, depending on your kid’s school curriculum. Still, foundationally, it will consist of most of the above activities.

 

2. Be Intentional with the Breaks

I’ve realized that it is easy to bypass a break, especially in between related subjects. When this happens, my kids often lose interest in the middle of the next class, and then I have to convince them to pay attention longer before lunchtime.

 

Since kids are generally playful, they need adequate rest time and activities to keep them excited, so they can find their schoolwork more interesting. When I started getting more intentional with their short breaks, I realized it was easier for them to successfully concentrate through each lesson. This is how a school system works anyway, so why not try my best to keep it up at home?

 

3. Stretches in the Middle of a Class

It’s one thing to allow the kids to take breaks between different classes and a whole different scenario when stretching in the middle of a session. The latter works to boost their concentration and make them feel free now that they are at home anyway.

 

4. Going Out for Breaks

Although it is still not as safe to go out or allow our kids to play together, I find it helpful when they have their breaks outside. Basking in the sun is ideal for kids and helps them come alive while taking a break from the house.

 

5. Learn a Few Kids’ Games

After a few rounds of the same routine, both you and the kids will start getting tired. This happened to me too. I decided to learn a few games to play with my kids to spice things up. The interaction boosted both the kids’ performance and my relationship with them.

 

6. The More Involving the Activities, the Better

Kids have energy that keeps them active almost all day long. If you try to restrain them from tapping into this energy, you start to notice how restless they get. To avoid this, I prefer going for more physically involving games during breaks to balance out the time they have been on the screen. Activities such as playing ball or scavenger hunts have come in handy.

 

7. Incorporate School Work with Home Chores

With the learning going digital, school apps have decided to incorporate various offline functions like classroom management, online testing, and assignments, etc. Bespoke software building companies make personalized applications for these schools, which has, in turn, helped the students and parents to keep a tab on their activities and, decide on the time students should be allowed some time for family too. And, surely family time would include some house duties. Schoolwork surely does not mean we exempt the kids from home responsibilities. Such chores could help foster productive procrastination. This allows kids to grow up all-rounded.

At first, staying with kids at home was hectic, and we all wanted things to get back to normal. However, as time went by and most institutions started to look for alternatives, it was clear that we had to adapt as well. I’ve held it together and will continue to do so because of the help around me. Therefore it would be useful if you become intentional about asking for some help.

My Obesity Struggle

I had been obese for the longer part of my life. And just about being overweight, I have been morbidly obese. I am 5 feet 7 inches tall, and at some point, I weighed 136kgs. My goal has always been to lose weight because I am tired of living with obesity.

 

Before looking at my journey, I found it essential to shed some light on what being obese means in relation to the body mass index. A healthy body mass index (BMI) ranges from 18.8 to 24.9. A BMI score ranging from 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight. If you get beyond 30, then you are considered obese.

 

If my calculations are right, my BMI was way above 40. So if you see me talking about obesity, I happen to know it too well. If you have never been obese, it might be hard to comprehend what it means to be obese. For instance, I was accustomed to silent and instantaneous judgments, which at times led to outright rejection.

 

What It Means to Be Obese

I have battled obesity for the better part of my life. Although I always put in some effort in the past, I might say that I have finally found a way to get around obesity. First, I would want to share some of my experiences for those who might not be alive to the plight of persons with obesity.

 

I always started my day feeling exhausted. I only came to understand that my ‘bloated’ stomach was to blame. Waking up feeling tired meant that I had to start my day with high-calorie foods to feel energized and stay awake. This meant that I was trapped in a cycle that was almost impossible to break.

 

Being obese also brought me lots of pain. Excess body weight burdened my skeletal tissues, which meant that my joints would hurt all day. Even taking a walk around the neighborhood seemed impossible unless I took some strong painkillers to mask the pain.

 

Another thing that most obese people experience is their struggle with natural human tasks such as going to the bathroom. Because of my size, I have broken toilet seats. Also, taking a shower was a great struggle, which meant that I had to turn to my childhood sweetheart for help.

 

Combating Obesity

All along, I had no idea of what I could do to bid goodbye to these self-inflicted problems. Luckily, with the help of the love of my life (God bless her), my struggle of fighting independence could soon be behind me. It all started by embracing the fact that eating was an addition, something I remained unaware of all along. I was addicted to pizzas, cream, sodas, and fries. And any time I felt low or stressed, my only solace was food. Any calorie ingested ended up worsening my miseries.

 

By the end of last year (2020), my only focus was to change my eating habits or tackle food addiction. It only started with some talk therapy, which helped uncover critical aspects touching on food addiction. As far as curbing cravings is concerned, I also had to try some medications that help ease cravings, further strengthening my resolve to curb unhealthy eating.

 

Having lost 24 kgs in the last 15 months, I honestly cannot say that I have won the ‘fight,’ but this has injected a breath of fresh air into my life. I believe that I will be able to lose even more weight in the future, but it all boils down to my ability to close my mouth and stop overeating.

 

As far as dealing with chronic obesity goes, I would not recommend that you start going for morning runs, which I am yet to begin. Doing this would make you susceptible to joint injuries. You can be active in many ways; all you need is to be creative and wary of your health status.

While it might be too early to claim that I have won the fight against obesity, I at least now know why I have been obese, what I did, and what I have to work on going forward. Simply, if I can resist the urge to gorge myself, then my weight loss struggles will soon be behind me. And this is a lesson for anyone who would want to rewrite his or her obesity struggles.

 

Simple Tips On Staying Active While Working from Home

The workplace has significantly changed over the years and especially in 2020. This has led to some significant trends such as flextime, working from home and telecommuting. However, working from home comes with some major challenges, such as staying inactive while working from home.

 

In most cases, when I initially used to work from home, I found myself spending the whole day hunched over my desk and only taking brief bathroom breaks. My eyes have taken a bit of a hit too, requiring me to look into blue light glasses to make sure that, as well as my body, my eyes have to remain healthy too. Having worked at home for several years now, I have adopted several ways of staying active while working from home. These habits ensure that I do not compromise my health in the process of meeting my work goals. If you want to know what these tips are, then continue reading.

 

Keep Exercise Equipment Close By

Besides setting specific times to walk and climb stairs, I have also managed to stay active when working from home by keeping my exercise tools and equipment nearby. Some of the most crucial equipment to consider keeping around the home office include hand weights, exercise mats, push up bars and resistance bands. The sight of this equipment motivates me to always indulge in some simple exercises every time I take a short break. These short exercise routines boost my energy and keep me active throughout the day.

 

Develop A Daily Workout Program

Keeping fit and active is heavily determined by one’s habits and rituals. Rituals and habits are so powerful because they can either keep me on track or derail me. With that understanding, I took some time to create and develop a specific workout program that I follow daily. Being consistent with my wake-up time, workout schedule, and exercise equipment has also helped keep me fit and active at home.

 

Getting Up to Cook or Eat

Working from home creates a lazy tendency whereby most people cannot even cook or get up from their workstation to get their food from the kitchen. Like everyone else, I was a victim too, and I kept ordering in instead of taking some time off to prepare my food. Today, I enjoy walking around to cook and get my food from the kitchen. This keeps me more active and fit in the long run. Other tricks to beat your slackness while working at home include eating out, which forces me to walk out of the house.

 

Blocking My Calendar for Breaks

Unlike at the workplace where I used to get quick coffee breaks, and clients would easily come by later if I was not at my desk, virtual working made me feel guilty anytime I needed to take a short break. I was always worried about what the entire team would think about any little break I took. This decision increased my inactivity, and I gained some extra pounds in the process. With time, I have learnt that small breaks matter because they give me a chance to stretch around and keep active. Anytime I take a break, I always block my calendar to show my clients that I am away for lunch or coffee.

 

Taking Walking Conference Calls

Another simple but effective strategy that I use to keep active and fit while working from home is taking conference calls while walking. Moving around does not just feel good but also enhances my blood flow. Thus, it helps my body and mind relax, enhancing my productivity when I get back to my desk. Additionally, these video conference calls also help me see my colleagues on the other side, which brings along more fulfillment and satisfaction.

 

Conducting Business Outside

As someone that works from home, I often schedule face to face meetings outside my home office. This entails talking to clients and colleagues while walking around, which in the end keeps me fit and active.

 

I must admit, at first, it was hard getting used to working from home and also remaining active. If you are facing that same struggle, you are in good company. You can implement these steps gradually then add more as you go along. You will notice that after a while, these habits become almost second nature. All the best as you keep active while working from home.

 

My Fitness Journey

Fitness has been a part of my life for decades. I thank my parents for instilling in me the discipline to lead a healthy life. Seeing them take a morning run while we played catch up with my elder brother evokes timeless memories. But as soon as I was done with my academics and soon became a marketing executive at a local tannery, I ditched my fitness routine to focus on my new profession.

 

I soon realized that as I was concentrating on my career, my love handles started developing. And for the decade that followed my first appointment, I was not happy with myself. I knew I had no time to waste, and regaining my fitness could have been a tough call had I waited any longer. And on 14th January 2014, on a Tuesday morning, I set forth for a morning run. This marked the start of a healthy future. It was through lots of hard work that I realized how powerful a tool fitness could be.

 

By moving my body in the cold mornings or at an aerobics class, I learned, bit by bit, how to take care of my body through fitness. Along the way, I also chose to switch careers and become a personal trainer to share the fitness lessons I picked up along the way.

 

Where It All Began

Besides the early morning runs, I can say that my fitness journey began at home. At home, overwhelmed by some personal struggles, I found my passion for fitness and an intrinsic calling to help anyone who shared similar issues – by empowering using fitness.

 

Everything about my fitness was insanely personal when I was getting started. The small space in our garage was my sanctuary. Although I usually started my day with negative fears about my body, I knew that I had to soak in sweat and endure the pain. And slowly, I endured the struggles – and here I am, feeling positive and looking at myself differently.

 

Small and Consistent Changes

At first, after I was done jogging around the neighborhood and doing some simple stretches in the garage, I started incorporating some weight training aspects into my daily routine. I almost called it quits after I discovered that I could not do a single pushup.

 

I pushed hard and stopped many times, and I almost felt like fitness was becoming too much for me. During these low moments, I got the strength to accept myself and my body rather than focusing on my shortfalls. This meant that I had to work on the small things first. Therefore, I only focused on making small changes in my routine and stuck to them until it became a routine. ==

 

I Ditched the Scale

At first, the only way I would measure my progress was to keep weighing myself whenever I felt lighter. At times the numbers were positives. Nevertheless, in most instances, they kept affecting my motivation. I started by setting weight goals based on emotions that had nothing to do with how I felt on the inside, and nothing was forthcoming. I remember at one point when I cried in frustration when my weight stagnated for a month, although I was feeling closer to fitness.

 

Wary of what the scales would show, I began weighing myself less often. And this was a real boost for me for many weeks. And over time, I stopped weighing myself. Instead, I focused on measuring my progress by how I felt inside (physically, mentally, and emotionally).

 

Sharing My Love for Fitness

As I continued with my fitness and empowerment journey, something inside was telling me to be a personal trainer. Although I shelved my ambition for some time, mostly because I felt inadequate, I finally decided to try it.

 

I was well aware that I was not the fittest out there, but I desired to help others as we learned together. So I decided to enroll in personal training classes to understand better how to help individuals with different fitness needs get better. The long and short of it is that I started a gym, with my wife’s assistance, where I offer science-based fitness solutions to persons of all fitness levels.