We cannot deny the fact that America’s children are facing an avoidable health crisis. Physical inactivity coupled with increased consumption of easily accessible processed, sugar-laden foods, has led to frightening statistics: childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years. Heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and even low energy and self-esteem are some of the life-altering risks related to this reversible condition. Get Healthy Chicago believes that sitting back and watching the situation intensify is not an option and we are not alone! As you already know, Michelle Obama recently launched her national, “Let’s Move!” campaign. Get Healthy Chicago shares the first lady’s ambitious mission to solve the obesity epidemic, and is going about doing so in a very unique way.
Get Healthy Chicago inspires area kids to live their healthiest lives through participation in a one of a kind program titled, Empowerment Yoga. While participants bend, stretch, and move their bodies, GHC’s core principals- Eat, Act, and Think- are expertly woven through their lively and bright classes.
Eat- Healthy bodies require healthy food. During Empowerment Yoga, attention is placed on how different foods affect the way the children’s bodies move and feel. Class ends with a shared healthy snack and a discussion on what healthy foods are available in their neighborhoods and how they can make small changes to reap big nutritional benefits.
Act- Get Healthy Chicago introduces and educates area youth to the ancient mind-body practice of yoga. Many of the young participants have not otherwise been exposed to yoga; the simple poses require no special equipment, making them easy to practice while watching TV, in their bedrooms, or even in between classes! The yoga-certified volunteers teach Empowerment Yoga with such finesse, and children leave learning the benefits of yoga, and most importantly, how fun it can be!
Think- Eating healthy foods and exercising everyday are two of the three parts to Get Healthy Chicago’s holistic approach. The third principle, Think, includes goal setting, mindfulness, and overall positive thinking which encourages healthy self-esteem. Empowerment Yoga helps children to see the connection between having positive thoughts and feeling great! By educating the children on the value of setting both short and long term goals, Get Healthy Chicago volunteers assist participants in taking the first step of turning dream into reality! When all is said and done, Get Healthy Chicago proves that together, fresh food, physical activity, and goal-oriented, positive thoughts, foster happy and healthy living! For now, Get Healthy Chicago targets adolescents and young adults. The 10-18 age range was strategically chosen, as this is when lifestyle habits are being formed that can last a lifetime. GHC has already made great strides and connections in Chicago, and is looking forward to continue developing, expanding, and sharing their Empowerment Yoga with many, many more!
If you are a fitness or nutrition expert, or just a healthy-minded individual motivated to inspire children to live healthy lives, we encourage all to join our cause! For more information about Get Healthy Chicago, or to learn how you can volunteer time or resources, please email our volunteer coordinator, Colleen, at Colleen@mygethealthy.org
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