Healthy Living at Huck-House: 7 Minute Workout Wednesday
Those messages are out there on every platform. But how do you start in a way that doesn’t feel overwhelming?
One morning I was in the office with a young person talking about the things we liked about ourselves and things we hoped to change. We began brainstorming what changes we could realistically make in our lives and exercise became our focus. We decided a SHORT (less than 10 minute) workout session once a week was a manageable change. We made it an event and invited all interested Transitional Living Program (TLP) clients. As incentive for participation, I agreed to bring a healthy snack for after the workout. That was the beginning of 7 Minute Workout Wednesday.
This exercise group provides an opportunity for young people to get to know each other in a casual, informal way. Children are welcome, and it is a fun way for them to socialize with each other and with other adults. It has been amazing to see the youth take an active role in this group. They decide the content of the exercise each week and often lead a warm-up and cool-down. Participants are great at encouraging each other along the way. At our last group, the young people expressed an interest in an additional workout during the week or doing two back-to-back 7 minute workouts. Young people requesting more exercise is one of the biggest wins in my book!
The “healthy” snack. As you might imagine, the young people were skeptical of my healthy snack incentive. All I asked was that they keep an open-mind and provide honest feedback, which they have done very constructively. Snacks have included banana, peanut butter, and chocolate muffins; fruit and yogurt parfaits; and veggies and humus. So far, they have been a success and participants are seeing that “healthy” can take many forms and be delicious.
I am very excited to grow this group! Getting young people interested in their health and healthy habits has become a passion of mine. Exercise and how we fuel our body are important because of the diverse physical health, mental health, and social benefits. In a nation of increasingly sedentary lifestyles, making time to get out and move while being conscious of what we put in our body is vital to our heart health and immune function. Aerobic exercise has been shown to decrease depression and anxiety and as little as ten minutes of aerobic exercise per day can improve sleep. Monitoring sugar and cholesterol consumption can prevent devastating chronic conditions. And last, but certainly not least, the social interactions facilitated by this group provide an opportunity to build and strengthen the TLP community.
I have been inspired by the young peoples’ dedication to this group and I look forward to continuing the journey of healthy living at Huck House.
Community Support Assistant, Transitional Living Program