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A couple of weeks ago, cross-country running season started at my daughter’s school. I love going to the races to cheer on her on. The team too, of course. It was the first race of the season so it was really important to her that I was on time.

The races begin at 5 pm every week at various locations. Not the best time of day because of rush hour traffic.But despite anxiously sitting in my car during stop and go traffic we have to show up for our kids, right? Even at the risk of getting there too late and missing the race.

Luckily, there was only a little traffic that day and no car accidents so I was there in plenty of time to wish her a good race and cheer her on. Most importantly, though, is that I was there for her.

There are many ways we can show up for our kids. But the absolute best way to be there for our children is to take care of ourselves first. Not only do we demonstrate the importance of living a healthy style, but we’ll live longer and healthier lives.

This can often be hard to do. We live in a world filled with work deadlines, carpooling and rushing around to sporting events, dance classes, music lessons, and other extracurricular activities.

So you can be there for your kids too, here are 5 simple, no-brainer, things you can do to live a longer and healthier life:

1. Eat a healthy and well-balanced diet. A healthy diet consists of a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and protein. It’s okay to indulge in a treat now and then. Depriving yourself can lead to binge eating so just think in terms of moderation. Most importantly, try to stay away from processed foods such as fast food and prepared frozen meals that are high in saturated fat and sodium.

2. Get enough sleep. I read an article recently that sleep deprivation will shorten your life. Getting a good night’s sleep helps keep you focused. You can think more clearly and accomplish more in less time. It also prevents you from overeating. Sleep fuels your body in similar ways as food. If you’re tired you’ll need to eat more to keep up your energy.

3. Exercise. Regular exercise can help protect you from heart disease and stroke, high blood pressure, noninsulin-dependent diabetes, obesity, back pain, osteoporosis, and can improve your mood and help you to better manage stress. It will also help you sleep.

4. Reward Yourself. Reward yourself for your accomplishments. Whether it’s a decadent treat or picking up a new page-turner to lose yourself in. Rewarding yourself will help you feel good about yourself and inspire you to conquer new goals.

5. Spend quality time with those you love. It’s easy to get wrapped up in everyday life. Things are very different from when I was a kid. Going for a bike ride and hanging around the schoolyard seem to be a thing of the past. Our days are now filled with carpools and activities. Plan an evening at home with just the family. No sleepovers or friends. Dust off an old board game and make some popcorn. Or plan a family movie night. It’s a perfect time of year to turn on the fireplace and cozy up on the couch in your favorite fleece blanket.


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