Fit Kids: 7-17 Years, Edited by Robert Duffy

Fit kids

 

This is an excellent children’s fitness book, aimed at the parents, teachers, coaches and carers who need to help children get fit, stay fit and develop a love of fitness.

The book is centred around the BX Fitness Plan, a dream scheme that tackles the obstacles of time and space. The plan recognises that not everyone (and especially not children) want to have to go to the gym everyday and use specialised equipment to stay healthy. The plan also recognises that time is a precious commodity. The BX Plan is only 11-12 minutes long and is guaranteed to improve endurance, flexibility and strength. It’s also undeniably fun, with the chance to chart progress and hit various targets!

This book is designed to complement the BX Fitness Plan by linking it closely to the school curriculum and detailing how families can get involved in their children’s fitness. The ultimate aim is ‘fit schools and fit families,’ an especially important goal considering how physical health is closely tied to mental health and life expectancy.

Chock-full of information, this book manages to be both informative and fun. A series of introductory chapters pave the way for the BX Plan itself, with ideas for incorporating exercise into the school day, fun suggestions for informal play, and tips on how to eat healthily at home.

The BX Plan itself is beautifully explained. It’s a fairly complex system, but one that is handled expertly, with tips on how to complete the programme and progress to greater fitness levels. Each exercise is also explained clearly with instructions and step-by-step diagrams, which is very helpful for parents and teachers, who can now check if a child is performing an exercise correctly. There are different charts for boys and girls, as well as different goals for each age group, making this plan extremely versatile.

This is an inspiring and motivational guide that offers a solution to the sedentary lifestyle an increasing amount of children lead. With insights into the science behind it all, such as the effects and importance of exercise, this book is a useful source of information for everyone, not just parents and teachers, but also teenagers and even adults!

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Anxiety and Depression: Sheldon Mindfulness by Dr. Cheryl Rezek

 

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‘Anxiety and Depression’ is an excellent guide to applying mindfulness in your life. The book offers a wealth of information about anxiety and depression, detailing what the two conditions are, how to recognise and understand them, and most importantly, how to approach them. This book is about psychology and mindfulness, so has a broader scope than just anxiety and depression. As mindfulness is a concept that can be applied broadly, I found that the book speaks powerfully to the individual on a personal level.

Dr Rezek’s model is described as an ‘emerging mindfulness-based approach’ and is based around the key idea that life happens. Mindfulness is all about building up resilience to life’s challenges, finding an inner stability and relearning how to live in the present moment, an ability we all had as children but have since lost.

Dr Rezek employs a step by step approach to dealing with anxiety and depression. The book is divided into four parts, each important in their own right and each equally interesting. I especially liked reading the chapter ‘Facts, Figures and You,’ as it made me realise that anxiety and depression are conditions on a truly global scale. Mixed anxiety and depression is the number one mental health complaint in the UK, with 1 in 10 people suffering from depression at some point in their lives. Reading this book in the light of these statistics made me appreciate Dr Rezek’s work all the more. This book is an important and helpful resource, and not just for those suffering with depression or anxiety.

One of the most interesting parts of the book was the chapter dedicated to men and depression. This is an issue that is rarely discussed and yet is very important, especially considering that men have a higher suicide rate than women. The chapter details some of the symptoms of depression in men and how they differ from women, which is useful in helping people to recognise the condition, in themselves or their loved ones.

What I liked most about this book was its writing style. Clear and easy to read, the prose is nevertheless compelling. Dr Rezek’s tone is both reassuring and professional; the knowledge, experience and expertise gleaned from her career as a consultant clinical psychologist really shine through. The book is geared around helping people, and the short mindfulness exercises (such as a moment of stillness), as well as the links to audio resources, go a long way in helping people to apply mindfulness as a practical tool. The more I learned about mindfulness, the more I realised that it could be very useful to everyone, as a way of coping with life’s challenges.

I would recommend this book to anyone who would like to learn more about mindfulness and how it can be applied in your life. Detailed, interesting, and above all, helpful, this book is an excellent resource.