Today is Parent Mental Health Day

This year is the first Parent Mental Health Day (PMHD) and will encourage understanding and awareness of the importance of parent mental health and its potential impact on the whole family system with the theme ‘Balance’. The day aims to get parents and caregivers to take a moment to reflect on the balance they have in their lives, as well as how they balance looking after their family’s mental health and to take steps to make positive change and ‘balance out’.

The past two years have been like no other, with huge impact on young people’s mental health. With ever-changing restrictions, uncertainties, multiple roles, health, educational, economic and social impact, it is easy for parents and caregivers to overlook their own mental health as they juggle daily tasks.

Parent Mental Health Day is here to shine a light on the unsung heroes who have parented under changed circumstances throughout the pandemic, but now need some focus on themselves.

It’s important to take care of yourself as much as you have taken care of your family. Below are a few tips to look after your mental health.

Talk about your feelings

Talking about your feelings can help you stay in good mental health and deal with times when you feel troubled.

Keep active

Regular exercise can boost your self-esteem and can help you concentrate, sleep, and feel better. Exercise keeps the brain and your other vital organs healthy, and is also a significant benefit towards improving your mental health.

Eat well

Your brain needs a mix of nutrients in order to stay healthy and function well, just like the other organs in your body. A diet that’s good for your physical health is also good for your mental health.

Keep in touch

There’s nothing better than catching up with someone face to face, but that’s not always possible. You can also give them a call, drop them a note, or chat to them online instead. Keep the lines of communication open: it’s good for you!

Ask for help

None of us are superhuman. We all sometimes get tired or overwhelmed by how we feel or when things don’t go to plan.

If things are getting too much for you and you feel you can’t cope, ask for help. Your family or friends may be able to offer practical help or a listening ear.

Local services are there to help you.

Take a break

A change of scene or a change of pace is good for your mental health.

It could be a five-minute pause from cleaning your kitchen, a half-hour lunch break at work, or a weekend exploring somewhere new. A few minutes can be enough to de-stress you. Give yourself some ‘me time’.

Do something you’re good at

What do you love doing? What activities can you lose yourself in? What did you love doing in the past?

Doing an activity you enjoy probably means you’re good at it, and achieving something boosts your self-esteem and lowers stress.

Accept who you are

We’re all different. It’s much healthier to accept that you’re unique than to wish you were more like someone else. Feeling good about yourself boosts your confidence to learn new skills, visit new places and make new friends. Good self-esteem helps you cope when life takes a difficult turn.

Walking is Real Exercise

Walking is real exercise; the startling health benefits prove it!

Don’t let that hard-core runner convince you otherwise: Walking is real exercise. A 2013 study found that walkers who cover the same mileage as runners enjoy comparable improvements in a variety of health markers. One reason is because walking works the same muscles as running, only the intensity and duration are different. Sure, it’ll take you twice as long (or more) to cover the same distance as your runner friend, but walking is easier, more accessible, and may be the best exercise to start off with, especially if you’re a beginner.

Here are your talking points for why walking is real exercise:

Keeps your weight in check. According to a 2009 study, people who walk to work are less likely to rattle that obese marker. To burn enough calories to lose weight, the Mayo Clinic suggests putting on your sneakers and walking 30 minutes a day.

Helps regulate blood sugar. Walking combats Type 2 diabetes because it helps lower blood sugar levels, thus reducing insulin levels. But timing is everything. Walking for 15 minutes after every meal regulates blood sugar levels just as effectively as one 45-minute walk per day.

Promotes better digestion. What’s the antidote to lying down after a big meal (one of the worse things you can do for acid reflux and a host of other conditions)? Walk! The activity super-charges your digestion by moving the food faster through your body.

Prevents varicose veins. Walking helps to drain excess fluid from the lower legs and can help prevent varicose veins through the pumping action of the calf muscles. That increase in oxygen you’re feeling also gets rid of waste products in the tissues.

Lowers blood pressure and cholesterol. Walking briskly can lower your risk of high blood pressure as well as high cholesterol just as much as running can, according to findings reported by the American Heart Association. In fact, the more walkers walked, the better their health improved.

Gentle on the joints. Doctors say gentle walking is the best exercise if you’re pregnant, morbidly obese, or suffering from arthritis. Walking may even help ease the pain of chronic illness. For those experiencing these conditions, experts suggest starting with just two to five minutes a day, then adding an extra two minutes every third day.

Mood lifter. Walking just makes you feel good! That’s because moving your body releases endorphins that dull pain receptors in the brain, sedate you, and can even make you feel happy, if not euphoric. A 2005 study found that walking briskly for 35 minutes five times a week, or 60 minutes three times a week, could significantly impact mild to moderate depression symptoms.

Better night’s rest. Tossing and turning all night? Take this insider’s tip from travel experts, who suggest walking around a new city on the day you arrive until it’s dark can help recalibrate your supply of melatonin. Essentially, the hormone is needed to synchronize your body clock to your new time zone; the more melatonin in your body, the sleepier you’ll feel at the right time.

How to walk right? Experts say that to ensure walking is real exercise and not just a friendly stroll you must walk fast enough to cover at least 3.5 miles an hour. That will feel like hurrying to a bus or trying to get out of the rain; the point is to feel slightly winded. If you’re a beginner, see that goal as an aspiration and slowly work up to it.

Today is Take A Walk Outdoors Day!

Take A Walk Outdoors Day falls on January 20 every year, and as the name suggests, it’s a day to step outside for a walk! Walking comes with a host of health benefits, and taking a walk outdoors is a great way to get to know your neighborhood and city. Walking outdoors lets your body absorb Vitamin D which is good for your bones and muscle growth. For best results, try an early morning walk because only the early morning sun generates Vitamin D, and 75% of adults don’t get enough of it. Taking walks can brighten your mood, as chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine are released during and after walks. Walking can also lessen depression, and it is more effective in doing so if you walk outside than inside. Taking a walk can also benefit the brain by helping new brain cells to grow, which can fight memory loss and dementia and is beneficial for the heart: it can lower your blood pressure, and can lower your risk of getting a heart attack. It can also lessen your chances of getting lung cancer, help you burn fat, strengthen your bones, and keep your skin healthy by helping your body to produce more collagen. The best part is walking is fun and easy and requires no special equipment. You can walk alone, with friends or with your furry companion.  

The City of Decatur, with its tree lined streets and more than 60 miles of sidewalks in 4.5 square miles, is a prime location for walking. Decatur also has a variety of parks and greenspace along with the PATH trail that runs through the city. Take a nice leisurely stroll, or power walk at a brisk speed. Walk in your neighborhood, or take in a hike. Above all, make sure you get outside and get some exercise. Your body and mind will thank you.

Download our walking map with six routes around Decatur! https://www.decaturga.com/parksrec/page/take-walk-decatur-map

Table Tennis is Cancelled for Sunday, January 16

Table Tennis is cancelled for today – Sunday, January 16. Table Tennis will resume on Thursday, January 20. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Decatur Active Living’s Updated & Modified Schedules

Due to the rise in COVID-19 cases, Decatur Active Living’s indoor programs and activities have been suspended until Monday, January 10, at Decatur Recreation Center and Ebster Recreation Center.

Basketball games will be played this week so be sure to check out the updated schedules on QuickScores. The following modifications will be followed to ensure the safety of our patrons and staff:

  1. Two spectators per player allowed.
  2. Players, Coaches, and Spectators must leave the gym immediately following their game.
  3. Players, Coaches, and Spectators will enter through the front door and exit through the side doors.
  4. Players and Spectators for upcoming games will have to wait until the gym is cleared before entering.
  5. Spectators, Coaches, and Staff are required to wear a mask at all times.
  6. Players are required to wear a mask while sitting on the bench, however, wearing mask while playing is optional.
  7. Players, Coaches, and Spectators must not congregate in the Lobby or stand in doorways.

Contact Sara Holmes if you have additional questions or concerns.

Decatur Active Living’s Holiday Hours

Happy Holidays to all! Decatur Active Living facilities and programs will have a modified schedule until the New Year.

Decatur Recreation Center and Ebster Recreation Center will close on Thursday, December 23 at 2:00 PM through Monday, January 3.

Glenlake Tennis Center will be closed on December 24 and December 25 as well as December 31 and January 1. All other days have normal business hours.

Oakhurst Indoor Pool will have normal business hours except for the following dates:

  • Friday, December 23: 6:00 AM – 3:00 PM
  • December 24 and 25: Closed for Christmas
  • Sunday, December 26: 12:00 PM (noon) – 5:00 PM
  • Friday, December 31: 6:00 AM – 2:00 pm
  • January 1: Closed on New Years Day
  • Sunday, January 2: 12:00 PM (noon) – 5:00 PM

If you are in need of immediate assistance, please reach out to our front desk at 404-377-0494.

Do you want Decatur to be a leader in the Atlanta Region’s local food movement?

Do you believe it’s important for your city to prioritize urban agriculture?

Your voice is needed at our upcoming Community Food Forum!

City of Decatur Community Food Forum

Saturday, December 11th, 2021 10:00 – 11:30 AM

Legacy Park, 500 S. Columbia Drive, Decatur, GA 30030

The City of Decatur applied to develop the Atlanta region’s second City Agriculture Plan in partnership with Food Well Alliance and the Atlanta Regional Commission and has been chosen to move forward with the next step of the selection process – holding a Community Food Forum for Decatur residents. The Community Food Forum is an opportunity for residents to learn more about the City Agriculture Plan process, voice their support for a strong local food system, and ask questions.

The City Agriculture Plan program aims to bring local governments together with their communities to create plans incorporating urban agriculture and local food into the next phase of cities’ development. Food Well Alliance and the Atlanta Regional Commission will select one city to develop a City Agriculture Plan in 2022. The Community Food Forums will inform the selection process by assessing the readiness and enthusiasm of each city to participate in the comprehensive and inclusive planning process.

All City of Decatur residents are encouraged to reflect on how support for local growers and increased access to local food and agricultural goods can enhance their vision for the City of Decatur’s growth and attend the forum to learn more. Register for the Forum here!

Just Keep Moving with Bobbie Elzey

Bobbie Elzey is living an extraordinary life. From a schoolteacher and dancer to a pioneer for dance aerobics, Bobbie has paved the way for many females in the health and fitness industry. Beginning her fitness journey in the 1970s at a local YMCA, she built a dance fitness program with five participants to 1,000 participants. She ventured her way to Russia to teach across the country and to judge the National Competition for Aerobics eventually making her way to teach in Decatur in 1985.
Bobbie has taught Dance Aerobics and Functional Exercise for Seniors with Decatur Active Living for the past 36 years. Bobbie quickly became a staple and champion for health and fitness as well as our older adult population. We had the opportunity to sit down with Bobbie to hear her advice on how to prioritize health and wellness, especially for the older adult population.

Bobbie’s Health and Wellness Advice:

  • Age and disease should not be a roadblock to exercise!
  • To be successful in staying active, be sure to find activities that you enjoy. Think about what fitness activity you enjoyed during your childhood and do that now.
  • Every day movement and balance is important. Older adult populations can develop muscle quickly and gain confidence.
  • Challenge yourself with movement, balance, and strength activities daily. Get up and get moving!

Just Keep Moving with Bobbie’s classes at Decatur Recreation Center. Visit our website to learn more about our programs and be sure to contact Bobbie at www.lzaerobics.com to learn about her weekly classes and pricing.

The Benefits of Walking!

Here at Decatur Active Living we love walking and seeing as how it’s Walktober we thought we’d share some benefits of walking from our friends over at Clarity Fitness. We got together with Abbey Griffith, owner and founder of Clarity Fitness and below are her thoughts on the wonderful benefits of walking!

Abbey Griffith
Owner, Founder, NASM CPT Clarity Fitness

As a Certified Personal Trainer, Group Exercise Instructor, Gym Owner, and Eating Disorder Recoveree, I know that there is no one “best”, “right”, or “ideal” workout. What you do to workout, how long it lasts, the intensity, where it is, and so many other factors truly come down to what will be sustainable, flexible, and fun for you! You’ll not only find it easier to incorporate movement into your life longterm, but it won’t be something you dread and feel you “have” to do. Movement will be an act of kindness and respect for your body.

Let’s talk about walking. Walking in itself is an absolute blessing, privilege, and gift. To be able to stand our entire bodies over two tiny flaps of bone and muscle (feet), then coordinate our incredible bodies over top of them while propelling ourselves forward to where we want to go? Wow! For those who can’t walk, don’t worry, your body is just as phenomenal. Think about what all goes into reading this article – the neurons firing, your eyes tracing along these words, the cognitive behavior of processing the information – can we all agree that our bodies are beyond incredible?

Now that we’ve locked in gratitude for the vessels that will take us through our entire lifetime, let’s explore how we can treat them with the respect they deserve in regards to movement. Exercise is a tool to work with, not against, the body. It is our right to play with different types of movement and explore what brings light into our lives. Be it walking, dancing, lifting, running, climbing, swimming, etc. – it is movement, and it is enough. 

I so regularly hear people beating themselves up because they “should’ve” worked out harder, longer, or in a different way. Critical and scientifically untrue comments like, “I went on a walk, but my friends ran – they did so much better than me”, or “I only walked today – I’ll have to go for a run tomorrow”. 

Both running and walking are excellent forms of exercise, but it’s time to give walking the credit it deserves. Functional movement means that a movement is found in your regular day to day motions. Think about sitting down and standing up at your desk – a squat! Or bending over to pick up a pen you dropped – a deadlift! The most functional movement of all for the many of us who get around throughout our day to day this way – walking. A study on “Walking versus running for hypotension, cholesterol, and diabetes mellitus risk reduction” states that, “Equivalent energy expenditures by moderate (walking) and vigorous (running) exercise produced similar risk reductions for hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, diabetes, and [coronary heart disease].” In essence, running is not “better” at defending against major health complications than walking, especially if you would much rather walk.

Walking is also a great option for injury prevention, as running without appropriate shoes, progression, training, stretching, and recovery can more easily lead to injury than doing so in a walk (although also risky!). If you’re interested in or love running, go for it! However whether you’re walking or running, we always recommend form checks from a Certified Personal Trainer or Physical Therapist to keep you safe and feeling your best.

Last but not least, movement and mental health must be clearly connected. If running causes you anxiety, you dread your workouts on cardio day, or you just really love walking but feel like it’s not a “good enough” workout, explore that with a Health at Every Size, Eating Disorder Informed, and/or Body Positive Mental Health Provider or Personal Trainer. It is incredibly important to tailor movement around what works for you and your body on any given day, and it’s allowed to change regularly. 

Now, go play!

Decatur Parents Network hosting “The Science of Addiction Recovery” speaker series.

Join the Decatur Parents Network for National Recovery Month tomorrow, September 29th at 7pm via Zoom.. Hear from Certified Addiction Recovery Empowerment Specialist , Susan Morley, about The Science of Addiction Recovery. Scan the QR code below to register for the speaker series.