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How Grandparents Can Boost Their Energy Levels


You've just been handed a dream assignment: Babysitting your 16-month-old grandchild for a day. The good news: You will be spending all day with the new light of your life! The bad news: You'll have to keep up with an always-on-the-move toddler!

An all-day marathon with a little one requires lots of strength and stamina. If you think those qualities deserted you the same time your eyesight started fading, take heart: They aren't gone, they're just waiting to be reborn in the grandparently you!

D.E.A.R. (the Toddler Marathon-Training Regimen)

Take your precious strength and stamina off the shelf, dust them off, and prepare them for the upcoming toddler marathon. In your training, you'll need to focus on a combination of diet, exercise, attitude and rest, or "D.E.A.R."!


Eating well is crucial not only for providing energy to play, jump and run with your grandchild, but also for all those other activities, such as exercising, that you may have given up over time. Let's quickly review the fundamentals of nutrition.

As the old adage goes, begin the day with a good breakfast. Many people give up breakfast as a way to lose a few extra pounds, but dietary research shows that skipping breakfast generally results in fatigue and leads to overeating at lunch and dinner. Along with a good breakfast, two balanced main meals with protein, fruits and vegetables will keep you healthy and provide you with the nutrition you need to stay energetic. Just remember: Too many calories and not enough calorie-burning exercises equals extra pounds. Now imagine carrying a 30-pound grandchild around with you; any extra pounds you gain will put unnecessary strain on your back, hips and knees.


Balancing a good, nutritious diet with at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise three days a week is crucial in building and maintaining the energy and brain power you would like to have. You don't need to belong to a gym or buy expensive exercise equipment to get moving. A long walk in your neighborhood or at the mall can be good ways to get aerobic exercise and strengthen your body, as well as burn more calories. Simple steps, such as parking far from the door and walking across the parking lot, can make you fitter, as can fun activities like salsa or swing classes. In addition, yoga, pilates and tai chi have been proven to help increase mobility and flexibility as well as reducing health concerns such as poor circulation and high blood pressure.


Besides keeping fit and getting enough rest, the right attitude will help you keep up with a toddler. Begin by telling yourself the same thing that one of your grandchild's favorite characters, Bob the Builder, says: "Can we do it? Yes we can!" That's the attitude that can sustain the energy your grandchild requires of you to be his playmate!


Make sure you're getting seven to eight hours of sleep each night and allow yourself periods of rest in the morning and afternoon; try napping snuggled up to your snoozing grandchild during his rest, or use that time to catch up on your reading. One warning: Long naps during the day can keep you from falling asleep at night, so limit yours to no more than 45 minutes.

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