We recently wrote on the subject of the importance of foster carers being supported to maintain a good level of general fitness. There is no doubt that the maxim ‘Fit body fit mind’ really does carry a great deal of truth. As every foster carer will know, fostering certainly is both challenging and rewarding. But there is definitely evidence that keeping fit and taking regular exercise is likely to enhance the experience of fostering. When we exercise, certain biochemical changes take place within our bodies: special chemicals called endorphins are released – these are even known as the ‘feel good chemicals’. Being active also increases the blood flow to the brain as well as reducing muscle tension.
Psychologically, a regular routine of exercise can improve our sense of self and confidence. Most importantly, we are more likely to feel in control. Exercise can both help prevent depression as well as treat it. Research studies have demonstrated that exercise is at least as effective as psychotherapy in dealing with the symptoms of depression. Remember, exercise really can help us feel more positive about ourselves. All of us can feel better about the way we see ourselves. It applies to all age groups. People who are physically active will often talk about; not just feeling fitter, but also feeling a higher sense of self worth.
The benefits continue even after bedtime: physical exercise doesn’t just help us fall asleep, it actually plays a part in the quality of our sleep. If we have exercised, we tend to sleep more deeply and for a longer period. There is a significant reduction in the risk of suffering from sleep disorders in both men and women who lead physically active lives.
One of the best things about exercise is that it can really help deal with feelings of anxiety. This means that it can play a huge part in the way we live our lives for the better.
So if you are currently fostering, it is useful to have knowledge about all these benefits: it is sensible to be aware of your general fitness. However old you are, it is important to think about maintaining a good diet and keeping active. This does not mean running a marathon – or climbing a mountain: in the UK, there is a looming epidemic of obesity, and this is affecting increasing numbers of children and young people. So if you can take an interest in your own well being, this will be setting an excellent example when fostering children. Anyone fostering children will be aware just how much children notice: so encourage them to follow your example. This is a very good way to show that you care – making youngsters feel valued. It is a sad truth, but many children will in their pasts be likely to have been neglected in a variety of ways. One of the most common areas of neglect will have been a poor diet – so focusing on healthy food and nutrition will make a child feel valued – and this can make a real difference to their outlook.
At Rainbow Fostering we like to encourage the idea of being ‘Fit to Foster’ at any age. We have already had some great results from a programme of yoga that we have been running.
It is good to realise that; considering most people are aged over 35 when they begin fostering children, that yoga can be started at any age. It is not unusual for people to take it up when they are in their 70’s – sometimes even older! We will be following up on some individual stories from our foster carers in the New Year to keep on broadcasting the benefits of a healthy lifestyle with plenty of exercise.
Get more information about yoga by visiting the link below – http://www.bwy.org.uk/
Foster a child: make sure you explore our ‘Rainbow Rewards’.
Do you wish to foster children, foster babies or teenagers? Whatever the ages of youngsters you wish to foster, Rainbow is a London fostering agency offering all the supportive fostering services you might expect. And if you are able to refer someone, £500 will be paid to you: you’ll receive the money once your referral has been approved and the first placement has been accepted. Current foster carers wondering about transferring to Rainbow Fostering network could also be in line to receive a bonus under our ‘Rainbow Rewards’ foster scheme. This will be in the form of a bonus once approved, for carers who already have children placed with them on a long-term basis. Rainbow is an independent fostering agency always keen to recruit people interested in being able to foster. Call our foster recruitment team on 020 8427 3355 for more information.
And the good news at the end of this particular rainbow…this Saturday saw our 2016 ‘Children’s Awards’ taking place at our Rainbow headquarters. The event went with a real swing as there was plenty of music to go with the balloons and cakes. A huge ‘well done’ to all our award winners for their excellent work and efforts – along with their foster carers. Of note (of the musical variety), we used the occasion to introduce our new music scheme starting in the New Year. This will offer the chance for all our children to pursue an interest in music – singing as well as gaining an understanding of music production. It certainly generated interest with some of our award winners treating us to a song or two…there’s certainly a lot of talent out there to be developed: watch this space.