ashley by huanghengdong


									    Ashley – Houston, TX
    A messAge from susAn

                  e traveled just outside the city of        couldn’t wait for Ashley to cross the finish
                  Houston to find a special mom              line. Why? They wanted her to start training
                  named Ashley. Ashley is the                them! Ashley started them with a few laps
    mother of two adorable little boys, Avery,               around the block every night after dinner.
    9; and Julian, 7. As with many families, the             This family put one foot in front of the other
    idea to get healthy began with little steps.             until they were running together for more
    First, Ashley decided to run in a local 10K              than an hour and a half each night. The
    race and enlisted the help of her father who             simple act of running produced results so
    put together a training program they could               stunning that the entire family was impacted
    do together. Sadly, her dad had to drop out              in breathtaking ways — as I’m sure you will
    due to an injury, but Ashley pushed on and               be after reading their story.
    ran her race. Her sons were in the stands and

22 | Be Well. Messages from Moms on Living Healthier Lives
    Keys To
     living                Increase
                      Fruits & Vegetables
                                            Physical Activity
                                                                    Screen Time
                                                                                   High Energy
                                                                                  Density Foods        Beverages

   There was a major fan reaction when a                        medicating the boy.
Houston mother named Ashley ran her first                          Ashley just shakes her head because she
10K race.                                                       was not in favor of using medication as a
   There were more than 1,000 people in                         solution. “All I knew is that I had a very active
the stands. But the ones yelling the loudest                    little boy who didn’t like to be at a desk for
were her young sons Avery, 9, and Julian, 7,                    several hours a day,” she says.
who screamed, “Win, Mom! Win!”
   Ashley didn’t cross the finish line first,                    According to the Physical
but what happened thanks to running was
better than getting a first place ribbon.
                                                                   Activity Guidelines for
   In the marathon called life, her entire                      Americans issued by the U.S
family is winning.                                               Department of Health and
   Ashley insists that she wasn’t born to run.
Neither were her children.                                       Human Services, children
   “Never in my wildest dreams did I think                         should aim for at least
that running could change everything for
                                                                  60 minutes of moderate
my family — but it did,” she says. “The
impact has been amazing.”                                       physical activity every day.
   She began running thanks to her own
father’s suggestion and his training. Her                          The family tried different behavior
Dad was going to run in that 10K with her,                      modification techniques, but nothing
but dropped out when he injured his foot.                       changed Avery’s ultra-energetic behavior.
Ashley followed in his footsteps and became                        Running is the one thing that worked
a loving and wise trainer for her own kids.                     with this young boy. “This is the first time
   Soon her sons were pounding the                              that I’ve felt like there is nothing wrong with
pavement with her every night. The results                      my child,” Ashley says. “This feeling started
were wide-reaching, to the point that her                       when we began running.”
oldest, who had always struggled with                              Avery smiles when asked about how his
hyperactivity and behavior issues, suddenly                     life is different now.
was a calmer child.                                                “A long time ago, I had bad grades. My
   “I knew that Avery was different,”                           behavior wasn’t so good,” Avery says. “Now,
says his proud mom. “When we went to                            for some reason, running has switched my
kindergarten, he was in so much trouble                         brain. I get good grades now, and I never get
every day. I didn’t know what to do.”                           in trouble anymore.”
   Ashley blamed herself when teachers told                        For almost no money, Ashley insists that
her it was probably ADHD. She knew the                          any family can begin a running program.
next step would be for experts to suggest                       This family started by putting on some

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        Quick Tips                                           jogging shoes and running for 20 minutes
                                                             around their neighborhood. The boys did a
                                                             couple of laps around the block, running as
                                                             quickly or as slowly as they felt comfortable.
                                                             There was no pressure. They could stop and
        • Find a beautiful spot to                           start. They just couldn’t quit.
          run outdoors, if possible.                           “I motivated them by holding them back.

        • Devote 20 minutes and                               Regular physical activity
          jog slowly to begin. Add
          two minutes to that time
                                                               can help you maintain
          each week.                                            your weight, keep off
                                                              weight that you lose, and
        • Don’t run on a full
          stomach. Allow at least an                         help you reach physical and
          hour after dinner for your                           cardiovascular fitness.
          food to digest.
                                                             You don’t want them sprinting and winded,”
        • Set realistic goals where                          Ashley says. “You don’t want them to get too
          you progress slowly.                               tired. I wanted them to go at a steady pace.”
                                                                Soon, the boys were easily running three
        • Run at a speed where                               to five miles. It was even a bit of competition
          you can still talk or even                         with the boys trying to out do one another.
          tell stories.                                      Mom noticed that there was also teamwork
                                                             between her sons.
        • Teach your children how                               “If one wants to slow down, the other
          to set physical goals,                             says, ‘Come on! You can do it! Follow me!’”
          then help them stay                                she says. “They cheer for each other.”
          motivated to reach                                    Ashley says that the nightly exercise
          those goals.                                       ritual takes a little bit of planning. This busy
                                                             teacher makes sure her family eats dinner
                                                             by 5:30 p.m. They wait a bit for their food
                                                             to digest and then hit the pavement. She
                                                             advises not to run just after you eat. This
                                                             family waits for at least an hour.
                                                                Her family runs about five nights a week
                                                             for an hour and a half now. They eat healthy
                                                             salads and lean meats, but have some treats.
                                                             The rule is not to eat too much because it
                                                             will affect your running.
                                                                The time outdoors together has also
                                                             meant some wonderful family bonding.
                                                             Avery went from having Us — or
                                                             unsatisfactory grades — on his report

24 | Be Well. Messages from Moms on Living Healthier Lives
    Keys To
     living                  Increase
                        Fruits & Vegetables
                                              Physical Activity
                                                                     Screen Time
                                                                                    High Energy
                                                                                   Density Foods        Beverages

                                                                  about college. “Have you ever heard a
                                                                  seven- and a nine-year-old sit around
                                                                  talking about getting track scholarships to
                                                                  college?” she asks with a smile. “Running
                                                                  has taught my kids about having a goal —
                                                                  and striving to achieve that goal.”
                                                                    Mom couldn’t be more pleased with
                                                                  her sons.
                                                                    “I love these boys deeply. They’re my life.
                                                                  There is nothing more that I want in this
                                                                  world than for them to be the best that they
                                                                  can be and have the happiest life they can
                                                                  have. It’s my job to give them those tools
                                                                  now,” she says. “Running has been one of
                                                                  those tools.”
                                                                    Avery says that Mom is the best trainer.
                                                                  “When I feel like quitting, she keeps me
                                                                  motivated,” he says. “Mom tells me never
                                                                  to stop.”

card in all 11 categories, to having 11 Es,
which are excellent marks.
   “We didn’t do anything different at home
except run three to five miles a night,”
Mom says.
   Julian holds a gold medal in his hand from
a local fun run. “I was the first one to pass the
finish line! I even beat the third graders!” he
says with pride. “I’m going to run forever!”
   The family’s routine has also allowed
the boys to do better at other athletic
endeavors like soccer. Her sons even talk

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