May 29, 2020 | 18:09 minutes | Episode 3

This podcast is for educational purposes only – and is NOT health advice. Check with your local municipality rules and guidelines before using any public spaces.

Finding ways to keep you and your family active during the pandemic is an important piece of your overall health.

This is an interview with David Hatch, a personal trainer and fitness centre coordinator at Manulife.

David discusses: 

  • (6:04) Online fitness classes with Manulife
  • (8:08) How active should kids be
  • (9:09) Safety tips for beginners
  • (10:25) Motivate children to get active
  • (12:07) Activity ideas in small spaces
  • (13:25) Fitness for teens
  • (16:15) Tips for getting active as a family 

Meet our guest

Portrait of Nicolas Samaan

David Hatch is the fitness program coordinator at Manulife. He is passionate about coaching Manulife employees towards a healthier, more balanced approach to the workday. David holds a AA degree in physical education from Northeastern Oklahoma and a fitness and lifestyle management diploma from George Brown College. He is also a certified personal trainer – Canadian Society of Exercise Physiologists (CESP), fitness instructor specialist (CanFitPro), cycling, yoga, kettlebell and bosu instructor. He holds his Functional Movement Systems (FMS) certificate, CALA and CPR/AED certifications.

David believes a healthy lifestyle resonates in all aspects of life. As a former provincial and NCAA scholarship athlete, fitness conference presenter, kettlebell sport competitor and Ironman 70.3 participant, he knows the value of hard work. David gives back to his community through coaching youth hockey and baseball.

Transcript

GREG:

Hello everyone and welcome to sharing humanity, a podcast produced by Manulife to help Canadians stay mentally, physically and financially healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

My name is Greg Bisch and I’m from Manulife.

Today we are focused on family fitness and how to keep your kids active. This podcast is for your information only and isn’t health advice.

Of course, it goes without saying to make sure your doctor is on board with any exercise you’ll be trying.

Joining me today is David Hatch, a certified personal trainer with almost 20 years’ experience in the health and fitness industry. He is a member of our fitness centre experience team at Manulife.

Welcome David, excited to have you on Sharing Humanity. How are you?

DAVID:

I’m doing pretty well. As good as to be expected. Thanks for having me Greg.

I’m excited to be here.

GREG:

Well, thank you for joining. It’s our third episode of sharing humanity and this one is about family fitness and our focus is on keeping kids healthy while isolated and at home.

In preparation for this interview we met a couple of times.

Virtually of course.

Keeping kids healthy at home is a passion of yours as well.

DAVID:

Yeah, I mean I have been working in corporate fitness for nearly two decades now. But that said I have two young children of my own and they are a passion of mine. I love being with them. I volunteer with their hockey team and their baseball teams and I truly enjoy being around them.

They are seven and ten. Actually, next month they will be 7 and 10 for reference. They’re definitely a passion of mine.

But it has also been a bit of a challenge juggling things at times with school and working and trying to stay fit and screen time and all that stuff.

Happy to provide any insight I can.

GREG:

You have a ten and a seven-year-old. The ten-year-old is a boy as I understand?

DAVID:

Yeah, Nathan is 10 and my daughter Maya is 7.

GREG:

Very cool.

That’s a good age difference so they still couldn’t have a lot of similar interests I imagine.

DAVID:

Yeah, they do pretty well together but overall they don’t.

He’s pretty gentle with her but at the same time sometimes she takes advantage of that. Like most kids.

GREG:

That’s what siblings are for!

DAVID:

Yeah it’s like poking the bear.

GREG:

So what has it been like keeping them active?

DAVID:

Everyday it’s been different.

It’s been different but it’s been the same.

As you know, always at our house, we’re always in our neighbourhood and social distancing of course.

GREG

But it’s kind of like Groundhog Day over and over.

DAVID:

You got it! Everyday it’s what are we going to do today? So that’s where we look for opportunities. As most kids they are stuck to their iPads or screens or whatever they’re doing inside.

Breaking it up to get outside and get everybody active is great not only for the kids but everyone’s mental and physical health.

We are trying to find ways to do that. May is mental health month and the science shows getting outside and being active helps benefit our moods and our immune systems, which we’re all looking for.

Even when we’re sitting the kids down for their schoolwork, getting them out right before settles them down and that allows them to focus on the task at hand - it’s been important.  We’re truly looking for opportunities.

In preparation for doing this podcast about getting kids healthy I was thinking who could I talk to about this? And then I learned about something Manulife is doing on Facebook.

Your colleague Kristy is doing a yoga stretch on Facebook on Tuesdays at 7:30 in the morning.

And you’re doing a garage grind - David’s garage grind on Thursday mornings at 7:30.

A 30-minute full body workout and you welcome all fitness levels and you give instructions that helps all fitness levels adjust.

Do you want to talk a little bit more about that before we get started?

DAVID:

Yeah, everybody’s been going online at this time and Manulife approached us about getting us to do some online classes to get people moving.

So being bare bones, everybody’s working from home.

I was kind of concerned about what we were supposed to look like and how we were supposed to do this but then we just did our thing.

Go in your garage, it doesn’t have to be anything too shiny, so we put together some classes in the garage.

The yoga class I did this morning was a fantastic way to start the day, especially with the number of things that parents, working and home schooling need to do.

It set me up for today.

But the boot camp is 30 minutes. There is a 5-minute warmup, a 5-minute cool down and I always encourage people to get more out of it to work twice as hard as me.

But at the same time take breaks too. I think it’s for anybody.

As of yesterday, there were about 6,000 views on the Facebook page.

Hopefully some people get some use.

GREG:

In preparation for this, we reached out to a number of Manulife employees who have kids at home and asked them what questions they would like to ask a personal trainer like yourself.

We’re hoping that you have some advice for them.

DAVID:

Yeah, I’ll do my best. Shoot.

GREG:

Okay, so there’s a lot of pressure on parents of course. It’s in the news, people are talking about getting your kids active while during this period of isolation and they are not going to school.

How active should kids be each day?

DAVID:

Yeah, I can sympathize. I do feel the feel the pressure that many people are but we’re fairly okay right now.

But as far as the guidelines, I did a certification recently around children and the official guidelines from the World Health Organization for kids to get outside for 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity a day, seven days a week.

It’s tough.

That’s a tough one to get in.

GREG:

It doesn’t necessarily have to be outside or anything like that it just needs to be 60 minutes, right?

DAVID:

Correct, it could be anything.

That doesn’t have to be done all at once. They can break it up.

We attempt to structure it like school recess so just before they have a 10 o’clock with their teacher we try to get out there around 9:30.

Just get some fresh air, then we take a lunch break.

And try to get an afternoon break in if we can.

And then we go for a roller walk or a rollerblade after dinner as well.

They are doing it in manageable chunks as far as our family is. Some people may not have that luxury but that is what we are doing to get our 60 minutes in.

GREG:

Yeah that again is something I have to try. That sounds like it would work, and it aligns with their school right? There used to taking those short breaks.

Along the lines of rollerblading because I don’t rollerblade. Both my kids do though and if it’s something I want to do with them, I’m going to have to learn.

What are some, just in general of course, with rollerblading you need but for kids and parents who haven’t been working out who need to get out there, what are some of the safety tips that they should keep in mind as they prepare to get physically active?

DAVID:

I think generally as a family not doing too much too soon. I think you need to build up.

Start simple, whether it’s just like most people are doing now. Walk around the block with your face mask on or a gentle bike ride or something.

Three to four times a week, especially for the parents, but not doing too much too soon so you have to space it out.

Maybe the frequency or keeping intensity low to moderate when you first start and then it’s easy to get that base and get more sophisticated with your plan, your workout.

Rest and recovery. You don’t want to do my garage grind for 30 minutes super hard if you haven’t worked out in two months because you won’t be able to walk for a week. You don’t want to end up in that position.

At the same time keeping it safe. It doesn’t have to be super competitive or goal-oriented right now.

Just get yourself moving and stay active.

GREG:

At a very basic level what are some of the easiest exercises you can have your kids doing?

DAVID:

Simple things skipping, running, walking, climbing, jumping. Finding things that challenges their basic ability.

What motivates them.

We play basketball, rollerblade. We have a hockey net. Today we went down and we played baseball at the school.

Just keeping it as fresh as we possibly can.

Our Phys Ed teacher from the school even sent us a basic kid’s workout.

Lots of pushups, planks and squats. You know old school Phys Ed workouts.

They work for everyone. There still relevant. Those are some of the easier things.

Don’t discount the benefits of going for a walk on your mind and your body.

It is just getting out for that walk or bike ride or whatever it may be. The simplest things are just as good.

GREG:

Yeah it sounds like anything to really get them moving.

The next question we got from a couple of Manulife employees and there’s two different versions of this question, but they’re both similar and both have merit.

Anytime I try to get my kids moving it feels like a chore. How can you easily motivate them? The related one was how do I get my kids to exercise more than their fingers?

DAVID:

Yeah that is common. Every family dynamic is different for sure. I bet if it feels like a chore to the parent it feels like a chore to the child as well. But doing something where they may have a choice in the decision making may make them enjoy it more. Providing examples of what they could do. Some kids have different personalities, whereas one of my kids is really competitive.

So I want to challenge him that way. When get out and play or challenge him to a competition he’s all over it.

Whereas my other child she just wants to be there. She wants to be with the family doing things and so we have to kind of balance what will motivate either one of them.

I was just scrolling through the participACTION website, the government website, a few years back and they did the 150 for Canada’s 150th year. They did a whole participACTION challenge where you had to try and do 150 of these exercises.  The list is somewhere online, and it just gives you a whole variety of ideas.

GREG:

That’s really cool 

What I will do for people is find that link and put it in the show notes of this podcast as well as the WHO (World Health Organization) standards that you were talking about earlier. I assume those are online so people can reference them when it’s convenient for them?

DAVID:

Yeah, no doubt. Yeah for sure.

GREG:

Another question was around small spaces, either indoors or outdoors. What are some of your recommendations for that, you obviously aren’t playing baseball if you have got a postage stamp yard right?

What would you say to some parents who are trying to make it work?

DAVID:

I would say take the pressure of a little bit. A lot can be done in small spaces as well.

In terms of a physical activity program squatting, lunging, jumping, using your couch to do pushups or dips. You know crunches, any kind of floor work. All that stuff can be done in small spaces.

I’ve seen videos of not only teachers but participants doing those things in small spaces.

Yoga as well. Dancing with your kids, putting on some music. Those types of things. I have seen pictures of people squatting with their dogs.

They are getting creative with their small spaces.

GREG:

My son he’s almost a teenager, he’s 12, and he picked up my weights today. He took them to the garage and was going to do a workout. He’s never really done it on his own before so I asked him what he planned on doing. He was totally going to improvise.

I’m not sure if this is a wise thing to do with teenagers but I insisted that he have a plan or get a plan online rather than just improvise.

Weights isn’t something you improvise.

DAVID:

Yeah, it is more of a safety concern more than anything. With anyone doing and exercise program checking things like posture and alignment is important. 

These are universal things. Are they rounding their back or putting a bunch of weight on it. Whether they have a flat, nice long neutral spine. Those types of things.

It’s not a bad idea to check in with a trainer or professional. Just finding an online resource that might give four to six exercises and how to do them right for whatever age group.

Yeah I agree with that.

It is more of a safety thing. You don’t want him getting hurt.

GREG:

If parents don’t know what they’re doing either it’s hard. There are a lot of trainers accessible online that you can contact from your local gym.

DAVID:

Yeah a lot for free.

GREG:

Yeah that’s true too.

 

I mentioned that I have weights, but I’m imagine a lot of people rely on their gym for weights and stuff for their teen and for themselves.

They don’t have weights at home and it might be difficult to come by right now. What would you do instead of weights at this point? Is there any substitute?

DAVID:

You can do a ton with your own body weight.

Do a simple Google search and you’ll get all kinds of body weight exercises online.

There’s so many things you could do.

Around your house you might look for things, I’ve seen people use backpacks full of books or a bag full or something.

Books are probably the best because they have some weight to them. If you are squatting with them or rowing with them you can find intensity levels that way.

Do your pushups with your feet up on your couch or your hands up on the couch is something that can adjust the intensity of the exercise.

Variety. There are other things out there. Such as suspension straps. I’ve seen people, the brand name would be the TRX, something like that is what you might strap to a door or tied to a tree.

It’s a body weight training system.

Get creative. Like I said things around the house are going to be the most easily accessible.

Using your dog if it’s not too heavy. Build yourself a bag. I’m stuck on the dog thing but anything you can pick up and put back down. Maybe it’s a box full of records or something.

You have to get creative.

GREG:

Final question, do you have any final advice for getting your kids active?

DAVID:

I would say don’t overwhelm yourself with it all. Give yourself a bit of a break first goes a long way. Take the pressure off yourself to do all of these things right now is going to be good for your own mental and physical health.

Show yourself some love doing little bits at a time.

Spending some family time, making it a team effort. Just breaking it up. I think that’s my overall kind of feeling at this time.

GREG:

Yeah I really like your ideas. Two top things I am taking from it for my own life is breaking it up making those kind of recess moments and then giving them choice. To kind of drive the bus metaphorically.

Thank you this has been really informative for me.

And I think our parents as well, certainly the ones who asked the questions got a lot out of this, but I’m sure a lot of other parents did as well so I appreciate you coming to share your humanity today. Thank you very much.

DAVID:

Thanks very much Greg. I really hope it helps. I look forward to hearing how everything goes.

Take care.

GREG:

Take care.

CONCLUSION

Thank you for listing to the sharing humanity podcast.

Remember, make sure your doctor is okay with any physical activity you are trying out.

Check out our Manulife Facebook page for new yoga stretches with Christy on Tuesdays and Thursdays for David’s garage grind.

Also, if you’re looking for more important information regarding COVID-19, please check out Manulife.ca and follow the link to our corona virus page.