Modern medicine is overwhelmingly reactive rather than proactive. It is better to prevent disease instead of trying to find cures for diseases after they occur. The reasoning here is similar to why you change the oil in your car, rather than wait to fix a blown engine.
At Helen Doron we believe in promoting both a healthy, plant-based diet together with a range of exercise methodologies for children, in order to prevent disease later on in life and to promote a lifelong appreciation of their bodies. These are taught and practiced daily, using fun activities specially designed to encourage the children to participate in and more importantly, enjoy themselves.
By providing a plant-based diet, we are giving children the best possible start in life, preventing all too common diseases like diabetes and heart conditions that are now being found even in very young children (1). The phenomenon of childhood obesity has now reached epidemic proportions, especially in the developed world where children are both overfed and under nourished (2). To provide food that has been scientifically proven to promote healthier children, we have adopted strategies used by professional nutritionists who specialise in the connection between diet and health in young children.
Exercise has been shown not only to encourage heathier lifestyles in children, but also to increase their concentration and energy levels, leading to better academic performance (3). Helen Doron programmes such as Ready Steady Move employ a variety of exercise methodologies including yoga, Pilates, martial arts and dance to encourage overall body strength, coordination, balance and fitness.
The physical and mental benefits of yoga have been known for millennia, but have now been proven in many scientific studies including the comprehensive overview by Alison Ross and Sue Thomas (4). These include reducing the effects of many diseases such as diabetes and mental illness whilst improving sleep, flexibility and concentration. Yoga is especially beneficial for children, as it promotes the correct muscle and bone development to build strong, yet supple bodies – bodies that will attain healthy postures and just as importantly, understand how to relax in the face of the continuing bombardment of stress that pervades modern day living.
Pilates is a regimen followed by many adults around the world for its myriad of health benefits, but unfortunately not taught to children (as opposed to yoga which is becoming more and more popular) (5). Helen Doron is a forerunner in this branch of childhood development including regular Pilates workouts in its Ready Steady Move programmes starting as early as age three and half. By the time the children complete three years of the Ready Steady Move course, they will have learnt and practiced a significant amount of Pilate techniques designed to improve both core muscle and kinaesthetic abilities. These in turn aid in producing correct breathing, neck alignment, rib and scapular stabilization and pelvic mobility.
Dance like martial arts encourages both brain development and overall health that in turn leads to better concentration, mood, spatial recognition and even long-term memory (6). This, coupled with the physical benefits of increased coordination, cardiovascular fitness and body control that martial arts provide, together with their well-documented improving of psychological health (7) make these activities ideal for young children.
All the activities in the Helen Doron programmes are designed in a holistic manner to improve young minds and bodies using the best methodologies available, so that the healthy children of today can become the healthy adults of tomorrow.
1: Type 2 diabetes in a four-year-old child – CMAJ. 2017 Jul 4; 189(26): E888–E890.
2: Childhood obesity: causes and consequences – J Family Med Prim Carev.4(2); Apr-Jun 2015PMC4408699
3: Physical Activity, Fitness, and Physical Education: Effects on Academic Performance – Committee on Physical Activity and Physical Education in the School Environment; Food and Nutrition Board; Institute of Medicine; Kohl HW III, Cook HD, editors.
Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2013 Oct 30.
4: The Health Benefits of Yoga and Exercise: A Review of Comparison Studies – Journal of alternative and complementary medicine (New York, N.Y.) · January 2010 DOI: 10.1089/acm.2009.0044 · Source: PubMed
6: Dancing and the Brain by Scott Edwards – On the Brain, The Harvard Mahoney Neuroscience Institute
7: Psychosocial Benefits of the Martial Arts: Myth or Reality? Brad Binder, Ph.D – A Literature Review