We help girls achieve wellness and happiness in their lives by teaching them how to sustain a balanced, healthy lifestyle. Wellness is so much more than physical health, exercise, or nutrition. A healthy lifestyle is an integration of emotional wellness, intellectual wellness, physical wellness, and spiritual wellness. Through therapy, skills development, relationship development, community service, values clarification, and healthy lifestyle we help girls integrate these dimensions of wellness into their daily lives. The Healthy Lifestyle group also focuses attention on emotional and physical wellness by addressing body image, stress management, personal hygiene, exercise and a healthy diet.
Healthy Diet and Nutrition
The girls take charge of their diets through learning how to plan healthy, balanced meals, choosing nutritious food options when grocery shopping, and participating in meal preparation. The girls acquire factual knowledge about nutrition and the mind-body-emotional benefits of healthy food choices. Since nutritional deficiency is a proven risk factor for depression, the menus at Uinta are designed to provide balanced nutrition and are reviewed by a certified dietician. We introduce girls to a variety of healthy food options and encourage them to expand their palates.
Menus include plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low fat dairy, and lean protein sources. Menu planning also focuses on reduced consumption of sugar, fats, and caffeine. The girls plan and maintain a garden and incorporate fresh produce into their menus. The girls’ involvement in the meal planning process allows them to eat foods they love while exposing them to healthy options and increasing their enthusiasm for healthy eating.
Adolescence is a time of increased physical, intellectual, and emotional growth. As a result of this growth, teenagers need at least 9 hours of sleep every night; yet teenagers are notorious for not getting enough sleep! We have the girls maintain a regular sleep schedule that helps them get in the habit of going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day. We also guide the girls in establishing a relaxing bedtime routine that helps them unwind and prepare for restful sleep. Getting plenty of exercise and learning how to manage stress and anxiety are also useful tools that help girls fall and stay asleep. Adequate sleep impacts many aspects of a girl’s functioning. She is better able to regulate her mood and resist risk-taking behavior. Her motivation and desire to work toward goals is greater. Improved sleep also assists in better school performance as a girl’s attention, memory, decision making, and concentration are better when she is rested.
Science provides powerful insight into the neurophysiology of how exercise affects a girl’s mood, her ability to manage anxiety and stress, and her learning and scholastic performance. Because physical wellness is more than participation in exercise or sports, we engage the girls in a variety of physical activities that promote an active, fit lifestyle and help them discover something they will enjoy doing life-long. Girls who exercise regularly will continue to do so because it gives them an enormous sense of well-being. They feel more energetic throughout the day, sleep better at night, have sharper memories, and feel more relaxed and positive about themselves.
On Uinta’s grounds are tennis courts, basketball courts, volleyball nets, and a soccer field which the girls use during organized activities or during their free time. During the weekdays, the girls start their mornings with high intensity interval training (HIIT) – alternating periods of short, intense anaerobic exercise with less intense recovery periods. HIIT optimizes the development of cardiorespiratory fitness and gets the girls energized for their school day. The girls also participate in weekly yoga classes. If she chooses, a girl can also participate in the Zumba and Dance clubs.
During the summer months, all the girls play softball. They learn the basic fundamentals of softball, practice, and play games every week. Softball is beneficial for total body conditioning, upper body development, teaches teamwork, and improves self confidence.
Many of the girls’ outings are centered on physical activities such as hiking, horseback riding, or swimming during the summer months and skating, sledding, skiing, and snowboarding in the winter months. Aside from structured exercise, physical activity is built into the girls’ daily routine. This helps exercise become a lifestyle choice rather than a task to check off the to-do list. Daily physical activity includes working with the horses, stacking hay, gardening and yard work, household chores, and taking walks. These tasks boost the girls’ self-confidence, increase self-awareness, and help the girls maintain balance and physical wellness in their lives.
Uinta Academy offers a yoga style that is focused on youth specific challenges in navigating healthily and functionally in daily life. On campus, with certified professional group instruction, an environment is set up with a feeling of safety, security and non-judgment. Students are guided through different mindfulness activities structured to target areas including self-esteem, empowerment, self care and healthy connections. Through sequenced flexibility, balance and strengthening poses, healing is promoted both physically and emotionally. With the concept of treating the students as if they are already whole when they come to the mat, a basis of trust is established and students are encouraged to listen to their bodies and minds, taking options that are conducive to creating the best class experience on a personal level each time they participate in yoga. Theme-based yoga games, calming breathing techniques, partner yoga, share circles, journaling and small group presentations keep an atmosphere of non-competition and mutual respect. Students are also taught yoga principles such as non-violence, gratitude, honesty and continued drive for learning throughout life. Time is taken to demystify some of the common misconceptions about yoga so the students understand it as a way to improve their life and enhance their personal productivity in any area they choose to aspire. Practicing the ability to quiet the mind and make healthy choices are the greatest skills they are able to take off of their mats and out into the world.