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Celtics' Bass says kids 'have to be taught how important it is that they are active'

Posted by David D'Onofrio  February 5, 2014 09:00 AM

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Celtics forward Brandon Bass recently joined assistant coach Walter McCarty and renowned chef Ming Tsai for a Sun Life Financial-sponsored event aimed at preventing diabetes by helping kids establish healthy habits at a young age. The 28-year-old, who last summer enlisted in swimming lessons in part to inspire local youths, offered to share his reflections on last Thursday's appearance and its lessons.

By Brandon Bass
While being a Celtic and preparing day in and day out to play my best on the court takes up a majority of my time, I also know how important it is to connect with kids in the community, and last week I got the chance to help out at a diabetes prevention event at the Oak Square YMCA that was put together by Sun Life Financial. Sun Life is a partner of the Celtics and they are a big supporter of the Y’s Diabetes Prevention Program, so they brought me and coach Walter McCarty over to help teach Boston kids and their families fun and simple ways that they can get some more activity into their daily routines.

Chef Ming Tsai was also there to show how to make healthy meals, and I’m not going to lie, getting to show the proper technique and eat Ming’s nutritious meals was certainly a job I’m well qualified for. Lucky for Chef Ming I have a day job. Man can he cook!

But in all seriousness, it’s great helping to teach people to understand how important it is to eat right and stay fit. After all, the bottom line for me is that there’s no chance I’d be playing in the NBA without following these guidelines myself.

After the event, I went home to my family, and got to thinking about how grateful I am that I’ve been able to take what I know about exercise and nutrition and use that to help with some of the decisions we make at home for my kids. As a father of two, it’s great to watch my kids try out new activities, and start to show an interest in sports. It just so happened though, that the one sport my 6-year-old son enjoys the most was one that I couldn’t help him with: swimming!

I never learned to swim, and in fact, Brandon Jr. is the first one in our family to learn. My daughter showed an interest as well, so I decided that if they could take the plunge, so could I, and we started taking swimming lessons together.

At first, I was nervous about even learning how to float, let alone swim, but now I enjoy it almost as much as my son. As I got better at the basics, I started thinking about how easy it is for someone to get stuck in their ways when it comes to fitness. As a pro ball player, my commitment to fitness comes with the territory, but I can get tunnel vision when it comes to switching up my routine. I’ve always been a weight room and basketball court kind of guy, but when I started branching out into swimming, I realized how much it could help with my workouts and how important it is to try out different exercises, that focus on different muscle groups.

With obesity and diabetes in America climbing, the idea of changing up your routine is more important than ever. Kids these days are putting aside physical activity for video games and TV, and that has got to change. They have to be taught how important it is that they are active for at least a little bit each day. In my personal life I try to push myself to be an example for my children, and in my professional life I try to promote healthy lifestyles to kids everywhere, like the event last week with Sun Life and the YMCA. Events like this are great to get the conversation going about being healthy, and I’m excited to take part in many more. Who knows? Maybe next time I’ll lead a swimming clinic!

W1ST1368
Above: Bass has a laugh while Tsai cheers the culinary skills of Sun Life president Wes Thompson.

Below: Thompson, Tsai, and Bass are joined by host Jenny Johnson, YMCA of Greater Boston CEO Kevin Washington, as well as YMCA participants Marta Bonilla and Brendan Sutliff.

W1ST1505

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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Dave D'Onofrio follows Boston's pro players away from the field, court or ice, covering their interests and activities in the community and beyond. A Massachusetts native, once his dreams of More »

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