Leah Salterio – The Philippine Star

February 16, 2022 | 12:00am

Heart health is a family affair. However, not everyone is conscious about that. For Team Kramer, the family of cager Doug, wife Chesca and their three adorable celebrity kids – Kendra, Scarlet and Gavin – they have managed to make their healthy lifestyle a family affair.

Team Kramer was a recent guest in Usapang Puso sa Puso, the monthly forum of the Philippine Heart Association (PHA) on the observance of heart month. The family shared important health tips that they regularly follow.

In 2016, Doug suffered a mild stroke. It was such a shocking turn of events for him, then still an active cager for the PBA (Philippine Basketball Association). “Who would have thought that at my age, I would experience something of that kind in my life?,” he shared. “At that time, I was at the peak of my health and I suffered a stroke.”

“They discovered there was a hole in my heart. A clot entered that caused the stroke. I staggered and fell to the ground and I lost my balance. When I recall that, my kids were beside me. Right after doing my first set of exercise, that happened,” he added.

What happened became an awakening for Doug. He was able to recover in about three months. “It was like a second chance,” he said. “But a lot of things had to be changed when that happened. Diet was very important for me to transition to the next phase of my life. Whatever triggered that stroke or what happened to my heart, I needed to make some changes.”

Doug’s physicians were able to address the problem by doing a PFO (patent foramen ovale) closure on the upper chambers of his heart.

These days, not only Doug is conscious about his diet. He and Chesca are hands-on about their diet as a family. They make sure the children consume well-balanced meals. “The term that my wife and I used, we’re very intentional,” Doug informed. “In guiding our kids and molding them into the children that we want them to be.”

“Part of that is discipline, exercise, diet. All of those things,” he said. “They have to be well-rounded. They are still being home-schooled. They’ve been doing that for four years now. They have a lot of activities. They do a lot of things that occupy their time. For them to have all of these activities, they have to be well-fed. It starts out by making sure they have a well-balanced meal. They have to eat a lot of fruits. Our kids, they just love to eat.”

Team Kramer also follows a regular exercise regimen, with the age-appropriate physical activities their three children do.

“Our kids have a lot of activities. I guess that also starts from parents. They set an example,” said Doug. “I’ve been a professional basketball player for 12 years. They see the discipline and responsibility that go with it. From doing all these training and infusing it into their time. At their age, time management is so important.”

They shared tips on how to make children discover the joys of physical activity, instead of simply being glued on TV or gadgets. When the children have their free time, they are allowed to use their gadgets. Fridays and Saturdays, the kids get limited gadget time. Using their iPads, laptops and their phones has a limited time.

“You can put that on screen time under settings,” Doug shared. “You can program that for one to two hours a day. I think that’s fine. That provides them a little escape. They can play their games or watch a few videos. It’s always important to regulate those things. They’re kids. Sometimes, they might see things that they’re not supposed to. You can limit that also.”

“With all those limitations, our jobs as parents is to inform our kids about a lot of things,” he added. “We don’t want our kids to get information only from social media or YouTube. A lot of things our kids see and experience, they come from us.”

Understandably, the Kramers have their house rules, with “musts” to ensure a healthy home. The children typically wake up between 7 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. They do their home school from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Then their activities start.

The kids have arnis on Mondays. Kendra does swimming and ballet on Tuesdays. On Wednesdays, all three do jujitsu, while Scarlet does taekwondo. Gavin has his basketball training two to three times a week. It’s always a “very, very busy week” for the family, yet, they make sure exercise is part of what they do.

For junk food, Chesca is a lot more strict when it comes to what the kids eat. The kids are allowed to enjoy chocolates or chips, but always in regulation, according to Doug. They have their junk food time on weekends.

As a family, Team Kramer’s favorite bonding moments include simple activities like walking around their village or talking about how their day went.

“It’s an opportunity for the kids to also update us on how their activities went or just talk in general, have fun and play together,” Doug offered. “We love to play board games, card games like Uno or Monopoly Deal. We also like to watch movies together.”

Every night, Team Kramer does their devotion as a family and prays together. “That’s the most important,” Doug concluded.

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