Parents tend to exercise separately to their children.
Don’t take no for an answer, just make it happen.
One of my favourite parts of my week is to go down to the Strand and walk. I don’t get to do it everyday and often when I am walking I have a child or two for company. It is always striking to me how very few adults there have children in tow. Yes, I know they are slow. But I’ve tried to find ways to speed it up. The best so far is for them to scooter while I walk. Though the rip stik involves a bit of stopping and starting.
It always gets me thinking, as a family we tend to exercise separately. Many other families are exactly the same, parents exercise separately to their children. Yet when it comes to exercise like adults, kids need exercise. Kids no matter their age need at least an hour of physical activity every single day. Now this is just a minimum and this is the recommendation from a host of organizations and research from psychiatry, psychology to heart and sleep experts.
So how do we really start to get kids moving? In a world that is embracing technology this means hours spent sitting. The more hours sitting the less spent running and playing. Firstly you need to limit the tv-videos and take back those precious hours. Life is actually outside the door, not watching it on the screen. And like all things parenting, set a good example yourself. It doesn’t quite work if they don’t actually see you exercise or that you don’t do it together at times. Exercising together can be fun for everyone. So build in some family activities around exercise.
Whether it be kicking a ball around the yard or at the Strand. Riding your bikes in the morning or late afternoon. Next time you walk the ‘hill’ do it as a family, don’t take no for an answer, just make it happen. Before you know it the complaints will have turned into compliance and then enjoyment.
Need some more motivation to stop making excuses as to why you can’t do it? Then think about this: By giving your children exercise you are giving them a gift to last a lifetime.
Did you know: physical inactivity is a major risk factor for your child to develop heart disease as an adult? It also increases their risk of stroke, obesity, blood pressure and diabetes as an adult. No parent wants a future for their child that includes such health problems. The seeds are sown now in childhood and there is plenty of research to show us that if you set the pattern of exercise as being part of their day as children, they will continue this into their adult lives. The opposite is also true, inactive children become inactive adults.
Once you start to include exercise in your day it only takes a matter of a couple of weeks to see the benefits, your child will feel less stressed, will feel better about themselves, be more ready to learn in school, build healthy bones, muscles and joints, sleep better all by just one hour of exercise a day. If you are struggling with a teenager, all this is true too plus they will become more confident and co-operative!
Put simply children who exercise enjoy a better, healthier and sunnier outlook on life. So work out what exercise works for you as a family and get started to a happier life today.