Here’s the problem. Over and over again I hear from parents “how can I get my child to be more active?” For those kids who are athletic or participate in sports, physical activity comes more easily. You don’t have to worry so much about it. If you have a child that is not interested in playing sports, getting them moving can be more challenging. Every kid (and every adult) should be physically active. We have got to stop making excuses. We know that modeling our own active lifestyle will have the biggest influence on our children. Number one in every household is, hopefully, that parents and/or caregivers value exercise and the positive impact it has on health. Of course, this is reflected in your own behavior which includes exercise at least 3 days a week. Honestly, we should really be physically active each and every day. As Nike tells us “just do it!” It is short, sweet, and to the point. Nothing else needs to be said.
Have you ever exercised and regretted it? Have you ever gone for a walk on a beautiful day, come home and said to yourself, “Darn, I wish I hadn’t done that.” Well, let me tell you, YOU HAVEN’T. I like to exercise, however, just like everyone else there are days when I can talk myself out of it. I can tell myself I have too much to do. One of my favorite things to do is to not shower in the morning, put my workout clothes on, and tell myself I’m definitely going to work out. Oh, first I have to check my email, urgent overnight texts, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google maps, and maybe check my kids’ cell phone usage on Verizon. Ok, now its time to get on the treadmill. No, wait, I wanted to order some new shoes on Zappos.com. I better do that. Getting some water to get on the treadmill. Geez, the baseboards are really dusty in the kitchen. Yep, I’m gonna clean the entire kitchen from top to bottom (that never really happens but I do think about it). Next a friend calls to go to lunch. A girls gotta eat, right? You have to nourish yourself prior to exercising. Yeah, I’ll do it when I get back from lunch… You get the point, right? By dinner time when I’m still in my workout clothes having never worked out, I’m pretty disappointed in myself. Even if you don’t feel like exercising, just do it! Once you get started, you’ll be happy you did.
What kind of activities can your youngster do? The answer is anything. You might have to try everything. You HAVE to focus on fun. Telling them how healthy it will be for them is just not gonna do the trick. Sharing that this will decrease their risk of stroke or heart attack when they get older – not so effective. Getting them to laugh, giggle, break a little sweat (ok, maybe not), enjoy time together with you or a friend will be much more likely to get them interested. Something we all can do is walk. Take opportunities when the weather is nice to go for a walk together. With younger kids you can skip, jump, make games up as you go along (warning: DO NOT do this with a middle schooler or teen – it’s negative impact on your relationship with them can be life altering). It’s best if you can get them involved in at least one structured activity a week such as a class/team/afterschool club. What are some other things to try?
- Bike riding
- Roller skating/roller blading
- Jumping rope
- Classes at a local YMCA (Some have workout rooms for kids/teens with instruction)
- Dance class (Lots of varieties)
- Trampoline (with sides, of course)
- Wii Fit, Dance Revolution, etc. (It’s better than nothing!!)
- Jogging (go to a track and let them keep tabs on the increase in their fitness level:)
- Family hikes, bike rides and/or anything else that you can all do together
- Activities/classes done with a friend are even more appealing
These ideas are just the tip of the iceberg. There are an infinite number of possibilities. I’m not saying it’s going to be easy. I am saying your physically active lifestyle will have a HUGE impact. Keep trying. Keep trying new things. Make it fun and positive. Reward them! Remember winners never quit and quitters never win – it’s true! Never ever give up on your children….and last but not least….JUST DO IT!!!
“Movement is a medicine for creating change in a person’s physical, emotional, and mental states.” – Carol Welch
Thought this was funny….
“The word aerobics came about when some gym instructors got together and said, “If we’re going to charge $10 an hour, we can’t call it jumping up and down.” Rita Rudner