According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost one third of adults and almost 20 percent of children in the U.S. are obese, and the numbers continue to rise. We tend to blame fast food, video games, and cancelled physical education classes for causing this condition. While they may all play a part, they may not be at the root of the problem. Just a little bit of activity each day can help increase our short and long-term health. So get moving and make exercise a family affair!
Parents are Role Models
Children learn by what they see, especially when they’re young and impressionable, and their greatest role models are their parents. Unfortunately, as life gets busy, exercise is often put on the back burner and its importance becomes diminished. Kids turn on the Xbox or reach for the laptop. After a long day at work, tired adults relax on the couch and turn on the TV rather than heading out to exercise. It becomes more convenient to grab food on the way home. The habits we develop on a daily basis will have a long-term effect on our's and our children’s health.
Tips for Making Exercise a Daily Habit
Setting aside a specific time of the day when everyone can be active together can be challenging. What’s the secret to make it fit easily into a busy schedule? Exercise doesn’t have to mean going to the club and repeating the same routine. This takes a lot of work, and trying to incorporate the entire family can be quite tiresome. Children tend not to like scheduled events or boring routines. So use their sporadic tendencies to your advantage. Simple activities such as these can develop a love for exercise at a young age:
- Go for a race around the house,
- Play a random game of tag,
- Take them on in a wall sit challenge.
- Who can hold a handstand the longest or do the most jumping jacks? Kids always love a test against Dad or Mom.
- Don’t make things too difficult because they may give up or simply lose interest.
- Tap into your inner child (we all have one) and use this as bonding time with your children.
- Make simple chores fun by using your imagination and turning them into games. Gardening becomes “digging for treasure.” It’s more fun when you rake the leaves and then jump into the piles. Why not wash the car and have a water fight?
Make it a goal to be active with your children at least 30 minutes every day. Children love games and will have fun, especially if they don’t realize it’s healthy for them. You may even find yourself having more fun than them! And while you’re forming healthy habits together, you’ll also be forming healthy family bonds.
This article was adapted from an article in PRO Pulse Magazine©, a publication of PRO Sports Club. Republished with permission.