They say that a family that exercises together stays together. Okay, we might have changed a few words but you get the idea.
Health is one of the most important things in life that, unfortunately, a lot of people take for granted. Most of us know how valuable our health is. We’ve heard the surgeon general’s warning about smoking. We all know the argument against excessive eating. We’re aware of the disadvantages of a sedentary lifestyle. And yet, despite all of these, we still haven’t done anything to improve our lifestyle and make it a lot healthier.
And now that we’re in a pandemic, we can see the glaring differences of maintaining a healthy lifestyle as opposed to one that compromises our health a lot.
The Importance of Physical Fitness for Kids
Physical activity offers several benefits, especially for children. We’re all aware of how they are great for building stronger bones and bodies. We also know the direct effects of good physical health on one’s mental health.
But more importantly, starting them young means instilling the necessary foundations that they can build upon as they grow older. If physical activities are a big part of their childhood, it is highly likely they will maintain that lifestyle into their adulthood.
Getting Them Started
For those who are serious about improving their family’s health and fitness, a change of lifestyle is in order. Here are a few simple ways to ease into it without any dramatic and abrupt changes:
Lead the way
A study found that parents who lived an active lifestyle were likely to raise physically active kids from a very young age. Parents who want their kids to live active lifestyles should model the behavior they desire to see in their kids.
Make it fun
One of the stigmas of working out is the exhaustion and pain that go with the territory. Often, you’ll hear adults grimace and complain just by hearing the words exercise or workout. When kids see that reaction, it creates an imprint in their minds that being fit is hard work and painful. But if one takes the approach that makes it fun for younger ones, such as treating it as a game, then that changes everything.
Pick some physical yet highly enjoyable activities that you believe your kids will love. There are a lot of great age-appropriate exercise ideas online. Give them all a try with your kids. And if you really want to get them hooked, join in on the whole fun. That will leave a more impressionable mark on them.
Make it a priority on your calendar
If you want kids to live a healthy lifestyle, you will need to make it a priority in your home. Aside from eating healthily and getting sufficient rest, kids also need to establish the right habits that will keep them physically active. Establishing habits need consistency and thoughtful planning. Set aside time on your calendar that’s solely dedicated to exercise. It doesn’t have to be a full-blown workout plan. Look for activities that are appropriate for your kids’ ages that you think they will take a genuine interest in to help keep them going.
Have them try out different sports
Playing sports is a great way of introducing a healthy lifestyle to kids. Take them to indoor and outdoor facilities with different types of sports surfacing techniques to know which ones suit them best.
Some kids enjoy playing basketball or volleyball on the hardwood. Others enjoy being outdoors playing tennis on the lawn. Still, others prefer working on their front tucks and layouts on mats in gymnastics facilities. Ask your child what they want to try out and be their number one fan and supporter.
Go on walks as much as you can
Walking might not seem to be much of a workout compared to HIIT or doing pilates but it burns enough calories and helps keep one in shape. They say that the average person should walk around 10,000 steps daily. You can probably take off a couple of thousand steps for your kids, depending on their ages, but the important thing is they see the health value of walking.
After dinner, go on nightly walks around the block as a family. Leave the car when you’re going somewhere nearby. Have them take the dogs out for daily walks. Take brisk walks around the park every day with them.
Even if you’re not a physically active parent, it’s never too late to change the way your family approaches health and fitness. The important thing is you and your partner are willing to commit to this lifestyle change for the benefit of your children.