A pregnant woman commonly says that she doesn't care if the baby is a boy or a girl; she just wants it to be healthy. If that is the case, parents will be pleased with new research indicating children with active parents, even during pregnancy, will be more active and healthy throughout their life. The research shows that a parent modeling healthy behaviors is the key because it influences their child’s perception of exercise at a very early age. Children who see their parents being physically active learn that exercising is a normal, necessary part of life. In addition, its great motivation for parents because you can’t tell your child to get off the computer or TV and go outside and play if you don’t do it yourself!
Exercise can occur in many forms. Some youth and teens have natural athletic ability and excel in organized sports. Those talents should be encouraged and supported. But what about those that don’t enjoy organized sports or when those that do stop playing in their adult life? Without other ideas or opportunities to move, they will not get enough exercise now or in their future. With some planning and creativity, you can get your kids more active without them even realizing it and teach them one of the most valuable lessons they’ll ever learn: exercise yields self confidence, disease prevention and brain power!
Most kids like activities with their friends or believe it or not, with their parents! If you make the extra effort to be right in there with them, you will find that your enthusiasm is infectious and contagious. Kids like playing games such as hide-and-seek, tag and Frisbee, as well as swimming, roller-skating, ice-skating, dancing, hiking, biking and walking around the mall or with a family pet. They certainly like getting your undivided attention, which will enhance your relationship and create fun family memories. You may also be able to expose them to things they didn’t think they’d like such as an aerobics or yoga class.
Ideally, kids and adults need to get 30-60 minutes of moderate activity daily. Kids, however, may be more successful doing 10-15 minutes at a time as opposed to 30 continuous minutes. Walking the family dog in the morning and biking around the neighborhood or park in the afternoon is just an example. Parents will certainly benefit from the short bouts of exercise, but they should also look to do 30 continuous minutes at least three times each week. Maybe the child is playing with friends while mom takes a walk, run or aerobics class. Demonstrating to children that exercise is a priority in your life will ensure they make it a priority in theirs. Exercise is preventive medicine, and it’s never too late to start reaping the benefits. Make your motto: sit less and move more!