As adults we’re aware of how important it is to take care of our health, to eat right and get adequate physical activity. We go on crazy diets. We try bizarre workouts. We run marathons and join yoga classes. But what about the kids?
It’s become a cliché that at least an hour a day of play is sufficient enough for a child. That may be true, I mean have you seen a kid play? They run and jump. They climb and swing. They do things adults would kill themselves trying!
But what happens when they’ve outgrown the playground? When books and video games take over their time? That’s when fitness is tossed aside and unhealthy futures begin. It’s up to the adults in their lives to teach them ways to keep physical activity a part of their daily lives.
A trick I learned when I was training for my first 5k was inclusion. There were times when I couldn’t find a sitter for small amount of time I spent on the path every day. Instead of nixing the routine completely on those days, I took my daughter alone and included her. Yes, it drastically slowed my pace. But what it did do was instill in my daughter that this was an everyday thing. That just going the distance, no matter how fast or slow, was better than not going at all.
This also gave me a chance to start teaching her proper running form, something even my gym classes had failed to teach me growing up. She’s enthusiastic about my running and is excited at the idea of her own first run. By the end of the year, she will have participated in her first fun run.
So many places offer opportunities for your child to be active. And almost all will teach the safest ways for them to do so without incurring injuries. These methods are designed for children of all levels of skill. Dance studios, sports teams (whether with the school or in the community), and gymnastics are just a few ways to get your children interested in being active.
A couple off the beat activities would include things such as battle reenactments, geocaching, and nature hikes. These things will appeal more to the introverts and bookworms in your life while still getting them outside and on their feet.
In the end, which activity your child takes interest in doesn’t make much difference. So long as they know that it’s important to remain active throughout their lives. This not only helps them physically, but there are social and mental benefits as well.