Helping Kids Get Fit with Fun Family Activities
True confession: I hated gym as a kid. I wasn’t much of an athlete at camp either, although I loved the experience. I was a book-reading, piano-practicing, living-inside-my-head kind of girl. And I never saw my parents break a sweat either.
Many (many) years later, I’m in the best shape of my life. I go to Pure Barre several times a week. I walk everywhere. And as a health coach, my first recommendation to clients is nearly always this: “Find an activity you love and do it. Regularly. It’s as good for your head as it is for your hips.”
But let’s face it: parents put their own self-care after their kids’. Where do you find the time to schedule your workout amid the schooling, volunteering, multitasking, and chauffeuring? You don’t.
Instead, look for and book the time when you can all work out together, as a family.
Raising your heart rate is not the objective here. Nor is building stronger muscles. What is important is strengthening the bonds between you through shared activity and establishing healthy habits that can last a lifetime—for them and for you. Plus, as parents, you are modeling the behaviors that you know you want your children to adopt.
Let’s say one of your children has a weight problem. Or maybe you do. Rather than concentrate on the negative (restrictive diets, lecturing, self-critical thoughts), engage everyone in a positive way that gets you moving and having a great time together. Make it a fun family activity so no one feels singled out.
It could be as simple as plogging (cleaning up the playground or park as you jog through) or parkour, which turns physical objects, like handrails or benches, into exercise equipment to make the mind and body stronger and more resilient.
Yoga, gardening, tai chi, and ballroom dancing are great for any age or physical condition, which makes them wonderful ways to include everyone from grandparents to toddlers.
While there are plenty of team sports groups, these can feel intimidating to families new to structured physical activity. Look for opportunities (at the Y or even on YouTube) that help you learn the basics together so you can feel more confident and better enjoy the activity on the field.
We are born to move. And families who do online school or homeschool may have even more opportunities to incorporate enjoyable exercise into the learning day. Whether taking a five-minute break or having a planned “recess” time, your students will benefit physically, will relieve stress, and may even learn more effectively as a result. Plus, as a recent study published by the American College of Sports Medicine puts it, “moving is fun.”
And who better than you can teach that lesson?
To learn how you can have a more flexible learning schedule and be more involved in your child’s education through online public school, visit the Connections Academy website. Or to learn about online private school, visit International Connections Academy’s website.
Today’s guest blogger, Susan Bodiker, is the founder of One Girl Wellness, a health-coaching consultancy dedicated to “raising stronger women one girl at a time.” She works with women on issues of weight and self-esteem and helps them make peace with their bodies by learning how to love and heal themselves.