Years ago I learned something very important:
"Children (as young as 2 years of age) that visually see their parents exercising are 70% less likely to experience obesity!"
Now, don't misinterpret that statement. It is not referring to children that PARTICIPATE in exercise. It is simply referring to children literally watching their parents exercise. So that alone should encourage you, as a parent, to start exercising in front of your child.
Check this out: Less than one-third of kids aged 6 to 17 get at least 20 minutes of vigorous exercise a day, and the 2010 Shape of the Nation Report from the American Heart Association and the National Association for Sport and Physical Education actually recommends one hour of exercise a day for Americans of all ages.
When my first child reached the age of 2 (in 2006), I made it a point to involve her in just about every aspect of my exercise and physical fitness. Whether it was working out in our basement, shoveling snow, going for a run, playing ice hockey, anything....I always made it a point to first let her know what I was doing. Second, to let her know why I was doing it. And third, I would get her involved in some way; even if it was simply watching. Now, after having 3 little girls, I always encourage them daily to do something for their physical health.
So, as a parent, what can you do help encourage and lead your child toward a healthy, active life?
TIPS FOR PARENTS:
- Practice what you preach! Your child must see that you value the importance of exercise.
- Limit TV, video games, and computer time.
- Children need at least 60 minutes of exercise every day.
- Get your child involved in some (out of school) sports activity/team. We let our 3 girls participate in 2 sports throughout the year. And they CHOOSE their activity, we don't.
- Make it fun. Encourage them and talk positive. So many parents focus on what their child could of done better, or what they should of done (especially after games). Give your child praise, talk positive to them, and they are sure to keep participating.
- Give your child options and varieties. The worst thing you can do for your child is to focus on 1 sport when your child is young. They will burn out and quit in their teens. Multi sports develop a well rounded, physically strong athlete.
- Engage in family activities with your child/children. If you are participating in a 5K run, let your child participate in the 1 mile run. Go to the park and play family soccer or kick ball. Anything that engages your child and your family is sure to be fun.
Think of it this way … by taking the time to get your kids interested in exercise now, you're giving them a gift that will keep them healthy and happy for the rest of their lives.
If you need help starting your child on the right path of a healthy, active life, PLEASE feel free to contact me and I will guide you and support you in anyway possible.
Yours in Health,