Physical activity is good for our bodies. There is no question about that. The benefits of a good workout are countless. When we break a good sweat, we reduce our risk of cardiovascular disease. Our bones and muscles get stronger. We gain mental clarity and relieve stress. But I’m curious, what kind of example are we setting for our children?
Whether you exercise or not, your children witness your actions daily. This leaves an impression on them that could impact how they live their lives down the road. Seeing you leave for the gym or take to the streets for a good run is great but what would happen if you included them?
This week I'm celebrating “Exercise with Your Child Week” and we want to challenge you to one full week of exercise with your kiddo. Don’t worry if you don’t have a child, you could always reach out to borrow a friend’s, neighbor’s or take someone who needs a break from “the norm.”
Physical activity is awesome. Here’s why:
Combat health issues.
Conditions and diseases are drastically reduced with frequent workouts. Couple that with weight loss or preventing excess gain, and it’s all around a good idea. Starting your child on the right foot can lead to healthy lifelong habits.
You just feel better.
Exercise is a natural mood elevator. It boosts your mood - not only from the happy chemicals that have been stirred up, but the feeling of accomplishment that comes with a good burn. (Bonus: Going for a run or walk also makes an awesome attitude reset. When a child is in a funk, going for a run is a fantastic way to shake it off. And if that doesn’t seem to work, you could always loop the block one more time. That usually inspires a better mood!)
Sleep more soundly.
Right up there with massage, physical activity can be you (and your child’s) ticket to a quality good night’s sleep.
Truthfully, working out together is a bonding experience. It opens the door to curious conversation, heart to heart chats, and the opportunity to grow as an athlete together.
By committing to working out with your child for one week, you are making a commitment to your health and your child’s health. Don’t worry if you haven’t worked out before. When your child sees your ability to try something new, learn, adapt and push through, you become a role model. It doesn’t have to be pretty and you don’t have to have a degree in health or physical education. You just need a desire to learn and want to spend time with a loved one. So go out there and try something new and bring along your child. We hope your new routine sticks for longer than a week.
Every one of us has been a child. And as children, we all know there are two kinds of adults: There are those who get it, who know how to talk, play, imagine, and explore like a kid. And there are, well, the rest of them. The excruciatingly boring ones, the ones who terrify us into swearing, cross our hearts, that we'll never turn into that kind of grown up. The kind that sent Peter Pan hightailing it for Neverland as fast as Tinkerbell could take him.
You may be an adult now, one who pays bills and takes vitamins and reads about the things politicians say, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have high-quality, meaningful interactions with the kids in your life, whether they’re your own or simply the kids next door.
Here are three places to start:
Ask different questions
Dinner table or car ride conversation is often stunted. Kids are great at one word answers to typical daily questions like "How was your day? Did you learn anything cool in school today?"
And every kid gets the same two questions when they see adults who are not their parents. "How old are you now?" and "How's school?"
So mix it up! Here are some great conversation starters to ask (and answer) when you're hanging out with kids.
We can use the word 'exercise' loosely here. The key is to move around, get the endorphins flowing, and have fun. Play the kids your favorite dance song, and let them choose one, too. Race up and down the driveway a few times. Bust out some old-school jumping jacks or a jump rope. Even 5 minutes is enough to get the blood pumping and some giggles happening.
Massage each other
Massage does not have to be a big complex endeavor. It can be quick and easy, and you can do it just about anywhere. Watch this video together, and practice massaging other. and incorporating stories.
Create your own stories to make it even more fun. This type of anywhere, anytime massage is especially great for kids with anxiety. Try it at bedtime, or in the morning before school, or even in the waiting room at the dentist.
There you have it! Three ways to be the cool adult in your favorite kid’s life!