Children learn by watching and doing. They take away positive lessons and negatives ones just by observing the world around them. Healthy children usually have healthy parents. For example, parents who don’t smoke or drink around their children are less likely to have children that grow up to do so. It is generally agreed upon that it is important to not share or show bad habits to children, but what about good ones?
The Bogalusa Heart Study showed that parents who were overweight would pass these traits on to their children, and conversely parents who were “fit” also inspired fit children. Being a role model for your child is important and your child watching you take the time to run on a treadmill, play sports, or eat right sets a subconscious example that it is an activity worth doing. Even having a treadmill in the home encourages kids to get fit because they are tactile with expression and depending upon the model of treadmill he or she can watch a program while getting in exercise like walking. The important thing is to set the example and be there for any questions your child may have.
Show, Don’t Tell
There are countless studies that prove that lectures are less effective than setting an example. When you show your kids the results of healthy living, when you make it fun, they will respond. Being fit and being healthy feels good, so prove it to them. Fitness training doesn’t have to mean marathon training (although it can). It means focusing on a healthy mind and body, it means caring about your health and well being enough to get out and move.
Running on a treadmill or running outdoors is one of the easiest methods of getting fit and setting an example because it’s cheap and doesn’t mean you have to drop your child off to do it. He or she will be there in the home watching you while you run. They’ll observe that you keep going even after you break a sweat, and they’ll understand that somethings in life take effort and that those things are usually the important ones.
Getting Them Involved
It is difficult to exercise well, with children because they don’t often understand that science of fitness or why you need to keep the movement up continuously. However, it is possible to involve them if you can find those solutions that enable them to get fit with you without undermining you. For example, if you choose to add a cross-fitness into your routine, running and jump-rope is a great combo and could also involve your children. Jumping rope, running on a treadmill, using a hula-hoop or even balancing on an exercise ball—the important thing is that you involve your kids in a way that they know that being healthy and fit is enjoyable and worthwhile.