You are the best role-model for your kids. If you move more, then they will be inspired to move more too. If you want to encourage your kids to be more active, healthy and happy then it’s great to lead by example. Practise what you preach!
Make exercise a normal part of your everyday life. It’s important for everyone’s health and happiness. Here are some tips to help you make it happen:
Making fitness fun
Make exercise fun – and it doesn’t have to cost lots. For example, go for a walk around your neighbourhood, go to a park, or even to a nearby lake or beach. Or get on the internet and Google some yoga poses and have a giggle while trying them out with the kids. I love doing yoga with my toddler Finn. He’s done it so much now that he will sometimes get out a yoga mat when he feels like it too and practise some of the moves. I cheer him on when he does this.
Walk to school, don’t drive. It’s good to be active throughout the day and whenever you can. I also find my kids chat to me during this time and they build up fitness levels without realising.
If your child is interested in running then start them off on a run/walk routine. Explain that it takes time to build up their fitness levels. Run/walk alongside them and tell them to slow down if they are breathing heavily. You should be able to talk while running. Make it fun and a short distance i.e. just around the block to start with or do laps of a school field. If they enjoy it then they are likely to want to do it again. Success!
Family fitness – getting healthier together
As a family, throw around a rugby ball or get out the cricket set or soccer ball after dinner or at the weekends. Ask your child what they would love to do that’s being active. Being an active family is one of the best ways you can care for and bond with your kids.
Go on adventures at the weekend when you have time. There are some amazing cycle trails around now where you can explore beautiful places. If you have little kids, then get them on scooters, little bikes or walk just a short distance. Soak up the sunshine and enjoy the wide open spaces.
Joining a sports club or fitness group
Find out if there are cool groups in your neighbourhood that cater for kids. If you can afford it there are athletics and tennis clubs, swim squads, dance classes, martial arts, just to name a few. They might try something and really love it and it could end up inspiring their fitness for a lifetime. A friend’s husband loves tennis and has enjoyed playing for many years. So you never know what could be your children’s ‘fitness thing’.
Consider entering your child into an event if they are older (and they are keen, of course – ask them first). Then help them to build up to the race. Many event such as the Cigna Round the Bays has a beginner 6.5km Fun Run/Walk option that you could do with your child. Events are great to enter as there is a wonderful atmosphere and lots of people cheering.
Supporting your family in their fitness goals
Lastly, cheer on your kids at home too whenever they are physically active. It’s awesome that they will give things a go. Being active and getting out in the sunshine, fresh air, open spaces is terrific for their wellbeing and should be encouraged at any opportunity.
Rachel is the director of inspiredhealth.co.nz