What's good for you, is good for your family!
I'm sure your kids are active in at least 1 team sport, maybe baseball or soccer. Or, if your daughter is like mine, it's dancing and gymnastics. Additionally, your kids have recess at school where they can move around.
But, here's a question for you…how many sports or physical activities are you involved in? Unless you're a gym teacher, your work probably doesn't have a PE period in the middle of the day. 🙂
While your kids play, practice or rehearse, don't you usually sit on the sideline and just watch them move and run around while you sip on your “venti-sized” drink to give you the extra energy boost to watch.
You feel that “as long as your kid is moving and getting exercise, you're doing your part.” Meanwhile, you might be moving less and less as the days and years pass by.
Of course, there's good reason why you can't get the the gym.
Your calendar is busier, work is more stressful, and there's a bunch of great new Cable shows on the air!
Did you know that making sure your kids exercise just becomes unhealthy for the whole family. I'll explain more later.
Kids do as they see done, not as they're told. Right? Don't they always come home from school repeating the bad words or behaviors that they see another kid do during the day?
Or repeat that word that came out of your mouth when someone cut you off in traffic on the way home from a late sport's practice? Oops!
Be the Role Model!
As parents, its our job to role model for our kids. If we want our kids to eat healthy, we need to eat healthy and stop buying the junk food!
If we want our kids to exercise, guess what? We need to show them how to make exercise a part of their lives, by modeling it in our own life.
Bottom line, it is unhealthy JUST to have your kids in sports because you are not showing them the value and importance of moving as an adult.
You also need to take care of your health, both physical and mental, in order to “be there” for your children so they can be there for themselves.
In a previous article, I shared 3 very valuable benefits of exercise for your long-term health and that of your brain. It's a short article, but one that can provide tremendous insight to the benefit of exercise for a brain healthy life.
So…how do you do it? How can you serve as a role model to your kids so they internalize the importance of exercise and make it a lifelong habit?
3 ways to create exercise habits that will stay with your children, and you, for a lifetime
Below are 3 examples of how you can incorporate exercise into the fabric of your family's life. Stick around to the end for a bonus benefit!
1. Limit TV for you and your kids and get out and move
In a 2000 study, Dr. TT Fung and colleagues at Harvard University, reported that increased physical activity and low levels of TV watching were associated with improved cardiovascular health and improved cholesterol levels.
In particular, more exercise equates to higher levels of good cholesterol (HDL) while, inversely associated, the more TV watching, the lower the HDL levels and higher the bad cholesterol (LDL) levels.
The take home message here is that for overall health, and improved brain health, turn off the TV and go for a brisk walk as a family or for a hike. If you want to do more, great! But, at minimum, walk.
It will also give you all some time to chat about your day and share what you were grateful for. You'll see that your kids share more with you and really tell you what's “going on” when there are no distractions like TV around.
2. Take your kids to the park
The park is so underrated for kids! Not only does it give your kids a chance to ride their bike, skateboard, kick a ball, swing or just run around, but it also gives YOU a chance to ride your bike, skateboard, kick a ball, swing or just run around! 🙂 Do you notice the similarity?
The point of this example is for you to lead by example! Your kids will ultimately do what you do. Similarly, you should do what they do, which is to play and run.
The park is great for doing sprints, which is a great fat-burning and metabolism-boosting form of burst training which involves running as fast as you can for 12 seconds, resting for 8 seconds and then repeating the cycle, for as many cycles as you can.
It's simple, while your kids are doing their thing, you could do some sprints. I guarantee you that they will start running beside you, even if it's only one lap. They'll love it and you'll have a fantastic way to stay lean, and have fun in a very short period of time which they will take with them as they grow older.
3. Don't stop when you're traveling
Traveling as a family shouldn't give you a license to not exercise. In fact, if you exercise as a family when traveling, the memories that your kids hold onto will stay with them longer.
And, remember, this is all about instilling in your children a value of exercise so, as they grow older and incorporate healthy living with their own kids, they rely on your modeling of exercise that you've exhibited for them.
This is your legacy of health. Show them, by example, that you love your brain, as much as you love them!.
Wanna have fun with them on a beach while on vacation? Have them join you in doing sprints on the sand and in some water. Not only will they enjoy this immensely, but you'll actually get a much better burn because it's much harder to run in sand and water than just on grass.
Bonus: Exercise together as a family outside and get the added detox benefit!
Believe it or not, most adults and children are deficient in vitamin D. Even in Southern California where we live 90% of our year in sunny conditions.
Why is this important? Vitamin D is a major detoxifying substance that helps maintain a healthy immune system and impacts EVERY cell in your body which helps stave off a host of adult and child ailments ranging from autoimmunity to learning deficits. You can get additional vitamin D by taking supplements.
Being in the sun promotes the natural generation of vitamin D in your body. All it takes is 20-30 minutes of sun exposure every day, to set you on the right path.
In summary, exercising together as a family, preferably outside, creates fond memories of family bonding, brain health, optimal health and detoxification…for the whole family!
Join in the discussion…
What have you found to be beneficial from exercise and, especially doing it with your kids? Have you noticed that your kids have taken on a greater ownership of their physical activity as a result of you modeling exercise for them and with them?
I would love to hear some examples of how you incorporate exercise into your family daily habits. Please comment below and share. AND, if you've found any of this article helpful, share it with your friends and family so that you can help them too!
I am fueled by "Paying It Forward in Health" on this site.My main driver in creating this website, alongside my family, is to share our ongoing family health journey in hopes of encouraging others to have the health epiphany that we have been blessed to experience.
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