Be active to have more active kids!
Parenting is hard work. It’s exhausting to spend hours at work and at the gym then come home and try to be a good parent who spends time with their kids. You may try to read, play, and study with your kids, but that’s often easier said than done. After all, you’re pretty wiped at the end of a long day. You probably want nothing more than to kick back and relax.
But if you want your kids to be more active, you have to lead the way! According to a new study from the NIH, your sedentary lifestyle may be affecting your children.
The study found that fewer than 50% of 2 to 5-year olds got the recommended hour of daily exercise in 2015. Among Latino and African-American children, that number was even lower. Among these demographics, the risk of obesity is much higher.
But what’s interesting about the study is that it also examined the parents’ activity levels as well as the children’s. The parents and kids were both given accelerometers to wear throughout the day. The data was compiled for over 1,000 child-parent pairs, mostly in low-income families. The researchers analyzed the data to determine how much activity the families got.
As mentioned above, less than half the low-income families got their daily 60 minutes of exercise as recommended by the NIH. But here’s the kicker: the families that got the most exercise were the ones where the PARENT did exercise as well as the child.
When the parents did 40 minutes of exercise during the day, their preschoolers did as well. When the parents were sedentary, their children mirrored that behavior. The more the parents exercised, the more the child was likely to exercise as well.
We all know that children learn by watching us, so what sort of example do you want to set for your child? If you want your kids to be more active, it may be time for you to get off your computer, smartphone, or couch and get active yourself. Yes, it can be exhausting to try to fit in a workout or play games with your kids after a long work day. But if you love your children and want them to be healthy, it’s imperative you force yourself to do it.
The good news is that there are A LOT of activities you can do together as a family to be more active. Why not try:
- Taking a family camping trip and go hiking together
- Cycling around your city, or even biking to a nearby town/city
- Walking around a park
- Go enjoy water sports like water skiing, surfing, swimming, or tubing
- Plays sports together at a local park
There are so many creative ways you can get active, especially on the weekends. During the week, why not consider taking a class together? You can take Yoga, Pilates, martial arts, boxing, spinning, or any number of classes with your children. You may not be into it at first, but remember that you’re doing it for your kids. In the long run, it will benefit your health immensely.
Yes, you need to spend time relaxing and enjoying life. Relaxation is a huge part of combatting stress and pressures. But if all your kids see you do is sit around and relax, it’s going to send the wrong message. As this study shows, your kids need to see you engaged in active pastimes. That means getting up and doing exercise to show them the right way to live!