Fit parents raise fit kids!
One of the biggest factors in the rise of child obesity is lack of exercise – kids want to spend all day in front of their computer or glued to the TV and it means they’re not getting the recommended amount of physical activity. Now new research suggests that the more active you are, from pregnancy onwards, the more active your child will be – something that's especially important for teenage girls, who tend to take less exercise than boys their age. It makes perfect sense too – after all, your child isn’t going to listen to you expound on the joys of exercise if you don’t practice what you preach!
Making it work
Follow these guidelines to find activities that work for all of you…
• Aim it at young and old
Choose activities like swimming and cycling that will appeal to both you and your child and that you can both enjoy regardless of your age, abilities and fitness level. Sit down with your child and hammer out a list of different fitness activities you can do together.
• Keep it convenient
Anything that involves too much effort or synchronising watches will fall by the wayside. Aim to get active together for a minimum of 20 minutes at a time at least three days a week – definitely do-able!
• Don’t bust the budget
You don’t have to spend a fortune to stay fit and active together! Expensive gyms aren’t any better than the monkey bars at the local playground!
Make it fun
Doing the same thing day in day out will just send your bored child back to the TV, so vary it: rollerblade one day, play football the next; bowl one day and bike the next… you get the picture!
1 Head to the park
For a game of frisbee or tag, a nature walk or a session on the monkey bars together.
2 Walk indoors if it’s wet
Don't skip your walk just because of bad weather – walk around the local mall or head for a museum or art gallery.
3 Hit the pool
Swimming is a great workout and you can increase the fun factor by racing, or playing underwater tag or water volleyball. Plan out a family aqua-robics routine you can all do too.
6 Plan an indoor play place
Designate a room in your home where rolling, climbing, jumping, and tumbling are allowed. Scatter throw cushions around and lay blankets on the floor for kids to wriggle under; and what about suspending a large pillow from the ceiling to form a soft punchbag?
7 Get out in the garden
Rake leaves and then jump in them; shovel snow; give your child his own patch of garden to dig up and plant with seeds.
8 Winter workout
If you have the weather for it go cross-country skiing or ice skating.
9 Near the coast?
Wading through knee-deep seawater is a great exercise, or jog along the beach.
10 Go fly a kite
Don’t waste that windy day – kite flying is really enjoyable for the whole family.
11 Bike and hike
Track down local nature trails where you can go for a bike ride or hike.
12 Hit the links
Buy some kid-sized golf clubs and play a round together or practice your swing at the driving range.
13 Going batty
Play netless badminton – you both have to keep the shuttlecock from hitting the ground!
14 Go retro
Dust out that skipping rope, have a game of hopscotch or do some hoola hooping – it’s making a comeback and you can even get weighted hoops to increase the effort factor!
15 Wash the car
Yes it can be fun… especially if your child has to play dodge the hosepipe when you’re rinsing off the suds!