What does healthy mean to you?
Healthy is a funny word. Each of us has our own clear and definitive interpretation. But in actuality, it holds different meaning to different people. Healthy. For some, the way I look. For others, the way I eat. Even the way I act, think, or feel. For the sake of creating a common language in this article, I am going to define healthy as everything relating to our physical body, cognitive function, and emotional well-being. Healthy is not what we eat or do on one particular day. It’s the cumulative way we live each and every day.
The quickest way to begin living healthier is to surround yourself with healthy people. Team sports or group classes invite children to be part of a healthy community, and support time management and organizational skills. Sports often become motivation to maintain good grades and teach crucial life skills like conflict resolution and teamwork. For many children, sports are fun and they are begging you for more. But for kids that prefer more sedentary activities, incorporating fitness can be quite a challenge. Here are 5 strategies to help your child create a fitness habit now.
1.Walk the Talk
A habit develops out of practice. Watching you as an active parent creates the mindset that exercise is part of a daily routine. Try fun outdoor activities together. Hike and have a picnic at the top, run/walk/bike a 5k, enter a triathlon as a relay team, bike ride on the beach path, spend time at the park, play games at the beach (the sand offers an extra good workout!). Keep it simple, consistent, and fun.
2. Find a structured activity they enjoy
It’s far more motivating to be part of a group. Ask your child what sports, activities, and classes interest them. Browse through a list of youth activities in your area to help develop ideas. Signing up for a program for a designated length of time creates a built in accountability system and will support your child in building a community around fitness.
3. Choose an active summer camp or program
Summer Camp is fun. Really fun. And is VERY active. Summer camps and programs offer exposure to various activities that your child may not generally have access to. Sleep away camps are also great for this, often offering activities like horseback riding, archery, and ropes course. Camps enable your child to be outside and active for a large part of the day and provide a great way to make lifelong friends.
4. Less technology, more outdoor time
This is the age of technology and unfortunately that has a cost. Kids can entertain themselves for long periods of time on those ipads and phones. Create limits around using technology. Create a consistent time each day for outdoor play, whether that be in the neighborhood, park, beach, someone’s back yard. Let them invite friends to play games outdoors. Save technology for a designated time and offer opportunities to have fun without their phones. Inventing their own games & activities promotes creative thinking and reasoning skills amongst many others.
5. Family dinner
Incorporate a habit of eating home-cooked meals together as a family. Sharing a meal together supports a strong family dynamic. Family dinner is a healthy habit just like fitness, and therefore supports other healthy habits. It’s a time with no technology to learn about each other’s daily life, teach conversation skills, and model how to cook and prepare real food. A healthy dinner promotes good sleep, which is essential in the healthy growth and development of children. Children who eat home-cooked meals together at the family table are less likely to become obese or develop other health problems than children who eat meals in front of a television screen.
Healthy bodies lead to healthy minds.
Join us for our next Family Fitness Day on Saturday, January 31st. Let’s get sweaty! Together.