Keeping fit with your kids

It seems that every other commercial on television these days is about some weight loss pill, diet or exercise equipment. There’s a reason for this. Obesity is a problem that affects almost two thirds of Americans. In fact, it’s basically a national epidemic. Being overweight predisposes a person to Type II diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, osteoporosis and a myriad of other health problems.

One of the benefits of regular daily exercise is that it helps you avoid becoming overweight. Besides that, studies have shown that physical exercise also combats insomnia, gives you more energy, lowers bad cholesterol, improves mental and emotional health by releasing endorphins, which are natural chemicals in the brain that act as mood elevators, builds stronger bones, and much, much more. So, making time for exercise in your daily routine as a stay at home mom is extremely important.

If you’ve noticed, though, the TV commercials are targeted toward adults. While it’s essential that you exercise and stay physically fit, it’s equally important that your children do the same. We are becoming a nation of couch potatoes and sadly, so are our kids. Obesity in children has more than doubled since 1980. The health problems associated with being overweight and out of shape are just as real for children as grown-ups. The habits---good or bad---that a child learns during his early years will often stick with him throughout life, working either for or against him.

Children learn by example. By setting aside a period each day for exercise and making it a habit, something you do day in and day out, you’re setting a good example and teaching your child the importance of staying fit. This is a lesson that, once learned, will work for him all of his days and help protect him from the health problems associated with obesity and a sedentary lifestyle.

Learning by example is great, but your child won’t reap any other benefits by merely watching you exercise. Since physical fitness is just as important for children as adults, why not make your daily exercise routine something that you and your child do together?

There are many instructional videos available that are geared toward exercise for children, as well as those that incorporate a routine that parents and kids can do together. There are also interactive dance videos and games that make exercise fun! Dance Dance Revolution is one popular music video game that furnishes a great aerobic workout for people of all ages. Used in schools and gyms as part of an exercise program, there are various levels and versions. Recently, Wii Fit by Nintendo came on the scene, an interactive video game with training modes for yoga, balance, aerobics and strength training.

You don’t need to invest in any special equipment or videos, though, to follow a healthy fitness regime with your child. There are three main elements of fitness:

  • Flexibility
  • Strength
  • Endurance

A few simple exercises that work on those three elements are all anyone, of any age, needs to stay physically fit. There are free downloadable workout routines online for adults and children. Most public libraries have exercise videos available to check out, too, at no charge.

Make getting and staying fit a priority! A daily exercise regime will reap many rewards for both you and your child. So get off that couch and get moving!