This is an article I wrote for Beverly Hills Child Magazine in their September 2010 issue.
As parents, we can be full of excuses for why we aren’t getting enough exercise. One of those excuses, often enough, is our children. We say that we don’t have enough time to exercise because our children take up so much of our time. We complain that we don’t get enough time to spend with our children as it is so how are we supposed to give some of that time up in order to go to a gym?
But we aren’t the only ones for whom getting enough exercise is important. Obesity is becoming a growing epidemic in many first world countries, and it is up to us as parents, to make sure that our children don’t become one of those statistics.
So how do we give up the excuses and make sure that we, and our children, get enough exercise? Here are ten suggestions.
1. Take your child on a picnic at the park. Bring along healthy snacks. Picnics at the park are the perfect environment for playing, running and being active.
2. Take nature walks with your child. Children love to go for walks and try to spot different animals and birds along the way. It’s also a great way to spend some real quality time with your child while she talks to you.
3. Dance with your child. Turn on the radio or find a music channel on the television and let yourself be silly. It will get your child moving and also create a wonderful memory for your child in the process.
4. Plant a garden with your child. Digging in the soil, watering the plants, pulling weeds and pruning the plants is all physical activity that helps to raise the heart rate and makes a great way to exercise while helping the environment and, if growing your own fruit and vegetables, saving money too.
5. Play ball with your child. Something as simple as throwing a ball back and forth with your child is a great way to get him exercising without him even realizing that he is doing any.
6. Sign you and your child up to learn something new such as dance or karate. These clubs are great ways to exercise while learning a new skill and spending time with your child.
7. Have your child join a sports team such as soccer or baseball. Team sports are a great way for kids to get some exercise. Many team sports allow parents to volunteer as coaches, team moms or just to help out during practices, and going to your child’s games will show your child you support her. Don’t just sit and watch her play though. Follow your child up and down the field from the sidelines and cheer for her!
8. Walk your child to and from school each day. Walking your child to school each morning is a great way to spend some time with your child before the school and workday begins, and you will also get to hear about your child’s day while walking home. Not only that, but by not driving, you will be cutting down on pollution and creating less traffic congestion near the school.
9. Take your child swimming. Not everyone has a pool in their backyard, but there are many public places where you and your child can go swimming. If neither of you know how, then you can take lessons together. Swimming is a fun way to get some exercise that works out the whole body.
10. Just play. Kids love it when a parent is willing to run around and play games with them. Play a game of tag or “Duck, Duck, Goose.” There are so many children’s games that will get both of you active. Just get out there and PLAY!