If you set your children up for health and success when they’re young, it will help keep them on track during adulthood. Here, Samantha Clayton shares her action plan for reaching your family fitness goals. An added bonus: you’ll up your own fitness level too!
When it comes to physical fitness, parents can positively encourage their children to be active by being active themselves. At its core, family fitness is a balancing act. Every parent has to master the balance of being healthy and active in a positive way; inspiring and encouraging their children to do the same. It’s not an easy task, but I have found these three simple steps make a lot of sense and have worked for me. I hope they work for you too.
The majority of your actions start with a thought, so keep your thoughts positive, and your words to match your thoughts, and hopefully your body will follow.
Step 1: Positive words
Our choice of words is so important in life, particularly when you’re around children, as they can pick up on more than you might think. You never know how your phrasing might affect them in the future, so be as positive as possible, especially when discussing body image and being active and healthy. I believe true beauty comes from within, even on a tough day, so always try to find a positive verbal approach to situations.
Step 2: Positive thoughts
Positive actions and words start with positive thoughts. So if you do have negative thoughts about your body, try to work on positive body confidence statements. These come much more naturally when you make small physical changes in your routine to make yourself feel better.
For example, referring to a healthy diet as something to be dreaded because you feel deprived is a prime example of teaching kids that there is negative emotion attached to a healthy diet that restricts your intake of empty, unhealthy calories, when in fact this is better for your health. Like I said, the balancing act is not easy. Change your mindset and the positive thoughts will come.
Step 3: Mindset to action
Have you heard the saying “all talk and no action?” Well, it’s time for the action part of my post! It doesn’t have to be a chore to get the entire family moving. Once you get going with weekly activities, your entire family will start to look forward to family fitness time together.
I’ve always felt that kids’ sports practices are an ideal opportunity for parents to squeeze in a workout. Kids are busy playing and being active, so it’s the perfect opportunity for a parent to work on getting fit too.
The sooner you start getting yourself active and feeling great, the sooner you can begin slowly introducing your family to your ideas. Here is a custom workout to help get you started!
Workout of the week
If you’re new to exercise or short on time, you should feel pleased just getting through this routine once. Your ultimate goal, however, is to repeat this routine 5 times through. Try getting your family to join in, or ask them to keep time for you, to get them involved.
If you’re new to exercise: Walk for 45 seconds then jog for 30 seconds. Perform a few stretches while you catch your breath for 30 seconds, then repeat.
If you’re feeling ready for more: Jog for 45 seconds, then run for 30 seconds. Perform a few stretches while you catch your breath for 30 seconds, then repeat.
Note: Stick to the time frame and sets but adjust your running/jogging/walking to suit your current fitness level.
Written by Samantha Clayton, AFAA, ISSA. Samantha is Director of Fitness Education at Herbalife