Being Active Is One Of The Best Things You Can Do To Influence Your Kids
I can remember the year my mother decided it was time she lose weight and get in shape. She was 36 years old and determined to be healthier with both her diet and exercise routine. I was always into sports and led an active lifestyle but at my young age, hadn’t given much thought to how things would go in my adult life. I can say now looking back that my mother’s lifestyle change had a huge and lasting affect on me. I truly believe that being active is one of the best things you can do for your kids and also, for yourself.
When my mom joined a local gym and began going after work and on weekend mornings, I was intrigued. My parents weren’t lazy by any means but had never been into exercising in a planned fashion. I was 12 years old at the time and at my request, she added me to her membership so she could take me with her on weekends. I was already a soccer player and track runner so I was active but I had never used cardio machines before or lifted weights beyond the few classes we had in physical education every year. My mom had a trainer help her out for a few sessions to get started and she taught me everything he taught her. In 7th grade, I was doing circuit training and ab work every Saturday morning and then going with her to buy groceries afterward where we would talk about healthy meals we could make for our family. At the time, I thought I was just having fun with my mom but now, I can see where these ideas shaped my outlook on health for life.
I am so fortunate that I saw from a young age the benefits of a healthy and active lifestyle. I loved the gym then and I love it now. I am known to do 6am boot-camp classes at my gym and I also enjoy kick-boxing, spinning, sculpting, Pilates and suspension training. I cook healthy meals most of the time and I do my best to keep my kids active. In short, it is always on my mind and is my lifestyle, not just a flash in the pan. This is not to say I am perfect with diet and exercise- far from it. I am no size six and I gain and lose weight at times, but this is my base. This is how I am most of the time and if I stray, I always find my way back.
I am happy to say that I already see my kids picking up on my interest in staying healthy and active. They know I go to the gym and that it’s something Mommy always does. My husband is a big fan of staying fit too (we met at a gym, actually) and as a former personal trainer, he is only too happy to teach myself and the kids about fitness. The kids always ask me to show them boxing moves and we all love to sprawl on the living room rug and stretch out our muscles before having a “dance party”. I try to keep it fun but I do make sure they have as much activity as possible so it becomes their “norm” too.
I am so glad I gained an interest in fitness when I did as I have since met adults who had never had a healthy lifestyle and had to learn it all after a lifetime of bad habits. I am not sure how I would have ended up had I not seen my mother take control of her own health. The implications of her actions in 1995 have stretched almost 20 years and are now affecting my own kids, which I think is pretty incredible. You don’t have to be a super athlete or in great shape to teach your kids that being active is important. Start small and let it grow. Kick around a soccer ball in the front yard for 20 minutes. Show them how to do a sit-up. If you already go to the gym, explain to them the reasons why and if your gym allows, take them with you once in a while. You might be surprised how far-reaching those simple acts can be as far as influencing your kids. I am here to tell you that what my mother did 20 years ago changed my outlook for life and I will always be grateful to her for it.