How to get your kids into fitness
Obesity is a growing problem in the western world and there are now more obese children and teenagers than ever before. Educating our children about a healthy lifestyle starts at home and it's more important than ever to introduce your kids to the importance of eating healthily and exercising. They're never too young to get stuck in, so here are a few tips to help you get started!
Lead by example
Your kids idolise you - you're their role model for life and they learn a lot from the way you do things. The more you look after your body, the more your children will learn to do the same. Start them young and get them into healthy habits. Why not try an after-dinner walk most nights of the week, which can help digestion. Race each other to the end of the street and before you know it they'll be all grown up and signing up to run a marathon!
Praise and reward
Your kids look to you to praise and encourage them and just like us, kids need to be motivated and rewarded for their efforts. Aim for small yet meaningful rewards. Try buying them simple accessories for their run, such as a colourful sweat band, or organise weekly Mexican food nights with the whole family so you can get together after a long run.
Encourage realistic goals
Your child has limitations, just as you do, and whilst you should encourage them to give their all during their runs, there will be some days where they won't meet your expectations. Some days should be easier, whilst some should be a real fitness challenge, and any goals set have to be realistic. It's important to stay positive even on the days when they don't smash those goals - just as you would if you were training with friends.
Make it a family affair
Ok, so until now your Sunday morning runs have been reserved exclusively for one person; you. They're your time to decompress and de-stress from the week, but what about taking the kids along and making it a family event? Kids need to de-stress and let off some steam too and all that fresh air, vitamin D and sunshine is great for growing kids. They'll burn off some energy so they're not climbing the walls during the long school summer holidays and they'll even get a better night's sleep - what more could you ask for?
Teach them about healthy eating
A healthy lifestyle starts with a healthy diet and making good food choices means your children are more likely to grow up fit, active and energised. Get them involved in shopping for, preparing and cooking food - it can be a fun family activity. But you will need to let go of your inner control freak, as kids in the kitchen can be pretty messy!
As well as rewarding your children when they meet their goals, setting them fun challenges to complete can help them to get into fitness from an early age. Incorporate running into games and scavenger hunts, so there's more to it than just 'going for a run'. Support them whether they win or lose, and you'll teach them that life's not all about winning!
Our very own Tom Gilbert has started running a series of fitness bootcamps in parks across London, which are great for anyone wanting to get fit in the company of other like-minded peeps. For kids though, you'll find summer camps and fitness bootcamps in major towns and cities which focus on games and keeping fit - they're really fun. This is a great way to help them keep active over the summer holidays!
Book an activity holiday
When they're learning by example, kids thrive, so why not book a family activity holiday this summer to keep them entertained! Surfing, hiking, sailing, rock climbing - or flying down a zip wire are all great ways to spend your summer and they'll help you teach your children about healthy living.