Fitness isn’t just motivation, it is a way of life and it is a value that should be instilled at a young age. Many people take their first steps into a gym in their 20s, 30s, 40s or older because they become tired with how they have mistreated their body.
So how can we help fight against the next generation taking the same ill-fated route through life?
If children enjoy exercise, they are much more likely to carry that through to adult life. However, children much prefer sitting indoors playing video games as opposed to running around a playground, getting stuck into sports or just simply playing outside with friends, they very well could fall into the exact same trap.
Fitness And Education
Schools believe that fitness and education should go hand in hand, which is precisely why playground manufacturer’s such as Kompan have seen great success in their offerings.
Not only do the playgrounds that keep students of all ages active but also the worldwide company create environments that promote a social aspect.
When children associate exercise with fun, whether that is through socializing with friends or just to challenge themselves and see what they can do, it becomes a habit.
Why Do We Enjoy Exercise?
If we consider why we enjoy exercise today, we may better understand exactly how we can help to ensure children enjoy staying active.
Like any lesson at school, regardless of whether it was PE, maths, science or geography, if you didn’t like the subject you would look for any way out of the lesson.
You certainly wouldn’t then look to carry on practicing that subject after it was no longer mandatory. It’s probably why so few students continue to study algebra in higher education.
Joking aside, you probably enjoy exercise because it’s fun for you. It may be an added edge of competition that you enjoy, especially if you train regularly with a gym buddy, the social aspect of training with someone else or simply to let off some steam from a stressful day at work.
It is what we associate with exercise, if children learn to associate exercise with something positive, it may just go some way to keeping more children and adults active.
Should Parents Force Children to Exercise?
A parent should never force a child to do anything they don’t want to do (unless it is schoolwork, of course), as this will only develop negative connotations. As we have already covered, children are more likely to continue with exercise if they enjoy it.
Rather than force children to go outside and run around, parents should encourage their children by playing with them (i.e. playing catch in the garden, kicking a ball around or getting involved in other playground games).
Whether a child admits it or not, their parents are not only their role models, but also their heroes, and are the most likely person to emulate as they cross the path from childhood to adulthood.
Children And The Gym
Many gyms will not allow for children under the age of 16 to be in their premises, at least without an adult with them. Assuming you are already a regular at the gym, you can invite them to come with you.
This may help them as many people do not sign up for a gym because it is the unknown and/or fear of working out in front of strangers. By introducing to a gym setting at an early age, it helps to stave off any fears they may have.
Of course, they aren’t going to be pumping the same amount of weight as you, and nor should they. The body is still developing, so forcing them to even attempt the same workout plan as you could have a negative effect. If they do want to try their hand lifting light weights or running on the treadmill, by all means, let them loose on it.