Do Parents And Their Children Workout Together To Stay Fit And In Shape?

Patsy - posted on 04/22/2012 ( 17 moms have responded )

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Babies and toddlers spend an awful lot of time strapped into car seats or plopped in front of the TV. Not only does this prevent them from practicing their emerging motor skills and strengthening their heart, lungs, and muscles, but it can also set them up for a sedentary lifestyle, and even obesity, as adults. A good habit of physical activity, on the other hand, will last a lifetime. You do know it’s never too early to start.



Active Ideas 1-51. Go for pre- or post-dinner walks



Whether you head into town or just cruise the neighborhood, building a walk into your daily schedule ensures that it won’t get put off. Brookline, Massachusetts, master Pilates instructor Lisa Johnson and her husband take evening walks with 3-year-old Alex, who alternates time in and out of the stroller. To make walking more enticing, Johnson makes a sport of it. “At one house we look for a cat sitting in the window, at another we run up and down a short flight of stairs,” she says.





2. Crank up the music and boogie down.



Betsy Murphy of Coral Gables, Florida, holds disco nights with her four kids and several neighbors. She moves the furniture aside, fills the CD player with dance tunes, and lets the kids take turns using a flashlight as a strobe light. “They dance for three hours straight,” Murphy says. “The older ones know all the words to the songs and really dance; it’s hilarious to see the younger ones try to mimic them. Their favorite song is ‘Brick House!’”





3. Make a game out of household chores.



Pretend that dust creatures are invading earth and it’s up to Captain [insert child's name] to save the day by capturing them with his broom, suggests registered dietitian Juliet Zuercher of Wickenburg, Arizona. “Make believe he’s one of the Rescue Heroes, and have him save his teddy bears from the slimy pit of the floor by putting them safely in his toy chest,” she says. Jodi Arlen of Bethesda, Maryland, turns folding laundry into a guessing game. “It started when my daughter would ask, ‘Is that mine?’ and it grew into ‘Guess whose this is!’” she says. After her daughters, 3 years old and 20 months old, correctly identify the clothing, they help fold them.





4. Sneak workouts into other activities.



Have your toddler walk instead of riding in the cart at the supermarket, and take the stairs or walk up the escalator whenever possible. Nancy Twigg of Knoxville, Tennessee, drives partway to her daughter Lydia’s preschool, parks the car, and walks the rest of the way.





5. Turn TV commercials into fitness breaks.



Invent silly names for simple exercises like squats, push-ups, and sit-ups, and then do them together till the show comes back on. “Call them princess sit-ups or Bob the Builder muscle builders,” says physical therapist Peter Kofitsas, of New York City, who does the moves with his 4-year-old and 20-month-old daughters. You can also play “coach,” in which you take turns “ordering” each other to “drop and give me five,” or “follow the leader,” in which one person leads the others in fun, simple moves like clapping, wiggling, and marching.



DISCUSSION TIME



Does anyone here have anything they would like to share on this subject, such as what did you do as parents with your children to make sure they had enough physical activities in their lives? What you have to say or share is very important!

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Amanda - posted on 04/25/2012

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Thanks Jakki, we have our ups and downs and some days we are alot less active than others. We do enjoy a day here and there vegging on the lounge with dvds too

Jakki - posted on 04/25/2012

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Wow Amanda - sounds like your family has a lot of fun! You must be a great mum.

Amanda - posted on 04/25/2012

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I go to the gym 5 days a week so my kids see that I am very active.

They love riding their bikes and scooters. They are always running and chasing each other, climbing and jumping.
We go to the park alot, or just kick a ball around in the garden or play catch.

They love helping me carry the shopping in from the car, helping load the washing machine and dishwasher and hanging clothes on the line and putting things away.

My 2 1/2 yr old daughter loves to dance and play football and my 4 yr old son loves yoga and anything that means he doesn't have to sit still and he can run crazy

Jodi - posted on 04/25/2012

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Jakki, I agree. My husband and I work out together 4 or 5 nights a week after the kids are bed. But for kids, we just keep go go going!! And my daughter knows that bike riding, roller skating, dancing, etc etc, those things ARE exercise. Excercise does not have to be a half hour on the treadmill, or 20 squats...exercise can...and SHOULD be fun! My 3 year old is always tellings me "This is my exercise" while she's riding her bike, or hopping like a frog! And it's usually followed "It's fun!" which is great, because I know she'll stay active!

Jakki - posted on 04/25/2012

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Yeah I agree with what everybody is saying - just keeping active with your kids is enough - you don't have to "work out" eg use a machine or do something that's boring for the kids.

Keeping the TV off and the computer games tucked away most of the time usually means that my kids do active stuff instead, like chasing each other up and down the house or jumping on the trampoline etc.

If your kids see that you really enjoy being active, I think it will come naturally to them to follow suite.

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Anyone remember "Follow the Leader"? I am worn slap out after letting J lead for about 15 minutes!

Jodi - posted on 04/23/2012

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We do a LOT of dancing! We love Greg and Steve songs and during winter, it's a life saver for us! (My kids are 3, 1 and 1) We go for walks two or 3 times a day. My 3 year old loves her scooter, her bike or roller skates. I often rollerblade while pushing the stroller, although my twins frequently get out and walk too. We also do a lot of obstacle courses outside. Cut a swim noodle in half the long way for a balance beam, slice the other half into 3-4 inch pieces for stepping stones, crawl through the tunnel, climb up the slide then go down, hop like a bunny around the tree...that kind of thing. And I do it WITH my kids, I don't just make up the idea and have them do it. We do a lot of chasing games (giants, dinosaurs, monsters etc) and acting like animals. My daugher loves the duck walk, the crab walk, hopping like a bunny or frog and "slugging" like a worm! We stay very active, lots of swimming, camping, hiking, bike riding etc etc. Winter gets really hard, but lugging sleds up hills to go back down is quite a work out and hefting huge balls of snows to make forts or snowman makes for great upper body workouts! If only we could get out more often! lol

Janice - posted on 04/23/2012

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The winter kills us! When it is warm we often take evening walks or go hiking on the weekends. Also my 2 year old plays out in the yard - chasing the dog whenever possible. But in the winter we are bums! My husband is better than me though. He does still try to get some weight training in and our toddler sits on his back or feet during push-ups and sit-ups. She also likes playing "personal trainer" to Daddy. Yeah, I'm the laziest in the family Lol



My parents never did much with my sister and I. We were just sent outside to play.



#4 is interesting because unless my toddler is misbehaving she always walks at the store. If we have to go to the store its usually during her play time and I have always thought its completely unfair to make her sit in the cart. I know other parents often find that odd. Never thought about the exercise part though.

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Walking kind of goes without saying in our family, but to stay in shape, we have to go a bit beyond that. I think one of the most important aspects of finding fitness activities you can stick with is to be sure it's fun.

My son is in Taekwondo and Baseball--he doesn't even realize he's getting exercise when he plays or practices. Even outside of class, he is constantly pushing his body to jump higher and run faster so that his coaches will be impressed next time they see him.

My husband & I do not do Taekwondo or Baseball, we go to the events to support him, but they are just not our cup of tea. (I run & dh plays racket ball). That said, we do make sure that a good chunk of our family time each week is filled with physical activities that we can do together--we bike, hike, raft, rock climb, swim, or rollerblade (yea, they still make them!) at least one day a week, but usually even more often because there really aren't many sedentary activities in our town that don't cost an arm and a leg.

In addition to living actively, I think it is also very important to consider what we eat. Not only do we have to consider our calories (which add up fast!), but the make up of our food. If you eat a high carb breakfast of cereal, toast or a breakfast bar, then go sit at a desk for several hours, you are going to gain weight. A better approach would be a high protein breakfast )unless you have a physical job) and have carbs in small snack throughout the day.



One last fun fact. Drinking Ice Water can raise your metabolism by nearly 24% for up to 90 minutes :) Keep your water cold to maximize your workout!

Dove - posted on 04/22/2012

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I don't exercise except for the occasional walk, but my kids pretty much never stop moving.

Stifler's - posted on 04/22/2012

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I never strapped my kids into anywhere for long lol they wouldn't have it! They don't sit and watch the tv even if it's on either. I let them roam outside whenever they want they just walk out the door. When I was a kid we had a trampoline too adn were allowed to walk to the park to swing and had a tree house so we were always climbing and running around playing footy. If we are going to the little park i just let logan walk it's only through a few streets

**Jackie** - posted on 04/22/2012

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PHEW, I'm am soooooooo glad to see that we do a few of these. My daughter loves music just as much as I do and we are constantly dancing. We go for walks all of the time!! I haven't thought of the after dinner walk because we do the whole bed time routine and we start winding down but maybe we can do the pre-dinner walk! Nothing like a 10 minute walk up and back down the street to get our blood flowing, heart pounding and appetite ready!

Amy - posted on 04/22/2012

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We have a treadmill in our dining room that the kids like to walk on. We also go hiking as a family at least once a week when the weather gets nice. Our downstairs is also a big race track, there are many nights that we play tag and chase each other around. Some nights it's harder then others for me since I'm on my feet 8 hours a day at work but I still try to stay active with the kids!

Lady Heather - posted on 04/22/2012

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I use walking as my primary mode of transportation, so I feel like I'm modeling behavior all to hell. When it's crappy out we have crazy dance parties, when it's not crappy we go to the park or one of the many hiking trails around here. Freja does not need to be encouraged to walk. I think most little kids are inherently active. Give them space and they will run.

Mrs. - posted on 04/22/2012

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I was thinking about starting a thread about modelling behaviour with exercise...maybe I still will.

My husband and I both regularly run/workout. My daughter is almost three and has been in two family ran 5ks in her running stroller. My hubby will go for his runs in the stroller and then for the last part of the trail, he lets her out to go "running" too. She loves to run next to her dad and will go quite far. When she gets tired, she lets him know and she gets back into her "strolly".

We also try to go for family walks to the park with the dog. She tends to run down the path for those as well and she loves the jungle gym.

Anytime we are walking down the street and see a runner, she says, "She's running, like Mommy/Daddy/Grandma (my husband's mother is an Iron Man lady)." I think this normalizes activity for her and makes it a common place thing, a regular part of the day, like bathing or brushing your teeth.

I think so much of it has to do with modelling. You can push any amount of activity on your kid, but the main thing you have to do is teach them how to sustain regular activity in your adult daily routine. If you just put them into soccer and do nothing yourself, they will more likely see soccer as something kids do for the season, but you don't have to do any of that once you're an adult.

Lisa - posted on 04/22/2012

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I think promoting a healthy lifestyle is going to rub off on the kiddies sure :).

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