Remember the good old days, when the only video game available was Ms. Pac-Man down at the local pizza shop? Well, those days are long gone. Today’s kids have access to more video games and other technology that keeps them away from the great outdoors and off the basketball court. Instead of moving their growing bodies, they spend countless hours pushing buttons, texting friends and playing Angry Birds. If movement isn’t a regular part of your kid’s life, big trouble could be right down the road. Why should your child get moving more, and how can you make it happen?
Why Movement Matters
Take a look around at kids. They have countless social media tools that are supposed to help them be more connected than ever with others. Unfortunately, these social sites can cause kids to forget how to socialize with people in real life. Get these kids to be more active and encourage them to move and exercise with other kids, and you give them an instant lesson in socialization.
But movement is about more than being socially adept. It’s about good health. And in case you’ve not picked up a newspaper or magazine in the last 10 years, you should know that there is an obesity epidemic currently taking place. It’ has affected plenty of adults, but it is now affecting kids as well—especially as they spend less time moving and more time sitting around watching television, playing video games, texting and chatting online. Get your children moving today and you’ll help them obtain and maintain a healthy weight and develop lifelong healthy habits.
How to Get Them Moving
Sometimes, getting a kid to do something is as easy as teaching a rhinoceros to fetch. Don’t let their attitude get you down. Remember your own attitude problems during your developmental years, take a deep breath and prepare to put up a fight. When you’re going into battle with your child, try these tips out.
- Make It Fun. Remember when your child was a toddler? Exercise wasn’t something you forced him or her to do. It just happened, via hide-and-seek, tag or just running all day long. Find out what physical activities interest your children and encourage them to get out and do it.
- Think outside the box for activities. There is more than just football, soccer, baseball and basketball these days. How about fencing, dance classes like hip-hop, boxing, jiu jitsu, capoeira, etc? Up the Chores! Is your child lazing around the house doing nothing, while you’re working frantically to keep everything in order? Flip your kid’s world upside down by having him or her take over some of the more physically demanding chores. Have them rake leaves, plant flowers, scrub toilets, take out the garbage. It may not be the same as lifting weights, but it’ll get your child’s body on the move!
- Do It Together. If your child isn’t motivated to get into a program on his or her own, offer to do it together. Whether you lift weights, ride bikes, walk, hike, run, swim, take a boot camp or go climbing, doing it as a family makes it easier to keep your child on an exercise schedule.
- Take It Easy. Your child needs to move and exercise; there is no question about it. Just don’t let this need override your parenting know-how. Ever tried to force your child to do something he or she didn’t want to do? Didn’t work so well, did it? Remember this when working with your child and encourage him or her gently. You may be surprised at the end result.
- Make It Someone Else’s Idea. Generally kids do not listen to their parents and parents have a hard time listening to their kids. Both tend to believe they know it all. When bringing up the idea of more exercise and movement, you might consider not making it your idea. Tell them this trainer guy, named Brien Shamp, who works with professional athletes and others who want to look and feel their best, says, “What you eat at every meal has the ability to make you stronger or weaker and daily movement is the key to having more energy, being leaner and playing your sport at a higher level.”
- How Much? While medical experts normally recommend adults get 30 minutes of exercise five or more days a week, the same doesn’t hold true for kids. Instead, try to get your child to exercise for at least 60 minutes most days of the week. It doesn’t have to be incredibly vigorous. A light jog, a game of kickball or riding bikes will do the trick.
- Feed Them Fewer Carbohydrates. It is hard to be motivated to move when you do not have the energy to move. If you are up and down with your energy due to excessive carbohydrate intake, do you really think your kids will be much better? Here is a challenge for you and your family...avoid high glycemic carbohydrates for five days to reduce sugar cravings and optimize hormone balance. Here is a list of high glycemic carbohydrates to avoid:
• Alcohol • Carrots • Squash • Beets
• Potatoes • Candy
• Pineapple• Grapes/Raisins • Bananas• Watermelon• Dates• Juices
• Sodas• All Grains (breads, cereals, pastas, etc.)
Consume all other fruits, veggies and legumes for carbohydrates, animal proteins and good fats like nuts, seeds, coconut products, oils and olives. This five-day challenge helps to break bad habits and create new healthy ones. The first three days can be the hardest. From my experience in the last 22 years, it only takes that long for you to lose your unhealthy sugar and carbohydrate cravings. Really, only three days when you are eating the right amount of carbohydrates or sugar that your body can utilize. The magic question for all of us is: How many carbs can I effectively handle at each meal and each day? This is a never-ending journey.
If you want to expedite you and your child’s results then consider working with a fitness and nutrition expert on a movement and nutrition program that will turn you both into healthy, fat-burning machines.
Brien Shamp brings you 22 years of experience as a Body Transformation Expert, Personal Trainer, Nutrition & Lifestyle Coach, Massage Therapist, Strength Coach for College & Pro Athletes and Reiki Practitioner. In 2011 he was nominated one of the top ten trainers in the country. Brien has a degree in Biomechanics from UC Davis and extensive graduate studies in Exercise Physiology from SF State. Brien won first place in the Met-Rx World’s Best Personal Trainer Contest in 1999 and was nominated Best in the Bay by KRON 4 for Weight Loss in 2009. He is an active author in Parenting on the Peninsula, Ms. Fitness Magazine and his FREE Blog with thousands of subscribers at www.BrienShamp.com.