We hear a lot about the dangers of childhood obesity and the epidemic of health issues obesity is causing in our country, but we don’t always hear about the negative impact our diet-conscious culture has on children. Dieting at an early age can have many negative affects on a child, including setting him up for a lifetime of body and weight issues. It may be far more productive to concentrate on being active and getting regular exercise than it is to focus on weight loss. As a Mom you can use your own need for fitness as a way to motivate your children and set a healthy example that will last a lifetime.
Exercising with Your Kids
Even new moms can include their young children in workouts by keeping it fun and entertaining. If you’re the mother of an infant set your baby up in her stroller and play peek-a-boo or shake her favorite toy while you do calisthenics or a few yoga postures. You might also try working out to DVDs that show you how to exercise while safely holding your baby and using him as a “prop” for extra resistance while you exercise. For an aerobic workout, take the stroller outside for a brisk walk or run. Jogging strollers with extra-large wheels and durable shocks are well worth the investment if you enjoy running with your baby.
Toddlers love to dance, and Mom can get a complete workout at home by dancing with her little ones in the living room. Throw some squats and mule-kicks in with your regular dance moves to increase the level of your dance party and to elicit some laughter from your toddler.
Joining a gym that provides childcare is a great option for Moms who enjoy the variety a fitness club can provide. More and more fitness centers are becoming “family friendly” and many offer classes and programs especially for children.
Riding a bicycle is one of the easiest and most enjoyable family fitness routines to do together. Parents can adjust their gears to work harder while still peddling slowly enough for the kids to keep up. Biking, skating, walking the dog and swimming are a few of the fun activities families can do together even if some members aren’t particularly “athletic.”
When’s the last time you played a rousing game of tag with your kids in the backyard? Many simple childhood games include the three main elements of fitness: endurance, strength and flexibility. Getting everyone outside to play supports the goal of an active lifestyle and can provide a great workout if you play hard.
Finding some “me time” is one of the greatest challenges of motherhood, but it’s also one of the most important things a mother can do for her family. Mom can’t give her best to others if she doesn’t take the time to care for herself. Of course sometimes a busy schedule means compromises are necessary. If you workout with your children maybe you can use that “me time” for a dinner out with friends or relaxing mani-pedi at your favorite day spa.