Tips for raising fit kids
Fitness expert Sarah Cowley shows you how to get the whole family exercising.
Kids need clear, positive messages about exercise to develop active habits for life. The earlier they learn about enjoying physical activity the better, not just for their own health and well-being but for their entire community. I firmly believe families have a responsibility to display positive role-modelling through physical activity, and there are easy ways to go about it.
There are loads of options to exercise as a family, from a weekly Sunday bike ride together, to exploring your area by going on a short hike. Another idea is to go to the park together and create an obstacle course race. It’s highly entertaining for the kids watching adults on their turf! Try taking a martial-arts class together, have a game of dodgeball or spotlight, or even try a family-lounge workout. You’re only limited by your imagination and your ability to use Google to check out what’s on in your neighbourhood.
Besides the health benefits that exercise brings, being active as a family teaches valuable life skills. For example, giving your children responsibility for the walking or riding route for the week teaches leadership and planning.
In addition, being physically active helps grow confidence. Through encouragement, kids develop self-esteem, and exercise allows them to physically express themselves without limits. Physical activity can even help kids to be safer and more resilient. For instance, children (and adults) are better equipped to dodge an unexpected motorist or jump an obstacle if they are fit and active.
By joining in with your kids, regardless of your fitness level, you’re showing them that exercise is important for everyone. It’s not about reliving your glory days, it’s about enabling the opportunity to be active. We need strong bodies, crafted through exercise, in order to be able to live a full life. It’s about having some fun together being active. Show them while they’re young and the benefits reach well beyond fitness and can last a lifetime.
Lunge with twist
1. Start with shoulders at 90 degrees and hands resting on opposite elbows across your chest.
2. Taking a larger-than-normal step forward, go into a lunge position. Your front knee should be at 90 degrees, and aim to have your knee over your ankle joint rather than forward of it. Keep your hips as straight forward as possible, avoiding opening up towards your back leg.
3. Rotate your trunk as one segment around turning towards your front knee. Go within your own limits, aiming to turn at the hip rather than twisting your spine like a corkscrew.
4. Return to the lunge position and take a step back to the starting position.
5. Alternate sides and always maintain an upright position in your trunk.