How Dad’s Can Exercise With Kids
As a father, one of your main priorities is keeping your children happy and healthy. But it can be difficult to do this if your child doesn’t want to do what you want them to do. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that children between the ages of six and 17 receive at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day.
Helping your child find enjoyable ways to regular exercise can help them form habits now that will keep them active and healthy throughout their entire life. In fact, the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health even notes that physical activity levels during childhood can help prevent the onset of diseases like osteoporosis. If you are struggling to get your child to want to be more active, check out these tips.
Benefits Of Exercise
Regular exercise is beneficial to all bodies of all ages. A study conducted by BMC Public Health found that the strongest predictor in World War II veterans for physical activity levels in their 70’s as if they played a varsity sport in high school. It is no secret that our bodies were made to move and that becoming active with your child can help improve you both in the following 3 categories:
The most obvious benefit to exercising often is the physical benefits. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease, more than one in three adults were considered to be obese in 2014. And in children aged two to 19, one in six individuals were considered to be obese. Physical activity helps expend energy, which in turn reduces the amount of energy that will get stored as fat in your body. You will also develop stronger muscles, bones, and joints which will perpetuate your ability to stay active for longer. Many parents also enjoy the benefit of their children falling asleep faster, as being active will help your child fall asleep at night. In fact, the Archives of Disease in Childhood reports that for every one hour your child is inactive during the day, they will require an additional three minutes to fall asleep.
Getting proper amounts of sleep is paramount to your child’s development. In addition to regulating sleep patterns, physical activity is one of the best ways to naturally increase dopamine and serotonin levels in the body. Also known as feel-good hormones, these chemicals can help improve your child’s mental function. This can help regulate your child’s mood by reducing anxiety, depression, and stress. This, in turn, will perpetuate your child’s desire to be active, and improve their performance in school.
In addition to looking and feeling better, regular exercise can also help you improve your diet. The mental and physical benefits of exercising can help you stay accountable in your diet. After all, it takes energy to get up and be moving. This is a good opportunity to teach your child how their diet affects their energy, and how it can help or hinder their athletic performance. For example, foods high in refined sugar like candy and other sweets can leave you feeling sluggish as your body quickly burns the sugar energy it provides you. But foods high in carbohydrates, like oatmeal, can provide sustained energy that will fuel your body. This is also a good time to teach them the balancing act of nutrition. For example, Americans eat
burgers 4.3 times each month
— or a little more than once per week. This could be okay in moderation because your body is using the energy you consume to fuel your day to day activities. But overindulging and having to say ten hamburgers in a week is not healthy. This, in turn, can make you feel sluggish, and less likely to get up and moving.
Regular cardio is most children’s preferred form of exercise. Cardiovascular exercise is defined as any form of aerobic exercise, which helps improve your heart and lung efficiency. Or in other words, any physical activity that increases your heart rate and breathing rate. This can include running, biking, swimming, and jumping rope as these are among the most favored forms of cardio, but you won’t see many children in the gym on cardio machines. Instead, many prefer the various forms of cardio that fall under the all-inclusive phrase of playing outside. But just because exercising for children may look different than exercising for adults doesn’t mean you can’t exercise with your kids. Check out these games that are classic family favorites, and that can get your whole house off the couch and playing outside:
This is the ultimate test that separates the champs from the chumps on the playground. The game involves selecting one person to be it and having everyone else run away from this person. The goal of the game for the tagger is to tag every player. When a player gets tagged, they then have to freeze in place and wait for the end of the game. But, an unfrozen player can tag frozen players to unfreeze them, which puts them back in the game. This keeps the game going longer, which can help keep your children entertained for hours.
Another great way to get your child moving it to challenge them to a race around the block, or to the back of the yard and back. Although adults may know this as “long-distance running”, the goal of this game is to keep your child active without them realizing. By encouraging your child to have fun with exercising at a young age, you can more easily encourage them to continue the healthy habits you have taught them as they grow up.
Being active as a family is a great way to teach your younger children the fundamentals of an active lifestyle. Unfortunately, there will come a time when your children are too “cool” to be seen hanging out with you, and they will want to find their own ways to become active. If you didn’t get your child involved when they were younger, this is a great time to introduce them to the world of sports. Being a part of a team is a great way to let your child socialize, and it can help them build lifelong skills and friendships. Popular sports for children include:
An hour of vigorous swimming will burn up to 650 calories. It burns off more calories than walking or biking, and it is a fun way to learn how to compete in athletics. Swimmers enjoy the social benefits of being on a team and learn how to hold themselves accountable with training for their individual race.
Baseball Or Softball
Baseball and softball are great sports for children and young adults to learn the value of teamwork. These are sports that require a great amount of communication and can be more technical than many spectators realize. For example, shaved baseball bats don’t do well in cold temperatures, so you shouldn’t use a shaved bat if it’s really colder than 65 degrees outside.
Cross Country Running
Cross country running is perfect for children who like running. It requires focus and a resilient mind, so it is a great sport for helping your child develop persistence. Similar to swimming, there is also a large amount of self-accountability as each runner is solely responsible for their placement in each race. The clock doesn’t lie, and there is no way to blame another teammate or coach if they don’t make a certain time.
Lifting weights is another great way both kids and adults can exercise together. This anaerobic form of exercise is the opposite of the previously mention aerobic from. Another way to think of this is that any exercise that is not cardio is anaerobic. This means that your movements will require a short burst of energy as opposed to a more sustained release of energy like in a cross country race. Lifting weights comes with all the same benefits as playing sports, such as developing personal skills and elevating serotonin levels, and can even improve sports performance. Many parents are concerned that lifting weights may not be right for their child, so here are some things to keep in mind to help you make that decision.
Teach Them The Basics First
Like many other things, it will take time for your child to learn how to properly and safely lift weights. The best way you can help them transition into lifting is to start with the basics. First, teach them how to properly perform bodyweight movements like squatting, push-ups, dips, pull-ups, and ab exercises. Once they master proper form and can begin to feel a mind-muscle connection, you’re ready to move on to the next step.
Teaching your child how to live a healthy lifestyle is easier than you may think. By starting young, you help your child learn how fun exercising can be through playing family games like freeze tag or racing. And sports are a great way to incorporate positive peer pressure by teaching your child how to interact with and how to contribute to team goals. Regardless of how a child falls in love with being active, whether it be through lifting weights, swimming, or just running around the backyard, they will continue to reap the rewards throughout their life. It’s well known that practicing healthy habits while you’re young can have big payoffs when you’re older, and even help prevent the onset of diseases like osteoporosis. So get up, get active, and start teaching your child all the benefits that come with regular exercise.