While largely beneficial innovative strides have been made to provide us with more luxuries and simplify our lives and various tasks, there is also the potential for settling into more sedentary lives. Kids and adults alike spend large chunks of their day sitting down in school or in work and, ideally, time should be allocated to exercise to aid in maintaining healthy weight which helps decrease the risk of developing different diseases such as type 2 diabetes and functions to strengthen different organs which lead to better health. It is increasingly important to promote good habits in the family as the technological world provides an avenue through which people can receive stimulus through the internet, video games, smartphones, apps, and other technologies. However, as the adage goes, “talk is cheap,” which, in this context, means that it is one thing to emphasize exercise’s importance verbally and another thing to lead by example and engage in exercise as a family.
Exercise shouldn’t be seen as a chore or a formal activity. Kids generally want to spend time with their parents and have a good relationship with them. Small activities such as playing catch or Frisbee with the family can help with bonding, spending quality family time together, and work up a sweat as a bonus.
Additionally, if children see their parents and other family members exercising and trying to lead healthy lives then it will function to set a good example. Vacation trips to amusement parks or other ways to travel and have fun, i.e. going hiking, or biking, are examples of family trips that can get the family excited and exercising. Other menial activities like chores can be rewarding and incentivized to get some housework done and also encourage movement.
Healthy competitive activities, such as sports, can help children deal with obstacles and teach important skills through a medium that encourages effort and skill to win. For example, team sports can provide experiences that teach skills such as better communication, teamwork, and persistence, which are, undoubtedly, skills that will be used later in life. Though competition and loss can be difficult, it presents people with challenges that require problem-solving skills and a healthy way to resolve conflicts and obstacles. These different options can bring the family together, excited about exercise, and on the track to healthy lifestyles.