Recently there was an article in the Journal of Adolescent Health which said that parents may not be an influence over their teens’ level of physical activity. Studies show that physical activity among children is on the decline, so much so that it is becoming a serious health hazard.
Even though we are talking about the teenage years here (and we all know teens are a breed of their own), it is difficult for me to accept the idea that active parents to do not influence their kids’ level of physical activity. I still wholeheartedly believe that it is important to model active behavior and healthy attitudes for our children.
In fact, a 2010 report by Dr. Robert Epstein supports that feeling too. His research of 2,000 parents showed that modeling healthy behavior is one of the 10 most important competencies of what makes a good parent. This includes both eating healthy and being physically active.
So I asked some fellow bloggers – with kids of all ages – what types of activities they enjoy doing most with their children, and what they have done to encourage their children to be physically active. Here is how these women are modeling active lifestyles for their kids:
Hiking 1 of 7
"Before I had a kid, hiking was one of my big loves. My husband and I spent most weekends in the woods, often camping as well. We've tried to get our daughter into hiking, but it hasn't been until this spring when I decided to take charge of my fitness that she's fallen in love with it. For us, it isn't just about the exercise. We also love identifying wild plants, and showing her the way the yellow wood sorrell leaves taste like lemon, or the sweetness of the "honey" in honeysuckle has been so joyful for me. Walking in the woods goes beyond fitness and exercise for me; it's also an act of meditation and celebration of the earth (I know that sounds totally hippy dippy, but it's true), and that is important for me to share with her as well." - Cecily Kellogg, UppercaseWoman.com
Swimming 2 of 7
"I love playing in the pool with the kids. We recreate the Olympics and each swim for a different country. We also love to play Wii as a family- especially Dance on Broadway." — Andrea Katz, GreatThoughts.com
Frisbee 3 of 7
"I'm learning to relive my childhood. I've bought myself an adult scooter like my son's so we can ride together. I've bought a frisbee and taught him how to throw (we're working on catching). And we're starting to ride bikes together. It's an exciting age!" — Fadra Nally, AllThingsFadra.com
Kayaking 4 of 7
"Kayaking is easily accessible at a variety of levels and a great way to be active near home, as well as on vacation, as a way to explore new places." — Elena Sonnino, LiveDoGrow.com
Running 5 of 7
"The coolest physically active thing I've ever done with my daughter, when she was just 6 years-old, was running a 5K together at Disney World in their Family Fun Run. Amazing! It has since inspired her to really show interest in running, and she now just joined a summer track team at age 7 for the first time. And she has run a few kids' 1 mile runs at local road races where her father or I were racing 5K's." — Colleen Padilla, ClassyMommy.com
Walking Instead of Driving 6 of 7
"I find that it's easy to encourage our kids to be physically active by engaging in activities together. We love to go on family bike rides, take our 5 year-old Yellow Lab on walks, and swim at our neighborhood pool in the summer. We're also fortunate enough to live in a very walkable neighborhood where we can walk to the grocery store, bank, school, and local retail shops, which makes it easy to run errands together while also getting exercise!" — Leticia Barr, TechSavvyMama.com
Family Activities 7 of 7
"We all aim for an hour a day of physical activity. Riding bikes, walking for frozen yogurt, running the track, skiing, and playing basketball are all things we do as a family. I am trying to get the whole gang into yoga - so far, no takers!!" — Rachel Blaufeld, BackNGrooveMom.com
Do you see yourself in any of their responses? How do you model an active lifestyle for your kids?