I am not athletic. The truth is that I am a klutz. At times, it is a wonder that I don’t fall over more often when I exercise. (Actually, I did lose my balance this morning, but I did the expert cover up so no one would notice.) I exercise because it is good for my health.
I, like everyone else, have read all of the compelling articles about how working out can help reduce the risk of heart disease, osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancers. I know that it helps with sleep, it increases my energy level, and helps my mood. But what does it do for my children?
The reality of childhood is they learn from modeling. If they see their parents engaging in various forms of exercise, whether it is group classes, a friendly game of soccer, or a dance party in the kitchen, they get a hidden message. The message is that being active is part of a wonderful life.
In an age of screens, screens, and more screens, we all have the opportunity to be more sedentary. And with the New England winter fast approaching, that is the easy thing to do for everyone. Yet we have a responsibility to teach our children the value of exercise. It is just as important as teaching them about healthy eating and stranger danger. Because if they get the message at home and watch their parents practice what they preach, they are more likely to imitate those behaviors.
I was lucky to find Stroller Strides, a national stroller-based fitness program designed for moms with little ones, when my son was born. I went to socialize-that was my primary goal. I met some wonderful friends and got to show my kids the benefits of exercising before they could even sit up. As the years have gone by I have found other forms of fitness, most recently Total Knockout boxing for women and Interval Training at the YMCA. I do it to help counteract the genetic factors that run in my family. I do it to feel good about myself. I do it so I will be around a long time to watch my children grow old. And I do it so my family knows that good health is important for each of us. But I still do it so I can socialize too!
So as we think about this year coming to a close and wondering what is to come in 2015, make sure your fitness is on the list of to-dos. Talk to your children about going to exercise, do it with them for fun, and as Nike says “Just do it.” And if you want to socialize, I mean exercise with me, I know this awesome class at 5:30am on Wednesdays at the Y that I can recommend.