Guest Post: Do As I Say Not As I Do. . . Works for No One Ever!

This is a fabulous Guest Post from one of my local area friend’s husband. My friend and her husband are totally athletic and lead a very healthy lifestyle. Check out the post below from him, as it has some awesome information!
Guest Post: Do As I Say Not As I Do. . . Works for No One Ever!

One of the main reasons we strive to lead a healthy lifestyle at House of Fit is found in our two boys ages 5 and 3.  Sure we were both very active prior to having kids.  Exercise, fitness, and sports have always been a part of our lives in some form or fashion, but having kids at an impressionable age has made it even more important to us, and has created a new spin on why keeping ourselves healthy a priority in our lives.  Many people have told me both as a personal trainer and a physical therapist that one of the primary reasons they want to get in shape is to keep up with their kids or grandkids and to make sure they remain healthy and present in their high energy lives.  One of the things I try to impart on them is that leading a healthy lifestyle not only allows them to be more active with their children when they are young, but in how important it is for those children to see how their parents and grandparents make fitness a priority in their lives.

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There are many concerns today as to what and how to teach our children and who should be responsible.  Reading, writing, math skills, and fine motor skills are just a few of the things we are told that we need to build on before they even get to preschool.  Children are seeing a steady increase in school work that needs to be completed at home in order to succeed.  The growing demands on our children’s time and on the time with our children are increasing and becoming more apparent at an earlier age.  This along with other ever growing demands on our time in all areas of our life often contribute to the decrease in time for exercise and time for ourselves.  What I propose is that we need to work smarter not harder when it comes to our own personal fitness and not to feel guilty but rather accomplished that you involved your kids and made even more critical family time with one another.

Traditionally, physical activity and motor development for children at a young age has been through play or through sports.  Unfortunately we are seeing children spend less outside playing games that encourage motor development and physical activity which are being replaced with activities that involve electronics and screen time. We know this. Why? Because we, as a society are doing it ourselves. They primarily are doing this due to us, the parents, because that is what we are doing, and because our daily lives are changing as we rely more on technology to do our everyday tasks.  Sports have still acted as a method in which to increase physical activity for our kids as well as work on neuromuscular development, but we are also seeing a decrease in participation because of changes in physical education and sports within the schools as well as the increasing demand of our time and the time it takes for children to participate in a variety of sports leagues, not to mention the increasing costs.

These examples are only a few of the many that illustrate the increasing barriers that are present for our kids today in learning about health, fitness, and physical activity. And why it is becoming more and more important for our kids to learn these life-long important lessons from us, the parents.  With the growing epidemic of health related issues including obesity, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes (just to name a few) we can no longer afford to ignore the responsibility to ourselves, to one another as a society, and perhaps most of all, to our children to learn about our own health and fitness and provide an example for the next generation.

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All you have to do is watch and listen to your children to understand just how much they look to you for how to talk, act, and develop life-long habits.  If you want your child to wear their seat-belt, you should wear your seat-belt.  Do you want them to not text and drive, then you shouldn’t text and drive.  Most of us refrain from the more colorful words in the English language, why?  So our children don’t go off to school with sayings that will make parent teacher conferences more interesting than we would care for them to be.  The same truth exists for our own eating habits, exercise habits, smoking habits, why would it be any different?  They are constantly taking everything in, earlier than most of us realize.  This doesn’t just apply to habits that lead by example but also with words of negativity most often directed at ourselves unconsciously.  How often do we display negativity about ourselves in front of our kids on a daily basis?  If your child hears you consistently using words like “overweight, lazy, weight loss” when describing yourself, what stops them from developing those same self-conscious habits as they get older, especially when society is becoming ever more critical towards the way we view ourselves.  On the flip side, what if they hear words like “exercise, healthy, energy, feel great”, maybe they will see the way we view ourselves and also the way we interact with others on a daily basis more positively which will help them develop a more positive sense of self confidence.

This is why we make it a point to not only make fitness a visibly important part of our day or week, but we work to include our boys.  Our boys know that dad helps people to exercise and feel better at work and that mom teaches exercise classes at the gym.  They know that we are going to the gym to exercise, and from an early age they have been watching mom and dad exercise at home.  Our oldest has been doing pushups, crunches, and lunges with me since he was able to stand and walk and our youngest has been leading us in exercises he made up since he could talk.  We also include them in family exercise trips at the park where we may be doing a park workout while they play, or riding their bikes as we jog in the neighborhood.  We also work to make up activities and games that include exercises as well as learning (many times so that we can tire them out and they will sleep better that night), without them even knowing.  Some examples may include:

  • Family walks or bike rides.  We often incorporate scavenger hunts on our walks through the neighborhood to encourage movement and exploration.
  • Trips to the park that include park workouts while the kids play.
  • Games and activities that include exercises such as Simon says, red-light green-light and hop scotch.
  • Creating obstacle courses for the kids that require a variety of skills such as balance, coordination, reaction time, and agility.
  • Our youngest routinely helps their mom make healthy meals or snacks including smoothies or what he calls “poovies”, a regular word in his vocabulary.

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Now that January has ended and you are probably one month into your New Year’s resolutions, we usually are at the point where we continue with the success we are having or often stop and say we will try again next year.  It is usually the start of February that we start to see the regular crowd at the gym again.  If you are starting to weaken in your resolve for making a change in your life, then instead resolve to make a change in your children’s lives.  It doesn’t have to be a choice between getting more fit and spending quality time with your children, and there are so many positives to the latter.  Trust me, you will feel good about yourself the first time your kid sits down beside you to bust out some pushups or they tell you that they want to go exercise.

Ryan helps others live well daily as a physical therapist, certified strength and conditioning coach and personal trainer. And our two boys, they are the inspiration of House of Fit and more importantly making fitness fun.

House of fit link: http://ourhouseoffit.weebly.com

Comments

  1. Very good story…however I must take objection to the concept. How would schools and trades operate if they did not follow advice as well as doing what is done.

  2. laura rubenstein says:

    I agree how can we tell our children to do things like eat healthy if we ourselves are not eating healthy. Money see, Monkey do.

  3. I totally agree with you about all these changes. We keep getting new technology that is supposed to make our lives easier but it really doesn’t. We are also getting lazier. We do have to teach our kids by example. The do as I say, not as I do just doesn’t work. We are seeing more homework sent home and there are so many things we need to teach our children. Getting the right amount of exercise and eating healthy is included in this list. Thank you so much for sharing

  4. Young children do what they’re allowed to do. Sadly, many parents are to busy to take the time to get involved. Even if it’s bike riding, taking a walk… Many times a parent is cooking or doing household chores. It’s too easy to turn on the television just to keep them quiet and out of the way while they work.

  5. Johanna Neuerburg says:

    Practice what you preach, if you want children to do something you better be willing to do it also, like exercising or eating healthy food. Using Profanity as an Adult, then the Kids pick it up, well you have to look at yourself and stop if you expect your kids to stop.

  6. WOW! What a powerful read this was! You can’t expect people to “change” into aggressive work out people when they haven’t done it in many many years! It has to start out slow and gain momentum first! I agree with the statement that the children look to their parents for their lead. I try to instill this in my oldest daughter’s head because she is constantly cussing (her excuse is that is the Army way) and the kids hear her all the time! She even cusses at them! I know that eventually one of them is going to have some words coming out of their mouths! In this busy world, sometimes it is just so hard to find the time to be able to exercise. We have work, house cleaning, cooking, laundry, etc. etc. and it just doesn’t stop. I can see making a resolution to be more healthier and start out slow. Eat healthier meals and introduce more vegetables to the kids, etc. Thanks for the Guest Post: Do As I Say Not As I Do. . . Works for No One Ever! Michele 🙂

  7. Family physical fitness activities are a great idea, it’s not enough to eat and play together, families should workout together as well. Thank you for sharing this post.

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