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How To Encourage Fitness In Kids

Updated on January 14, 2013

Encouraging Fitness In Children

Encouraging Fitness in Children: Summer Fun!
Encouraging Fitness in Children: Summer Fun! | Source

I have worked out the majority of my life. My kids know this is a priority for me. I have five children ages seven and two. When the youngest was a few months old, I kicked in high gear to shed a little baby weight.

Perfect For Sprints

Our gym does not provide child care in the middle of the day. The treadmill in the basement had become, well, you know, the treadmill in the basement. It gets use but it gets boring at times, too. It was summer and it was beautiful outside. My baby would be napping and we were ‘stuck’ at home.

So we began working out together outside. I live on a corner lot with another house backing up to me. Our shared sidewalk is about .1 mile. Perfect for sprints!

I have always been a fan of sprints. They shock your system and get your heart rate up fast. During your cool down period, your heart rate is still higher than normal so you are burning calories at a faster rate. You never know how long a baby will sleep, so you need to be efficient with your time.

Garmin Forerunner 405

I have a Garmin Forerunner 405 watch. My husband had a colleague tell him about it and he knew it would be a great gift for me. According to garmin.com, the Forerunner is a, “ GPS-enabled sport watch tracks your training, then wirelessly sends your data to your computer. The ultimate in training technology, its sleek design features a touch bezel that lets you quickly scroll and select features on the run.”

I love my watch. I am a nerd and an athlete. Perfect!

Quad Runabout Stroller

My Runabout Stroller
My Runabout Stroller | Source

My Garmin Was Ready!

I would turn on the GPS and decide if I was working out for distance, calories burned or time. Sometimes just changing the ‘focus’ of the work out was good for the mind set for the day. Sometime with five little kids, you can just be tired.

We set the sprinkler to overspray onto the side walk. It was HOT out!

We were going to do sidewalk training. Yes, I got stared out but I get stared at anyhow. I have two sets of twins, seventeen months apart. I used to run with my quad Runabout stroller. I have been stared at often.

Sprint!

One of my running partners
One of my running partners | Source

Our Fitness Plan

We would start with fifty percent effort running (jogging). We would move onto full out sprints. I would spot my kids one third of the distance and try to catch them. I found this was too much of a spot and I really needed to kick it into high gear. We would do walking lunges, squat jumps, high knee skips or even use weights. I had two lb. weights that the kids would use. I might walk I walked the side walk length alternating bicep curls or side raises. If I was ambitious, I would put a child on my shoulders for my walking lunges. They were maybe thirty lbs. at the time and I knew I could handle that weight. They thought it was hilarious and I was getting an extra challenge in my work out.

Incline Pushups

One of our stations: Incline Pushups
One of our stations: Incline Pushups | Source

My Kids Motivate Me!

There were days when the kids said to me, “Mom, you haven’t done your sprint work in a couple of days. Let’s go!” So we would get out the sprinkler and figure out our plan.

The following summer, same gig. My son was now one and was still taking the afternoon nap. This time, the kids were faster. I couldn’t spot them one third of the distance. I was giving them a quarter of the distnace. Now we added some distance work. We might run for quarter mile and then head over to the play gym for some abdominal work on the monkey bars. We would add inclined pushups and then back to the side walk for a run. My kids loved the work out and I was actually motivated by them. They would take breaks when they needed them, but I always had one fresh set of little legs ready to run with me.

Family Runs

I forgot about this until yesterday when my son said, “Mom, let’s go for a run after dinner!”

I was psyched. We had done our sidewalk training for two summers. We rarely do distance together. My son and I headed out. We talked about school. We talked about his friends. We talked about his favorite subject. We kept it at the pace where we could just talk for our 1.67 mile run. We stopped if he needed to stop. We picked the tree or fire hydrant that was our ‘start back up’ point. When we got back to the house we gave each other a high five. We walked around the block for our cool down. He held my hand and said, “Mommy, we need to do that again soon.”

My Two Year Old Works Out

My Two Year Old Doing His Sprints
My Two Year Old Doing His Sprints | Source

My Two Year Old Works Out!

Today, a friend posted on Facebook her spring break workout since she was away from the gym. I took my three youngest outside and we got to the list of exercises. My five year old son stuck with me for the majority of the exercises. Some he modified. Some he just counted for me. My daughter rooted us on. My two year old was trying to do jumping jacks and superman on his belly.

Continuing to Encourage Fitness

Working out has always been a part of my life. I enjoy that now my kids are getting old enough to exercise with me. We go for bike rides. Sometimes I take them one at a time around our .25 mile block and ask them what they want to talk about. They love when it is their turn. Sometimes we go for a run.

Besides the obvious health benefits, my kids are developing habits and we are sharing interests. They are proud when they can ride longer or run further. We are all benefiting!

I hope as they get older they still want to go for long runs with me.

Even more, I hope that during our cool down walk they will hold my hand and say, “Mommy, we need to do that again soon.”

© 2012 Karen Lackey

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    • twinstimes2 profile image
      Author

      Karen Lackey 5 years ago from Ohio

      Congrats on the apprenticeship, too! I am pretty excited actually! Thanks for taking the time to read my hub. I am still working thru all the other team members' hubs. I will be reading yours soon!

    • Cow Flipper profile image

      Sean Jankowski 5 years ago from Southern Oregon

      Hi twinstimes2 great stuff, I have kids to and I know what you mean about trying to find the time. Thanks I will use your advice.

      Oh and congrats on your Apprenticeship! :)

    • twinstimes2 profile image
      Author

      Karen Lackey 5 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks for reading, tarajeyaram! Thanks, too, for the vote up!

    • tarajeyaram profile image

      tarajeyaram 5 years ago from Wonderland

      Great tips! Very nice pictures. These are great tips for busy parents. Voting up.