09/21/2016 Leave a comment
Exercise Is No Longer a Priority
Today’s middle-aged adults may find themselves fighting a stubborn middle-age spread. Former high school track stars have evolved into busy parents who juggle careers and families and it’s hard to keep up the fitness levels we once had. When we were young, however, many of us were more active. We rode bikes to our friends’ houses and spent hours running around and playing outside. If we wanted to watch a movie, we had to actually get up and go to a theater or make a trip to the video rental store. If we wanted to play video games, many of us went to an arcade – often traveling by bike to get there.
Compare that to today’s kids, who have everything they need for hours of entertainment conveniently located in their family computer or smartphone. Even buying things can be done with the click of a mouse. As a result, today’s kids are inherently more sedentary than past generations. The exercise we got naturally – through bike rides to our friends’ houses and playing outside – are not a necessary part of their daily life. Exercise has to be planned, squeezed in. It’s an additional activity, not a natural part of the process.
Instill Healthy Habits
Establishing fitness habits at an early age can lay the foundation for a lifetime of healthy habits. A pre-teen is still malleable. The habits you instill now as a parent are habits that will continue with your child for a lifetime. Be a role model yourself by eating a balanced diet and exercising daily. Remember, your actions speak louder than words. Make time to be active as a family, too – go for a bike ride or a family hike. Buy gifts for your kids that will get them moving, such as a skateboard, a basketball, or a jump rope. Also, encourage your pre-teen to get involved in vigorous activities like running, swimming or playing sports like volleyball, tennis or soccer. Most importantly, limit the amount of time that your pre-teen spends playing computer games and watching TV to no more than an hour or two a day.
Psychological Benefits of Exercise
Pre-teens are in the awkward years. Exercise can help boost confidence, release endorphins, alleviate tension, and reduce that antsy pent-up energy kids get at this age. Physical activity also enhances thinking skills and brain function by increasing oxygen and blood flow to the brain. Furthermore, studies have shown that when pre-teens participate in organized sports and other fitness activities, they develop greater self-esteem and a more positive self-image than pre-teens who weren’t physically active.