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Fit Parents, Fit Kids

Updated: Apr 7, 2021



There are so many parenting hacks out there, right?


Kids begging to play on the PS4?

Let them join in their Dad’s Fifa game with unplugged controllers. (Genius!)

Keep the little ones entertained by “letting them” paint the fence with water. (Killing it!)


Scrolling through all these clever and fun parenting tricks really made me wonder, is there a parenting hack for fitness? Is there some way we can fool our kids into exercise?

Maybe we could say, “You aren’t exercising, you are making the Earth spin faster by running on it!” Maybe we could get away with that if they were 3 years old? Who am I kidding, that’s probably more likely when I was 3 years old. Kids today are too clever by far!


Getting the children to stay active over the third lockdown was so hard! The weather was miserable and the claws of boredom had us in its vice-like grip. And what with facing the daily home-schooling battle, no one had the energy to engage in yet another one for exercise.


And then, we stumbled on something quite by accident, my husband’s company started to offer free daily fitness sessions via Zoom to all employees. To motivate his team B started to do the classes. Watching their Dad huff and puff over a set of burpees and sumo squats really propelled my two boys to not only join in but to go above and beyond - faster burpees, deeper squats, more push-ups.


I was amazed! For the first couple of weeks they joined in at every session!


Curious, I dug around the internet for some information on the correlation between fit kids and fit parents.


And the study was so interesting:


- if both parents are active and put in time and energy to maintain fitness levels, their children will follow suit.
- If the mother is fit but the father isn’t, children are more prone to obesity and other health concerns.
On the other hand, if the mother isn’t fit and the father is - the percentage of children being fit is almost the same as both parents being fit!

If that sounds like gobbledegook to you,

it means, in a nutshell, that it’s all about the Dad

- now isn’t that a nice change?*


Denis Shapovalov with his mum Tessa Shapovalov

It’s not that mother’s don’t have any influence, of course they do! Canada’s top men’s tennis player Denis Shapovalov is just one example. He has been coached by his mother, Tessa Shapovalov,

since the age of five. Both parents have great influence over their children’s health and well-being but the earlier the influence starts the easier it will carry into their teenage years and beyond. And when I mean early, I mean go back right to the very beginning!


When a woman conceives, there is a lot of emphasis on the health and fitness of the mother, the mother’s weight, and fitness levels affect the baby, naturally. But recent studies have shown that the father plays an important role as well, if the father is fit during conception, the baby is also less prone to obesity in childhood. Studies have shown that if the father engages in even a month or so of moderate exercise before conception it hugely benefits the children’s metabolic health**



Children are best led by example

You don’t want them to snack before dinner, then don’t let them catch you with that packet of crisps at 6pm! Impossible, I know, you holler out their names and they won't hear, but the rustle of a bag of crisps will bring them hurtling into the kitchen!


I guess the bottom line really is, if we as parents keep ourselves in check the kids are bound to do it too!?


Well, I guess we can only live in hope!


References



 

Shwetha Jairam

Copywriter


 

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