What type of fitness role model are you? Read it again, I said fitness role model, not fitness model. As you may know I am a strength conditioning coach, and I take that responsibility very seriously. One of my professional practices is to ensure that I model healthy behaviors for my athletes and clients. I cannot ask a client to do something that I am incapable of doing. Some of us may remember from our days of sports participation, having an out of shape coach yell at us to run faster or move more fluidly.
What a completely mixed message. If you are guilty say I.
What message are you sending to your kids about health and fitness? Are you pushing your kids to participate in sports, yet on the way to every practice and game you stop and grab a supersized soft drink? Do you start a new workout program every month in search of the miracle solution? Are you constantly making excuses for why you can’t find time to work out, yet you have plenty of time to watch your nightly sitcoms? Do you tell your kids to practice for their sport while you thumb away on your tablet?
Let’s fix this today:
- Lead from the front: Commit yourself to a regular fitness routine and make your family aware of the reason why you are trying to improve your current health and invite them to follow suit.
- Disconnect from your electronics: In this digital age, many of us spend a vast majority of our days punching away at keyboards, only to go home and relax by eating and relaxing in front of a TV or computer.
- Eat meals together: Dinner time should be about discussing and sharing your day. Turn off the electronics and enjoy the company of the living breathing human beings around you.
- Educate: Take the time to learn about your own health and fitness needs and those of your family. It’s much easier to teach your family how to adopt proper eating and exercising habits, when you know what you are talking about.
- Create Value: Teach your family to value the experience and process of preparing food. When we learn to use high quality ingredients and enjoy the experience of cooking, the focus shifts from consuming towards participating in the experience.
- Talk: Discuss with your family what health body images are. If your kids are involved in sports, explain to them that performance is more valuable than aesthetics. Focus on the activities that help you perform better and the aesthetics will follow.
As the person with the largest amount of influence on our children, we have a responsibility to teach them and model healthy behaviors. By adopting some of these behaviors we can help our children form healthy habits that will continue into their adulthood. As parents we have a responsibility to make the next generation better and that starts in the home. We must become the change we want to see in our communities.