Movement is not easy today
A couple of decades ago, almost everything we did was physical. We walked a lot, had no video games or cell phones, lifted heavy things and played sport that demanded some form of fitness. Kids now don’t get a chance to move freely. Even if they want to, they just don’t get the time, space or company to do so. Also, every task and chore has been made so easy that they don’t get a chance to use their bodies on a regular basis the way we were able to.
Physical activity is the only solution. Irrespective of what sports kids choose, being fit enough to play is necessary. Kids need to move, and if it doesn’t happen naturally, we’re going to have to enable that.
We don’t want them where we are
Even with all the playing and moving we did as kids, we didn’t end up with great health. Most of us have fallen prey to disease in the last 15-20 years. It could be heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, or even just unexplained chronic fatigue, we have brought on ourselves. We definitely don’t want our kids to end up where we did. We need to make health and fitness a part of our children’s lives. And we have to do it without transferring our emotional baggage and body image issues to them. Children need to learn how to enjoy moving frequently and eating sensibly, because these are requirements for a healthy life.
Fitness is the foundation
A lot of kids play sport and that’s great. But that’s not enough. The type and nature of sport a child plays may change with time but irrespective of what sport one wants to play, or what activity one wants to do, fitness is a basic necessity. Strength, speed, endurance and mobility are specific to the human body, and form the foundations of movement.
Fitness targets the body as a whole and builds it in a manner that it can tackle any sport, activity or emergency. In other words, your kid’s body is the machine that does all the work. And no matter what type of work your children are about to do, you need to make their bodies capable enough to do that. Fitness will serve as the foundation necessary to do exactly this.
Fitness is a necessary skill
Any skill that has a large impact on the quality of your life is considered a necessary skill. Walking, talking, writing, doing math, driving, accessing a computer, are all examples of the necessary skills of today.
This list changes constantly, based on the world we live in. A few thousand years ago, hunting, gathering and tracking prey would have been necessary skills. Today, learning how to be fit, and stay fit, is a skill in itself.
Knowing how to be healthy and fit has a major impact on the quality of one’s life. And it doesn’t look like it is going off the list anytime soon. Encourage your kids to move more and eat better right now, so they are equipped with the necessary skills to grow into active, healthy adults.
The writer works closely with families on fitness and nutrition.