Talking to kids about exercise

That’s a page out of The Bear’s first grade journal. While my immediate reaction was to be proud of him for wanting to focus on being healthy this year, with more thought I became a bit worried. Part of my desire to raise my kids with an awareness of wellness was to take the pressure off of body image-related issues they may face later in life. But have I really gained anything if I’m raising a kid who is fitness obsessed, even for the right reasons?

It’s a tricky topic. Obviously, our home is filled with discussions of ‘healthy’ and ‘growing’ foods and encouragement to go outside and play. We hike together, play basketball, and swim together all summer. Along with my husband, it is our goal to have our kids *want* to exercise because they realize how good it makes them feel and how much fun it is.

Fortunately, there are some great programs to support our philosophy. Austin is home to the now nationwide Marathon Kids program. In this program, kids run the equivalent of a marathon (26.2 miles) over the course of several months. They are also encouraged to eat their fruits and vegetables in marathon amounts– five servings a day on 26.2 days of the month. They celebrate the first and final lap of their run in a big city-wide ceremony, complete with local celebrities and associated fanfare. As you can see, earning the Marathon Kids medal filled The Bear with pride:

I want to continue to think about this topic so we parents can better support our kids in their healthy endeavors. But I need your help!!

How do you talk to your kids about living well? Is it possible to over-emphasize this topic? What ways do you and your family integrate exercise into your together time? Are there other community events I should know about to help support growing healthy families?

I look forward to reading your ideas. Good health and great happiness to you.


2 responses to “Talking to kids about exercise

  1. I love the Marathon Program your son is involved in–what a great idea. I’m a big believer in modeling the behavior you want to see in your kids, like you mentioned. Exercising together (whether it is called exercise or not) is the best way to ensure healthy families and why I started focusing my fitness practice on family fitness. I’d say you are doing many things right!

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