As the mother of three children, I know a little something about the realities of trying to keep up with my personal fitness goals. When it comes to my family’s fitness, I am a super motivator and supporter. A lot of the time it seems the last thing my children would like to do is workout with me, and you know what? That’s exactly how they should feel. Children want to play and have fun, not hunker down and learn some intricate movements designed to help them stand taller and have firmer bottoms! However, I know the benefits of starting a routine of stretching and strengthening from a young age, and because I am their mother it’s up to me to find ways to get them started. When it comes to younger children, playing with props keeps them focused and engaged. The resistance bands on my Accelerator fascinate my youngest daughter, Isabella who just turned 5. She loves to play with them when they are tucked securely behind the door. Whether I give her the handles, or attach the bar, she is fascinated with the bouncy feel to them. Younger children also love to mimic other people’s behavior, so modeling fitness, as a daily activity is a parent’s best bet for fostering a child’s love of fitness.
When it comes to my 10 year old son Dean, everything is about competition. How many sit-ups can he do? How long can he hold a plank? How fast did he run? Hey Mom, did you count my push-ups? Recognizing what gets children excited about fitness is the first step towards getting them to keep it up. I like to give Dean the weighted bar portion of my Accelerator and see how he manages adding weight into the Pilates exercises he likes to do. He knows Rolling like a ball, the Roll Up, and the Hundred. Past those few things he gets bored, but those three exercises are the foundation for which the pillars of a lifetime of strengthening and stretching can be built.
Teenagers. Some of the toughest customers I know. They aren’t really excited about anything, and if they were would they tell you? They need to work on everything Pilates teaches us, but they aren’t always comfortable with putting themselves out there to possibly be, embarrassed! To engage my teenager, I try to announce rather then suggest that it is, Fitness Time. My experience is that in the moment, too much discussion and debate about how, why, when, and where just drag the process to a grinding halt. The approach I chose is that of the fearless leader, and I promise to make the experience short and sweet. It’s a great way to get some personal time, and share something special together.
Don’t get me started ;)