Back in the early 90’s, when I was traveling as a sales trainer for a large fitness company, I ran into a company that was way ahead of their time. Their focus was on fitness for children. They had already seen the start of the new norm that we all know about today where kids are much more sedentary than they have been in the past. As a society, we are now suffering the results of our collective lack of attention to our kid’s fitness.
In the early 1990’s, all new Type 2 Diabetes cases in the segment of children only amounted to 3% of all cases. By 2005, 45% of all new diabetes cases in children were Type 2.* Since 2005, that number has certainly increased. If we had such an epidemic with a disease that was immediately fatal, we would have an outcry like we haven’t seen since the AIDS epidemic.
Additionally and connected with problems associated with Type 2 Diabetes is problems with heart disease, cardiovascular disease, and high blood pressure. Although none of these problems is having a immediate fatal result, imagine what this problem is setting up for our future and the future of these children. Even if you don’t care about the people, think or what this is going to do to medical costs in the future.
All of this caught my attention when I heard my 7 year old breathing heavily after running up a single flight of stairs. Although running up stairs will get anyone breathing, he was really wheezing and so I decided we were going to do something about it. My 20 year old is a perpetual motion machine and needs my fitness regimen like he needs a hole in his head.
On the other hand, my 9 year old and 7 year old both have fallen into the sedentary lifestyle that so many kids have adopted today. Although it will take time, we have already made some progress with the kids using a regimen that I have outlined in other blog posts.
We are working on form to start and not using weights but we are doing both strength training and cardiovascular training daily and since we are starting slow and it is easy, both kids seem to be really enjoying the start. As I learned 25 years ago, the key to kid’s fitness is to make it fun and that’s why places like Gymboree have caught on and have expanded nationwide.
So, we are making it a contest because my kids love competition between themselves. Additionally, we are starting with it as a minor interruption to their day and we will take our time to make sure our form and mechanics are perfect before we increase the intensity and duration.
It doesn’t take much to get your kids started on a fitness regimen and if you don’t have the time to get it started yourself, places are available to help your kids get active. Not only will you be helping you be a better parent, you will also start your kids towards a lifetime fitness routine.