There was an article posted a couple of years ago in a scholarly journal that had a morbid prediction:
This is the first generation where parents will outlive their children.
I was reluctant to believe this however, numbers don’t lie. As I dug deeper, I discovered some more alarming facts that seem to support this highly improbable prediction:
– The average American child spends 38.5 hours on some kind of electronic device (that is almost a full time job!).
– Kids need AT LEAST 60 minutes of vigorous physical activity a day. Gym class and recess are not the same as when we went to school due to budget cuts and fears of litigation. I’ve talked to several parents who told me that kids are no longer allowed to run or play tag during recess- too dangerous!
– The percentage of children classified as over-weight or obese is in America is almost 34%!
– Doctor’s have found fatty streaks in the arteries of children as young as 3 and ten year olds are developing type II diabetes, otherwise known as “Adult on-set” diabetes, which now appears to be inappropriately named.
– Studies have found that parent’s weight, diet and habits are the greatest indicator of their children’s health and future habits
We as parents are solely responsible for creating and encouraging an atmosphere and lifestyle of physical activity and outdoor play for our children. Not only will we be setting the stage for a lifetime of good habits but also good health (not just for them, for ourselves too!).
So what are you waiting for? Let’s change some habits and get active as a family!
5 simple ways to get started:
1. Goal setting:
Set a goal of how many miles you think you can walk, run, or bike as a family in one month. Find or print a simple one month calendar and put it on the fridge. Track your miles daily and tally after each week. If you reach your goal at the end of the month have a special reward that you can all do together like going to a movie or the zoo.
** Join the Running With Kids Family Miles challenge HERE.
2. Digital free walk after meals.
Commit to walking after every family meal together for at least 10 minutes but ideally 30-60 minutes without electronics (leave them all at home!). This gets the digestive track going and prevents us from perpetuating the habit of going straight to the couch/TV/smart phones after dinner.
3. Sign up for a fun run or race!
There are so many great family friendly events out there that have special kids races, allow strollers, etc. Find an event on Runstrollerrun.com, sign up as a family and then start training together! Looking for some guidance? We have a great 5k training plan for new parents, more info HERE.
4. Add some adventure!
Grab some of your friends that have kids and organize weekly playground adventures! Find 2-3 playgrounds or parks in different parts of town that you can walk/run to and do short workouts at each while the kids play.
5. Outdoor scavenger hunt:
Wyatt, my 4 year old and I made a list of 100 animals and bugs we wanted to find. We put the list on my smart phone and everytime we go out for a walk or run we try to cross things off our list. This is a fun way to spend time together and educational too!