Thursday, August 20, 2009

Children Must Exercise to Stay Healthy: Start the Exercise Habit When Kids are Very Young

Last night I went to a killer pilates class, one of those things we all love to hate. The teacher announced she is starting a class for moms and babies up to 25 pounds. Their weight matters because the class involves the moms lifting the babies for an hour and at some point a heavy baby is tough to keep lifting.

It reminded me of the Gymboree classes I used to attend with my kids. They were wonderful for many reasons. First, we got to spend time together doing something really fun. Next, the kids got lots of exercise, jumping, running, bouncing, and constantly moving throughout the hour. They were also exposed to gym equipment they had never seen before, including uneven parallel bars; pullies that flew across the ceiling as they held on to the handle and I held on to their legs; and parachutes, balls and hoops in an array of sizes.

We all now know that to stay healthy we need to exercise every day. If your children are in the habit of getting some activity when they are very young, it will be a routine that will stay with them throughout their lives. Organized sports are great, but not all kids are athletic, and not all parents are bought in to the rigors of their child being on a team. Playing soccer in the backyard, swinging on the swingset, tossing a ball back and forth, are all physical activities that will keep you and your children fit and healthy. And, they are lots of fun!

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