Make Exercise Fun for Your Family
What images come to your (and your child’s) mind when you hear the word “exercise”? Having a coach yell at you to run faster? Jogging mile after mile while training for a competition? Doing push-ups until your muscles scream in pain? For many, the thought of exercise evokes feelings of inadequacy. All this negative baggage about exercise really isn’t necessary. There are ways to make exercise fun.
Wear Play Clothes
Make sure you and your family have appropriate attire for activities, such as walking, cycling, basketball, etc. Wear comfortable shoes that provide support, as well as clothing that is nonrestrictive and breathes well. Once your child shows a commitment to an activity, make exercise fun by buying him some of the clothing and equipment specially designed for it. Kids love a “uniform,” and it will enhance their enjoyment of the sport.
Keep Kids Cool
Children, by the very nature of their bodies, are more prone to overheating than adults are during strenuous exercise. Children often don’t pay attention to their thirst cues and tend to ignore drinking enough fluids before and during exercise. In addition, prepubertal children don’t sweat as much as adults, which causes the body to retain more heat. These quirks in heat-release mechanisms are another reason why short bursts of exercise are physiologically better for children than are long bouts of vigorous exercise.
Make Exercise Fun by Exercising Right for Your Type
Weather your child is genetically a banana, apple, pear, or yam, she can enjoy exercise. But a child who matches her activity to her body type and natural skills is more likely to make exercise fun and stay with it. Of course, I strongly believe that desire is more important than genetic destiny – so don’t discourage a child from an interest in a sport, no matter what her body type. But if you want to steer your child toward an activity she might naturally excel in, you’ll be interested in these suggestions:
Genetically lean kids are slim, lanky fat-burners and tend to carry less body fat. Because slender kids tend to be less muscular, they usually prefer endurance sports, such as long-distance swimmers or marathoners. While most banana kids are taller than average and are perfect for sports like basketball and cross-country running, some bananas are petite and can excel in gymnastics.
Kids that are round in the middle carry more muscle than bananas or pears, so they tend to excel at strength-related activities, such as wrestling and football.
Kids who are thicker below the waist have a higher fat-to muscle ratio than apples or bananas. Because this type tends to store fat in the lower half of their bodies, a pear is unlikely to run a four-minute mile, yet could very well excel in martial arts and short-distance endurance sports.
Kids who are just plain big from top to bottom tend to be strong as children. They excel at power sports, like football, basketball, and rugby.
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