10 Things to Inspire Exercise in Children

Exercise in Children | The Silver Pen

10 Things to Inspire Exercise in Children

Exercise has always been – and continues to be – very important to the HOTY and me.  In fact, I do some sort of exercise – yoga (my new favorite!), running, hiking, tennis – at least 5 times a week. That’s not to brag. I exercise because it keeps me sane. In other words, I exercise as much for my physical health as for my mental and emotional well-being. The truth is that exercise just makes me happy! The Silver Lining is that it also reduces my risk of a FBC recurrence.

Exercise has not, however, been Suddenly Seven’s thing. She has always preferred reading a book or singing a song. Now, she did play on her first soccer team this fall. But, I have to admit that she didn’t exactly touch the ball very often or run around the field all that much.  The Silver Lining is that she loved cheering for her teammates.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how to cultivate excitement for exercise in Suddenly Seven. Lo and behold, I came across a fantastic blog post by Brynn Harrington (my maiden name, by the way!) in which she talks about how the 10 things that she wants her daughter to know about working out. I couldn’t have agreed with her more or written it better myself, so I thought I’d share her post with you. There are some amazing points here that I have already utilized with Suddenly Seven:

  1. Strength equals self-sufficiency.  Being strong – particularly as a woman – is empowering.  It will feel good someday to be able to carry your own luggage down the stairs if the airport escalator is broken, and it will be important to have a solid shot at outrunning a stranger should you meet one a dark alley.
  2. Fitness opens doors.  Being healthy and fit can help you see the world differently.  The planet looks different from a bike or a pair of skis than it does from a car or an airplane.  Out in the elements you have the time and space to notice details and meet people and remember smells and bugs and mud and rain and the feeling of warm sunshine on your face.  And those are the moments that make up your life.
  3. The bike is the new golf course.  Being fit may help you get a seat at the table.  Networking is no longer restricted to the golf course, and the stronger you are – and the more people you can hang with on the road and trail – the more people you’ll meet.
  4. Exercise is a lifestyle, not an event.  Being an active person isn’t about taking a class three times a week at the gym.  It’s about things like biking to the grocery store and parking your car in the back of the lot and walking instead of taking a cab and catching up with friends on a hiking trail instead of a bar stool.
  5. Health begets health.  Healthy behavior inspires healthy behavior.  Exercise.  Healthy eating.  Solid sleep.  Positive relationships.  These things are all related.
  6. Endorphins help you cope.  A good sweat session can clear the slate.  You will have days when nothing seems to go right…when you’re dizzy with frustration or crying in despair.  A workout can often turn things around.
  7. Working out signals hard-working.  The discipline required to work out on a regular basis signals success.  Someone recently told me they are way more likely to hire marathon runners and mountain climbers because of the level of commitment that goes into those pursuits.
  8. If you feel beautiful, you look beautiful.  Looking beautiful starts on the inside.  And being fit and strong feels beautiful.
  9. Nature rules.  And if you’re able to hike/run/bike/swim/ski/snowshoe, you can see more of it.
  10. Little eyes are always watching.  We learn from each other.  You may have a daughter—or a niece or a neighbor or a friend – one day.  And that little girl will be watching and listening to everything she you say and do.  What messages do you want her to hear?

Over the Thanksgiving weekend, we hiked twice as a family and I was super excited to see Suddenly Seven zipping up the hills. As we were jogging (yes, jogging!) down the hill, she said to me (with a tone of inquisitiveness), “Momma, this is actually quite enjoyable!?!” This was the Silver Lining of my weekend and we will continue to hike together.

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