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This month we are exploring how food and exercise can help our children manage stress and anxiety. We are kicking off this topic with a guest post by Tanya C., co-founder of Motherly Adventures. Her blog is about the adventures of two friends who met in a random hostel while traveling Europe in their twenties. Fast forward 10 years, and they are now married, home owners, career women, and mothers. The one thing that has not changed is their love for travel, spontaneity, and adventure. Add babies to the mix and you are guaranteed a good read. Follow their stories as they learn to embrace their new roles as mothers. Be sure to check them out on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
My best childhood memories revolve around family activities and sports. Although my dad worked the night shift during my entire childhood, I never felt like he neglected the family. In the summer, we spent most of our Sunday afternoons biking around the city, playing soccer in the park, and going on short hikes. In winter, we spent many weekends skiing as a family.
In addition to all of this family fun focused on being active, my parents encouraged us to play sports. For many years, I was a competitive swimmer who trained six days a week year-round and also played on a soccer team in the summer. I grew up juggling sports and school work. It’s the life I grew up knowing as a kid.
How My Childhood Shaped Me
When I stop to think about my life now as a thirty something, I notice how my habits stem from my childhood. I eat healthy foods, exercise regularly, and enjoy being on the go. I’m driven, ambitious, and am successful in my work. But most importantly, I’m healthy.
We know that exposing kids to healthy habits at a young age will help them carry those ideas into adulthood. It is much easier for us to continue habits learned in childhood than to start from scratch later in life. That is why it was easy for me to get back into my exercise routine six weeks post-partum. I even lost all the baby weight in that short time! The active lifestyle is embedded in my daily life and I crave it. Now, I want my kids to crave it too.
What I Hope For My Family
It is only when I became a mother that I realized how much work it was for my parents to lead an active family lifestyle. It is definitely easier to stay home with the kids than it is to drive them around to parks for outdoor playdates and sporting events. It is also easier to sit them in front of a television so I can enjoy a well-deserved break.
To avoid getting stuck in this rut, it is important for parents to make a choice about what lifestyle we want to have as a family, identify how we will reach that desired lifestyle, and be ready to sacrifice our personal time (or career) for the sake of our children’s health and well-being.
Research clearly states that kids who are physically active perform better academically and have a better attention span and memory . This is in addition to all the health benefits associated with being active, such as less stress and anxiety, stronger bones, leaner body, and lower blood pressure.
Ways To Keep Your Family Active
Below are the vows I am making as a mother to ensure that my children learn to live a healthy and active life.
- Expose them to various sports at a young age so they can ultimately choose the one(s) they want to pursue.
- Plan a family activity at least once per month including short hikes in surrounding parks, biking in or around the city, and downhill skiing or snowboarding on the weekends.
- Visit a park to play with my kids after they finish their homework.
- Encourage my kids to play outside even during the cold winter months.
Thank you mom and dad for teaching me how to live a healthy and happy life!
What will you do to ensure your kids learn how to live an active lifestyle?