The benefits of exercising with your children are threefold. Not only can you bond together during family time, but you will also be teaching your kids valuable life lessons about health and well being, how to positively eliminate stress, and how to learn and conquer new skills and abilities.
Clinical studies show that exercising together helps to shape a child’s mental and physical health. Intense physical activity puts people “in the zone,” where adrenaline is pumping, the senses are heightened, and feelings are more intense, causing your bonds to be strengthened through the ancient “fight or flight” response. Exercise also releases endorphins, which boost your mood and reduces stress levels.
Family fitness time can be a great way for one or both parents to give kids their undivided attention. With no interruptions from television, cell phones, chores, or driving, the path is paved for more intimate communication and for encouraging each other to reach the next level.
Parents, this is a great time to “tune in” and find out what’s going on in your child’s life and what they are thinking about and grappling with. Some parents use exercise time to talk through problems, such as the loss or death or a family member, school difficulties, or social issues. In this way, a close connection and strong bond can be established.
Fitness, learning, and mastery
Through fitness, a child learns how to keep their body strong and how to build and maintain healthy bones, muscles, and joints. By living an active lifestyle instead of sitting in front of the TV and snacking, a child learns how to make good decisions and take responsibility for their health and well being.
Childhood is also a time of wonder and discovery. Different types of exercise promote skill-building and a sense of achievement and accomplishment, which fosters better self-esteem. Exposing children to hula hooping, softball, walking, and jogging gives them an opportunity to master different skill sets. This may also spark your child’s interest in competitive sports, such as soccer, football, or swimming and other social activities like dancing, bowling, and cheerleading.
Indeed, teaching your child about the benefits of exercise will not only foster a special closeness between the two of you, but over the years your child will learn more about teamwork, discipline, persistence, and social cohesion.