The Effect of Exercise on Kids

My children are present and often participate when I exercise. I often wonder what type of impact that will have on them. They are like sponges after all. The only adult t.v. show they've ever seen is The Biggest Loser. They'd watch it with me every week (because it comes on at 7....grrr). They have remembered so much from that show! When we are at parties, if they see someone drinking a soda, they will in no uncertain terms, tell that person that drinking soda will make them fat! They will tell you the same thing if they see you eating a donut or french fries. And on and on. People look at me like I must be a food nazi. And I am, but I try to stress moderation with them. We (or they) can eat butter and candy and cheese and anything they want, just not all the time.

For a long time, I didn't ask them to do any type of physical activity. They run around and play most of the day. We take long walks in the woods, and we're out gardening or playing quite a bit. But ever since I started exercising a lot, they've seen it A LOT.

I don't complain about exercising in front of them, but they know it's tough for me. They see me get hot and sweaty. They know that I can't talk when I'm running, but for some reason they still try to carry on conversations with me. They just know my responses are less than perfect. When my children do yoga with me, they look like old pros. Oh to be so flexible.... But....they put all the grunts in the right places. My daughter was showing my neighbor her downward dog pose the other day and she grunted and sighed through it all. And it was not tough for her...she just thinks the sound effects are part of the moves.

One thing I didn't expect, was that they would come to expect some fitness in their day-to-day activities. So...I added it. We usually do our reading lessons right after breakfast. Now, we do 5 push-ups and 5 roll-ups right before our lessons. I do correct form, but I let them work it out to the best of their ability. My son can actually do all 5 real pushups now. He gets a lot more practice though because whenever his mind wanders during his lesson, he gets to do a few more to "get the blood flowing back to his brain". Needless to say, he's improved in both areas.

But today, they shocked me. My son said, "hey mom, look what I can do". I turned around and saw him doing a handstand. A real handstand! Now I have to take a step back and let you know that my kids are scrawny...not very muscular, not very athletic...let's face it they have my lazy body type. But he was doing a real handstand! He then showed his dad. I asked my husband if he thought this was because his upper body strength had been improving from all the pushups. And he said probably.

Well....I've been doing a lot of pushups, so could I now do a handstand?? Keep in mind that I have never been able to a handstand in all of my life. But I never could do a pushup either. For the record, I did 4 pushups with my daughter on my back today...just to see if I could do it. Okay, back on track. Could I do a handstand? You bet I could. And I could do forward flips now too. I'm not sure what gymnasts call it but I'm calling it a forward flip. I was so excited!!

My son was thrilled at his new talent, and my daughter tried and tried to do one as well. I'm hoping that by being so involved in exercise that it will rub off on them and they'll have healthy lifestyles throughout their lives. But I guess we'll see. For now, I'm just excited about the handstands. Winter Olympics here I come!


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