At our booth at a home show recently, I noticed several little people being chased by their parent or grandparent. Kids like to move. The adults were trying to keep up to keep track of them. I also noticed that the only people who wanted to try our equipment on display there were kids. They were trying to ride the spin bikes, which were too big, play on the BOSU and stability balls, or lift the dumbbells which, although only 7 pounds were too heavy for them. When we were riding the bikes to demonstrate them, comments from some passing adults, where “that looks too much like work” or “get a motorized one”. Now, not all adults were so negative, many were very positive about the activity but when and why do we change from being kids attracted to activity into adults who avoid it? What can be done to encourage our young people to continue being active as they get older? Early on, just getting out in the yard to explore uneven ground is great. Take them for short neighbourhood walks, then to a park or playground. Help them to explore climbing, jumping or skills such as riding a bike.
As they get older, organized sports can be good. Team activities provide a social aspect to a child’s development. They learn how to get along in a group and work together as a team. Great life skills. Not all kids however enjoy team sports so avoid pressuring them. As they get older, expose them to lots of different activities. Let them try swimming, skiing, bowling, tennis, soccer, biking, or just climbing on a jungle gym, lots of different things that aid their physical co-ordination and development. Exposure to different things can build confidence and perhaps make them less self conscious among peers. When a friend invites them to join them for a day of skiing or tennis they can accept with confidence.