Fitness runs in families – fit fathers begat fit kids

kids playing follow the dadYou’re looking forward to enjoying the Olympics – hours and hours of blood, sweat and tears.

You’re a certified sports fanatic. Absolutely crazy about it. Passionate. Can’t get enough of it. Everyone sees you as Mr/Mrs Sport.

Well everyone, except your kids.

There is a BIG difference between watching it on the tellie and actually slipping into a pair of takkies to DO a little “sport”. If you can’t tell the difference, your kid can !

Parents are failing PE class

Researchers from the University of Essex gave more than 4000 schoolchildren the opportunity to grade the sportiness of their parents.

The kids relished the idea of being the ones with the red pens. But on the whole, they wrote lots of Fs. Two thirds of the children gave their parents a failing grading – reporting that their parents did NO PHYSICAL activity.

If you’re thinking hang on a minute – I get out of bed everyday, surely this constitutes PHYSICAL ACTIVITY. The standards the kids were asked to apply, was their parent had to do one or more of the following, for at least two to three hours each week

  • walk
  • cycle,
  • run,
  • go to a gym or an exercise class,
  • participate in another sport e.g. bowls, golf, tennis etc.

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree

Having given the kids a power trip, by allowing them to grade their parents, the kids themselves were put through their paces. Quite literally, each child was required to take part in the “bleep” test – a test which assesses cardio respiratory fitness.

Again, to confirm the bar was not being set way too high – you made the fitness grade if you could jog at 7 miles per hour. (This is considered a medium jogging pace i.e. a fraction and a hair, faster than a stroll in the park).

The kids weren’t much better than their parents. A quarter of the children (this is 1000 of them) did not make FIT.

Now is not the time to gloat, they’re kids – they’re supposed to be moving. You probably moved a hell of a lot more, when you were their age.

Unfitness runs in the family

How fit a kid ended up was strongly related to what was going on at home. Kids who gave their parents a failing grade – tended to fail themselves.

What Dad was doing, seemed to be far more important than what Mom was doing, when it came to assessing juniors fitness level.

Fitter Dads begat fitter kids.

The principle especially applied to girls. Girls need to see Dad doing.

Fitness versus Fatness

Let’s keep everything in perspective here.

The whole world is worried about how fat kids are, being fat is certainly not a recipe for a disease free long life and moving more, won’t necessarily stop you from putting on weight. But being UNFIT is actually just as big a problem, maybe even worse, than being fat. 

You need to begat a fit kid. You’ll be paying the medical bills ! Modern kids don’t move out – they often stay at home, FOREVER. 

Get seen “doing it”

Children need role models to develop health habits.

Leave a legacy in your family by cultivating a love for physical activity. Do physically challenging things as a family, talk about the importance, celebrate the moving, not just the winning and expound the value of exercise every chance you get.

You don’t have to be an Olympic athlete, just get off the couch two to three times a week and make sure your kids see you doing it. Perception is everything.

PS. If you are already physical active – point out how much you’re moving and how important it is, so they make the connection. If you can swing it, on the odd occasion take them to see what you do at the gym, the dance class or the job.

Personal note

My Dad was not a desk jockey, he did a hard days work, everyday – he was PHYSICALLY ACTIVE. But I did not see it or make the connection. In my home, academic achievement was valued, sadly exercise was never modelled, mentioned or discussed. I seemed to have two left feet and zero hand eye co-ordination, in short I sucked at sport, so I never incorporated it in my adult life. It took a health crisis in my mid-thirties to change my philosophy and really get me moving. Today I value exercise deeply and make an effort to get off my butt and move a little bit everyday.  

Interested in learning more about the chemistry behind childhood obesity ? 

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Further reading

bad body chemistry strikes at any age dog taking his human for a walk fit neurons bring home As
 Bad body chemistry can strike at any age – teenagers are in trouble  Walkies – it’s time to take your human for a walk  You are getting graded for physical education

The 7 Big Spoons™…. are master switches that turn health on.

balance eicosanoids rein in insulin dial down stress sleep vitamin D microflora think
Balance Eicosanoids Rein in insulin Dial down stress Sleep ! Increase Vit D Culivate microflora Think champion

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