‘We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.’ – Aristotle.
Now you might think I’m going to start rambling on about how in order for us adults to reach our fitness goals, we need exercise to become an instinctive habit, and whilst that is true, that is not the subject of todays blog.
In this blog I want to talk about creating good habits for children and the next generation. Genetics are something I like to talk about, as I believe they’re used as one of the most common excuses as to why as humans, we don’t achieve what we set out to, or, why we have ended up with a health issue that couldn’t possibly be down to our negligence. We often blame genetics, when in actual fact, it has a lot to do with the environment we grew up in that was the cause of any underlying health issues we might be experiencing.
If your parents eat a certain way, chances are, as a child, your nutrition will be similar. If those eating habits have led to obesity and health problems, isn’t it extremely likely that eating the same way will lead you down the same path? I’m not saying genetics don’t play a part in some cases, but it’s far less often than we give it ‘credit’ for.
was fortunate growing up that my parents were rather strict with what I was and wasn’t allowed to consume. We never had soda in the house, McDonald’s was a RARE treat, and after a week of well-rounded meals, we would be treated with fish and chips (fries) on a Friday night. On top of that, I was encouraged to play as many sports as possible and they always supported me being active. I truly believe that developing these habits at a young age has benefitted me dramatically today.
By no means should you restrict your kids of anything, they should enjoy life to the maximum and indulge; however, balance is key. I’m not trying to tell any of you what to do with your children, however, with obesity, diabetes, strokes, cancer and cardiovascular disease on the rise, I find it imperative that children are being educated and creating habits to ensure they don’t end up going down that path at a young age.
Not only do I believe kids will benefit from a health aspect, but also their mental well being. It has been commonly stated that exercise is the most underutilized anti-depressant and food is the most commonly abused anti-depressant in adults. Children are not spared from depression and low self-esteem too. Schools can be the cruelest environments and with elevated levels of confidence and self esteem (through exercise), it can make school a much easier process for children to get through. It helps children understand the concept of, the more you put in, the more you get out and It helps them build life-long friendships.
I understand that sports and food can start to mount up in costs, but, remember you’re laying the foundation for your child’s future. While you may not find it important to take care of your health, that’s not a burden that your child should be left with.
My youngest client in the gym is 13 years old; for the most part we work with bodyweight exercises but also do some weightlifting with lightweights. His technique has improved dramatically, he has seen an increase in strength and I’ve noticed a huge improvement in his level of confidence. He is laying the foundation and creating habits so when he gets older, the environment won’t intimidate him, he will have a great base of strength and he will be healthier than he would have been had he never started.
By no means am I here trying to be a councilor or tell parents what they should and shouldn’t be doing with their children. I’m writing this because I’m extremely passionate about people’s health and well being. I’m even more passionate about ensuring that children aren’t forced into a life they didn’t choose. It’s important to remember, FOOD IS ADDICTIVE. You wouldn’t get your child hooked on cigarettes, why get them hooked on a lazy lifestyle and poor food choices.
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