One of my earliest memories of exercising with my kids is when they were two and one years old. I traded in my road bike for a Burley bike trailer and attached it to my mountain bike. I would sneak in a bike ride with my two kids in tow with their heads bouncing around like bobble heads. Thank goodness I didn’t cause any permanent damage to their cervical spine.
I have always included my kids in my exercise program. I believe one of the most important things we can teach our children is how to be physically active and eat healthy. I was the dad who wanted to know what my kids were doing in physical education class more than in math class, because if we don’t have our health, what do we have? I have always felt that it was my personal responsibility to be a role model for my kids in this area.
Here are three things I did to instill the value of health and fitness into my kids’ lives.
MAKE IT ABOUT EDUCATION
I have always been a big believer that we should teach our children why it is important to exercise and eat healthy. Educate them on why sodas aren’t good for our health or why eating too much sugar will catch up to us in the long run. I then allowed them to make their own choices as they got older. I never said they can’t have those things, I simply provided healthier options and allowed them to choose. Now that my kids are twenty-two and twenty-one years old, I am proud to say they both love to eat healthy and to exercise.
MAKE EXERCISE FUN
Exercise and physical activity should be fun. I have been in the health and fitness business for over twenty-five years and one of the things I have loved about being in this profession was taking my kids to the gym with me. My kids learned from a very young age that taking care of our bodies doesn’t have to be drudgery. It’s fun to move and to be physically active. To this day I hike, play golf, lift weights and ride bike with my kids every chance I get even though they are young adults now and leading their own lives.
MAKE MEALS TOGETHER
Ah yes, the lost art of cooking and eating dinner together. Some of my greatest memories are cooking together with my kids. It’s simple, fun and creates team work. From choosing the recipe, going to the grocery store, meal prep and ultimately spending time in the kitchen together followed by quality time at the dinner table.
Its Father’s Day this Sunday. As a father who strongly believes in health and fitness, I want to encourage you to make health and fitness a priority with your children. I have been blessed with two beautiful children that are as passionate about health and fitness as I am. One of the greatest Father’s Days gifts we can give to ourselves and our families is sharing in health and well-being. Fit dads create fit kids.