School Starters Out into the World : Run, Jump, and Play Keeping them moving (part 2) - Resisting the sedentary lifestyle Making positive changes

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Resisting the sedentary lifestyle Making positive changes

Encouraging a healthy lifestyle is the best antidote to the sedentary life. This involves the whole family eating a balanced diet and making physical activity a routine part of your week. Achieving this might seem like a sea change in your lifestyle or require only minor adjustments.

Q: Why bother?
A: Understanding why a change needs to be made is known to increase the chance of any adjustment being sustained. Your child probably won’t be too interested that a healthy lifestyle should reduce her risk of disease in the future. However she may like to know she could have more energy to run, jump, and climb, and that she’ll get extra time with you for family activities. Engage her interest by explaining what happens to her body when she gets active. She may be fascinated by children’s anatomy books, which show how her heart and muscles work and why she needs good food to give her energy.
Family favorites

Ask each family member to name their favorite sport or play activity, and add something they’d like to try which they don’t do at the moment. If your child struggles to come up with new ideas, help out by listing some examples. Scheduling plenty of what your family enjoys increases their motivation to get active.

Seek solutions

Even a minor change in family lifestyle will need effort to get the logistics right. Solve problems before they arise by asking yourself what’s going to hold your family back from being active? Are there going to be practical problems such as getting to and from the activity, will the cost be prohibitive, can you enroll in trial sessions or is a commitment required right away? Consider how each activity will fit around other priorities in your life, such as finding time for children’s homework and friendships or making sure you can still catch your favorite TV shows. When you recognize these barriers and actively try to find solutions you’re more likely to succeed.

Make a plan

Setting clear, small goals for your family can give you a motivation boost when you achieve each one. Make a plan stating what your family is going to do, write it in positive language, and be specific. For example, you might say, “We will always walk to neighborhood shops,” rather than, “We won’t drive as much.” Be realistic, and set goals you can achieve. If you give your child the task of winning a swimming trophy, she may not appreciate just taking part in the race.

Lead by example

Don’t expect your child to get active if you don’t do it yourself. When you make changes to your eating habits, exercise levels, and time spent outdoors as a whole family, you’ll have a much greater chance of success.

Out and about

Spending time outdoors together as a family can be fun and provide great exercise.

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