4 Workout Lessons Moms Can Learn From Their Kids

little girl playing on the playground
We nearly always focus on what we can teach our children. They're constantly learning from our examples, actions, and words, whether it's learning how to eat solid food or the difference between right and wrong. What we often don't realize is that our little ones have a lot of wisdom to share with us, too, sometimes in surprising ways.

What does this have to do with working out? What could your kid teach you about fitness that you couldn't learn from a trainer or a fitness instructor? You may be surprised by the fitness truths your kids can teach you.

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1. Kids concentrate on having fun, not working out. You know that game kids play sometimes, where they have a balloon and they try to keep it in the air, taking turns to duck and dive, hitting and kicking? They play that game because it’s a lot of fun, but if you break it down from a fitness professional’s perspective, it’s an excellent workout. They’re honing their reflexes, balance, and proprioception, as well as moving functionally in all planes of motion. Next time you realize you’re getting a workout doing something you’re really enjoying like dancing, or riding your bike, or playing with your kids, remember -- it can totally count as exercise.

2. Kids are modelling their fitness behavior on YOU. Last weekend, I signed my 2-year-old son up for a kids' race being held right after a local 4-mile race. My son and husband cheered me on while I ran, then we lined up for the kids' event. Apart from being ridiculously adorable -- the ‘race’ was about 20 feet long, with lots of tiny people running their hearts out -- I was struck by how excited the kids were to be doing something “just like Mom” or “just like Dad." Most of the parents there were also runners, and their children were thrilled to be running as well. Remember, every time your child sees you exercising, it’s having a big effect on what part fitness will play in their life too.

3. Kids have perfect form. Watch your kids next time they’re playing or really when they’re doing anything. They squat perfectly. They use their legs instead of their backs to pick up heavy things. Most adults have lost this ability -- as a personal trainer, I’ve corrected enough squats to attest to this -- but watching kids move is a great reminder of what our bodies are capable of. What do kids do that we don’t? They move more and sit less often. 

4. Kids aren’t afraid to fail. There are a couple of different factors at work here. One is definitely less fear of mortality. As adults, jumping on an abandoned rope swing hanging high above a river probably wouldn’t be something we’d try without thinking about the consequences (which may or may not include broken bones), yet I remember doing this very thing without hesitation as a kid. Another factor is that kids care less than adults about what others think of them. They will take a running leap and hang from the monkey bars -- just to give it a try -- whereas as we get older and more self-aware, we’re less likely to attempt something we may be embarrassed by if we fail. You can use this knowledge to evaluate if fear of failure is holding you back from trying something in your workout. 

Have you ever learned something from watching the way your kid plays? What other ways do you think kids can be an example for adults to be fit and healthy?

Image ©iStock.com/ArtisticCaptures

 

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