I’ve just spent the whole weekend being active. And guess what? I didn’t even go to a gym or set aside any time to formally ‘work out’. But I did do the following:
I walked with my family.
I did the gardening.
I cleaned the house.
I went to the park.
I kept busy and I kept off the sofa (apart from at the end of the day, when I was wiped out from all the sun we’ve been having).
A Lot of exercise professionals are encouraging people to think about making fitness and health a lifestyle rather than jumping from one fad to another. Whilst there is beauty in variety, there is more to be said for consistency.
Making fitness something that kids think is just a part of life is an absolute gift in my opinion – and the more they see their parents or carers being physically active, the more this mindset will be ingrained.
My partner and I are always on the move, and my daughter observes this and always joins us.
Now, we are not perfect by any means – we just prioritise the stuff that we feel is going to be important for the rest of our daughter’s life.
Making fitness work for your family
The magic in bodyweight exercises is that they can be done anywhere and you can always make a fun game out of them.
There are some very beneficial movements – such as the squat, lunge and press up – that I practise on a regular basis and encourage my little one to get involved with.
These will certainly contribute to your overall strength and conditioning (and I am always posting about this on IG and FB) and they carry minimal risk.
Faigenbaum and McFarland recommended that becoming proficient in such movement skills like the squat and press up during childhood is likely to promote an active lifestyle in adulthood (Faigenbaum and McFarland, 2016). This is extremely important to help prevent injury later in life.
Engaging kids using children’s stories
Children love to hear you read them a story. So what if I told you I have written a children’s book that has these functional movements in them?
The book is called Snowflake and the Seven Sacred Movements. My little girl is three years old and she has already started her journey towards mastering the Sacred Movements along with Snowflake (an albino gorilla).
I wrote the book with the idea in mind that rather than fixing broken adults, it would better to build stronger kids.
I thought it would be a great idea to write a children’s book to inspire kids and their parents to know what functional movement patterns are and understand the importance of maintaining them for the rest of their lives. These are the movements (and their special powers) that I have included in the book:
1. The Silent Squat brings silence and clarity to you when you are confused and need to see clearly. Just sit in the Silent Squat position and your vision will become clear.
2. The Limitless Lunge can take you back in time to see if you have made the same mistake before. It is very important when facing danger to avoid repeating your earlier mistakes.
3. The Powerful Push brings you the strength to overcome any obstacles in your way. Focus, and search for that strength within you.
4. The Peaceful Pull allows you to restore your energy; to recharge yourself when you are running low. If we push, we must also pull – this is the balance.
5. The Brave Bend brings you the courage to lift the heaviest of objects. The strength of ten gorillas lives within this movement.
6. The Tornado Twist unlocks the elements (earth, wind, fire and water). Use this movement wisely and stay safe.
7. The White Tiger Walk is the last of the Seven Sacred Movements. These tigers have not been seen for fifty years, but legend tells us that when you walk as the White Tiger does, his wisdom becomes yours. You will then have the key to unlock the meaning of life at the top of Mount Lifelong.
In the book, Snowflake is taught these movements by a wise old gorilla called Charlie. He then uses the movements on his journey to the top of Mount Lifelong to discover the meaning of life. The sacred movements are put into practice to overcome the challenges Snowflake and his friends face on their journey.
As a family, we build movement and fitness into our everyday lives. I tell my little girl stories around functional movements and how she can use them on adventures to overcome challenges. Getting these ideas into children’s mindsets builds relationships and rapport in a way that can’t be matched.
I have attached a link to a Free Download of the book to give you some ideas.
Chek, P (2013) How to Eat, Move and Be Healthy! Eleventh Edition. United
States: C.H.E.K Institute.
Faigenbaum and McFarland (2016) Resistance Training For Kids: Right From The Start. American College of Sports Medicine, Health and Fitness Journal, Sep/Oct 2016
Dan Fallon (2014) Snowflake and the Seven Sacred Movements. First edition. Create Space, Amazon.