260719 Grandchildren and exercise part 2 of 2
When I was a child we walked up hill both ways to school, toiled in the fields until dark and then carried candles so we could see what we were doing out there…Yeah you bet that’s how I grew up. I did do my share of pitching hay bales in the hot and humid Michigan sun.
As our children grew up they were active, for hours at a time, in the woods around our home. But that was before the advent of the home computer and the rapidly expanding video game craze.
To this day, they are all active young adults. This is not necessarily the case with many of the younger generation though.
Are your grandkids active? If not, you may be the perfect person to get them started on an active lifestyle. They see you being active and doing things and want to do the same things. In some cases, these things may have to be modified to match their abilities. After all they are not young adults they are children.
Other suggestions for grandparents is to acknowledge, encourage and offer praise by showing an interest in their physical achievements. Continue to encourage them to be active around your home by setting the example of jogging to get the mail or riding your bike to get the paper in the morning.
Walk with them to school or ride your bikes together on the week end or try the local walking path. It’s a great to ride with your grandchild or a friend. Just wear a helmet while you ride. If you don’t already have one they are free at many places so that can no longer be an excuse for not wearing one.
If they show an interest in strength training, make certain to follow a few simple rules for their safety.
- Supervision is paramount for the young children-be on top of what is going on in the gym. Don’t leave it up to someone else; after all they are your grandkids.
- Keep in mind that no matter how big they are for their age they are still children and are physiologically immature.
- Focus on learning how to do the exercise-the weight will come in due time.
- Proper technique always precedes weight increases. If the form is not correct then don’t add weight to the bar.
- Teach then proper breathing techniques, i.e. no holding of the breath by using the Valsalva maneuver.
- Control the speed of movement-momentum has its place but not at this young age. They must be in control of the bar at all times.
- Do each exercise in a full range of motion, don’t be cutting the squats high or bouncing the bar on the chest or heaving the weight up in the curls.
- Use multijoint exercises, such as the squat, bench press, barbell rows as opposed to isolated movements like the concentration dumbbell curl.
- Lastly make certain your grandchild understands the directions given to them and is able to follow them.
In reality, short of a medical condition that predisposes an adolescent to obesity, there is no reason other than a lack of exercise that our youngsters are fat.
Here are a few ideas to get you started on this adventure.
Summertime is a great time to be active with your family. Family gatherings provide opportunities to build in time for exercise and physical activity. Being physically active can be more fun with those you love, and you’ll benefit from improved health and time spent together. You can go biking, jogging, or hiking at a nearby park or hold a family ping-pong tournament for indoor fun.
Visiting with your grandchildren this summer? Make physical activity a part of your plans. There are many ways to be active with your grandchildren, no matter their age! You might enjoy taking the younger ones swimming or for walks in the park or playing golf or tennis with your older grandchildren.
Build a healthy lifestyle that includes your grandchildren. Start being active together when your grandchildren are young. Pretty soon, it will be a regular part of your life and theirs! Go4Life has activity ideas for children of all ages:
Infants and Toddlers
- Take them for walks in the stroller and ride your bkes . Don’t forget your helmets.
- Play games that get your bodies moving—Wheels on the Bus, Pretend We’re Animals, and Hide-and-Seek.
- Sign up for baby yoga or exercise classes.
- Try baby-friendly swimming classes.
- Walk to the park and push their swing.
- Jump rope together.
- Build a fort—indoors or out.
- Play catch, kickball, basketball, or soccer.
- Go swimming or biking together.
- Play a video fitness game together and see who wins!
Teens and Young Adults
- Participate in activities that interest them. Try hiking, skating, or tennis.
- Go golfing or swimming. Invite them to join you in physical activities that require two people, such as tennis or ping pong.
- Ask them to help you in the garden or with heavy-duty household chores.
The bottom line is the more active they are the less likely they will become obese and you can be a part of the solution. Enjoyment will follow for both you and your grandkids—guaranteed.