Fitness - underestimating our kids





The Pyramid Mountain


There is a mountain where we live, that is considered a tough climb. It is the highest free-standing pyramid in the world, and information tells you that experienced hikers should allow 4 - 6 hours for the round trip up and down the mountain. Many adults struggle to climb this mountain, but since my husband and I have climbed it several times, and also competed in the annual race up and down it twice, we were keen to take our two daughters up (aged 5 and 7 years).





They have been on shorter walks with us, and we knew them to have a reasonable fitness level, so decided to aim for half way up this year, and perhaps next year climb the whole way. 

When we finally set off on the climb, half way came and went, and the girls made it to the top no problem. We made the return trip in just under 5 hours, and were mightily impressed with our young daughters.




Fitter than we gave credit for

On later reflection, we realised that we had of course underestimated our daughter’s abilities and fitness levels. Once I thought about it, I realised that they spend break and lunch times at school running around; swim most days, either at school or at home, and also run around the garden at home after school and at weekends. Not to mention the walks and bike rides we take them on. Overall they probably do more exercise than we do, and so their success in climbing the pyramid should have come as no surprise.



Everyday living is a workout

As adults, we generally have to make an effort to stay fit. (of course depending on your job). We join gyms, go jogging, biking, lift weights; and for all that, how many of us could actually keep up with our kids if we tried to do all they do in a day?

I realise that not all children run around as much as in years gone by, with the advent of television, DVDs and computer games. But again, even if our kids are at this stage, surely we can entice them to play outside by joining them.

A recent camping trip with another family, reminded me of how much fun a simple game of tiggy can be. I hadn’t played in years, but the adults had just as much fun, if not more, than the kids.

Another example came from a while back when I went to help out at my daughter’s school for their PMP (perceptual motor programme) one day as a volunteer parent helper. I was given the task of swinging the long rope for the kids to practice skipping. At age 5, many of them could not yet skip, or were just learning; but they had so much fun trying!  Then, several weeks later when I got to repeat the same activity with them, they were much improved and still thoroughly enjoying it! After that first experience I went straight to the hardware store, bought a long rope, and that evening skipped with my kids in the yard. My husband turned the rope for me to skip when he returned from work, and I loved being able to skip again, but realised that I can no longer skip for as long as I could as a school girl!



Be a kid again and improve your fitness

Most young children do have a good level of fitness, and it is very easy to encourage them to keep that level or raise it, while also maintain or improving your own fitness level by joining in fun games and activities with them.

I am trying to explore different methods of keeping fit with my kids by going back to my youth and re-exploring childhood activities and games. I can tell you, some of the games have turned out to be the best workouts I've had in ages!  All in a day's work for the kids though - who don't see it as a workout - just as having fun!


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