Summertime in NYC: moms are out with their babies, joggers are running along the river and groups of people are meeting up for fitness boot camps. Take another look and you’ll also see families stretching, doing obstacle courses and engaged in group workouts – a growing trend in the City.
Now more than ever, parents are requesting private and group fitness classes for their families. This sends a strong message to their kids who are understanding at an early age that an active lifestyle is a priority and essential for staying healthy.
Lauren Amar, a natural food chef and mom of two, says the challenge is finding an activity that everyone in her family can do together: “My kids are 4 and 7. Both my boys are involved with team sports, but the challenge is finding a fitness activity we can all do together. That’s why a private workout is great – we all participate and the trainer modifies the routine so that everyone joins in at their own level and gets something out of it.”
Parents and caregivers are key when it comes to shaping how their kids think about fitness and a healthy living – whether that be what you do or what you eat.
According to Dr. Cindy Baskin, Internist at a renowned NYC medical center, the earlier children are exposed to healthy behaviors, the more likely they are to adopt them: “Parents who role-model by exercising and eating healthy will have an influence on how their children view and adopt a healthy lifestyle. A doctor can tell a child to eat vegetables and stay active, but that message isn’t as strong as it is when they see their parents in action.”
It’s never too early to start exposing children to an active lifestyle. Kristen Pizzo, a merchandiser/brand manager and new mother, cherishes the time she gets to spend with her son while doing something that feels great for them both. “Taking a fitness class with my son is a double-bonus for me. I get to work out and spend quality time with my baby at the same time. For a workaholic mom like me, it’s the ultimate environment for baby and momma bonding.”
Trainers and fitness experts are responding to the growing demand for family-friendly wellness experiences. Often times, we’ll be working out with families or helping parents to stock their fridges with family-friendly power foods, and the kids are the ones who want to teach their parents.
Role-modeling goes both ways. When kids are doing an activity with people they emulate like parents and siblings, they are motivated, inspired and have fun with it. At the same time, parents are motivated by seeing their kids energized.
Want to kick-start a health routine for your family? Here are five tips to get you started:
- Allow kids to decide what your workout will be (jogging, bike riding, calisthenics, etc.)
- Rotate who in the family will lead a group workout.
- For families with younger children, incorporate your child into your fitness – stroller workouts, put them in carrier and do squats/lunges or go on a power walk.
- Encourage kids to food shop with you. If they are part of the process of choosing what to stock the fridge with, they will more likely want to eat their selections.
- For that picky eater in your household, keep introducing healthy food over and over. Remember it takes 10+ times for a child to take to a food.
Sara Dimmick and Sarah Currie, co-founders of Physical Equilibrium, a NYC-based fitness and wellness concierge created a special series which offers family workouts, pre- and post-natal sessions, mom and baby exercise classes, nutrition coaching and family menu planning.
The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the blog contributor’s. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. Writers may have conflicts of interest, and their opinions are their own.