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Baby Boomer Fitness with Children and Grandchildren

December 4th, 2016
A survey revealed that child care responsibilities are interfering with the efforts of many families to get more exercise and at the same time we know that many children are now overweight or obese.

Baby Boomer Fitness with Children and Grandchildren
Robert Bresloff

A survey revealed that child care responsibilities are interfering with the efforts of many families to get more exercise and at the same time we know that many children are now overweight or obese.

One day youre sta'nding over their crib, the next your attending their college graduation.

Baby Boomer Grandparent's understand the reluctance to miss just one moment of a child's life, much less a myriad of hours running in place on a treadmill.

Former U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. C. Everett Koop said, A survey conducted by Shape Up America has revealed that child care responsibilities are interfering with the efforts of many families to get more exercise and at the same time we know that many children are now overweight or obese.

The Solution

Baby Boomer Grandparents commitment and that on the part of the entire family to spend more time together.

The former Surgeon General also added, “The pleasure of your company is the best reward a child can receive and the best gift that you can give.

Even as schools continue to drop physical education classes in favor of more academics, (According to The American Obesity Association, 78% of parents in the U.S. believe that physical education or recess should not be reduced or replaced with academic classes.) child obesity continues to grow.

Kids aren't the only Americans dealing with weight related health issues.

Baby Boomer Grandparents need to take a look at some statistics.
In the latest data from the National Center for Health, 30% of adults, 20 years and older suffer from obesity that's over 60 million people!

Getting Started.

There are ways for you to combat these astonishing figures together as a family. But where do you start? The first thing to do is set up regularly scheduled times during each week for family physical activity. Once this is done, have each member of the family come up with a group activity. Try to make the activities such that all family members can perform. You want everyone to succeed.

Decide whether your activities will take place at home or whether your family wants to join a health club or community center. I see parents and grandparents going to the gym with their kids and grandchildren. Swimming is a fun family activity and most communities have an indoor public pool available for year round use.

Group exercise classes, such as step or spinning can be fun for the whole family. Beginning exercise classes are usually able to accommodate most age groups. Check with your local Park District or YMCA for more information about family memberships and programs.

Exercising At Home

If you should decide that keeping everyone at home, especially with little ones, your activities will make consistent participation more convenient. There are plenty of tips for successful fitness. First, designate specific areas in the home, indoor and outdoor, where physical activity is to take place. Designating specific places for activity gives the family a similar sense of purpose as going to the gym, or health club. Make sure the area is safe for whatever activities the family chooses (especially if Grandpa is clumsy). Who knows, you may find yourself climbing, jumping or rolling and you don't want anyone getting injured. Be aware of your surroundings, I recommend an area with a high ceiling. And remember, you should always consult your family physician before starting any type of exercise program. Safety first!

There are many tools available for in-home family fitness. If the children are high school age, you can install a home gym for lifting weights. There are many multi-gyms on the market today that as many as three family members can use at the same time.

For families with younger children, simple calisthenics using body weight is safe and effective for increasing fitness levels. Push-ups, abdominal crunches, standing trunk rotations, arm rotations, walking or running in place are only a few of the exercises that can be performed in a limited amount of space. As your family progresses, try light hand or ankle weights to increase the difficulty level. Remember to always start with lighter weights, slowly progressing as everybody adapts.

If you have a little more space then there are many tools available to help with your program as near as the local Sporting goods store. Fitness or resistance balls (Most brands come with exercise suggestions and safe programs for beginners.) If you're looking for a great cardiovascular activity, try jumping rope. It might sound easy but believe me it's not! Jumping rope provides not only a great workout but also helps in developing motor skills needed in many sports.

Another great group activity is step aerobics. Steps and risers are available at most sporting good stores and are easy to assemble Create your own step classes with the instructions that come with the equipment or purchase one of the many step videos that are currently on the market. Once the whole family has the hang of it, you can all take turns in leading the group.

Adding an exercise bike, treadmill or elliptical machines to your in-home exercise arsenal can add another dimension to your family workouts. Not only can each member use it individually to enhance their fitness program, but these machines can also be incorporated into the group routine by having one less station for exercises and rotating each family member onto the machine as the others go through the routine. Set a time limit then switch. This is a great way to break things up.

One of the more popular in-home exercise devises is the mini tram. This tiny, round trampoline has been on the exercise scene forever and still supplies one of the best, jumping or running in place, workouts. Nominally priced in most sporting good and department stores, the mini tram can provide hours of exercise and fun for the entire family. One little tip, wherever you perform mini tram exercises, make sure that it has a fairly high ceiling. If you're not careful, a little too much bounce could result in a bad bump on the head or worse. Remember always safety first!

If you have trouble developing programs that work for your family, the internet is a wonderful resource for fitness programs. Your local bookstore has hundreds of exercise books and videos for all ages. Another option is to hire a personal trainer to design a program that will work for your family. Most training companies have programs that will fit your needs. Be sure to check all trainer certifications to insure that he or she is qualified and experienced enough to work with you and your grand/children.

Going Outdoors

Family walks and bicycle rides can be fun way to enhance your fitness. Keep a log to track the miles and pace so your family can measure their progress. Modified sports are a great way to keep the family off the couch and out into the fresh air. Have fun modifying kick ball, softball, basketball or even football to fit your family size and children's ages. Be creative but keep everybody moving as much as possible.

Get Involved

Take the time to speak with the children's physical education teacher. They can give you insight into what type of activities children participate in at school as well as how you can provide support. Be aware of changes in curriculum. Many schools are restricting or eliminating physical education. Be proactive. Contact the local school board to prevent this from happening at your school.

Busy Baby Boomers also need to be aware of other fitness opportunities. Take a walk after lunch. Use the stairs instead of the elevator. Speak to your employer about providing incentives to employees who participate in a regular fitness program or possibly establishing one in the workplace.

Use your imagination. Fitness can be fun for the whole family. What better way is there to spend quality time with children then doing something that will benefit theirs and your health and well being? So come on you, the kids and the grandkids get off that couch and build some muscles and some wonderful memories along the way.

Robert Bresloff is a Certified Personal Trainer, Fitness Therapist, Adaptive Fitness Specialist, a Specialist in Fitness for Older Adults and Endurance Trainer with The International Sports Sciences Association. He owned and operated, Total Fitness Concepts Inc for 10 years. He has written for Masters Athlete Magazine, The Waukegan News Sun and trade e magazines and recently released his first fitness book,  'The Baby Boomer's Guide to Fitness"

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Article by:
Robert Bresloff

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