11 Things Children Can Teach You About Exercise

What can kids teach you about exercise? Plenty!

By Mike Kramer for SparkPeople

The answers to fitness success aren't in the bookstore. You won't find them in the latest government research labs. Forget about talk radio, late night TV, or a magazine rack full of scantily clad cover models.

You'll uncover information and data there, for sure. You'll find plenty of opinions, ideas and "proven techniques" too. But the REAL answers - the stuff you can use every day - can be found anytime at your local playground.

Everything you need to know about fitness and exercise, you can learn from kids.

Have you ever watched a child completely engrossed in a project? They have the magical ability to be serious about what they're doing without taking it too seriously. You can do the same with your exercise program. You can live every day with more focus, and every week with more motivation.

Here's what every child knows that you may have forgotten. See if you can apply some of these lessons to your daily program:
1. Everything can be a game. Why slog through the same workout routines in boredom, when you can add a little fun? Make up rules, shoot for personal records, regain your competitive spirit.

2. Don't walk when you can run. Every day is full of opportunities to increase your fitness. This rule is closely related to "don't drive when you can walk."

3. If you don't like it, don't eat it. Once you reach your goals, chances are your eating habits won't stick around long if you hated what you were eating. Healthy eating involves balance and moderation.

4. Laughter feels good. Kids seem to inherently know that laughter can ease blood pressure, help your brain function, give you energy, and help you reach your goals. Smiling and enjoying yourself can be serious help.

5. Playtime is important. We get so caught up in work, chores and a host of "have-to's" that we forget to take time for ourselves. Not only does relaxing and regrouping make life worthwhile, it has real health benefits. Most of all, it will help you stay consistent and motivated.

6. The world should be full of color-especially on your dinner plate! Splash it with as many colors as possible, paint it like a rainbow with food. It's more fun to look at, the most colorful produce options often pack the most nutrients, and chances are you'll be eating a healthy, balanced meal.

7. It's always more fun with friends around. Children tend to gravitate toward other children. It gives them spirit and makes them want to play all day. Working out with other people is almost like having your own little playgroup.

8. Adventures are found outside, not inside. Every kid knows that the good stuff is in the great outdoors-fresh air, wide open spaces, limitless possibilities. You can't find those things cooped up in a tiny, stale gym. Open the door and start a new adventure every day.

9. It's important to use your imagination. You can be Major Fantasia or Stupendous Woman any time you want. Give yourself permission to believe in your own super powers and let your mind take you wherever it wants to go.

10.Anything is possible. No fear, no self-doubts, no negative self talk, no self-criticism, no worries, no destructive anxieties or thoughts of failure. To a child, he/she can do anything. And do you know what? They're right.

11.You have your whole life ahead of you. Here's your chance to do it right.

The answers to fitness consistency are probably about 3-4 feet tall, and may be closer than you think. When you act more like a kid, suddenly the world opens up. Living a healthy lifestyle becomes something you want to do every day. Start enjoying yourself again!

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