4 Life Lessons Your Children Learn from Your Fitness Routine
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader” – John Quincy Adams
There are a couple of key fitness topics I write about frequently:
- Why should fitness be important to parents?
- Why is it worth the time and effort for parents to lead a healthy lifestyle?
My number one answer to both questions, and the fitness benefit I feel most strongly about, is that living a fit lifestyle sets an example for our children… and in more ways than one.
By watching us lead a healthy lifestyle, our kids learn valuable life lessons that will stick with them as they get older, and throughout their adult years.
In fact, the lessons they will learn may surprise you…
Setting effective goals plays a key role in the success of any fitness routine. Setting short term goals using the S.M.A.R.T. convention, and using daily wins as motivation, creates a huge amount of momentum for your fitness routine. Goal tracking also provides you with a way to look back on your progress and celebrate successes.
When your children see you set and reach goals, you are arming them with a powerful tool that will carry over into every aspect of their lives, both personal and professional. Goal setting is a skill that can be used to improve their health, fitness, professional career growth, education and personal growth. Showing your kids this one skill can have far-reaching benefits that impact their lives for decades to come.
The Value of Hard Work
Improving your health and fitness takes time, patience and effort. Without putting in the work, you can’t achieve your goals. Never is this concept more evident, than when discussing fitness improvements. You get out what you put in.
Just from watching you, your children will understand the power of working hard to achieve anything they set their mind to. These tools will allow them to achieve goals throughout their lives, some they may have never thought possible. We all want our children to be the best at whatever they choose to do… hard work is what will get them there.
Self Confidence/Self Efficacy
Set goals… achieve goals. Work hard… see benefits. It all adds up to a higher level of self-confidence and an understanding that you are capable of great things when you work hard and dream big. This fact is true, regardless of what others may say or any doubters you may have.
This is even more important in regards to the lives of your children as they grow older. When your kids understand that they are capable of achieving anything when they work hard, it enables them to dream big and develop an unshakeable confidence in everything they do. Unfortunately, as our kids are exposed to more social influences as they grow older, their self-confidence and self-image will undoubtedly be challenged by their peers. Doing as much as we can to bolster these traits will have huge impacts on their mental health and quality of life throughout the years when it matters most. Show them early that they are capable of amazing accomplishments, despite the odds and their critics.
This one is obvious, but it certainly deserves mentioning (this is a fitness article after all). In an age when eating disorders, obesity and inactivity plague our children… an education in the value of healthy living and a fit lifestyle is one of the most important lessons we can teach them. While some educational institutions are cutting back on sports and fitness related programs, alternative organizations with the goal of helping kids stay more active are popping up in schools and around organized sports. While this helps, it is typically not enough.
As with most lessons related to parenting, it all starts at home. Our children gain more knowledge and education from watching us, especially early on, than anything that can be provided by an outside program or institution. It is on us to show them through our own actions how important a healthy lifestyle is. These lessons will help them to lead happier, longer, and healthier lives. I can’t think of a better gift to give your children.
This list is by no means all inclusive, and you never know what lessons your children will learn from your actions. They are always watching. However, when it comes to their health and well-being, it is better to ere on the side of positive habits, than run the risk that they could have life-changing complications in the future due to a poor example we have set for them. Improve your fitness while teaching your children lessons that will stick with them for a lifetime.
Tell us what lessons you want to teach your children through an example you have set. Share your stories in the comments below.
The Fit Parent Project