Fit Kids, Smarter Kids
by Jeff Galloway
Kids Want To Exercise—Let Them!
“Kids who exercise regularly can gain major
control over attitude, energy level, bone strength and health.”
Kids naturally want to exercise. From a very early
age, when feeling sleepy and lethargic, kids move around more
in the crib, push more against the car seat restraints, jump
out of their seats, and run down the hallway. You can see
the joy in their faces as they exert themselves.
Compared with a kid who sits in a room, an exercising kid
will learn volumes about the body, the environment, how to
change attitude. Exertion forces the individual to solve more
problems, which is a primary contributor to becoming smarter.
Kids who exercise from an early age learn to intuitively solve
problems of movement and exertion, creating a greater ease
in movement. Early childhood movement activities have been
shown to trigger learning capabilities in the brain (see “Early
Childhood Fitness” chapter).
Smart doctors have known about the benefits of exercise for
generations. Several have told me, in various ways, that if
exercise were a controlled medication to increase energy for
learning, it would be the most heavily prescribed on record
because of the known benefits in practically every area of
the body. Unlike drugs, there are no negative side effects
to exercise that are not under one’s control. Regular
doses make one feel more alive and positive, help one deal
with setbacks and depression, and blend the mind, body and
spirit into a team for top performance in any area. Exercisers
feel more alive and are capable of enjoying more of life while
dealing directly with problems.
Kids do what we do. Sedentary parents tend to produce
kids that don’t exercise. But an adult leader who regularly
exercises, is a major positive influence on the lifetime health
of these future adults.
Kids often limit their exercise because we discourage
them from doing so. So many schools limit the natural
opportunities of children to exert themselves during recess,
etc, and actually teach them to be sedentary.
Safety and liability must be considered—but many of
the constraints imposed by institutions are designed to promote
the convenience of the supervisors. Many rules have little
connection with common sense. Surely there are safety issues
and times when we should tell kids “don’t move”.
But if this is a way of life, kids will learn to be sedentary.
Institutional Control. When a child takes off and
runs down the hall we scold them and often punish them. The
“good” child is the child that is sitting in place,
not moving, and not learning anything but how to be sedentary
and to do what one is told. I’m not encouraging childhood
anarchy. It is possible to allow kids to be active without
disturbing everyone nearby, and you’ll find the activities
in this book.
There’s no greater gift you can give a child than the
gift of exercise. It improves stamina and develops the capacity
to do more of everything without hitting a physical wall.
Will power and mental endurance improve at the same time,
preparing the child to tap into the capability of the total
human organism. Kids can see that “work pays off”
when they exercise regularly, which is a wonderful life lesson
in itself. We want our kids to live a long life, and you’ll
see studies listed in this book which show this. More important
is the fact that a kid who enjoys exercise will have a gift
that keeps on giving, improving the quality of everything
they do—of life itself.
The Plan. In this book you’ll find a strategy
for making exercise fun, for bringing parents and kids together
to exercise, and strategic plans to keep exercise interesting.
Nothing is set in stone. As you try different activities,
you’ll expand the variety to keep it interesting. Kids
can be fit at any age.
Running and walking are the basic exercise in this book,
because they are the easiest to do, and provide the most time-efficient
benefit. Other exercises are always encouraged, and a point
system is provided to rate the equivalent efforts in the “reward
points” section of this book.
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