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Posted by: sam | 2012/04/09

exercise for family

Hi there, As a overweight family, we have decided to change our eating habits and to start exercising. We have a health walker, a treadmill, a Maxus machine and a Maxus vibrating machine. We moved it into one room and is actually motivated to exercise. My 5 year old daugher want to join in on the exercise. She has a bit of a tummy, but does dancing once a week and is a fussy eater. Is it okay to start her on an exercise plan, and what can that plan consists of. I think see sees us exercising while we watch tv and wants to do the same and I know that she is small, but how can I get her involved for her age.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageFitnessDoc

Hi Sam

Good for you, that's a great step. It's very tricky to get young children on exercise plans, because really, they need fun and spontaneity, not structure. So you have to be careful about this. If she wants to join, then let her do so, and make it enjoyable, playful. Then she can pretty much do the same things you are, but without the focus. She has to train almost "incidentally". If that happens, then you're doing a great thing, because the foundation she gets from playing with you will possibly lead her to a life of activity.

So I think the way to approach this is to do YOUR training, and then facilitate opportunities for her to join you and have fun. I know that often, training is not fun (for us adults, that is), and so the challenge for you is to turn a session where you might be struggling into an "adventure" for her. That will in turn help you a lot. But look at this as quality time with your daughter, because if you can get her outdoors, that's another great step. There will be days when she doesn't feel like training or joining, and that's fine too - this is where the idea of "structure" is bad, because forcing it then will turn her off. Again, the key word is "fun" and if everything you do is enjoyable, she'll do it with you. but structure is very boring for children, as I'm sure you've seen. So you have to provide the structure but "disguise" it, so that she gets into a routine without realising it. That's very open-ended, but it has to be, because it must be spontaneous, not prescriptive!

Good luck

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Our users say:
Posted by: fitnessdoc | 2012/04/22

Hi Sam

Good for you, that's a great step. It's very tricky to get young children on exercise plans, because really, they need fun and spontaneity, not structure. So you have to be careful about this. If she wants to join, then let her do so, and make it enjoyable, playful. Then she can pretty much do the same things you are, but without the focus. She has to train almost "incidentally". If that happens, then you're doing a great thing, because the foundation she gets from playing with you will possibly lead her to a life of activity.

So I think the way to approach this is to do YOUR training, and then facilitate opportunities for her to join you and have fun. I know that often, training is not fun (for us adults, that is), and so the challenge for you is to turn a session where you might be struggling into an "adventure" for her. That will in turn help you a lot. But look at this as quality time with your daughter, because if you can get her outdoors, that's another great step. There will be days when she doesn't feel like training or joining, and that's fine too - this is where the idea of "structure" is bad, because forcing it then will turn her off. Again, the key word is "fun" and if everything you do is enjoyable, she'll do it with you. but structure is very boring for children, as I'm sure you've seen. So you have to provide the structure but "disguise" it, so that she gets into a routine without realising it. That's very open-ended, but it has to be, because it must be spontaneous, not prescriptive!

Good luck

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