The American Heart Association is concerned that children are not getting enough exercise to build strong and healthy bodies. They are correct. Gone are the days when kids stayed outside walking, running, and playing, relatively unsupervised, for long hours at a time, the dinner bell or the call from the porch stairs being the signal to re-group with family for supper.
Let me illustrate the difference. When I went to high school, I needed to walk 1.8 miles downhill to get there. The cut-off for busing was 2 miles. So every morning, I would walk downhill with several friends and every afternoon we would walk home. This was NOT seen as being active. This was the norm for most kids, almost 4 miles daily, carrying books.
If my mother saw any of us hanging around the house, she would say, “What? Nothing to do? I’ll find something for you to do.” Nothing got us moving quicker than that!
Busy families on the go don’t have the down time for parents; that also means less time for the kids to play, explore, and learn tons about science, engineering, problem solving, and language skills, while maintaining fitness. Kids are getting short changed in this regard. Society needs to change this.
We have been getting outside to run laps around the bushes most mornings after our meeting. Some kids have really taken to the work and others are making excuses to stop now. It is physical work, no question about it. I encourage them to walk if they can’t run, but everyone needs to be moving. We pretend we are Native Americans hunting, turkeys flying, anything that keeps us moving. It is important. I DO see the difference in children from what it used to be. Being on a soccer team is just not going to cut it in becoming fit. It must be maintained every day, in one way or another.
I know that our few minutes of running isn’t the answer but Mrs. Labrie and I are encouraging the children, cheering them on, and helping them to improve. All the same, it is work and that doesn’t come easily to most of us. School is not the place for all-around physical fitness coaching. That is a life style choice that is not optional. Get outside with your kids and move. We have so many wonderful places to walk and run. And some of you have runners in the making right now. You should see the strides on some of these kids! And parents need to set an example of regular huff and puff exercising as well, so we all can enjoy long and healthy lives.