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01 Aug 2017

You are the best role-model for your kids. If you move more, then they will be inspired to move more too. If you want to encourage your kids to be more active, healthy and happy then it’s great to lead by example. Practice what you preach!

Making exercise a normal part of your everyday life. It’s important for everyone’s health and happiness. Here are some tips to help you make it happen:

Making fitness fun

Make exercise fun - and it doesn’t have to cost lots. For example, go for a walk around your neighbourhood, go to a park, or even to a nearby lake or beach. Or get on the internet and google some yoga poses and have a giggle while trying them out with the kids. I love doing yoga with my toddler Finn. He’s done it so much now that he will sometimes get out a yoga mat when he feels like it too and practice some of the moves. I cheer him on when he does this.

Walk to school, don’t drive. It’s good to be active throughout the day and whenever you can. I also find my kids chat to me during this time and they build up fitness levels without focusing on this.

If your child is interested in running then start them off on a run/walk routine. Explain that it takes time to build up their fitness levels. Run/walk alongside them and tell them to slow down if they are breathing heavily. You should be able to talk while running. Make it fun and a short distance i.e. just around the block to start with or do laps of a school field. If they enjoy it then they are likely to want to do it again. Success!

Family fitness – getting healthier together

As a family, throw around a rugby ball or get out the cricket set or soccer ball after dinner or at the weekends. Ask your child what they would love to do that’s being active. Being an active family is one of the best ways you can care for your kids and bond with them.

Go on adventures at the weekend when you have time. There are some amazing cycle trails around now where you can explore really beautiful places. If you have little kids, then get them on scooters, little bikes or walk just a short distance. Soak up the sunshine and being in wide open spaces.

Joining a sports club or fitness group

Find out if there are cool groups that cater to kids in your neighbourhood if you can afford it. There are athletics and tennis clubs to swim squads, dance classes, martial arts, just to name some. They might try something and really love it and it could end up inspiring their fitness for a life-time. A friend’s husband loves tennis and this is something he’s enjoyed for a lifetime. So you never know what could be “their fitness thing”.

Get competitive

Consider entering your child into an event if they are older (and they are keen, of course - ask them first)! Then help them to build up to the race. For example, Wellington’s Cigna Round the Bays is on February 21 and has a beginner 6.5km Fun Run/Walk option that you could do with your child. Events are great to enter as there is a wonderful atmosphere and lots of people cheering.

Supporting your family in their fitness goals

Lastly, cheer on your kids at home too whenever they are physically active. It’s awesome that they will give things a go. Being active and getting out in the sunshine, fresh air, open spaces is terrific for their wellbeing and should be encouraged at any opportunity.

Check out the Cigna Facebook page for more healthy tips, and visit the Cigna Wellbeing Ambassador page for videos and blogs from Rachel.

Further Reading

• Rachel is the director of inspiredhealth.co.nz and you can follow her on Facebook or Instagram.

• Holiday Action: Keep kids active and happy

• Find a sport using the Sport New Zealand website

Setting up a school walking bus – NZTA website

• Weet-Bix Kids TRYathlon http://try.weetbix.co.nz/

The health and wellness information on this page is for informational purposes. It does not constitute medical advice and is not intended to be a substitute for proper medical care provided by a doctor or nurse. Cigna assumes no responsibility for any circumstances arising out of the use, misuse, interpretation or application of any information supplied in the content. For more information, please read our Community Guidelines.