The Evolution of Youth Fitness: What do kids really need?
Our youth is overweight and under exercised. I remember growing up playing for hours outdoors not ever wanting to come in. I was playing this sport or the other, or I was riding my bike, exploring in the woods, or just running around with my two brothers. I was active. Growing up that was the trend not the exception.
Today it is very different. Inactivity has overtaken much of our youth. Even the active kids spend a lot of their time when they are not playing sports, playing video games, watching television, or just plain being inactive. Now I’m not going to get into who’s fault it is or blame the kids or the schools, or even the parents. Instead I have a potential solution for some who are willing to listen. Ready? Here goes.
Many youth struggle with movement based on a lot of lifestyle activities or non-activity that has creeped into their lives. Whether its video games, television, what they have learned from others, or the influence of other kids, inactivity is rampant. Its not because they don’t want to be active, in my opinion. It has more to do with the lack of confidence in their bodies to move. Many kids are self conscious about their bodies. They are afraid of being poked fun at or made fun in front of their peers, so they choose inactivity because it is safe and what they know.
Gym classes tend to bring out the worst in many cases unfortunately. I know growing up I loved gym class, but I also was always active. For the inactive, gym class can be a nightmare. Even for the active of today, gym class can be challenging because their bodies tend to lack the mobile ability for their age because of lack of use.
So we have a real problem. What is the solution? Well I don’t have all the answers, and will never claim to. However, I do believe there can be a better way. A program that starts with youth around ages 3-5 years old and teaches them mobility and movement appropriate for their age but make it fun for the kids. In other words exercise in game format. Then each age group forward learns new movements appropriate for their age so that kids become confident with their body in movement, become more active through the program, and develop a more active lifestyle as a result. In other words building kids from the ground up so that they can develop their own active lifestyle and feel confident doing so through positive means.
I’m not talking about a workout class for kids. Are they working out? Yes, but you won’t see barbells, dumbbells, and your typical exercise tools. For the older kids perhaps, but this is more about moving their bodies and getting one heck of a workout but also their bodies getting one heck of an education on how to move again. Through this method, I believe kids can become more active as I was and my generation.
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