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Fitness for Your Pre-Teen and Why It’s So Important

The U.S. Centers for Disease Prevention discovered that 60% of children between the ages of 9 and 13 do no organized physical activity outside of school. 23% of children from ages 9 to 13 engage in no free time physical activities either. It’s true that many children this age have a lot of homework – nevertheless, it’s important to be active. Here are some tips for fitness for your pre-teen and why it’s so important.

Exercise Is No Longer a Built-In Part of the Day

Today’s middle-aged adults may find themselves fighting a stubborn middle-age spread. Former high school track stars have evolved into busy parents who juggle careers and families and it’s hard to keep up the fitness levels we once had. But when we were young, many of us were more active. We rode bikes to our friends’ houses and spent hours running around and playing outside. If we wanted to watch a movie, we had to actually get up and go to a theater or make a trip to the video rental store. If we wanted to play video games, many of us went to an arcade often traveling by bike to get there.

Compare that to today’s kids, who have everything they need for hours of entertainment conveniently located in their family computer or smartphone. Even buying things can be done with the click of a mouse. As a result, today’s kids are inherently more sedentary than past generations. The exercise we got naturally through bike rides to our friends’ houses and playing outside are not a necessary part of their daily life. Exercise has to be planned, fitted in. It’s an additional activity, not a natural part of the process.

Set Up Healthy Habits

Establishing fitness habits at an early age can lay the foundation for a lifetime of healthy habits. A pre-teen is still malleable. The habits you instill now as a parent are habits that will continue with your child for a lifetime. If you teach your children the importance of being active and your child and your family lead an active lifestyle, your children will simply get in the habit of running, exercising, and keeping fit. And this habit will be likely to continue through college and adulthood.

Fitness Is Psychologically Important

Pre-teens are in the awkward years. Exercise can boost confidence, release endorphins, reduce that antsy pent-up energy kids this age get, alleviate tension, and boost confidence. Whether the confidence comes from knowing your child can outrun a bully or whether from knowing he or she is healthy, strong and fit, fitness is a definite bonus. Who wouldn’t want to equip their child with extra confidence as you send them to middle school?

Improve Grades

Studies have shown that children who are active in their pre-teen years from age eleven were specified do better on some academic tests. They also found that these kids continue to do well on tests several years later because they exercised when they were eleven.

There are many reasons establishing a habit of fitness for your pre-teen is an important move. Not only will your child gain a foundation of healthy living if you establish fitness habits at an early age, but she will also benefit from cardiovascular health, improved grades, a surge in confidence and psychological well-being.

Whether you encourage your child to take part in a school sport, an independent activity such as biking or martial arts or simply encourage her to ride her bike, run or help with yard care, encouraging your child to be active will make a big difference in her life.

Tips to Avoid Social Undermining of Our Health and Wellness Goals

When we make the decision to work at making healthy lifestyle choices, oftentimes it isn’t the normal day-to-day challenges we face that can interfere with our goals. It can be our well-meaning friends and family!

The decision to lose weight or get in shape is often a very private and personal one. However, when we begin implementing new habits, or changes in our old routine, we may notice a public response. Since what we do has a trickle effect on those around us, reactions from family and friends might not be what we anticipate. Not meaning to, others may undermine our resolve to stick to healthy habits that help us accomplish our wellness goals and a healthy lifestyle.

Have you ever experienced any of these scenarios? Your plan is to hit the gym right after work, when your friends ask you to join them for Happy Hour? Out to dinner with a friend, she urges you to share the Brownie Delight for dessert, telling you that you’ve done so well on your diet, you deserve a treat. A little bit won’t make that much of a difference, will it? You go to Mom’s for dinner, and she’s cooked all your favorite and very fattening dishes. She will be so insulted if you don’t indulge, and go for seconds. You’re getting ready to head out the door to the gym on a Sunday morning, and your spouse convinces you going out to brunch would be such a nice thing to do. After all, it was a very busy week, and you hardly had any time together!

Without meaning to, it feels as if everyone around us is trying to sabotage our efforts. We tell ourselves that we can make up the exercise at another time, or we’ll be diligent with our food choices tomorrow. Repeated often enough, we find we aren’t getting the results we’re after, frustration sets in, and we may even give up. And usually, we blame ourselves for our lack of willpower!

Well, it doesn’t have to be like this. With foresight, thought and planning, we can avoid the social undermining that otherwise will derail our health and wellness goals. Try some of EnerG Coaching’s Tips to Avoid Social Undermining and see if they help you stay on track with your diet and fitness wellness goals.

Tips to avoid social undermining of your wellness and health goals

1. Let the important people in your life know your intent to adopt healthier habits, and tell them how they can help. If you don’t explain to those around you the importance of your lifetime fitness decision and be specific about what they should and shouldn’t do to help you out, they can’t possibly know.

2. Schedule your exercise sessions on your calendar and treat them as you would a business or doctor’s appointment. When asked to join in activities that conflict with your fitness plan, explain how much you would like to participate but that you have a previous engagement. See if the plan can be shifted to accommodate your schedule.

3. Be proactive in avoiding social situations that might derail your goals. Meeting friends for dinner? You be the one to choose a place where you know you can make a healthy choice. Tell Mom in advance that you are trying to eat healthy, and suggest she prepares a dish that works into your plan. If Friday after work is Happy Hour with friends, head to the gym early morning or lunch hour instead.

4. Keep your wellness vision in your mind at all times, and be polite but firm about your decisions. When friends or family tempt you to eat what you prefer not to, or skip an exercise session, politely remind them how important this is to you. Don’t preach or try to change the mind of others; just remind yourself how great you feel when you follow through on your plans.

5. Be flexible. There will be times when rearranging exercise sessions or eating in restaurants that are more challenging is unavoidable. Keep in your mind that you can balance exercise and nutrition with the 80/20 principal. If 80% of the time you are on target, the 20% that is somewhat off will not destroy all your hard work and efforts.

Remember, your friends and family do want you to be successful and happy. Include them in the process and you greatly increase your chances of achieving your goals.