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Credit: jrishel

Exercising with your kids gets you fit and teaches them lifelong habits

Maintaining an exercise routine when you have kids is not only good for you -- it's also critical to their long-term health

I'm a proud new papa!

Carys (rhymes with Paris) Emerson Ivanic was born June 28 at 11:45 p.m. and I'm happy to report that both baby and mom are doing well.

Becoming a new parent has changed my outlook on life as it does for all parents. No longer do you have only yourself to think about, you now have this precious little being who depends on you. 

One sad fact of our modern lifestyle is the current generation of children is the first generation predicted to have a shorter life span than their parents. I find this an appalling statistic given our technological and medical advancements over the last 100 years.

Perhaps technology isn't our saviour after all. We're not going to live out some Jetson-like future.

Kids are spending more time than ever sitting in front of televisions and computers. Am I the only one who thinks there's something wrong with the fact there are a host of video games that simulate playing sports. Why not just play the actual sport?

Between the simulated activity and convenient fast food it's no wonder our kids aren't expected to live as long as we are.

Parents are Fitness Role Models

As I'm finding out, parenting is a 24/7 job. But I refuse to accept the excuse that having kids precludes you from getting your exercise.

You may have to get more creative but you owe it to your kids to be healthy and fit. One great way to do this is to do activities with your children. Take them for hikes, bike rides and skiing. Don't just sit on the sidelines at their soccer games. Play with them yourself. You'll build a strong bond with them as well as teach them healthy habits that will help them down the road.

We're only a week into it but we've already taken Carys for walks in a sling and in her stroller. I'm excited to include her in the things we like to do. You can bet your bottom dollar that in a couple of years you'll be seeing pictures of her on the paddleboard with her daddy.

Why Get Kids Active at an Early Age

With all the budget cutbacks, many schools are cutting back on their physical education programs and sports teams. This is a shame because sports can have a very positive impact on children's lives. A study from Michgan State University concluded that by participating in sports, kids were more likely to:

  • Have a healthier body image
  • Make better lifestyle decisions
  • Have better interpersonal skills
  • Do better academically

And they were less likely to:

  • Engage in early sexual activity
  • Smoke or do drugs
  • Be involved in an abusive relationship
  • Drop out of school

Don't expect your kid to be the next Wayne Gretzky or Steve Nash. Get them involved without expecting anything but for them to have fun. If they show promise and talent then start looking for a superstar agent.

Resources for Kids and Fitness

It may be financially challenging for some families to get their kids into sport, especially in this economy. But there is help out there.

A terrific home-grown resource is Athletics for Kids or A4K as it's commonly called. A4K is a BC-based charity that provides financial assistance for kids wanting to get involved in sports.