Learn from your Dog: Have FUN with Exercise!

January 10th, 2011 by Amy Gonsalves Leave a reply »

Have you ever had a dog?  I haven’t been so lucky to live with a dog but I know a few fairly well.  I know that they have learned to spell some of their favorite 4-letter words like “f-o-o-d” and “w-a-l-k”.  I know that they know the patterns of their humans better than their humans do.  I know that if you walk within 4 feet of their leash and have spelled “W” “A” “L” and “K” within the last 5 minutes they will be all over you. 

They wag their tails at the thought of going for a walk.

They get to be outside, they get to see other people and other dogs, they get to smell smells they don’t get to smell inside their home and yard, they get to bond with their human, they get to go as fast as their legs will carry them in pursuit of FUN.

Wow; kind of makes exercise sound like it has a lot of benefits!  A dog kept pent up without time for exercise becomes destructive and anxious.  I think the same could be said about adults and children.

With or without type one or type two diabetes, all kids need to be active as they grow just like adults need to stay active. 

An online article caught my eye today from Men’s Health: 20 Ways to Raise a Healthier Child. (Now, I’m not saying I read Men’s Health very often.  Sure, I’ve stolen a workout or two from the magazine, but it isn’t one of my go-to resources.  I promise.)

Did you know that kids with active dads are 3.5 times more likely to be active themselves?  And not only that, kids with active moms and active dads are 6 times more likely to be active themselves! 

So set an example for the kids in your life.  All the kids in your life, not only for your own children.  Make movement FUN, make activities SOCIAL, make them EVERYDAY OCCURRENCES and you will all benefit from being more fit both physically and mentally. 

Day 1: All you need is a ball and a little creativity. Throw a football, catch a baseball, kick a soccer ball, or whack a tennis ball against a wall. Use old tires for targets, as you might see in a football skills competition. Even a game of catch has social and physical effects.
The benefit: Develops agility and hand-eye coordination.

Day 2: Jump, lunge, and skip to various markers around the house. Or collect a group of objects, such as medicine balls, basketballs, and tennis balls, and toss them for height or distance.
The benefit: Builds strength and flexibility.

Day 3:
Run wild. Organize relay races with neighborhood kids and their parents; create obstacle courses using cones or trash cans. Tow your kids on wheeled toys or in sleds when it snows. Then try the wheelbarrow race with them or set up a course that alternates sprints and crawling around on all fours.
The benefit: Boosts speed; teaches kids to apply and resist force.

(Can you imagine how much MORE FUN these activities would be if you let your dog join in the fun??  Wow.)

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