Physical fitness as an example for youth

Children learn their fitness habits from the adults in their lives. Be the fitness example you want to see in your children.

Children tend to model the examples set by the adults around them. Parents and other family members are the first role models for children in their homes and schools. This process starts with infancy. Keeping this process in mind, parents have to be aware of their behaviors that their children are observing and absorbing. These behaviors include healthy and not-so-healthy practices. If parents are active and exercise on a daily or weekly basis, then they will pass those positive and healthy behaviors down to their children through example.

Active parents who have a healthy amount of exercise in their lives will incorporate their children into their physical fitness practices. This sets the tone for “normal” fitness behaviors. It works the same way on the opposite end of the spectrum. If a child grows up in a family with adult role models who are not very physically active or have minimal exercise practices, then that will be their learned behavior. If you want physically active children, you have to model that behavior as children are products of their examples.

In this series of articles, you will find information and suggestions to model and increase physical fitness in children and families. Families who engage in exercise together as a unit tend to create more healthy habits compared to those who work alone. Families can support each other with healthy physical fitness practices where adults pass them on to children.

To learn more about being healthy and physically active with your family, visit these Michigan State University Extension pages:

To learn about the positive impact children and families are experiencing due to Michigan State University Extension programs, read our 2015 Impact Reports: “Preparing young children for success” and “Preparing the future generation for success.” Additional impact reports, highlighting even more ways Michigan 4-H and MSU Extension positively impacted individuals and communities in 2015, can be downloaded from the Michigan 4-H website.

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