Last week I read a piece in the New York Times that spoke to the seemingly impossible task of getting people to move more.
And there have been no shortage of efforts. From school-based efforts that despite absolutely increasing school-based activity levels didn’t lead to increased overall activity levels (as kids more active at school were found to be less active out of school), to the regular publication of national guidelines (and with them national scoldings), to decades long branded awareness campaigns like ParticipACTION, to regular news pieces telling us we’re all sloths, etc.
Yet have any worked to affect a sustained population-based increase in activity?
And if the answer is, as I believe it to be, a resounding “no”, that no public health intervention has ever led to a population sustaining an increase in their level of physical activity, what do we do with that? I’m not asking because I think I know the answer. I definitely don’t. Do we stop trying? Do we try harder? And if we are to continue trying, what does that even look like, as clearly what we’ve been doing hasn’t worked.
And what a shame too as exercise, regardless of weight, is as I’ve said many times before, the world’s best drug.
Well to be fair, Canada Soccer’s official snacks also include Belvita breakfast cookies and Ritz crackers.
Other Canada Soccer “proud partners” include Coca-Cola, Nutella, and Powerade
Again, I wonder how many more years it’ll be before the junkification and partnership of sport by and with the food industry is no longer considered acceptable?
My bet is within the next 20.
I’ve said it before and I’m saying it again, the fact that when we were kids we played outside is meaningless today.
Honestly, when we were kids, we played outside because the only alternative to playing outside was staying inside and hanging out with our parents. Indoor entertainment was slim pickings. There was no Internet, no game consoles, no smartphones to text or play games on, and there were only a handful of channels on the television and none of them had regular kid friendly programming.
So go figure we played outside.
Kids are consumers of time just like adults. They’ll choose to spend their free time them doing whatever they find the most fun. When we were kids that was invariably heading outside to play. Not so much now.
But for young kids at least, there is still one thing that trumps all others in terms of what kids will choose to do with their time, and that is to spend it with you.
Invite them out for a hike, a bike ride, shoot some hoops, or to kick a ball around. Encourage them to join you in training for a community run or their first triathlon (doing this with my eldest this year), or to head out to the pool for a swim, to go for a ski, a snowshoe, geocaching, or even just a jump through the puddles. Have them help you with preparing the ground and then maintaining a vegetable garden, building a tree house, a snow fort, or an epic slip and slide. There is no shortage of activities your kids will love to do with you.
So if you want your kids to play outside, play outside with them, and remember that every day that goes by, your influence on your children diminishes. Take advantage of the time you’ve got and teach them that a normal family life is an active one.