As a personal trainer and fitness education tutor I spend a lot of time teaching the importance of adopting healthy behaviours such as healthy eating, exercising daily, stress management and sleep. Im also very conscious that I need to practice what I preach otherwise my clients and students wont take me seriously. Therefore, I should be modelling healthy living as best I can, not just talking about it. However, it occurred to me recently that modelling healthy living is not just important for my reputation but it is probably the most effective way to impact on the health of my clients, friends and family.
A great poem
The other week I stumbled upon this great little poem and wanted to share it with as many people as possible, particularly any parents, grandparents, teachers, childminders and anyone else that looks after children.
The Little Chap Who Follows Me
Modelling healthy living
This poem had such an impact on me because I have been thinking a lot lately about how important it is for my son to have a good role model in his life. He is nearly 4 and is picking up so many of my mannerisms already and will no doubt continue to do so for sometime. So to give him the best chances in life I want to make sure the lessons he is learning from his daddy are helpful ones.
Practice what you preach
I always imagined myself one day sitting my son down and verbally teaching him everything I thought he needed to know to live a happy and healthy life. However, the poem made something very clear to me. It doesn’t matter what I say or try to teach my son, he won’t learn any of it unless I model it to him. If I tell him exercise is really important but don’t exercise myself, is he going to take that lesson seriously? If I teach him the importance of having a work-life balance but spend all my time on my phone and laptop when Im in his company is he going to take that lesson seriously? If I teach him the importance of having fun and enjoying life but he never sees his daddy having any fun, is he going to take that lesson seriously? Personally I think the answer to all those questions is NO, of course not.
3 simple ways to model healthy living
Here are three simple ways that we can be modelling healthy living to our children:
Move every day – Walk, run, swim, cycle, dance, climb….. whatever, just move every day!
Have fun – Do something every day that is fun. Not running, or lifting weights etc, that is important but not what I call fun! Exercise generally has a purpose, such as improved health or physical appearance. Im talking about something that we do for pure enjoyment and has no outcome or purpose, except you just thoroughly enjoy doing it. Watching comedy, movies, singing, dancing, playing sports, drawing, train spotting, whatever floats your boat ….!!!
Eat foods from nature (most of the time) – For me most of the time would be 80-90% of the week, leaving 10-20% of the week to have treats whenever you feel you need them. Yes, I know we should never eat these foods but the reality is they exist, we know they exist, we quite like them, and it’s very hard to spend the rest of your life pretending they don’t exist!
Our children need to learn how to be healthy and happy and what better way to teach our children how to be healthy and happy is there then living healthy and happy lives ourselves.