Kids OCR Training Part 1 – by Nathan Brock, Spartan Outdoor Training & Fitness

Training Tips   |   Apr 10, 2014



Like anything, if it gets forced it will almost seem like a chore. “Exercise” a lot of the time can feel the same way and forced can have a more adverse effect than good.

So the big question is, how do we get our kids to like physical activity? How do we get them into the habit of staying active? How do we help create a positive  mindset that will assist them in staying active throughout childhood? I will try my best to refrain from using the term ‘exercise’ as it does depicts  an image of one in an gym or personal training environment doing push ups, crunches, weights, treadmills rather than thinking of physical skills that can and will be used in everyday life that are often lost throughout the transition into adult hood.

Exercise has become such a common word that it applies to almost anything these days. People look at walking as exercise, is walking really exercise? Walking is movement, functional movement, movement that is useful and a necessity in life, carried out everyday, so  movement is what we need to teach our children.  Before we move on lets take a look at a few things, and I am quite aware this does not apply to everyone but is quite a stereotypical scenario.

Over the last several years it is slowly becoming an uphill battle  with the technology of today with all the  games, phones, computers, tablets, not to mention the dozens of T.V channels that are exposed to our children.  Every department store you see  isles upon isles of different games, computers and the market now even targeting younger children, making them even more appealing. Now I understand technology is apart of today’s living with the use at schools, at home, when using for homework or study but from there what extent does it keep continuing too? Recent studies have shown that children spend just as much time in front of T.V, computer games and the alike than they do at school. Placing our children in front of these also is made appealing to parents, why? Because its easy and effortless, kids boredom fixed right?

I have often heard the excuse ‘sport is too expensive’  or ‘I don’t have time’, which I completely understand the cost of living is on the rise and at times, yes, time is not on high offer. But these children are our future, and allowances should be made.

Now if this hasn’t got your attention maybe this next  part will. On average a gaming console cost anywhere between $300- $500, games $15-$90, Tablets $60 – $500. Now just by doing some simple mathematics you can see that purchasing just a few add up to some big dollars. For what?, the kids to get bored in a month or two, or the newest game comes out, then your back to square one. Now I find this absolutely crazy that kids spend so much time in front of these, when the money used can be spent on a much better investment, your child’s health and wellbeing.

Joining a local sport or club has its costs, but look at what you are buying into, your children being active, learning new skills, socializing. Just look at the rise in Obstacle Racing events for children over the last year.  With each event and the  dynamics changing,  its nearly impossible for a child to get bored and these  also only cost around  $25 there is hardly an excuse not to get involved.

But why is there so many younger children sitting in front of the T.V and playing games for hours on end? Because as adults, we let them.

Now if the above factor isn’t enough to sabotage a child’s physical development lets also include their eating habits, or should I say yours. Reason I say yours, is that again as adults we have the most control. Think about it, does your 5 year old child go to the supermarket and fill the shopping trolleys full of chips, and foods high in sugar? No, as adults, we do. Do our younger children put dinner on the table and choose what foods they supply in their lunch boxes? Again,  as adults, we do.  Again having so much variety of bad foods can make it difficult as generally these days the worse food is often showcased the most. In the last 20 years in Australia, Obesity has doubled, is now the biggest single threat to the public health system and if it continues at current levels ,it is predicted that by 2025, close to 80% of all Australian adults and one third of all children will be overweight or obese. That’s our children, our future in those statistics. When people hear the word ‘diet’ they go crazy and think of some horrible weight loss plan. Kids should not be having ‘diets’, just be taught responsible and healthy eating.

If children are taught healthy eating habits and to be active, the results in their health will follow and the above statistics will decline as our future generations improve from not just having the ability, but also knowledge to make the right lifestyle choices. As adults, its our responsibility to mentor and educate our children by ‘leading by example’.  We are the role models for our future generations and young children being such visual learners, will copy and in return, learn from what we show them.  We must start by taking responsibility for our lifestyle choices so it will no longer affect theirs. The active and healthy lifestyle does not necessarily mean you have to spend a fortune on sports equipment or labelled ‘ health foods’, it just requires a little more preparation, effort and common sense.


Here is just a few suggestions to think about..

Take some responsibility

Children learn from their parents and older peers, so what you do, they will naturally follow. Start by demonstrating good healthy choices yourself and if you do feel like a bit of junk food (we are human after all), have it when they are not around or in bed. Try to prepare healthy food in advance if you think you will be short for time later. Try and lead by example in a healthy active lifestyle,  encourage outdoor time and  get involved with children.  You don’t have to be a sport teacher or trainer to get your children active, just a little bit of common sense.  The more interest you show, the more likely they will follow and be sure to keep a positive approach.

Change the way you look at ‘exercise

Again, when we use the term exercise we have this big idea of what’s portrayed  on T.V shows and inside gyms or bootcamps. Rather than thinking of it as exercise, think of it as developing a set of skills and movements for life, that are useful, functional and can be applied to everyday living.  Our goal is to get our children moving, how ever, where ever,  when ever they can, and not to place limits on how they do so. Children are meant to crawl, jump, climb, swing, roll around. Use the parks or natural environment, chase them, kick around a ball, use what you have to create obstacles and make games.

Limit ‘digital’ downtime

Recent studies have show n that the average Australian child watches around 3 hours of TV a day, and rising. That also does not include video games, computers etc. So why is it still rising? Because as parents we let it. We have control of what out younger children are subjected to at home so its up to us to make a limit of how much exposure our children have to the digital world and raise the exposure they have on the physical world. Again, there is nothing wrong with our children watching their favourite show or playing a video game every so often but a limit must be made. Lets do our best to encourage our children to be physically creative keep them moving as much as they can.

Involve your children in the kitchen

This also includes the supermarket.  Younger children especially are visual learners, so when you are at the supermarket, help educate them. Get them to help choose fruit and vegies, stay away from the confectionary isle and as a general rule, stick the outside isles as that’s where majority of the time the best food is. This will help your children to be more aware and make better food choices later on. Try your best to limit or better yet not keep junk food in your pantry as when you get hungry, chances are it will be the first thing you go for. Let children assist in making lunches, I know at times it can take patience but think of what they will learn at an early age with food preparation. Children take pride in their creations and are more likely to take interest if they helped prepare it. Assist and guide them to help where they can,  and praise them for making healthy choices, this will also reinforce repetitive positive decisions later down the track.

- next week, Part 2 MOVEMENT IDEAS

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