Saturday, May 4, 2013

Be The Role Model

It wasn't long ago that people thought athletes were mentally challenged. Everyone who grew up in 60s and 70s like I did remember that the "Jocks" were considered muscle heads and not as smart as the rest of the class. The common stereo type was the football player that the coach got into all the easy classes so he could keep his grades up.  Now wait a minute don't most of the good players get drafted after they graduate form college?  We adult athletes have learned ourselves that we often think a lot clearer when we are in motion.

Well now we are beginning to realize that starting to exercise early is as important as doing well in the academic classes. We all know successful people who die young from heart problems or have a compromised lifestyle because of being diabetic, brought on by their weight. To bad it took us so long to realize this.  Maybe those Jocks were on to something back then.  Maybe a strong body is as important as a strong mind after all.

Now we are facing a unique situation where our children are often getting no exercise at all, even Physical Education is now an elective at most high schools. Video games have replaced active play. What kind of future are these kids going to have? A life of sickness, obesity and dependence on medications, followed by dying way to young.  Look around, that is what is happening right now.  It's so important that we adult athletes set the example that it doesn't have to be that way.

I don't see kids running around the neighborhood playing anymore. The only ones I see on a bicycle are adults. What are we doing to our newest generations? Is it any wonder that our nation is growing more over weight every year?  We have a health care crisis alright, one we have caused by our own actions.  Our bodies were designed to move not sit for long periods and be fed on processed chemical mixes that we think are food.

What can we do about this national concern? To start with we can be a positive example of health and fitness instead of being an example of the problem. We can set the example with our own eating habits. It doesn't do much good to talk to kids about avoiding addiction when we are addicted to soda, cigarettes, the Internet, and television.  We need to talk to our children about nutrition just as we would about the other important things.

Our children follow the example set for them, when you complain about everything in your life, like your job, the bills, your looks, and that is a huge one right there!  If we are setting an example of not being pretty enough ourselves then our children are going think that about themselves. Our children learn to complain also. What happened to being glad you have a job that paid the bills? When we set the example for being happy with our own life, that is the example they have to follow.

It's great to put the kids in sports programs but that in it's self isn't enough.  Those one or two days a week that they are in sports are great but you need to go a few steps further.  To start with, make daily activity a lifestyle, not just something you go watch the kids do a couple of times a week.  Do something active as a family every week.  Go hiking, get bikes for everyone in the family, if you have no where to ride around the neighborhood then load them up and head for a park.  But above all we need to be setting the example that activity is part of living.  Remember that children will do as they see us do. So let them see you run, walk, swim, bike and show them that motion is a part of living.

Those of us who don't have children at home anymore can still be a huge influence by being out there getting in our miles.  Once again seeing us out there running and walking shows that exercise is indeed a part of living.  We adult athletes are, by our just doing what we enjoy, helping to save the world.  We are demonstrating a better way, a way that is true freedom to be physically able to do anything we desire to do and not just sit on the side and watch others.

Let's all step up and be the examples of the right way to live.  "Do as I say and not as I do", doesn't work.

Thanks for reading.


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