21st century parents are faced with a myriad of challenges when it comes to keeping their kids healthy and fit.
The first obstacle to overcome is getting kids excited about fitness. Truthfully, many kids simply aren’t athletically inclined, or are uncomfortable with the social pressures surrounding organized sports. Others have not had a strong example to follow at home, and are reluctant to integrate physical activity and wellness into their daily routine.
The next obstacle faced by parents and kids is the attraction to non-fitness related activities that constantly demand their attention – things like iPads, videogames, computer time, and other technologies.
With a strong aversion to sports and playing outside coupled with an insatiable tech appetite there is no wonder we’ve become a nation of couch potatoes!
How can concerned parents and growing kids get reacquainted with health and fitness and make it a part of their ongoing lifestyle?
By embracing – not relinquishing - technology in the name of well-being.
Technology isn’t going anywhere. Rather than force kids to stop using it or to choose between high-tech and their health, MECKids has developed a way to combine fitness and technology to help kids and parents stay excited about fitness.
Here’s what we have found to have the greatest impact on the health of kids and their families in the technological age:
1. Technology keeps kids excited about their health
When kids don’t have to pick and choose between physical fitness and the latest tech gadget, they’re far more likely to make fitness a part of their ongoing lifestyle.
With new wearable fitness technology being frequently released, kids have an opportunity to discover new technology while getting into the fitness game.
Wearable technology also gives “non-athletic” kids a reason to get excited about fitness. Being able to track their heart rate, record their steps with a pedometer, and monitor their nutrition provides a fun mental activity in addition to providing physical benefits.
2. Kids want their own wearable fitness technology
At recent MECKids events, we’ve noticed a strong desire from kids who want their own versions of the Fitbit, Fuelband, and other wearable tech gear.
Kid versions of these technologies don’t exist yet, but the indications of kids’ interest in these gadgets is encouraging.
While parents may not be ready to spend upwards of $100 to buy their kids their own fitness tracking device, there are lower-cost alternatives to keep kids engaged.
For example, you might start out with a $2 pedometer before graduating to a heart monitor for your child. These devices satiate the tech craving while encouraging physical activity and giving kids a way to track their own progress.
The key is to always explain why each gadget and subsequent activity are important. Make sure to offer an explanation as to why it’s important to track your steps, monitor your heart rate, and so on.
We’ve found that by giving kids a strong ‘why’ as it relates to fitness, they’re much more likely to make physical activity a habit.
3. Kids are eager to take the lead when it comes to familial health
Don’t worry if your family hasn’t always provided a strong example of health and fitness for your child. Kids are eager to take the lead and help the entire family get healthy.
Many of our MECKids participants have reported astonishing changes after attending our events. Our participants become so excited about what they have learned, they are suddenly ready to help cook meals, oversee food choices, and remind their parents that it’s time to exercise!
Giving your child a sense of personal responsibility for their fitness is just one more benefit of incorporating wearable fitness technology into their lives.
The MECKids goal is to cultivate within every kid the passion and the purpose to move. If your kids become aware and stay active now, they’ll never have to face a drastic health-related wakeup call when they’re 35 or 40. If exercise becomes an ingrained habit when young, it is much easier to maintain a healthy lifestyle..
To get started and introduce your kids to increased health and fitness, access the free Health Tracker on the MECKids website. This application is a great first step before kids start using wearable fitness technology. With the tracker, they can input fitness data, activity, exercise, BMI/BMR, resting heart rate, and more. The introduction to these concepts sets the stage for a lifetime of health and well-being.