I have been a fitness enthusiast my entire adult life. I ran track in high school but became enamored with weight training because of a required class in college. I saw a young woman in class who had incredible muscle definition that she had acquired through weight training. I was inspired!
I believe that fitness is foundational to physical and mental health. Because it is, I believe we have to make it a priority in our home schools. In this article, I will tell you how we have done it and how you can, too.
My secret to fitness commitment
First, I have to confess my secret for staying committed to fitness all these years. It is that my husband is a huge proponent of fitness. He was a high school wrestler and martial artist and continued his martial arts training in jujitsu until he had earned a third-degree black belt. He has also been a weight-training enthusiast since his college days. He would tell you that his being nicknamed “the twig” as a kid is what motivated him to gain muscle. He followed the Arnold Schwarzenegger approach that involved eating a lot of protein and lifting a lot of weights.
The appearance benefit of exercise
Today my husband is usually taken for someone at least 10 years younger than he is. Most of my husband’s family is also committed to fitness and looks years younger than their biological age. Most of them have also enjoyed excellent physical and mental health as a result.
Other benefits of exercise
I have also enjoyed increased energy as a result of exercising. But looking good and having more energy are just two small benefits of exercise. I watched a video on YouTube years ago about the benefits of physical fitness and was stunned. The number of physical and mental illnesses that can be prevented or treated with exercise is astounding. It’s worth showing the video to your children to motivate them for a life of fitness.
How to make fitness a priority in your homeschool
So, if you are a busy homeschooling mom, and of course you are, how can you make fitness a priority or just a part of your homeschool? I have several ideas for you.
First is family walks, hikes, bike rides, and swims. Strollers, backpacks, bike seats, and flotation devices make it possible for babies to participate, too. We also had fun using our little ones as weights while exercising!
Participating in sports is another way to include exercise that’s fun for everyone. My family enjoys playing tennis, pickle ball, badminton, volleyball, and basketball together. There are so many great sports to participate in as a family. Anything that gets you off the couch can count. Even bowling is better than sitting.
We can also engage in dedicated fitness activities as a family. My husband has done martial arts training with the kids. He set up obstacle courses for them and timed them–something they loved. We included DVD workouts as part of our homeschool routine. My husband would join us if he was working at home. And we regularly go to the gym together still. Making fitness a family habit has encouraged my kids to value fitness as much as we do. Kids who have gone to college or are on their own still have a fitness routine.
Kid sports or fitness classes
Another idea for including fitness in your homeschool is requiring your kids to participate in a sport or fitness class. It truly is just as important as reading, writing, and arithmetic, and it’s fun. My kids participated in a homeschool PE class for many years that they loved. Getting them to engage in fitness with friends is easier than asking them to work out on their own.
Yet another way of making fitness a part of your homeschool is to include active games. I have included some active games in Grammar Galaxy because kids who hate sitting still love it. We can turn just about any subject into a physical activity. Have kids do math facts as squats, for example. Or include a just-because active game into your homeschool week. There are wonderful resources for group games and fitness activities.
When my kids were getting restless during the school day I would have them give me push-ups, situps, or squats to complete. There’s also an app called Move that can remind all of you to do a one minute exercise at the interval of your choice.
Finally, you can incorporate fitness in your homeschool with challenges. My husband loved getting the whole family on board with fitness challenges. His favorite was a 100 push-ups-a-day challenge. My daughter and I have completed two fitness challenges together. Although he’s now a college grad, our son and my husband love doing mountain bike challenges together. As I write, they are in Colorado doing challenging hikes. Our kids love having a shared goal and time with us.
Fitness for Mom
You’ve probably determined that I am encouraging you to incorporate fitness into your life as well. If your children are getting enough fitness but you are not, consider working out on your own. For many years I did exercise videos at home or went to the gym before my children were up. I also worked out by myself in the afternoons or evenings when my husband watched the children.
When I was exercising at my church’s gym, people who knew me would say that was so nice of my husband to watch the kids so that I could work out. I told them to look for the boot print on my back. Remember, fitness is very important to my husband. But if if it’s not to yours, I encourage you to make use of child care at a fitness center or by hiring a mother’s helper so you can get your exercise in. I also had a fantastic opportunity when my kids were young by having them take gymnastics and swim lessons while I worked out at the Y. Where there’s a will there’s a Y. Sorry about that pun. But if fitness is a priority for you, you’ll find a way to incorporate it into your homeschool.
I hope you will do that because it’s key to happier, healthier homeschooling.