Modeling Physical Activity
I grew up in a rural area of Puerto Rico in times where technology was very limited. We didn’t have cellphones, videogames, or satellite TV. Despite this limitation, I had a lot of fun growing up playing games and sports with friends and family. One of my best childhood memories includes family baseball outings on our house driveway. The field was made out of asphalt, the bases were pieces of cardboard, the bat was a broomstick, the ball was made out of newspaper and electric tape, and the players were Mom, Dad, my brother, and sometimes my aunts and cousins. This family activity gave us an opportunity to engage in physical activity and quality family time. Even retrieving a foul ball required lots of physical activity. The ball would end up on the side of a cliff and a search team was needed to retrieve the ball while navigating the hilly terrain.
Many of you are reminiscing about your childhood while reading this story. A parent’s engagement in family physical activity is crucial to influence our children to engage in healthy behaviors that are conducive to a better health and quality of life. I am no longer that kid playing baseball near the coffee plantation in Puerto Rico. Now I am a parent trying to provide the same experiences for my son so he can also be physically active.
You probably heard that children are constantly modeling behaviors from others around them. A parent’s own engagement in physical activity is important to influence children to choose and engage in healthy lifestyles such as physical activity, exercise, sports, and healthy nutrition. As parents, we need to create opportunities for our children to model healthy behaviors. As a family, one of our favorite things to do is visit playgrounds and hike or walk with our son. Sometimes it is hard to fit my 6-foot frame through a playground slide but the experience of actively playing with my son is worth the effort.