Feature – Guest Blog

Carly Smith

Tulle, pink and sparkles are the usual briefs for my 3-year-old daughter’s daycare wardrobe. I have learned to accept her alignment with the stereotypical “girly girl” attitude and have an outfit laid out ready for approval.

But this week was different; when she woke she rejected the dress and decided that she needed to wear her exercise clothes – A.K.A bike shorts and a t-shirt. Apparently she needed to “squeeze” in some exercising at Kindergarten. Mind-blown! After more than a year of tantrums if skirts and dresses weren’t provided, this week she needed to get physical – and be comfortable while doing it.

Why the change do you think? 

Because my health and fitness goals are well and truly on track, that’s why! I see this change to be more in me than it is in her. I have most definitely been a yo-yo exerciser. I grew up with an active lifestyle, but I am embarrassed to say somewhere along the way I got lazy. I love moving when I am in the moment and I get a buzz out of helping and encouraging others to workout; but the thing is if I fall off the bandwagon, I well and truly fall off. Then the process of seeding the habit begins again.

I got a scare of a lifetime when diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes (GD) in my second pregnancy. Some may think that “scare” is a little dramatic, but the reality of being diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes later in life after GD and also the rapid rise in Type 2 diabetes in children and adults who are overweight, IS scary. While not overweight, I certainly had to take a look at myself and stop pretending I was still honouring my body and my family with a healthy lifestyle. More than anything this diagnoses in 2017 scared me because my child had an increased risk of this chronic illness before they had even drawn a breath.

But this year so far has been different and well some time before that. I am lucky enough to be a part of a fitness group that welcomes mums and their children along. The change I have seen in my daughter in this time has been phenomenal. If she is not kicking a ball on the oval with friends, she is right there beside me busting out some burpees or at home with her own mini pink dumbbells. In an age where researchers are labelling it “an international epidemic of childhood obesity” to think the answer is simply, like all things in parenting – “monkey see, monkey do”.

There is a growth in personal trainers welcoming this opportunity, to not only get Mums feeling amazing mentally and physically, but to also plant the seed in children who are eagerly watching on or joining in. Wouldn’t it be amazing if this trend continued to grow and meant we would also see a shift in childhood obesity?

The answer is simple – for children to be fit and healthy they need it to be modeled every day at home, at school and in the community. I am very grateful for the sporting upbringing my parents gave me, but I do wonder if there was less parent support being focused from the sidelines and more right beside them or in front of them, if it would make the difference we need to see in health statistics?

So what’s stopping you? Start moving daily, join an exercise group like The Bod Squad where your children can join in, encourage games that call for movement and never stop sharing whole and healthy food at the dinner table.

Want some movement ideas?

  • Find a local walking track and go on a bear hunt or scavenger hunt themed to their favourite book
  • Let your children take part safely in your exercise routine at home or at an outdoor exercise class
  • Source activities that encourage movement like dancing to the Wiggles, collecting shells at the beach or backyard soccer
  • Join a parent and child activity in your local community like gymnastics, yoga or swimming
  • Source out a different playground with age appropriate equipment
  • Scooter or bike ride on a bike track that mimics a mini road

Remember they’re watching your every move and it is as easy as letting them see you sweat – so lets get squatting.