Do kids have a healthy view of healthy?

This week I had the opportunity to chat with some beautiful young girls about fitness.  They are at such an impressionable age and there are so many issues with body image in young girls, that I really wanted to make sure they receive a healthy view of what it means to be healthy.  Often times, people (kids included) see “healthy” as drinking diet sodas, going on a diet, and being a size nothing.  Health is so much more than that, and we must be teaching our young girls what a healthy lifestyle looks like. Here are some thoughts and observations on fitness for young girls (and the rest of us, too):

  • To quote the great words of King David to God: “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together<sup class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(R)”> in my mother’s womb. I praise you<sup class="crossreference" style="vertical-align: top;" value="(T)”> because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” (Psalm 139:13-14)
    • We are created.  Each of us is unique, beautiful, and carefully “knit together” by the God of the universe.  There are no mistakes when it comes to a great and sovereign God.
    • By taking care of our bodies–God’s wonderful creative work–we are showing Him respect and love.
  • To quote the sweet words of a 9 year-old to her mother, “Please can we go run around now?”
    • Kids naturally like to move!  Let’s let them be active and encourage them to have fun doing so!  We did a little Zumba while we were together and they had a ball when it came time to do some free-style dancing.
When I asked the girls to name different forms of exercise, they gave me a list of actual exercises like lunges, squats, etc.  Kids need to know that the best exercise is not structured, but it’s the free-style dancing and the sheer joy of running around that will help create a healthy lifestyle.  Similarly, adults need to know that being active is not simply going to the gym, but its the walking and lifting that is done on a daily basis.  

Structure is great, but fun is better.

This is me (on the left) at a young, impressionable (and awkward) age where it was so crucial  to learn the true meaning of beautiful and healthy.   At that age, I loved to swim and explore in the back yard.

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