Get parents and kids exercising together.
Four years ago, the Ohio County Family Resource Network started a “Moms on the Move” program with a small grant from West Virginia on the Move. “We started it because we were seeing a lot of moms who weren’t getting out and seeing anybody or exercising, because they had small kids at home,” FRN director Claudia Raymer said. “We thought, why don’t we introduce them and get some walking-with-kids groups going, with pedometers and social sessions?”
“Little mom groups formed all over the county,” she said. “The grant money ran out, but some groups are still walking because it’s really something they want to do, and it’s something they needed.”
Beyond the mom groups, studies show that when parents and kids exercise together, the kids are much more likely to be active and enjoy exercising later. Physical activities can be a great bonding activities and great times to talk, many parents find.
If you’d like to help create opportunities for parents and kids to exercise together:
- Pull together people from agencies and churches to brainstorm: Create a family volleyball or Frisbee league. Have a family jump rope competition. If you have a healthy lifestyle coalition, it’s a lot easier to have this conversation on an ongoing basis.
- Try the Meetup West site to start your own Parents and Kids exercise groups: http://help.meetup.com/customer/portal/topics/438605-getting-started/articles
- Healthy Kids Hub. This is a terrific collection of activities, information and material sources for afterschool programs. A project of Healthy Kids Out of School, sponsored by a wide variety of organizations dedicated to checking child obesity. Check it out! Watch the video to get started. www.healthykidshub.org
- National groups can help:
- MOPS: Mothers of Preschoolers. www.mops.org and https://www.facebook.com/MOPS.Int . There are MOPS chapters at churches all over West Virginia. It’s easy to start one in your community. Go to the Web site.
- My Fit Mommy. http://my-fit-mommy.com Video! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ua9nOedx058
- PACES DAY: Parents and children exercise simultaneously. Free resources and guidance. http://lensaunders.com/paces/.
- Here are West Virginia models and ideas:
- Twice a year in Martinsburg, several organizations offer Body Works, an eight-week free cooking / healthy lifestyle course for moms and their 9 to14-year-old girls WomensHealth.gov : http://www.womenshealth.gov/bodyworks
- Ohio County Moms on the Move at facebook.com/ ocfrnmom. More information: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Wheeling Mountain Sprouts is a support group for families that want to live a healthy lifestyle: exercise, cooking, gardening, the whole ball of wax. Other communities can contact them at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/224935547519285
- Check out the Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) chapters at churches in your area at www.mops.org. Or start one.
- “Mommy and me” zumba has been popular in the Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department counties. Here is the national prototype: http://my-fit-mommy.com/classes/zumba
- Parent and child swim lessons, here at the Charleston YMCA: http://www.ymcawv.org/charleston/index.php?cat=6&s=5&sec=parent/child%20swim%20lessons SCREEN CAPTURE.
- www.Babybootcamp.com is an example of stroller fitness programs that help moms regain or enhance pre-pregnacy fitness. Type “baby boot camp” into a search engine to see if there is one near you. Here’s a West Virginia example: Buckhannon Fitness Center: Mommy and me boot camp: teaching parents how to get their toddlers moving http://www.wvfit.com/_groupfitness/groupfitness.html
- Family boot camp: WVU’s CARDIAC program started a family boot camp in 2004, a six-week program in Greenbrier County, with monthly sessions during the winter, to help families learn how to incorporate healthy eating and physical activity into their family life. Other communities could copy. http://www.wvpca.org/index.php?src=news&srctype=detail&category=News&refno=134
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