Great Run Ambassador Pamela Miller, who writes the popular parenting blog, Scottish Family Living, is encouraging families to get involved in this year’s Bank of Scotland Great Scottish Run Family Mile.
Getting kids to love activity is sometimes tricky, so read on for Pamela’s top tips for an active family.
I’ve struggled with Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (or pelvic girdle pain) and back issues for a number of years now. This really struck hard in my second pregnancy, to the point where I’ve struggled to maintain basic movement since March 2019.
At first, doctors weren’t sure what was causing my chronic pain, however after a number of consultants, specialists, various tests and finally an MRI to ascertain where the issue lay, the diagnosis came down to complete muscle degradation due to C-section delivery and SPD.
Having been placed on a pain killer that deals with the nerve pain, I have begun rehabilitation physio training. It’s certainly going to be a long road to recovery, but one that I am determined to complete for my girls. We’re training as a family for the Family Mile and completing the event will be an important challenge for all of us. If you want to get involved here are my top tips for getting kids active and making family exercise fun.
Fostering a sense of achievement is a great way to engage kids in activity. Think about setting small achievable goals that show progress, even if it’s as simple as committing to a number of active minutes per day.
All kids love a chart, so why not stick your family activity target on the fridge and mark off each successful session with a sticker? Setting a longer term goal like taking part in a family event will give their activity purpose and they have the promise of that all-important medal at the end!
Practice what you preach
We all know kids learn by example, it’s can be a bit disconcerting to see your behaviour/ actions (good or bad!) reflected back by that little person in your life. Since getting the all clear from the specialists, I’ve been taking back control of my body and setting myself regular fitness goals.
I’m currently doing a physio-rehabilitation plan to strengthen my core and increase my range of movement, which keeps me on the move.
As a mother of two, family life can be hectic and where we live is remote so the gym is not an option. I focus on at home exercise regimes like HIIT, which are ideal for me to build up my strength.
This whole journey for us has been about getting back some sort of normality when it comes to movement. This time 12 months ago I was avoiding simple movements, such as bending over, due to severe back pain, but now I’ve incorporated five HIIT session per week into my training and I’m feeling positive with my rehabilitation.
It isn’t easy and I have my ups and downs, however I’m really pushing myself so that I can play with the girls and take a more active part in their lives, pain free.
Make it quality time
We’re all busy so anything that allows us to multitask as parents is a win-win. If you exercise together it’s not just good for everyone’s physical health, it’s a good opportunity to spend some quality time together, as a family, away from the distractions of screens, housework and homework.
Getting our for regular walks gives you an opportunity to spend some focussed time together without interruptions, if you have more than one child maybe think about you and your partner or a grandparent doing different activities with each child at the same time, your kids will relish having your undivided attention, even if it’s only half an hour.
Make it fun
Keeping kids engaged in any activity for a long period of time is hard. Remember exercise for kids is anything that gets them moving. Play outdoor games, commit to learning a new sport together, make sure they have access to active toys like skipping ropes and balls or exploring new places – all of it counts.
We make the most of the local woodland trails when the weather is nice, either on foot or riding our bikes, which really makes exercise fun for them.
I’m keen for the girls to see exercise as a positive part of their lifestyle and not a chore, so any fun element you can introduce works really well.
Don’t overdo it
Remember to tell them to listen to their bodies. Exercise and physical activity should not hurt. As with any activity, it is important not to overdo it. It’s easy for a child to be put off by a bad experience so build up slowly to make sure you’re all aware of their physical limits and don’t push them too hard too soon.
When it comes to sporting events, everyone has different abilities. Whether that’s stamina, strength or pace. But the one constant is that everyone has an inner strength and determination that allows them to push themselves to reach their own goals and try their best.
Due to my illness, I’ve never been able to participate in the parent’s race at school sports day, which as a mum is a huge guilt factor.
Setting the goal of getting to the Family Mile in September, taking part with my kids and also breaking down the stereotype that I’ve become in the last four years is something that I’m looking forward to.
For me, taking part is all about enjoying the day with my family and crossing the finish line – marking the huge journey we’ve all gone through over the past four to five years to get to this point.
It’ll be amazing watching everyone achieve this for themselves in September and I hope to make some fantastic memories with my kids.
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