Exercise is a life-skill, not a sport

Fit KidsI’d like you to know that this is my life’s ambition: to see schools, teachers, and parents present exercise to their children as a life-skill; as something completely separate to sport.

There are so many benefits to exercise. We all know this, or we think we do, but have you really stopped to think about it lately? Do you ever think about exercise as more than just something you do to get fit, or strong, or look better, or make the team, or impress someone?

My mission to change the way we present exercise is not just because I want to see a generation of children with stronger, fitter bodies. I do love it when children feel strong and able in their bodies, but really that’s just a small part of the picture.

What I want to see is a generation of children who understand how to use exercise in their daily lives, as a tool to help them concentrate better, process emotions more effectively, and improve their self-image. Exercise is so much more than just working out, or getting strong and fit.

I think many of us may have forgotten that our bodies were made to move. We weren’t created to sit or lie down all day, we were created with the ability to move, and therefore movement is an integral part of how our body functions optimally.

Struggling to concentrate? You don’t need a pill, or to condition yourself to sit for longer – you need to move your body!

Feeling stuck and miserable? Talking about it might be good, but exercise will help you to process your negative emotions, and at the same time release feel-good hormones.

Are you struggling low self-esteem? A stronger, fitter and more able body will help you to feel more confident in yourself. Plus, measuring your results will highlight the power you have within you to accomplish difficult tasks.

What I’m talking about is the understanding that a few simple exercises thrown into your everyday life can change your state, shift your mood, improve your performance, and really impact your wellbeing.

What I’m talking about it building a positive relationship with all kinds of exercise, so that you can live a happier, healthier, more confident and more fulfilled life. And I mean for everyone, not just the sporty kids.

This is only going to happen if we redefine exercise as a life-skill, and start viewing sport as one way that you can express your love of exercise, instead of the main reason why you would choose to exercise.

Think about it this way. When we teach children to read, we don’t organize inter-school read-a-thon leagues, and put the children into reading teams to compete against each other every week. We don’t take the best readers to one side and put more effort into them so they can win reading matches against other schools. We don’t tell the not-so-good readers to rather take up maths or art because they’re not really a reader.

Reading is a life-skill, and teachers work with each child to give them the best shot at mastering reading – often supporting weaker readers with extra lessons and therapies – so that they can go on to use it for the rest of their lives.

Are we really preparing our children for life after school, if so many of them grow up able to read and write, but miserable in their bodies, overweight or suffering with lifestyle diseases? We could be preventing this at school level if we change our priorities and focus on exercise life-skills first.

Once these basics are fully established, by all means bring in sport, for all the huge benefits that sport can bring to all kinds of children. As long as children understand that sport is just one way to exercise, and applying your exercise skills to sporting goals is just one way to use your exercise knowledge.

Do you want to join me on my mission to change the way exercise is presented to children? Here’s how:

  • Organize a talk: I do assembly presentations for children, and exercise life-skills workshops for teachers;
  • Attend a Fit Kids class: Weekly classes happen at schools and private venues in a growing number of communities across SA;
  • Become a Fit Kids coach: Our licensee program gives you everything you need to open your own Fit Kids branch, and bring the Fit Kids way to children in your area;
  • At home: Start the conversation with your children. Follow me on social media to stay connected and keep making a difference to your child’s point of view on exercise.





About Simon

I'm a dad, a teacher and a business owner, doing my best to make every day count. I'm determined to shape the way the next generation feel about exercise, and I'm doing this by showing children the difference between enjoying exercise as part of healthy lifestyle, and participating in exercise as a means to perform in sport. I'm also helping parents learn how to include exercise as a normal part of daily life, and working with schools and teachers to change the way they present exercise to children in the foundation years.

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