Parents role in children’s fitness Meegan


Innocent Choga Fitness
As parents we all have the best wishes for our children. We all wish that they will become healthy and fit adults successful in their chosen career paths.

Children have become sedentary as a result of the time consuming gadgets. It has become necessary for them to engage in planned sporting and exercising activities. Our diets are not balanced and we are eating more refined foods, consuming more sugar, salt and other undesirables .There is need to introduce them to healthy diets at an early stage.

The baby should start benefiting from the mother’s fitness and clean diet schedules whilst in the uterus. If the mother starts exercising during pregnancy she is likely not to gain excess weight, or suffer from conditions that can affect the child. A balanced diet for the mother will also ensure the child will not be undernourished and frail.

Do not assume that just because the child is wearing sports attire on sports days they are engaging fully in sports at school. I think it is necessary for parents to monitor children’s activities during the early years and encourage them to move if they are not naturally active.

At school some children might not participate fully at sporting lessons because they cannot execute the required moves as much as the talented children and therefore the fear of being ridiculed makes them shun or hate physical activities.

Children must not be subjected to compulsory and harsh physical education or sporting lessons otherwise they might be put off physical activities for life. It has to be fun.

Whether your child is athletic or not, make it your duty to know and frequently consult the physical education teacher. Furnish them with your child’s doctor’s records and talk about your concerns if there are any.

There are children who might be talented in certain sports but might not be able to realise their maximum potential due to frailty caused by lack of balanced diet, genetics or growth hormone deficiency.

It is ideal that such children be introduced to strength training early. I think every secondary school in Zimbabwe should have a weight training gym.

Most of our soccer players come from the high-density suburbs. Some are slight in build and need to strengthen their bones and joints so that their careers will not be cut short by injuries.

I know of many athletes whose careers came to a premature end because of injuries that could have been mitigated, managed or even avoided had they embarked on strength training at an early age before the bones had become fully grown.

It has been proven that children as young as six years old can benefit from weight training. Children can use weighted balls, elastic tubes, machines and even free weights. Resistance training will enhance bone and mineral density and prevent skeletal frailty among children.

A small percentage of children suffer from spinal defects either the spine is bent inwards, outwards or sideways.

This is a condition which can be detected by physical education teachers and can be alleviated through exercise only during the early stages of children’s growth.

The situation should be referred to doctors but even they are limited in their capacity to correct this situation especially when one is fully grown.

Due to bad diets, genetics and an oversupply of growth hormone some children are overweight, just big naturally or suffer from excessive growth (gigantism).It is important that such children get into exercise at an early age.

They also need to be told the importance of exercise. The whole idea is that as if they grow up exercising they will be able to carry their weight and might even participate competitively in sports. This will also boost their confidence.

If there is a family history of illnesses and conditions on both parents’ side it would be ideal for parents tell the children so that as they grow up they know how to exercise in order to avert the genetic problem. Some children are being born HIV positive, so they need to boost their immune systems, confidence and mental health by exercising and eating well. Imparting such information would of course require the services of trained counsellors.

Not all children will take up sport competitively but they all need to exercise to condition themselves. Children with body awareness are most likely to take care of themselves they are very conscious of what they eat and drink and value the importance of exercise.

When you go to the gym or other exercise clubs like golf ranges during the weekend take the family with you. Most parents are now involving their families in exercise activities; if they do not have the time it is wise to engage a trainer.

Children also identify with the foods we introduce them to at home. They may not like one or two things that we eat as a family but generally the foods they eat and eating patterns will resemble what and how we eat at home. It is also a good idea not to stock junk food at home but keep things like fruits all around the house. Planting fruit trees at home is also ideal children like to climb up and harvest their own fruit.

I wish to congratulate Meegan Shadwell for winning the National Ms Figure at the recent Zimbabwe Body building and Fitness event held on the 17th of October. In her first attempt Meegan placed 3rd ,her second attempt saw her earn the second place and with her third attempt she swooped the title. I have known Meegan and her mother Nikola at the gym for a very long time.

Meegan’s mother is a fitness fanatic and has had big influence on Meegan’s fitness career.

Meegan says she has been greatly inspired by her mother. Asking Meegan when she started fitness training or when she started going to the gym she does not know because she has been in the gym all her life and by the age of 10 Meegan could proficiently execute the aerobic step activities.

Meegan is a certified gym instructor and she enjoys her career so much. She is grateful that her mother introduced her to the activities that have become her profession.

Meegan also had the best choreographed routine in the entire show for which she also won a second medal.

For her preparations for this show she also engaged the services of a coach, Wade Petzer. This is despite the fact that Meegan herself is a knowledgeable instructor.

Meegan feels regardless of the high level of an athlete, every athlete needs a coach who will motivate and push one from the comfort zone.

The coach can see things from a different perspective allowing one to come up with the best decisions.

For this show she dieted for 5 weeks and lost 8kg within that period. Meegan is not only beautiful and shapely but she is also tough. She trains every day and has eight aerobic classes apart from the individual gym members she assists going through their paces.

From Monday to Friday she trains twice a day one hour of aerobics in the morning and one hour of weight training in the evening.

Meegan does not want to get muscular so she trains likewise.

Megan’s mother is a marketing and sales manager and she is proud of her daughter and very supportive. The fact that her daughter is engaged in a job that she enjoys; helping people to get fit makes her proud.

I also wish to congratulate Champion Chienderamano for winning the Zimbabwe National Body-building Championships for the third time. To those who did not win, please do not despair, competition is like a game of darts you throw so many but a few will hit the bull’s eye. So keep on trying one day you will hit the bull’s eye.

Innocent Choga is a six time National Body-building Champion with international experience .Currently he is studying for a science degree in Physical Education and Sport. Feedback: [email protected]


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