Fit parenting 101: Plan an active summer now


The sad news is in: Summer is the season when the Little Ones pork up. Instead of being a celebration of freedom and sun, it’s a time of fat and sloth. At least that was the finding in a new Harvard study that reported on the physical condition of 5,000 children as they progressed through kindergarten and first grade. The largest gains in overall body mass - their B.M.I. index - came during summer.

But the good news is you are in charge of your child’s summer. And now is the time to start planning one filled with physical fun and interesting challenges. Setting a new record for Instant Messages sent between commercials is not the sort of summertime sport that is going to get your kid strong and vibrant.

So what’s your plan? Where are the fitness opportunities? Which camps/clubs/community centers offer activities that get your kids out of the house and into nature, away from the TV and involved in running after a ball, growing a garden, doing a dance?

Remember: Organized Sports is only one way to get the Little Ones in motion. Think outside the box. Yes, I’m going to mention yoga.

Happiness Is A Learnable Skill At Any Age

I love this e-mail from Vicki. It shows great spunk, and we all know how crucial spunk is when it comes to living a healthier lifestyle.

Marilynn: I’ve never been a reader of your column because I’m a senior citizen and not interested in Sports Training. However, today’s article, “Emotions Play Big Roles In Our Physical Health,” really caught my eye. In retrospect, I’ve never been an emotionally or physically healthy person. Your article really spoke to me, and I’m wondering if you can refer me to more material on correcting negative responses to situations. Thank you very much.

  • Vicki

Dear Vicki: You took a huge positive step when you e-mailed. Keep going! There is a ton of material and support for people of all ages who want to shift their thinking and reactions from negative to positive, from “why did this happen to me” to “where is the pony in all this manure.”
Two books I can recommend are “Authentic Happiness” by Martin Seligman, the doctor who helped establish the whole Positive Psychology movement, and “Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life’s Most Important Skill” by Matthieu Ricard and Daniel Goleman. But don’t be content to follow my recommendations. Start your own search today, and see what appeals to you. You can go online or to a library or to the self-help section of your local bookstore. Human help is also available. What you can’t do is sit there and think negative things about obstacles in your way. Stay in touch. Who knows? Someday you may care about sports training.

Marilynn Preston is a fitness expert, personal trainer and speaker on healthy lifestyle issues. She welcomes reader questions, which can be sent to