Just a few weeks ago we covered how parents can get fit in preparation for the ski season. This time around, let's talk about the kids! Before we try too hard to be the hero mom or dad and live vicariously through our kids, let's pump the brakes. The age of your children will dictate much of the approach to their preparation for the upcoming ski season. The truth is, the majority of their training boils down to straight up “play”. Speaking from experience, I know how hard it is to try to get your kids up on the hill some days. This a victory in and of itself. Getting our kids out on the snow or doing laps while sledding is exercise and will help develop uphill fitness. There are some simple things we can do to help our kids be more prepared leading into the season.
First off, making sure they're involved in some kind of athletic activity is a big help. As adults we think of things like “cross training.” For kids, this is a simple as playing a variety of sports. My 8-year-old son is currently playing soccer which will lead into the ski season. He also just finished flag football, rides his bike frequently and does the occasional CrossFit kids class. All of these things combined are cross training. My 6-year-old daughter, on the other hand, just finished soccer, started playing violin and just stopped gymnastics. I'm not a fan of forcing our kids into doing things, but I do believe in the value of having them finish something they started. One of my goals for her will be to help her find some other kind of sport or physical activity as we lead into the ski season.
We should keep in mind these things should be fun. Yes, we can do things like strengthen our legs, core and work on balance. Much of this can be found just by participating in athletic activities. We want our kids to be motivated leading up to this season, not worn-out and dreading the upcoming season. Much of this training approach speaks to the younger population, but what if your kids are older?I think much of the topic still rings true. I remember being a middle school student and having a period of training for wrestling get incredibly serious. At one point it was just too much, too soon. Thankfully my parents had the insight to back off and revisit the more serious training when I was better mentally prepared and more mature a year later. We can serve our kids the same way. Some of us may have kids with an incredibly driven personality which makes for an easy transition. Others may need to wait a year so they can make the decision for themselves along with some insight from us as parents.
If your kiddo needs a bit more time before jumping into this atmosphere, don't stress. Be reminded that taking the approach of having them play any sport, be involved in any athletic activity and encouraging them to finish what they started may be all they need. Aside from some specific strength training, it's highly likely that they will get much of the balance, agility and athleticism necessary to help prepare them for the ski season.
In the meantime lets set the example for them by leading the way.
Lastly, it may be helpful if we participate alongside them. If it's difficult to get your kids to a fitness class, get outside with them. I get it - as our kids get older it's not quite as cool to work out with mom and dad. But if your son or daughter is needing a jump start for the ski season, grab the bikes and get outside. Find a new loop to hike and do some scrambling along the way. Grab a set of snowshoes at a garage sale and get outside. Variety is often the key to much of the success in preparing ourselves for any activity.As kids get more serious and begin to compete at higher levels, they will need more specific training. This will come. In the meantime, lets set the example for them by leading the way. My wife and I have been trying to get in the habit of not always asking our kids what they want to do on the weekends. Instead, organizing something, getting out and making it a fun and adventurous experience along the way. We are still lucky enough to get away with this since our kids are younger. Do this frequently, make it fun and change it up. In the end, both and your kids will be ready for the season.
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