Resolutions: Get Up and Move


Fitness and exercise are at the top of many lists of New Year’s resolutions. Attendance at fitness centers and gyms increases substantially in January. This year spend some time thinking about ways to keep the whole family physically active all year. It is easier for children to stay active when their parents are active and vice versa. Try different activities and look for the right match for each individual. Then, build in extra activity where possible––walk up stairs instead of using the elevator or stretch while watching TV. Encourage your kids to move around when they take study breaks––activity stimulates the mind.

Making physical activity a part of every day is a recipe for a lifetime of healthy living. To be active, we need to become comfortable with movement. Gymnastics classes will teach your children how to move and stretch, as well as, build body awareness that is useful in all sports. According to the encyclopedia definition, gymnastics consists of “exercises for the balanced development of the body.” Gymnastics uses the entire body along with many of the senses.
Gymnastics draws on information coming in from the visual, tactile, vestibular and proprioceptive senses. Motor planning, which is how one moves one’s body through space, is utilized often in gymnastics both in tumbling skills and in navigating obstacle courses. A child making their way through an obstacle course in gymnastics class has the opportunity to see different shapes of mats and figure how to maneuver around or through the shapes.Children get a wealth of information from visual and tactile data as well as figuring out how to move up and down and between different planes (horizontal, vertical, transverse, and side to side). A lot of spatial information is processed while doing gymnastics, so cognitive skills and physical skills are exercised.

Physical fitness is only one part of the dictionary definition of fitness. The other definitions of fit and fitness pertain to being capable, and becoming physically “fit” expands one’s capabilities. When one has confidence in one’s physical capabilities the ease in maneuvering through the physical world is empowering in other areas of one’s life. Brain research shows that the executive function parts of the brain are close to the physical activity areas. Intellectual and physical activity are related rather than being exclusive. So, there are multiple reasons to “get up and move” this new year. Find ways to build physical activity into your lives. Make it fun and as your family develops the habit of being active watch for their capabilities to expand as well.