With busy family and work schedules, it can be difficult to find time for fitness and leisure activities of your own. However, in addition to reaping the much-deserved personal rewards of regularly making time for yourself, you will be helping your kids to develop a lifelong appreciation and dedication to their own health and well-being.
In my years of experience meeting and getting to know many parents of young hockey players, I think most don’t realize how big an impact they have as a role model. Leading by example is the most powerful tool for getting what parents hope for: a happy and healthy kid. When kids see their parents participating in any kind of physical activity on a regular basis, they often adopt the same behaviours throughout life and eventually pass the same attitudes on to their own children.
The pre-game hour before your son or daughter’s hockey game can be a great way to squeeze in some “me time.” Here are some ideas for activities that will not only provide fun for you, but will show your kids that you are not shy to set a good example for living a healthy lifestyle.
1. Take a Hike
Many arenas are located within or near athletic parks that offer running trails and hiking paths. However, if they aren’t, there is always plenty of space on the arena property to get in some form of exercise. Ask a few other parents if they would like to join you in a regular walk, jog or hike before game time. This can create a good opportunity to bond with them. Plus, having others to exercise with will keep you motivated.
2. Bombs Away
Although it may not burn a lot of calories or lead to any meaningful muscle development, who doesn’t love throwing a football around? The simple act of being physically active on a regular basis is as much about our minds as it is about our bodies, so don’t be shy. And don’t forget that we were kids once too! Not only is it a lot of fun to toss a football around with friends, it reduces stress and can set you up for a positive frame of mind going into the hockey game.
3. Lead the Warm-up
Often coaches would appreciate a little extra time to organize their game plan, so why not gather a few fellow parents and offer to run the team warm-up? Professional athletic trainers generally implement “movement preparation” in their off-ice programs. This process prepares athletes mentally and physically before going into a game situation by mimicking specific movement patterns of the sport played. By leading the team in this warm-up process, parents set a good example for leadership, as well as reinforce positive attitudes toward lifelong fitness.
4. Stretch it Out
Before heading to the arena, try working with your son or daughter by taking them through a great stretching routine at home. This not only helps prepare their muscles for the game, but can also provide a good bonding moment between parent and child.
5. Home Game Fitness Class
Many arenas are also home to community fitness classes and gyms — or, at the very least, they have meeting or activity rooms that can be used for a quick yoga or fitness class. Whether you bring someone in to run a class or you have a qualified parent who is willing to lead, it can be a great use of time and a good way to get those endorphins running.
Try some of these activities to get yourself feeling good, and you’ll find that more and more people will want to join in!
If you have more ideas for easy, healthy pre-game fitness activities, we would love to hear them! Please share them with us and our OMS readers in the comment section below.