Physical Fitness Is The Result Of Creating Good Habits

Secret Number 3 of 5

By STEPHEN THOMPSON

The FUN way for children to keep fit

 I know that some parents are looking for a way to increase their child’s level of physical fitness and overall health.

The question is…when we talk about physical fitness, what in fact are we talking about?

What is the true benefit of physical fitness? Well the answer in my mind, my experience and what I’ve accomplished in my life is not whether or not you look like an “Baywatch beauty” when you go poolside. But the real key benefit of physical fitness is a higher degree of health.

It’s all about health

Physical fitness is a component of good health and good health is a result of great habits. And by influencing a youngster across the board in all areas of life to have better habits you in turn create a healthier and more physically fit child.

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In our school, every lesson ends with The Five Rules of Fitness, so there is NO MISSUNDERSTANDING what it takes to improve a students health

But let me go back to the original question. We now know that a parent who is looking for the physical benefits is in fact looking for the health benefits. And what health benefits are we talking about?

How about the way a child looks?

As we discussed earlier, obesity is getting out of hand. Obesity is defined as being 20% or more above your optimum weight for their size and age group.

Based on the way an average household conducts itself as far as diet, nutrition and exercise, it’s no wonder why we have such a weight problem in children and adults.

But what I’ve found is this… if you encourage a child’s interest in being more physically active then in most cases that will help them pursue a healthier lifestyle.

CONSIDER THIS: Children continue to do things they are rewarded for. But what rewards work best? Maybe a star on their report, a pat on the back or perhaps a special gift would? The real answer is none of those. Everything I just listed is “a thing” but the power behind why this concept works are feelings. As humans, we do things for the feelings we get as a result of something we do. It’s all about better feelings.

Why are children so enamoured by arcade games? It’s because they get a great feeling of accomplishment when they play them. I know a little boy who always comes up to me and tells me what level he is on a certain game. He says, “Hey I’m a level 98 now!” He is proud of his accomplishment.

What if we were able create that same type of experience not by being sedentary and physically inactive with a video game but physically active with a Martial Arts experience?

If a child gets a feeling of accomplishment doing anything…if they sense they’re getting better and they’re being rewarded for that improvement they will certainly become more ambitious and enthusiastic.

That’s how you can actually encourage them to maintain a higher degree of physical activity which will lend itself to being more physically fit and healthier overall.

And that’s the goal, isn’t it?

The Most Overlooked Element Of Health And Physical Fitness

Whenever I ask a group of children, “Who here loves going to bed on time?” Not a single hand goes up. But then ask, “Why do your parents want you to go to bed on time?” Not surprisingly they give you wretched answers like:

  • They don’t want me to watch TV 

  • Mum wants quiet time with Dad 

  • I’m not old enough 


The real reason why children need to go to bed on time is because when they are sleeping that’s when their body gets bigger and stronger. 


What if every child knew that?

It is no accident that the 5th Rule of fitness is sleep! What if every parent was able to instil that appreciation about sleep? Make them truly understand that sleep isn’t a punishment. Sleep is actually the reward of good behaviour, good nutrition, good exercise and good Martial Arts. 
Do you think that if a child was convinced that when they sleep their bones are growing, their muscles are getting stronger & they’re becoming healthier that they would feel differently about it?-understand it better? 


Okay, I Have Some Bad News

Here’s the bad news… if a youngster walks into a Martial Arts Academy and is physically capable of Martial Arts from day one, the instructor had nothing to do with it-that’s genetics. 
Some people have the physical predisposition of maintaining a high degree of flexibility, good hand-eye coordination and overall agility. Listen, God gifted you with that. The bad news for us average Joes is most of us weren’t blessed like that. We simply weren’t. 
But here’s the silver lining. I want you to realise that although this may sound like bad news the great news is this…Time fixes all.

As you become involved in a physical-minded activity such as the Martial Arts, time is the great equaliser. Although you might not walk in the class in the first experience and do physically well, through a degree of repetition and showing up to class you will start to catch on. 
You can’t help but enhance your degree of physical athleticism and your ability to perform Martial Arts. So the key is not to place emphasis on one’s ability but to place the emphasis on our understanding of progress. 


“Do I Have To Be Good At Karate To Get The Benefits Out Of Martial Arts?”

 Absolutely not! And perhaps what’s most upsetting to me is that so many people believe they do because of bad Martial Arts instructors and academies.

In the grand scheme of things

  • 10% of an academy’s student body is physically gifted
  • 20% have some real challenges
  • 70% are average, everyday children and adults

Most Martial Arts academies only focus on the 10%. They only want to claim the students who are good. It’s almost as though the instructor allows his ego to get in the way and only wants to teach the really physical children. This is very unfortunate for our industry because it misrepresents our true ambition-to help children overcome their challenges. Whether your child is athletically gifted or not, it makes no difference and should not make a difference. What I want you to realise is that my job, my goal as a professional Martial Arts instructor is to simply provide a forum where, regardless of one’s physical abilities, they are granted the opportunity to excel and do well and they are all treated the same. This is one of the reasons why we teach age specific classes, by teaching this way we are able to focus our classes to make sure they are perfect for the students.  This does not mean that mixed age classes does not have a place, they also allow a child to “step up” to another level.  For example, in our school we do family classes where children and adults can train together.  On paper, you would think it would not work, but as our school built on building strong foundations, it works great, and families love it.  There are not many sports where the whole family can train together.  A key point though is we meet first and make sure that class would be the best for the student. 

KEY POINT: There are no first places in a well-run academy. ‘First Place’ means that you are splitting your attention as an instructor between those who can and those who can’t. And our obligation is to serve both needs equally. Do we have advanced classes, of course.  When I was training I wanted to become a World Karate Champion, which is what I achieved.  Travelled all over the world, so there is no way I would run a school that does not cater for that.  The difference with my school is that nothing is forced on a child.  If they do not want to spar, they do not come to that class, no problem at all.  Our focus is to make sure we cater for all levels of students, not just that top 10%.  By the way, by taking this approach to teaching, we have a brilliant student body.  Families that that keep raising their standard, to me, that is success!

If you would like to try our classes, take a “test drive” in our school, please get in contact.  We always have great offers on.

Next post, how to improve your child’s confidence, secret #4.

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