I’m lucky to be a professional basketball player on the Timberwolves, but I owe where I am today to the countless hours of practice and time I spent on the court as a kid. It all started because I was introduced to fitness at a young age. Coming from a big family (I’m one of six children), being active was an integral part of my childhood. It’s what shaped me and molded my career. Nowadays, social media and video games have taken over. Instead of zoning out in front of the tube, children should be embracing fresh air. Here are my five best tips for how to get children up, active, and set for success.
1. Spend Time Outside
In my opinion, the best step parents can take is to get their children involved in extracurricular activities from a young age. When I was young, playing games like tag in the park with my friends, in addition to honing my athletic ability through basketball and soccer, allowed me to spend ample time outside.
2. Encourage Healthy Eating
Fitness and healthy eating habits go hand in hand. One of the most important things to instil in children is wholesome eating habits. Healthy doesn’t have to mean boring. My family cooked traditional Caribbean meals and always include vegetables. We’d also snack on fruit more than candy. Not sure how to start healthy eating with your family? Check out this meal plan by Fitbit.
3. Embrace Organized Sports
Sports have always played a key role in my life. Even when I was too young to participate in the actual games, I’d attend the basketball camp my dad runs and hop in during drills and fun activities. Being there and feeling the energy and excitement got me interested in being active. Now, I’ve set up my own summer camp to give kids the opportunity to participate in organized sports, which I believe is one of the most important parts of childhood.
4. Get Involved
When I was growing up, my father and mother were always involved in my activities — whether that meant my mom was watching me run track or my dad rebounding for me on the court. They understood the importance of leading by example, and were always involved, which made us want to succeed even more.
5. Watch Sports Together
If you’re going to spend time in front of the tube, tune into sports. Watching games with my dad when I was younger helped me fall in love with basketball. We’d discuss different moves, plays, and players, which helped me gain a heavy interest. Instead of watching cartoons with your kids, invite them to come sit and watch a game. You’ll have time to bond, root for the same team, and spark their interest in living and adopting an active lifestyle.
This article is not intended to substitute for informed medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.