Youth and Exercise: Part One

Cavino Johnson October 2, 2014 Training Articles

When I was a kid, I remember going outside to play. After homework and chores were done, I was out the door and you wouldn’t see me until- yep, those streetlights came on. We’d spend hours doing all kinds of stuff- kickball, dodgeball, stick ball, hide and seek, hand ball, redlight/greenlight, basketball, football… you get it. I’d come in the house, a smelly, dirty mess, with an appetite that could not be sated.

As I got older, and I mean into the double digit years, I was, instantly, attracted to sports. First, I played recreation basketball, then participated in track & field, and eventually, found myself on the middle school football team. I guess it helped that my dad was a coach in just about every sport I could imagine, ultimately becoming my coach in all the sports I participated in. Our family was synonymous with athletics. Even my sister was a basketball player and a track & field athlete. It’s just what we did.

The future of our youth

Looking at the upcoming generation, now that I am an adult with kids of my own, it is easy for me to sit here and wonder what happened. Why don’t I see kids outside when I drive through what appear to be family household neighborhoods? Even in my neighborhood, a neighborhood so large that it needs two school buses to pick up all the elementary school kids, I don’t see the kids outside. A lot of days, I go out to play with my son, because the neighbor kids are nowhere to found. To me, it’s surprising… and sad. There is no current youth and exercise to be seen.

Who’s to blame?

We can’t blame the lack of a child’s lack of activity on video games and t.v., anymore. We can’t blame fear of something happening to them or fear of strangers or the cruelty of the world just happening upon them, suddenly. Frankly, I blame the parents. I blame the parents for not setting the example, and I blame the parents for not pressing the issue of their kids becoming more active. I blame the parents for childhood obesity. Some of you may not like where my fingers are pointing, and that’s okay. You don’t have to, and you do not have to continue reading. My 8th grade teacher, Mrs. Lattimore, when she asked her students who did this or did that, and the first person to say, “Not me…”, she would retort, “A hit dog will holler.” *woof*

Yes. I blame the parents that would rather keep their kids indoors because it’s not worth the trouble of having little Johnny pitch a fit because he wants to sit in front of the tv instead going outside for all of an hour. I blame the parents that would rather their kid play those fun video games than taking their kid to sports practices and weekend games. I blame them because I have seen the results of children that do not participate in sports or exercise. For one, obesity and laziness. These two things become a way of their lives as the mature into adults. Granted, there is the possibility of a child becoming interested in team sports or outdoor activity as they get older. Chances are, they will approach their parents who will either, (a) shrug off the notion, (b) frown upon the idea, or (c) become very supportive in their child’s life, as well as their own lives.

Get active

I remember when I told my mom that I wanted to play football. She freaked out. She didn’t want her “baby” to get hurt. I was 11 years old. But, she let me play. She was at every game. A game she didn’t understand. All she did was cheer on her son running the ball. She never denied me the opportunity of team sports and activity. Because of this, she helped my social behavior. My parents helped me understand commitment to self and those who depend on me to do my job. They showed me that they were willing to let me venture, make decisions for myself, but that I was never alone. By supporrting my wishes of wanting to participate in exercise and sports, my parents opened the world to me.

Lead by example

As I metioned before, I have a son. He’s 8 years old and has been playing football since he was 3. He’s played soccer since he was 5. He had his first track & field season this year. When he is not at any of the sport practices, he’s running around outside, riding a bike or his scooter, or we are playing. He loves to train with me. He enjoys finding out how strong he is and how to overcome obstacles and other challenges. He still gets his television time. He still plays video games. He still likes to sit on the coach and chill. But, it’s virtually impossible for him to not be doing something. His mom and I give him all the support he needs and understands that we would never close him down to his pursuits of self-discovery and social skills.

Let me finish this by saying this

There is still a major issue with childhood obesity. It’s an issue that will never go away. I’m not a pessimist. I’m a realist. This realism will remain because there are parents out there that are lazy. A lot of these parents carry on the lifestyle they, themselves, have been exposed to and now, expose the same to their children. It’s a chain reaction. Before you know it, there’s a long history of health issues. Yes, I am ranting. Yes. I am writing through emotion. I do that with this because I see both sides. When I take my son to his practices and to his games, I am surrounded by the kids who have parents that care for their children’s health and future. I see the behavior of these kids on and off the field or court, and those behaviors, for the most part, are that of children that have confidence and inner strength. Even their academics benefit from their active lives. On the other side, I have seen the effects of kids that have no contact with their peers, no activity, no exercise. They tend to lack a certain structure. They are withdrawn in social scenarios. Wait. Don’t get me wrong. I have seen active kids act a fool, and I have seen non-sport participating kids do amazing things. Once again, I’m using this forum to voice my opinions, and I stated earlier that I am writing this through emotion. Even if a kid hates sports, they should know what it means to go outside and play.

About The Author

A decade into the sport of natural bodybuilding, Cavino has won many competitions and currently holds a pro card. He also has personal training, group fitness and sports nutrition certifications that allows him to own his own private training service.

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