I grew up with parents who normally did not exercise, unless their employment demanded it. This was due to how they were raised, and what their society taught them. This had negative effects on their health later on, one parent being depressed, and going from doctor to doctor without being helped in any major way, the other being an extreme puzzle for the doctors, who finally acknowledged they didn’t know what to do with him. Both my biological parents died from heart attacks and strokes, one at the early age of 56.
Going to school, and socializing with people who exercised, gave my siblings and me a different view on things. We actually went out for sports, and participated, although we never won top honors for anything. We continue to be a fit bunch, running, canoeing, walking, and calisthenics. Watching my biological parents face heart and circulation problems, depression, and allergies focused me personally on exercising more, eating better, and doing things that avoided the need for heart surgeries and medical intervention.
So I have ways of exercising and being fit. How do I pass them on, especially if their mother can’t exercise much? As their father, I’m setting the pace of things. If I smoke or drink, my children will too. If they see me eating jalapeno peppers and whole bunches of parsley, then they will follow my examples. The keys to successfully helping them exercise are getting their attention, repetition, and encouragement. We find it a lot easier for the children to become physically active if we can get them away from the TV and video games that we parents have purchased for them. It also helps to simply be more stubborn than they are, if you can be positive about the whole thing, and give them love and encouragement during and after the activity.