The relationship we have with physical fitness can be affected by our early childhood experiences with sports.
Fitness is not for everyone, or so we’ve heard. Despite the mental and physical benefits associated with regular exercise, a lot of people just aren’t into it. Some experts believe this is because of our early experiences with sports.
A 2018 study, published in Translational Journal, found that negative childhood experiences, particularly those gathered in middle school gym classes, such as being picked last in a sports team, result in embarrassment. Not surprising, these kids are more likely to avoid and resent physical activities as adults.
Personal trainer Lauren Leavell told the Huffington Post that the pressure that kids feel to perform well in sports can inform their later experiences in fitness, for better or worse. “I never participated in after-school sports but I did take dance classes,” she said. “I believe there can be a lot of positive habits formed with movement if the sport or activity is something that is encouraging and positive. For others, these childhood extracurriculars can feel punishing and discourage folks from participating in that type of movement later.”
Most of us have complicated relationships with our bodies and, thus, with fitness. It’s important to get kids and adults to understand that working out and moving shouldn’t be related to your weight or your body’s appearance.
Kids and adults should be encouraged to try new activities, dropping them if they don’t like them and choosing to pursue other sports that they find entertaining and fulfilling. “Currently, there are so many opportunities online to try teachers from all over the world. It is the perfect time to test something new and not worry about the commitment,” said Leavell.
Adults and kids should try their best to change their relationship with exercise. These activities can and should be fun, especially during these trying, stressful and uncertain times.