A YouTube sensation, John Jacobson has appeared on the Ellen DeGeneres Show showing off his signature Double Dream Hands choreography. He also stars in children’s musical and exercise DVDs, including the hit series JJump! Today, John has stopped by to lend his tips and advice on getting the whole family moving—and making it fun! Read on! —Erin
Make Family Fitness Fun
Like any good teacher, a parent’s three most important assets that will help them get their children up and keep them active are their smile, their passion and their energy. Your children need to see exercise as something you love to do, not a chore you undertake like cleaning the bathroom or shoveling the snow. Exercise ought to be fun. So, put on some music of a variety of styles and move to it. It doesn’t matter if you do the twist to a tango or a salsa dance to hip-hop, just move and jump and wiggle and smile.
Never underestimate the effectiveness of rewards. Keep a chart (like the one pictured from my JJump! Video program)where you check off how many minutes of specific exercises your child does on any given day. Then offer a reward that is not a Twinkie. Perhaps they get stickers of some kind on the chart for each exercise they do. When the chart is full of stickers they get something they have been wanting.
John’s Tips for Fit Fun
1. Dance the commercials off. When watching television, don’t skip through the commercials—they often have fun music. Instead, get everybody off the couch and dance until the show you are watching returns. It doesn’t matter how silly you look doing it! Everyone will have fun if you just try!
2. Make your own American Idol night! Practice a dance routine throughout the week (as silly as you want to make it) and perform it for the rest of the family and friends. You can even take turns being Randy Jackson (Dawg!), J Lo or Steven Tyler. It’s up to you if you want a Simon Cowell as part of your family judges.
3. Resist the temptation to drive everywhere. Walk to the store, the post office or even just around the neighborhood. You are the adult. You need to lead your children to healthy habits through your own example. Don’t forget….your own smile, passion, energy….they are contagious!
Oh, and get a hula hoop! —John Jacobson
John Jacobson is an internationally known choreographer, dance and music educator, and author of Double Dreams. John also stars in children’s musical and exercise DVDs, including the hit series JJump!, a fitness program for children aimed at combating childhood obesity by making working out fun and accessible for everyone.