Kids today are less likely to be active or physically fit than kids of past generations. Children love to play and move their bodies, but for many children today biking, playing ball, running, and other outdoor activities are a thing of the past and are replaced with watching TV, playing video games, texting friends, and playing on the computer. Poor eating habits are also to blame. With childhood obesity increasing at an alarming rate, kids are at risk for diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other health risk associated with obesity. In addition, a social stigma goes along with being overweight.
Some of the benefits of regular activity include building strong bones and muscles, increased flexibility, helps maintain a healthy weight, promotes good posture and balance, strengthens the heart, increased alertness during the day, better sleep at night, better self-esteem and self-confidence, and brighter mental outlook.
Research recommends that children 2 years of age and older engage in 30-60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day. With cuts in the physical Fitness programs at school, this means even less activity for children. However, it is not too late for families to become proactive in promoting a healthy and active lifestyle. You can even make it FUN and EASY! Here are a few suggestions to get you and your family started.
- Get the whole family involved and set a good example by exercising regularly. Remember what you set in motion now will stay in motion.
- Limit TV, video games and computer time.
- Establish a routine set aside for physical activity.
- Encourage organizational sports if they are interested.
- Encourage your child to take the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Involve them with yard work, helping around the house, shoveling snow; make a game out of doing the chores such as who can pull the most weeds.
- You can walk; play ball, kayak, swim, hike, dance, jump rope, climb, skip, throw the Frisbee, walk the dog, go to the batting cages, go bowling, biking, skateboarding.
- Do exercise videos together or yoga stretches.
- Safety is very important be sure to have your child use proper protective gear when necessary and the activity is age appropriate.
- Every child is an individual, with different strengths, and weaknesses. Be sure to consider this when planning your activities.
- Remember for kids it’s all about having a good time. They need to have fun and enjoy what they are doing; they should not find it boring or too much like work to keep them engaged in the activity.
Whatever you do to promote your child to be more active, make sure that it is fun, gets the whole family involved and that your child or children have a voice in picking activities. Making healthy choices and including physical activity in your children’s lives will set the foundation for a lifetime of health and wellness. Just imagine the impact you will have on your child with well-established fitness habits that will more likely carry over to adulthood. Now get out their and get those bodies moving!