Obesity is one of the most serious problems that America’s youngest generation is currently dealing with. It’s more and more common to have a child that is not only overweight, but is clinically obese and may have relating illnesses such as diabetes. As a parent, you obviously want to spare your kids the mental and physical problems that come with being unfit. So here are some tips for keeping your kids active and physically fit.
The first and probably most important thing you can do to keep your kids active and physically fit is to turn off the TV! Whether it’s limiting the number of programs they can watch or the time they can play video games, it’s important to limit the numbers of hours they’re allowed to sit on their bottoms in front of the TV. You could simply limit screen time to two hours a day (which is still probably too many hours) or give them the option of watching two of their favorite shows a week. Make it easier on yourself by removing the television from your children’s bedrooms. If your child is allowed to play video games, choose games for them that require movement. In a Mayo Clinic study, kids who traded sedentary screen time for active screen time more than doubled their energy expenditure.
If you start trying to get your kids to exercise daily, you may not have much success. But if you promote activity rather than exercise, you’re sure to have success. Make it fun to be fit. Here are some ideas to promote activity.
Be silly. Let younger children see how much fun you can have while being active. Run like a gorilla. Walk like a spider. Hop like a bunny. Stretch like a cat.
Get in the game. Play catch, get the whole family involved in a game of tag or have a jump-rope contest. Try classic movement games such as Simon says or red light, green light. If you don’t remember the rules, make up your own!
Count your chores. You might even make it a friendly challenge. Who can pull the most weeds out of the vegetable garden? Who can collect the most litter in the neighborhood? Who can shovel the craziest path in the snow?
Put your kids in charge. Let each child take a turn choosing the activity of the day or week. Batting cages, bowling and fast-food play areas all count. What matters is that you’re doing something active
The bottom line is this: Make it fun to be active.
Another great way to encourage your child to be active is through team sports. Encourage your child at a young age to become involved in sports. Enroll them in soccer or football camps when they’re small. Support their desire to be involved on their school’s sports teams. Be willing to attend their events and drive them to and from practice.
Finally, it’s important that you set a good example. Your kids probably aren’t going to listen to your advice about being fit and trim if you’re 100 pounds overweight. If you want your kids to be active, you need to be active yourself. This doesn’t mean that you need to start an exercise regime. Start with little things. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park the car farther away from your destination. Talk about physical activity as an opportunity to take care of your body, rather than a punishment or a chore. Your kids will see you in good shape and that you’re happy about your body and they’ll follow your example.