It is no secret that Americans do not get enough exercise. Obesity rates in the United States have skyrocketed. Nowhere is this problem more noticeable as with the American kids. Most children today spend more time in front of a television or other device. They clock about seven and a half hours every day. Fewer than one in three children get any real activity on any given day. While it is recommended that children and adolescents get at least 60 minutes of exercise every day, few do. This is a recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Promoting kids fitness levels is important as the habits they start when they are young will last for most of their lives.
Tips for Raising More Active Kids:
- Go outside together. Make plans to do something outside. There are a lot of fun ways for helping kids get exercise and bond. Take advantage of what is around you. If you live in a colder climate, go cross country skiing, ice skating or sledding. These are fun ways to do something with your kids. If you are near the beach, head over there in the summer and teach your kids to swim. Get bikes for everyone and plan biking outings. These are all great ways to increase kids fitness (and yours, too).
- Sign up for a class. Do you belong to a gym that offers classes? Ask them if you can bring your kids to participate in the classes they offer. Even if your gym either has no decent classes or does not allow kids, there may be options for yoga, martial arts or other activities in your city or town. Check the local newspapers.
- You can get a good workout in the yard or cleaning your home. Gardening is a great way to get exercise. Make chores into a fun game. Who can fold the laundry the fastest or rake the lawn the quickest? This way, your home gets cleaned and your kids fitness goals for the week are reached at the same time. This can also encourage them to do chores they may not otherwise want to do.
- Rethink the layout of your home. Does your family room have any space for fun activities that also use calories? Does your video game system encourage movement? There are a lot of systems that have games that are not sedentary. The WII system has tennis, for example. Invest in these systems and play them as a family. These can be great when the weather outside is too harsh to play any games or participate in any sports.
- Lead by example. Kids often emulate the behaviors they see in their parents and the other adults in their lives. If you are active, including them when you can, they will pick up on that and be similarly active. If you are not active before you have kids, consider adding it into all of your lives afterwards. Playing sports and engaging in outdoor activities are fun and healthy ways you can spend more quality time with your family.
If there is no saying, “The family that plays together, stays together,” there should be. Getting out with your family to play sports is more than adding exercise to your lives. It is really fun. If you have never played tennis, taking the entire family out to learn can be a fun time for everyone. One bonus is that you will all be starting at the same level. If you already play sports, think back to when you first started. What did you like about it? You can relive some of that fun and excitement when you teach your kids to play the games and sports you loved to play as a kid.
Teaching your kids new sports and encouraging them to be ore active is a good way to help them throughout their lives. Adding more activities that use calories is a way to increase kids fitness levels but also can encourage healthy habits that they can use forever.