Most children do not get enough physical activity these days. With schools eliminating their physical education programs and kids spending more time watching TV and playing video games, it is no wonder childhood obesity at an all-time high (and still climbing). In the last 30 years, it has doubled and as of 2012, 18% of children under the age of 12 were obese.
During the six hours per day on average that kids spend watching TV and on their computers, they are not burning as many calories as they are taking in. As a matter-of-fact, they are most likely also eating unhealthy food while watching TV so not only are they not burning calories, they are consuming more.
So how do you ensure your kid is getting enough physical activity? Here are 4 ways that will get your child moving:
1) Set the example
If you are not regularly exercising, how can you expect your kids to do the same? You can start small by organizing a family walk each night after dinner. On the weekends, do a physical activity that takes more time, like a bike ride or hike.
If you are in an area with inclement weather part of a year, opt for a family membership at a gym or YMCA. Many facilities have an indoor swimming pool and jogging track in addition to various exercise machines and free weights. Ask whether your gym offers exercise classes or not, such a Pilates, Yoga, Zumba, etc. Many places include them free of charge in your membership or charge a nominal fee to participate.
Not only will you show your kid how important (and fun) exercise can be, but you will be getting the physical activity you need as well.
2) Limit time in front of the TV and computer
As said before, time spent watching TV and playing video games is time not spent in a physical activity. Each kid should get at least 60 minutes a day of some type of physical activity. Ensure your kid there will still be time for their favorite non-physical activity.
3) Schedule physical activity
As the old saying goes, “What gets scheduled, gets done”. Without scheduling a block of time each day on the calendar, it is easy for that time to get overridden by something else, or forget to exercise, or just decide not to do it. However when it is writtenn there in plain sight, it is harder to overlook.
4) Encourage sport participation
Participating in team sports does more for your child than provide a means of exercising. They also learn cooperation and leadership. However, team sports are not for everyone and when that is the case. Encourage your child to participate in non-team sports, such as swimming, jogging, walking, rock climbing or tennis.
Getting daily physical activity does not have to be a drudgery. It can actually be fun! Plus it enhances weight management, develops muscles and strengthens the heart and lungs.