5 Ways To Get Kids Physically Active
I love the fact that our kids enjoy being outside, playing and running around with friends, riding bikes, and swimming! I remember when I was a kid, growing up in the middle of a corn field, playing outside all day long during the summer. I enjoyed just being outside and really disliked having to go indoors for pretty much anything till it was dark. I hated rainy days when we couldn’t go outside at all. We (my sister, brother and me) had so much fun climbing trees, climbing just about anything we could get to the top of, riding bikes, swinging, shooting hoops, playing catch, catching fireflies, playing Ghost in the Graveyard and more. Oh, the life of a kid in summertime!
Today, life is really different.
Kids are now plugged into the wall and are not outside. They are playing on their iPads, laptops, hand held games, and all some sorts of gaming system. They are more sedentary, less active and more overweight.
According to the CDC, there are multiple factors as to why childhood obesity is on the rise.
- Sugar drinks and less healthy foods on school campuses
- Advertising of less healthy foods
- Variation in licensure regulations among child care centers
- Lack of daily, quality physical activity in all schools
- No safe and appealing place, in many communities, to play or be active
- Limited access to healthy affordable foods
- Greater availability of high-energy-dense foods and sugar drinks
- Increasing portion sizes
- Lack of breastfeeding support
- Television and media
The rate of childhood obesity is just staggering, 1 out of 7 pre-school children are considered obese (pre-school age being 2-4 years old). I am stunned and saddened by this. Children who are overweight or obese are more likely to be extremely overweight or obese as an adult. Obese or overweight children could develop Type 2 Diabetes and then later on down the road, they could have other health issues like heart disease, high blood pressure, asthma and arthritis. If you are concerned that your child’s weight, the CDC has a BMI Percentile Calculator for children ages 2-19.
What can you do to prevent your child from being overweight or obese?
There is an old saying, “one step at a time”. This is true in helping your child become more active! By starting slow and changing one thing at a time, you will make the transition much easier and have less resistance. If you start by changing everything at one time, this will make life hard on both you and your child!
Here are 5 ways to get kids moving!
- Have a TIME limit for TV, video games and all things that needs to be plugged in. By having a time limit and sticking to it, your child will have time to play with plugged in games but then when the time is up your child will have to find other things to do. Also, have your child wait to read until it is bedtime. Get them up and doing something, but be encouraging about it!
- Be active together! You can do this by taking family walks, go on hikes, bike rides, kick a ball up and have the kids try and catch it (this is one of my husband’s favorite things to do with our kids) or just do calisthenics together. Basically, they learn by example and show them how much fun it is to get outside and be physically active!
- Play fitness games! There are all sorts of fun games children can play. Hopscotch, Leapfrog, or 4 Square (remember that one?), just to name a few. Make up an obstacle course for them to do and time them. If it is a rainy day, then that is when the Wii fit or the XBox 360 Kinects comes in handy! Let them play games on the Wii or Kinects where your child has to move, dance or jump and duck. They are fun and actually will make you sweat!
- Find something they enjoy doing! Go to your local parks and recreation department and see what activities or sports are available in your town for your child’s age. You also have other options like Karate, gymnastics, ballet, swimming, hockey, ice skating, and more. All you have to do is make time (yes, make time… this is important) and get your child into a program.
- Have them do household activities! Yes, you read that right! There is nothing wrong with having your kids do chores around the house; cleaning windows, scrubbing floors, vacuuming, walking the dog, washing the cars, push mow the lawn and racking the yard. These are great ways for your child to get moving, burn calories and help out around the house. One thing with this, don’t bribe them to do it. Make them do it. If you bribe them to do chores, then they will always expect something in return. But, if they don’t want to do it or don’t do it to your standards, then take away their plugged in time! It is good for kids to know how to do household chores!
If you show your child that being physically active is fun, they will want to do it more! Doing physical activity as a family show your child that you support them and really want them to be healthy. Be encouraging and supportive of them. Your kids look to you for love and support! Be that strong foundation that your child needs so much! Now, get out there and have fun being physically active!