Are your kids glued to their screens? Today, about one in five school-aged children has obesity, and the average 19-year-old is just as sedentary as a 60-year-old adult. The World Health Organization recommends that children ages five to 17 perform at least 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per day. It is important to instill the belief that being active is fun while your child is young.
As your kids get older, increasing demands on their time can make getting that hour of exercise a challenge. When kids get caught up watching TV, playing video games, and surfing the internet, they start to forget the joys of outdoor play. On top of that, kids often come to a fork in the road with sports. Those who are athletic might increase their time and commitment to sports, which is great for their physical fitness. However, more casual athletes may lose interest and decide to quit their teams and leagues.
Regardless of your kid’s athletic ability, physical activity is an essential component of a healthy lifestyle. Physical activity helps control weight, builds lean muscle, reduces fat, promotes strong bone, muscle, and joint development, and decreases the risk of obesity. Here are four ways to instill habits of physical activity to create healthy, happy kids and a lifetime of memories:
1. Organize Activities
Plan games or activities that kids can work up a sweat with their friends or get the whole family moving! There are active indoor games such as Simon Says or Twister, and dozens of games to play outside hopscotch, jump rope, basketball, Frisbee golf, badminton, and volleyball. Depending on the season, plan trips to a local bowling alley, swimming pool, or skating rink. Look into options provided by your local park district or school for other organized activities.
2. Make Fitness Part of Your Child’s Day
If your children can walk or bike to and from school, they will get all the physical and mental benefits of being active, while you save on trips to the gas station. When you can, walk or bike with your kids, organize a neighborhood walking or bicycle-pool for days when you cannot go with them. Encourage your children to participate in active outdoor chores such as raking leaves, pulling weeds, watering plants, sweeping the walks, or cleaning the garage. Make the chores feel fun with upbeat music, and be sure to join in to get them done as a family.
3. Make Screen Time an Active Time
When playing outside isn’t an option, your children can play interactive video games that require physical activity like tennis, bowling, or baseball. You also can use dance DVDs and active video games for some physically active television time.
4. Be an Active Role Model
You should present physical activity as an important time to take care of your body and health, rather than a chore. Find activities you enjoy and be active for at least an hour minutes five days a week. When your children see that you are enjoying your time being active, they will be more likely to model your behavior.
Are you looking for more ways to get your kids active in 2018? Stop by Rainbow of the Heartland to see all of our outdoor play equipment, including Rainbow Play Systems, basketball hoops, trampolines, and athletic courts. Contact us today!