With technologies continually evolving, almost every activity in modern life is connected with the Internet, gadgetry and other computer-age advancement. Given the sedentary life spawned by all these high-tech toys, childhood fitness is even more essential than ever. So, how can parents educate their children to understand the need fitness and help them learn to enjoy exercise and strenuous activity?
Being overweight and/or obese is no longer confined to adults and old age. In the US alone, 1 out of 3 children are either overweight or obese. This ratio is increasing at an alarming rate every year and is a direct result of the shortage or total loss of childhood fitness activity and programs. Budget constraints have eliminated or curtailed physical education and athletic programs in our schools.
The weight problems facing today’s youth will not only affect them now, but as they grow into adulthood. They will continue suffer from adverse health, a poor self image, and obesity issues. However, if parents and guardians teach children enjoyable exercises now, their lives, both physiologically and socially, can be enhanced.
Studies have shown that children who are physically active on a regular basis reap enormous health and social benefits. They are more likely to build strong bones and muscles or becoming overweight resulting in a decreased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. They also have reduced blood cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure.
Better physical health and appearance produces higher self-esteem and reduced incidences of depression and anxiety. This, of course, make children likely to be more attentive in school.
The American Heart Association recommends that all children age 2 and older should participate in at least 30 minutes of enjoyable, moderate-intensity physical activities every day. These activities should be age appropriate and varied.
If your child is unable to have a full 30-minute activity break each day, try to schedule at least two 15-minute periods or three 10-minute periods in which they can engage in vigorous activities appropriate for their age, gender and stage of physical and emotional development. Any special concerns about your child’s physical or overall health should be discussed with their pediatrician before designing a physical fitness program.
It’s all about lifestyle change
It is possible to teach children a love of fitness and exercise. However, it is essential that fitness and healthy living become a family lifestyle. Start by being an example, and encourage your children to join in. Soon you will have a fun, family fitness program where you will be building healthy bodies and a great relationship!
- Get the whole family fit and healthy. When was the last time you and the kids went to the park? Revive the thrill of camping trips, hiking, biking and other similar adventures. Make it a habit to run together, play jumping rope and boxing and being involved in interactive sports at least twice a week. Put up a net and shoot baskets, play miniature golf or other activities where a lot of ground is covered on foot. Walking is considered one of the best activities for your health.
- Set a good example of fitness. If you lead an active lifestyle, kids are more likely to follow.
- Limit TV and computer game time. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents limit TV and computer time -no more than “two hours of daily media exposure” for children ages two and older.
- Give your family diet a makeover, with the kids help. Let them help plan healthy foods and make sure you incorporate their choices. Make sure that fruits, vegetables and other nutritious sources are part of your daily diet and teach your kids about why they are important.
- Make it fun. Find out which activities your children like and encourage those.
By creating a family fitness plan, you can help your entire family become healthier. In the process, you will find a family that is stronger physically, mentally and emotionally.