Have you noticed the kids watching a lot of TV, playing a lot of video games, and not participating in many physical activities? It’s important to teach kids a love of moving when they’re young, not only to keep them healthy, but to make it not seem like such a chore when they’re older. Studies have shown those who are overweight as children are more likely to be overweight or obese as adults. The habits that children make with food choices and what activities they enjoy will affect them well into adulthood.
Why is an active lifestyle important?
Sedentary lifestyles lead to a poor quality of life. A few of the health risks caused by inactivity include diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, obesity, and many more. Keeping the bones and muscles active is helpful towards a healthy future. Medical conditions due to inactivity are less likely to happen.
How can I help my child become more active?
- Make it a family affair – Children are more likely to enjoy active pastimes if they have someone to do it with! Take the whole family for a walk, bike ride, or hike. Show your child the various activities that are available so they have many choices and experiences. Give skiing, rock climbing, wake boarding, kayaking, ice skating, frisbee, and anything else you can think of, a try.
If your kids like a particular sport, try getting involved. If you have a culture of activities at home, you’re setting your kids up for a success, fit, and healthy future. You may also want to encourage them to join a school sport team, pick up a hobby, or just play a backyard game as often as possible.
- Get your Zzz’s – Surprisingly, it’s not all about the amount of calories your kids are burning daily. The amount of sleep they’re getting matters!
A recent study found that with each extra hour of sleep, the risk of a child being overweight or obese dropped by nine percent. This could be because tired people tend to eat more than those who have had enough rest. Keep this in mind as you strive to give your child a well-rounded life. It should be full of healthy food, enough sleep, a high physical activity level, and emotional well-being.
- Find the fun – When your kids find an activity they enjoy, help encourage them to continue that activity. For example, if they need help passing a ball, new running shoes, or a push on the swing, being there for them will definitely help.
Fun is an important aspect of learning. Encourage a relationship with movement, but be care not to force push ups, laps, or any activity that can keep them from wanting to play that sport. Don’t use exercise as a punishment or it may result in that exact idea – punishment. We want to help our kids find the fun in exercise so they can look forward to participating in it.
- The little things – Kids need at least 60 minutes of physical activities on a daily basis. Having an “active lifestyle” does not mean you go to the gym every day for 4 hours. It simply means you try to incorporate activity into your daily life as much as possible.
Children typically look up to their parents. This makes it more important to be mindful of how you create a love for physical activities. Be mindful of how much our kids like to mimic what we do. You might want to take the stairs instead of the elevator, park farther away from the door, and walk to run your errands when you can. If you walk to school with your kids, they are more likely to live an active lifestyle because, as they say, “a body in motion stays in motion.”
Alice Park of time.com reported, “Because exercise has a more powerful effect in helping the heart than sitting does in harming it, one hour of physical exercise could counteract the effects of sitting for 6 to 7 hours a day.” If that doesn’t convince you of the importance of living an active, healthy lifestyle, nothing will! Now get out there and go play!