Tips for Parents Looking to Encourage Their Kids to Be More Physically Active

by SPARK


kids-jumpingPersonal health: we talk about how important it is, we praise its benefits, we even toast to it. These days, however, health tends to fall by the wayside more often than not. Sometimes, that might just be due to a full schedule. Where can you fit in a workout when you work overtime on a regular basis? Other times, health is just ignored out of pure negligence.

Kids don’t have much of an excuse either way, but they seem to be suffering even worse than adults. Childhood obesity is a rampant issue. About one third of the children in the nation are overweight. Obesity puts kids at risk for numerous medical problems, including asthma, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer, not to mention low self-esteem and low self-confidence.

As a parent, your job is to keep kids from reaching that point and ensuring that they stay healthy and physically active. I know, this isn’t an easy task, so here are some tips to encourage kids to lead an active lifestyle and help them prioritize health.

Keep It Simple

Many kids spend their time after school playing video games, watching TV, or sitting in front of their computers, which isn’t entirely wrong. Kids, like adults, need to unwind. However, children need about an hour of physical activity each day to stay healthy.

Remember that simplicity is often the best avenue. Not every kid needs to be a superstar or Olympic-level athlete, and not every child will necessarily enjoy organized team sports. Whether it’s jogging, biking, shooting some hoops, or just playing outside with friends, there’s something for everyone.

Breaking It Up Into Parts

With school, homework, and extracurricular activities, kids’ schedules can often fill up quickly, so 60 consecutive minutes of exercise is not always easy or plausible.

To simplify things, make sure your kids are accumulating 60 minutes over the course of the entire day. Walking 10 minutes in the morning, riding a bike around town for 20 minutes after school, and then ending the day with a half hour of basketball or tag after dinner.

Breaking things up into smaller increments ensures that your kids get enough exercise without interrupting their normal schedules. This also works for the adult with a busy schedule looking to get some exercise.

Get Involved

As a parent, you are the role model. If you lead an active life, your kids are sure to follow suit. Even better, you should try to get involved in your child’s physical activities. There are all sorts of simple, fun activities that you and your kids can do together.

Something as simple as a walk in the morning or evening is enough to impact a child and push him or her to stay active. This is great motivation and a great chance to get in some exercise for yourself, not to mention the quality time you will get to spend with your kids.

Going from Point A to Point B

If you are like any other modern family, chances are you get to places by car, which makes sense. It’s convenient and saves time. However, when time isn’t as much of an issue, schedule to walk or bike on various errands. This will add a sense of adventure to a simple, everyday errand.

Furthermore, we all know that gas prices are through the roof. Walking, biking, or rollerblading will save you some money and help benefit the environment.

Monitors and Limits

The best way to encourage kids to stay active is to closely monitor the time they spend doing sedentary activities.

Sedentary activities are perfectly fine for those times when your mind and body are just too pooped out, but you should definitely make sure to limit the time your kids spend watching TV or playing video games. Both tend to rot the brain and are not especially conducive to health. Experts suggest no more than two hours a day of TV and video games.

Try not to be too restrictive or domineering, but make sure your kids understand the importance of physical activity. Stay positive and supportive of your kids and they will soon enjoy the fruits of playing outside.

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