Are you finding it difficult to get your child to exercise? Are you worried about the future of their health, given that so many Americans are now overweight and suffering from weight related health conditions?Ifso, then you’re not alone, and there are a number of ways in which you can include exercise in your child’s daily routine.
Is parenting more challenging today?
Parenting is a whole different ball game today. It used to be that you could let your child run rampant in the streets and allow them to go outside and play whenever they liked to get the exercise that they needed. However, now you have to worry about a variety of dangers when your child walks out the front door. Not to mention that video games and TV get a bulk of their attention these days, and snack foods are becoming a staple in their diets. Even parents who are attentive and only want the best for their children are now realizing that it’s nearly impossible to compete with gaming consoles and programs aimed at a younger audience. Gone are the days of celery sticks and peanut butter being popular, as potato chips and carbonated drinks are the new craze.
In fact, the National Center for Health Statistics has released the findings of a recent study which shows that about 30 percent of the adults in the United States (aged 20 or older) are obese. That means that around 60 million people are at an extremely unhealthy weight. And, even more staggering is the fact that the percentage of younger people who are overweight has more than tripled in the past three decades.
Why every parent should be concerned.
Even if your child is not overweight, there is still a need for concern. We are now living in a world where your child gets very little chance for exercise. Their health and fitness are in jeopardy, given that physical education programs are being cut, their opportunities for walking are minimal, and things like cars and elevators are taking away the chance to get natural exercise. The sad truth is is that a great deal of Americans are sedentary, and the unhealthy habits that your children develop now are likely to stick with them into adulthood.
What you can do to get your child active.
According the the American Heart Association, your child should be getting at least 60 minutes of “moderate to vigorous physical activity every day”. If you think that this sounds like an unreasonable amount of time, then just look at this way: there are a number of activities that your child can include in their daily routine which won’t even seem like exercise to them. For instance, both walking and bicycling are exercises that can be counted toward that 60 minute goal. Here are 5 creative ways to get your kids up and moving:
- Be a role model. You can encourage your child to be active by exercising yourself. So make sure that you stress the importance of eating well and working out, and practice what you preach.
- Exercise together. Take a little bit of time after school to exercise with your child, as it is not only great for their health but a great bonding experience, as well. Since you can’t very well let your child out of the house to wander the streets alone, you’ll need to go with them and may as well make it a chance to spend some quality time with them.
- Make it enjoyable. Exercising doesn’t have to be a chore. Why not encourage your children to do activities that they love, like biking or rollerblading. You can even put on some music and have a dance-off or take a swim in the pool on a warm day.
- Be a cheerleader. Cheer your kids on and let them know that you support them. Encourage them in to enroll in sports or find other activities that they enjoy, and be there for them as a cheerleader, whether they win or not.
- Unplug from technology. Stress to your child that, though games and TV may be entertaining, they also need to make certain that they are getting enough exercise. A great way to do this is to make particular times “technology times”, whereby they can only go on the computer or play games during those specified hours.
Ensuring that you make your family’s lifestyle more active by making fitness and nutrition a high priority will give your kids a head start in life, in that they will already have the foundation for a bright and healthy future. So, make regular exercise part of your family’s routine and encourage your child to participate in activities as much as possible.