The kids are back in full swing — with school and sporting activities.
However, some of our youth are going to school — then coming home to sit in front of the television. The lifestyles of today’s youth have undergone enormous changes. Cellphone texting is NOT a sport. Television, computers and video games have replaced many of the physical activities children once enjoyed. So when we discuss our children, we often hear words like obesity, heart disease, high blood sugar and diabetes. Back “in the day,” getting a sliver or losing a tooth use to be the only thing a child worried about — why is it that society allows our children to concern themselves with these issues? Why can’t a child just be a child?
Fitness seems to have taken a backseat when it comes to the modern child. Our kids are becoming victims of inactive, unmotivated, unhealthy lifestyles and their health is deteriorating.
Are you concerned about the lack of exercise your child is getting? Would you like to see them up and moving instead of sitting around so much?
Getting America’s children to exercise has never been more difficult as the new boob-tube generation slouches in front of TVs, or sits for hours, mesmerized behind shoot-out video and computer games.
However, it is possible to foster a regular exercise pattern for children from an early age, with simple activities that are more “fun” than “exercise.”
Way back when… kids played hopscotch and tag and didn’t know that it qualified as exercise! Reviving America’s pastimes could be an easy way to promote physical fitness. Hopscotch improves balance and coordination, while the constant stop-go running in a healthy game of tag elevates the heart rate to more efficiently burn calories. Jumping rope is another American favorite that has fallen by the wayside. The regular interval in jumping rope pumps the heart steadily, and is an efficient form of aerobic exercise.
Biking is another excellent way to get a child to exercise. From first learning on a tricycle to the celebrated arrival of the two-wheeler, biking is something that can be viewed as an achievement, as well as an easy way to increase a child’s physical activity. Biking helps children develop coordination, balance, work the back muscle groups that aid good posture, and build up leg muscles. Moreover, biking gives children an easy way to travel to their friends’ houses and assert independence–an added incentive that will get those legs, and lungs, pumping!
Bikes aren’t the only wheels that kids can use to rev up their heart rate. Skating is an activity that can be done indoors, and out, and an activity the whole family can join in. Whether in an indoor skating rink, or just playing by the sidewalk, skating — whether on blades or a skate board is an activity that is fun for the children and healthy as well.
A walk with Fido
Another exercise that can be performed daily by a child is none other than the traditional walk with the dog. Jogging, or even walking at a brisk pace, with the dog, floods the body with endorphins and a slew of other health benefits related to exercise. Bring along a stick to throw to Fido, and the workout has becomes even more intense. What’s more: walking the dog everyday is a sure-fire way to maintain regular exercise, which is much more advantageous, in the long run, than intermittent exercising.
Yoga for kids
Yoga has taken America by storm in recent years. Yoga is beginning to creep into the school gym programs, too. Just as many high schools throughout the nation have begun offering yoga as a gym option, many “yoga for kids” programs have sprung up as well. Yoga aims to tone the muscle groups, aid coordination, and improve flexibility through stretching. In addition, it has been said that a key principle in yoga, correct breathing, seems to alleviate stress in children.
Exercise that isn’t exercise
Taking the non-traditionalist approach to exercising is just as easy. Children can help their parents carry the groceries or walk to the drugstore. Whatever the case, mixing up a regular exercise pattern for kids helps them create a healthy lifestyle. Even mowing the lawn and washing the car will burn calories. And don’t forget … If you want high energy, fun exercise routines to keep kids healthy, try exercise videos or get in touch with a professional fitness trainer. They will challenge your child with safe exercises to increase balance, coordination and shed pounds. What’s more, fitness is a family event. So for children, who want to work out like mom or dad, try mini treadmills, bikes or weight lifting equipment. These kid-sized fitness tools are made for your child’s growing needs and are priced affordably for any budget. So, keep your child fit by having fun. The most important thing to remember: Your children actually “do” notice what you are doing as a parent. When you lead by example, your children are sure to follow.
Natalie Dreger is a certified fitness professional and can be reached at nataliedreger.com.