Health risks associated with a sedentary lifestyle are plentiful. We often forget that healthy habits can and should be developed young–very young. Childhood obesity is a real problem with tragic consequences. As summer approaches, focus on keeping your kids active for at least an hour every day. Here are five tips for keeping your young ones on the move.
Change TV Habits
The best thing to do is to just turn the darn thing off. But we live in a such a tube-centric culture that that might not be practical (or fair) for your child. Instead, limit TV time to an hour or two a day, and when your child is watching it, make it a family thing. Or take it a step further and make commercials ‘active time’. Try instituting mandatory jumping jacks or silly-walking during the advertisements.
Set The Example
If you aren’t an active and fit person, it’s only going to be that much harder to convince your child that he or she should be. So, make the first move, get up off that couch and exercise! Trust me; the kids will follow your lead. Maybe even plan family activities: a nighttime jog, a family golf-outing, or a frisbee toss in the back yard.
Have A Plan
Summer vacation is supposed to be unstructured and relaxing. While you don’t want to summer to feel like boot camp, having some planned activities each week is a great way to ensure that your kid won’t be stuck in the house all day. Organized sports are a great option. And it doesn’t have to be the traditional sports–baseball, basketball, soccer. There are plenty of options for the more adventurous; dance classes, martial arts and mountain climbing are only a few. Whatever the activity, your child should ENJOY it. So, let them try out all kinds of fun things and something is bound to stick.
If you have a garage full of baseballs, basketballs, tennis racquets and jump ropes, your kids can never claim boredom. Every toy can inspire a new activity. Most importantly, it keeps things fun, which as you know, is crucial in motivating children to stay active. Furthermore, more toys will encourage inviting friends over to play. While solitary exercise is still effective, being alone can be a hindrance to many kids.
Adjust Mode of Travel
Put down the car keys and walk whenever possible. Again, it’s a great habit for you and a great example for your kids. Have bicycles (even zany ones like a unicycle or a tandem) and skateboards available. Exercising while traveling is healthy, practical and, with rising gas prices, it is economical.
Help your kids stay active, and establish a lifelong commitment to health and happiness.
Advanced Physical Medicine continuously tries to improve the lives and health of people of all ages. Click the link to access our Chicago Physical Therapy clinic.
This article is originally posted at Healthy Family Matters.