Maybe youâ€™ve got a gym membership. Or maybe you bike to work. One way or the other youâ€™re hopefully taking the time to invest in your own physical fitness and well-being. But have you thought about your kidsâ€™ level of exercise?
Alarmingly, studies indicate that 1 out of 3 children are overweight or obese. Even if your child isnâ€™t chubby, chances are he or she isnâ€™t getting enough physical activity. Daily lifestyle has changed drastically in the past century and overall kids are doing less walking, biking, and manual labor than they used to. Regardless of whether your child is overweight or not, reports overwhelmingly show that a healthy level of exercise during childhood years leads to a healthier lifestyle as an adult.
The Centers for Disease Control recommend that children and adolescents should get at least one hour of exercise daily. This might seem excessive (hey, arenâ€™t we all lucky to get in just 30 minutes on the treadmill?), but this amount of exercise is crucial to child and adolescent development. And itâ€™s not as unattainable as you might think. Consider these ways to incorporate more exercise into your kidsâ€™ daily routine:
- Walking or biking to school. For safety and to boost your own level of fitness, walk or bike with your child.
- Team sports participation. Even if Juniorâ€™s athletic skills are severely lacking, donâ€™t give up. There is a huge variety of sports out there and chances are one will be a match made in heaven. (Tip: If Junior really canâ€™t stand sports then sign him or her up for a dance class. They donâ€™t all require tutus.)
- Structured playground activities. Challenge your kids by making a game out of ordinary playground equipment. Can they do the monkey bars? How quickly can they climb up the firemanâ€™s pole? Bring a stopwatch and encourage your children to compete against their own times.
- Active outdoor games. If itâ€™s been a while since you personally played Tag or Kickball then itâ€™s time to brush up on your skills.
- An indoor dance party. When itâ€™s too cold or wet outside then turn up the volume on your favorite tunes. (Tip: Look online or at the library for videos on different dance styles from various decades. Your kids will get a kick out of learning the Electric Slide with you.)
Remember, a great way to get in 60 minutes of fitness a day is to break it up into 15 minute chunks. An appropriate level of intensity means that your child will be slightly sweaty and slightly out of breath. Â Donâ€™t worry about weight training with young kids and stick with water for hydration (juice is often too high in sugar). A daily vitamin, such as Garden of Life, Primal Defense Kids Natural Banana 76.8 Grams, will also help your childâ€™s body to grow healthfully.
Let us know how you get your kids to exercise!