To Your Health
April, 2010 (Vol. 04, Issue 04)
Four Ways to Keep Kids Moving
By Editorial Staff
1. Lead by Example
Common sense and science suggest that as parents, we exert a tremendous influence, for better or worse, on our children.
When it comes to exercise, an adult couch potato effectively nurtures a child couch potato, who then becomes yet another adult couch potato years down the road - a vicious cycle of inactivity that increases disease risk. Get off the couch and show your kids the value of an active life filled with physical activity.
2. Unplug for Awhile
Speaking of couch potato syndrome and its inherent dangers, one of the worst effects of technology from a health perspective is that people tend to end up sitting, rather than moving. Hours on end of TV, video games, and even phone and computer "activities" like instant messaging, chat rooms and other pursuits leave very little time for exercise. While there's no easy solution, establishing a daily time limit on these activities is a great start.
3. Find the Time
When we're young, we spend hours in the yard or on school grounds playing our favorite games; then we slowly get more and more responsibilities and somehow, the time just seems to disappear. It happens quickly, right around the time daily homework comes along. What can you do about it? It's the same advice, whether young or old: Find the time. Pencil physical activity into your child's daily schedule and don't let "life" ever erase it.
4. Make It Fun
It's a truism whether you're an adult or a child: You're more likely to stick with something if you enjoy it. Too often, exercise becomes more of a chore than a pleasing activity, and this often begins at an early age, basically as soon as children get involved in the rigors of organized sports. Sure, it's never all fun and games, but exercise shouldn't be a dreaded activity, not if you do it right. Be creative and teach children that active is fun at any age.