Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Getting Kids Active for a Healthier Life

Adults are constantly being reminded of the importance of exercise and maintaining an active lifestyle. It no doubt has bountiful health benefits. This same sentiment is true for kids. In fact, kids who stay active are less likely to be overweight, therefore less likely to develop other chronic health conditions such as type 2 diabetes. In 2010, the Centers for Disease Control reviewed 50 studies that were conducted over a span of 23 years and concluded that children who are physically fit and active often do better in school than those who aren’t. On top of all that, staying active helps kids get a better night’s sleep, gain motivation and stay more alert throughout the day.

Below are a few tips to keep in mind when considering activities to get kids moving:

Make it a family affair. Plan activities that involve the whole family. Go for walks or hikes or even plan bike rides together.

Make it age appropriate. Planning activities based on your child’s age group will keep him or her from getting bored if the activity is too easy or frustrated if it’s too difficult. If the child is still in preschool, maybe consider doing a water balloon toss rather than going on an extreme hike.

Make it fun. Take your child to the toy store to pick up a small prize for good behavior. Steer him or her in the direction of toys that encourage activity, like Frisbees, hula hoops and jump ropes. Or, turn simple chores such as cleaning up toys a fun activity by encouraging dancing and singing while they work.

Limit the amount of time spent in front of TV, video games, computers and the like.  With all the new technology and gadgets available now, it’s tempting for kids to play video games or play games online rather than go outside and be active. If you limit the time they have access to these distractions, it will free up some time to get them moving.

Encourage kids to get their friends involved. Set up a baseball or soccer game for the kids in the community. Not only will it help improve children’s wellness, but it helps develop their social skills and build self esteem.

Keep their brains active too. Keeping kids physically active is important, but be sure to also focus on their minds. Do puzzles with them, help them with homework and plan arts and crafts that will encourage creativity. Not only will their bodies be in tip-top shape, but so will their brains!

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