Proper Fitness Means Healthy Kids

Being healthy involves more than just eating well—it’s also important to help your children develop an active lifestyle. By making exercise a part of your daily routine, you can set a good example and show them that exercise is important to you. Whether your child is already very active or more sedentary, you should make a conscious effort to express the importance of physical activity.

 
Start Early: Starting when your child is very young, go on walks together. Take your child in a stroller if he isn’t up to walking with you. Younger children also enjoy riding bikes and trikes alongside their parents on longer walks.
 
Get Creative: Find ways as a family to build physical activity into serving others, such as doing household chores for someone, raking a neighbor’s lawn, moving furniture, or cleaning up an outdoor area in your community.
 
Motivate: Encourage all of your family members to join a sports team or take part in a physical activity class—many communities offer martial arts classes, recreational sports leagues, and hiking groups.
 
Be Consistent: Stay active throughout all four seasons. In many states, winters are often very cold and can limit physical activity. If you can’t make it outside for a winter walk or an afternoon of sledding, stay active inside. Play basketball at a local gym, go for a walk at an indoor mall, or take a family fitness class to keep moving throughout the winter.
 
Ask the Kids: Find out which type of exercise gets your kids excited. Some enjoy rollerblading. Others like to bike or swim. Still others enjoy playing soccer or baseball. Tapping into your kids’ passions will make them more likely to stick with a physical activity for the long term.
 
Even though the media is continually reporting that today’s children are getting lazier, that doesn’t mean that your kids have to be this way. Kids are naturally active and like spending time outside, so encourage their activity!

 

Comments

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Exercise in all forms contributes to healthy children and adults. The examples given are all worthwhile.

Walking together with one or more family member does not require funds, only a parent’s time and attention. It’s great exercise and requires no special skills. It also can contribute to open communication and bonding, especially if the parent does not ask too many direct questions, but instead listens and tries to be nonjudgemental. For eleven parenting handouts that suggest ways to increase positive parent-child interactions, see http://www.kellybear.com/ParentTips.html .

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