Join in at Least 1 Hour of Physical Activity a Day!
Children are naturally physically active, but we have created an unnatural environment that tends to make them sedentary. Communities, schools and parents need to work together to provide those natural opportunities for kids to move, thus helping them to grow and develop as they should. Being physically active will keep the weight down, promote a better night's sleep, and even help to keep your child better focused on school work! All you have to do is find activities that your child naturally enjoys to get them on track to lifelong fitness.
Organized Sports or Classes Teach New Skills. Let your child try soccer, karate, gymnastics, swimming or whatever they show an interest in and you can afford. Make sure they give each activity a fair trial, but don't force them to continue with something they aren't really enjoying - move on to something else until they find their niche.
Teach Your Child Your Favorite Physical Activity. Love tennis, biking or softball? Share that enthusiasm with your child and you may pass it on. And if you haven't engaged in your favorite physical activity for a while, this provides you with another good reason to get back into it.
Go Outside and Play. Head for the park, the trails or the backyard for unstructured play time or simple activities like jump rope or Frisbee. Let the kids romp in a neighborhood playground, climb trees or dig in the dirt - anything that moves them and gets them moving!
Encourage Indoor Play. There's plenty of time for a showcase home when the kids are grown and gone, so while they're small furnish the house with soft, climable equipment that encourages indoor activity. Large blocks, cushions and blankets encourage kids to build forts and tents. Clear enough space so that hula hoops and jump ropes can be used indoors. Leave room for a 'dance floor' and turn on some bouncy music. And be sure to get in on the act yourself!
Have the Kids Help with Chores. Children love to help adults, so teach them how to assist with dusting, vacuuming, laundry, gardening, yard work and all those other physical household chores. Not only will this help to keep the kids physically fit, but they'll be learning good life skills as well.
Turn Screen Time into Physical Activity Time. Instead of sitting and watching TV, pop in an exercise video or an interactive video game. Use commercial time to do jumping jacks, squats or other exercises. Sit on a balance ball or stand while watching programs. Or skip the screen altogether and go out for a walk!
Give the Kids Physical Challenges. Get every family member a pedometer and have a daily challenge to see who takes the most steps. See who can pick up the most toys in a given amount of time. Challenge your child to count how many times he can hop on one foot while you finish a quick phone call. Get creative!
Work Physical Activity into Daily Routines. There are lots of ways to work physical activity into daily activities. Keep the following tips in mind:
- Take an after-dinner walk whenever the weather allows.
- Go mall walking when the weather is bad.
- Let the kids walk the dog.
- Have your children walk in the grocery store rather than ride in the cart.
- Walk or bike instead of driving whenever possible.
- Park farther from your destination so at least you can walk across the parking lot.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Do school work standing at a counter, or sit on a balance ball instead of a desk chair.
- Do calf raises while waiting in check-out lines.
- Stand or walk in place every time you take a phone call.
- Put a treadmill or stationary bike in front of the TV and use it when watching.
- Clean the house regularly.
- Have the kids put the laundry away, one piece at a time.
- Insist the kids do a set number of push-ups, sit-ups or squats for every 15 minutes spent sitting at the computer.