In the past when we were children, playing outside with a sibling, friends or neighbors was common place. Unfortunately in today’s society it is not so easy. With our cell phones, iPads, computers, game systems, hundreds of television stations and all the social media that goes with them, regular physical activity often takes a backseat. A recent article that we posted a link to on our Facebook page shows that in the United States, teens’ cardiorespiratory fitness has dropped in the last decade. This is very alarming.
Regular physical activity is an essential part of our children’s life. It is good for their mind and body in many ways. It allows them to experiment with all sorts of activities to find out what their bodies can do. Regular physical activity usually involves other people so it allows them to develop teamwork and how to get along with others. Regular physical activity can improve your child’s strength, coordination and stamina.
There are many things we as parents can do to promote regular physical activity. Limiting screen time to a certain amount of time per day is a great way to get them outside. This time can fluctuate based on weather, day of the week and age of the child. Another idea is to make regular physical activity family time. This can be as simple as taking a walk with your child or to an organized game where sides are chosen. There is nothing wrong with giving a positive reward for regular physical activity, such as an agreed upon healthy snack or a toy or a piece of equipment that would promote more physical activity.
Signing up for an organized team activity is usually an excellent way to get regular physical activity. So if your child shows interest in a certain sport or activity, please look into signing them up for a team or lessons when possible. I would recommend starting with only recreational leagues to promote fun with minimal pressure.
The bottom line is that any regular physical activity is better than none. The younger you start with regular physical activity, the better. With the kids who show little interest in physical activity, just starting with a few minutes a day can get things going. Start with a game of catch or a game of HORSE.
The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention also list some facts that are very helpful, but I would encourage anyone who has any questions or needs more individualized ideas to contact the office or ask the next time you are in. Let’s get the kids moving!