07. March 2016 · Comments Off on Keep Kids Active and Healthy · Categories: Family, Health, Physical Fitness

Tips To Help You Keep Kids Active and Healthy

The world has changed so much. In the past kids were naturally drawn outside. There were many things to attract their attention in nature, there were friends, there were chores, and outside meant play. All of the outdoor attractors involved some kind of movement, often very active movement. These were natural ways to keep kids active and healthy. Indoors just wasn’t where kids wanted to be.

Now, indoors there are unlimited ways for kids to entertain themselves and most of them mean that the kids stay seated. Television, video games, homework, even friends are on the computer and at their fingertips, but not often outside.

This means it is a challenge to keep kids active and healthy. But kids are kids and they are still curious and want to have fun. Kids want to interact with their parents and friends and they want to feel a sense of accomplishment. If you use some creativity and aren’t easily discouraged you can get them outside and moving before you know it. Here are some great tips to help you keep kids active and healthy!

                                                             (Photo: Joe Brier, AP)

Teach kids to dance.

Tell them you're playing Dancing with the Stars and let them waltz, do the cha-cha-cha or swing dance, Sothern says. This active time will burn four to five times more calories than sitting and improve their overall health.

Swap sedentary time for active time.

Kids only burn 30 to 50 calories when they are sitting for an hour, but they burn 400 to 500 calories in an hour if they are playing tag, dancing or doing field sports, she says. The government's physical activity guidelines say children and teens should do an hour or more of moderate-intensity to vigorous aerobic physical activity each day. Sothern recommends they do at least two hours of physical activity a day.

Play outside with your children.

Moms and dads should teach their kids to throw, pitch, catch, pass, jump and ride a bike because their kids may not be learning these important skills at school.

Encourage physical-activity breaks.

“There is a lot of evidence that kids should not sit still for more than 60 minutes at a time,” says Penny Gordon-Larsen, a professor of nutrition at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. When kids are doing their homework or on the computer, they need to get up regularly and move around or consider standing while they are working, she says. Every little bit of activity counts. Have them do at least 20 to 30 minutes of physical activity after school, such as shooting hoops, biking, playing soccer, jumping rope, dancing, walking or playing a fitness-related video game, Gordon-Larsen says.
– via USA TODAY

Strategies and Motivators to Get Kids Moving

This is a great discussion about what motivates kids at different ages to get up and get moving. Understand these motivators and use them and you will find you are regularly out doing things with your kids. There are several rewards here.

First, your kids will want to get out and be active with you. Second, you will all be getting healthier as you play together. And third your relationship with your kids will grow stronger giving you a great deal of enjoyment and satisfaction. The kids gain all of that plus a stronger sense of self and belonging to take with them each time they go out into the world.

If one parent is obese, there's a 50 percent chance that their children will also be obese, according to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. But when exercise is a regular part of the family's activities, everyone wins.

A few things to keep in mind when it comes to motivating kids. First, most young kids prefer “activities” to conventional exercise — for example, they're more likely to take a bike ride than jog around a track.

Second, older kids are more apt to do fitness activities with their parents if their friends come along.

And third, many kids are motivated by goals, targets, competition and progress-tracking.

Walk the dog.

Use the family dog as a motivator. Don't just open the back door and let him out. Find a great walking trail near your house and take Rover for a scenic family stroll. He probably needs exercise too!

Time it right.

Schedule workouts for a time that has the highest probability that everyone will actually do them. After dinner, for example, is a great time for a family walk or a game of croquet, because you're all together. After school is also a good time for kids, who've been sitting all day and need to burn off some of that pent-up energy.

Mix it up.

Adults often forget that play is exercise. If you take a walk one day, go bowling the next. Work, such as gardening or stacking wood, is also exercise. Don't limit your idea of exercise to just going to the gym. Anything that gets your family moving together counts.

Invite their friends.

It's harder for kids to beg off if one of their friends is invited to join your family for a hike. You can even invite their whole family!

Track everyone's progress.

Mark the calendar every time you do an activity and keep track of everyone's progress. It's very motivating to see how often everyone is exercising. If your kid responds to competition, keep a chart of games won, best times, miles cycled, and so on. Tracking is a good way to make your family's new fitness-oriented behaviors stick.
– via The Huffington Post

How much time do your kids spend being active outside of school each week? Do you have ways to motivate them to get moving?

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