To get children moving, it has to be fun.
There’s no question that today’s kids need to move more. From the loss of school PE programs to the habit of grabbing a tablet and sitting on the couch, many children don’t move nearly as much as they should. Structural problems – like communities built for driving rather than cycling and walking – don’t help. Plus, in some neighborhoods, safety issues make it difficult for children to go outside and play.
People who exercise tend to feel better, sleep better, and eat more wholesome foods. Exercise also helps lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation, increase the “good” cholesterol (HDL), and more. For children, exercise also helps develop their bones and muscles appropriately, boosts their concentration, increases their sense of well-being, and puts them on the right track for a healthier future.
Walk the walk.
When I give community talks, I always give pedometers to the children. At schools, I give them to the teachers too and challenge them to have a contest to see who in the class can walk the most steps. Kids really enjoy that, especially if them can beat their teacher. And they often do.
The point is to get children moving. In addition to walking, of course, there are plenty of other ways to get exercise. For example, riding a bike, swimming, shooting hoops, skateboarding, hopscotch, and even kick the can. Most communities also have sports programs if your child wants to be on a team.
Move as a family.
Increasing your child’s activity level should be done as a family. It can’t be “do as I say, not as I do.” In my practice and talks I encourage family members to get their own pedometers and to have family contests. You can buy pedometers for your family at Target and Walmart, for example, for just a few dollars.
Exercising together is a great way to bond. My daughter and I dance together at least once a week. We laugh. We fall on the bed. We make up routines. She makes fun of me. Most important, we have fun.
When everyone participates, everyone wins. What do you and your family like to do to move, play, and have fun?
Image via Unsplash | Leo Rivas Micoud