Getting your kids in shape can be easy, as long as you’re consistent.
Let’s face it: many of today’s kids need more exercise. With busy schedules and tired parents giving priority to screen time over hours spent outside playing tag, it’s a common concern.
But exactly how bad is the situation? According to the CDC, childhood obesity has more than tripled since the 1970s, and in 2015-2016, almost 1 in 5 school aged children aged 6-19 was obese.
The answer isn’t complicated. A few tweaks and simple changes to diet and exercise can do the trick and take pounds off. Incorporating just a few new activities in a daily routine can result in big changes.
What can you do this summer to change habits for good? Here are 5 ideas to get kids off the couch and back into active play.
Kids don’t have to take up training for the Tour de France to get active on a bike. (Although, go for gold if they want to, by all means!)
Trusting your older child to ride around safely in the neighborhood is a must. Teach them safe riding rules, like obeying stop signs, looking out for traffic and riding on the sidewalk when they feel the need to.
Have them pair up with a friend and go buy new bikes together. Or used bikes found online. Make it an event. Have them choose a helmet they like, a bell or horn, and any other accessories that might make riding fun. Get them a new t-shirt, and celebrate their first ride of the season.
For older children, find out local riding routes or trails near home by looking them up online.
Swimming is the perfect activity for summer. If there’s a pool nearby, figure out the fun swim schedule and go as a family, or let your child go with friends. Since you don’t sweat in a pool as you do with other sports, you might not see immediate weight loss in your child, but as long as they’re diving, jumping and moving in the water, their system is benefiting and growing stronger.
This might sound like a silly suggestion as a ‘sport’ for kids. It doesn’t involve equipment or much skill. But walking is a great way to get in shape, and one of the best ways to take off extra weight, slowly.
Go for a long, (over 30 mins), walk each evening after dinner, and see results. The key is to stick with it.
4) Ball Sports
It can feel too hot in the summer to hit the courts, but ball sports are an especially good way of getting in shape. For those who love the strategy of the game, it’s a thrill.
Choose a sport like soccer or basketball that involves a lot of running. (Sorry baseball fans- yours is a wonderful sport, but it doesn’t always offer enough aerobic exercise).
Sign up for a local team, or start your own Meet-Up with like-minded families. This allows everyone to play at their own pace.
While many parents may cringe at the thought of introducing this sport to their kid, research shows it’s beneficial. Not only does skateboarding improve balance and muscle tone, but it provides an aerobic workout and the chance to find new friends, all positive attributes.
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