According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the health of too many North Americans is in jeopardy due to unhealthy lifestyles. The newest statistics from the National Center for Health Statistics reveal that 30 percent of U.S. individuals aged 20 and over – more than 60 million people – are obese. The CDC indicates that the number of young individuals who are overweight has more than quadrupled since 1980.
In a world where walking is restricted, school physical education programs are being curtailed, and vehicles, elevators, and buses limit our opportunities to exercise naturally, we need to make a concentrated effort to incorporate physical activity into our daily lives and our children’s lives. Despite all the benefits of being physically active, most Americans remain sedentary. Inactive children are likely to become inactive adults. “The American Heart Association recommends that children and adolescents participate in at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day.”
The fantastic news is that exercise comes in various forms and can be a lot of fun! With a little imagination, you can easily incorporate enjoyable physical exercise into your parenting style.
Lead by example
You need to set a positive example. Kids, especially younger children, naturally follow their parents. So make sure you are taking care of your own health and making physical exercise a priority in your life.
Do it together
In today’s overscheduled society, we need to ensure that we are spending quality time with our children. What better way than to be active together? Since kids can’t explore the neighborhood alone, parents need to play with them.
Make it enjoyable
Put on some music and dance. Play tag. Rollerblade. Basically, just play. Provide them with toys and equipment that encourage kids to be active while having fun.
Bikes, scooters, hockey sticks, and baseball bats will keep your youngsters moving and active. For preschool children, ride-on toys that keep them active, like pedal vehicles, big wheels, and tricycles, are always a fantastic parenting choice.
Cheer them on
Create positive reinforcements through encouragement and support. Help them discover sports and activities that boost their self-esteem. Attend their athletic activities and let them know you are their greatest supporter, whether they win or lose.
Limit screen time
Of course, we need to limit the time our kids spend watching TV and playing electronic games. But make sure you do it in a constructive manner. If they are upset that you just turned off their favorite TV show, they may not be so enthusiastic about going out rollerblading with you.
Allow screen time at specific hours, especially after schoolwork is done and after physical exercise is completed, such as in the evening or on Saturday morning when exhausted parents may need a few extra minutes of sleep.
Adding extra physical exercise into your family’s routine can help you all feel better and have more fun together. Most importantly, as you model a healthy lifestyle, you will help instill in your children lifelong habits and positive attitudes toward exercise and physical activity.