Schools today are cutting back on recess and physical education due to budget cuts. These programs provided our kids with daily physical activity, whether it was a game of dodge ball, or running around playing tag on the playground. Without these opportunities, children are not getting the level of vigorous physical activity they need. Today, more than 50% of children are sedentary. Those that are active begin to see their physical activity to decline when they reach adolescence. Once they adopt a sedentary life style, it is harder to find the motivation to change the habit of neglecting physical activity. Families that make physical fitness a family affair instill life long healthy habits in their children. It’s no secret that physically fit people are less likely to encounter heart disease, diabetes, or high blood pressure. They have lower instances of depression and anxiety. They have a greater sense of well-being too. Regular exercise helps to maintain a healthy weight, and builds strong bones, muscles and joints.
Children who avoid physically activity only set themselves up for issues later in life. One way to combat the negative outcomes of a sedentary lifestyle is to make physical fitness a family affair. Experts suggest that everyone be active for 20 to 60 minutes a day. Yes, it may take some effort with busy schedules, but activity doesn’t have to come in the form of a trip to the gym with the kids in tow, unless they are older.
Activities can be as simple as going for a bike ride after dinner, or as complicated as training for a road race together. The goal is to find something that involves the whole family. Young children will love running around the back yard after dark with flashlights. You can turn it into a game of tag, where the object is to tag another spot of light on the night sky rather than physically tagging someone. You can take a weekly hike at a nearby park together. Instead of buying the latest video game, pick up a Frisbee or a soccer ball to play with. My three kiddos LOVE the Shaun T Fit Club at home workout. It's fun and they feel more like they are dancing than exercising. Another great suggestion is CIZE, which is dancing exercise for the entire family! The benefit to the at home programs is they can be done when the weather isn't so cooperative.
Finding physically active playtime to spend with your kids not only keeps them active and teaches them the importance of fitness, but also creates wonderful memories of quality time spent as a family.