Fitness Tips for Children

Fitness Tips for Children
Thanks to the advent of video games and the Internet, children are finding more reasons to stay indoors. The change in children's lifestyles can be observed in child obesity rates, which have more than tripled in the past 30 years, according to the Center for Disease Control. Nearly 20 percent of children between ages 6 and 11 were classified as obese in 2008. Obesity puts children at a much higher risk for numerous conditions, including heart disease and diabetes. Along with an improved diet, a good way to combat obesity and promote healthy lifestyles is to provide outlets for exercise and fitness.

Go Outside

Let your children play outside at least four days a week. Children typically don't need exercise plans or workout programs, because the physical activity they engage in outside provides a necessary exertion of energy.

Boundaries

Restrict the frequency and duration that your children are allowed to play video games, use the computer and watch television. The American Heart Association recommends limiting "screen time"--the time a child is allowed to stare at a screen, whether it is a computer, television or video game system--to two hours each day while supplementing the remainder of the child's free time with physical activity.

Family Activities

Plan routine activities that get the family outside and active together. A key to physical fitness among children is establishing a healthy and active lifestyle, and this can be reinforced through family activities. Nature walks and hikes, trips to the beach, visits to the local swimming pool or park to play or even going out into the backyard or driveway to play active games together can help achieve this goal. One family activity a week can help establish this form of exercise as routine.

Team Sports

Organized sports help children develop a number of social and interpersonal skills, but they're also a great outlet to get exercise and relieve stress. Take note of the sports your children are interested in and offer to enroll them in a league so they can compete with other children.

Chores

Giving your children such chores as mowing the lawn or raking leaves will get them moving and exerting energy. Active chores help teach responsibility to your children as well as good exercise habits, according to the American Heart Association. It is important to keep in mind the physical limitations of your children when assigning chore duties.

Article Written By Jonathan Croswell

Jonathan Croswell has spent more than five years writing and editing for a number of newspapers and online publications, including the "Omaha World-Herald" and "New York Newsday." Croswell received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Nebraska and is currently pursuing a Master's of Health and Exercise Science at Portland State University.

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