Children today spend more time watching TV and playing computer and video games than ever before. Although most schools offer a gym period, most kids sit around and do not get the exercise they need. As parents, we need to encourage our children to get more exercise and find a way to engage them so they have fun while doing it.
Before we reach 20 years old, we naturally have a higher metabolism and more energy than we do when we get older. This does not prevent children from getting overweight or from getting heart disease or diabetes at an early age. All children need the regular exercise of 30 minutes per day at an absolute minimum to help prevent health complications when they get older. Physical fitness for children should be 90 minutes per day as the standard.
Children often become bored easily, especially with routines, which we as adults have become accustomed to. Most kids do not want to go to a gym and exercise as adults do. Find an activity that piques your child’s interest, such as learning to ride horses, take karate lessons, gymnastics, soccer, basketball, baseball, or swimming lessons. There are almost endless possibilities and chances are you will find one that your children enjoy doing and will not even see as exercise.
Parents need to become more involved and should become role models when it comes to children and exercise. Kids can see the hypocrisy when a parent does not practice what they preach. This also allows parents to spend quality time with their kids getting the exercise that both need.
Just like adults, children need to learn how to properly warm up and stretch before any physical fitness activity. Gently jog for 10-15 minutes to get your heart rate up. Then spend another 10 minutes stretching. A cool-down period and stretching again after exercising are important.
For children exercise, like anything, is a learning experience and different age groups require different activities. Kids ages 4-8 are still developing basic motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Most kids in this age group exercise without thinking about it by running around, jumping rope, playing kickball, and other similar activities.
Children between the ages of 9 to 12 often start to slow down and necessarily want to ‘exercise.’ Kids in this age group often begin spending more time in front of the TV and less time outside. This period is crucial to get our kids into a healthy routine by playing sports or taking karate, swimming, or other lessons. This stage will help ensure your children remain active into their teenage years and adulthood. If you cannot get your kids away from the TV and computer, think about exercise videos for children. Combine watching TV with physical fitness.
Teenagers can be the most difficult group to encourage to get the exercise they need. At this age, they may start after-school jobs, or become more interested in girls or boys to think about anything else. They can also become rebellious and helping them focus their energy on productive activities can help keep them out of trouble. Kids at this age often prefer sports such as soccer, football, basketball, and baseball. Start your kids exercising early. This will help them keep from becoming overweight, and from developing health risks later in life. If you start a routine young enough, they will carry it into adulthood and always enjoy physical fitness.