There is no arguing the fact that we are literally facing an obesity epidemic in our society. And the worst part about this is the fact that it’s not just adults who are suffering from this problem. Childhood obesity is at a historic and staggering rate. While adults may be responsible for their own meal choices and physical fitness, when it comes to our children, it is the responsibility of the parents to see to it that their son or daughter gets the required exercise and proper nutrition.
Of course, no parent is purposefully neglectful of their child’s health. Longer hours and busier workweeks have us eating out more often than we probably should. Packaged snacks and convenient choices are actually less expensive than healthy ones, creating difficult choices for parents on a budget, and the increasing access to electronic entertainment sources have all but killed the days of “playing outside”.
But regardless of what obstacles we may face, we still have to do something before being overweight to severely overweight simply becomes a way of life for our kids and grandkids. With that in mind, here are some ways you can help to get your youngster off of the couch and into a little bit of physical activity:
Find the Best Time for Their Activity
Just like grownups, children’s body clocks and “up” times may vary quite a bit. Some people prefer to work out in the morning to start their day. Others might like a late or end-of-day workout to help them relax as the evening rolls around. And then there are those who like to get their fitness routine in during a midday lunch break. Your child is no different. Find the time of day where they most feel like being active and try to work around that.
Keep Them on a Balanced Diet
Part of the problem with exercising is that when you eat too much sugary or junk food, your body doesn’t produce the necessary energy or internal motivation to get up and be active. Healthy meals and snacks such as nuts, granola, and fruits and crunchy vegetables are usually popular with kids and help give them the get-up and go it takes to, well, get up and go.
Make Sure That They are Getting Enough Sleep
This one is huge. It is nearly impossible to exert physical energy when you aren’t getting enough rest, and unfortunately, this is as much of a problem for children as it is for adults. People need different amounts of sleep for each changing life stage they go through until adulthood. Find out how much rest is the right amount for your child according to their age and make sure that they get it.
Reduce TV and Device Usage
Children who spend too much time in front of TVs and computers tend to be more sluggish and docile, uninterested in getting involved in physical activity and exercise. Experts recommend that kids should be capped at one or two hours daily when it comes to electronic devices.
Figure Out What Activities They Enjoy
Another thing that will help not only get your child started in a more active lifestyle but actually help keep them engaged in it is to find the kind of things that they enjoy doing. Just because you love basketball or swimming or martial arts doesn’t mean that they will. Even though they are young, they are still individuals. Be patient with them until they find the activities that suit them and then let them have a blast!