(CSN) Adults constantly hear the message: “Don’t be a couch potato!” But that message is also true for children. With the rampant rise in childhood obesity and the well-documented dangers such as type II diabetes to impaired bone growth, motivating your children to exercise should be a top priority.
There are some easy ways to do this:
• Encourage walking to school. Parents can also walk with little children or trade off with other parents until children are old enough to walk by themselves.
• Lead by example. Take the stairs or go outside and play with children.
• Turn off the TV. One study revealed that youngsters spend about 40 hours per week watching TV or playing video/computer games. As well, a significant proportion of children’s daily calorie intake is consumed during television viewing.
• Encourage youngsters participation in sports. Being involved in sports is a great way to get in shape. The key is to encourage, not force your child’s participation. Let kids try different activities and then choose the one they are most interested in.
• Get girls going. By age 6 girls are already exercising less than boys. Parents should encourage girls to participate at the same level as boys.
• Cut calorie laden commercials. Watching TV not only makes kids sedentary but it also packs a double punch with commercials added to the mix.
• Get creative. Healthy competition will help maintain kid’s interest in sports/exercise. To help keep them motivated encourage them to keep an exercise log to track their progress. Note the distance covered and set future goals.
• Promote healthy videos. Limiting TV is a good idea but a total ban is not necessary. In fact health promoting videos have a positive impact on little ones. The Canadian Pediatric Association recommends children under 5 years of age should not have any contact with electronics such as phone, tablets or television-because it is not good for brain development.
• Let little ones loose. Simple, targeted daily activities are recommended for babies, toddlers and preschoolers. Physical activity shouldn’t be forced or used as punishment, regardless of a child’s age. Exercise should be a regular, routine part of a child’s and adult day.
Take the first step towards changing a sedentary lifestyle by scheduling an appointment with Dr Korsh, call us at 403-782-3341.