Childhood obesity has become a very big problem; the U.S. government declared it a national epidemic in 2009. The number of overweight children has increased dramatically from a rate of 6.5 percent in 1990 to 20 percent in 2012. One of the preventative measures to take control of the problem is to teach kids about the importance of exercise.
The reasons for overweight children are quite simple to understand and include overconsumption of junk food and fast food, sedentary lifestyles and lack of motivation to make positive changes. We can alleviate some of these problems by helping children make better choices. One of the best ways to lose weight (and prevent weight gain) is to exercise. Kids should always be encouraged to engage in exercise every day, and it is up to their parents to set the example.
Get the Kids off the Couch
With the distraction of television, video games and mobile devices, it can be a chore in itself to get the kids off the seat of their pants. That effort will take a little creative thinking because if it is not fun, kids will most likely not want to participate. Any movement is considered exercise, and it does not always have to be the traditional jumping jacks and pushups. Consider the ages of your kids when planning activities.
Take it to the Playground
The neighborhood playground is the place to start your kidsâ€™ exercise regimen. If the park is equipped with play structures that encourage climbing, running and even jumping, the participating kids will burn calories and have fun at the same time. If they meet their friends at the park or make new friends on their visits, an impromptu game of tag, soccer or hide-and-seek may break out and add to the fun, as well as the calorie burn.
Take it to the Dance Floor
Dancing is terrific exercise for kids of all ages. Play your childrenâ€™s favorite music and encourage them to dance up a storm. Do not be shy about joining the kids in dance. It may be necessary to demonstrate a move or two to get the kids interested. It is not necessary to enroll your children in dance school, but a class or two could be beneficial. Allow the kids to invite a few friends in to dance and make a dance party out of it. Change up the music once in a while to keep the kids from becoming bored.
Bicycling is another fun way to exercise, and it is not just for the young ones. Bike riding is a terrific family activity that benefits everyone. It allows the entire family to spend some quality time together. Before heading out on a bike trip, you should review bicycle safety and the rules of the road with everyone who will participate. Choose a safe place to ride such as designated bike trails or a bike park.
The benefits of exercise will address a number of health issues and minimize the risks that are related to being overweight such as asthma, heart disease and Type II diabetes.