Children and Exercise

Obesity has become an epidemic among children. The eating habits kids have developed have led to sedentary lifestyles, lack of proper nutrition, and weight gain. However, you can help your kids to make changes that will improve their health.

Children are not prone to having heart disease but they can increase their risks for it at an early age with an unhealthy diet and lack of exercise. Foods that are high in cholesterol and fats can lead to diabetes, sleep apnea, low self-esteem, high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome and other changes in their bodies.

One way to help is to get them moving. Burning more calories than you take in is how you lose weight. It is not just a factor of eating habits, and with kids, exercise can help it come off faster. When they see results, they will want to do more to see more.

Here are some ways that you can assist them in developing healthy exercise habits.

* Chores – All parents are in favor of that. Chores such as yard work and mopping or sweeping get muscles of the body moving that they didn’t even know that they had. It is also exercise without being labeled as such.

* Family activities – This could be as simple as playing virtual video games for family game night. The Wii game system has revolutionized gaming as a family. You can play fun games while increasing your calorie expenditure. Let the kids choose games that they like and play them with them.

* Group exercise – As a family, spend time on walks, bike rides and hiking adventures in the park or national forest. Doing it together gives everyone the benefit of a healthier lifestyle. Your children will know that you are in it with them and they will gain confidence and courage from you.

* Be a role model – When you go to the mall, take the stairs. Park your car away from the front door and walk to the door. Try the escalator if you need a break but avoid the elevator.

* Encourage them to play with friends – Get their friends moving as well. Buy equipment that they all can share to have a good time outside in the backyard or the driveway. Your home could be the saving grace of the kids in the neighborhood.

* Get them involved – How about school or recreational activities? Joining a local YMCA can allow them and their friends to join sports teams and not only have the benefit of exercise but also of camaraderie.

* Begin a pattern – Start off with a few days a week to let them become acclimated. Then, go for exercise routines most days of the week. You can begin a pattern in your son or daughter’s life that will keep them healthy for life.

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