Many children do not get the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity each day. It has been shown that about one-third of children spend more than 3 hours a day on television or screen time, robbing them of much needed activity. Physical activity helps control a child’s weight, it strengthens bones and muscles and helps improve mood and self-esteem. Being active now can also help children reduce their risk of chronic health problems later in life. Teaching the importance of physical activity while children are young will help them maintain the habit when they’re older. Summer is a good time to jump-start the family’s physical activity. Here are some helpful ways to get your child active this summer. Sign your child up for a local sports camp or swimming lessons.
• Make going for a walk, run or bike ride together a scheduled event.
• Go hiking and have the kids tell you 10 points of natural interest to enjoy.
• Take up a new hobby together, like inline skating, tennis or hiking.
• Run through the sprinkler when it’s hot outside.
• When it’s raining, stay inside, turn on some music and have a dance party.
• Set up neighborhood contests like jump rope, hula hoop or hopscotch.
• Organize community kickball, soccer or softball games or relay races.
• Host a bicycle or dog wash on your street.
Reference: The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Family Exercise for Every Season
Source: Ingrid Adams, Extension Specialist for Physical Activity and Weight Management, University of Kentucky; College of Agriculture, Food and Environment