In the age of technology, kids are more likely to sit inside playing video games, scrolling through their phones, or watching YouTube videos. But it’s important to keep your kids active.
September is Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, and while the dangers of childhood obesity are well chronicled, many families need support changing their families’ habits with the ultimate goal of being a healthy weight. Today, obesity affects one in six children and one in three are overweight, which poses greater risks for many health problems such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and some cancers.
Exercise can help reduce these numbers. To help get your kids moving, we’ve compiled a list of ways to get your child off the couch and on the path to wellness!
Track their progress
It’s easier for children to understand their goals if they can track their progress—maybe add in prizes at each milestone. If they meet a weekly step goal, you get to do a special activity, or indulge in a certain type of food. If exercise feels like a game, they’ll be more likely to compete.
Invite their friends
Having a friend around makes exercise feel less like work. If you invite a friend on your next hiking trip, the chances of complaints are diminished.
Mix it up
Don’t resort to the same exercise everyday—that will be boring and make it feel like work. Exercise could be anything from gardening, walking the dog, doing push-ups, or taking a hike! Anything that gets your family moving is considered exercise.
Leave your weekends and nights open for random activities. Surprise your kids with a morning hike or a trip to a local swimming hole. Take them bowling for getting a good great on their latest homework assignment. These are all ways to make exercise feel more fun and like a reward.
Sign them up for an after-school program
This will give your child a place to go after school and interact with their peers while participating in fun, organized activity. This way, they won’t have the option to plop down on the couch and get started on a new Netflix show. Click here to register for a YMCA after-school program.
Whether you’re walking, hiking, or swimming, spend more time outside! When you’re out in nature, away from the TV and other screens, you’re more likely to engage in physical activity.
Don’t sign the whole family up for a 5K on day one. Start with a daily walk or weekly activity that gets you sweating!
Don’t let your surroundings limit you. If it’s winter, find an indoor pool. Your local YMCA will allow you to use their facilities whether you’re a member or not. Go ice skating. Host a neighborhood water balloon fight or go rock climbing! The more fun activities you do, the less likely your child is going to want to quit.
Let your child choose
Your child will be more likely to participate if they’re invested in the activity. Plus, it encourages them to take responsibility for their own journey to health and wellness.