5 Simple Tips: Ensuring your kids stay active
Children who are physically active are more confident, have improved cognitive power, and tend to have better academic scores
Due to our modern lifestyle and dependence on technology, our lives have become more sedentary than ever before. We know that children need good nutrition and proper sleep for development, but did you know that exercise also plays a critical role in physical development by building strong bones and muscles, and improving motor skills and coordination? (NCBI, 2012). Figuring out how to encourage our children to leave their screens can be challenging. Here are five simple tips to get your child moving:
- Lead by example and make physical activity a central part of how you spend time together. Incorporate these activities into your weekly routines. Displaying a positive attitude about exercise can have a profound impact on your children. Making the activity fun without rigid rules can keep children engaged and enthusiastic. How about a weekly game of football or a family walk/run/hike? Bring healthy snacks and lots of water to reinforce good habits.
- Technology can be a major culprit of inactivity nowadays but use technology in your favor and find games that require children to move. This is especially useful in areas where the climate isn’t conducive to outdoor play. Think boxing, dance or any other active video game.
- Encourage your child to try different types of sports and discover one that they love. Rotate through the choices early on and find one that works for your child. Chances are they will continue to play through adolescence and exercise will become a daily part of their lives. When kids love an activity, they want to do more of it. Practicing alone and with others to see improvement can also help build confidence.
- For gifts, swap electronics for jump ropes, balls, and bouncers to encourage playtime at home. Having active toys which are accessible can entice them to a jump rope contest with a sibling versus playing a video game or watching television.
- Be sure to schedule it in the calendar. Include it in their day just like reading, piano practice and screen time. Naturally, children love to play, so a little encouragement and time are all that is needed. So if it becomes a part of their routine, it will become a habit and something they look forward to every day.
Children who are physically active are more confident, have improved cognitive power, and tend to have better academic scores (PubMed, 2017). As adults, we know that exercising helps us sleep better, decreases our stress levels, and thus overall we feel healthier both physically and emotionally. So as parents, if we can incorporate physical activity into our children’s lives now as a fun and integral part of their daily life, they are sure to become healthy, physically active adults.
Bela Patel is a Doctor of Pharmacy, Holistic Health Coach and founder of WholisticPharmacist.com with more than 20 years of clinical pharmacy practice experience. She is passionate about educating children and adults on using food and healthy lifestyle choices as medicine, as well as nurturing healthy mindsets for disease prevention. Bela has been a speaker on several topics in health and wellness and has been a guest on several podcasts and featured in Rolling Stones Magazine. For more tips on healthy living and delicious recipes, follow her on Instagram @wholisticpharmacist or check out her website at wholisticpharmacist.com
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