5 Tips to Help Kids Get More Exercise: Child Nutrition Series 2021

5 Tips to Help Kids Get More Exercise

5 Tips to Help Kids Get More Exercise is a continuation of our childhood obesity series. We have all suffered the effects of COVID-19 and were forced to remain indoors more than usual. Schools closed and children were forced to complete the 2020-2021 school year virtually. During the summer vacation months, children remained on the inside of the home playing video games, watching television, snacking, and sleeping the entire day. With this being the current situation, Pinnacle Nutrition Consultants would like to share ways you as the parent can incorporate physical activity into your little one’s life. Let’s not forget to keep it fun!

Parenting in 1980 vs 2021

Do you think parenting was easier forty years ago? Being a parent in the new millennium, I often dream about the idea of parenting in a world where streets are safer, and we can allow our children to run freely through the neighborhood. Challenging our children’s bodies with daily exercise of play. Instead, before the car door fades and the backpack drops to the floor, new millennium children switch on the television, cell phone, laptop, or tablet, and disappear in a haze of video games and social media platforms until the last few hours of daylight. In addition, filling their bellies with overly processed snack foods.

Moreover, the concerned, well-meaning parent are often helpless and wondering how to compete again with the marketing geniuses of social media and instant gratification. We can all agree that exercise and carrot sticks have a hard time competing with X-Box, PlayStation, YouTube, TikTok, SpongeBob, and potato chips. We are surrounded by evidence of this. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the health of a high number of North American citizens is in danger due to the unhealthy lifestyles of today. In addition, the latest data from the National Center for Health Sciences, indicates 30% of US adults between the ages of 20 and 65 suffer from obesity. That is over 60 million US citizens. The CDC reports the percentage of young children who are suffering from obesity has more than tripled since 1980.

My Children Are Not Obese. Why Should I Be Concerned?

Many parents believe their children are normal if they are not overweight. You may feel that your parenting skill are just fine. However, in a world where walking is limited, school physical education programs are being removed, and cars, elevators, and buses eliminate the chances of our children to exercise naturally. As parents, we must strive to make a concerted effort to incorporate more physical activity as part of all our days. Despite all the benefits of being physically active, most Americans are sedentary and inactive children are likely to become inactive adults in the future.

How Can Parents Get Their Millennium Kids Moving?

According to the American Heart Association, children and adolescents require at least 60-minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day to maintain good health. The great news is exercise comes in many forms and can be a lot of fun! With a little bit of added creativity, you can easily add some fun physical activities into your parenting style.

Here are 5 Fun Parenting Tips to Help Kids Get More Exercise in Their Daily Routine:

1. You Lead the Way and the Children Will Follow

Our children look to us to be examples of how to live a long, healthy, and productive life. Kids, especially younger children, follow their parents naturally. So be sure you are looking after your own health and making physical activity a priority in your life daily. Reduce the processed foods and eat more fruits and vegetables. Add more leafy greens to your dinner plate and reduce foods that are high in fat and sugar. Add at least 30-minutes of aerobic exercise daily to get the heart pumping and the blood flowing in your body. Remember, your children are taking a mental note of what you are doing.

2. Do More Family Exercise Activities

We live in an overscheduled world, but we must ensure we are spending quality time with our children. What better way than to exercise together? Kids are no longer able to roam the neighborhood alone, so go on a late afternoon stroll together before dinner and talk about your day. Walking and talking with your children will make the time go by a lot faster and get their minds off the fact they have walked 1 to 2 miles within 15 to 30-minutes. If you continue to do this daily for 21-days, it will then become a habit and a great time to break away from social media and television.

3. Make Exercise Fun for Kids

You can use now use YouTube to your advantage. Turn on the big screen television, put on some music, and have a dance challenge with the children. Let’s find out who can dance the longest without getting tired. Don’t forget to show them Kid n’ Play and Running Man moves. On the other hand, you can go outside and play a game of tag, rollerblade, or ride your bicycles around the neighborhood. Think of fun, playful ideas that will get your children moving and excited. If you have toddlers, toys such as plastic baseball bats, pedal cars, or tricycles are always a great parenting decision. Large electric-powered cars and trucks do not count as exercise.

4. Be Your Child’s Number One Cheerleader

Create positive reinforcements with encouragement and support. Help your children find sports or extracurricular activities that build their self-esteem as well as improve their health. There are a lot of fun sports your children can enjoy. Some sports and extracurricular activities may include football, basketball, track and field, tennis, soccer, dance, hockey, martial arts, and gymnastics just to name a few. Once they find the one, attend as many of their events as possible and let them know you are their biggest fan win or lose.

5. Power Off the Electronic Devices

Of course, we must limit the time our children watch TV, YouTube, TikTok, and play video games. But do it in a positive way. If your child is angry that you powered off their favorite video game or tv show, they may night be too excited about going out rollerblading with you. Designate a certain number of hours for screen time, preferably after homework and physical activity are finished. An hour before bedtime or weekends are best. Always remember, adding more physical activity to your family’s routine will improve your relationship and help you have more fun as a family. Most importantly, as you model a healthy lifestyle, you will help instill lifelong habits and healthy attitudes towards exercise and physical activity.

Listed below are physical activities for adolescents and teenagers.

30 to 60-minutes Physical Activities for Kids include:

  • Washing and waxing a car
  • Washing windows and floors
  • Playing volleyball
  • Playing touch football
  • Gardening
  • Walking 1 ¾ miles
  • Playing basketball
  • Bicycling
  • Dancing
  • Raking leaves
  • Walking 2 miles
  • Water aerobics

15 to 20-minute Physical activities For Kids include:

  • Swimming
  • Jump rope
  • Running 1 ½ miles
  • Shoveling snow
  • Stair climbing

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. Be on the lookout for the next article as we present, “A Balanced Plate,” which is helpful for your entire family!

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