Childhood obesity has become a significant health issue in the United States, leading to high cholesterol or high blood pressure, prediabetes and depression in today’s youth. Children often learn how to cook and what to eat by observing the habits of their parents, so if you are a parent that overeats and rarely leaves the couch, you may be setting your child up to experience health problems later in life. Here are a few easy ways to get the entire family more active.
Although games consoles have been blamed for increasing childhood obesity and even for the reluctance of children to play outside, games consoles – such as the Wii or Xbox Kinect – can help your entire family become more active. For children who are used to playing video games, it should require only a little persuasion from you to make them stand rather than sit and play a game that involves exercise. There are plenty of exercise games on the market, including tennis, dancing and boxing, so just choose one that works for your family.
Use your garden or park
Exercise does not have to be carried out at a gym. Your garden or local park can provide all the space you need to complete a fast and fun circuit session. Research has discovered that the competitive nature of exercise undertaken at school can be off-putting to children, so avoid making your family exercise competitive. Instead, use your garden or park to run, perform star jumps, skipping games or ball exercises. It’s important to keep changing the exercises so your children do not become bored.
Walking is a very good exercise that the whole family can easily enjoy. Even at a slower pace, walking gets the heart working harder and therefore, improves the cardiovascular system. Ease kids into this activity by walking with them to school and to the local stores rather than taking the car. You could also incorporate a long ramble into a family day out. For a list of local beautiful walking trails in Osceola, visit MyOsceolaChamber.org.
Exercise that doesn't seem like exercise
Studies have shown that even household chores can burn a significant number of calories, sometimes even more than a workout at the gym. Get your family to burn more calories by involving them in the housework – like the vacuuming or dusting. Even better, and almost certainly more fun, is gardening. Digging up flowerbeds, raking and mowing the lawn will get hearts working harder. You could also use gardening to get your children – and the rest of your family – interested in eating healthier and growing your own vegetables and herbs, which will encourage them to eat healthier.
Whatever exercise you choose to encourage your family to become more active, ensure you keep all members motivated by trying different activities, setting each other achievable goals and above all, exercising together.