Motivating Kids to Exercise……FOR LIFE!!!
Given a choice, do you think your child would rather ride a bike or sit in front of the television? Would he or she prefer to shoot some hoops in the driveway, or play a game on the XBox? Do you think your child gets enough exercise? How can we encourage our kids to get up, get going, and choose an active lifestyle over a sedentary one?
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the percentage of children who are overweight has more than doubled over the past 30 years. One of the main contributing factors is that kids are more sedentary now than ever before. The AAP estimates that the average child watches about 3 hours of television a day and spends 5 ½
hours a day on all media combined.
A sedentary lifestyle, however, is not the natural inclination for children. Young children like to move. Anyone with a toddler can attest to the fact that it is nearly impossible to keep a three year old still for more than a few minutes. On the playground, these youngsters climb, slide and run with abundant energy and creative imagination. While older kids are not in constant motion like younger children, they may get more interested in organized sports and activities, as well as independent activities such as biking or skiing.
There are, however, challenges for kids to maintain an active lifestyle. These challenges include the increasing demands of schoolwork, busy working families, the financial aspect of a sport, or a child’s sense that they aren’t “good enough” to participate in a sport. The increasing number of electronic games and toys that keep a child in a stationary position are also a factor. Furthermore, the television or other electronics are sometimes used as a “babysitter” to enable parents to focus attention elsewhere.