Does your child get enough exercise? That may seem like a silly question, considering that children are often so active that parents are hard put to keep up with them. Still, many children spend hours in front of the TV and/or the computer and still more playing video games and watching movies. Add to that the hours spent sitting at a desk in school each day and your child may simply not be getting enough exercise to stay healthy.
Exercise is one of those things we don’t think about as being necessary. We feed them vitamins and make sure they get to bed on time. We don’t let them snack before mealtime and we see to it that they brush their teeth, but we pay little attention to whether their muscles, lungs and hearts are getting enough exercise to operate properly. Strong bones and fewer common illnesses can be attributed to exercise, too. In today’s world, children’s bodies are attacked by toxins in the air, water and food. Exercise helps their bodies to flush away those toxins.
Exercise is truly nature’s medicine and a very effective one it is. Not only does it strengthen the body, it moderates the brain and hormones so that emotional highs and lows are avoided or minimized and kids are happier overall. It lowers the chances of developing allergies and heart, respiratory and thyroid problems. Exercise will guard against diabetes and obesity, as well as promote better sleeping and eating habits.
All of that makes it easier on Mom and Dad, but our lifestyles don’t lend themselves to as much natural activity as it once did. Kids used to go out and play in the neighborhood until the evening meal and no one worried about them. Riding bicycles, playing ball games and sledding were every day occurrences according to the season. Kids are still naturally active, but lifestyles have changed over the last few decades so that the natural tendency to be physically active has been replaced by mental activity, such as playing video games.
Encouraging your children to be more physically active may be difficult at first because they’re not used to it, but if you give them blocks of time away from electronics and other sedentary activities, that’s a good start. They will soon begin to wander around and eventually find something to do.
To speed up the process, make balls and similar items available. A bouncy ball attracts all ages and a small trampoline is irresistible to almost everyone. When all else fails, play with them! Toss the ball a few times or challenge them to a skipping race. You may not get far, but you will encourage your kids to try.
Staying active is so important for our kids that it’s worth going to the trouble of encouraging and even tricking them into playing hard. Besides, that, it’s fun.