There is a worldwide trend towards increasing numbers of children being and becoming overweight or obese. This is primarily because we are cultivating generations of sedentary children who are condemned to suffer from fatty livers, type 2 diabetes and even strokes and coronary heart disease – children who are in danger of being outlived by their parents.
Why the trend towards early disease?
Of course food plays an important role in this trend but lack of exercise is also a contributing factor. Being a fit child is a way of saying a child eats well, gets a lot of physical activity and exercise and has a healthy weight. If children are fit, their bodies work well, they feel good and they can do all the things they want to do.
Some things need to start at an early age in life
Keeping fit is one of them. Healthy eating is another. Mental fitness is important too. Even young children will grasp meditation and breathing exercises easily, helping them to stay calm and relaxed while improving concentration levels and mental alertness.
Those 7 tips
1. Every parent can and should be a fitness role model for their child. By exercising together, setting an example that can be copied at school or simply fostering a positive attitude towards exercise, the parent teaches the child an invaluable lesson while promoting exercise.
2. Children need to have regular physical activity from the youngest of ages. Those who are 6 years and older need at least an hour a day of physical activity. Most of the hour should be either moderate or vigorous aerobic activity. In addition, children should participate in muscle-strengthening and bone-strengthening activities at least three days a week. Many classic activities — such as playing on playground equipment and jumping rope — cover all the bases at once.
3. Every parent should be aware that some children will enjoy exercise because exercise itself is the reward. Others will need a bit more persuading and some thinking out of the box to encourage exercise. It should be made enjoyable because then that enjoyment becomes the reward.
4. Every parent when exercising with their children needs to remind themselves (even if training is involved) that it needs to be social and fun.
5. Group activities or team sports are often a great way to encourage exercise, fitness and enjoyment. These can be as diverse as joining a sports club, going on a forest walk, rock climbing on a beach or cycling around the special paths in the area or around your suburb.
6. Your children will be fitter and achieve more enjoyment if they understand and use the techniques for a particular activity. Invest in some coaching for this. People spend many years learning about favorite sports and practicing how to do them well. If your child shows interest in a particular sport or activity, think about a camp or program to introduce him or her to this. It may be better than just joining a team that starts playing games right away without much explaining first. Some sports are just good to understand, even if you never want to play on a competitive team. For instance, you might play softball or volleyball, just for fun, at a summer picnic or family get together.
7. Discourage TV and too much sitting time by limiting screen team. Unless you provide alternatives, children will often take the easy way out and go back to the TV or the computer. Screen time is the amount of time spent watching TV or DVDs, playing video games (console systems or handheld games), and using the computer. The more time spent on sitting-down activities, the less time available for active stuff. Try to limit screen time to no more than 2 hours a day, not counting computer use related to school. If your child plays video games, opt for those that require movement. Activity-oriented video games — such as dance video games and video games that use a player's physical movements to control what happens on the screen — boost a child's calorie-burning power. Children who trade sedentary screen time for active screen time more than double their energy expenditure.
It is not so difficult to keep your child fit. It just takes a few simple things coupled with some effort and a little more dedication. You will be setting your child up for life.