It might be vacation time, but it is also when most kids turn couch potatoes. Here are ways they can be encouraged to get a move on and stay healthy
Summer is here. It’s vacation time but unlike in the days gone by, it does not mean you will find children running around and playing outdoors. Unfortunately nowadays we find kids spending all their free time watching TV, playing computer games or the Nintendo. As responsible adults and caregivers, it is our duty to make sure that children get off the couch and get moving.
The health of a whole generation of kids is in danger — minimal or no physical activity, unhealthy eating habits, and lack of respect for their own bodies threaten the future of our children.
Many parents and kids think of organised sports when they think of fitness. Though there are many advantages to signing a child up for tennis lessons, practice and games once or twice a week, it will not be enough to reach activity goals. In addition, we cannot really rely on schools to provide enough physical activity for our children.
Here are some ways to keep your kids moving at home
- Incorporate physical activity into their daily routine. Get your kid to help you with regular house work or go for a walk in the evening.
- Allow enough time for free play. Kids can burn more calories and have more fun when left to their own devices. Playing catch, riding bikes around the neighbourhood, and chor police are fun and healthy.
- Keep a variety of games and sports equipment at hand. It doesn’t have to be expensive — an assortment of balls and skipping ropes can keep kids busy for hours.
- Be active with your child. It’ll get you moving and kids love to play with their parents.
- Limit time spent in sedentary activities, such as watching TV, going online and playing video games.
- Take your child on family fitness activities like picnics. Anything is good as long as your youngster is up and moving and not sitting all day. Reputed gyms now not only provide memberships for adults but also have classes like Bollywood dance, kickboxing, yoga etc for kids as well. You can help show your kids that exercise is important by being active yourself. Be a role model for your child. Children learn best by imitation so set a good example for your child. Live fit, be strong!
(The writer is a fitness expert and director of 360 Degrees Fitness, Hyderabad)