According to some startling statistics from GetKidsinAction.org, kids ages 2 to 19 are hardly getting enough exercise to support a healthy lifestyle.
As of 2006, less than 33% of 15-year-olds met the minimum requirement for physical activity during the weekdays. On the weekends, this number dropped to a shockingly low 17%. When you consider the fact that the average kid spends 5 ½ hours a day plugged into media, it's no wonder that kids have become accustomed to a sedentary lifestyle.
If you want to take a stand as a parent, here are three helpful tips that you can use to raise children who have a natural love for physical activity:
1. Lead by example. You're only going to breed resentment if you command your kids to go outside and play while you spend the day holed up inside watching TV. Instead, take time after dinner to go on a walk as a family or to play in the backyard with your pets.
Spending more time outdoors with your kids whenever possible will naturally instill in them how fun it is to stay active and how good they feel each time they exercise.
2. Stay positive. As a parent, it's more important than ever to watch the words that come out of your mouth. If you find yourself constantly criticizing your kids about their appearance or complaining about your diet, your kids will soon begin to pick up on the fact that staying healthy isn't fun at all.
Make it a point to speak positively about eating healthy foods instead of junk food, reinforcing to your kids how good it feels to eat fresh, whole foods instead of packaged snacks. And when your kids hear that you can't wait to get to the gym to workout, they'll be asking to tag along soon enough!
3. Teach your kids to play instead of exercise. When you tell your kids that they have to log 30 minutes a day of exercise, it will soon turn into a chore. Even adults dread going to the gym to jump on a treadmill for a half-hour three times a week. Turn the tables by making exercise fun again! Encourage your kids to run outside while they fly kites or have a contest to see who can run the fastest across the yard.
When you include games in regular physical activity, your kids will break a sweat and burn calories without even realizing it. After a fun day of playing outside, don't forget to fuel your kids with healthy snacks like fresh fruit, veggies, whole grains, and lean protein to seal the deal.
Bethany Ramos is a full-time freelance writer that co-owns her own e-commerce website, The Coffee Bump. The Coffee Bump specializes in a wide variety of coffeemakers Bunn and assorted coffee and espresso products.