How to teach your child to exercise

Childhood obesity is an on-growing problem in our society today. With so many technological advances available to children of all ages, it isn’t surprising that more and more children are spending their time doing sedentary activities, such as watching television, chatting on the computer, and playing video games. How can we teach our children that it is important to exercise daily?

Obviously, we can read them the statistics all day long, and they really aren’t going to pay much attention. Instead of lecturing children on the need for exercise, we need to get them moving. Elementary school-aged children typically have a physical education class every day.

Once they reach high school, however, this may change. Many states require only one credit of physical education before graduation. This amounts to only one year of a gym class.

One of the most important steps you can take as a parent to encourage your child to become fit and maintain her fitness is to exercise yourself. When your children are babies, begin modeling fitness for them by taking them on walks.

You can purchase jogging strollers and bicycle seats for your toddler. As she grows, don’t just buy the newest computer or video game. Buy the toys that will get her moving, such as balls, jump ropes, pogo sticks, and bicycles.

If your child loves video games, buy interactive games that incorporate dance steps by instructing your child to follow specific patterns. You can buy her videos that encourage her to dance with the characters. If she continues to sit on the couch, grab her by the hands and dance along with her.

Once your child is old enough to play a team sport, sign him up. He may not know exactly what he likes the best, so let him try several things. As he gets older, he’ll focus more on two or three sports, but until then, let him experience several different ones. There are so many sporting leagues for children to participate in. You can watch your local newspaper for sport league registrations, or you can contact your local recreation department.

As your child grows, she will have the opportunity to play for a school sponsored team. Not only is this a great opportunity for improved fitness, but it also provides scholarship options for high school students who excel in their sporting event.

If you are really concerned about your children and your family’s health, then it is time to get moving. You can make exercising an important and daily priority. Most physicians recommend a minimum of thirty minutes of moderate exercise daily for children and adults. Use your family’s exercise choices as a way to bond after a day spent at school or work.

Plan regular afternoon or evening walks around the neighborhood. Join a local fitness club, and sign your children up for the many junior events they have available. You shouldn’t be the only one who benefits from joining a health club, so make sure the club you are interested in has plenty of activities for children to participate in, also.

Many churches sponsor sports teams in various leagues, and some of these teams are family affairs. Check with your church to see if any are available for you to become a part of. Organize a neighborhood league for softball, baseball, basketball, or volleyball. You and your children can participate in community fundraisers, such as bike-a-thons and small marathons.

Once you begin searching for ways to exercise, you will discover an endless amount of opportunities to get yourself and your family up and moving. If you introduce physical activity to your children when they are mere babies, they can develop a habit that can last them a healthy life.

Once you begin

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