With September, the weather is finally starting to break (at least in most states) so kids can get back outside and have some fun while also getting fit! In recognition of Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, Apex Leadership Co. shares some tips on making fitness a part of every child’s lifestyle while teaching them how to enjoy it!
While teaching kids the importance of regular fitness and eating nutritious foods, there is no need to focus on weight or lean into the diet culture that exists in today’s society. Many young people already feel the pressure to look a certain way or maintain a certain weight based on what they see in everything from magazines to social media outlets. What is important to focus on is how much fun fitness can (and should) be and how enjoyable eating whole, real foods can (and should!) be.
Give it a Try — From an early age, parents and guardians can start introducing a variety of sports and activities. It’s not about getting kids into heavy competition at a young age, it’s about presenting them with the idea of regular activity and giving them options of what they might like to pursue when they are old enough to join team sports. Some fun activities include:
Get Movin’ — Kids don’t have to be involved in a formal group sport or activity to be physically active. Simply making movement a part of everyday life is a great habit to get kids into at an early age. Talking a walk in the morning, spending the day at a park or the beach, playings on the monkey bars, swimming in the backyard pool and even playing video games that incorporate movement such as Just Dance, which is available for a variety of platforms.
Play Games — There are plenty of non-video games that incorporate movement too. Good old fashioned games like tag, hide and seek, jump rope, Red Rover, kickball, dodgeball and more.
According to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health website, children and teens should get a least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. This activity, which the site suggests should be age-appropriate and fun, can be broken up into short intervals of 10 minutes or more throughout the day. Children and teens should get an equal amount of cardiovascular aerobic activity as well as activity that strengthens muscles and bones.
Paired with nutritious eating (for the most part! The occasional treat now and then is okay) and a good night’s sleep, regularly physical activity is one of the foundations of a healthy lifestyle. Starting out these habits at a young age is a great way to ensure they are built upon as kids grow into healthy young adults.