Do you ever think back to your childhood? What you did to entertain yourself as a child? Did you ride bike or play night games? As a child I remember being outside A LOT! As a child I played outside with the neighborhood kids, went for walks, rode bike, made forts, and went to the park. When I became old enough I then joined sports and participated in extracurricular activates. There was no such thing as Xbox, Wii or texting!! (Ugh, I know this dates me). Today our children are in a techno world, filled with computers, iphones, ipads and countless other technologies. Although these things have their benefits I sometimes feel we have lost sight of the benefits of physical activity.
As a nurse I try to focus on prevention of disease such as diabetes, heart disease, or obesity. I believe this education can start as soon as childhood by teaching kids healthy eating habits and good exercise. Physical activity is one way to reduce the risk for disease. The Surgeon General suggests 30 minutes of vigorous exercise a day, at least five days a week. As parents we can encourage our children to get involved in sporting activities, pick an activity that the child may find life-long enjoyment from such as swimming, hiking or running. Some other suggestions: encourage your child to ride his bike to or from school; limit electronic time; plan outside activities; or ask your child to attend a physical activity you participate in. Remember that routines that children develop and follow throughout their teen years are likely to continue throughout their adult years.
Besides building good habits, strong bones, and strong muscles some other benefits of physical activity include:
- weight control
- lower blood pressure
- lower cholesterol
- improved cardiovascular system
- increased energy and stamina
- stronger immune system
- increased suppleness and flexibility
So get involved with your children. Get fit with them!!