Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Kids Exercise

This month we are focusing on overcoming the childhood obesity epidemic. September is the first ever Childhood Obesity Awareness Month. To lose weight, you must eat less and exercise more. It sounds so simple, yet there are many reasons why it is anything but easy to achieve.

In addition to helping a child lose weight and get (or stay) fit, there are many benefits of exercise. Kids who are active will:

•have stronger muscles and bones
•have a leaner body because exercise helps control body fat
•be less likely to become overweight
•decrease the risk of developing type 2 diabetes
•possibly lower blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels
•have a better outlook on life

In addition to enjoying the health benefits of regular exercise, kids who are physically fit sleep better and are better able to handle physical and emotional challenges — from running to catch a bus to studying for a test.

In today's society, kids tend to engage in sedentary activites, such as watching TV, playing video games, and being on the computer, much more so than in previous decades. Parents can help their kids and encourage them to be more active by limiting screen time. It is recommended that children under the age of 2 watch no TV. Children ages 2 and up should not watch more than 1 -2 hours of TV per day, and when the do watch, it should be quality programs or DVDs such as the award-winning Exploracise Gymathtics series by Exploramania, which, by the way, will give them an opportunity to be active WHILE they watch these 30 minute DVDs.

Children should engage in 1 - 2 hours of activity per day, whether it is unstructured play or some kind of planned exercise such as a sport or a PE class at school.

It's not always easy getting your kids to be active, but if you make it part of their daily routine, keep it fun, choose activities that they enjoy, and give them a variety of different activities you will find that it becomes a part of their lifestyle. As parents, be sure to set a good example by being active, too, and combine the exercise for you and your kids, with healthy eating habits, so that your entire family can enjoy a healthy lifesyle.

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