Healthy kids have the best chance to become healthy adults. Risk factors for chronic illnesses like heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis can have their roots in childhood.
Keeping your child physically active helps promote long-term health. Kids who get regular physical activity have better cardiovascular fitness, stronger bones and muscles, lower body fat and perhaps even fewer symptoms of anxiety and depression.
The frequency, intensity, length and mix of activities are important. Look for activities that help build healthy bones. These are the weight-bearing exercises like running and jumping.
Be a role model
Parents are the best role models for their kids. By leading an active life, you inspire your children to do the same. Praise, rewards and encouragement will help kids stay active.
Encourage your kids to enjoy activities with the family or on their own. Suggest:
Make time for activity:
Put a two-hour limit each day on the time your kids spend:
Create opportunities for your kids to be active with other kids.
Introduce your kids to a variety of activities.
Keep a family activity log on the refrigerator. This can encourage everyone to take part and keep up the good work.
Come up with family activities that can be done no matter what the weather. These may include:
Include activity in your family’s social calendar. Celebrate birthdays, holidays or family gatherings with a hike or a volleyball game. Bike, ski or swim together.
Other ways to help increase family fitness levels include:
Before starting or increasing regular physical activity, talk with your doctor about the right levels for your family, especially if you or a child has any medical problems.