Getting kids to exercise even a little can be a mountain of a challenge for some parents. Kids are so “plugged in” to tear them away from a screen is like tearing hair out of their heads – it’s like you’re actually hurting them. Yet, as kids are more and more sedentary they continue to get bigger and bigger and even very young kids are spending hours upon hours in front of a computer, TV, DS, phone – take your pick and their body size is showing the affects.
Yesterday, I had one of my favorite little guys in my office and we were working together to come up with a plan to help him get more exercise. I remembered a news report I read recently about how people who took more steps during commercial breaks burned more calories, no surprise here, and you don’t need me to tell you that calorie burn equals weight loss. So, I asked my young patient what he thought about having a contest during commercial breaks – a contest? Yeah! I suggested that he try to see how many jumping jacks he can do during one commercial break, he loved it and he suggested that he also do toe touches and run in place during the next commercial breaks – what a great idea! That patient left with 3 new ways to be active and have fun and an exciting thing to work on and come back and tell me about at his next appointment.
When it comes to being active with children you’ve got to make it fun and sustainable. Most kids I know don’t want to walk for thirty minutes on a treadmill, but playing Simon Says for thirty minutes is the most fun ever! Turning off the TV and turning on the music and having a dance party is not only a good way to burn calories, but it’s actually a good way to blow off some steam and connect with your kids on in a fun way. Getting the family involved in active games like Simon Says, Mother May I, Red Light Green Light and Twister or even something as simple as building a fort in the bedroom are the most fun you’ll ever have exercising!