By Erin Caraher RDN, CDN
Physical activity is important for people of all ages, but especially for children. It promotes growth and development, strong bones and muscles, endurance and helps them maintain a healthy weight. Research has also shown that moderate to vigorous activity helps boost children’s critical thinking skills, grade point averages and standardized test scores.
Here are some ways to help increase your child’s activity:
- Organized activities such as a soccer, baseball/softball, football league, gymnastics, martial arts, ice skating, etc. Find what your child loves to do and go with it!
- Family activities such as going to the park or going for a hike. Even making it a habit to take the dog for a walk for 20 minutes after dinner each night will provide many benefits, for both the dog and the family!
- Find active screen time games if going outside is not possible. There are so many options out there such as tennis, bowling, baseball or dance videos. The kids will love it and won’t think of it as physical activity but just a fun game to play.
- Encourage your children to help with chores such as raking leaves, gardening, or sweeping. Try to make it as fun as possible by playing music and make it a family activity.
- Be a role model for your children. Children only know what they see. If they see that physical activity is important to you, they will be much more likely to do it.
It is important to find what your child likes to do and stick with that. If the child feels like they are being forced into an activity they may develop an unhealthy relationship with exercise and see it as a punishment. Make it as fun as possible and incorporate it naturally into their lives on the regular basis!
Erin Caraher, RD, CDN is a registered dietitian nutritionist who works with Bariatric and Medical Weight Management patients to help them achieve their health and weight loss goals.