Anyone who has observed children at a playground knows that they are naturally energetic and love to move and be physically active. However, it’s not often recognized that running around a playground can inspire kids to lead a healthy lifestyle as they get older.
As kids age, the demands of school and other responsibilities may prevent them from being active. A lack of active role models at home may also discourage physical activity. Nonetheless, parents should encourage daily physical activity. Research has shown an active childhood leads to a healthy lifestyle in adulthood and builds the foundation for social, psychological and mental skills.
Benefits of Being Active
- Improve strength and endurance
- Build healthy bones and muscles
- Improve self-esteem
- Weight management
- Decrease the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and obesity
- Better quality sleep
- Reduce anxiety and stress
- Reduce screen time
Here are three tips to motivate your kids:
1. Make it fun - the more they like it, the more they’ll do it.
2. Be a role model - engaging in physical activity with your kids motivates them to stay active as they grow older.
3. Give them the opportunity to be active - provide equipment at home, such as a tricycle or bike, a soccer ball or basketball, or take them to the playground and give them control of which activity to do first.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends children ages six to 17 engage in at least 60 minutes of daily physical activity. Whether it’s at home, on the playground or at school, make sure your kids are moving every day.
The Bottom Line: Physical activity as a child promotes a healthy lifestyle in adulthood, builds self-esteem, and reduces the risk for obesity and other chronic diseases. Make sure your children engage in 60 minutes of active play every day.
Written by: Lisha Andrew, Wellness Workdays Dietetic Intern