Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Keeping Kids Active


Keeping Kids Active
Helping your children have a healthy active lifestyle at a young age can help shape the activeness for the rest of their lives. As they age they have more challenges in their lives, school, social pressures, lack of active role models, and working families. Even if children have the time and the desire to be active, parents may not feel comfortable allowing the same kind of freedom to roam around the neighborhood like kids use to. These factors leave their opportunities limited.
Despite these barriers, parents can instill a love of activity and help kids fit it into their everyday routines. Doing so can establish healthy patterns that will last into adulthood.
Benefits of Being Active
·         strong muscles and bones
·         weight control
·         decreased risk of developing type 2 diabetes
·         better sleep
·         a better outlook on life
Healthy, physically active kids also are more likely to be academically motivated, alert, and successful. And physical competence builds self-esteem at every age.
What Motivates Kids?
1.    Choosing the right activities for a child's age: If you don't, the child may be bored or frustrated.
2.    Giving kids plenty of opportunity to be active: Kids need parents to make activity easy by providing equipment and taking them to playgrounds and other active spots.
3.    Keeping the focus on fun: Kids won't do something they don't enjoy.
When kids enjoy an activity, they want to do more of it. Practicing a skill — whether it's swimming or riding a tricycle — improves their abilities and helps them feel accomplished, especially when the effort is noticed and praised. These good feelings often make kids want to continue the activity and even try others.

Here's Some Age-Based Advice:

Preschoolers: Preschoolers need play and exercise that helps them continue to develop important motor skills — kicking or throwing a ball, playing tag or follow the leader, hopping on one foot, riding a trike or bike with training wheels, freeze dancing, or running obstacle courses.
School-age: With school-age kids spending more time on sedentary pursuits like watching TV and playing computer games, the challenge for parents is to help them find physical activities they enjoy and feel successful doing. These can range from traditional sports like baseball and basketball to martial arts, biking, hiking, and playing outside.
As kids learn basic skills and simple rules in the early school-age years, there might only be a few athletic standouts. As kids get older, differences in ability and personality become more apparent. Commitment and interest level often go along with ability, which is why it's important to find an activity that's right for your child. Schedules start getting busy during these years, but don't forget to set aside some time for free play.
Teenagers: Teens have many choices when it comes to being active — from school sports to after-school interests, such as yoga or skateboarding. It's important to remember that physical activity must be planned and often has to be sandwiched between various responsibilities and commitments.
Do what you can to make it easy for your teen to exercise by providing transportation and the necessary gear or equipment (including workout clothes). In some cases, the right clothes and shoes might help a shy teen feel comfortable biking or going to the gym.

Kids' Fitness Personalities

In addition to a child's age, it's important to consider his or her fitness personality. Personality traits, genetics, and athletic ability combine to influence kids' attitudes toward participation in sports and other physical activities, particularly as they get older.
1. The nonathlete: This child may lack athletic ability, interest in physical activity, or both.
2. The casual athlete: This child is interested in being active but isn't a star player and is at risk of getting discouraged in a competitive athletic environment.
3. The athlete: This child has athletic ability, is committed to a sport or activity, and likely to ramp up practice time and intensity of competition.
The athlete will want to be on the basketball team, while the casual athlete may just enjoy shooting hoops in the playground or on the driveway. The nonathlete is likely to need a parent's help and encouragement to get and stay physically active. That's why it's important to encourage kids to remain active even though they aren't top performers.
Whatever their fitness personality, all kids can be physically fit. A parent's positive attitude will help a child who's reluctant to exercise.Be active yourself and support your kids' interests. If you start this early enough, they'll come to regard activity as a normal — and fun — part of your family's everyday routine.

Adapted from: Kidshealth.org