It’s time for another Austin-area sports medicine 101 class!
With 1 out of 3 kids in the United States considered overweight or obese, there’s little doubt that the country has some serious health and wellness concerns. Video games, television and online activities are often the norm, while sports and outdoor activities are quickly forgotten. When you add processed and fast foods into the mix, children today face a number of obstacles in growing up healthy and fit.
To help kids make the most of their efforts, the Austin sports medicine doctors at Medicine in Motion have put together five tips for children (and their parents) that are pursuing a physically fit lifestyle:
- A family affair. Changing lifestyle habits can be tough, but it’s made easier when a group is involved. Parents who want their children to become more active should get involved too. Aerobic exercises like walking, jogging, swimming, soccer, bicycling and basketball can involve the entire family. Make a game of it and reward family members for improvement.
- 60 minutes. Children should spend at least one hour every day involved in physical activity of some type. It doesn’t have to be all at once if time doesn’t allow – smaller segments throughout the day are acceptable too.
- Drink water. It’s common knowledge that sugar-laden sodas increase the risk of becoming overweight, which can also lead to type 2 diabetes. What parents and kids may not realize is that sports drinks and juices are often just as bad. These types of beverages should be saved for special occasions. Choosing water or milk with meals and snacks goes a long way to helping maintain a healthy lifestyle.
- Schedule it. Moms, dads and kids have often lead hectic lives. Families are involved in a lot of activities, so exercise may get pushed to the side if it isn’t given enough thought. To avoid this, add physical fitness to the daily calendar along with other regular obligations. If the family knows a block of time is dedicated every day for fitness activities, they’ll be much less likely to skip it.
- Have fun! Just like adults, if kids aren’t having fun with exercise, they’re much more likely to quit in favor of something they’d rather do. Tailor physical fitness activities to what kids like. Turn fitness into a game when possible. Whether a child is playing solo or with friends, there are plenty of fun options from hula hooping, three-legged races, hopscotch, wheel barrow races, capture the flag, jump roping, and more.