The United States has an obesity problem. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 13.7 million children and adolescents across the nation are considered obese. While there is no single cure to obesity, a lifestyle change that prioritizes a varied diet and regular physical activity can help reduce and maintain a healthy weight. If you want to encourage your children to exercise more, here are a few tips:
Find an Activity They Enjoy
The worst thing you can do for a child is to turn exercise into a chore. If you want them to be more physically active, you have to help them find something that they will enjoy.
Many children love being involved in team sports like basketball or baseball. Some, however, prefer non-contact sports like tennis or badminton. Whichever sports they like, you can encourage them by enrolling them in training and summer camps or getting a sports court in your backyard. In Utah, there are services that construct sports courts for private use.
Do not push them into a sport; let them try out multiple things and discover which they enjoy doing. When your child finds a physical activity, they are more likely to do it on a regular basis.
Be Involved, Too
Children look at their parents as role models. Therefore, if your child refuses to go out and be more physically active, then you should look at your own lifestyle.
Make exercising time for the family to bond. Teach them or let them teach you and carve out time from your busy schedule to play with them. Moreover, make it a habit to go to their matches to support them. These things will not only encourage your child to be more physically active, but it will also create wonderful memories that you and your child will cherish forever.
Many parents nowadays give their children a table or a smartphone while they accomplish their daily tasks. This creates a bad habit and makes your child dependent on the screen.
While young, reduce the time they spend in front of the television or computers. Bar the use of smartphones during mealtimes and before bed. For those who are under the age of two, experts recommend zero screentime at all. Parents, too, need to limit the amount of time they spend in front of the television screen or using their smartphones. Adults have to make a good example. Use your free time to play with your child instead.
Provide Opportunities to be Physically Active
There are more possible ways for your child to get ample physical activity every day even if they do not engage in sports or have an exercise routine. Give them toys that encourage movement like jump ropes or skateboards. Instead of driving them around the neighborhood, buy them a bike they can take to visit friends or go to the store to buy food.
Your child will not magically be physically active and healthy in one day. If they have been sedentary for years, it will take them a long time to learn a sport and play more energetically and for a longer amount of time. Do not criticize; celebrate their milestones.
Not all of these tips work for every child. Some may be overweight for medical reasons for which you will need to consult a medical professional before introducing a sport or exercise routine.