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By Anthony J. Incollingo
Here are a few ideas that parents may use to get children active and create healthier habits:
- Make fitness fun (if it is not fun they are not going to play).
- Limit or control the amount of television being watched.
- Control the amount of video games being played.
- Get active with your kids. Fitness can be great family activity and is a great way to spend quality time.
- Do not try to force your child into competitive sports. Get them involved in fun recreational activities like dance, swimming and biking.
- Try to monitor their exercise/play time and get a minimum of sixty minutes daily.
- Monitor what your child consumes daily and do not reward with food.
- Sports drinks and sodas are way too sugary.
- Keep them off the fast food (fat, preservatives, sugar).
I drive around the town, the town I grew up in, the town where I played hard and envisioned winning the Super Bowl and the Stanley Cup. This is the place where whiffle ball, football, street hockey, basketball and other strenuous activities were my world. I noticed that the houses are still there but something is missing. I say to myself, “How come there aren’t any kids outside playing?” Has the physical culture of our youth declined that rapidly? Has our play time and exercise really turned into video games, soda, and a bag of chips? Are the parents really allowing this to happen?”
We are the grown-ups here, folks? We are the ones who make the educated decisions regarding the well-being of our kids. Why can’t we make the appropriate decisions for our kids when it comes to nutrition and exercise? More than one third of the children are overweight or obese and these statistics continue to rise at an astounding rate! Physical education programs and sports programs are being drastically cut or reduced from our schools. Fast food, high fat snacks, and tons and tons of sugar are being consumed. The children are the most precious commodities we have. At the rate we are going, we will outlive our children or they will face physical issues like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, bone and joint issues, social issues, psychological problems and low self-esteem.
Although childhood obesity is on the rise, there are things that can be done to get the kids more active and eating healthier.
As adults we need to find an answer for where the children have gone. We need to get them back in the neighborhood playing outside and having fun. The outside activities will burn fat, strengthen bones, and create better balance, strength and overall athleticism. Free play will help them interact better socially and put them on the road to life-long fitness.
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Anthony J. Incollingo, M.S., PES is a passionate teacher and coach with over twenty-five years of experience working with children. He is a NASM performance enhancement specialist, Youth Fitness Specialist and Youth Nutrition Specialist. He is an Athletic Director, Health Physical Education Teacher and owner of Speed Pursuit, an athletic training facility in Tullytown, PA.