How to Help Your Child Fall in Love with Fitness
Getting children moving at an early age puts them on the path to living a healthier lifestyle and can help cut down on their risk for certain conditions later in life. However, with all the indoor entertainment options available, it’s never been easier to skip outdoor activity in favor of more relaxed recreation. That helps explain why, even though the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends children ages six to 17 complete 60 minutes of physical activity each day, it’s estimated that only one in three actually do so.
Looking for motivation to help your child get active? Consider the many physical and mental health benefits that physical activity provides children. According to an Institute of Medicine study, participating in physical activity can improve a child’s performance at school thanks to greater attention and focus. Practicing physical activity at an early age, even if it’s just throwing or kicking a ball, can also help develop essential motor skills and coordination, in addition to maintaining healthy weight and helping kids develop a positive body image.
So, how can you make sure your child learns the value of physical activity?
- Keep it fun. If your child isn’t having a good time participating in a particular sport, give it some time, and then move on to something new. Being forced to do an activity that isn’t any fun might cloud your child’s outlook on physical activity in general.
- Make it age appropriate. At a younger age, it’s more important to practice specific skills than to participate in team sports. Practice throwing or kicking a ball with your toddler, waiting until your child is school-age to introduce team sports.
- Make fitness a family affair. Don’t just encourage your child to stay active, show them how it’s done. Organizing a family bike ride or scheduling a game of tag in the backyard can set the tone for an active childhood.
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