The world divides between children sitting on the couch feeling unhealthy and kids involved in the vibrant world of activity and fitness. The interesting thing is that once kids get active, they become motivated to find new ways to continue the process.
Signs Your Child Isn’t Active Enough
One tell-tale sign your child is in need of more fitness is obvious weight gain. Pay attention to your child’s weight and body shape. Are you seeing the signs in their face and around their midsection?
Your child may be on the way to becoming a couch potato if they complain about being bored often. Their boredom means they don’t know what to do with themselves. These feelings often result in sitting in front of the TV or resorting to video games.
The time of year is a factor to consider as well. When your child is home from school on spring break, Thanksgiving, or Christmas, there’s a tendency to relax on the couch.
The “couch potato” danger lurks especially during the long summer break from school. It’s vital that you have strategies in place to keep your child active during these times of the year.
The American Journal of Public Health published a study in 2007 that revealed that over 5,000 kindergartners and first graders saw their body mass indexes (BMI) almost double when they came home from school on their summer breaks.
We must not take this lightly. An increase in BMI and overall weight gain leads to health issues not only now, but also later on when your child becomes an adult.
Dangers Your Child Faces as a Couch Potato
Research reveals that your child may is in grave health danger if living a sedentary lifestyle.
Men who reported watching television for two or more hours per day doubled their chance of a cardiac issue. This study didn’t include other sedentary activities like playing video games.
Sitting for six hours each day can cause developmental issues related to insulin resistance, weight gain, and high cholesterol. Your child is also placed at risk for type-2 diabetes when living life as a couch potato.
Turning the Couch Potato Epidemic Around
One way experts recommend reversing sedentary lifestyle dangers is to make sure your child becomes active for at least one hour per day.
Did you know your child will burn 60 calories more per hour simply standing versus sitting? Getting them actually active results in an even bigger overall benefit.
6 Tips to Get Your Child Active
#1 – Make it a Reward
When your child wants something special, consider making its attainment attached to an activity, such as going for a bike ride or swim.
#2 – Create TV Rules
Limit television time to one to two hours per day. Keep track and make sure you’re firm on sticking with the rule.
#3 – Exercise While Watching TV
Simply getting your children doing jumping jacks during commercials goes a long way in keeping them fit and healthy. Make it a game. Ask them, “How many can we count before our show comes back on?”
#4 – Exercise with Them
Why not do the the above jumping jacks exercise with your child? Or, start making changes in your family’s routine. Help them get started on the road to fitness by going out for family walks right after dinner. Put up a basketball hoop and go shoot hoops together after school.
#5 – Get the Equipment Ready
Your child can’t do physical activities at home if the equipment isn’t there. Get a football, basketball, and soccer ball. Put jump ropes or hula hoops in the garage so everything is easily accessible for your child.
#6 – Do Chores
Have some chores that need to get done? Get your child involved raking those leaves, cleaning the garage, or shoveling that snow!
Branching Out From Home
Make it a point to get your child involved with local or school activities that lead to more physical exertion.
During the summer, encourage your child to go to the local swimming pool for lessons and water fun. Swimming, by the way, is one of those activities that helps activate many muscle groups all at once.
Find out what types of local community activities are available. Something as simple as getting your child out to the closest park does wonders.
Encourage your child to try out for the seasonal sports at school like football, basketball, soccer, track, and any other sport offered. Doing so will instill an appreciation for physical activity and discipline as well.
There’s no need for your child to suffer from the health problems that come from living a sedentary lifestyle. Be vigilant in preventing extended periods of couch potato inactivity. Not only will your child benefit long-term but you will, too, if you include yourself in some of the solutions listed above.
We can help with ideas for healthy eating and fun exercises for your family. Go Pro today, and get an expert in your corner!
Brent Frayser is a media relations representative for Orangetheory Fitness and a graduate of the University of Mississippi with a Bachelor’s Degree of Business Administration (Major in Marketing, Minor in Management). He was born and raised in the South and is very outgoing with a strong sense of determination. In his spare time, he enjoys: reading, writing, coaching baseball and football, and spending time with family and friends.