Fitting Exercise into your Life
Why is exercise important?
Increased physical activity has been associated with an increased life expectancy and decreased risk of cardiovascular disease. Physical activity produces overall physical, psychological and social benefits. Inactive children are likely to become inactive adults. And physical activity helps with:
- controlling weight
- reducing blood pressure
- raising HDL ("good")cholesterol
- reducing the risk of diabetes and some kinds of cancer
- improved psychological well-being, including gaining more self-confidence and higher self-esteem
Keeping kids active
Children have a natural love of playing hard, but without encouragement, they may opt to sit around watching television or playing video games. Here are some ways to keep your kids active.
Set a good example
If you want an active child, be active yourself. Take the stairs instead of the elevator and park the car farther away from stores. Never make exercise seem a punishment or a chore. Find fun activities that the whole family can do together, such as:
- Nature hikes
- Walks with the family dog
- Ice skating
- In-line skating
Promote activity, not exercise
Children don't have to be in sports or take dance classes to be active. Many non-competitive activities are available for a child who isn't interested in organized sports. The key is to find things that your child likes to do. For instance, if your child is artistically inclined, go on a nature hike to collect leaves and rocks that your child can use to make a collage. If your child likes to climb, head for the nearest neighborhood jungle gym or climbing wall. If your child likes to read, then walk or bike to the neighborhood library for a book.