When we saw that this month is Childhood Obesity Awareness month, we paused and thought, is this really such an epidemic that it needs a month dedicated to it? What we found was staggering.One in 5 children in the United States is obese. That’s 20 percent of all children.
Childhood obesity puts kids at risk for health problems that were once only seen in adults—preventable diseases like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
Sadly, these children are not getting enough exercise in their daily lives.
The good news? Childhood obesity can be prevented. Help your family move more each day and have fun with it. Think about what your family can do to be active together. Here are some ideas.
Most families are busy with school, work, and running errands, but making time to for exercise as a family can help keep you healthy. When parents set the example, It helps ingrain a healthy lifestyle their children.
Add physical activity to your daily routine. For example, walk or ride your bike to work or to a friend’s house, walk the dog with your children, exercise while you watch TV, take the stairs instead of the elevator, and park farther away from the store when running errands.
Invite others to join you
When you ask others to support your efforts, it makes the journey more fun. Set a time a few days each week to meet a friend at the gym, on a bike ride, or walking on a new trail.
Having a contest with friends could also be fun. Whether a jump rope contest, sprint races, and one-on-one basketball games in the driveway is another fun way to get moving.
Do you have a time of way when you feel like you have a lot of energy? If you are a morning person, starting your day off with a workout might be the best time for you. Or, you may be the type who needs a work out at the end of the day to relieve some stress. Do you work near a place that has walking trails nearby? Grab a coworker and go for a walk on your lunch hour to give yourself a mid-day boost.
After dinner is also a great time for a family to take a walk or ride bikes around the neighborhood together and burn some energy before going to bed.
Make the Most of All Conditions
Don’t let the whether ruin your plans. Developing a set of activities for you and your family that are always available will keep you on track to stay healthy. Indoor cycling or swimming, stair climbing, skipping rope, walking the mall, sit ups, and push ups are all exercises that you can do no matter the weather conditions.
If you have access to a gym, try a new activity like yoga, swimming, dancing, or tennis. However, you don’t need a gym membership to be active. Walking, jogging, jumping jacks, planking, and doing push-ups are all free! Or, try a new class at a local community center. They are usually relatively inexpensive and also are a way to make new friends who have the same interests as you.
When you plan ahead and make physical activity a regular part of your family’s schedule, it becomes part of your routine. So, put it on a calendar, join a class at a gym, or get your kids involved in sports. Creating opportunities for you and your children to be active with friends and family will keep you all healthy.