According to a CDC obesity report, childhood obesity has doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years. While there are many contributing factors, many experts agree that children do not get enough exercise. Increasing physical activity can boost your child’s heart health and reduce the risk of high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
How Inactive are American Children?
The President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition released some rather alarming statistics regarding how often children are exercising:
- Only one in three children are physically active every day.
- Children spend more than seven and a half hours in front of a computer, phone or television each day.
- After a school day, around one third of high school students play at least three hours of video games
Top 5 Tips to Get Children and Adolescents to Exercise
In order to get kids to be more active for one hour each day, it is vital that parents make exercise fun for their child.
1) Pay Attention to Their Interests
If your child spends a lot of time watching a certain sport or they seemed excited by a particular event in the most recent Olympics, take note. Have them join a local league for that sport or enroll them in lessons.
2) Set a Positive Example
It is estimated that 80 percent of adults do not get enough aerobic or muscle strengthening exercise. A child will often emulate what they see adults doing. If you are inactive, your child will tend to be inactive as well. Whenever you exercise, maintain a positive outlook. Try to comment on how good and accomplished you feel afterward. This will encourage your child to think positively about physical activity.
3) Involve the Whole Family
Exercise can be boring when doing it alone! Take family walks, go sightseeing or simply play a game in the back yard. Remember, family isn’t restricted to just humans; involving the family dog in walks or backyard games can make an hour of physical activity fly by.
4) Embrace Technology
If your child doesn’t want to reduce their gaming or cell phone time, use it to your advantage. It may seem counter-intuitive to have your child use their phone, but it can actually help them become more active. Many mobile games require players to get up and go outside in order to progress to the next level. In addition to Pokémon Go, encourage your kids to try any of the apps on this list of 7 games to get you moving.
5) Leave the Car in the Garage
If your child is old enough, encourage them to walk to nearby places you use to drive them to. For example, if they want to visit a friend who lives in the neighborhood, encourage them to bike there and text/call when they arrive safely. Or if you live close to their school, have them walk when the weather is nice.
Schedule a Pediatric Cardiology Consultation today!
If you are concerned about your child’s heart health, we encourage you to make an appointment with the pediatric cardiologists at The Children’s Heart Institute. View our pediatric cardiology clinics in NOVA & Maryland to schedule your child’s cardiac testing today.