Annual National Exercise With Your Child Week

By Diane Ruyack

Children need to be active to be healthy!  August 5 – 11, 2012 marks the 2nd Annual National Exercise With Your Child Week™. This week encourages parents and guardians to exercise with their children as part of a healthier lifestyle.  Coming to the Indiana State Fair is a great way to help children learn about nutrition and activity.  In the Riley Fun Park, the Fuel Up to Play 60 tent will allow children to run through an agility ladder, build muscles, jog and find out what fuels their body the best!  Engaging in physical activity as a family can be a fun way to get everyone moving. Studies show that kids who believe they are competent and have the skills to be physically active are more likely to be active.   And those who feel supported by friends and families to become active, or surrounded by others interested in physical activity, are more likely to participate.  Children need 60 minutes of play with moderate to vigorous activity every day.  It doesn’t have to occur at once because it all adds up!  Here are a few activities and steps that you and your family can consider to get started on a path to a healthier lifestyle:

  • Turn on the music and dance.  Toddlers love dancing especially when parents and siblings join in
  • Hula hoops improve core strength, remember to get a child sized one
  • Give children toys that encourage physical activity like balls, kites, and jump ropes, bicycles, roller skates, scooters and  nothing motorized.
  • Encourage children to join a sports team or try a new physical activity like karate, yoga, ping pong, badminton.
  • Limit TV time and keep the TV out of a child’s bedroom.
  • Find time to spend together doing a fun activity: family park day, swim day or bike day.

How fun it would be to have playground Olympics now that the London Olympics are going on. The rules: You have to go through all the playground equipment (swing on swings, slide down slides, climb all the bars, hand walk the monkey bars) – whoever gets through first wins. Do this for a half hour and you’ll burn 200-300 calories.  Another idea is to turn your backyard into a fitness trail- obstacle course using stuff from your garage like a ladder, old tires, pails, rope, saw horse, and balls.  Beat the heat and have children run through the sprinkler for 30 minutes will give them a great workout for their heart and for building strong bones.  Water to drink is a must to keep everyone hydrated.  “The best six doctors anywhere, and no one can deny it, are sunshine, water, rest, and air, exercise and diet” Wayne Fields, What the River Knows, 1990.

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