Don’t just sit still – move

Published 2:12 pm Tuesday, January 10, 2006

By Staff
Today, more than ever, helping kids be physically active is an important part of being a parent. You've probably noticed that children today are less physically active.
There are more “sitting” activities, like watching television, using the computer or playing video games; less outdoor play; concerns over safety in neighborhoods and schools; and fewer physical education classes in schools.
As a role model you can help your kids see, first-hand, the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle - one that includes plenty of physical activity.
Children and adolescents need at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day. The activity can be moderate, but should make the heart beat faster and the breathing heavier than normal. Greater health benefits can be achieved by participating in activities that are more strenuous for 20 minutes or more at least three times a week.
So get active!
There are fun, free things you can do at home to maximize activity. You can join your child in playing catch, jumping rope or playing hopscotch. Promote healthy outdoor activities like tag, hide and seek, walking the dog, nature walks, ice skating or making snowmen.
Or try a new activity together. How about line dancing, in-line skating, golfing or doing a “fun walk/run” as a family?
You can also get the most out of your school and neighborhood resources.
Check with your child's physical education teacher to see what you can do at home to reinforce physical education lessons at school.
School sports give kids a chance to learn skills and be active. If your child is interested in playing a sport, give it your support. But remember, sports are not for everyone. If your child is not interested, don't force the issue
Since Michigan weather is so unpredictable, take a look at physical activity ideas for indoor weather like dancing with your kids to songs with a good beat. Teach them some moves from your childhood. Or build an obstacle course or treasure hunt in the basement or throughout the house.
No matter what works for you and your kids, just make sure that you all sit less and keep moving!