Childhood obesity is getting to be too much of a problem today. Many children tend to eat too much processed food and fail to exercise. Physical activities, which used to be a past time for children before are almost forgotten. Children still play games, but using game consoles and other hand held devices, with games that pit their skills and dexterity against themselves, the video game character or other gamers.
As a result, children are not expending their stored energy as they should. They tend to sit down for long hours playing games or browsing the web. With their preference for processed foods and fast food meals, they consume more carbohydrates and cholesterol from oily and sugar-laden food. Most children become fat and in worst cases, obese. Their muscles are not stretched, circulation is hampered and they tire easily because their bodies are not accustomed to movement. If your children are getting fatter and lethargic, here are some ideas on how to encourage them to have a more active and healthier lifestyle.
Teach them the importance of being physically active
Help your children understand that physical activity has many benefits. Help them understand that exercise can help them increase their energy levels, manage their weight; increase their self-esteem; reduce anxiety and stress; lower blood pressure and even strengthen their bones. Talk to them in age-appropriate language and look for good information as teaching aid.
Encourage them to be active
There are fun workouts that you can teach your kids. There are structured youth training programs as well as family activities that you can do on weekends and holidays. Examples of the latter include dancing, swimming, soccer, basketball, jumping rope, brisk walking or playing tag, which are physical activities of moderate intensity. Skating and roller blading, hiking, sledding, skiing, baseball, tennis, hop scotch, softball and dodge ball are also good exercises for the youth.
The idea is to get them outdoors so they can have some sun and breathe fresh air. Enlist the help of close friends and turn it into a fun gathering. Get them to spend 60 minutes or two 30-minute sessions of physical activities each day, longer if it is possible. If they get used to the exercise, they can spend at least 20 minutes for more vigorous activities.
Minimize inactive time
A sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy diet often lead to weight gain. As children gain weight, their desire to move lowers. When they are physically inactive, some low-grade chronic inflammation will start to develop. This type of inflammation is difficult to detect, unlike acute inflammation, for example when you sprain your ankle, which makes you feel the pain and has visible marks. Low-grade chronic inflammation is one of the things that makes obese people lethargic.
To get children away from long sedentary time, limit the time they spend using the Internet, playing video games and watching TV. You can bargain two hours of these sedentary activities when they do their homework or they eat their veggies and fruits.
It may be difficult to wean your children off a sedentary lifestyle. Start small and build upon it. Change your family’s eating habits. Provide them with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Serve them a variety of food that include beans and lentils, lean meats, fish, poultry and vitamin-rich vegetables. Find physical activities that your children like and get all family members to be involved in it. Teach them the merits of being healthy and active. Do not force them, though because this may have adverse rather than positive effects. Gentle coaching and encouragement is better.