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5 ways to encourage your kids to be physically active

In our previous article we mentioned that recent statistics have indicated that about 1 in 3 children in the United States of America are either overweight or obese, and this has been blamed on the fact that children are becoming less and less active. Case in point, children in America spend on average 7 hours every day either watching TV, on their computers, phones or other electronic devices. Further statistics indicate that less than 50 per cent of a child’s time will be spent in extracurricular activities such as sports or other physical activities that are likely to improve their health.

There is therefore an urgent need for parents to start encouraging their children to start taking part in physical activities to ensure they stay healthy.

Below we look at 5 ways to encourage your kids to be physically active.

Make it fun

It’s important for parents to identify fun activities that will encourage their kids to be active because if they enjoy it they will want to do it. These could be recreational cum sports activities that the kids enjoy such as swimming, skiing, and other sports activities especially those that the entire family can get involved in as part of family time.

Consult your child’s doctor

It’s important to have a conversation with your doctor and identify physical activities that may be of benefit to your kids. Because doctors have more experience with such matters, they may be better placed to offer good suggestions that will benefit your kids.

Ensure there is a safe environment

Physical activities have been known to result in injuries and this may discourage children to participate in them. It’s therefore important for parents to provide a safe environment where children can take part in such activities. This will include ensuring the kids have the right protective equipment that is both comfortable and appropriate for the activity.

Make their toys active

The moment parents start buying toys for their kids, they need to ensure that they provide toys that will keep the kids active. These will include toys such as jump ropes, balls, bicycles, and any other toy that can be considered an active toy.

Lead by example

It’s very important for parents to lead by example therefore they need to be very good role models for their children. If you are a physically active parent who regularly enjoys exercising, chances are high that your kids will take up after you. It may even be fun asking them to join you in your morning run.

As you encourage your kids to embrace physical activity, you must remember that it goes hand in hand with a proper diet therefore ensure you balance both. Nutritionist will let you know that the foundation for a healthy life and active life will always start with proper nutrition. Be sure to find solutions that are customized to suit the needs of your children.

The top 8 reasons why children should exercise

Recent statistics have indicated that about 1 in 3 children in the United States of America between the ages of 10 and 17 years are either overweight or obese, and this has been blamed on the fact that children are becoming less and less active. Plenty of time has been allocated to technology, academics and other activities at the expense of physical activities.

What many parents as well as teachers fail to acknowledge in spite of evidence based research is that physical activity is just as important any even be more important than these other activities and therefore it needs to be prioritized.

Below are the top 8 reasons why children should be allocated time for exercise.

1 Statistics indicate that children who are involved in physical activities for at least one hour everyday record a lower rate of obesity.

2 Studies have shown that children who are involved in physical activities everyday record higher test scores is school especially in English and Math.

3 Studies on child development have shown that the development of the body and brain always go hand-in-hand and is most important when children are at a young age. During this period it’s very critical for a child to be active because it boosts brain as well as development of the physical body.

4 When kids are involved in physical activities especially those that engage multiple senses simultaneously such as sight, touch, sound and many more, it boosts their brain development and gives them a wide array of skills that will benefit them tremendously later in life.

5 Studies have shown that when kids are exposed to aerobic activities from an early age it helps to increase the number of neural connections as well as the size of essential brain structures.

6 Studies have indicated that children who are involved in frequent physical activities demonstrate improved emotional responses because physical exercise involves a high degree of coordination and balance and this plays a direct role in emotional response.

7 Studies have shown that exercising frequently will decrease depression and anxiety and this is very important for the health of a child as they are growing.

8 Exercising regularly will help boost a child’s self-image and self-confidence and this is very crucial as a child is growing up.

This by any chance does not mean that kids should be kept away from technology, academics, or other activities so that they can exercise but rather a balance needs to be found between their day to day non-physical activities and the physical activities. This is the only way children will be able to live much healthier lives.

These are the recommended fitness exercises for kids by age group

Health and wellness experts are of the opinion that children should be exposed to exercise as early as possible so that they can enjoy the many physical and cognitive benefits that come with exercising. The only caveat is that the exercises they are involved in should be age appropriate. At a minimum, it’s recommended that children should have at least an hour of physical activity every day.

These are the recommended fitness exercises for kids by their age group.

Kids at age 5 and below

At this age, any physical activity that kids are exposed to should be purely about play. It’s very much okay to expose kids to sports activities like basketball, soccer, swimming and ensure they know they are playing for fun and not for competition. At this age they are still working on their coordination skills therefore such exercises will help them develop them faster.

Kids between ages 6 and 8

At this age, kids have developed significant coordination skills therefore in addition to swimming, soccer and basketball, you can introduce them to baseball, gymnastics, bicycles, and other athletic activities. The earlier they start playing diverse sports the earlier you will be able to identify where their talents lie at the same time ensuring their overall healthy development.

Kids between ages 9 and 11

At this age, kids have much better coordination including hand-eye coordination and this means you can enhance the competitiveness in the games they participate in. Just ensure you don’t put so much pressure on them to win. At this age, you should be open to letting your child participate in any type of exercise they want, just facilitate their safety.

Kids between ages 12 and 14

At this point, kids are approaching their adolescent age therefore they are likely to lose interest in structured sports but this will mainly depend on their level of passion for the different sports that they were exposed to. At this age it’s okay to introduce your child to exercise related to body and muscle strength, just keep in mind that they should only start lifting weights once they hit puberty. It’s important to at this point start educating them on health benefits of different exercises and the pros and cons of each. They are now old enough to be able to make decisions therefore they need sufficient information so as to be able to make informed choices.

Kids at age 15 and above

At this age it’s advisable to enroll them in a professional weight training class that’s if they don’t participate in any sports. If they are active in sports, this will form part of their training regimen. Injuries are common at this stage as the kids experiment with different sports and other extreme events such as triathlons and decathlons.

It’s important for parents to ensure they support their kids at every stage of the process and always encourage them and ensure they have all safety equipment that is required to participate in their sports of choice. The better the fitness habits formed as a child is growing up, the more active they will be later in life.

3 ways to protect your child during the flu season

There is no time that parents dread like the flu season. The moment one of your kids catches it you can be guaranteed that the rest of the kids will catch it and finally the parents will catch it. Generally, eating healthy is the first defense against the flu because it helps strengthen the body’s immunity but there are other measures you can put in place to protect your kids.

Here are 3 ways to protect your child during flu season.

Ensure your kids stay healthy

The best prevention for the flu is staying healthy through good nutrition, sufficient rest and enough exercise. These will help strengthen your kid’s immune system to enable it fend off any potential illnesses. Most importantly, ensure your kids consume sufficient fruits as they are rich in much needed vitamins that will give a much needed boost to their body’s immune system.

Ensure you child gets the right flu vaccine

Vaccines have been proven to be around 62 per cent effective in protecting children from flu. This means that in addition to proper diet it can be a very effective way of keeping your child flu-free this season. Therefore visit your doctor and find out which flu shot is available for this season and have it administered to your child as soon as possible.

Nurture good coughing etiquette

Studies have shown that the flu germs can spread as far as 6 feet when a person coughs or sneezes. It’s therefore important to nurture good coughing and sneezing etiquette by teaching your kids to cover their mouth as well as nose when they sneeze or cough and ensure they clean their hands afterwards. This will prevent them from spreading the flu to others if they catch it.

With these measures in place you can guarantee yourself a flu-free home during the coming flu season.

The 3 most common childhood illnesses

There are common illnesses that children are prone to because their immune systems are usually still developing therefore is not strong enough to fend off these illnesses. It’s therefore upon parents to make it a point to learn about such illnesses so that they are better prepared to prevent their children from contracting them and if they do contract them, ensure their children get the proper treatment and care to ensure speedy recovery.

Below are the 3 most common childhood illnesses.

#1 The common cold

Most children will contract the common cold at least five times in a year. Its symptoms usually include headaches, sore throat, mild fever, loss of appetite, and a blocked or runny nose. The common cold will mostly clear out on its own but a parent is free to use supplements that contain vitamin c, added zinc, and Echinacea which have proven their ability to shorten the duration of the illness.

#2 Chickenpox

Chickenpox is a contagious illness that spreads from one child to another and results in an itchy rash and red spots forming all over the child’s body as well as fever, cough, headache and a sore throat. Usually, these symptoms will develop roughly 14 to 16 days after the child is exposed to the virus. The child stops being contagious 10 days after the first symptoms have presented. During the period the child is ill, it’s advisable to feed them plenty of vitamins.

#3 Conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis is commonly referred to as pinkeye and is basically an inflammation of the conjunctiva that is caused by many of the same viruses and bacteria that are responsible for colds. It’s a highly contagious illness and that’s why it’s very common in children. Parents are encouraged to feed their kids plenty of vitamins as they are very helpful in the treatment of conjunctivitis.

All of these 3 illnesses are not life threatening and are easily treatable and will mostly be out of the child’s system in a couple of days.