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Physical activity is so important for children! Staying active helps kids:
Reduce their risk of heart disease.
Strengthen their muscles and bones.
Maintain a healthy weight.
Lower their risk of chronic illness such as type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.
Improve their cholesterol levels.
Kids naturally want to be active. If given the choice of screen time (video games, computer, phone, iPad) they will often choose this instead. Here are some goals:
1 hour or more of moderate physical activity most days of the week.
Avoid periods of being inactive for more than 1 hour (unless sleeping).
Kids can earn screen time by being active (activity first, then screen time).
Be active together!
Sports activities can be great for most kids. There are many kids who do not want to play sports. Some ideas to keep kids active if they don’t like sports are:
Playing at a playground
Riding a bike
Working in the garden
Playing catch in the yard
Try an activity that you may not have tried before:
It is hard to find ways to be active in the winter. Here are some winter activity ideas:
Play music and dance (parents too!)
Make a snowman
Swimming at an indoor pool
Ice skating (indoor or outdoor)
Balloon games – try to keep it in the air, toss it back and forth, use paper plates as “racquets” (for kids older than 3 years)
Indoor hopscotch (use painter’s tape on the floor)
Red light, green light
Active video games (don’t sit down while playing)
Yoga (find a video online or from the library)
Play catch with stuffed animals
Wheelbarrow, crab and bear-walk races
Follow the leader
Obstacle course – use cushions, pillows
Animal races (hop like a bunny or frog, waddle like a duck)
Stomp on bubble wrap
Bean bag toss
Tape streamers/string in the hallway as an obstacle course to get through
Some children/teens find that wearing something to keep track of how active they are can help motivate them.
Pedometer: Tracks steps only.
LifeTrak: A pedometer with multiple functions (time, sleep, calories burned, distance, etc.)
Fit Bit, Up 24: A bracelet with a computer chip that downloads to your smart phone or computer. It tracks steps, distance, sleep, calories, and more.