When I was a kid and growing up (not that long ago) I was a little chubby. Not fat, but certainly not rail-thin like my brother. But, we were active. We ran and jumped and played. Our summer vacations would involve running around (driving my mom nuts), riding our bikes thru the yard or family rides on the street, endless swimming, playing tag, roller skating (yes, I said roller skating), climbing trees, playing hide and seek or kicking the soccer ball or having a game of catch. There was none of this “sitting on our butts playing on an iPod all day” crapola that’s going on now. We were active. We were busy. We were healthy. And as I’ve said, being healthy doesn’t mean being thin.
When I was 4 or 5 I tagged along a few mornings to my mom’s exercise classes – I loved wearing my leotards and legwarmers and feeling like I just stepped out of Olivia Newton-John’s “Let’s Get Physical” video. I also did ballet and gymnastics and once in school I was in the dance club. We played sports like soccer and softball and badminton and we went swimming and skating. We never got tired or bored of our activities.
Kids today are very limited. It’s become an unfortunate epidemic and it doesn’t need to be the way it is. It’s understandable that times are tough and many parents can’t afford to put kids in a bunch of different activities but there is no reason that children can’t be active and healthy.
Here are some great ideas for keeping kids active:
First of all – most of the activities I listed above were free – it costs nothing to run and jump and play…and sometimes that’s all a kid needs.
– Get a group of kids together (neighborhood kids, classmates, cousins, etc.) and let them play Red Rover or tag or give them the proper ball and let them have a gave of pick up of soccer, softball, basketball, volleyball, dodgeball, etc. You can also pick up badminton rackets at the Dollar Store and let kids work up a sweat chasing after the birdie and swinging the racket.
– Check out community (it doesn’t have to be your community) camps, classes or groups. Many of them are free or very low cost. And it’s a great way for children to meet other children and socialize outside of the house and school.
– Shaun T (Insanity, Hip Hop Abs) has a great program for kids – Shaun T’s Fit Kids Club (http://www.beachbody.com/product/fitness_programs/fit_kids_club.do?code=SEMB_MSN_FKC). I’ve seen the videos and they’re great and inexpensive (tho you may be able to find them online – YouTube perhaps?). You could also check Amazon or Ebay for reduced versions.
– The Internet offers a plethora of means for finding exercises and tips for active and healthy kids. Take advantage of all the free literature and videos online.
– Get other parents involved. Brainstorm together or come up with a plan to host your friends’ kids and take turns providing fun physical activities. Or have parent-kid playdates and you and your friends take your kids hiking or on a bike tour, or to the beach to run or get involved in one of the at-home activities from above (playing tag, soccer, etc.). Kids love to see their parents having fun and they learn by example so get out the skipping ropes and join in some Double Dutch or break out the sidewalk chalk for some Hop Scotch (OMG my childhood is flashing before my eyes!).
– This blog Activity Hero is also a great means for information and ideas.
There a bazillion ways to keep your kids active and entertained and healthy. Lazy kids are usually a result of lazy parents so be good role models and have fun with your babies.