At a time when fewer and fewer Americans get the recommended amount of physical exercise each week, only six states require physical education for students. That's especially concerning because we know just how beneficial exercise is for growing kids, and not just for their physical health, but their mental health as well. Whether it is going to the gym, participating in a school sports team, or enjoying hobbies that allow children to be active, exercise has a host of benefits for young people. From improved sleep to better performance in school, kids simply do better when their weekly routine involves fitness of some kind.
Of course, motivating your kids to get out of the house and exercise is incredibly difficult in the digital age. Fortunately, some gyms now specialize in helping youth reach their fitness goals and become more active. Many of these gyms offer classes geared specifically toward young people. However, whether you decide to hit the gym with your kids or not, there are plenty of ways to encourage young people to get physically fit.
Keep reading to learn how to help your son or daughter enjoy the benefits of physical fitness.
Limit Screen Time
This is probably the single most important thing parents can do to help their kids stay healthy. We know that limiting screen time is always easier said than done, as many teens practically live on their smartphones. Social media, text messages, apps, Youtube, and video games are a constant source of digital temptation, and it's our job to help kids learn how to develop a healthy relationship with technology.
We're just beginning to understand the long-term health effects of all that screen time on young people, who are essentially acting as guinea pigs for new technology. That's another great reason to set strict limits on the amount of time young people spend looking at screens. In addition to their phones, screen time limits should include video games, TVs, laptops, tablets, and whatever else gets invented in the years ahead. The precise amount of screen time may vary from family to family. For instance, if your kids use laptops for schoolwork, then that must be factored into their daily routine. The important thing is to set firm limits -- and stick to them -- no matter how hard your children resist (and they will resist). Finally, remember that keeping kids away from electronics in the hour before bedtime will help them get a better night sleep.
Embrace Team Activities
If you're struggling to get your kids to get active, then consider the benefits of team sports. When your child joins a sports team, they will be accountable to their coaches and teammates, which will make it easier to motivate them. In addition, team sports help kids learn valuable social and personal development skills. Physical fitness is just one of many benefits.
Get Active As A Family
It's important to model healthy behavior, which is why the entire family should lead an active lifestyle. This could include many activities that will ultimately bring the entire family closer together. On the weekend, plan active trips in the great outdoors. Hiking, kayaking, and similar activities will get your kids away from their beloved screens for a few hours.
Think Beyond Traditional Exercise Options
While a fitness center membership can be a great way to get in shape, there are other options. Many kids dread exercising because they hate mundane activities like jogging or cardio. While some may think of exercise as picking up a barbell or doing basic lifts, it is important to note that exercise is not something that just happens in a gym atmosphere. Fitness in Austin, TX includes a wide array of fun activities for children such as swimming, tennis, racquetball, rock climbing, and more. These activities are a way to allow children to explore new hobbies and also continue to be active.