Make breakfast. Put on clothes. Brush their teeth.
For parents of young children, the daily care routine can turn into a bit of monotony. Though these health and cleanliness tasks may seem tedious to parents, they play a strong role in keeping children healthy and also teaching them good habits that will last later through life. But though many parents are clear on the importance of daily food or health tasks for children, when it comes to exercise many are missing the mark.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that the rate of childhood obesity is up 300 percent over the last 30 years, with 20 percent of children age 6 to 11 now falling in the obese range. Though the problem is seen by many public health agencies as the most important health epidemic in coming years, a bit of planning in the daily care routine for children can alleviate the problem. For children as young as 11, a daily exercise routine can reduce risks for cardiovascular disease and obesity as well as lowering systolic blood pressure and improve their exercise capabilities. Health advocates suggest 60 minutes of activity a day for children.
Some creative ideas can help make this 60 minutes of activity into a child’s favorite part of the daily routine. Health experts suggest music as a motivator to get children moving. Putting on an up-tempo song during play or activity time can get children moving, and a designated “dance time” can give them the cardiovascular exercise needed to maintain a healthy weight and lower the chance of heart disease later in life.
Outdoor play is also a great way to get children moving. When the weather permits, adding an hour of playground or backyard time is an almost instant way for children to get running and playing. Experts suggest keeping a stock of toys that encourage active play, like bikes, sports balls and even bubbles. Starting a routine for a daily walk is another good chance to give children exercise while spending time together as a family.