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Make Sure Your Kids Get An Hour of Exercise Daily

By Sandy Schroeder

If you need to pry your kids off of the couch as you shut down the video games or TV, it is time to take action.

American Heart Association Guidelines

Kids and teens, ages 6 to 17, need at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day, according to the American Heart Association.

The activity habits they establish as kids can improve their life expectancy and reduce their risk of disease and other health issues.

Active kids tend to score better with these assets.

  • Better memory, attention skills and problem-solving
  • Healthier weight
  • Stronger muscles and bones
  • Healthier heart and circulation
  • Less anxiety, stress and depression
  • Less cancer, diabetes and heart disease
  • Less attention and behavior issues
  • Better school attendance and performance
  • Improved self-esteem and sense of well-being

How to Activate Kids

Kids start out naturally active, but our digital society may slow the pace down. To help them be as active as possible, start with their natural inclinations and help them find activities that they can enjoy the rest of their lives.

Create many choices - Start with their natural skills, along with size, weight, coordination and temperament. Then make the effort to help them try everything that appeals. Hiking, biking, soccer, volleyball, basketball, baseball, water polo, swimming, skiing, skating or running are good starting points. Explore your community classes and school sports to find the best options.

Never turn activity into a negative - As long as they are happy and moving, exercise can be pretty much what they want it to be. Never go overboard trying to shape them into a certain sport or activity. That can become a permanent exercise turnoff and a definite mistake.

Find some family activities - Helping a child learn a sport, or sharing a weekend biking, hiking or camping can be a very satisfying way to go.

Limit screen time - Kids tend to become a lot less active when screen times take over. If you start out with time limits, it may be easier to get kids outside to shoot hoops, try trail-biking, or do a wilderness hike.

Set the stage - Provide all sorts of balls, bikes, skateboards, scooters, and jump ropes to keep them moving.

Survey your area - Become familiar with your neighborhood bike paths, parks, pools, skating rinks and recreation centers.

Support community activities - Enroll your kids in community sports, dance, or swim lessons. One sport can lead to more.

Encourage gradual activities - Start where they are now and increase activities weekly to avoid injury and create successes.

At first there may be a few glitches, but the more active you and your kids become the more fun it may be. Sports and individual physical activities can form a foundation for a lifetime of healthy activity.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Chicago, Ill.

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