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3 Ways to Get Kids Moving

By Kate Gardner

When I was little, I played in a creek. A lot. I also raked leaves, roller-skated in my basement, and rode my bike with friends. We had one television that got five channels, and watching cartoons "on demand" was unheard of. To sit around was to be bored, so there wasn't a lot of sitting around. However, trends show that, between school and time spent on devices, children today are spending upwards of eight hours a day sitting. This sedentary behavior presents a whole host of health problems. 

Sitting Is Bad For Kids

In an article in Active Living Research, researchers combined data from numerous studies on sedentary behavior in children to get an idea of what's going on. Some of their findings include: 

  • Obesity - The more television children watch, the greater their risk of being obese (based on body composition and BMI) 

  • Poor food choices - Children who watch more television eat less-healthy diets with fewer fruits and vegetables and more high-calorie snacks and fast food 

  • Older kids are more sedentary - Older kids and teenagers tend to engage in sedentary behavior more than children under the age of 7 

Get Kids Moving

This is where things get difficult. Kids should get at least 60 minutes of activity per day, but with busy schedules, parents may be hard-pressed to help them stay active outside of school. After-school sports cost money and, after a long day, it can be hard for a parent to muster the energy to make their kids turn off the television and go play. Try sneaking in physical activities in ways that seem less like exercise, and more like fun. 

  • Dance parties - Take turns picking songs and have an hour-long dance party. While the kids are partying down, you might even find a moment to get dinner going. 

  • Fort building - Let the kids take every sheet, pillow, cushion, and chair in your home and build an epic fort. They can play or read in the fort and then get more movement when they clean it all up (hopefully). 

  • Fly a kite - Pick up an inexpensive kite at a discount store, wait till the next windy day, and head out to fly a kite! If you haven't flown a kite recently, you may not remember how much running around is involved, but it can provide kids with lots of exercise. 

There are a number of factors that determine how sedentary a child is. As parents, it can be overwhelming to try to figure them all out. Don't be discouraged if you can't get your kids moving as much as guidelines recommend, start with small goals that work for your family and, little by little, you'll get there!  

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

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