Get Your Kids Moving, Too (Continued)
Additional suggestions to get your kids moving more:
- Whenever your kids have ten free minutes, encourage them to walk around instead of sitting down.
- Get your kids more involved in helping doing physical chores around the house, like cleaning, sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, and washing dishes.
- Make a game out of raking the leaves in the yard.
- Take your kids with you when shopping for groceries (as an added bonus, use the time to teach them about which foods are healthier to eat).
- Put on some music and have an impromptu family dance.
- Send your kids outside to kick or hit a ball around or throw a Frisbee.
- Get a basketball hoop to set up in your driveway and send your kids outside to play regularly, or walk to the nearest neighborhood school and use theirs.
- On nice days, take your kids to the nearest park to walk or play.
- Encourage your kids to take the dog out for a daily walk (it needs exercise, too!).
- Always have your kids walk around the house while talking on the telephone.
- Have your kids walk in place, dance, or simply move while watching TV – at least during the commercial breaks.
If motivation is your family's biggest problem, do fun things like making a game out of trying to count how many steps they take. If nothing else, doing so may help your kids become more conscious of how active they are (or aren't) and remember to add in more steps. You may want to consider picking up an inexpensive pedometer for them to use as additional motivation. Most kids will think they are fun to use!
Once you get your kids moving more, try adding in twenty minutes of aerobic exercise or recreational sports three to five days per week, such as biking, roller blading, kickball, and organized sports. Optimally, another two to three days per week they should engage in strength and flexibility activities like pull-ups, push-ups, martial arts, and rope climbing, as well as low-level leisure activities like swinging or miniature golf. Finally, have them cut down on all sedentary pursuits, including TV watching, computer and video games, and sitting for more than 30 minutes at a time.
Remember to ease into activities gradually. Walking more is a great way to start, but still start out slowly so your kids don't get discouraged. Children seldom exert themselves solely for the health benefits of exercise so keep it fun by doing activities that they like! If physical activity becomes an integrated part of their lifestyle, it is more likely to be maintained long term. For motivation, try using a sticker chart to keep a visible account of daily activities, and use frequent reinforcement with tokens or (non-caloric) treats when goals are met. Most of all, be physically active yourself to set a good example!
For more information on all of the mental benefits of physical activity, please consult my new book, The 7 Step Diabetes Fitness Plan: Living Well and Being Fit with Diabetes, No Matter Your Weight. Check my Web site (www.shericolberg.com) for more details or to order a copy today.
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NOTE: The information is not intended to be a replacement or substitute for consultation with a qualified medical professional or for professional medical advice related to diabetes or another medical condition. Please contact your physician or medical professional with any questions and concerns about your medical condition.
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