Childhood obesity is a real health concern these days with India having the world’s second highest number of obese children after China. Scary, isn’t it? Childhood obesity sets your child up for future health issues and lifestyle diseases.
With a lot more kids being hooked to their television screens and tablets gadgets these days and physical activity taking a backseat, the younger generation has become more vulnerable to serious health risks.
It would be best to scuttle these in the childhood itself with good fitness habits. For that, the parents themselves must renew their own commitment to fitness and health. So, let’s together do these fun fitness activities with our children:
1. Skipping Rope
Remember how much we enjoyed skipping rope with friends when we were kids? This is the simplest fitness activity that does not require much space or equipment except for a skipping rope. Indoors or outdoors, we can skip rope together. Kids pick it up easily and have fun while they stay active. It also helps build better motor coordination and flexibility of joints.
It is always a heartening sight to watch children out in the evenings, on their bikes, cycling the bylanes of their neighbourhood. Children love this activity, especially when they are with friends. It provides a great cardiovascular workout that helps their growing muscles develop and burns up their excessive energies. You can bike with them and teach them to cycle from a very young age. This will be something you can look forward to every evening when you are back from work. It will also give you an added opportunity for chatter.
3. Boogie away to music
Pick up a favourite dance/ party music of your child and dance together. Dancing, like other exercises, lifts mood and helps you burn loads of calories in an enjoyable way. Most children enjoy dancing and wait for an opportunity to do so with parents. Having a family grooving to music strengthens family bonds as well. You don’t have to be good at it, just have fun together.
4. Walk the Dog
Do you have a dog at home? Not only does having a pet make your child more sensitive, caring and social, but it also helps the child stay active. Taking a pet dog for regular walks and runs in the park or play catch with him, can be a great exercise and promotes a feeling of happiness and well-being. If you don’t have a dog, you can help walk your neighbour’s dog, if they are fine with it, along with your child. Try it and both you and your child will have lots of fun.
5. Take up a Sport
This is the perfect age to initiate children into a sport of their liking. It could be any sport - football, cricket, volleyball, swimming and so on. Do keep your child’s interest in mind, and initiate them into a game that you are passionate about. It is very enjoyable when they pit themselves against the parent. Chalk out a schedule that works for both you and the children. Sports not only builds stamina but also teaches your child the importance of teamwork, collaboration and strategy.
A family that plays together stays together. Not only are these activities good for your children and you, they also a great way to spend quality time together instead of being sprawled in front of the TV or glued to your mobile phones. Let us help them inculcate good habits that will hold them in great stead when they are adults.
As a bonus activity, encourage them to maintain a journal where they can write down their thoughts after they have done the physical activity. How did it make them feel? Did they feel more energetic and happy? Did they enjoy spending time with you? Did they eat and sleep better? It will give you good ideas to tweak and introduce more fun activities together.