How to keep Children Active as they Grow up

We all know that healthy habits can be learned at a young age, the question is how to cultivate those habits in our children.  In our culture of over scheduled and highly active children we often think that we are indeed cultivating healthy habits by signing children up for loads of extracurricular activities.  But we need to consider what our children enjoy in a way that when they grow up and leave home, that enjoyment will carry the activity with them through life. So in essence, have your children try new activities and keep a dialogue going with them on how much they like their participation.  As for the encouragement of children staying active as they grow up consider physical activities that can be done with little reliance on other.  As we grow up things like team sports or equipment and facility heavy sports become increasingly difficult to maintain without a deep passion for the activity.

There is a movement toward tennis lessons for children.  At Midtown Tennis in Chicago Illinois they teach a program called Tennis in No Time that simplifies tennis instruction into elements therein-building skills for greater mastery of the sport.  Tennis is something that a person can play at many public parks throughout the world and relies on only one other person, a few balls and a racket.  It could also be a benefit to hit a ball against a practice wall to expel teenaged aggression when that time in your child’s life arrives.  The following is a visual example of adults being taught Tennis in no Time, though it is used for children too, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GqlRoHng9P0.

It may seem hugely simple but going for a family run or walk together each day can set an amazing lifelong habit of exercising.  Running and walking are easily adjustable to fit ability and level of fitness.  These activities need no special facility and can be done indoors or out to suit weather conditions.  It is also important to note that a person can run or walk alone or in a group.   The Center for Disease Control advocates walking to school as a good activity for obese children, http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/kidswalk/health_benefits.htm.  Note that walking is a good way to begin even if your child has been sedentary or lacking interest in fitness.

Swimming is a very popular as an extracurricular activity.  Many parent feel that the ability to swim is a safety concern for their child’s future.  This is especially the case for children who live near water.  We know that swimming is good for cardiovascular health, and is low impact on joints.  While swimming diverges from the no need for a facility advice so far, if a pool is available swimming is a great life long activity.  A child who is a strong swimmer can also participate in things like lifeguard training as a teen and triathlons as an adult.

Raising children to have good health habits is a combination of leading by example and encouraging positive physical activity.