The Importance of Keeping Kids Active
Guest Blogger: Kimberly of SheScribes
I have always been overweight, even as a toddler. I cannot count how many nights I cried myself to sleep because my classmates at school used to make fun of me and tease me about being overweight. It was a nightmare that I had to deal with all the way through my adolescent, teen years, as a young adult and now into my 40′s.
When I was in elementary school my parents pushed me towards playing softball. My family wasn’t really into participating in sports but they felt like I needed to participate in something. Softball was OK but I wasn’t really into it. I really wanted to play soccer. I am grateful that my parents let me play soccer, but they insisted that I play softball as well.
For two years I bounced back and forth between soccer and softball practices. Not only did it help me with my weight but it also helped with my self esteem. I was making friends on both teams and feeling good about myself. Eventually it was too much for me so I dropped out of softball but continued to play soccer for a few years. I loved soccer and I was good at it.
I finally quit soccer when I was in middle school. They no longer offered recreational soccer. Instead you had to try out and make the school’s team. My low self esteem kicked in and I didn’t try out because I worried I wasn’t good enough to make the team. Fast forward 30+ years and I totally regret my decision not to give it a try. I could have made the team and maybe continued to play in high school and college.
When I became a mom I was determined not to let my kids gain weight. I know what a nightmare it is to be overweight as a child and I wouldn’t want my children to have to experience the same thing.
As a mom I can control what my children eat and drink. I make sure they eat well and drink plenty of water. Sweets and treats are kept at a minimum. However a healthy diet is not the only important thing. Exercise is equally important.
We live in a condo and don’t have a yard, so sending my kids outside to play is impossible. Our only option is organized sports.
When the kids were little they both played T-ball and soccer, in hopes that they would develop a love for sports and continue playing through throughout school. Both of my kids ended up dropping out. My son had no interest in either sport and my daughter didn’t see them as “fun” anymore.
Throughout their elementary and middle school years I have always encouraged them to play a sport. It’s great that they have gym class 2-3 times per week, but the physical activity they get at school is a bare minimum. Our school offers gym classes such as Frisbee and ping pong. That is not exactly a lot of physical activity. They should offer much more rigorous activities.
A couple of years ago I encouraged my daughter to take track at school. She has great stamina even if she’s not fast. She did well for most of the season. That is until she injured herself. She was practicing jumping on the side walk (concrete) and fell, bruising both knees (they swelled up like honey dews!) and cutting both hands. From that point on she didn’t want to participate in track anymore. I have tried to make her realize that it was an accident and had nothing to do with track but she won’t do it anymore.
I think it’s very important for children to be active in some way every day. I think at least an hour a day should be spent doing some kind of physical exercise whether it’s playing on the playground equipment with friends or a game of backyard football. It’s important that children develop an appreciation for physical activity to help them to remain healthy, both physically and mentally.
These days many kids spend more time hunched over their cell phones texting or in a zombie like trance staring at their computer games. These activities don’t offer children any health benefits and they are only setting themselves up to be adults who have a sedentary lifestyle. Adults with little or no physical activity end up being overweight or have other serious health issues.
As a parent it is our job to instill good values in our children. It’s also import for us as parents to encourage children to find way to keep moving on a daily basis. Encouraging a child to participate in some form of physical activity on a daily basis will instill that need for them to keep active as an adult.
Your child doesn’t have to join an organized or team sport. There are plenty of other ways to be active including riding a bike, swimming, skateboarding and simply taking the family dog for a long walk. Find out what activities your child is most interested in and encourage them to take part in that activity in a regular basis. You can even make it a family affair and join in on the fun. After all, mom needs to stay active too.
How active should your child be? I would love to hear your thoughts on this issue. Additionally check out this video by Jen and Barb as they talk with Karen Owoc. Karen is an Exercise Physiologist, TV and Radio host and a mom who knows the importance of physical activity for children. Be sure to share your thoughts in the comment section of this post.
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