The road to good health starts at an early age, right from childhood. As we emulated the habits and ideas of our parents, our children do the same with us. So it is very important to be a role model for your children and engage them in physical activity.
Obesity and overweight among children have significant long term health consequences such as adult obesity, higher levels of cholesterol, and a higher future incidence of coronary artery disease. In India, the emergence of childhood obesity presents a cause for concern because of recent changes in lifestyle and economic development
The level of physical activity parents get is directly linked with activity levels of children. Parents often face barriers like lack of time, fatigue, and other work or family obligations. It is important for parents to engage and share in activities the whole family can take part in. Enrolment in teams and other sports activity programs is a great way to get children more active, but this is not viable for all families. There are many free and fun ways that parents and children can be active together. Your children will be even more excited if you allow them to take turns in choosing the activity. Encourage your children to try new activities to keep the fun element alive and help boost their self esteem.
Here are 5 easy and inexpensive ways to get you started:
- Sport Night – take turns picking your favourite –cricket, football, basketball, soccer, etc for a weekly sporting event
- Jump Rope Together – teach your kids games from your childhood like skipping
- Family Yoga – kids can join adults for yoga sessions
- Neighbourhood Treasure Hunt – kids of all ages love a treasure hunt. While being fun it also keeps them active
- Family Hike or Bike Ride – take one night a week to go for a bicycle ride or a hike in a nearby park
- Walk the Talk - take walks around the neighbourhood or to a neighbouring mall together
Coming up with a physical activity plan that works for your family’s interests and time, reducing sedentary activity and increasing physical activity are great ways to start the journey to a healthy family. And as they say, the family that plays together stays together!