School is starting back up and what better way to kick the back to school blues than with some fun after-school activities to keep your kids active! According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States, nearly 1 in 5 school-aged children and young people (ages 2-19) has obesity. Childhood obesity is a national epidemic, and Type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol and cardiovascular risks are attacking children at a young age due to their poor diet and lack of exercise.
Based on an interview that Care.com conducted, Dr. Christopher Ledingham, an assistant professor in the recreation, education and Kinesiology center at the University of Texas at Brownsville, believes that the best after-school activities "are those that not only get children moving, but also serve to educate them on the importance of life-long physical activity.
The Benefits of Staying Active
Staying active not only helps burn your kids energy, but it also has many life-long benefits that your child will carry with them throughout their childhood and into their adulthood.
- Staying active helps build strong muscles & bones
- Helps keep a healthy weight
- Provides a decreased risk of developing type 2 diabetes
- Will help your child to have a better sleep
- Helps your child to have a better outlook on life
According to Kidshealth.org, "Physically active kids also are more likely to be motivated, focused and successful in school. Mastering physical skills builds confidence at every age."
Fun after-school activities
Coming up with fun activities to keep your children entertained and excited about being active can be hard! Here are a few fun ideas to keep their interest sparked!
Join a sports team
Check with your school and see what sports are available that your child might be interested in joining! If your child is homeschooled, many public schools will allow them to join the sports teams, or see what recreational leagues are available in your area.
Use your own backyard
Let your child use their imagination using the surroundings that are right outside your back door! Playing tag, building a fort, throwing a baseball...the possibilities are endless! Not only will this help to keep your child physically active, but it will help develop their creative thinking skills!
Get involved with Martial Arts
Not all children like the outdoors and not all children are athletic. Martial arts is a great way to keep your child active and help set goals they can be proud of! Martial arts helps develop self-discipline, self-confidence and a sense of respect for themselves and others.
Lead by example
One of the best ways to motivate your child to be active is to lead by example! Put time aside to be active with your child and show them how much fun it can be! Go on a family bike ride, take a nature walk around the neighborhood or play tag in the front yard!
Utilize your community resources
Local communities have so many fun options to keep you and your children active! Take a fun picnic dinner to your local park and play on the playground, play a couple of rounds of tennis or basketball on the courses! Find local walking or biking trails and explore your town!
All children deserve to be and have the right to be healthy! Whether you have a little one that prefers the indoors or one that loves being outdoors, it's important to keep them moving! Make sure you keep after-school activities fun and age appropriate.
If you are seeking assistance or guidance on nutritional issues, start with your primary care provider. We are here to answer any questions you may have.