Obesity is a scourge that is sweeping the modern world. Excess weight is the single biggest factor in deaths due to heart problems, strokes, diabetes, kidney disease, and even cancer. The problem becomes more serious as more than 20 percent of kids already suffer from obesity, and the numbers only grow each year. The fight against obesity starts in your home, and providing your kids with healthy lifestyles early on can give them significantly better lives in the future.
Cut Screen Time
In the US, children aged 8-12 often spend 4-6 hours glued to their tablets, video games, computers, or television screens — and the hours go up to 9 for teenagers. Too much screentime can promote inattentiveness or even ADHD, as the constant barrage of stimulus and endorphins often significantly impacts brain development. Lounging around on the couch, chair, or bed all day also promotes a sedentary lifestyle come adulthood. Limit your kids’ access to tablets, phones, laptops, and video games. Encourage them to go out and play with friends, find hobbies, or just read a proper book. Your children will grow up with a little more patience and longer attention spans.
Take Them for a Run
Children below the age of 12 crave the attention and approval of their parents. Go for regular runs and encourage your kids to join you. Most kids learn habits through mimicking their parents, and exercising is one of the best habits they can form. At first, your kids might go along to please (or placate) you. But soon, the endorphins from running and the serotonin from the sun will get them hooked to the activity.
Children have fast metabolisms, so they’ll be burning through fat like crazy. Even if your kids are overweight or obese, a few weeks of running should lead to significant and visible changes. Start slow but expect your kids to outrun you in just a few sessions. Kids are competitive, and winning over their parents in speed is an expected source of motivation.
Encourage Group Activities
Get your kid into a sport — preferably, a team sport. Football, soccer, basketball, and other team sports promote camaraderie and acceptance, giving kids more motivation to continue their chosen sport. Competition can drive them to push harder and dig deeper. Your children will consciously and subconsciously strive to improve themselves both physically and mentally, and values like work ethic and meritocracy are instilled in them at an early age. Kids today spend too much time playing video games by themselves, so a bit of socializing once or twice a week should do them good. Of course, show your support by attending a few games, especially the important ones.
Install a basketball hoop in your garage, and your kids can play basketball any time of the day. Your kids can play some ball with their friends after school, over the weekend, or even before school (if they get up early). There might be more ruckus in the house, but your kids will be spending more time close to home instead of going to their friends’ homes. Score extra points by bringing out snacks and refreshments when your kids have friends over. Let them play and don’t join in unless they ask you to. And even then, show a few moves and let them play independently. You can purchase a basketball hoop for less than $100, but it will be priceless if it gets your kids into sports.
Build a Backyard Pool
If you have space, a backyard pool is one of the best things you can build to ensure your kids’ fitness. Swimming is probably the best activity for losing weight, and just lounging in the pool burns as many calories as walking. Expect a barrage of kids as your children become one of the most popular in the community. You’ll need to set a few rules and monitoring for the kids, but you should be able to host a few play sessions or even parties once they reach their teens. Pool maintenance isn’t as hard as it seems. Filtration systems get rid of dirt, and pool solutions make sure the water is safe. You can make it safer by opting for substitutes for the usual muriatic acid by going organic or opting for a CO2 system to balance water pH.
Obesity is the leading factor in most deaths, drops in quality of life, and expenses. Create a healthy environment for your kids and encourage fitness to provide them with a healthier and better future.