Childhood obesity is an epidemic. Overweight kids have become commonplace. Parents can't help but be concerned for their kids.
What happens next, however, is up for debate.
In addition to parents doing a better job of preparing healthy meals and steering clear of drive thru windows and food that is deemed fast and fatty, moms and dads might be inclined to push their kids into fitness programs or strongly encourage them to ditch the Playstation in favor of actually playing outside.
But most parents find themselves struggling when it comes to devising a legitimate and viable game plan for their kids when it comes to fitness. A lot of parents make the mistake of decreeing that the family will get fit together, and thus hit the local health club and partake in a membership for everyone under one roof.
Doing this is equal parts positive and negative. As for the former, parents that exercise and eat right typically have kids that follow suit. If you're more likely to sit and watch television on the weekends and haven't belonged to a gym since you were in high school, chances are your kids are going to follow your lead in this regard. So parents who join a gym and want the family to do it as well have the right idea.
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Just the wrong place.
The downfall to that decision often comes in the form of these clubs and gyms really missing the mark when it comes to kids. More specifically, these establishments don't really do anything superb for kids, who might not be ready or willing to go through a mundane, circuit training refresher with dad or stand beside mom while she's in a kickboxing class.
And slowly but surely kids stop coming, and very little if anything changed for kids and their propensity to get active. If you're a parent, try and harken back to the day when you were a young child and imagine if your mom and dad wanted you to go the gym and lift weights or walk on a treadmill.
Sounds pretty boring, right? So why, in 2014, would you ask your kids to do the same thing?
In the midst of rethinking your game plan, parents would be wise to maintain the notion that the entire family should take part in an exercise routine but with a simple venue tweak.
Taking the exercise show on the road doesn't have to include a drive to the gym but rather simply playing outside in the back yard or taking a trip locally to a park or some sort of bike trail. What kid doesn't love to ride their bike? Doing that around the neighborhood only goes so far, however, which means its up to parents to take that mentality one step further.
This doesn't mean that video games or spending some down time on a smart phone or tablet should be cast aside for good, but rather this is more about infusing some activity and fun into a child's daily routine.
Some fitness experts who deal directly with kids also suggest putting together a daily schedule so kids have something tangible to work and can be held accountable for following through on what's listed. Doing that has its pluses and minuses, but that's a judgment call from mom and dad. If your kids respond well to structure, and you don't believe a schedule is a bit of overkill for kids coming home from school, then why not do it?
Another thing parents can do is start spending money on toys or products for kids that are underscored with activity. Instead of buying another video game or upgrading that gadget, how about a jump rope, hula hoop or a Frisbee?
No matter what avenue parents choose, the goal is to make sure it is not in vein, and kids will be actively engaged in what's on tap, rather than opting to tap out when the topic of exercise or fitness is discussed.
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