031119 Childhood obesity-is physical activity an answer to the problem?
A grandparent’s guide to helping their grandchild overcome obesity. The benefits of activity
Often another common dominator are the parents and grandparents who are also obese and sedentary, thus setting poor examples for the children in their care. This is especially true in the early years of their development-the critical first ten years of their lives.
Looking at the total picture we commonly see a lower level of activity leading to greater fat storage, which in turn leads to a less active life style-and the cycle, continues round and round.
Most adults know a few of the benefits of greater physical activity. In case you aren’t aware of them here are a few of the most important reasons to begin exercising:
• More efficient weight control
• A greater reduction in the area of accumulated fat, i.e. the mid section
• Blood pressure readings may become lower
• A decreased risk for Type-two diabetes
• An increase in self-esteem, confidence and physical fitness-the end goal
Just knowing the benefits of an active life style may be enough to get an adult moving but it’s not enough to motivate a child. More is needed to get them up off the couch or from in front of the computer screen. Planning a day of fun will get them going, but it has to be fun activity not just exercise. First, make certain they are able to exercise by getting a thorough physical from the doctor or health clinic. After that is done, start a program with your grandchild by following some of these suggestions.
For example, go out to the park or walk in the woods next to your home, show them how to skip, or to run sideways, or hop over things. Have them move their arms in opposite directions to one another, jump on one leg for twenty times then switch to the opposite one for another twenty jumps. See who can go the longest without losing their balance. Jump in patterns drawn on the ground, stars, crescent moon shapes or the Milky Way would be a good start.
Go on a bike ride or a skating adventure around the block or to the nearest friend’s house, ask them if they would like to go with you.