Getting kids to run, move and play is one of the best things parents can do.
As we all prepare for a new school year, the health and safety for students comes first to mind. “As some students return to school and others stay at home, parents will be faced with the challenge of juggling work, school and their family’s mental and physical well-being. When families come to my office I urge them to stay active, especially children,” says Dr. Mason Gomberg, pediatrician at White Plains Hospital Physician Associates.
There are many risks related to inactivity and obesity such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, heart disease, and depression. The good news, Dr. Gomberg notes, is that with exercise, a healthy diet and regular checkups, most of these issues are reversible in children and teens.
Here are some exercises your kids can do solo or with you to keep them active and healthy:
- Try spinning your wheels. Bike riding strengthens the heart, lungs, and lower-body muscles and bones. Children of all ages and abilities can ride a bike. Most importantly, biking is a healthy outdoor activity that the entire family can enjoy together. Don’t forget – for safety’s sake everyone needs to wear a helmet.
- Hop, skip, and jump. Jumping rope can burn 200 to 300 calories in 15 minutes. It strengthens coordination and bone density, builds stamina, and improves lung capacity.
- Train a future Wimbledon champ. Kids who play tennis develop skills and strategies that work for them on and off the court, and see an improvement in their cardiovascular fitness, balance, flexibility and hand-to-eye coordination.
- Walk the walk. Walking is an activity kids can do with friends or family in a safe way.” “A significant benefit in these times is that walking is also sociable, even six feet apart.” says Dr. Gomberg. “Being outdoors, whether it’s running, walking or any other activity is also an excellent way to boost your vitamin D levels.”
Above all, Dr. Gomberg says, parents should be supportive and encouraging by telling their children that they are there to help them lead a healthy, happy life.