Physically Fit Kids


With advancements in entertainment technology over the years, today’s children are spending more time indoors than the children of 20 or even 10 years ago. With MP3 players, video games, Internet and television to compete with, active outdoor games sometimes lose out. Unfortunately, this also means that many of today’s children are not physically active. In fact, a recent study found that as many as one-third of American children are physically unfit.

Limiting Technology

Technology can be a great teaching tool and a great form of entertainment, but if you find your child turning into a couch potato or video game addict at a young age, chances are those unhealthy habits will stick with him. If your child spends most of his time indoors instead of engaging in active outdoor play, consider limiting his time using the computer or television.

You may find a time log to be helpful, in which your child logs in his time to track his allotted amount for the week, or you may try a token system. In a token system you can provide your child with printed coupons or other forms of “currency” that represent increments of time. For each 15 minutes they watch TV or play a video game, they turn in a coupon. Once their coupons are used for the week, they can’t use that technology for the rest of the week. (The exception is using the computer for homework purposes.)

Increasing Activity

Once you have limited your child’s source of indoor activity, point him toward more active ways to spend his time. Encourage him to play games outside, play with the dog in the backyard or to participate in little league. Sign your child up for swimming lessons, dance lessons, gymnastics or even golf lessons. Find a sport that interests your child and encourage that spark.

If you have teenagers, encourage them to become involved in the team sports available at school. Not only will this give them physical exercise, but it will teach them the importance of teamwork, responsibility and how to win and lose gracefully.

And kids aren’t the only ones who can benefit from exercise — Mom can benefit as well. Consider taking up a sport as a family, such as playing kickball in the backyard or learning how to play tennis together. Go for bike rides and walks together at the park or in your neighborhood. And consider taking active vacations, such as camping or skiing trips.

Medical information within this site is not intended for use in the diagnosis or treatment of any health condition. Please consult a licensed health care professional for the treatment or diagnosis of any medical condition.

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