NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

PortWatch

April 25, 2014

Living Fit: Get your kids to explore the great outdoors

Remember when we were kids how the change to warmer weather meant hours of outside frolic? Then, why does it seem that our own children do not share the same outdoors enthusiasm?

What I am often asked by many of my mom clients is how they can get their kids to explore the great outdoors, to stop the incessant “there is nothing to do outside” whine. Let’s explore different ways we can reboot our kids’ pleasure in movement and help them discover the joy in the wild.

Turn off the television

Unfortunately, with all of the indoor temptations of TVs, computers and text messaging, kids today have less motivation to go out and play. You know how tempting it is for you to write one more email or to watch the last few minutes of “The Biggest Loser” instead of finishing the dishes or doing your own workout. Kids have the time draw to all our technological devices, which has led to an epidemic of inactivity and obesity in our children.

According to the American Medical Association, kids who are “plugged in” to more than 10 hours of TV a week are more surely to be overweight. And recent studies have found that overweight kids lead to overweight adults, with all the risks that obesity carries, including high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. Sure, the kids balk when the screen goes to black and the door closes behind them. But I bet you will be pleasantly surprised to see what activity they come up with.

Start them young

Kids who have made outdoor physical activity part of their life at a young age are more likely to be active adults. Don’t keep children fastened in their car seats and strollers. Take your kids to parks and zoos. Even a walk around the block can be thrilling to a child. Let them explore their surroundings freely, and watch their awe at the way the grass grows or watch their excitement as they leap over the cracks in the sidewalk.

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