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Tips for Keeping Your Kids Active

Feb 22, 2017, 15:48 PM by Sansum Clinic

Keeping Kids ActiveDoes your family have a plan to stay active? You may know that children should get 60 minutes of physical activity each day. It sounds easy, but kids today have many demands on their time. Here are some tips:

1) Choose activities that are right for your child’s personality. An athlete might enjoy a competitive basketball league. (Make sure they still have time for schoolwork and they get enough sleep.) The casual athlete might prefer to shoot hoops in the driveway or another individual activity. It is less stressful and still good for their body. Non-athletes might prefer exploring outdoors. You can get out in nature at your neighborhood park or on a nearby trail.

2) Choose activities right for their age. Preschoolers need play and exercise that helps them to develop important motor skills. They like to kick or throw a ball, play tag or follow the leader, hop on one foot, ride a trike, freeze dance or run an obstacle course. School-age kids often spend more time on sedentary pursuits like watching TV and playing computer games. The challenge for parents is to help them find physical activities they enjoy and feel successful doing. These can range from traditional sports like baseball and basketball to martial arts, biking, hiking, and playing outside. Teens have many choices when it comes to being active — from school sports to after-school interests, such as yoga or skateboarding. Their physical activity often has to be sandwiched between other responsibilities and commitments, requiring advance planning.

3) Parents can embrace an active lifestyle too. Take the stairs, walk to school or bicycle to the park. You will be a positive role model.

4) Most important of all, focus on fun. When an activity is fun, kids will keep doing it. They will improve their skills, feel accomplished and want to do more.

Try something new today. Play at a playground, rake leaves, jump rope, dance in your living room, walk your dog or work in the garden. Enjoy!

Visit the Sansum Clinic Health Resource Center for trail guides and other easy ways to be active. The Center is located at Sansum Clinic, 215 Pesetas Lane, Santa Barbara or call (805) 681-7672.