Be Active Every Day
Most of us know that kids are supposed to get at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day. And 1 hour spent being active sounds like a pretty easy goal, doesn't it?
But as kids get older, increasing demands on their time can make getting that hour of exercise a challenge. Also, some kids get caught up in sedentary pursuits like watching TV, playing video games, and surfing the Internet. Even doing a lot of studying and reading, while important, can add to a lack of physical activity.
On top of that, during these years kids often come to a fork in the road with sports. Those who are athletic might end up increasing their time and commitment to sports, which is great for their physical fitness. But more casual athletes may lose interest and decide to quit teams and leagues. Unless they find replacement activities, their physical activity levels tend to go way down.
But being active is a key part of good health for all school-age kids. Exercise strengthens their muscles and bones and ensures that their bodies are capable of doing normal kid stuff, like lifting a backpack or running a race. It also helps control their weight and decreases their risk of chronic illnesses, such as high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.
Keep Kids Motivated
So how do you get kids motivated to be active, especially those who aren't natural athletes?
Kids can be fit even if they're not winning sports trophies. The key is finding activities they enjoy. The options are many - from inline skating and bike riding, swimming and especially martial arts.
When kids find an activity that's fun, they'll do it a lot, get better at it, feel accomplished, and want to do it even more. Likewise, if they're pushed into activities they don't like, they're unlikely to want to participate and will end up frustrated and will feel like exercising is a chore.
Martial Arts instructors are experts with casual athletes by making it a fun and rewarding choice.
Help Kids Find Their Niche
When choosing activities, consider a child's interests, abilities, and body type. A bigger child might be suited for football because size is an advantage. A smaller child might succeed at baseball or might consider a non-team sport.
Also, consider temperament. A mild-mannered boy who might not be comfortable playing football may like the challenge of karate.
Casual athletes: These kids are interested in being active but aren't star players, so are at risk of getting discouraged in a competitive athletic environment. Most kids fall into this category, but in a culture that is obsessed with winning, it's easy to overlook them as athletes. Encourage them to remain active even though they aren't top performers.
Once again martial arts is a great choice. The competitor in martial arts is oneself. The goal is self improvement. The additional benefits of a strong social atmosphere, confidence and of course safety and self defense make it a choice of parents.
Parents Can Make a Difference
Kids look to parents for guidance, support, and encouragement. It's very important to set a good example, so don't groan about your own exercise - make it a priority and look for chances to be physically active as a family. Most martial arts schools encourage family participation. If you don't want to participate you can still be a fan and support your child during classes, events and graduations.