According to the MINDEF Healthy Lifestyle website, twelve percent of school going children are obese in Singapore. How do you make sure your child will not be part of this statistic?
Food plays a major factor with your child’s well-being, but, so does exercise. Wieland Kiess, author of ‘Obesity in Childhood and Adolescence’ speaks of a two year study where Japanese children were reported to reduce body weight and body fat after daily, structured aerobic exercise. Thus, there is a lot of evidence that physical activity could have positive effects on children’s obesity.
Don’t use exercise as a form of punishment. Take a look at these tips and ideas on how to make your children get fit:
1. Teach by example
You can’t expect your child to be out in the sun when you are splayed across the couch, munching on crisps! As a parent, you are naturally the model figure for your child. ‘ABC Guide to Fit Kids’, written by Dr. Philip Mason, advises, “Seeing mum or dad bound up the stairs, or join them romping outside, is a great way for kids to see the value of healthy living”. This can even act as light competition between parent and child, motivating the child to keep up with the parents.
Use rewards incentives too, to make your child do housework such as cleaning the garden. Rewarding them for exercising can also be part of the deal.
2. Just use your legs
There’s no need to set a vigorous workout schedule for your child. Easy going exercises such as walking or cycling can do the trick.
- A 20 or 30 minute daily walk around your neighbourhood after dinner can improve your child’s fitness.
- If your child’s school is walking distance, leave the car keys at home! You can even forget about carpooling. You and the other parents can take turns walking the group of children to and fro school.
- When parking your car, try to inhibit the Kiasu in you from parking so close to the building’s entrance. This forces you and your family to get a bit of exercise- multitasking at its best!
- If walking seems too tiring, riding bikes would be your best and more thrilling alternative.
- It’s so easy to take the stairs, but why do we always have crowds of people waiting for the lift? A few flights of stairs can’t be that tough!
3. Make exercise fun!
If lifting dumbbells and running on the ‘dreadmill’ is your idea of exercise, you have to start thinking out of the box! Remember: dull and repetitive exercises are a turn off to children. Let us take a look at a few pointers that won’t leave your child snoozing at the mention of exercise.
- Inviting your child’s friends to join your activities is sure to bring your child’s excitement to another level. Your child knows that if he exercises, he would get to see his buddies more!
- Play all your child’s favourite sports in the park: football, basketball, badminton etc.
- Get all your family members involved! That includes aunties, uncles, grandparents and cousins! This will not only bring more people into play, but also foster good relationships between each other.
- Include your children in the planning process of any activities. This will give them a chance to brainstorm ideas and boost their anticipation.
- During, the holidays, enrol your children for sports camps or even dance or martial arts classes in your neighbourhood community centre. It’s a great way for your child to make new friends their age!
4. Stay positive
It’s time to change your child’s life for the better! Don’t wait until it’s too late. You don’t have to end up taking frantic and silly measures like Gabrielle Solis from Desperate Housewives.
It’s important not to force your kid to exercise. These activities simply should be done for fun! This is why it’s so significant to choose activities that your child would love. A bit of competition during exercise is always good, but not TOO much till your child hates it. Start with 30 minutes of exercise 3 or 4 times a week. For optimum growth, gradually, a child should have some sort of exercise 1 hour a day. You should also keep in mind to always encourage them with every small progress they make. This will be a lifestyle change for you and your child, so make sure to enjoy every moment of it!