B-FIT| Active kids are happy kids | SierraSun.com

B-FIT| Active kids are happy kids

Turn your child's world upside down — in a good way — with regular exercise and activity.
Courtesy Thinkstock | iStockphoto

TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. — Kids like to run around and have fun.

The trouble is, modern life can be pretty comfy – sofas, TVs, computer games — even at school kids are sitting for much of the day. Our bodies weren’t designed to sit down all the time. Kids need to walk, jump, run and move to be healthy, grow properly, think more clearly and burn calories.

We need to get our children off the sofa and get them moving. In fact, kids need at least 60 minutes of physical activity that gets their heart beating faster and gets them breathing harder every day. Not only does it make them feel good, but it can actually make them smarter.

Regular physical activity has many benefits. It can help improve your child’s self esteem, feel more self-confident, sleep better, stay alert during the day and reduces stress and anxiety.

Exercise builds a stronger immune system, reduces the risk of some cancers, builds stronger, denser bones and exercises the heart and lungs — preventing cardiovascular disease. The more your child moves, the more the physical activity strengthens their muscles, improves their flexibility and coordination, all of which leads to improved physical skills like jumping, throwing, kicking and catching.

The best way to get kids off the couch and get them moving is to lead by example and show them how much fun it is to be active.

Try to introduce a variety of activities to your children so they can discover what activities they like best — whether it is baseball, soccer, hip hop dance, ballet, skiing or swimming.

Developing skills in these activities will stay with them for a lifetime.

You can also use fun family activities as rewards for kids. As an alternative for rewards such as food, toys or money, try using fun family outings that promote activity such as playing miniature golf, bowling, roller skating, swimming, go for a family bike ride along the Truckee River, invite the neighbors over for a game of soccer, basketball, tag or go fly a kite.

Fill a whole day with family Olympics — three-legged races, egg and spoon, a sack race, or a wheelbarrow race. You could even take a picnic, have a barbecue, or even better, team up with another family.

Go on a treasure hunt. Plan a route and take clues with you for the kids to guess and get them to lead you to the next stop. You could do this at a playground.

If you just have a few minutes and want to add some activity, here are a few “15-Minute Filler” ideas:

Have a race to see which kid can change their outfit the quickest

Play hide and seek

Make up a dance routine to a song

Have a go at skipping rope

Grab a broom or stick and play limbo — how low can you go?

Play catch

Ask them to help you with preparing dinner

The B-FIT program of Tahoe Forest Health System and Tahoe Truckee Unified School District are teaming up to get our kids moving. Let’s all make an effort to get 60 minutes a day of some type of activity because let’s face it … active kids are happy kids. And happy kids make happy parents.