Physical inactivity is a major risk factor for developing coronary artery disease. It also increases the risk of stroke and other major cardiovascular risk factors such as obesity, high blood pressure, low HDL ("good") cholesterol and diabetes. The American Heart Association recommends that children and adolescents participate in at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day.
How do I promote physical activity in my child?
© Physical activity should be increased by reducing sedentary time (e.g., watching television, playing computer video games or talking on the phone).
© Physical activity should be fun for children and adolescents.
© Parents should try to be role models for active lifestyles and provide children with opportunities for increased physical activity.
How to Get Non-Athletes to be Physically Active
Team sports are a great way for kids to get their daily activity requirement, but competitive sports aren’t for everyone. Here are some ways to encourage your “non-athlete” to get up and get moving.
Some kids are embarrassed to participate in sports because they don’t think they’re good enough. If this is the problem, find time to practice together. This may help build confidence.
Some kids just don’t like competing in sports. That’s OK; there are lots of other ways to be active.
Some examples are swimming, horseback riding, dancing, cycling, skateboarding, yoga and walking.
Find out what your child’s interests are.
Don’t make exercise a punishment. Forcing your child to go out and play may increase resentment and
resistance. Try using physical activity to counter something your child doesn’t want to do. For instance,
make it the routine that your child can ride a bike for 30 minutes before starting homework after school.
Your child will beg for 20 more minutes outside just to put off the homework!