Being overweight or obese in childhood has become a serious problem. Many things add to this epidemic, but a big part of it is that kids are becoming more sedentary. In other words, they're sitting around a lot more than they used to.
Kids and teens now spend hours every day in front of a screen (TVs, smartphones, tablets, and other devices) looking at a variety of media (TV shows, videos, movies, games). Too much screen time and not enough physical activity add to the problem of childhood obesity.
One of the best ways to get kids to be more active is to limit the amount of time spent in sedentary activities, especially watching TV or other screens. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends parents:
Put limits on the time spent using media, which includes TV, social media, and video games. Media should not take the place of getting enough sleep and being active.
Limit screen time to 1 hour a day or less for children 2 to 5 years old.
Discourage any screen time, except video-chatting, for kids younger than 18 months.
Choose high-quality programming and watch it with your kids to help them understand what they're seeing.
Keep TVs, computers, and video games out of children's bedrooms and turn off screens during mealtimes.
They will need to replace that time away from the screen with something of equal or more fun. Get them into a structured program of Martial Arts. The classes will get them moving and have fun doing it. Not only will they be boring calories they will also be learning self defense, improve their self esteem, confidence and courage.
If you've ever watched kids on a playground, you've seen the three elements of fitness in action when they:
run away from the kid who's "it" (endurance)
cross the monkey bars (strength)
bend down to tie their shoes (flexibility)
Parents should encourage their kids to do a variety of activities so that they can work on all three elements. Better yet they should enroll them in your martial arts school.
Endurance develops when kids regularly get aerobic activity. During aerobic exercise, the heart beats faster and a person breathes harder. When done regularly and for extended periods of time, aerobic activity strengthens the heart and improves the body's ability to deliver oxygen to all its cells.
Aerobic exercise can be fun for both adults and kids. Aerobic activities include:
Tae Kwon Do
Improving strength doesn't have to mean lifting weights. Instead, kids can do push-ups, stomach crunches, pull-ups, and other exercises to help tone and strengthen muscles. They also improve their strength when they climb, do a handstand, or wrestle. Kick and punch pads.
Stretching exercises help improve flexibility, allowing muscles and joints to bend and move easily through their full range of motion. Kids get chances every day to stretch when they reach for a toy, practice a split, or do a cartwheel.
When kids are active, their bodies can do the things they want and need them to do. Why? Because regular exercise provides these benefits:
1. Strong muscles and bones
2. Weight control
3. Decreased risk of developing type 2 diabetes
4. Better sleep
5. A better outlook on life
Healthy, physically active kids also are more likely to be academically motivated, alert, and successful. And physical competence builds self-esteem at every age.