March 1, 2011

How Can I Encourage My Kids to be More Active?

In the March 2011 issue of the Great Lakes Bay Magazine, I was asked to be the health and wellness expert. In the article "How Can I Encourage My Kids to be More Active" by Holly Case, a reader asked With spring just around the corner, I want to make sure my kids—who have been couch potatoes playing video games all winter—get outside to regularly exercise and play in the nice weather. Any tips to encourage them to be more physically active and healthy?

“You have to lead by example,” says Dr. Dan Kehres of Kehres Health & Chiropractic in Saginaw. “If the parents are outside exercising, the kids will want to do so as well.”

Inactivity is a nationwide problem, affecting children and adults alike. The health consequences of too little exercise can be significant. “Currently, 60 percent of the population is obese or overweight,” says Dr. Kehres. Asthma, type 2 diabetes and heart disease are all linked to obesity. “If something isn’t changed, today’s babies will suffer from diseases that once only affected much older people.”

Fortunately, these serious diseases are mostly preventable by adopting healthier lifestyle habits, and developing a family exercise habit does not have to feel like a chore.

 “Being active as a family has so many benefits. It feels good to see your spouse and kids get healthy. Spending the time together builds better relationships,” says Dr. Kehres.

Although families today are busy, the benefits of physical activity are worth the time investment for you and your kids. “Regular exercise can help your body fight stress and prevent illness,” says Dr. Kehres. “Outdoor exercise also provides a natural source of vitamin D, a nutrient many people are lacking.”

 Exercise doesn’t necessarily have to mean hitting the gym, either. “So many activities are fun for a family. Walking, hiking, mountain biking and even playing soccer are great ways to get moving,” says Dr. Kehres. “Michigan has so many options for outdoor activities, even in the winter.”

“Kids will do what their parents do,” says Dr. Kehres. “By making fitness a fun time you spend with your child, you also create good habits they’ll keep for the rest of their lives.”

If you make a commitment to be fit and active as a family, it will soon become an important part of your family life all year long.

To see the original article in Great Lakes Bay Magazine, click here. Thank you for the opportunity GLB Magazine!

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