It is never too early or too late to jump on to a path of regular and consistent exercise. Whether you like the company of friends in a structured program or rolling with spontaneous play, anything is better than nothing. Start today, plan to be focused for the next three to four weeks and see how good you look and feel. No idea how to begin? Just follow the tips below that spell out the word ACTION. Easy to do and easy to remember.
A - Activity Pyramid
Ever wonder what you need to do to maintain a healthy body weight while still enjoying being a kid? Getting the right amount of physical activity for your age and interests is key. The New Physical Activity Pyramid Chart for kids and teens is available for purchase online and at local book stores. It sketches out tons of activities and how much of each you should be doing on a daily basis (walking and chores are tops while TV watching and computer use are not highly recommended). Buy one of these cool charts and hang it in your room as a reminder of the countless options.
C - Cycling
Trikes, bikes and wheels in general have mass appeal for the younger generation. Cycling is definitely a fun way to move around the neighborhood while spending time with friends and family.
T - Team Up
Got a best friend or pet to join you in your new endeavors? The road to good health and greater skills often includes a buddy system. Who do you have fun with because they share your love of walking, roller blading, dancing or swimming? Planning time with them will help you reach your goals. Pets and parents also rate well on the list. Walk a dog, play with the cat, change Nemo's bowl or walk with Mom and Dad around the mall or grocery store to build up the energy you put out daily. You'll be helping your body while improving relations with those close to you.
I - Indoor Activities
When Mother Nature is at her worst with intense heat, cold, rain or other severe elements, fall back on options that are possible in the home. In your parents' day there were calisthenics and line dances or games like Twister and Simon Says. Request a family night to learn about these and see how much you laugh and enjoy them.
O - Organize to Overcome Old Habits
Believe it or not, kids as young as six years old have established patterns or what we adults call habits. Think about what you do often that stops you from being as active as someone your age should be (refer back to the Activity Pyramid). Maybe the TV is on too much or the computer and texting is replacing walking as the focus du jour (That's French for "focus of the day"). When your "get up and do" is lost, take action. Decide that for one or two days a week you will skip a favorite reality show or social network time and instead hula hoop for half an hour or take a walk outside. It may be more enjoyable in the long run.
N - Now
New concept for kids... Stuff we recommend day-to-day is based on research. Research shows that the most benefits for the body shape and fitness level comes when someone changes from doing no activity to doing some activity. What this means is that whatever additional exercise, movement, play or physical stuff you do now packs a punch. Jump rope for five minutes, air punch for 10, complete five push-ups in a row, do Ninja moves or stretch for 15 minutes. All are beneficial. Have fun. Be fit.