Fun activities keep kids moving and healthy

| 30 Sep 2011 | 09:48

Keeping kids at a healthy weight involves a little creativity. After all, parents can’t simply drop their sons and daughters off at the local gym. Masking fitness as fun activities can help make children more enthusiastic about fitness. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years. Research indicates that the prevalence of obesity among adolescents aged 6 to 11 has risen from 6.5 percent in 1980 to 19.6 percent in 2008. Many experts blame a sedentary lifestyle, one that is high in television watching and computer usage, combined with consumption of a high-caloric diet for the changes in children’s health. Eating more nutritious foods while exercising can keep children’s weight in check. Promoting fun activities where children won’t know they are working out can be the key to getting them active and maintaining healthy body weights. Here are some activities to try. Pool party: Swimming is not only refreshing, but it is also a great way to stay active and promote cardiovascular activity. Set up a game of “Marco-Polo” or have children dive for hidden treasures to keep them moving. Relay races:Turn the backyard into a home obstacle course, complete with different activities children can play to earn points or prizes. Invite the neighborhood kids over to compete. Family hike: Head to the nearest state park or nature preserve to take in the sights and some activity. Pack a picnic lunch and hike through the wilderness. Vary the pace and the terrain for a good workout. Sports center: Keep a bag of sporting equipment handy so that kids can quickly engage in a pick-up game of softball or soccer. Dance Club: Transform a room in the house into a nightclub. Kids can invite friends to come over dressed in party clothes to dance to favorite songs saved to a playlist. Strobe lights or a disco ball can add ambiance.