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Kids and Fitness — get your kids to move

(Published in the April edition of the Broomfield Enterprise)

I don’t know about you, but sometimes it’s hard to get the kids out of the basement and off the X Box.  By the time they reach high school, 63% of kids are no longer active. 

Creating an active lifestyle for your family, especially your children can be one of the biggest favors you can do for yourself.  The American Medical Association says, "Fitness that begins in childhood is a lifelong investment."  In addition, studies show that children who are more involved in fitness at a young age tend to pursue healthier lifestyles throughout their lives.

Did you know that physically active children have fewer chronic health problems than kids who are not active?  Fit kids have other statistics in their favor, as well.  They have a better self-image and more self-confidence; they demonstrate greater improvement in skill and health-related fitness and they are better able to meet the demands of daily physical activities.

It is up to you as a parent to set a good example for your kids. Instead of spending the evening in front of the television, find some activity that will keep you moving.

One caution with any physically strenuous activity: Youngsters often tire, dehydrate, overheat or drop core temperature more quickly than expected. With that in mind, consider one (or all) of the possible activities here as options in your pursuit of a healthier, happier family.

Rock climbing is as close to home as the Paul Derda Recreation Center.  It is definitely more challenging than a Sunday stroll.  Climbing is a total body workout and is great fun.

Swimming builds stamina, general strength and cardio fitness and is very low impact. Play tag or Marco Polo with your kids in the pool or try the Boulder Creek for a fun family time tubing this summer.

Soccer This highly active game involves both agility and teamwork.  Now that my kids are older, one of my favorite things to do is to play on a co-ed league with them.

Martial arts are a great way to get kids involved in a sport that involves strength, coordination and mental discipline.  In addition, there are many styles from which to choose.

Bike riding is a fun activity for the whole family that works on aerobic conditioning and balance.  Participants should always wear helmets.

Basketball Whether it's a round of HORSE, a game of one on one, or a full-court competition, basketball is ideal for developing hand/eye coordination and teamwork. Kids under the age of seven can use a smaller foam or rubber ball, and it’s a lot more fun if you lower the height of the basket.  (What adult can resist a slam-dunk from the low rim?)

Dancing Whether your kids like ballet or hip-hop, dancing encourages them to be creative and move their bodies freely.

Board sports Whether snowboarding in the winter, wake boarding in the summer, or skateboarding year-round, kids love to board.  For both snowboarding and skateboarding, kids should wear helmets to prevent head injuries.

Jumping rope is still a favorite and challenges both coordination and stamina.

Ice-skating/inline-skating Ice-skating, inline-skating and hockey can be both fun and safe as long as appropriate protective gear such as a helmet, wrist guards and kneepads are worn.

Walking Plan family outings and activities that involve walking, like a trip to the zoo or the park, a nature trail hike, or even a walk through the mall.

You can't tell kids that being active is fun.  You have to show them.  If you want your kids to be healthy, happy teens and adults, it's up to you to do something about it.