When President Obama declared September Childhood Obesity Awareness Month last year, he stated that nearly one in every three children in America is overweight or obese.
How can we help children become healthier? By setting a great example for them: Join them for well-balanced meals and show them how much fun daily physical activity can be.
Jazzercise Founder and CEO Judi Sheppard Missett shares these tips and recommendations for how we can help children become and stay healthy:
Be a Team Player
Ask your child what activity he or she would like to learn and then sign them up. Some children enjoy competitive team sports including T-ball, softball, football, tennis, basketball, hockey or even Frisbee. Other children are more comfortable with non-competitive activities such as dancing, ice or roller skating, swimming, gymnastics or even yoga for kids.
Take a Class
Kids enjoy exercise classes for the same reasons adults do: the camaraderie of friends and the fun of following an instructor. Junior Jazzercise classes, separated into ages 6-11 and 12-18 years old, are wonderful ways for children to be exposed to both fitness and dance at once in a happy, non-competitive environment.
Encourage your children to play outdoors with kids who live nearby. A basic game of tag requires no equipment. In warm weather, let your children and their friends run through your sprinklers.
On rainy or snowy days, or for less athletically-inclined children, get their – and your – circulation going while indoors. Try a game of Twister, hold indoor ping pong tournaments or play hide and seek.
If your child seems more excited about texting friends than moving his or her body, lure them into exercise with technology. Try the Wii, which can be played indoors while requiring the body to simulate the motions of tennis, baseball, golf, bowling and boxing. Let your children invite their friends over for Wii’s “Just Dance Summer Party.”
Respect Their Level
Some children are natural athletes while others enjoy more relaxed physical pursuits. Respect your child’s level and work within it, only gradually increasing the intensity. As with adults, all children progress at a different pace. If walking around the neighborhood or a park is what your child enjoys, begin there. Then slowly add other activities such as tossing a ball. Walking might lead to hiking a more challenging mountain trail.
Whatever physical activity your child chooses, be sure to encourage them. If they enjoy what they’re doing, they’ll do more of it. Just like adults, right?
Judi Sheppard Missett, who turned her love of jazz dance into a worldwide dance exercise phenomenon, founded the Jazzercise dance fitness program in 1969. She has advanced the business opportunities of women and men in the fitness industry by growing the program into an international franchise business that today, hosts a network of 7,800 instructors teaching more than 32,000 classes weekly in 32 countries.
The workout program, which offers a fusion of jazz dance, resistance training, Pilates, yoga, cardio box and Latin style movements, has positively affected millions of people worldwide. Benefits include increased cardiovascular endurance, strength, and flexibility, as well as an overall "feel good" factor. Additional Jazzercise programs include Junior Jazzercise, Jazzercise Lite and Personal Touch. For more information on Jazzercise go to jazzercise.com or call (800)FIT-IS-IT or (760)476-1750.