A startling and rather serious trend is currently taking place as today’s youth are becoming less fit every year. Physical fitness is especially important for children, who need their parents to provide a good example to them about staying fit. With many youth fitness programs available at fitness centers all over the country, parents can even make workout time a fun, family time. By changing the way kids think about their own fitness, parents can help children stay healthy into adulthood.
Fitness Among Youths On the Decline
According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), physical fitness in kids is steadily decreasing every year. The study suggests that by the age of 12, most children are in poor physical condition, including their cardiovascular health, due to lack of exercise and physical activity. This and other studies also suggest that the average number of youth and teens who are physically fit today has sunk to nearly 40 percent of all children, with only 33 percent of girls and 50 percent of boys considered to be physically fit.
The Dangers of Unfit Youth
Most adults realize the problems associated with poor physical fitness, from lack of physical strength and tone to an increased prevalence of disease. Unfortunately, physically unfit children and teens are equally, if not more, at risk for developing debilitating illness and at a much earlier age. It has also been suggested by different studies comparing physical fitness and academic performance that the less fit a child is, the poorer their school performance may be. This is largely due to the fact that instead of participating in physical activity or even joining youth fitness programs, as many as 70 percent of today’s youths spend entirely too many hours in front of a TV or computer.
Encouraging Physical Fitness in Children
Todays busy, computerized lifestyle encourages children be in front of a screen much of the time, reducing their physical fitness. To combat this, parents need to encourage the opposite behavior and come up with ideas to encourage kids to be more active. This can include anything from joining a school sports team to walking the dog every day. It can include going to the batting cages, tennis courts, or the putting range together. Physical activity, such as lawn mowing and other household chores as well as bowling, dance or karate classes, or anything else that incorporates an interest or fondness in physical activity is helpful.
Many fitness centers offer youth fitness programs to help parents keep their kids moving, programs that are geared toward different age groups . Experts also suggest that children will more likely to participate and become interested in continuing on their own when parents participate with them. Family outings and activities or working on household chores together can be a lot of fun and help everyone stay in better shape.
Regardless of what activity is being encouraged, the important message is that parents must encourage their child’s fitness. Parents who already attend fitness centers are invited to extend their fitness commitment to their children to promote better health beginning at an early age. By incorporating activities such as sports, active games, chores, or even enrollment in youth fitness programs, parents can play an invaluable role in improving their child’s health and even their academic performance. Of all the habits that today’s kids should adopt, the fitness habit could possibly be the most important and beneficial one!
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