Kids on bikes

Did you know just one hour a day of activity helps maintain a healthy mind and body?

Parents play a key role in their child’s physical fitness. Taking on that role not only has an influence on their childhood, it also influences how children approach physical fitness in the future. The habits we form in our youth make a difference when we get older; kids who are inactive usually remain inactive as adults.

Our children look at what we do as well as what we say, and actions speak louder than words. Make goals and plans for yourself before helping your kids. Make goals for the amount of time you will dedicate to fitness, not weight goals. Also, share those goals with your children.

Take an active role.

Be involved in your kid’s physical activities. Your child does not have to be on a sports team. Although there are many benefits, organized sports are not for everyone. Kids can play games (tag, chase, throw a ball), transport themselves (when appropriate, ride a bike or walk to activities, a friend’s house or to school) or do chores (mowing the lawn, vacuuming or sweeping). Participate in these activities with your child, or encourage and support them by offering positive praise.

If your child is involved in an organized sport, be a spectator. Leave your phone, work or book at home. Show interest. Try to show interest not only in their success, but in their commitment to themselves and their team.

Make things fun.

Help children choose an activity they are interested in. People are more likely to do things they enjoy. If your child is not sure what physical activities interest them, try different activities out. There are many sport and game options, however, household chores can be physical activity also.

Here are a few suggestions: hiking, mowing the lawn, badminton, shoveling, jogging, dancing, basketball, rock climbing, archery or rollerblading.

Whatever activity your child decides to do, mix it up, make it enjoyable and start slow. Start with 15 minutes a day and progress to an hour by increasing activity time by five minutes each week. Your whole family will be on their way to a healthy and active future in no time.

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Angee (Henry) Nott is a former University of Nebraska track athlete who was a three-time Big 12 champion and a 10-time All-American. She was inducted into the Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame in 2010. She has coached track and cross country at Boys Town High School since 2004, where she is also an English teacher. She continues to empower her students to reach their potential on the track and in the classroom.

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