Exercise used to come natural for kids

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 14, 2007

I can remember when I was young I would do anything my mom told me to be able to go outside and play.

You could actually find everything you could possibly ever want outside: a stick, a dog as a companion, a bike, and a big tree to climb in.

Everything kept you busy and also kept you from sitting in front of the television eating or playing video games.

In today’s society our children are growing up very differently, and why not? We have so many channels on our televisions today, and so many more choices that someone will find something appealing to watch. Most children today even have a cell phone which rarely gets used for talk. Instead many fill their days text messaging all their friends, and sitting.

What happened to the days that seemed to be just simple? Unfortunately it is not simple anymore with our children. Today many kids sit in front of computer, or televisions and eating junk food that puts on calories.

In schools today we have more obese children and teens than we have ever had. This obesity not only affects their health but also their social life. Especially for a young teenager who is obese, just walking from one end of the mall to the next can be a struggle. Many adults and teens still make excuses about their weight and blame it on their so-called &uot;genes&uot; or that they are big-boned.

Obesity means you have too much body fat. It is different than being overweight, which means you weigh too much.

The weight can come from muscle, bone, fat or body water. In other words it means that a person’s weight is greater than what’s considered healthy for his or her height. This comes from eating more calories than you are burning off.

Being obese can increase your risk of diabetes, heart disease, stoke and arthritis, and even some cancers. Just losing 5 to 10 percent of your weight can help prevent some of these diseases.

Have you ever heard the saying, &uot;Our children are our future&uot;? That statement means if our children are obese and eating unhealthily they, in turn, are more than likely to have children who are obese.

We need to stop this cycle and step up and take responsibility for our children. How can we do that? By being a role model to our teens and children, showing them that getting up and getting into an exercise program is the only way to live.

Expressing to our children that exercising is not the worst thing in the world.

Getting them involved in activities that help prevent those unwanted calories from coming on the body n also encouraged. Also please be leary about eating in fast-food restaurants. The majority of them are very unhealthy.

Try and pack a lunch, if possible. Not only will it save you money, but also save you from getting those unwanted calories. We as adults need to express the importance of exercise to our children.

Let’s stop this family history. Make exercise a lifetime commitment not only for our kids but ourselves. There is a wonderful Web site that has a lot of resources and many answers to the questions we as parents may have to help our children: http://www.kidshealth.org/parent/fitness/index.html#Exercise_Q&A

It will not be easy at first, but once you take that first step into health and fitness, I promise you that you will never want to live without it.

Debbie britt is a certified fitness instructor. She promotes health and fitness in various aspects in the community. Contact her at 562-7517.