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Ways to get your kids to exercise

Head outside play sports as family. The goal isn’t be good it’s get fun workout

Head outside and play sports as a family. The goal isn’t to be good, it’s to get a fun workout

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Updated: August 8, 2012 11:59AM

It should not come as news that the current childhood obesity problem continues to (pardon the pun) expand. On average, almost a third of children in the United States are overweight, many with Type 2 diabetes putting them in line for developing life-threatening diseases (like heart problems) as they get older. Inspired by First Lady Michelle Obama’s organization, Let’s Move!, you also can get your child moving onto a healthy path with some of these tips.

◆ Walk or ride bicycles vs. taking the car on short trips whenever possible. Or, if you must take the car, park a few blocks from your destination and walk the rest of the way.

◆ Take up family sports. On a nice weather day, head to the backyard or a nearby park to kick or throw the ball around. Bring tennis racquets, baseball mitts, bats and any other piece of kid-friendly equipment to get moving with. ◆ On bad weather days, be active indoors. Roll balls along the floor with your feet, race up and down hallways or around the kitchen island.

◆ Combine good eating habits with some great outdoor exercise by planting a vegetable garden. No yard space? Start a community garden in the neighborhood.

Encourage your child’s school to be creative in introducing physical activities:

◆ Perhaps the physical education teacher can help you start a morning or after-school fitness club.

◆ Invite local sports coaches, dance teachers, karate masters and the like to work with students on an occasional basis on the school grounds.

◆ Take a cue from the local gym: Create stations with different fitness activities at each. Set the timer for seven to 10 minutes and when the timer goes off it is time to switch stations.

◆ Target a goal. Perhaps 12 times running or walking around the block. Once the goal is reached, celebrate by thinking up a new goal.

◆ Infants and preschoolers need plenty of exercise as well. Let your infant explore in a safe environment by making room for him to crawl around the floor at home or in a park.

Gannett News Service

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