14 January 2003

Keeping kids active

Don't depend on a school's physical education program to keep your children in shape. You have to do your bit to pump them up.

"Parental involvement is key not only in a child's academic development, but in their physical development as well," says Jack Kern, an associate professor of kinesiology at the University of Arkansas, in the USA.

"In fact, children who engage in regular physical activity are better able to focus on their academic work. Physically active children demonstrate increased alertness and attention spans, which can lead to improved academic performance," Kern says.

He offers the following suggestions for parents:

  • Be active with your children. Take family walks and bike rides.
  • Encourage your children to try different sports and activities. They may find one they really enjoy.
  • Contact your friends who have children, and bring your youngsters together on a regular basis. Children who are alone or stay at home are more likely to be sedentary.
  • Scout out parks and recreation facilities in your area to see if they have hiking trails, bike paths and places to go swimming or canoeing.
  • Talk to your children regularly about the activities they're doing in school physical education classes. Encourage them to practice the skills they learn there. It's even better if you practice with them.
- HealthScout




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