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Keep your kids active and healthy

Keep your kids active and healthy
October 05
14:39 2017

School is back in session, and parents across the Umpqua Valley juggle a full schedule of kids, school activities and work commitments. Many parents want to ensure that their kids stay healthy, active and eating well throughout the year while dealing with busy schedules.

Help your kids be at their best, mentally and physically, by promoting at least an hour of daily physical play, as recommended by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. When you include kids in meal planning and encourage them to be active, you teach them healthy habits that will benefit them for years to come.

Get kids moving

Balancing homework, chores and preparing meals, can make it seem impossible to find time for fitness for yourself, let alone your kids.

As parents, it’s important to teach your children the importance of regular physical activity and set a good example of working in exercise or other activities as your schedule allows—even if it’s just a few loops around the neighborhood after dinner.

An active lifestyle can help your kids stay alert in the classroom. Plus, exercise gets blood flowing and helps pump oxygen to the brain, which boosts kids’ energy, helps them to think clearer and can lead to better sleep. Promoting daily play for your kids positively affects more than just their bodies — it affects their brains.

Technology, including tablets, iPhones and video games, can be a distraction. Talk to your kids about why it’s important that they do other things besides play on their devices. Set rules about how much screen time is okay per day, too.

One way that parents can help limit screen time is to have kids place all media devices in a tray by the front door when they get home from school. Also, make sure that kids use their technology in common family areas.

Outdoor and indoor physical fitness fun for everyone

Make exercise a family affair by turning every day activities into physical fitness fun. Daily activities like cleaning up, walking to school or the bus stop, and even unloading groceries count as exercise.

Instilling healthy exercise habits in kids while they’re young can lead to long-term health benefits.

The best part? Active kids are less likely to develop chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, and heart disease.

Along with daily physical activity, healthy eating is a habit that can contribute to long term health. As often as possible, include your kids in meal planning, grocery shopping and cooking.

Meal prepping together can help your child become more aware of portion sizes and build awareness of healthy choices. It can also include teaching with elements of math through measuring, sizing and learning about protein, carbohydrates and sugars.

Grocery shopping can include label reading, budget awareness and set an example for making healthy choices that transfer from the store to the table.

Sharing a meal together — whether it’s breakfast, lunch, dinner or a family snack — when possible is a great way to connect for our mental health too; even a short meal together can generate a bond of conversation, goals and positive connections for the day.

Help your kids exercise and eat right today for a brighter, healthier future.

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