BE FIT AND FEARLESS
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The CDC recommends youth engage in at least an hour of physical activity per day. A study completed in 2015 determined only 27.1% of high schoolers met this expectation (Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Study, 2015). It’s important to support your youngster’s passion in sports or physical activity early, to help them continue a healthy lifestyle into adolescence and beyond.
If less than 30% of the high school aged population is exercising daily, it makes me wonder what we can do to help our youth beat the obesity epidemic. In my last post I discussed unexpected lessons children/teens learn from sports. Now that we know more about what they can gain, let’s talk more about how to get them involved.
Try to start young
If you are a parent of young children, capitalize on their general desire to be physically active by enrolling them in a variety-focused sports camp. They can try their hand at many sports to see what they are interested in. When my sister came home from reffing U-6 soccer in high school she used to refer to it as ‘bumblebee ball.’ All the kids would swarm around the ball and follow it around the field. They had little direction, and struggled to hear the coach’s instructions because they were too busy having fun!
Set the expectation
You can give your child a choice of what sport (maybe offer 2-3 choices after doing some research about what’s available in your area), but require participation in one. This way the activity chosen is what’s negotiable, not whether your child/teen participates in any sport.
Maybe it’s midseason and your kiddo is interested in soccer. See if his friend’s coach will allow him to join in a few practices to try out the sport before committing next fall, or having to wait until winter for indoor soccer. Check your local YMCA or community college for weeklong summer ‘classes’ on the skills involved in the sport if your child is timid or feels it is too late to start.
Remember sports don’t have to have a team component, or work toward scoring points on a scoreboard. Fencing, dance, cheerleading, and martial arts are all intense options for your kids to feel a sense of accomplishment and break a sweat.
What are other ways you try to get your kids up and moving? Let me know in the comments!