Healthy Tip # 101

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Welcome to the category of my blog simply called ‘Healthy Tips.’ Many times, when I write articles for various publications, I need to find sources for the story as seen in Yahoo Shine (click here) or PBS (click here) about staying healthy. I was looking for experts and non-experts to chime in and give their favorite ‘tips’ to help kids and adults lead a healthy lifestyle.

The feedback for various stories was amazing. The sources had some fantastic points of view that could not be ignored, and I thought their opinions should be viewed on the Your Health Journal web site.

So, enjoy my new series, with some ‘great’ insight from some ‘great’ people giving exceptional and educational points of view.

Healthy Tip From Barbara Gini

As a parent and children’s (adaptive) movement educator I can’t overstate the importance of families taking time to exercise together. Not only does it support physical health, but also emotional/social health, reduced stress, improved academic success and a lifetime of healthy habits. For kids, I find that games are the way to go. As soon as you say the word “exercise” it sounds too much like work and sucks the fun right out of it. Kids respond more to novelty, spontaneity and fun. Kids also move differently than adults: in short bursts of energy followed by intermittent breaks of inactivity rather than sustained movement for a long duration.

kidsexercisevectorKid’s movement activities need to support and accommodate this, which is why outdoor games are one of the best forms of exercise for them. Suggestions: Some of our favorites include mini golf, disc golf, horseshoes, bocce ball, whiffle ball (modified for the yard), Flashlight or glow stick tag and Nature scavenger hunts. We always make up simple rules that will challenge a bit and add an element of fun. We also make up scenarios: In flashlight tag we are Jedi’s in search of Yoda; in the nature scavenger hunts we are explorers of an unknown planet, etc.

If your child is not athletic you can involve them in activities like gardening, scavenger hunts, freestyle dancing or water play. I think the biggest reason that families don’t exercise together as much anymore is a lack of time. We have so little of it to ourselves. We are over-scheduled and overworked and tired by the time we have any ‘free’ time and exercising becomes just another thing to do on the growing list. We have to realize that family time and exercise is just as important to our kids as going to work and putting food on the table, and its something we have to make an effort to prioritize and schedule in as much as possible. Hope this is helpful!

Barbara Gini, children’s (adaptive) movement educator