Motivating kids to stay fit is a challenge. There's so much competition: television, computer games, talking to friends on the phone.
It's even harder when the weather is bad or if there's not a safe place outdoors to exercise.
But encouraging children to stay fit is more important than ever.
"Studies show that more than 20 percent of American children are obese. This puts them at risk for health problems, such as diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure," says Local Fitness Expert, Gigi Teeter.
According to Teeter, even small amounts of exercise can help children stay at a healthful weight. With some planning, children can find ways to exercise without leaving home.
Step one: Tame the TV
The best way to get kids exercising is to cut back on the amount of time they spend sitting around not moving-especially time spent watching television.
"Children can stay in good shape by doing simple exercises inside the home," says Teeter.
Teeter says children and adolescents "should work on strength-training and agility skills and cardiovascular training."
She recommends this routine:
Children and teens should try to repeat this routine until they've been active for 30 minutes or more, Teeter says. As kids gain strength, they can build up their sets from 15 or 20 repetitions to 35 repetitions and upward.
Sticking to the routine by doing it every day or every other day will help kids get stronger and keep them in shape, Teeter says.
"These are all things that can be done indoors without any special equipment," she says.
Teeter says fitness clubs, such as Gigi's Fitness Center of CHRISTUS St. Patrick Hospital, are great for keeping in shape. Other options include school gyms and swimming pools if they are open in the evening, or malls or shopping centers where children can walk laps.
Children can also stay active by doing housework and using stairs instead of the elevator.
The key thing is to build activity into a child's daily routine. Remember that setting a good example helps. Join your child in the exercise routine or plan regular family walks or bicycle trips to keep moving.
For more information about kid fitness routines, call Gigi's Fitness Center of CHRISTUS St. Patrick Hospital, located at 4429 Nelson Road, at (337) 474-6601.