Summertime is here and for many parents that means having kids at home with too much time on their hands, parked on the couch with the TV remote in one hand and a video game joystick in the other.
Make the most of that free time and the great California weather by encouraging children to put down the TV remote, turn off the computer and do something physically active. Start your children on a daily schedule of physical activity that can become a habit rather than a chore.
The Coalition for a Healthy and Active America (CHAA) is a national organization. CHAA encourages increased physical activity and expanded nutrition education for young people, which will lead to more balanced lifestyles in adulthood and help limit the growing trend of childhood obesity.
A recent study by the Center for Disease Control has found that obesity is quickly becoming the nation's number one killer - falling just behind tobacco. In addition, a study by the California Center for Public Health Advocacy learned that 26.5 percent of children in grades five, seven, and nine in California are overweight, and nearly 40percent are unfit statewide (2002 and 2003 studies).
Here are a few great ideas from CHAA to get them on the road to a healthier and happier life.
Walk: A light to moderate exercise, walking to a destination can be half the fun of getting there.
Rollerblade or Skate Board: Remember children should always wear protective gear, such as a helmet, wrist guards or knee pads.
Bicycling: This activity is a terrific way for kids to gain balance and endurance.
Jumping Rope, Hopscotch, 4-square, Tetherball: These games require minimal equipment and can be enjoyed in the backyard with friends.
Swimming: A full body workout, swimming is not only a superior form of exercise, but a lifesaver on a hot summer day.
Softball, Soccer, Kickball, Basketball: Whether through a community league, or at home with friends, these games are fun ways to pass time in the summer.
Visit a state park: California is full of state parks that can be perfect for an active weekend trip. Visit www.parks.ca.gov to see what state parks have to offer. For more information visit the CHAA website at www.chaausa.org.