Posts Tagged ‘Excercise’

Is “Bubble Wrapping” Your Child Really Worthwhile?

May 25, 2014



We all do it. Too afraid to risk a serious injury to your precious child we say, “Steer clear of that” or “Get off that ledge”. Nobody wants to see their child break a bone or scream in pain.

As a stay-at-home father I take my son to a park almost ever single day. The idea is to let him run around and enjoy the fresh air. But let’s face it, the average park is a great disappointment.  The equipment is designed to seem fun, but when tested is severely underwhelming. The slides are slow, the climbing apparatus is hardly off the ground and the greatest element of danger is being accidentally bumped into by another eager child. Park designers are simply afraid of potential lawsuits, so they design a layout high on colour and style and low on substance.

I read the following opinion piece in an online Canadian newspaper. I couldn’t agree with it more:


Imagine spending childhood outdoors, running, playing and even, heaven forbid, getting dirty.

Not only does it sound like a lot more fun than a play date booked three weeks in advance at an indoor gym under the protective watch of parents, but it’s also healthier.

And, unfortunately, it’s something that fewer and fewer Canadian children get to do, putting them at risk of growing overweight or just out of shape and, frankly, unadventurous.

As the Star’s Diana Zlomislic reported this past week, the first global report card to measure childhood physical activity gives Canadian youngsters an embarrassing D-minus score, behind top-rated countries like New Zealand, Mexico and even benighted Mozambique.

Leave aside the pointless comparison with a desperately poor country where kids do physical domestic chores like collecting water and walk to school as a matter of course. Ranked beside comparable countries, Canada still looks bad. Parents here may spend significant sums on structured activities but only 4 per cent of young people aged 12 to 17 get an hour of high cardio activity each day, according to a report by Active Healthy Kids Canada.

While it’s long been known that children are devoted to video games and parents stuck in gridlock run out of time to go outside with their kids and play, it’s fair to suggest that a little extra effort is needed.

Release those youngsters from the parental “bubblewrap,” as Healthy Kids’ researchers rightly suggest, and give them the freedom to play. Outdoor, unstructured play can provide kids with better exercise than the expensive programming.

As Healthy Kids’ chief scientific officer Dr. Mark Tremblay says, “We need to stop treating physical activity like a vitamin, something you take once a day.”


Children Protected From Experiencing Anything Remotely Fun

January 17, 2013


Reflecting on my childhood (which wasn’t THAT long ago), I remember playing sporting games on our street with the neighbours, climbing trees, building Lego villages and riding bikes.

I was stunned when I first heard a class of grown kids that confessed to not being able to ride a bike. Sure, they are experts at driving a computerised racing car or skateboard on their game consoles. But an actual bike? Not a chance!

Why then, should I be surprised that many can’t jump or throw a ball correctly either:

Thousands of children are starting secondary school unable to run, jump, throw a ball or catch, the head of UK Sport has said.

Susan Campbell has claimed ‘physically illiterate’ children ‘hardly move’ by the time they are ready to make the transition from primary school.

And she said the legacy of the Olympics in the summer could be lost if teachers in primary schools did not receive specialist PE training.

She warned some 11-year-olds aren’t able to take part in the most basic of sports by the time they go to secondary school.

Baroness Campbell, chairwoman of UK Sport and the Youth Sport Trust, said sport should be taken as seriously as literacy and numeracy in primary schools.

And she has called for primary school teachers to receive extra training in PE.

Parents, not without good reason, are reluctant to give their children the opportunity of playing on the streets because of the many potential risks that exist. Whether these risks are as prevalent as we have been raised to believe is questionable. Whether these risks should be weighed up with the many benefits of having our children experience the joys of bike riding and outdoor sports is worth discussing.

5 Ways to Get Kids Active

June 19, 2012


I heard a very surprising fact on the radio the other week. A nutritionist asked the listeners what they thought the leading cause of death was. Like most, I thought the answer was something like heart disease, obesity or cancer. It was none of the above. Apparently, the leading cause of death is inactivity.

That’s why it is so vital that we help our children to become more active. Here are some helpful hints by Steve Ettinger, a children’s fitness expert and author:

Be creative

Whether you live in an urban, suburban or rural environment, use the space, time and resources you have to find ways to exercise. For example, if you live in the city and don’t have access to outdoor space, find indoor activities. Ettinger also says if kids are sitting in front of the TV, challenge them to exercise in short spurts during commercials. It is a far better solution than having them get up to snack on junk food.

Schedule time to exercise

Writing down time to exercise makes it much more likely that you will do it. Even if it’s just playing at the park, schedule that time in your calendar.
Ettinger also says children who eat poorly will naturally not have as much energy and as high of an activity level as children who eat nutritiously.

Get involved as a family

One of the best ways to get children to exercise is for the family to participate together. Find something that everyone enjoys doing, such as bike riding or going for a walk around the neighborhood, and do it together. That way, there are fewer safety concerns because kids aren’t out by themselves, and everyone in the family – including yourself – gets to benefit from moving around.

Find something your kids enjoy

One reason kids stop exercising is that they are forced into activities they don’t enjoy. If your child doesn’t like a particular activity or organized sport, be patient and take the time to explore different options. Ettinger says if kids find activities fun, they will usually stick with them. He also says it’s best to find an activity for children before age 10 – otherwise, inertia will become a habit.

Educate yourself

Modeling proper nutrition and exercise is the best way to teach your kids about maintaining a proper weight and a healthy lifestyle. Ettinger says he is amazed by the number of parents who have misconceptions about proper nutrition. Seek out resources so you can learn the basics and incorporate these lessons into your own life.

Click on the link to read my post on 6 Strategies for Promoting Healthy Food to Kids.

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