Get Your Kids Off The Couch

The top five things parents can do to get their kids moving.

Does your child come home and plop down in front of TV or video games? "Parental involvement is key not only in a child's academic development, but in their physical development as well," says Jack C. Kern, a professor who has studied the effects of exercise on children. Here are his suggestions on what parents can do:

1. Move with them! Taking a family walk or bike ride is an way to enjoy family time and stay active at the same time. If your kids see that you don't mind sweating, they won't mind either.

2. Encourage your children to sign up for an activity. Experiment with soccer, swimming, karate, and so on. Maybe you'll hit on one that they really enjoy, or they may simply enjoy the social interaction benefits that go along with a variety of activities.

3. Contact your friends who have children and get them together on a regular basis. Kids are more likely to be sedentary when they are alone or in the confines of their own home, so get them out of the house.

4. Check out local parks and recreation facilities. Many have hiking trails, bike paths, and lakes for canoeing or swimming.

5. Ask them regularly what type of activities they are doing in their school physical education classes. Encourage them to practice the skills they have learned at school, and better yet, practice with them.

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