We have all heard that obesity among children has become an alarming epidemic. I had never realized just how many young children are overweight until recently. But it seems that lately everywhere I go—the grocery store, my son’s school, shopping-- I see overweight children. I am saddened when I see these children, and it reassures me that I’m doing the right thing all those times I turn off the TV or video game so that we can walk up to the playground and when I say “NO” to my kids all those times they ask for cupcakes, chips and candy.
My husband, my children and I are all healthy weights and we try hard to keep it that way. We eat healthy and we play healthy. Notice, I said PLAY—not exercise. Doesn’t PLAY sound so much more fun? I am a stay at home mom, and while I may get a workout chasing around my two year old, I don’t have a steady workout routine. My elliptical machine and my Leg Magic contraption sit in the “exercise room” collecting dust because I just don’t find the extra time for them. I may not be in the best shape of my life(I doubt I’ll ever have abs or buns of steel), but I am a healthy weight, I fit nicely into my clothes and I’m fit enough to keep up with my kids without my chest pounding and without gasping for breath.
Here are the many things we PLAY to stay healthy:
1. We WALK! We walk back and forth to my son’s school each day. We WALK the neighborhood for a breath of fresh air, nature collecting, storytelling (you have no idea how easy it is to walk a mile when you are pretending you are walking through a jungle and naming all sorts of animals with a two year old), etc. We WALK to walk!
2. We DANCE! We put on a CD and DANCE, DANCE, DANCE! We DANCE when we clean up our toys, we DANCE when we finish homework early and we DANCE to be silly.
3. We PLAY! We PLAY (inside and outside) tag, red light- green light, wrestling on the carpet, touch football, soccer, gymnastics (rolls, handstands, cartwheels and such) and much more!
4. We SWIM! We have a pool and in warm weather, we use it. Almost everyday in the summer, we SWIM, play pool games, play pool volleyball (with a big bouncy ball instead of a real volleyball so it’s easier for the kids to play too), etc.
5. We joined the YMCA! Our son plays soccer on a team at the YMCA. He has practice once a week and a game every Saturday. This is routine exercise for him. The YMCA also has a great childcare area for children. Our daughter gets to go play in there while my husband and I go play tennis for a couple of hours. It costs us some money, but we love the YMCA!
We are an active family. In addition to eating as healthy as we can, being active is what keeps us at a healthy weight, keeps us fit and keeps us close. This lifestyle of PLAY is working for us—PLAY is fun—especially for the kids. They love having Mama and Daddy running around, swimming and dancing WITH them. So join in—for your kids’ sake! Here’s to our health!