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A healthy child becomes a healthy adult. As parents we must steer our children away from the dangers of inactivity and keep them fit by leading them into a more active lifestyle.

A healthy child becomes a healthy adult. As parents we must steer our children away from the dangers of inactivity and keep them fit by leading them into a more active lifestyle.

According to the American Heart Association, children are less fit than they were a generation ago. Physical inactivity in children leads to excess weight, higher blood cholesterol, and lower levels of heart protective high-density lipoproteins (HDL cholesterol). Heart attacks and strokes are rare in children, but evidence shows that the process leading to those conditions begins in childhood.

All children aged two and older should participate in at least 30 minutes of enjoyable, moderate-intensity activities every day. They should also perform at least 30 minutes of vigorous physical activities at least three to four days each week to achieve and maintain a good level of cardio-respiratory (heart and lung) fitness.

Bad Posture?

Dr. Joseph Mercola, author of the Total Health Program (Optimal Wellness Center, 2003), partially blames TV on children's physical inactivity is too much TV. The average child watches over three hours of TV each day, after sitting for nearly six hours in school. Sedentary children can suffer from postural problems. Improper posture is the result of muscle imbalances: After sitting for long periods of time throughout the day, certain muscles are prone to tightness while other muscles are susceptible to becoming inhibited or inactive. This leads to a decreased range of motion and causes further performance problems throughout development.

Get to the Core

Your child should start with a basic core stabilization program. The majority of children lack core strength and therefore suffer from poor posture. The core contains the muscles of the abdominals, lower and middle back, cervical area of the spine, the pelvic girdle, and hip joint. Proper core strength can control the child's constantly changing centre of gravity, eventually leading to a stronger and a more stable child.

Exercises such as Prone Iso Abs, Floor Prone Cobras, and Floor Two-Legged Bridges are a few exercises that will help your child with posture and core strength.

Fitness Starts at Home

It's up to the adults to bring fitness and healthy habits into the home and lead by example. Physical activities promote psychological and social benefits, too, including improved psychological well-being, self-confidence, and self-esteem.

Doing physical activities together as a family is a great start to a fun and healthy active lifestyle. From walks after dinner to daily bike rides, there are many simple activities that parents can participate in with their children. Jumping rope and playing tag can benefit kids' cardio-respiratory systems. These exercises will also assist weight control by burning calories and fat.
Although parents should lead by example, they do not have to carry the entire burden for their children's fitness. Organized sports provide children of all ages with structured fitness and discipline. Besides the traditional sports of hockey, football, baseball, basketball, and soccer, parents can look into some other fun activities, including sports enhancement programs, martial arts, dance, swimming, tennis, and other recreational programs with peers.

They one of these activities with your children today.

In the beginning, these exercises can be performed slowly, with up to two minutes of rest time between each exercise. As the child progresses, the exercises can be performed one after the other with no resting time and longer holding periods.

Prone Iso Abs

  1. Begin by lying face down on the floor with feet together and forearms on the ground, hands clenched in a fist at shoulder level.
  2. Draw abs inward, squeeze glutes (gluteus maximus), and lift entire body off the ground until it forms a straight line, resting body weight on forearms and toes.
  3. Hold for three seconds, then slowly return body to ground, keeping chin tucked and back flat.

Floor Prone Cobra

  1. Lay face down on the floor with arms in front of body, palms facing downwards.
  2. Squeeze glutes, draw abdominals in, and pinch shoulder blades together while lifting chest off the floor. Keep chin tucked.
  3. Hold for three seconds, then slowly return upper body to floor.

Floor Two-Legged Bridge

  1. Begin by lying flat on back with knees bent, feet flat, toes pointed straight ahead, and arms by sides.
  2. Squeeze glutes, and lift hips off ground to form a straight line between knees and shoulders.
  3. Hold for three seconds, then slowly return hips to floor.
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