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Heart Healthy Kids: How to Keep Your Kids Active

In today’s tech-centered world, it’s important to remember to encourage your kids to step away from the computer/tablet/TV and get out and play. Keeping kids physically active will help them build strong bones and muscles, prevent type 2 diabetes and weight problems, and help them develop healthy habits that will carry over into adulthood. The American Heart Association recommends that children and teens get at least 60 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week, if not every day. Learn how to keep your kids active with these tips.

Choose Age Appropriate Activities

Get your kids moving with activities that are right for their age group. Preschool-age children will benefit from unstructured but supervised play. Activities like running, swimming, playing catch, tag, and riding a bike with training wheels will help them develop motor skills. School-age children may start playing sports, but the emphasis should be on fun, not winning. Teenagers have several options to stay active; they can play organized sports at school or take part in other activities like cycling, yoga, and skateboarding.

Set an Example

Children often mimic the behavior of their parents, so it’s important to set a good example by staying active yourself.  In fact, a study conducted by the University of Essex shows that children who think their parents don’t exercise have a 50 percent greater chance of being unfit than children with more physically active parents.

Make it Fun

Children won’t want to do something they don’t enjoy, so it’s important to keep physical activity fun and never use it as a punishment. As they improve their abilities—whether they are learning to ride a bicycle or play hockey –they will want to practice more. By supporting their interests and encouraging them to get better, you will help your children get into the habit of staying active.

For more information on physical fitness, check out the fitness section at uhc.com, your online source for living a healthier life.