Fitness For America’s Youth: How You Can Get Involved
Summertime is here, school is out, and kids have more free time than they know what to do with. Statistics show that children gain weight 2-3 times faster in the summertime than during the school year. This weight gain could possibly be due to increased time in front of the television, computer screen, or video game along with increased consumption of junk food such as chips, candy, and soda. Children need at least 60 minutes every day (that’s 7 days a week) of moderate to vigorous physical activity in order to maintain a healthy weight. In order to reduce this hefty summertime statistic, exercise and health professionals have many potential job opportunities for a brand new venue with America’s youth.
#1. Youth exercise programs. Develop an afterschool exercise program where the kids get together and train for a particular event such as a mini-triathlon or a 5-k fun run.
#2. Hiking Clubs. Nature is man’s best friend. Organize a hiking club for both parents and their children so that the entire family can benefit from the activity and meet other families in the process.
#3. Parks & Playground Challenge. Parks and playgrounds provide excellent sources of exercise equipment. Organize an exercise program that focuses on different types of exercises at different parks and playgrounds using the equipment that is available. Make it like a fun outdoor boot camp for children. This way the children can get a workout while “playing” on the toys.
#4. Bike-a-thon. Just like adults, children and adolescents love the team approach. Having an activity such as cycling with others is a great way to engage in physical activity while enjoying nature and meeting others. Check out Ohio Bike’s website for more ideas on how to teach cycling to children and start a bike club.
#5. Team Sports. Bring sportsmanship to youth by developing an intramural sports team. Choose from soccer, baseball, basketball, or any sport you have a passion for. Having at least twelve children can make two teams to play against one another in a friendly way.
These are just a few of the many opportunities to get involved with America’s youth and provide them with the exercise they need. The challenge now is when are you going to start? For more assistance, here are additional resources to check out:
Let’s Move: http://www.letsmove.gov/
Kaboom! It Starts With A Playground: http://kaboom.org/about_kaboom
Discovery Health: http://discoveryhealthcme.discovery.com/childobesity/childobesity.html
Alliance For A Healthier Generation: The My Go Healthy Challenge: http://www.healthiergeneration.org/teens.aspx?id=3377
Kids Care Club: http://www.kidscare.org/