Help Kids Get Back Into the Swing of Things

In 1956, President Eisenhower created a council on physical fitness which later grew into the President’s Council on Physical Fitness under President Kennedy. Its main purpose was to encourage children to pursue sports and other physical activities in schools and with their families. As childhood obesity increases at an alarming rate, quadrupling over the past 40 years—from 4.2 to 17.4%—according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), now, more than ever, we must find ways to help our youngsters (and oldsters) improve their activity level and health.

According to the CDC, children need at least 60 minutes of aerobic activity per day. Kids naturally love to play outdoors. Modern technology, with its mind-numbing array of video games and entertainment, can turn any kid into a couch potato. It’s our job as parents to keep them moving. Take family walks. Give them gifts that encourage physical
fitness instead of the latest video games. Inspire, but don’t push them to participate in their favorite team sports. Or buy bicycles and ride around town together.

There’s plenty to do year-round in sunny SoCal to keep our kids active. Swimming, roller blading, basketball, and baseball are just a few. An activity such as skateboarding, which has even become an Olympic sport, improves both aerobic fitness and balance. A game of pickle ball or tennis becomes a great way for parents and kids or siblings to bond. Dance eases stress and keeps everyone limber. Encourage socially-distant dance classes or even streaming ones you and your child can enjoy together. Team sports definitely took a hit during our pandemic, however as more things open up, kids can hopefully get back to fostering new friendships and teamwork. Who knows? You might have a future Olympic athlete or prima ballerina waiting to blossom.