My Latest Monthly Article from the Chapel Hill News
Children and Sports
NASM Certified Performance Enhancement Specialist
NASM Certified Sports Fitness Specialist
NASM Certified Personal Trainer
Everyone knows that there is an epidemic with childhood obesity in this country. There are many reasons for it including lack of school activities, lack of play time, lack of recess in many schools, poor school lunches, processed food, etc. There are also many things that parents can do to help combat it.
Kids don’t play outside like they used to and many neighborhoods are not designed for it so it is important to review your child’s activity level and include everything that they do. Signing your kids up for a sport is a great idea but it will only work if it meets several criteria. First, does your child want to do it? Forcing kids to do something is not productive for them and actually does them harm. Do you want to be forced to go to karate, soccer, etc? Well exactly – so sit down with your child and a list of options. There are a TON of options here in Douglas County, from swimming to soccer to baseball to individual sports like golf and tennis.
Second, don’t assume that because one of your children like a sport that it is a good fit for all of your kids. Your oldest child may love karate but your youngest may prefer cycling or hiking. I realize as a parent that there are only so many hours in the day and it may be easier to put them all in the same sport, but it really should be a choice of your child. Some kids enjoy group environments like team sports while others prefer more individual sports like tennis. Also remember that lifelong sports like golf are sports your child can play now and still be playing when they are retired.
Third, let your child change and adapt. While they may have loved baseball last year, they may want to swim this year. So don’t make assumptions for them or push. Provide lots of options. Teaching them to finish the season is a good way to show your child how to commit but making them go year after year is not. There is nothing wrong with a child learning and trying many sports and activities. Remember to think outside the box and consider things other than team sports and leagues as well. Douglas County has some great leagues but also consider hiking, biking, horseback riding and anything else that might make your child really WANT to go. A child looking forward to working out does so much better than one who dreads going to practice.
And of course, make sure your child is fit for whatever sport they are trying. Sports like karate and swimming start out at levels that most kids can adapt to. They progress from a beginner level and allow children who are not in shape to catch up. Other sports, like football, basketball, soccer, baseball and hockey are also great sports but they require a basic fitness level in order to play them safely. A few sports specific training sessions and some advice from a personal trainer can go a long way toward getting your child fit and keeping them safe.
I hope this gives you some ideas to help your child find a sport they like and start their way to a fit lifestyle.
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