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When many of us were young, we played outside as much as we possibly could.  Don’t you remember begging to stay outside for just a few more minutes?  Unfortunately, today many children don’t play outside and don’t participate in physical activities unless it’s in gym class or an organized sport.   Many don’t get enough exercise because they don’t run and play tag, jump rope, skate, or play ball nearly as much as we did as kids. 

Today, there are many wonderful electronics to keep kids busy.  While TV, video games, handheld games, and computers are fantastic, they don’t require much imagination or physical activity.  Since this is true, it’s a good idea to set aside some outdoor time.  It’s fine to play video games, watch TV, and use the computer sometimes, but getting fresh air and exercise is important. 

Let your children know that they can still enjoy their favorites but that you also want them to spend at least 30 minutes each day playing outside, when weather permits, and engaging in other forms of indoor exercise when they can’t go outside.  If you try to make it fun, they will respond better. 

Instead of insisting on sit ups or jumping jacks, let your child choose the activity.  Maybe your son or daughter prefers to pop in a CD and dance until he or she works up a sweat.  As long as your child gets moving for a few extra minutes each day, he or she will be healthier for it.  And, remember, the best way to encourage your children to exercise is to be a good example.