With the knowledge of American children being so overweight, sports are finally becoming a priority in families once again. Children in the last decade or so have been spending so much time inside playing on computers and video games that it is finally showing up during annual physical exams. Children that enjoy being inside playing these types of entertainment, participating in sports seems very difficult, and unlikely. The first step parents need to take is to enlighten their children about various sports, and not the four major sports that include football, baseball, basketball, and soccer. These are great sports, but for a child that is just trying to participate, these sports include a lot of running, hand eye coordination, and tolerance for better players. TiAS is one place where children get to learn a lot about sports like soccer, which gives them perspective about their options.
I was an athletic child, but I still chose to participate in sports that were not found in the school. I took swimming lessons at the local Y.M.C.A. which offer great programs at an affordable rate which can help people with limited resources. Swimming is a great sport to involve children in, and there might be a swim team available through the school. Swimming is a full body exercise, and the best part is the water creates a natural resistance, and is low impact. After a few weeks of lap swimming, parents and children a like will see the physical changes starting on the body.
Bowling was another sport that I participated in, which is very low impact, and more of a weight training than many other sports. Joining a bowling team may be available in schools, and may also increase the child’s social atmosphere. Since bowling is a very low key sport, it is generally easier to find people willing to help a child learn the game versus other sports. If a child’s weight is a problem, a bowling alley may not be the best place for them. Each bowling alley has some sort of snack bar that is easily accessible, and usually serves unhealthy deep fried food!
Golf is another sport that is low impact, and all the walking that is involved makes it a great exercise. Golf gets children outdoors, walking, and not truly competing against other children. Golf is a self discipline sport, which means the golfer is basically playing against themselves, against the course. As children get better this is a great activity that can get families playing outdoors together. To get the best workout from it, I would recommend leaving the golf carts parked!
Taking karate a couple of days a week helped keep my mind and body fit. Karate schools have become very popular within the last decade, and having a child participate will impact their life in more ways than expected. Karate schools are set up to first help motivate a child to exercise. Being proud of the moves they learn, children are more likely to be practicing, running, and jumping from the increased energy they will develop.
The best experience gained from a karate school is the children are taught self respect, and self discipline. Learning karate is not about the kicking and punching, but how to avoid being in a fight in the first place. Children that enjoy playing inside usually are the children that are dealing with bullies in school. Fighting is not the answer, most times all a bully needs is to see that the child is no longer willing to be taken advantage of. A good karate school will not only be interested in how the student performs in their presence, but how their attitude carries over to the home and school as well. A karate program is a great way to balance your child’s physical and mental growth.
Participating in sports is important to a child’s social growth. The more popular sports are the more competition there is. This may not help a child that is trying to get involved, it may actually make them retreat further into the home. Parents usually try purchasing a home gym, but generally this is not sufficient to inspire a child to exercise. Most children need to feel needed, and a part of a team to want to work harder, and longer to achieve their goals. If a child is truly not interested in being on a team, walking is still the easiest exercise available, and it is a good idea for the parents to join in. This can be an activity that the whole family participates in. American’s as a people continue to get larger, but if we work together we can be healthier!