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Promoting regular physical activity in children’s lives can be challenging, but it is very important. Without physical activity in their younger years, it can lead to difficulties and problems in their adult years. Some of the negative health effects that can show up in adult years include, hypertension, osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes and atherosclerosis. Sadly, millions of American children are not getting the recommended amount of exercise daily that they need. The rise in technology has taken its toll with more kids spending hours on the internet, watching television, playing video games or scrolling through their social media on their phones. In fact, studies have found that on average, youth between the ages of 8 and 18 spend a little more than seven hours a day using electronic media. Schools have not been helping out either by taking away the physical education classes and providing less opportunity for children to be active. So when these two things are combined together, children can spend most of their days in a sedentary lifestyle. If a child grows up living a sedentary lifestyle, the odds of changing that behavior when they are an adult are not very likely. However, all of these things can be combatted if youth participate in moderate to vigorous exercise that adds up to sixty minutes a day.
With these factors in youth’s lives, parents play a huge role in helping their children find outlets to pursue physical activity. I know that I am very grateful for the role my parents played in my life when it came to physical activity. Growing up they always limited my screen time and always encouraged me to get outside to play. They also started signing me up for different sports when I was seven or eight years old. I ended up playing basketball, running track and playing soccer through elementary, middle and high school. The first sport I played was soccer and it was the one I loved the most and I continued to play it all the way through my collegiate years as well. My parents really helped set me up for success when it came to exercise and health. Thanks to them I developed a love and passion for exercise and health from a young age and now I am the Wellness Coordinator at the Kosciusko YMCA.
The YMCA is a great place for families to pursue different options of getting children involved in physical activities. The Kosciusko YMCA offers several different classes and sports for youth. Some examples are swim lessons for ages 6 months and up, Gymnastics for kids who are able to walk and older, youth sports like outdoor soccer and basketball, youth fitness classes like Little Ninjas for 3 to 5 year olds, Home School Fit for Kids for ages 6 to 12 and inclusive programs like Muscle Up, Cardio Dance Off and so much more! The YMCA is the perfect place to start youth in physical activities which will set them up for a healthier future!
Faith Long, Wellness Coordinator