With thousands of cable channels, video games and computers in almost every home, children are not getting the recommended amount of exercise. Experts in childhood obesity suggest poor nutrition and a lack of exercise have contributed to the sudden growth of children suffering from obesity in the United States. They recommend children receive a minimum of 60 minutes of exercise per-day. While parents claim things aren’t as bad as experts would have us believe, the following statistics tell a different, unsettling story.

• The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry claims at least 16 percent and perhaps as much as 33 percent of children living in the U.S. are obese.

• The Trust for America’s health found after research, in 30 out of 50 states, more than 30 percent of the children suffered from weight problems and obesity. 

Physical activity doesn’t just promote a healthy body. It promotes healthy brain function. Recent studies have proven children who develop basic motor skills, such as: 
, running
, throwing
, catching
, jumping
, kicking
are more likely to grow into happy, healthy, productive adults.

However, children cannot achieve these goals and fitness levels on their own. Children can only learn what they are taught. It is no surprise then, active children are usually the children of active adults. If you start this pattern young, before the child enters an HYPERLINK “http://www.primroseschools.com/” educational preschool or day care, it is more likely to become second nature to them.

Fall is the perfect time to reverse the trend of inactivity in your family. The cooler weather and brisk temperatures lend themselves to being outside and being active.

Tips for Getting and Keeping Your Family Active:

Even if you and your family have no yard space, you can still go outside and be active. Take advantage of local and state parks in your area. Pack the family, a healthy picnic and some sporting equipment and head out.

Many local and state parks offer physical activities for families, including: 

, Frisbee golf
, Nature trails
, Tennis courts.

Have a “nature” scavenger hunt and hike and explore while gathering objects such as leaves, rocks, twigs and pictures of wildlife. 

Not all sporting equipment is expensive and much of it can be purchased second-hand.

Keep a variety of sporting equipment around to encourage your child’s interest.

Provide Balls- Keep balls of all kinds around. Large, small, medium, kick balls, baseballs and softballs and rubber balls. Encourage children to play ball or make their own outdoor games. Fall is the season for football. Make your own team and devise your own rules.

Paddles and Racquets- Badminton, tennis and racquetball paddles may persuade your child to pick up a new activity.

Bats and Jump Ropes- Play a game of pitch, softball or hold a jump rope marathon with your children. Participate in these activities with your children. Don’t just send them out alone.

Other fall activities include:

Raking leaves together as a family. Rake leaves and jump into them, then rake them again. Build a fort of leaves and spend the afternoon outside playing in the fort.

Blow bubbles and chase them around. Play a game of bubble tag. Try to chase one another and hit one another with blown bubbles.

Grab a bucket of sidewalk chalk. Play hopscotch, four-square or shuffleboard.

Take a hike. Walk through the woods, the park or your own yard. Gather changing leaves and press them. 

Encourage your children and offer praise when you see them exercising and engaging in physical activities. Build on the foundation of walking and running your children learned when they came into the world. You’ll be surprised how energetic you feel after exercise. Once you and your family get into a routine, you will all look forward to exercising. 

Go ahead, grab a bat, a ball or some chalk. Go outside and play in the beautiful fall weather with your child. Cook a meal together, avoid the fast food restaurants. Before you know it, the entire family will be in shape.