Monday, July 2, 2012

Kids' Fitness Personalities

In addition to a child's age, it's important to consider his or her fitness personality. Personality traits, genetics, and athletic ability combine to influence kids' attitudes toward participation in sports and other physical activities, particularly as they get older.
Which of these three types best describes your child?
1. The nonathlete: This child may lack athletic ability, interest in physical activity, or both.
2. The casual athlete: This child is interested in being active but isn't a star player and is at risk of getting discouraged in a competitive athletic environment.
3. The athlete: This child has athletic ability, is committed to a sport or activity, and likely to ramp up practice time and intensity of competition.
If you understand the concepts of temperament and fitness types, you'll be better able to help your kids find the right activities and get enough exercise — and find enjoyment in physical activity. Some kids want to pursue excellence in a sport, while others may be perfectly happy and fit as casual participants.
The athlete, for instance, will want to be on the basketball team, while the casual athlete may just enjoy shooting hoops in the playground or on the driveway. The nonathlete is likely to need a parent's help and encouragement to get and stay physically active. That's why it's important to encourage kids to remain active even through they aren't top performers.
Whatever their fitness personality, all kids can be physically fit. A parent's positive attitude will help a child who's reluctant to exercise.
Be active yourself and support your kids' interests. If you start this early enough, they'll come to regard activity as a normal — and fun — part of your family's everyday routine.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Kids turn off the TV and play outside

CHILDREN are weaker and less muscular because indoor activities are replacing the great outdoors, according to an international study.

Exercises that 10-year-olds found easy a decade ago are more difficult for their counterparts of today, scientists have found - and time spent in front of the TV and computer is partly to blame.

New research in the child health journal Acta Paediatrica shows kids' "muscular fitness" is on the wane, which experts say could have serious long-term health effects.

The ability of 10-year-olds to perform sit-ups, grip objects and hold their own weight decreased in comparative studies in England in 1998 and 2008.

The study also found the children's body mass index had not changed, meaning that, "pound for pound, they're weaker and probably carrying more fat."

Associate Prof Jeff Walkley from RMIT's school of health sciences said the UK study reinforced global trends.

"Worldwide, kids are less able to undertake physical tasks than they were in the past," he said.

"At the extreme end, kids are just physically incapable of doing things like walking up stairs. Children are being driven everywhere ... doing less physically challenging things, and spending more time in front of the television and using social media."

Inactivity has never been a problem in the Walsh household.

Mother-of-three Jacque Walsh said her sons - football fanatics Sam, 10, Henry, 8, and Tommy, 4 - find any excuse to play outside.

"We have to call them in just to eat," she said.

"They love any sport, and they're really self-sufficient. Being fit and active is really important in our family."