Obesity is an epidemic due to a sedentary lifestyle, over-processed foods, and excessive sugar intake. Adults who are sedentary pass those habits down to their children, which perpetuates the problem. Lack of movement and regular exercise has terrible effects on health, sleeping habits, and cognitive development. There is a multitude of easy ways to engage the whole family in games that make exercising fun. Turn off the television, video games, cell phone, and computer for at least thirty minutes a day in favor of a walk, a game, or a bike ride. Adults will become healthier, and children will develop habits that will help them avoid an unhealthy and sedentary lifestyle.
Exercise does not have to be expensive, difficult, or complicated. Create a scavenger hunt in the yard for young children. Parents can prepare by hiding items throughout the yard, providing clues to follow, and making a treasure map that leads to the larger items. Children have to move around the yard to find as many items as they can in the time allotted. This activity costs zero dollars, gets the whole family moving, and encourages the development of problem-solving skills and imagination. It will not feel like exercise and not seem like a dreaded chore. Going for a walk together also costs no money, can allow the family to set the pace based on physical ability, and keeps family members connected and talking with each other.
Simple games in the yard are also fun, inexpensive, and can be adjusted to all ages and abilities. One such game, called pickleball involves a net, a wooden paddle, and a ball similar to a wiffleball only smaller. The game, invented in the 1960s, combines elements of tennis and badminton and is played with two or four players. The court dimensions are smaller than other racquetball sports so it can be outlined in the space of most average lawns. Families can look here for details on how to play and where to find the few items required for playing the game. Once activity has begun, it is easy to build up to longer time frames and more demanding activity.