Westchester Happening welcomes you to our feature, the Westchester Wellness Corner! Our guest writer and fitness expert is certified personal trainer, Norma LaVecchia. Check in once or twice a month, as Norma gives us fitness tips, tidbits on healthy eating, and offers ways in which we can cut back on all the stress in our lives!
Why should we get our children off the couch and moving?
We all know our kids should be moving. We see it all over the news that it is a problem in our country. Our First Lady Michelle Obama launched her national initiative to help combat childhood obesity in the U.S. Her “Let’s Move” campaign aims to offer healthier food at schools, as well as boost physical activity among kids. According to Stop-Childhood-obesity.com, over the past three decades, the childhood obesity rate has more than doubled for preschool children aged 2-5 years and adolescents aged 12-19 years. It has more than tripled for children aged 6-11 years. At present, approximately nine million children over 6 years of age are considered obese. The obesity epidemic affects both boys and girls and has occurred in all age, race, and ethnic groups throughout the United States.
Some children are active and into sports but obviously something is not right. Not all children like sports. What can you do to help your child stay active? Find an activity they want to do. Make a deal with them. Tell them they can try it once and take it from there. Here are some choices.
1) Not all children like to jump. Maybe they feel uncomfortable with their body, they don’t have coordination or they don’t like the way they look when they jump. A good choice would be Yoga. Yoga Haven in Tuckahoe or Scarsdale has children and teen yoga. Kids (7-10) – Saturdays 1-2:15pm in Tuckahoe. Teen (11&up) Saturdays 2:30-3:45pm in Tuckahoe. In Scarsdale Tuesdays 5:15-6:15pm. “In these classes, traditional yoga techniques have been recreated in simple and fun ways that young people can enjoy. Yoga can help create a sense of confidence and well- being, while reducing stress and relaxing them.”
2) For the younger ones there’s Great Play in Scarsdale. They have activities for children 6 months to 10 years old. Their goal is for every child to develop a love of physical activity that will lead to an active, healthy and confident life, whether they choose to pursue competitive athletics or simply play and move for fun.
3) Will2lose offers a youth program. It ranges from a 9-12 program and a 13-17 year old program. The program is a fun, non-competitive way to give your child a heart healthy, cardio and strength boost. It’s supervised by caring and qualified staff. They offer a safe and nurturing environment where children of all fitness levels can feel comfortable and secure without judgments. Your child will make friends while working with their team towards a common goal. In fact, they will have so much fun they won’t even realize they are making a positive lifestyle change. Whether your child wants to improve health and fitness, gain strength, lose weight, maintain a healthy weight or have fun, the program has it all. Classes include Strength and Stretch, Zumba, kickboxing just to name a few.
Ok, Ok… you can tell I’m the one who teaches classes at Will2lose. The truth is, anything you pick for your child will benefit them greatly. The idea is to get children fit and keep them fit. Children don’t have to be obese to attend any of these programs.
How about just getting them to do something at home.
- You can buy all sorts of DVDs specialized for children, and there are fitness and dance games for Wii and XBox.
- Help them in their goal to fitness. Go out for a walk with them.
- Buy them a hula hoop. It will improve coordination and strengthen the core. The adults can get a weighted hula hoop.
- Show your child how to be active by being active yourselves. If you have a teen at home, the two of you can work out together. Join a family gym or get a personal trainer that can adjust the exercise appropriately. Make sure they are accustomed to working with children. Kids’ bodies are still developing and need to be worked out differently than adults.
Studies show that overweight children become overweight adults with health problems, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and type 2 Diabetes. The March 2004 Journal of the American Medical Association reported that poor diet and physical inactivity soon could overtake tobacco as the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. Let’s help our children stay fit and healthy.
Norma La Vecchia is a Personal Trainer, Group X-AFAA Certified, and an instructor for ZUMBA (basic, toning, aqua). Find her at www.facebook.com/normalavecchiafitness.