Get kids off the couch and enjoying physical activities

1 in 3 kids in the US is obese due to poor diet and lack of exercise. NFL running back Stepfan Taylor grew up as an overweight child. While he was athletic, he always swam in pools wearing a t-shirt because he was self conscious of the way he looked. In middle school, football training helped him lose weight and become healthier. This childhood experience has affected Stepfan to this day and he is now dedicated to helping fight childhood obesity, co-creating a game that combines technology and exercise to make it fun for kids to be active even if they don¹t like traditional sports.

 

It can be challenging for a child to do the recommended amount of daily physical activity. School demands, busy family lifestyles and of course television and other screened electronic devices that cause distractions fill up the day, but children who do not participate in physical activities on a regular basis can experience damaging effects to their health. According to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, obesity is the number one health concern among parents in the United States and 1 in 3 kids is overweight or obese, which can lead to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, musculoskeletal disorders and certain types of cancer.

Stepfán Taylor is a pro NFL player who played four years for the Arizona Cardinals, but his story wasn’t always a fairy tale. Growing up he didn’t feel confident or comfortable in his body, but decided to turn his life around by the 6th grade and started living an active lifestyle. Battling a persistent injury, Stepfán has taked time off from the NFL and dedicated his attention to fighting childhood obesity. He has co-created a tech-based gaming system called ROXs to inspire kids to get fit while playing and is working to educate families about the importance of fitness.

Here are some tips from Stepfán for getting kids off the couch and active:

· Kids learn most of their traits from their parents by observing their behaviors. Make sure you are leading by example and joining in on physical activities when you can such as hikes, bike rides or taking yoga and aerobic classes together.

· Establish a regular routine and limit screen time. Set up a weekly schedule of when and how long children can watch television. Also schedule daily pre-or post-dinner family walks or other activities.

· Find or create interactive games that will not only get kids on their feet, but will get their imaginations working as well. If there’s a fun twist to an activity kids will be more willing to do it. ROXs Run&Scan is a new game that combines tech kids love with imagination and exercise. It’s basically a real-life video game where kids are the characters and must complete tasks and activities to earn points and win.

· Don’t raise kids to think of doing physical activity as a punishment. Reward them for doing homework or a household chore with a game of kickball or a visit to a park.

· A fun and productive way to get kids physically active is making household chores and lawn work into a fun game to see who can accomplish a task the fastest or put on some music that will get kids dancing along while completing tasks.

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