Keeping Kids Active Even When It’s Hot

How do you make sure your kids get plenty of exercise, even when it feels hotter than an oven outside? A consultant for the YMCA has some advice on keeping your kids active.

Whether it’s winter, spring, summer or fall, there’s a large portion of kids who spend a lot of time indoors playing video games. Some say too much time.

“The information we have says that fifty eight percent of children from five to ten spend less than four days a week playing outside.”

That’s Gina Petersen, who puts together many of the YMCA’s programs in the Houston area. With childhood obesity on the rise, she says children should get about 60 minutes of exercise each day. That can be through sports programs or just doing things outside as a family.

“More parents are cutting out extracurricular activities. They just can’t afford to sign their kids up for sports and other things. The Y can help with financial assistance, but again as we’re saying, if you can’t sign them up for a sport, you can always get out and do something with them.”

Alisa Bessire-Wooten is a Houston mother of three. Her six year old is taking several classes at the YMCA and she hopes to get her two and half year old involved as well. She’s not necessarily worried about her kids weight, it’s more about being fit.

“I mean I would be if there was an issue, but you know I definitely want them to learn healthy eating habits, and to exercise at a young age and just to have a healthier life style.”

These days parents might think it’s too hot to let their children play outside. Peterson says as long as they drink water and take breaks they’ll be fine.

“I think the other thing parents need to realize is that kids get used to the climate and we’ve gotten kids used to air conditioning and that makes it difficult, so you just kind of half to slowly, ten minutes, fifteen minutes and extend it. I know my kids right now are doing two-a-days, five, six hours a day outside, so you’re body does adjust. It’s just hard at first and you’ve just gotta give it a little bit of time.”

As for those video games, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends you limit your children’s screen time to two hours a day. That includes video games, computers, and television.