Reducing Childhood Obesity by Increasing Your Child’s Physical Activities – Part 1 of 3

INTRODUCTION

When considering kids (and teenagers), non-healthy/bad habits means non-healthy weights.This more than anything else explains the alarming increase in obesity rates in our younger generations.

Kids don’t need fad diets, radical weight-loss plans, or extreme workouts. It’s the little things they do every day that make the biggest difference. With the right habits, you can keep your child at a healthy weight, or help them slim down if they have some extra pounds. The key is to make good choices part of life for the whole family – parents included.

In this 3-Part series, it will be our aim to help you to ensure that your children don’t contribute another negative statistic to the child obesity epidemic. We aim to achieve this by promoting /increasing your child’s activity, to be precise Physical Activity.

In another post on Weight Loss surgery, it was pointed out that one of the two contributory factors to increased obesity levels was the lack of or insufficient physical activity performed.To further substantiate this, according to doctors and researchers at the University of Michigan, physical activity has the biggest impact on your kids’ health.

But wait, you might ask: ‘Doesn’t food play the biggest role in my children’s health’? Yes, kids must eat healthy, nutritious foods, and not overindulge in sweets, junk food, or fast food. However, exercise also significantly impacts the health of children.

Doctors state that the calorie consumption between obese and non-obese kids has many similarities, but the level of physical activity is different. Obese kids seem to eat the same amount of food as non-obese kids, but obese children have less physical activity.

Exercising will help your children avoid health problems later in life – JUST READ THE MINI INFOGRAPH BELOW to appreciate what this means !!!!!

Graphic showing the outcome of expanding the availability of physical activities in schools and communities. Product produced by Aggregate by contract.
8/4/16 MP confirmed rights to use.

Leaps and Bounds: The Many Rewards of Physical Activity Infographic by RWJF on RWJF.org

Consequently, in Part 1 of this topic we will very briefly discuss 8 activities you can implement almost immediately to get matters in motion so to speak. Also in Part 1 we will discuss the merits of two exercise devices as well as a review of some recommended models should you wish to consider these options further.

Part 2 of this article will include a number of descriptions related to TRAMPOLINES ie their benefits to aid fitness, safety record and the various types available. The article will conclude with a product review of 5 Trampolines (Mini type) ideally suited for the younger members of  your family.

The third and final Part 3 will continue with the theme as presented in part two. Hence, there will be :

(a) general discussion of certain aspects of trampolines e.g. what to purchase and where

(b) another product review of 5 additional models.

As promised earlier, let’s see how we can get you kids to be more active :

1]. Parents must be a good role model : Your children watch you and emulate your actions. If you want your kids to become healthy, active adults, then you need to be a healthy, active adult. For example, your attitude towards healthy eating and exercise can also influence your children. If you complain about exercising, your kids will also see exercising as a chore. Try to stay positive!

​​2]. Aim for at least 60 minutes of physical exercise per day : Divide the exercises into 3 areas – 

3]. Switch off the TV ! In thousands of studies on kids and TV, researchers have consistently proven that the more time children spend watching TV, the more likely they will gain weight or become obese. If you don’t want to cut it completely, at least set limits for the time children can spend in front of the television, playing video games, or using a computer.

4]. Get them excited to move: Exercise shouldn’t be boring. There are many creative, fun ways to get your kids moving: The options available are numerous, for e.g. :

  • take them to the park to play
  • play frisby
  • take the dog for a walk
  • go swimming
  • go walking
  • go camping
  • have a dancing contest
  • go bowling.

5. Assign Chores : Pushing a broom, washing windows, and cutting the grass may not sound like fun, but these activities count as exercise. Encourage children to participate in household chores to increase their levels of physical activity.

6]. Sign your children up to as many clubs,associations as is possible that involve a significant amount of physical activity:

What do swim lessons, yoga, karate, dance class, and soccer have in common? These activities can help your kids become more active.

7]. Start off at a slow tempo: Go slow, gradually limiting TV time, and increasing active time. Be encouraging; positive reinforcement can help to engage your children in daily exercise.

8]. Take them to live sporting events:

Watching a sport may also get their competitive spirits burning, making them want to play, instead of just watching!

EXERCISE DEVICES for IMPROVING CHILDRENS HEALTH & FITNESS 

There are three exercise devices which we shall consider in this article which can make a useful contribution to your child’s health and fitness whilst significantly reducing his/her risk factor to become overweight or at worst obese. Here in part one, we will discuss the Treadmill and Recumbent Bike. As mentioned previously, parts two and three will be concerned with Trampolines.

The Treadmill

Getting into or staying in shape isn’t as hard as you might believe. You would think that the formula of ‘burn more calories than you eat’ would be simple enough to lose weight and keep it from coming back. And it is. But only exercise is the door to proper weight loss and a fitness treadmill holds that key. How you lose the weight does matter. Quick or fad diets do not work in the long run. You might drop a clothing size, but in the end, that weight will come back. Starving yourself isn’t a healthy way to lose. On a fitness treadmill, you’ll be walking – and walking is the number one way to lose weight.

HOWEVER, Kids should NOT use treadmills designed and constructed for adults and professional/semi-professional athletes. It may be possible to ensure their safety while they’re under your direct supervision, but when you’re not around they might imitate your behavior and operate the treadmill, resulting in serious injuries or even death. As much as possible, keep your children away from exercise equipment.

Furthermore, Children may not be able to keep up with the high speeds a treadmill reaches, so they may trip and fall when using it. Also, children might insert their fingers between moving parts or around the edges of the running belt, leading to such serious injuries as lacerations, fractures or amputation.

The moving parts of a treadmill pose a significant risk to children, but the power cord is also dangerous. Children can strangle themselves while playing with the cord, so you must mount the cord in such a way as to make this impossible. For example, secure the cord with ties so children cannot slip it around their necks, or use a power outlet that is inaccessible to children. If possible, unplug the treadmill when not in use and store the cord so children cannot access it.

All that being said, a treadmill specially designed and constructed for kids and youths will have many positive outcomes not least because they spark curiosity and excitement in kids and create an incentive to engage in physical activity while experiencing joy and positive feedback. This is a movement that children especially look forward to doing!

  • Treadmills for today’s youth have come a long way in terms of sizing, safety and individual options.
  • Handrails, low starting speed and safety stops are all enhancements that have been made with safety in mind. With the increase in safety precautions added during the manufacturing process of youth treadmills, the demand for these products has also increased. 
  • What is unique about the benefits of kids treadmills is that it is a holistic way of engaging not only the muscles of the total body, but also allowing the brain to coordinate movements that facilitate practical enhancements in mobility. In other words youth are not only improving their cardiovascular levels they are fine tuning skills such as balancecoordination and proprioception.
  • During their time on the treadmill, participants are constantly receiving feedback from their outside environment, processing that input and reacting accordingly. This cyclic process hones in on the small details of gait, sequencing and timing and is an important link in the feedback loop of learning how to control the body.

After a thorough market research of the suitable products available, we present to you the Fitnex XT5 KIDS TREADMILL :

FITNEX XT5 KIDS TREADMILL
- The Fitnex Kids XT5 Treadmill is built to fit the needs of kids cardio workout.
- The Fitnex Kids XT5 Treadmill includes a console with LED display and 6 feedback options.
- It has 5 built in programmes : Manual, Cardio, Fat Burn, Endurance, Interval.
- It features an 18" x 52" running belt and 3/4" thick deck with SDS system cushioning.
- Max User Weight : 200 lbs (100 kg)
- Running Area = 52′ x 18″ (130 x 45.5 cm).
- Display Feedback : Time, Distance, Heart Rate, Speed, Calories, Incline, LAPS.
- Heart Rate Monitor: Wireless (included) and Contact Grips
- Incline Range: 0% ~ 12%
- Step-on Height: 16 cm / 6"
- Power Requirements: 110V / 220V
- 2.5 hp continuous duty DC motor
- 0.5 - 10 mph speed
- Special Features : Safety Key ; Emergency Stop Button ; Water Bottle Holder.

The XT5 offers a durable and easy to use treadmill designed specifically for children with bright colours and a low step-up height.
A simple yet strong design ensures years of trouble free use. The quiet, low impact cardio exercise will fit into any school environment.

Exercise Bikes

Without doubt, cycling is still a very popular activity (physical) amongst kids despite the obvious,less physically demanding attractions of TV/Video games,ipad and smart phone options.It is widely agreed that these less physically-demanding activities have played their part in the increase in obesity rates in children and youths.

Thankfully,cycle technology has also improved/advanced with time and hence there exists plenty of options for today’s youth to indulge so as to maintain a high level of physical activity. The two most common forms of exercise bikes are (1) The Standard Upright Stationary version and (2) The Elliptical versions. Naturally, there exist models for children and youths.

Before describing our recommended models,it is wise to consider the merits of these two exercise devices whilst at the same time helping the reader to decide which is suited for helping him/her attain their fitness goals. Both of these machines can help burn fat and increase aerobic capacity, depending on how you use them. Before deciding which is more appropriate for your needs, determine your goals. Let us help you !

[1] GOAL : Increasing Cardio Capacity

  • ​​The International Sports Science Association defines cardiovascular strength as the ability to take in, transport and utilize oxygen. More intense cardio workouts increase the body’s demand for oxygen and improve the body’s ability to utilize it.
  • According to the American Council on Exercise, using more muscles and working out more vigorously (at about the intensity of fast-paced jogging or running) will increase your cardiovascular strength.
  • You can do a high-intensity workout on either a bike or an elliptical trainer.
  • One difference is that on a bike you will use only your lower body, so your body as a whole will require less oxygen.
  • Some elliptical trainers have levers that you push and pull with your arms. This allows you to use both your upper body and lower body, increasing the intensity of your cardiovascular training.

Therefore, if used at the same intensity, a workout on an elliptical trainer will increase one’s cardio capacity more than an exercise bike will.

[2] GOAL : Burning Fat

  • There is a strong link between the duration and intensity of exercise and the amount of fat burned during a workout
  • On both an elliptical machine and a stationary bike, you can choose how fast or slow you move and how long you choose to workout. You can also choose the level of resistance.

What you’ll want to consider is which machine you will be able to use most intensely and for the longest time.

[3] GOAL : Building Muscle

  • ​​The biggest difference between using the elliptical and the stationary bike is the amount of muscles you use while exercising.
  • Muscles increase strength when they are used for pushing, pulling or exerting force against objects. Also, standing demands increased engagement of more muscles than sitting does, because standing involves balance.

If all other aspects of a workout, such as intensity and duration, are controlled for, using an elliptical trainer will allow you to build more muscle than using a stationary bike. (Again, other factors to take into consideration are the amount of resistance and the duration of the exercise).

CONCLUSIONS

  • Both the elliptical and the stationary bike have unique advantages.
  • An advantage of both of them is that they are low-impact cardio machines, which means that they are easier on the joints than activities like running and jumping.
  • An advantage of the exercise bike is that you can sit while you work out. This enables people with balance problems to complete a workout without worrying about falling.
  • The elliptical has adjustable incline which can increase the challenge to the body. According to the American Council on Exercise, an important aspect of any quality workout regimen is variety.
  • Thus, a combination of workouts on an elliptical trainer and a stationary bike will create better results than using only one or the other.

Here is our recommendation for a kids exercise bike :

 

Fitnex X5 Kids Bike
After years of testing, FMI created a new revolution in the indoor cycle market. Designed especially for the body sizes of children, teens, & Little People from 48" to 63". The Fitnex X5 Kids Bike will rapidly become a standard tool for family fitness and weight management.

- Mainframe : Heavy gauge frame 30 x 70 x 21 oval tubing
- Resistance & Brake System : Unlimited knob of tension adjustment with quick stop break system.
- Transport Wheels : Yes
- Seat Adjustments – 12 directions seat adjustment suitable for the user who is 3′ 3″ x 5’3″ (100cm – 160cm)
- Seat Pad : Professional pressure-relieving hollow seat pad.
- Max User Weight : 250 lbs (113kg)

The X5 Kids Commercial Exercise Cycle is the first of its kind ergonomically designed specifically for children of elementary age. It combines both entertainment and workout functions rolled into one compact exercise bike. Suitable resistance strength is designed to offer children the optimum way to train easily and effectively. Suitable for children between 6 to 12 years of age.

And here is our concise review of our recommended kids elliptical bike :

Fitnex XE5 Kids Elliptical Machine
Good lifestyle habits starts at home and the XE5 will teach your kids a healthy lifestyle at a young age. The Fitnex XE5 elliptical is a great way to offer a cardiovascular and strength-building exercise that increases your kids metabolism for more efficient calorie and fat burning. Your kids will enjoy making exercise a part of their everyday life.

The Fitnex XE5 elliptical is easy to operate, simple, strong, and low maintenance.
Displays Time, Speed, Distance, and Calories.
A Smooth ellipse movement, with manual resistance adjust against a flywheel offering long life and minimal service.
The XE5 provides the low impact cardio exercise that will fit into any school environment, and yet offer a product that will survive.

- Display = 1 Window, LCD : Time, Speed, Distance, Calories(powered by 2 double AA’s).
- Tension Control – Self adjust level control
- Resistance System – Easy adjustment knob ; Resistance Levels = 15.
- Resistance System : Easy adjustment knob.
- Stride Length = 18″ (45.72 cm).
- Transport Wheels = Yes
- Max User Weight = 250 lbs (113 kg).
- Special Features : Water bottle holder, towel rack

Now let’s go to PART 2 to begin our discussion on how TRAMPOLINES can play their role in helping to make kids more physically active.

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