Keeping families active during the pandemic


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — Health professionals are raising concerns for childhood obesity.

There is a heightened risk during the pandemic because of the limitations caused by the stay at home order. As the order goes on, doctors are reminding parents to help keep their kids active to make sure they stay healthy at a time when it can be easy to develop bad habits.

While people are staying at home more often during the pandemic, it does not mean you should stay still. Doctors are warning people to avoid developing sedentary habits and reminding everyone to exercise regularly, especially children.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that kids ages 6-17 should get 60 minutes or more of moderate to vigorous physical activity. The goal is to get the heart rate up through any form of exercise like playing outside, going for a walk or an at-home workout. It does not have to be consecutive, so you can break up the time between the day. But doctors said consistency is key. “For encouraging families to stick with it, have some sort of reward system,” said Dr. Megan Rand, Christie Clinic Physical Therapy. “So if you worked out five out of the seven days that week, reward them with something that doesn’t involve food like watching a movie together or something else you really enjoy.” There are lots of free workouts available through apps on smartphones or YouTube. Some other options for family activities are setting up obstacle courses in or outside your house, bike rides or hikes.

Another reason doctors recommend people continue to stay active is to avoid the potential for injuries when the stay at home restrictions are lifted. Kids will eventually be able to return to play sports and maintaining exercise habits will set them up to be ready when the time comes.

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