Being overweight is difficult. Especially for a child.
Other kids tease them, tell them they’re fat, and simply don’t understand.
Most people just assume an overweight kid is a glutton, that’s not always the case.
There are many causes of obesity in kids, with just a few being mental health issues which in turn may stop kids from exercising or playing with their friends, kidney issues can cause excess weight, and some medications can plow on the weight as well. And these are just a few.
Rather than judging, we need to be more mindful of the problem, and find creative ways to help alleviate it.
One way to do this is to exercise as a family. Here are a few ideas:
Cycling: plan a bicycle trip where the whole family goes along. It doesn’t have to be anywhere too far away, and in fact, it’s better to start off with a very short trip. Start off with (say) a ten minute trip, and gradually build on that. After one or two ten minute trips, build it up to fifteen, then twenty minutes and so on.
It’s better to build up over time rather than start off with a long trip where everyone is exhausted and has aching muscles. By building up gradually, there’s less likelihood of this happening.
Perhaps you can find a nice park as your destination when the trip is a little longer. Pack a picnic lunch and carry it in backpacks. That way not only is the trip healthy, it’s also a cheap outing for the entire family.
Walking: this is a great activity, especially if the overweight person is also unwell (which is often the case), or some of the walkers are ‘more mature’. Walking has much less impact on the body than running or jogging, but is very effective.
Like cycling, it’s a good idea to start off with short walks, and build on the distance. It’s much better to take a short walk around the block, than to try for a longer distance on the first effort. When you are confident enough to go further, give it a shot.
Keep in mind failure to complete is a big problem for many overweight children. If they are unable to ‘make the cut’ they’re less likely to try again.
Playing Ball: believe it or not, the simple act of throwing a ball around can have an impact on the fitness of an overweight child. Although relatively low-key, it’s still exercise and will help lift the child’s fitness levels.
Fit Ball: although at first glance it may not seem possible, these unassuming balls can do a lot to help tone and also lift fitness levels. They are a great choice for anyone who is very overweight, because they make the exercise less stressful on the body. Fit Balls are relatively cheap – starting at $20 – but depending on the quality can be much more expensive. They generally come with their own set of exercise sheets.
Each of these exercises will have a low impact on your child’s body, but will contribute to their fitness level.
They are all fun activities, and in many cases, your child won’t even realize they are exercising. Keeping it fun is the key to guiding your child to a more active (and therefore fitter) life.