6 Tips for Couch-Potato Kids

Photo (cc) by Kevin Lawver

It’s official: Kids have become couch potatoes.

For the first time in the six-year history of the National Poll on Children’s Health, a lack of exercise is the No. 1 health concern that adults – parents and non-parents – have about kids in their community. It outranked smoking, drugs, and alcohol.

The University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital released the latest results of this annual poll Monday…

  1. Not enough exercise (39 percent)
  2. Childhood obesity (38 percent)
  3. Smoking and tobacco use (34 percent)
  4. Drug abuse (33 percent)
  5. Bullying (29 percent)
  6. Stress (27 percent)
  7. Alcohol abuse (23 percent)
  8. Teen pregnancy (23 percent)
  9. Internet safety (22 percent)
  10. Child abuse and neglect (20 percent)

To make matters worse, couch-potato kids might take their bad habits with them into adulthood. “The Freshman 15” is an exaggeration, but the National Institutes of Health recently reported that most college freshmen pack on another 3.5 pounds their first year of college – in part due to a lack of exercise.

So here are our tips to help your kids or grandkids lead a healthier life, whether they’re toddlers or college students…

  • Practice what you preach. How can you expect junior to get off the couch if you don’t lead the way?
  • Make it a family affair. Get your exercise with the kids. Sticking to regular exercising is easier with an exercise partner.
  • Go wild. Walking, jogging, or biking around the block can get old, making exercise feel like a chore. To break up the monotony, use these free cool tools to find local parks, preserves, and nature trails to explore: the National Wildlife Federation’s Nature Find search, the U.S. Forest Service’s free Where To Go search, or nonprofit KaBOOM!’s Map of Play search or Playgrounds! app.
  • Be a good sport. If the kids aren’t into nature, help them find a sport. Contact your child’s school, your city hall, or your city or county parks and recreation department to find out about local leagues and sports camps. The nonprofit Shaping America’s Youth also has a searchable Program Registry of sports organizations in each state.
  • Limit screen time. This may seem obvious, but it’s also perhaps the one piece of advice most often given by experts. If the kids watch just three hours of TV a day, that’s 21 hours a week – equal to a part-time job! But it’s not just TV. Whether they sit in front of a TV screen, computer screen, or video game console, they’re still sitting.
  • Think outside the box. Physical activity isn’t limited to traditional exercising, nature exploring, and group sports: Search for local skating rinks or rock-climbing walls, for example. Video games like Dance Dance Revolution and some Wii Sports will also get your heart rate going.

What’s your favorite way to exercise with the kids? Share in a comment below or on Facebook.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
3 Ways to Downsize Your Life to Save Money, Time and Stress
3 Ways to Downsize Your Life to Save Money, Time and Stress

Downsizing can cut the bloat in your finances — and give you more free time and less stress.

7 Kitchen Gadgets That Make Healthy Cooking a Breeze
7 Kitchen Gadgets That Make Healthy Cooking a Breeze

These small appliances and cooking aids make healthy eating easy — and they’re all available on Amazon.

17 Home Upgrades That Rarely Help Close a Sale
17 Home Upgrades That Rarely Help Close a Sale

Real estate agents give these renovations low marks when it comes to helping sell homes.

5 Monthly Bills You Can Easily Negotiate Down
5 Monthly Bills You Can Easily Negotiate Down

Here’s how to bring down recurring expenses and save hundreds — or even thousands — of dollars each year.

Why Half of Retirees Now Owe Taxes on Social Security
Why Half of Retirees Now Owe Taxes on Social Security

Growing numbers of seniors are paying taxes on their Social Security benefits, but you might be able to avoid this fate.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?
Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?

Can an adult daughter tap into her late mother’s benefit?

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia
This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia

Nearly half of U.S. residents may face this threat.

Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds
Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds

Resolve to be clutter-free in 2021 with these secondhand purchases.

This Gas Station Scam Is Victimizing More Drivers
This Gas Station Scam Is Victimizing More Drivers

For the second straight year, a growing number of Americans believe they’ve fallen prey to this scam.

11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It
11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It

Seriously? Fibbing about the weather is a crime? This and other little-known legal traps await the unwary.

11 Generic Products You Should Buy at Costco
11 Generic Products You Should Buy at Costco

Not all generics are worthwhile, but these are among the best from Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand.

These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy
These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy

These vehicles boast reliability, safety and long-lasting value.

13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free
13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free

There are many ways to get cheap or free services and goods after reaching a certain age.

6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have
6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have

Few retirees have all of these documents that are crucial to their golden years — especially during a pandemic.

8 Tips for Retiring Comfortably on Social Security Alone
8 Tips for Retiring Comfortably on Social Security Alone

It’s never too early to start learning how to live well while living on less.

Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore
Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore

Starting this month, your ISP no longer can bill you for this fee.

Is This Treatable Condition Causing Your High Blood Pressure?
Is This Treatable Condition Causing Your High Blood Pressure?

Researchers say too many doctors are overlooking this potential source of hypertension.

These Major Appliances Got the Worst Reviews in 2020
These Major Appliances Got the Worst Reviews in 2020

Consumer Reports says these home products got the worst ratings from experts.

15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021
15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021

Follow these tips to save, so you’ll have money for things that really matter.

9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry
9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry

Keep more of future paychecks by eliminating these budget-busting unnecessary expenses.

3 Cable TV Companies Hiking Prices for 2021
3 Cable TV Companies Hiking Prices for 2021

Still married to your cable company? Hold on to your wallet!

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.