4 Ways to Help Your Child be More Active

There is a silent epidemic happening in America, that most people are unaware of, poor hip and spinal strength. This problem is affecting children in multiple ways, from poor walking abilities, endurance and making the child more prone to injury with sports.

This is occurring because of the increased sedentary lifestyle of children with more sitting than ever before. We all need to be active, walking and moving around to maintain our muscle strength, especially in our spines and hips. This is even more important in children and adolescents, because they are growing and developing these important muscles.

However, there are some simple steps that can be done to improve your child’s ability to walk, run, jump and play.

  • Turn off the TV and devices. Limit the amount of TV time and device time your child uses in a day. Children need time to be active and outside to develop their muscle strength, balance and coordination.
  • Play drills. Games can be devised to enhance hip strength. Try games that involve skipping, side skipping, backwards running and high stepping. All of these activities improve the coordination and strength of the hip and pelvis, improving a child’s natural ability to walk. If you find that your child is having significant difficulty with these types of movement, then they should have an evaluation by one of our pediatric physical therapists. Catching a problem early can easily be treated and prevent future problems such as back or hip pain.
  • Start sports. Sports are fantastic ways to engage children in physical activity. Make sure to select games and teams that your child will be challenged at, but feel confident in their ability to handle.
  • Use rewards for physical activity. If your child is not very active, then they need some motivation. For example if they participate in sports, give lots of praise and agree on some reward that will encourage more activity. As a family, plan more physical activities outside. Playing catch, kicking a ball or even just going for a family walk demonstrates to your child the importance of being physically active.

In today’s world of sitting at school, sitting in front of a computer, sitting in front of a TV, there is an ever growing need to teach our children how to be physically active. A lack of physical activity can often be the reason for a hyperactive child.Sometimes they just need to get outside and run around.

Have your child try these tests and see how they do:

  • Can they squat down to the ground without losing their balance?
  • Can they walk backwards without excessive hip swaying?
  • After age 5, can they side step quickly?
  • Can they run in place, high stepping quickly?
  • Can they skip, alternating sides?

If you find your child struggling with the above, call and speak to one of our physical therapists today, to learn more about techniques you can do to improve their movement.