A big part of growing up is strengthening the muscles and bones, especially the spinal column. Because of today’s modern technology, however, many kids hunch over video games, computers and handheld gadgets for hours at a time. The result is poor posture and unhealthy bodies growing into adulthood. Parents and caregivers are starting to realize that it’s possible to use technology to encourage movement and exercise rather than hindering it.
Active Video Games
Video game controllers are no longer limited by short wires, making them versatile for full-scale arm movements. Rent or purchase video games meant to get everyone moving. Dance, quest, sport and sword-fighting games all require movement just like the character on-screen. Kids will barely notice they’re moving and sweating it out. Encourage them to play the games by opening up a big space in the living room. Even invite friends over to make a small party of it.
Any workout type, from Pilates to circuit training, strengthens the entire body, including the back. Download or stream any workout onto a computer, television or handheld device. Ask your kids to workout with you. Making it a group effort creates a fun atmosphere for everyone. The kids can show you how strong they are while everyone receives cardiovascular and strengthening benefits. A family who works out together remains healthier through the years.
A fantastic piece of technology is the fitness tracker. Worn on the wrist, these gadgets provide feedback when a child is active. After 10,000 steps, for example, the tracker vibrates to indicate a good job. With this instant health recognition, kids are more inclined to keep up with how many active minutes they’ve had throughout the day. You can even analyze the information to see if they’re hitting their activity goals or falling short.
Collective Scavenger Hunts
Mixing a traditional activity with technology is collective scavenger hunts. Download a random hunt app onto a smartphone or tablet. Break up several kids into teams to scour the neighborhood for the items. They check off the items in real time using the app, making the competition fierce when it’s down to the last pieces. Running around the neighborhood and greeting neighbors is a perfect way to get active and socialize simultaneously.
Make it a Competition
Download an activity app that generates points for certain activities. For example, a one-mile run has more point values than walking to school. Make it competitive between siblings or friends to see who accumulates the most points. Most apps allow you to follow other competitors, giving you a glimpse of their current point totals firsthand. By getting active as a group, everyone boosts their fitness and bodily health.
From a competitive tournament to working out with a virtual friend, technology isn’t always the villain. You simply need to point out smart ways to use the gadgets with exercise in mind. Just like reminding kids to sit up straight, they still need to be reminded to go outdoors and stretch their legs.