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How can I get my child to be more active?
As long ago the no tel

Never underestimate the power of parental example. For instance, if you consider Saturday afternoon your ticket to remote-control land, where you lounge on the couch in front of the TV, chances are your child does, too. Unfortunately, the toll may be great: In the U.S., childhood obesity and early onset of chronic conditions, such as high blood pressure, are at an all-time high. Why not spare your kids by setting a good example yourself? Here’s how:

  • Accentuate the positive. Avoid competition, discipline and embarrassment—big exercise turnoffs. Instead, promote physical activity as a chance for family fun. Always praise your child for trying; never criticize poor performance.
  • Be spontaneous. Suggest a bike ride, a Frisbee toss or a jump-rope session. Head to the park and shoot some baskets or help your child climb the monkey bars. Every so often, introduce a new activity, such as ice skating, tumbling or hiking.
  • Be sneaky. Add more activity to the family’s everyday routine. Make it a habit to walk to the store whenever possible. At the mall, choose the farthest parking spot. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Plan events that involve walking, such as a trip to the zoo or the boardwalk. In short, make physical movement a matter of course, not a special event.
  • Play it safe. Little muscles may not necessarily be limber, so have your children warm up and cool down before and after they exercise.