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Natural Awakenings Space & Treasure Coast Florida

Help Kids Close their Fitness Gap

Apr 05, 2011 02:03AM ● By James DeFillips

Schools around the country and here in Florida provide much less time for physical education than children received twenty years ago. Even our governor’s recent law mandating 150 minutes per week for elementary students falls short of the exercise our kids need each day. With video games, texting, downloading, You Tubing, and My Spacing so rampant today, our children need exercise now more than ever.

Many parents do what they can to enroll their children in soccer or Little League. But a couple times a week for a short season isn’t always enough to overcome the effects of processed foods and a general lack of physical play. Everyone knows that a lack of exercise can lead to obesity as well as numerous other health problems.

Kids are no different than adults in this respect. We become the person we want to be based on the habits we create in our daily lives. Children can have a healthier lifestyle and generally stay in better shape just by having regular physical outlets for their energy. It is so important to help them maintain the health, strength, flexibility and resiliency they were gifted in youth. Simply providing outside time can do wonders for elementary school children. Teens may need a more focused activity, such as scouting or adventuring clubs. But even these programs may lack the one thing that all kids really need but do not get, consistency.

Find an activity-based program that teaches a broad "library of movements" and reinforces the values you teach them at home. Then together commit to more than just a season. An activity-based program is one that regularly challenges a child to increase coordination, use their muscles, and build hand-eye accuracy and endurance. A library of movements encompasses basic skills that all reasonably healthy people should know and be able to perform with some degree of skill. Among the expected movements would be: balancing or hopping on one leg, push ups, throwing a ball, headstands and so on.

Often we think that exposing our children to an exhaustive list of different activities will create a well-rounded and proficient adult. Perhaps that is true, but to quote a favorite movie "sometimes more isn’t better, sometimes it’s just more." Certainly, not any one program will have everything a child may need. But, committing to an ongoing program geared toward focusing the mind and exercising the body as a whole will help them to excel at any other physical activity they choose. And that is a lesson that we all could benefit from.

Wah Lum Kung Fu and Tai Chi of Melbourne offers a professional and safe, non-competitive setting in which both adults and children can realize their fitness goals. Wah Lum Kung Fu and Tai Chi is located at 662 N. Wickham Rd. in Melbourne. For more information call 321-255-1048 or visit

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