Monday, January 21, 2008

Health Matters
Is Your Children's Weight a Handicap?

In horse racing, "handicapping" is the practice of adding extra weight to a saddle — it slows a fast horse down to make the race more competitive. The extra weight that makes a horse work harder to cross the finish line has the same effect in people — carrying extra weight makes physical activity more of a challenge. Being overweight puts stress on the body, so that the joints, muscles, and cardiovascular system all have to work harder.

That's why it's important to keep your children's weight in mind when you're establishing a family fitness plan. Exercising is actually harder for overweight kids than it is for kids at a healthy weight, and as the family coach, you need to be sensitive to that.

That doesn't mean you should coddle them — your kids do need to get moving if they're going to reach a healthier weight. But you should be aware that they may need to take things slow at first. You should also take them to your family doctor first to make sure they're healthy enough to exercise, and to identify any activities that they may need to avoid or participate in with care. Once your kids have the green light from the doctor, get them out there and exercising!
Check out more tips for getting your whole family active!

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