It’s time to help your kids break the vicious automotive cycle |

It’s time to help your kids break the vicious automotive cycle

Sabrina HarrisPost IndependentGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Post Independent Photo/Kelley Cox

Kids were born to move. It’s no secret that kids who are physically active are less likely to be obese, but that’s not the only benefit. Exercise also helps kids develop and maintain a healthy body, improve their ability to learn and increase their social skills. However, without activity and movement, kids can quickly turn from a jumping bean to a couch potato. The problem is that most Americans have grown up with two or more cars in their household. And being creatures of habit, it is easier to grab the car keys than grab the bicycle. Did you know that the majority of car trips are to destinations less than two miles away and that less than 15 percent of children walk or ride their bike to school? This may explain why over the past 30 years, childhood obesity rates have more than tripled. Currently, 12.5 million American kids ages 2-19 are obese. That’s 17 percent of the population and another 16.5 percent are at risk for becoming overweight. Creating new habits requires more thought, and human nature tells us to do what is easier than doing something different. Well it’s time to break this vicious automotive cycle and think differently about how you get around. Instead of driving your child to school, walk with your son or daughter to the school bus stop or to school. It’s great exercise for both of you. And if you have a long distance to travel, encourage them to ride their bike to school or take the local bus. The good news is that we can change our family habits and make good choices to help our kids maintain a healthy weight. Walking is the easiest way to be physically active and the most inexpensive form of commuting. Government guidelines recommend that every adult should aim to walk at least 10,000 steps per day. Burn calories while you walk your child to school or commute to work or through Glenwood. Get your child off to a great start in life by showing them how easy it is to insert physical activity in their daily lives. Childhood is the best time to establish good habits. Try walking to the post office or to the grocery store. It’s up to you to form good fitness habits. You and your family will be healthier and enjoy life more. Sabrina Harris is transportation manager for the city of Glenwood Springs.

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