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Fitness


fact, there are flashy versions on the market designed for kids as young as four. Some nuts-and-bolts models simply track a user’s steps, heart rate and sleep quality. Others make the process fun by incorporating personalized challenges and games. Not surprisingly, getting a virtual, “Congrats,” even from a device, is a great motivator.


There’s an App for That! If wearing a fitness device is of no interest to your kids, or you can’t justify the price tag, consider downloading a fitness app for a smartphone. Many are free and they’re great options for school-aged kids. Apps can cover everything from teaching yoga poses to tracking runs. Families can also weigh the benefit of letting their children play location- based, augmented reality games. Though most of us wouldn’t feel comfortable with our children venturing out on their own, there is certainly potential for this technology under the supervision of a parent. Augmented reality, especially as


the technology improves and more safety checks are put into place, may prove a novel way to get the kids off the couch and jazzed about being outdoors. Electronic entertainment is powerful.


So powerful, that many kids prefer screen time to playtime. Remember: Screen time is sedentary, contributes to unhealthy weight gain, and can lead to poor sleep patterns, attention difficulties, anxiety and depression. Whether signing the kids up for a team sport, or asking them to walk the dog, anything to steer them away from the screen and toward physical activity is a win. A win not only for their childhood, but also for the development of healthy habits that will carry over into adulthood.


Sarah R. Kiser, MSN, RN, CPNP-PC, has more than a decade of experience in pediatric nursing. She practices in Massachusetts as the exclusive PNP to an independent boarding and day school for girls, grades 5 to 12. Her blog is at www.kidshealthwithsarah.com.


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