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Stop Telling Kids to Just Play Outside

Source: American Council on Exercise
 
The U.S. Department of Education says 14 percent of American adults are functionally illiterate, while more than 35 percent of American adults are obese - also known as physically illiterate.
Today, too much of America doesn’t understand physical literacy or its value, and it’s squandering kids’ potential. 
 
“So, what is physical literacy?” American Council on Exercise (ACE) Chief Science Officer Dr. Cedric Bryant describes it as, “the ability, confidence and desire to be physically active for life.” If your kid sits on the sidelines at the swimming pool because they’re not confident in the water, they may be physically illiterate. 
 
In line with ACE’s goal to end the obesity epidemic by 2035, Dr. Bryant put together three tips for parents to teach physical literacy to their kids. The quick gist is below-- read his full definition and recommendations here.
 
  1. Model Active Behavior: Parent behavior creates lifelong mental models. Sitting on the couch and telling your kids to go outside and play might work once or twice, but kids won’t internalize the value without the leadership of a role model. 

  2. Embrace Variety: Don’t put all your eggs into one sport. If kids get burnt out or bored, they can lose out on the opportunity to build a passion for an active life. Try a little of everything. 

  3. Become an advocate: If your playground is full of litter, organize a cleanup. If before or after-school physical activity programs aren’t available, advocate for them. You can make a bigger difference than you think, and when kids see you fighting for their right to play, they’ll know how important it is. 
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