Shhh…only read if you won’t tell your kids…
I’m on a mission to get kids moving, active and staying as fit as possible throughout life. I know I am not single handedly going to accomplish this goal. I know there are initiatives all over the country honing in on this same effort. I also know that childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years, and that children and adolescents who are overweight and inactive are likely to be overweight and inactive as adults.
And one more thing I know; when people of any age find something fun to get them moving, they stay moving. I’ve blogged about that before, but it’s true for kids as well. A recent study from University of Leeds in England shows that for inactive teenagers, emphasizing the emotional, feel-good benefits of exercise is a more effective way to encourage exercise than highlighting traditional health benefits. We all know the health benefits of exercise and that’s not always enough motivation for us or our children.
And that brings me to dance. Kids love it! Whether it’s jazz, tap, Bollywood, or hip hop, kids hear the music and their bodies start to move. This week I walked by the Disney Kids workshop and had to smile at the room full of girls dancing to their Disney favorites. I watched children and their parents moving to a Bollywood beat in Kids Dance Around the World. Three things in common; everyone was moving to great music, everyone was smiling and having fun, and everyone was getting a 45-60 minute workout without even knowing it.
Muscles moving, heart rate up; dance is an excellent all-round way to get a workout, get fit and remain healthy. Dance builds stamina, flexibility, strength and co-ordination. It helps children develop good posture. Dance uses both sides of the brain: one half for technique and control and the other for creativity and artistry. It increases brain productivity and attention span.
As if we need more reasons to get kids dancing; I see the fun they are having and know that the feel-good factor and fun will create a positive attitude towards staying active. Some day I hope I can say, “mission accomplished”.
So there you have it; dance is good for you and your kids. But help me keep it a secret! If your children think it’s good for them…well, do they eat their vegetables?