If you are a parent, how many times do you think you have asked your kids to sit still? Remember hearing that from your parents? Turns out the instinct that kids have to move around should be heeded.
The results of a small study of girls aged 9-12 were recently of published in The New York Times. In this study, the small group was monitored either sitting consistently or sitting with breaks to ride a stationary bicycle.
You can click on the link and read the article for the specific results, but the overall picture is frightening. More pronounced in girls, as per the study, the group that sat for three hours straight experienced a reduction in blood flow by up to 33%. Keeping in mind that these are young kids, it's astounding to understand that a relatively short stint of sitting can produce such a dramatic effect. It's akin to what happens in adults, and can have dangerous, long-term results.
Sitting has become an integral part of our modern life. We work at desks, in front of computers, sitting down. We drive cars. Take note of how much time you spend sitting.
Combine the fact that we are sitting for hours with the fact that when we are sitting, we usually have poor posture. Inside and outside, this modern life is causing our bodies to take a shape that is not only unattractive, but unhealthy, inside AND out.
Now, with studies like this one, we can see how it is negatively effecting our children on the inside as well as on the outside. Kids are born with good posture, but the trappings of our modern world forces them into unnatural positions at earlier and earlier ages.
I am certainly not advocating for a technology-free existence for our children. It's the reality of their world and it would be damaging in its own right to deny them access to technology in all its forms. But it is our role as parents to limit it, to monitor it and, at the same time, to encourage the use of their iPads, iPods, PS4s and more be done in a manner that can reduce the strain on the body.
Ask your kids to think about their posture. Have them look in the mirror. Show them how good they look when they stand up straight, with their shoulders down and back, and their heads on straight. And ask them to think about how much better they feel when they stand up straight.
Encourage them to take breaks from their video games and to run around. If they aren't motivated, do it with them. Take a workout break! Jumping jacks, skipping, a run around the block. All of these things are wonderful for the body, the mind and your relationship with your children.