“I’ve met with many children who want to be more active and lose weight, but they have challenges to overcome,” says Tyree M. Winters, DO, pediatrician for Atlantic Health System’s Goryeb Children’s Hospital and medical director of the HealthStart Clinic. Extreme cold or heat can make outdoor activities difficult, for example. Some children do not have access to parks, and others cannot afford membership clubs.
“As a health care provider, it was frustrating when my patients had so few options,” he says.
So Dr. Winters offers a solution: Find an activity you can do at any time and almost anywhere. One option, he says, is hip-hop, dancing to the catchy beats of rap music.
“Once you learn some moves, you can do hip-hop right in your home without making too much noise; it doesn’t cost anything, and you don’t need much room,” he says.
Dr. Winters walks the walk, teaching a monthly hip-hop class to children and their families, with ages ranging from 6 to 66. A peek into the classroom makes it clear everyone is enjoying themselves.
Tips for Fitness Success
Fun is at the top of Dr. Winters’ list of tips to keep active. “If you’re not having fun, the chances are slim to none you’ll be consistent with an activity,” he says. “So if one activity doesn’t work, find something else you do enjoy.”
Other tips: Move at your own pace. “When you first start moving, you’re going to be slower,” he says. “That’s OK! Don’t compare yourself to others. Just do it!”
Stay in a comfortable zone with your heart rate and breathing. That makes the activity more enjoyable, and it’s a healthier way to exercise, he says. “You should be able to talk while exercising, and it’s even OK to pant,” he says.
Learn more about options for you and your family to get more active. Talk with your pediatrician. For more information about various Kid-FIT Atlantic Health System programs for children ages 5-18, call 973-971-8824.
Dr. Tyree Winters is part of Atlantic Medical Group, a multispecialty network of health care providers. Dr. Winters can be reached at call 973-992-5588.