The former First Lady, Michelle Obama, helped make parents and grandparents aware of the obesity problem that is an epidemic among U.S. children today. This childhood obesity leads to other conditions such as diabetes and heart trouble in children who are much too young to have such serious problems that are not congenital. The problem is too much time spent in front of an electronic screen – be it T.V., computer, eBook reader or cellular phone, as well as sitting in a classroom too many hours of the day. The youth of America are therefore, in a condition of being overweight and seriously unhealthy. Just as important as the purely physical aspect is the fact that the brain functions much better in a body that has healthy circulation and metabolism. In addition, the “happy” neurotransmitter, dopamine, is released in the brain when a person exercises and this affects overall mood and increases happiness and ability to cope with stress and anxiety. The solution is to get kids to engage in outdoor activities much more. It might be organized sports or some form of exercise routine or it might simply playing basketball in the driveway an hour or so after school. Parents can also purchase “toys” that encourage physical activity without making it seem like it is anything other than playing.
Throwing toys that provide a game of “catch,” such as Frisbees and Beanbags are good examples. Two or more participants can just throw the object around, making the catcher have to run or jump to catch the object and then throw it back, hoping to provide just as much of a challenge to his/her “opponent”. Since it is necessary that the activity be done outside, the players get sunshine and fresh air, absorb the influence of nature all around them and have a great time doing it! The children do not think about exercise, fun is what is on their minds and this is the best form of physical activity there is. When you take your mind off of exercising, you get much more of it. Without paying heed to time or exertion, having fun is the central thought, so a child (or adult) can play for hours and not realize how tired s/he is until afterwards. That is the perfect antidote to being sedentary and unhealthy – exercise that the person is unaware of and looks forward to the next day or following weekend or whenever. When you shop for toys for your children, keep in mind this outdoor activity factor and you will provide your child with the optimum health benefits, making him/her better able to use brain power and also making him/her happier overall.