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Keeping Kids Active

June 15, 2012, 6:00 PM by Kellee Azar

Keeping Kids Active

If it were left up to many kids, summers would be spent inside, on the couch, playing video games and watching endless hours of TV.

In fact, according to the recent Youth Risk Behavior Survey, more than ten percent of South Dakota kids admit they aren't active for even one hour a day. That may be why more parents are looking for ways to keep their kids active throughout the summer.

As a gym teacher, Kris Zortman, knows the importance of keeping her kindergartner, Aiden, active and healthy.

"He does a variety of things whether it be, swimming or any other classes they offer,” Zortman said. “It doesn't have to be sports just moving."

Finding Aiden an activity he loves makes it easy to get him to dive right into staying active.

"Oh absolutely, he would swim all day if he could. So we will keep him in the lessons to make him a stronger swimmer and so then he is being active and having fun at the same time," Zortman said.

For Aiden and many of the other kids it's more than just getting swimming lessons and free time in the pool. They actually get to learn some life lessons along the way. 

"They are so excited to be here on their own and they try new things and trust the life guards and learn to follow the rules," Family Wellness Center Aquatic Supervisor Linda Torborg said.

Experts say Aiden's mom has the right idea in finding an activity he loves. But when it comes to keeping kids interested in activities, such as learning to swim, it all starts at home, with the parents.

"I think if we can get parents on board and get them started young enough they won't know the difference and that's the goal right now," Torborg said.

Even though hanging out in front of a computer might seem more fun to a child, getting kids moving at a young age can actually make all the difference when it comes to leading a healthy lifestyle.

"A lot of it is just proving to kids that fitness and health do not have to be miserable. It does not have to be work," Torborg said.

"Oh yeah he's becoming more proficient each time and he's not scared of the water. He needs to learn strokes and things like that, but he just loves it," Zortman said.

Both parents and experts agree it doesn't matter what activity or sport your kids like, the point is to get them up off the couch and get them moving this summer.

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