Updated 12/26/2012 02:51 PM
New Study Reaffirms Kids' Lack Of Motion
A new study finds that kids who spend a lot of time in front of the television are less physically fit in specific parts of their body. NY1's Cheryl Wills filed the following report.
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Four pairs of healthy feet planted on the floor. Eight eyes glazed over locked on a television screen. A group of Parkchester children are all thumbs and that's all they need to play video games. Just ask 9-year-old Tavante Huggins.
"When I'm playing video games you exercising your hands," Huggins says.
And that's why it should come as no surprise that a new study finds what many doctors and parents already know: The longer children are planted in front of a TV screen, the more likely they will be thicker around the middle and less muscularly fit.
Fitness instructor Monifa Maat specializes in getting couch potatoes moving without leaving the comforts of home.
"For kids who don't like to get outside one thing we have to try to do is associate fitness with fun," says Maat.
And experts say it's important to get kids in motion. Researchers from the University of Montreal studied more than 1,300 children and found that too much TV watching specifically weakens explosive leg strength which is an important asset for sports like soccer, basketball and football.
Maat says there are lots of exercises kids can do right at home.
"Exercises during the commercial break - jumping jacks, splits - they love these things," explains Maat.
Maat, who is the author of "The Bed-Aerobics Fitness Flow", says kids of all ages can get fit before they get out of bed.
"It's a series of calisthenics, resistance and stretch exercises that increase the blood flow, tones and also sheds calories," says Maat.
But experts say parents should limit their kids' TV viewing to a few hours a week so young people can build muscle and get some fresh air, too.