Outdoor exercise helps children build good habits

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Studies show more than one-third of children and adolescents are overweight or obese.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), physically active kids have lower rates of obesity, anxiety and stress, and are less prone to health problems later in life.

That's because exercising helps them build good habits and getting outdoors gives them an extra boost!

RELATED: ABC30 half-hour special focuses on exploring the outdoors

Matthew Krikorian, 11, is punching his way to fitness!

"It works almost every part of your body because when your boxing your boxing you want to squat down and move side to side and you are getting that arm motion."

He and his mother spent the summer working out as a team!

"We realized it is fun to work out together, said Shelley Krikorian. "It is not just for our health benefit, but we really enjoy being together working out together that bond is really nice that we have now."

Fitness expert Rhonda Murphy says all families can benefit from indoor exercise but going outdoors also has its advantages.

"What kids and parents should be doing is at least a 20-minute walk, because what that does it fills that body with Vitamin D from the sun but also you feel better."

Studies show the average American child spends five to eight hours a day in front of a digital screen. A sedentary lifestyle and poor diet can lead to serious health issues.

Pediatric Endocrinologist Dr. Sarah Brickey says, "On a daily basis I see kids with type 2 diabetes at younger and younger ages, as well as kids, will have high blood pressure, liver problems such as fatty liver, sleep apnea and just a variety of other things that encompass not just the endocrine specialty but other specialties as well."

The CDC recommends children and adolescents should have 60 minutes of physical activity every day.

Dr. Brickey suggests starting off with a small goal like walking twice a week and working your way up.

"So, even things like a 5 percent weight loss can reduce the risk of developing things like diabetes and high blood pressure. So, it is not that they have to have a huge goal of being supermodel skinny, they just need to make small little changes."

Burning calories is just part of the fitness equation. Experts recommend families limit junk food and sugary drinks.

"Five pounds of fat is 17,500 calories. So if your thinking, 'Oh, I just want to drop 5 pounds,' that's a lot of calories."

Murphy says working out at a gym is good, but there are also free alternatives.

"Woodward Park has a fitness course, and you can just run through it, and what I really like about it explains exactly what body part it works, how to do it and a family can do it together."

Matthew is reaching his fitness goals for baseball season.

"Now since I've been coming to Rhonda's Gym I am more capable of running faster and building up more strength."

He hopes others will be inspired to spend more time outdoors.

"Get outside do anything, just run around, go in the pool if you have one, run outside, play basketball, play baseball if there's nearby just go outside."

"He motivates me, and I motivate him, and it's just fun, and we love it," said Shelley.

ABC30 thanks its partners below for putting Children First in the Central Valley.
Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.