Many parents see fitness as a top priority for their families. They want their children to be healthy and active, but don't always know how to implement their goal. Amid alarming obesity statistics and a bigger reliance on technology how can parents get their children moving and active?

Look for Community Options

Monica Lamprecht is the office manager for Salt Lake County's Kearns Recreation. She is excited and passionate about fitness. She says that a good place to start is with the county recreation services, "They offer a wide variety of sports and art classes. Children can participate without any competition involved." She also said that the dance and art classes offer a free first time class to see if it is something the child would like.

Available Courses

The variety of classes offered is diverse. Basketball, cross country track, flag football, volleyball, tee-ball and soccer are some of the sports classes available. The county recreation program also offers dance, art, martial arts and cheer classes. Some of the centers offer swimming and other aquatic activities. If you live in an area outside of the county program similar classes are also offered at YMCAs and Boys and Girls Clubs.

Benefits of Active Families

Lamprecht also said that family activities and fitness help children stay involved. She says, "When parents become active with their kids they learn it is fun." They are more likely to stick with a sport or activity. Lamprecht says that kids can be teased for a variety of reasons. The support a child gets from participating in a family activity with their siblings and parents is invaluable. When leading by example parents can teach their children that outside negative opinions are not so important.

When asked about the benefits of an active lifestyle Lamprecht says, "The number one benefit is health. Fighting obesity is positive result. The active kids are also happier and more content." She can tell which kids play sports and are active because they are calmer and less agitated throughout the day.

Another important benefit, according to Lamprecht, is that participants learn life skills. They learn that sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. They learn ways to cope with both of those situations. Learning how to deal with temporary failure and being able to move on and try again is all part of the process.

Extracurricular activities don't have to break the bank. Watch the paper or websites for free activities and low cost ways to get involved. In January the recreation centers in Kearns, Taylorsville, and Magna will have lower rates for all their classes.

Through parental support and community access we can raise healthier, happier kids.

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