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You Don't Need Organized Sports for Exercise and Fun

Here are suggestions for making your own fun in Clawson that still gets you and your child good exercise.

I love sports. I’ve been playing them most of my life. I come from a family of athletes and dedicated fans. My , and I write about this subject fairly often.

Sports offer so much: social experience, problem-solving, team-building, exercise, fun, competition and excitement. But sports aren’t for everyone.

That doesn’t mean that exercise isn’t for everyone.

A child might enjoy reading, playing video games, instruments or something else lacking in physical activity, which is great because they are discovering things to enjoy. But don't overlook exercise. This is something that parents need to pay close attention to.

For example, let's say Little Jimmy (my metaphorical munchkin for argument’s sake) is not good at baseball. So he goes out for football. No good. Then track, then soccer and basketball, but nothing is working out. He decides sports aren’t for him and his mother doesn’t want to put anymore pressure on him to keep trying because other kids are teasing him.

Now Jimmy doesn’t move a whole lot. He plays video games or watches TV or movies; sometimes he reads and spends quite a bit of time on the computer. He seems like a fairly happy kid though. And isn’t that the goal as a parent?

Well, in reality, the dangers of little to no exercise in someone’s life may show negative effects very quickly, like weight gain, but in someone who or has a fast metabolism, these dangers may not be so noticeable.

The Mayo Clinic says that “regular physical activity can help you prevent or manage a wide range of health problems and concerns, including stroke, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, depression, certain types of cancer, arthritis and falls.”

They also talk about how exercise boosts overall energy and how “physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals that may leave you feeling happier and more relaxed.”

But there is still the issue of Jimmy not being so athletic and the emotional trauma that can result from the mean kids that saturate the public school system.

So how does Jimmy get a dose of daily exercise? There are plenty of other options, especially in Clawson.

The at is a great spot for exercise and fun.

has tennis courts, a pair of sandy volleyball courts, a roller-hockey court/rink, and a baseball field. Of course they can be used as they are intended, but my son and I like to make up our own games using these areas. Why not bring a soccer ball onto the tennis court or play rollerblade tag in the hockey area?

has a huge, black-top parking lot that is completely empty when there isn’t a church service and school is out. It’s a fantastic place to go for a bike ride. My son loves the freedom to explore the giant open area.

Beat the heat with a game of Cowboys & Indians or Cops & Robbers or something slightly more politically correct and appropriate by grabbing some cheap water guns and running around one of the .

Or just go for a plain-old run on the giant wood chip trail at City Park, which has little exercise areas located along the way that I used to love playing on.

And don’t forget to look out for free programs like the Yoga for Kids session at earlier this week or one of the many programs at or down at .

There are plenty of options for fun, and even free, exercise that transcend sports, involves them or adjusts them, but you and your kids don’t have to rely on them for regular exercise. But you do need to rely on exercise.

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