Research over the years that shows that exercise from an early age sets kids up with good healthy habits for years to come. This is why it’s so important to nurture healthy attitudes towards exercise during childhood development.
With growing concerns over child obesity levels, there is no better time to get your kid into a routine exercise, and there are easy ways you can make exercise fun for children.
But first, just how much exercise do kids need?
The activity levels between children will often vary. Some appear to have endless amounts of energy, while others may require additional support to stay active. Of course, with many distractions in our modern world, such as video games, smart phones and tablets, we often see children living sedentary lifestyles.
The amount of exercise recommended for a child is dependent on their age, as outlined by NHS:
- Babies – should be aided to be active periodically during the day. Before they can crawl, movements can include reaching, pushing and pulling.
- Toddlers – should be physically active for at least 3 hours per day if they can walk unassisted.
- Children aged 5 to 18 – should participate in at least 1 hour of physical exercise per day (varying from moderate to vigorous).
Disguising physical activity as fun
While it can seem daunting trying to get your kids to commit to exercise, with a little creative thinking, it’s easier than you think.
In fact, one great way to encourage exercise from early ages is disguising it as playtime!
Boogie to some music
It’s no secret that children love to dance. Unlike adults who often feel self-conscious on the dance floor, kids are always ready to boogie away to some music. Even better, music and dance is suitable for kids of all ages – even babies can clap away to some good tunes.
Dancing provides an all body workout, while improving coordination, endurance and strength. And dancing is not only just about exercise either, as it allows children to express themselves creatively and has also proven to be good as a stress release.
Play in the water
Another smart way to foster fun exercise activities is by incorporating water. You don’t need a pool either, when the garden hose, or backyard sprinkler can make a fantastic substitute on those hot summer days.
There are also other ways you can get water involved when playing with your kids. A family day out at the beach provides multiple opportunities to advocate exercise, in particular swimming. As a low impact exercise form, swimming not only is an important life skill, but helps with fitness and cardio while being a ton of fun at the same time.
Kids play equipment
If you are still struggling to get kids outdoors, then don’t look past getting a little help from children play equipment. It’s very easy to disguise exercise as play time when utilising:
- Kids Swing Sets – There is nothing quite soaring into the sky on a swing set. Start by pushing your kids, but if they are old enough, work towards them using their own momentum to go higher.
- Playset – Playground equipment such as a playset develop gross motor skills, whilst providing an all-over cardiovascular workout.
- Sports Balls and Nets – Not only do ball sports provide excellent exercise for children, but also teach them valuable lessons about teamwork and communication.
Remember, even if you don’t have any yard space, there are usually community groups or local parks that offer team sport opportunities, or range of play equipment.
Into the garden
There is nothing quite like spending time with your children gardening. Not only does it provide physical exercise but also a chance to spend valuable bonding time.
There are a range of activities you can put your kids in charge of, including pulling out weeds, spreading fresh soil or mulch and even raking up leaves. Other benefits to gardening is that it allows for development of the sensors such as smell and touch.
The classic games
Don’t forget some of the classic games when trying to get your kids outdoors. Retro-inspired games have stood the test of time for a reason. Whether it’s a game of tag, hopscotch or jump rope, introducing your children to these classics can provide hours of fun and laughter.
Why do kids need exercise?
We all know exercise is important, but it’s especially important for bodies that are growing. Remember it’s not just for the body, but also for the mind. In fact, some of the most important benefits to regular physical exercise include:
- Improving cardiovascular health and capacity,
- Developing muscle and bone strength,
- Regulating body fat,
- Boosting energy,
- Controlling mood swings,
- Increasing concentration,
- Enhancing confidence,
- Fostering happiness and positivity.
For more information about the importance of movement, check out: https://health.gov/paguidelines/