It’s no secret that kids have a lot of energy. What many people don’t know is that most kids aren’t getting as much exercise as they need. Fortunately, there are plenty of easy things you can do to get your kids moving, but first, it’s important to understand how much exercise kids actually need.
Children and teenagers need at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise (i.e. activity that gets them huffing and puffing) every day. For kids up to 5 years old add an extra half hour to that total. Within that 60 minutes a day, make sure that at least 3 times a week it includes activities that strengthen muscle and bone. This is the recommended minimum, but don’t worry, this doesn’t mean you have to stand over your kids for an hour a day forcing them to run in circles or that you have to pay for lots of organised activities. Little bits throughout the day count, like throwing a ball around or running around in a park. The best part is that if it’s something that your child loves to do, they will ideally spend longer than just one hour a day moving anyway.
If your child hasn’t shown any interest in exercise and is nowhere close to that 60 minute minimum of moderate to vigorous activity, it’s time to encourage more movement!
1. Leave The Car at Home
If you live close to school, why not leave the car at home and walk every day? It may take a little extra time in the mornings but you would be surprised by how much some light exercise to start the day helps with focus and builds fitness over time, for both you and your child.
2. Gyms for Kids
It’s critical for kids to be doing activities that build strong muscles and bones. Gymnastics, parkour, rock climbing, functional movement & gyms specifically designed for kids can be a great option. It’s important to look for programs specifically designed for kids delivered by qualified youth coaches. Click here for a free trial to start your child’s fitness journey and teach them to learn proper form, technique, and about their bodies early so they can build a fitter future.
3. Teach Them To Ride A Bike
If your child doesn’t know how to ride a bike then teach them! Not only is it great exercise to go for a bike ride, but it also helps with balance and coordination, as well as being a valuable skill they will have for the rest of their lives.
4. Bring Home a Puppy
This one isn’t for everyone, but if you have been thinking of getting a family pet, an energetic puppy will get your kids off the couch and playing outside. Make sure you strike a bargain with your kids that you will get a dog if they agree to take care of it. That way they will do some exercise and you won’t get stuck with all the work.
5. Encourage Them To Try Everything
After sitting in a classroom all day long, after-school activities and weekend sports have so many benefits for your child. Encourage them to try a variety of things, from dance to rugby, and be there to encourage them and cheer them on.
6. Get a Trampoline
Getting a trampoline is a tried and true method to encourage your kids to be more active. You would be surprised how intense a workout of just jumping up and down can be!
7. Play Outdoors More
Whether you do it by banning television on weekdays or enforcing an hour outside rule after school, encourage playing outside as much as you can. Free play is actually really important to your child’s development, and kids just don’t get enough of it these days.
8. Encourage Healthy Competition
If you have a few kids, encouraging a bit of friendly competition can be a good thing. Set up races and challenges for them, and make sure you mix up the skills required to win so that nobody gets discouraged. Even better if you can think of a challenge where kids can compete against themselves (e.g. 3 attempts at running as fast as they can from point to point. Or racing Mum or Dad with a handicap head start. How fast can they go)?
9. Spend Summer in the Pool
Swimming is one of the best things we can do for our fitness as being in water generates more resistance, making just moving harder. And kids can burn a stack of energy getting in and out of the pool, playing games like “Marco Polo”!
10. Show Them How it’s Done
Our kids look up to us, so it’s important to set a good example. If you come home and flop on the couch, they are likely to want to do the same. Lead an active and healthy lifestyle and you will be setting a great example – it becomes their ‘normal’ and part of their lifestyle too.
Even if your child does get the recommended amount of daily exercise, exposing them to a variety of activities at a young age and establishing healthy habits and routine will go a long way towards setting them up for success later in life. And they’ll be more likely to continue to exercise regularly once they grow up.
If you’re wanting to help your child increase their self-esteem, build their confidence, work on having a positive body image and be surrounded by amazing kids and awesome coaches, sign up for a free trial at Australia’s leading functional fitness gym for kids, teens and parents by sign up HERE.