Did you know that only 1 in 4 children get the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity per day?
With schools favouring desk time over playing outside and our 24/7 screen culture, increasing daily activity is a challenge to say the least!
So why is this a big deal and why does this need to change?
There are many physical benefits of taking part in regular exercise throughout childhood.
These include developing and maintaining strong muscles and bones, maintaining a healthy weight, getting better sleep, and decreasing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. An active lifestyle also provides many psychological benefits such as an improved outlook on life, mental health, and self-esteem.
Physically active kids are more likely to be more motivated, focused, and therefore more successful in school. One of the reasons for this is because exercise provides more blood and oxygen flow to the brain, as well as increasing levels of noradrenaline and endorphins, resulting in a reduction of stress and an overall improvement in their mood due to the ‘runner’s high’.
If you’re a parent, keen to get your kids more active, see below for some tips:
- Emphasize fun! Help your child find a sport or activity they enjoy - try using the Goal Power materials to help your kids set achievable goals and reach them! The more they enjoy the activity, the more likely they will be to continue it. Get the entire family involved. It is a great way to spend time together!
- Invest in fun sports equipment. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy, but having active toys like balls, skipping ropes, bouncy hoppers etc are all fun active toys to get the youngsters moving.
- Lead by example. If children regularly see their parents exercising or taking part in sports, they are more likely to do it to and see it as the norm.
- 4. Play with your kids! Maybe teach them a new sport? Have fun together by going for a hike or bike ride or take them to the local park for a kickabout.
- Set screen time limits. Most kids have access to several digital devices. Why not try limiting screen time spent on TV, tablets, phones etc each day and encourage them to play screenless games or get involved with a physical activity instead.
- 6. Emotional support. Change is never easy and neither is learning new skills (that’s why they’re called ‘skills’). Any parent knows cutting down kids’ screen time is a battle and learning a new sport is hard. Explain that the most rewarding things in life take effort, support their effort in those tough early days and you’ll reap huge rewards later on!
We hope this article has inspired you to help your kids to get out, get active and get more out of life!