Exercise and physical activity has many health benefits and it is important if you are a parent to encourage your children to keep active. Physical activity has many benefits for children; it helps to grow strong bones, maintain a healthy weight, as well as build confidence and helps children to explore, discover the world around them – and when you keep active together as a family it is great fun!
Parents can help their children keep active by encouraging them to find activities they enjoy, and building physical activity into family life.
Here are some ways you can get active as a family:
Start Moving – as a family you can do an activity or challenge together. Sign up to a charity walk or fun run in your area. You can then practise by going out on regular walks – most children also love running around a park or playing in a playground.
Make a regular habit of going for family pre or post dinner walks. This can be a walk around the neighbourhood or a local park. Building a walk into your daily schedule ensures that it won’t get put off and is a great way to bond with the family and enjoy the outdoors.
Take the dog for a walk. If you don’t have a dog of your own, ask to borrow a neighbour’s or friend’s dog and take it for a walk. At the weekend set time a side to do something active as a family. You could go cycling with your children. Play football in the park, fly a kite or try indoor rock climbing or badminton.
Encourage and support your children to take part in sports, activity clubs or any other activities that may interest them. Joining weekend sports club ensures commitment to a team and regular exercise. Find a variety of sporting facilities in your area that you can do as a family.
Team up for gardening. Younger children enjoy the outdoors and are great at digging up dirt, so let them turn over the soil and help you plant new bulbs. Being outdoors is really good for everyone.
Try an activity based holiday break such as National Park or Guided Walks. If you are booked to go on a family beach holiday then there are lots of ways to keep active; swimming, running around on the beach, soft ball games, volley ball, building sandcastles etc.
Dancing is also a great way to keep fit. So encourage younger children to freedom of movement. Crank up the music and boogie down with their favourite tunes at home!
With younger children try simple movements and exercises. Invent silly names for simple exercises like squats, push-ups, and sit-ups, and then do them together. Incorporate fun moves like clapping, wiggling, and marching.
For older children introduce them to your local health / leisure club where there are family activity days and sessions, or alternatively they can join you in a family swim or a gym session. Incorporate healthy eating and keeping active as a family – it’s so much Fun!
Are you an active family?
Thank you for reading!