When children are much younger, they’re often quite active. They’re usually climbing tress or jungle gyms and running all over the place. Sadly, this level of activity doesn’t last as other demands creep in and the environment they’re in no longer supports activity and play.
The demands could have to do with school. Other hindrances to your child being active could be the lack of such a role model or your kids feeling like they aren’t good at sport and therefore not getting involved in sport-related extracurricular activities. Then there’s the fact that parents aren’t as comfortable to let their children wander the neighbourhood streets as they were two decades ago.
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This is why parents need to find smart, easy ways to keep their children active and fit, and there are various benefits that come with this such as weight control, better sleep, stronger muscles and bones to name a few.
Fitness expert Ronald Abvajee offers simple tips to help busy parents make this possible.
Keep it simple
Simplicity is often the best route. Not every kid needs to be an Olympic-level athlete, and not every child will necessarily enjoy organised team sports. Whether it’s jogging, riding their bike or just playing outside with friends, there’s something for everyone.
When physical activity is a consistent part of your daily routine, it quickly becomes the norm, ensuring that as kids grow into their teen years and adulthood, exercise is second nature to them
Break it up
With school, homework and extracurricular activities, children’s schedules often fill up quickly, so 60 consecutive minutes of exercise isn’t always easy or plausible.
To simplify things, make sure your kids are accumulating 60 minutes over the course of the entire day – for example, walking 10 minutes in the morning, riding a bike for 30 minutes after school, then ending the day with 20 minutes of stretching or playing games such as hide and seek with the family.
As a parent, you’re the role model. If you lead an active life, your kids are sure to do so too. Even better, try to get involved in your child’s physical activities. There are all sorts of simple, fun activities that you and your kids can do together.
Something as simple as a walk in the morning or evening is enough to impact a child and encourage him or her to stay active. This is also a great chance to get in some exercise for yourself, not to mention the quality time you get to spend with your kids.
Don’t use exercise as punishment
The goal is to make fitness an integral part of everyday life for kids as they grow, and the best way to do that is to motivate so they choose to do physical activity. Punishing kids with exercise can have the opposite effect – it can turn them off physical activity altogether and make it an eternal struggle to get moving.
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Keep it positive
Encourage your kids as they try new things or make an effort to get active. It’s important to remain positive about your own exercise, too. For example, you might say, “I feel so energised after I exercise!” rather than “Ugh! I’ve got to work out this morning.”
Encourage some type of activity every day
When physical activity is a consistent part of your daily routine, it quickly becomes the norm, ensuring that as kids grow into their teen years and adulthood, exercise is second nature to them.
Remember, it’s all about making fitness a seamless part of your daily life – the more you move, the better we improve!