Playtime Meets Exercise
Kids are balls of boundless energy–they were simply designed to run, jump and play! Making sure your child is getting plenty of playtime means that they are getting lots of exercise. With all the growing ahead of them, it’s important for kids to exercise to make sure they’re growing up healthy and strong.
In recent years, we have been facing an epidemic in childhood obesity. The popularity of unhealthy foods paired with the inactivity and sedentary lifestyle of the average child are to blame. The bright side? This problem is an easy fix–and it starts in your home!
For kids, exercise time is play time! For at least 60 minutes a day, children should be making the best use out of all that energy. Running around in the yard, playing sports with the neighbor kids, walking the dog… any way in which your child puts their energy into movement is exercise!
When you want your child to grow into a healthy adult, you want them to not only be healthy and strong, but also have the desire to keep themselves active on their own. Learning ways to keep yourself moving at a young age will ingrain the desire to keep exercising as your child grows and matures.
According to studies, children who exercise regularly are not only healthier, but also:
- Have more energy
- Are more physically fit
- Feel better about themselves
- Stay at a healthy body weight
- Have healthy bone and muscle growth
- Are at a lower risk of diabetes and heart disease
Here are some great tips for turning your child’s playtime into effective exercise time, including a list of fun activities to try out!
1. Disguise the exercise Set up fun obstacle courses in your backyard with tunnels, slides, trees, whatever! Maybe encourage your child to join a sports team–but, of course, sports aren’t for everyone, so always keep that in mind. Make every day activities exercise, such as picking up rocks while walking down the road, or racing up and down the driveway between two points before getting into the car.
2. Join in on the fun As a parent, your child looks to you for the qualities in how they will live their life. Remember: are your child’s first teacher! If you play with them, run with them and effectively exercise with them, you will be setting a good example on how to live an active lifestyle (while getting a workout yourself!).
3. Keep trying new things Children can have short attention spans, and keeping exercises short and snappy while switching up the activity is a great way to keep their focus. Need some ideas for new activities? How about trying some of these out:
- Climb a tree
- Bike or walk to school or the park/playground
- Rollerblade/skate, ride bikes
- Play exercise video games (Wii Fit, dancing games, etc.)
- Jump rope and hula hoop
- Play hopscotch
- Swim and play swimming games like Marco Polo
- Fly a kite on a windy day
- Build a fort
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator
- Throw a ball around
- Walk the dog
- Take a hike and pick berries, climb rocks and swing from trees
- Follow fun exercise videos for parents & children
- Rake leaves and jump in them!
- Play Duck Duck Goose, Capture the Flag and other fun outdoor games
- Run through sprinklers on a hot day
- Do chores around the house like vacuuming, mopping and washing windows
- Do outside chores like mowing the lawn, gardening and washing the car
- Put on music and dance around the house
- Go canoeing/kayaking
- Go on family bowling or mini golf trips
- Play in puddles after a rain storm
What activities does your child like to do when their playing and exercising?