Keeping Your Child Active and Healthy - Part 1
By Crystal Juarez, Athlete Experience Manager
We all know a physically active lifestyle provides many health and mental benefits but, in this technology-focused and sedentary age, getting your kiddos moving can be a struggle. One of the biggest motivators for getting back into the gym after the birth of my son was to begin leading by example. Since then, in an effort to stroke his interest in exercise, I incorporated some strategies to get him moving throughout the week that I share below.
Focus on Fun
No one likes doing something that feels like a chore. Instead, come up with fun and creative ways to incorporate physical activity into your child’s schedule. Children love to have fun, so the more engaging the activity the more encouraged and motivated they’ll be to continue. They’ll likely come up with ideas of their own! Below are a few ideas for fun family activities.
Throw an impromptu dance party. This is always a fun one at our home. We introduced our son to music very early on and now he loves play “Song Request” (everyone chooses a song to play) and we dance away in the living room. Don’t underestimate how effective a good dance song can be at getting your heart pumping. Create a playlist of songs both you and your kiddos like, then anytime there’s a lull in the day or you hear those dreaded words, “I’m bored,” suggest a dance party!
Create an obstacle course indoors or in the backyard. Find things around the house to create a course – hula hoops, jump ropes, a kickball, painter’s tape, boxes. You’ll be amazed at all the different things you can use to create an obstacle course.
Host a Water Balloon/Nerf Gun Fight. Ask your children to invite their friends over and let them go to town in the backyard. My husband and I threw a water gun fight with our son recently and were winded by the end and our son had a blast.
Create Small Moments Throughout the Day
Exercise doesn’t always have to be a big, structured event. Create opportunities throughout the day for your children to get in some walking, running or biking.
Ask your child to walk, run or ride his/her bike to pick up the mail or to return the casserole dish you borrowed from the neighbor. Maybe even time your child to see how quickly they can get back home or, if you have multiple children, have them race!
Do you live close to school? Instead of picking them up or having them ride the bike, consider allowing your child to walk home from school.
Begin or end your day with a family run or walk; whatever works best with your schedule.
Include your children in household activities like washing the car, mowing the lawn, walking the dog. Ensure the activity is age appropriate. My son isn’t old enough to use the lawn mower yet, so, instead, he helps rake and pick up the big magnolia leaves that fall. The great thing about this is, if you introduce it early on, they’ll likely continue and take on additional activities as they grow. My son already tells us, “When I’m five, I’ll mow the lawn for Daddy.”
Dedicate time on your days off to spend time participating in something active like a day at the park or playground, hiking, swimming or bike riding.
Try incorporating the tips above into your schedule over the next week and stay tuned for part two of this series next week.