For a good reason, physical activity and a newfound focus on health are gaining popularity. Exercise does wonders for your health as an adult, but it arguably does just as much for children’s overall health and well-being.
Physical activity improves kids’ mental health, boosts self-esteem, reduces anxiety/depression, and in most cases enhances school performance as it increases concentration and behavior. Regular physical activity decreases the risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease later in life. It also helps maintain healthy body weight and improves sleep, which is vital in growing kids.
Experts state that only 1 in four children get the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity per day and state that participation in physical activity or exercise dramatically decreases as children age. For all these reasons, it is essential if you are a parent or guardian to create an exercising routine to ensure that your kid(s) live a healthy and well-balanced life.
Even with the knowledge of the overwhelming benefits of exercising, life is hectic, and it can be challenging to implement and routine. Although challenging, it is not impossible with the right mindset and a few quick tips. Read on for five ways to get and keep kids exercising.
As a parent, you spend thousands of hours with your children. During this time, your children are watching you, observing, and repeating patterns they are seeing. Social scientists have shown that children are impressionable. They learn through watching and imitation; hence, it is impossible not to model behavior- whether positive or negative.
You, as a parent, have a unique position to model positive behavior for your children that can set them up for lifelong health. You must model behavior that you want them to emulate. Less “do as I say, not as I do” and more and “walking the talk.” If you want your children to develop a regular and healthy exercise routine, you should begin by enjoying sports, exercising, and enjoying physical activity.
Whether you are new to exercising or are a seasoned vet, make sure you are taking the time to engage with your children, including them when possible, and allowing them to view you being physically active.
One of the easiest ways to get your kids to exercise is to make it fun. Contrary to antiquated beliefs, exercising doesn’t have to be complicated or strenuous for you to reap the benefits. You can turn on music and have a dance party or if you are in the Austin, Texas area, make a day out of visiting indoor playscapes like Mt Playmore.
Mt Playmore is a “Texas-sized” playground that is perfect for high-energy kids. Kids can spend hours running, climbing, and playing. During this time, children are not only having fun, but they are also increasing their heart rate, breaking a sweat, and improving their health.
The playscape also has the largest toddler-only playscape in Austin, filled with toys and other fun elements. Deemed the Kiddie Kanyon, this space is an excellent way for young children to enjoy themselves and is ideal for young developing brains. Climbing, playing tag, obstacle courses, running races, catching a ball, balancing, etc., help to form gross motor skills and improve coordination.
Human beings by nature are social creatures, and experts see the benefits of socializing beginning at birth. Socializing helps young children develop a sense of self and learn from others, but besides the apparent effects, inviting your kid’s friends to join, the party keeps them engaged and accountable.
No matter what age you are, exercising is always more enjoyable if you do it with friends. You also involve the entire family as a bonus! Promotion exercise can be as simple as walking your kids to school instead of driving, taking a ball to play with at the park, or even biking to visit friends/neighbors. As long as you are moving, you and your kids are reaping the benefits of exercising.
If you want to get your kid(s) to exercise, a good first step is to set boundaries around how long they can spend on screens meaning on the computer, tablet, or television, playing games, or watching shows. Most experts recommend limiting all screen time to just one hour a day of high-quality programming or learning activities. Too much screen time can lead to many issues for growing children like behavior, sleep, and educational problems.
Instead of screen time, offer them active options like sports, time at the park, or playtime with friends.
The key to getting kids to exercise is planning and making sure that you carve out intentional time for them to be physically active. Take a look at your family’s schedule. Highlight any gaps that you can fill with an activity or activities that can be fused with exercise (i.e., you are going to the grocery store already, try walking instead of driving.).
However, be careful to make sure that you aren’t overscheduling. Kids can quickly feel overwhelmed with homework, lessons, and other planned activities. Try to go out of your way to create a well-balanced schedule for your kids, leaving ample time for exercising.
If your schedule gets out of hand and getting your kids to exercise feels like the last thing you have time to do, be gentle with yourself! Revisit this list and take it step by step. Remind yourself of all the benefits that exercising has. Prioritize accordingly.
As with anything related to your health, always consult your doctor before changing your routine or implementing anything new! Feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions.
COVID-19 Restrictions continue to lift across the nation, allowing people to return to traveling and resuming their everyday activities. At Mt Playmore, we are optimistic about our future and hopeful that COVID-19 cases continue to decrease. However, we are also realistic and want to prioritize the safety and well-being of each of the children and parents that walk through the door of our facility.
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