Keeping fit and staying active can do wonders for both our physical and mental health. It is important, whilst sport clubs and leisure centres remain shut, to incorporate some exercise into our daily routine. Children are used to expelling their energy during school break times, interactions with friends, and during P.E. lessons, therefore it is especially important to keep them active while at home.
Whilst there is a lot of focus on other curriculum subjects during this time, it may be easy to forget about physical education, which is arguably just as important. Children need around 60 minutes of ‘moderate to vigorous physical activity’ every day, which is an activity that makes their heart and lungs work harder than they normally have to.
Whilst it’s probably easier for younger children to reach this level of exercise per day, even more so if there are siblings involved, with older children it may become more difficult. Setting a realistic target for each day may be a helpful start. It could be 20 to 30 minutes to start with, and then this could be built on this every couple of days. If you still have an unwilling teen, using an incentive might work. For example, 30 minutes’ exercise equates to 30 minutes extra on the games console.
Gyms, sports centres and leisure centres may be closed at the moment, but that shouldn’t be an excuse to skip your workouts, there are a ton of other wats to get your heart pumping. Now is the perfect time to improvise and get creative, and even take up a new sport. For example, why not learn how to roller-skate around the local park? Try to see it as a source of fun rather than a chore.
So how do we keep our kids, from toddlers to teenagers, active during this time?
- Simply having fun running around the garden or local park.
- Go on a family bike ride or walk. Exercising together is more entertaining than exercising alone. Chances are there are some beautiful spots on your doorstep that you didn’t even know about.
- There are plenty of free online workouts currently available on platforms such as YouTube. You’ll find everything from Yoga classes to dance classes, but a good place to start is with Joe Wicks, who is running a virtual PE lesson every day at 9am.
- Turn a walk around the block into a race. A bit of healthy competition is sure to get the blood pumping.
- Hula hooping is a great, fun way to exercise. You can even make a game of it by seeing who can keep the hoop around their waist the longest.
- With younger children, replicate the playground by buying some chalk and drawing hopscotch markings.
- Getting the whole family involved will quickly turn a workout into some quality family time. Toss a Frisbee, kick a ball about, play some badminton or even a game of tag, all of these will be better than just slouching on the sofa.
- Gardening is working out without even realising you are working out, and is another good activity for all the family. Carrying tools, bending down, pushing a wheelbarrow, digging all are great ways to stay active. Plus, your garden will look great at the end of it.
- Make sure to check out your school’s social media pages as many are posting exercise tips and workouts. Their PE teacher leading the exercise will give them a sense of familiarity and they can be a topic of discussion amongst their classmates.
When it comes to exercise, it is important to find something that your children enjoy doing. This way it will be easier to make physical activity a regular part of their routine. When a workout is fun and they look forward to doing it, they are more likely to stick with it and be motivated.