Finding Time for You and Your Kids to Be Active
Do you feel like your days are jam-packed from the moment you get up until the minute you go to bed? Between your responsibilities and your children’s activities, you have a strict schedule. This busyness can easily get in the way of making healthy choices, but you don’t have to let it.
The 5-2-1-0 Healthy Choices Count program recommends getting one hour of physical activity every day. One hour may seem like a lot, but you and your child will have no trouble fitting this in if you have a plan!
Make Physical Activity Easy
Fitting in 60 minutes of movement a day looks different for everyone, and there is no one right way to do it. For some kids, it could be staying active for a full hour or breaking it up into smaller chunks. One helpful tip is to incorporate movement into your child’s day. Walking or biking to school when possible is a great alternative to riding in the car. Another example is having your child help with household chores. Pulling weeds, watering plants and cleaning the garage are all ways to get up and moving. Turn on some music and have the whole family join in the chores to make it more enjoyable.
Make Physical Activity Fun
Turn off the screens and pick out toys that encourage activity. Balls, jump ropes and hula hoops seem like all fun and games, but they also provide a fun way to add fitness to your child’s day. For older kids, pick out a fun activity that they enjoy. This could be competitive athletics or organized activities in your community. Some kids like participating in team sports like soccer or basketball while others prefer to do individual sports like ice skating or martial arts. Either way, the more that your child likes the activity, the more likely they will continue to do it.
More Tips to Maintain Physical Activity
When it comes to any new habit, you may want to jump right in. Don’t be afraid to make gradual changes to slowly increase your child’s activity to reach one hour. Research shows that people who make small changes over time are more likely to stick to them long-term. Your child must be willing and exercise should never hurt. If your child is in pain, try a different activity and talk to your child’s doctor.
As a parent, you serve as an important role model. Your attitude about physical activity can set the tone. When your child sees you exercising and being active, they will be more likely to do the same.
Why Does Physical Activity Matter?
- Kids who stay active daily are usually healthier. They are less likely to develop risk factors for chronic diseases and several types of cancer.
- Regular physical activity increases self-esteem and reduces feelings of anxiety, stress, and depression.
- When children are healthy, they are better learners. They have better attendance in school and get better grades.