Staying active is key to living a healthy life, and this starts when you’re just a kid.
Fitness should be encouraged from an early age, especially because nowadays, computers, mobile devices and video games have slowed children down. The Academy of American Pediatrics estimates that children spend around seven hours a day on TVs, computers or phones. One in four Australian children are overweight or obese so it is vitally important to establish an active, healthy lifestyle from the get-go.
Kids should be active for at least 60 minutes each day. Here are a few ways to make sure your child gets in enough activity each day.
One of the best ways to get your kids into sport is to set a good example.
1. Get active!
One of the best ways to get your kids into sport is to set a good example. Children who see their parents regularly being active and enjoying different sports are more likely to follow suit and pick up these healthy habits.
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2. Limit the amount of ‘screen time’ your kids have
Try and limit the amount of time your kids spend in front of TVs, computers and other screens to less than two hours per day. This will give your kids much more free time that they can use for physical activities. You might get some complaints at first, but after a while they will get used to spending their time more actively. You can encourage them to ride bikes, go for walks with the dog or play a ball game with their friends instead of sitting in front of screens.
3. Provide ‘active’ toys
Younger children especially love playing with things like skipping ropes, balls, Frisbees and other toys that require them to get active. Making fitness fun is an important way of working it into your child’s life. Choose toys and activities that are appropriate for whatever stage of development your kids are at.
As well as having lots of things to play with, you can designate a room in your house specifically for physical activities. For example, have a space that you can use for playing music and dancing, or laying down a mat and doing yoga.
4. Make family time active
On weekends, set aside time to spend together as a family – doing active things. Go for walks or bike rides together, shoot some hoops or just run around and play tag together.
You can also do chores together, and encourage your kids to participate in things such as raking up leaves or sweeping the garage.
5. Enrol your kids in a fitness program
Encourage your children to join organised physical activities, such as rugby, netball, swimming, gymnastics or dance. Having certain times and games that they are committed to will help make sure they stay active over the course of the year, and they’ll have fun too!
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