An active childhood should be encouraged for health, intelligence and fun. Sadly, our modern worlds have made it harder for our kids to get the exercise they need. Here are some ideas to get our little ones moving.
Arguably, it is even more important for kids to exercise than it is for adults. This is because they are still growing and developing. Bone density is being laid down, and the more weight bearing exercise our kids gets, the stronger their bones will be in adult life. Exercise also teaches children body control and body confidence, as well as creating good habits for adulthood. Your kid’s flexibility will benefit too, helping to prevent injuries from occurring.
Mental health is another important factor in children’s exercise. Exercise releases feel good hormones, and breathing in plant chemicals (phytoncides) from outdoor sports decreases the level of stress hormones in your child.
Whatever the exercise, make sure it’s fun. If you would like your child to do more running, then play football or cricket with them down the park or sign them up for lessons. If you would like your kids to swim, then swim with them and play water games and swimming races. Water fights in the summer and trampolines may not feel like exercise, but it all adds up and makes a difference to your child’s well-being. For younger children, soft play centres, parks and chasing after bubbles and balloons make fantastic exercise.
There are plenty of ways to get your child moving, so if ballet really isn’t the interest of your 6 year old daughter, try her with football. And likewise, if your son really isn’t into sport, don’t force him, but encourage your children to explore other options like cycling, sailing or self-defence. Most activities welcome both genders, and have age appropriate classes. Ultimately, your kids need to enjoy the exercise that they are doing.
Choosing exercise that will benefit your child can make it much more interesting. If your child is being bullied at school, consider sending them to an exercise class such as self-defence to encourage confidence. If your child is struggling academically, then dancing may be your best option. Moving to music and learning dance sequences creates connections in the brain that ultimately improves IQ. If your kid needs more hand-eye co-ordination, consider tennis, table tennis or badminton.
If you are on a tight budget and can’t afford classes, there are plenty of free activities that can be done. A football in the park is a prime example. Water fights in the garden and exploring your local fields and woods doesn’t cost much. There are often schemes often run by local councils offering free or discounted sports to under 16’s. Take advantage of these and any free services offered. You can pick up a second-hand bike online for a small one off cost, and then explore the local bike tracks, it just takes a little imagination.