Keeping kids over the age of five active for at least 60 minutes a day (and at least 180 minutes throughout the day from age one to four years¹) in addition to reducing the time spent being sedentary to less than 2 hours a day will have the intent to help children:

  •     Maintain a healthy body weight
  •    Improve movement skills
  •    Increase fitness
  •    Build healthy hearts
  •    Have fun and feel happy
  •    Behave better
  •    Develop self-confidence and social skills
  •    Improve learning, attention and language skills
  •    Improve their health
  •    Do better in school
  •    Improve self-esteem and confidence
  •    Maintain a healthy body weight
  •    Grow stronger
  •    Have fun playing with friends

 

How can you help your child get the recommended one-plus hours of daily physical activity when you can’t even make it to the gym?

You have to rethink your idea of exercise. It doesn’t always have to be time with weights or in a fitness class. If you think of exercise as leading an active lifestyle, which can include your kids, you’ll be able to fit in more than you think.² A bonus to exercising with family is putting good quality time together. Here are some creative ideas to help you turn every day into an opportunity to get fit – and have fun – together.

  1. Climb a tree. This fun outdoor activity uses upper and lower body strength, balance, and problem-solving skills.
  1. Go for a nature walk adventure. Walk in your neighbourhood or along a local ravine or forest path. Collect interesting and colourful leaves, pinecones, apples, rocks, or any object. Then use it to make a craft or just mix them all together in a bucket to make a witches soup or a sorcerer’s potion. Last weekend we made a fall leaf wreath by gluing the leaves that we found onto a paper plate.
  1. Play monster tag. Whoever is ‘it’ turns others into zombies!
  1. Put on the music for a dance party. Kids love music and love to dance.
  1. Play follow the leader. This can be indoor or outdoor, at the park or in the backyard.
  1. Make a map and pretend you’re searching for treasure. Kids love to help draw maps with an X marks the spot. As you leap over crocodile swamps or run from hot lava erupting from a volcano you’re exercising, playing and using your imagination.
  1. Make a game out of regular errands or chores by making it a race or timing how fast it can be completed.
  1. Make an obstacle course. Time how fast each person can get through it. On a rainy day, you could use cushions, pillows, and blankets to make tunnels to crawl through and to jump over. Outside they could ride their bike, jump through a hopscotch station and throw a ball into a bucket.
  1. Kids love to help out in the garden – they can help rake the leaves and jump in the piles! Nothing like fresh air, exercise, and togetherness.  
  1. Go for a Halloween walk together around the block– see who can spot fun decorations in the neighbourhood.
References: 
1. https://www.participaction.com/en-ca/thought-leadership/benefits-and-guidelines/5-17
2. http://www.parents.com/fun/sports/exercise

Wendy Vandergugten- Little BeetleWendy Vandergugten is a physiotherapist and co-owner of Maple Health Care & Rehab, a large multidisciplinary clinic which has been providing high-quality care in Vaughan since 1989. She is a mother of two young kids and enjoys staying active with her family.
www.maplehealthcare.com

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