Regular physical activity is important for overall health at all ages, especially during these government imposed measures where children are learning on computers virtually at home, and moms and dads are working at home as well, or without a job.
Being active not only improves physical health, it also offers cognitive and emotional benefits including improving mental well-being and focusability.
It is recommended that children under 6 years of age are regularly active throughout the day, and that older children, teens and adults get at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day. While schools and sports can encourage physical activity in children, knowing how to encourage kids to exercise at home can be challenging.
Dr. C. Gus Tsiapalis, a family chiropractor with 25 years of experience, President of Milton Edge Youth Volleyball Club, and former Canadian beach volleyball professional athlete, shares ideas to help motivate and keep the entire family moving at home.
5 Ways to Increase Physical Activity at Home
1. Set Family Goals
Meet as a family and discuss the importance of the physical activity spoke of everyone’s balance wheel of life. Have everyone write down their fitness goals for the next 12 weeks, encouraging younger family members to draw their goal.
Create a monthly wall chart calendar with everyone’s names and daily activity to checkmark or put a star on to mark their accomplishment each day.
2. Have Fun – Be Creative
Keep exercise fun, especially for younger family members by offering variety. Have everyone write down physical activities they enjoy doing, being sure to include outdoor activities as much as possible working with weather. On weekends, rotate which family member gets to choose a family activity for the day.
Some examples of daily Monday to Friday indoor exercises for younger kids:
Jumping jacks, Yoga, Hopscotch, Jump rope, Ball games, Martial Arts, Wrestling, Obstacle courses, Follow the leader, Dancing, Yoga, Races around the house, Push-ups, Planks, Squats, just to name a few.
3. Make use of Online Resources
Although we are encouraging having breaks from screen time. For rainy or dark cold days, online resources can be great. Some examples include online video-led yoga workouts, or Nintendo Wii or Xbox Movement video-led dance games such as Dance Central and Just Dance.
4. Exercise as a Family
Exercising together allows you to have valuable time as a family together. Make it the fun things that you like to do together. Take family walks, hikes, skating and bike rides together, or divide into teams and play sports like football, baseball and volleyball. For those ready to put in some time and energy and possible investment, creating an outdoor ice rink, setting up a trampoline, a volleyball court, or swim-spa are great for regular family outdoor movement together.
5. Lead by Example
To truly inspire a lifetime of healthy exercise for you and your children, the best is for mom and dad to lead by example. When your children see you following your exercise rituals everyday, it sets a beautiful example for them.