Ways to be Physically Active

PA FOR KIDS

Getting children to be physically active can be difficult, but there are plenty of different activities that both parents and children can do together. The key to getting children to be more active is to get involved and do these activities with them.

Here are some ideas for getting children to be more active in their downtime.

Keep activities age-appropriate: It is important to know which kinds of activities are for which age groups. Younger children will need activities that involve more specific directions, while older kids will need activities that are a little less structured and more physically challenging.

Knowing the difference between “Physical Activity” and “Exercise”: These two terms are often used interchangeably, however, they are two different things. A physical activity does not have to be a rigorous sport activity. It could merely be a walk through the park or just taking stairs instead of using escalators or elevators. Even doing simple housework like cleaning the kitchen or sweeping the floor is considered a physical activity. Physical activities can include a sport activity but it is not considered a sport itself. Exercise is an activity that is planned and structured. The purpose of exercise is to improve a certain aspect of your body whether it be appearances or strength and endurance. Knowing the difference can make a big difference in choosing the right activity for you and your family.

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Turn off the television/computer: Children are less likely to be active when these devices or related devices are on. So take an hour every day and ask children to turn off these devices. During this hour parents can encourage many different alternative activities. For instance, if the devices are being turned off before a meal, ask children to assist in preparing the meal with the parents or help with cleaning up. This will encourage children to make their own healthy choices for meals and teach valuable skills. Another activity is to go for a walk. If families have pets, then make it a family walk to the park. That way everyone gets a great work out, even the pets!

Keep it Fun!: Make sure that when encouraging physical activities, that fun is also encouraged. Going on walks through a new park or a new part of town is a great way for families to get physically active and the family will have fun discovering their town’s hidden gems. Sports are a great way to keep active, but make sure that children are enjoying the sport. If children are not enjoying a specific sport activity, find another one that they would like to play often. Don’t be afraid to learn a completely new sport with your children. It will be a great learning experience for both you and your child. Also, both you and your child will get a great work out from trying something your body isn’t yet accustomed to.

Walk, Don’t Drive: If you have errands that are nearby your home, walk instead of driving. Ask your children to join you and you can make it into a fun ‘scavenger hunt’. This way family gets exercise and you won’t have to worry about not getting your errands done. You can also finish off the ‘scavenger hunt’ with fresh fruit smoothies that the family can make together.

Get friends involved!: Having friends join in activities, especially new ones, is a great way to get children to be more active. When children have at least one or two friends in a group of new  faces, they would be more willing to go out of their comfort zone and try a new activity. Children and their friends can both have fun and stay active when they are all doing the same physical activity.

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It’s Not Always About Sports!: When ‘physical activity’ or ‘exercise’ is mentioned for children, parents immediately think of sports or sports related activities. There are actually a lot of other forms of physical activities! For instance, dance would be a great way for children to stay physically active. It is also an activity that both parents and children can enjoy together or just with friends.

For more information and ideas, visit these fun sites:

Head Start Body Start

Let’s Move!

Health Finder

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