Five Ways to Get Active With Your Kids This Summer
It’s no secret that physical activity is the best thing you can do to improve your health. Although the data on physical activity, especially in children, is straightforward and telling, we are still sitting too much and moving too little. Only one third of children (5-17 years old) reach the recommended physical activity levels (The ParticipACTION Report Card on 2018 Physical Activity for Children and Youth, 2018).
When we think of children exercising, we often think of organized sport, but typically this removes the parent (i.e., you!) from the equation. While your children need exercise, so do you. Being a physically active parent increases the likelihood your child is active as well. So, set the example by not just sending your kids out to play but by playing with them!
Here are five unconventional ways to increase physical activity with your children this summer:
- Get your hands dirty: Gardening, lawn mowing, and yard work are great ways to get active outdoors. No yard? No problem. Try container gardening or a local community garden. Kids and adults can both partake in helping your family cultivate a valuable skill over time.
- Train together: The popularity of obstacle course and running races has soared in recent years, with many events, including a category fro children, to be involved. Training for an event with your kid is a great way to instill the values of dedication and long-term planning.
- Be spontaneous: Not every activity needs to be planned. Sometimes, spontaneous is best. Take the dog for a walk. Both your kids and dogs will thank you for the fresh air. Go for a bike ride. It’s a great way to spend the day on some trails and quality family time.
- Make a splash: Have a family day going for a swim. Swimming is a great full body workout for everyone and it doesn’t even feel like exercise. Plus, it’s a lot of fun.
- Time to lift: In recent years, resistance training has gained popularity among adults and children. It is safe when completed with proper technique and gradual progression. Not sure how to get started? Most boutique gyms and fitness centres offer group programs for kids (making it an affordable and social environment). If you don’t have access to a gym, focus on bodyweight exercises (e.g., squats, lunges, push-ups, pull-ups, etc.).
Daily physical activity is crucial for both our physical and mental health. But it doesn’t need to be strenuous, organized, or complicated. Use these tips to get active with your kids this summer and everyone wins.
Dr. Marc Morris, PhD (Human Nutrition), CSCS is a Strength and Health coach living in Saskatoon, SK. Marc’s experience in fitness is varied: he is a competitive strength athlete and international coach, but takes pride in helping anyone remove the barriers to live their healthiest lives. Marc can be found on Instagram @marcwmorris, Facebook at Marc W. Morris, or reached by email at [email protected].