The Department of Health has reported that 80% of Australian children do not get enough exercise. The recommended amount is at least 1 hour of moderate to intense activity for children aged 5-17 years. This might sound like a lot a lot at first, but there are lots of different ways in which you can easily incorporate physical activity into your day.
Physical activity doesn’t have to be a chore, things that you find fun and might do anyway can also count. Take a ball to the park and play a game of soccer, go to the beach for a swim in the sea, or get your children to show you a new hobby or sports skill. Even bush walking, taking the dog for a brisk walk, or dancing can all count towards your daily physical activity quota.
There are many physical benefits to exercise such as improving your cardiovascular health, releasing feel good endorphins and getting vital vitamin D (if you are active outside). Children who are active tend to develop stronger muscles and bones, have a leaner body and be less likely to become overweight. The risk of developing type 2 diabetes can decrease as a result of doing exercise, and it can also lower blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels.
Not only are there loads of physical health benefits of doing enough physical activity. But there are also emotional benefits to exercising, especially when done as a family as it can help foster connectedness and some valuable quality time.
It also is a great way to keep yourself healthy at the same time – how many of us are guilty of using the kids as an excuse not to make the gym or that exercise class you had whole heartedly planned to go to! Working out with all the family will ensure that you are happy and healthier for getting your recommended daily amount of physical activity. Team sports are also beneficial to helping children’s social skills as they can encourage them to be team players, and help encourage bonding.
You can even use your active time to be productive too. As many of us feel there aren’t enough hours in the day, you can double up and be productive in an active way. Why not ditch the car and walk instead? Or try some gardening? Spring is the perfect time to plant seeds, not only will this teach children a sense of responsibility by remembering to water them every day, but it will also be exciting for them to learn how they grow. Best of all, they’ll reap the rewards come Autumn with lots of healthy home-grown veggies to eat.
Why not try the Family Time Challenge on the Bupa Family Challenge website for fun ways to connect as a family whilst being active. Or head to the Parent Hub for more resources on staying fit and active.