Since we were young, everyone was taught that exercising even 20 minutes a day is necessary for a healthy life. It is even sometimes included in gym class and other extra-curricular activities.
Childhood obesity is a serious problem in the United States, putting children and adolescents at risk for poor health. Obesity prevalence among children and adolescents is still too high.
According to the Centers and Disease Control and Prevention, in the United States, about 13.7 million children and adolescents are obese.
As parents, we need to introduce them to the need for exercising as well as practising good nutritional habits. Most of the time, our kids are actually exercising since they like to play.
Another hindrance that parents encounter when encouraging physical activities for kids is the presence of technology. In an era where even a 3-year-old has a tablet and an iPad, screen time is a problem that parents encounter.
Due to too much screen time, kids develop eyesight problems as early as 5 years old. Too much exposure to their gadgets and lack of exercise results in multiple health problems. Such problems can be solved by introducing and prioritizing physical activities for kids.
Physical Activities for Kids
Below are some ideas of physical activities for kids:
Walking is a simple movement that all of us do in our daily lives. We need to teach our children that this basic exercise is good for overall health.
Posture is also important in making walking and exercise. A slouchy posture is not as effective as having a good posture. More and more studies have shown that having a good posture also improves the metabolism of a person.
If you have pets at home, one good physical activity for your child is for you to walk the dog together. This does not just encourage them to exercise but they would actually have fun since their furry friend is with them.
Especially that some sickness is hereditary, it is important to prevent them by introducing physical activities for kids. Some benefits of walking include:
- reduced risk of heart disease and stroke
- improved management of conditions such as hypertension (high blood pressure), high cholesterol, joint, and muscular pain or stiffness, and diabetes
- development of stronger bones and improved balance
- increased muscle strength and endurance
All of us have probably tried even once in our life to do aerobic activities. It would be impossible that we would have not done any aerobic activities at a certain point in our lives.
Some of the readers here probably disliked attending their physical education or gym classes.
However, even as adults, we probably questioned ourselves why we did not further our aerobic skills. We could have been Michael Phelps or Usain Bolt. Who knows?
Aerobic activity is a general term for exercises. Basically, the aerobic activity provides cardiovascular activities. This means it is generally good for the heart which allows it to pump blood and avoid blockage.
Some aerobic activities include:
- Walking or hiking
- Jogging or running
- In-line skating
- Cross-country skiing
- Exercising on a stair-climber or elliptical machine
According to the American Heart Association, 30 minutes is the best amount of time to maximize these kinds of activities. However, as we are only introducing these activities to our kids, we can start by having them do them for only 10 minutes then only increase the time by increasing it every week.
This is called progression to higher intensities of exercise. It should be based on individual exercise tolerance.
However, it is important to note that even as adults or just for your kids, it is important to consult a medical professional whether you and your kid are fit to try certain activities. This is because not all workout or aerobic exercise is for everyone.
Some of us may have tried or mastered certain aerobic activities mentioned above or even some parent readers are at the professional level. What’s better than just having to teach these activities to our kids is that we get to bond with them while trying to get our own exercise.
Believe it or not, dancing is for everyone. Whether you are a professional dancer or just a dancer in your own bedroom, it is something that would really shed all of those fats away.
As parents, we need to let our kids try all possible activities they could. The access to the internet has given us parents the opportunity to watch different dance workouts which we can also do with our children. Fitness gurus are all around and what’s great is that our kids can learn dancing even at home.
From dancing Zumba to professional dancing in theatres, children should be allowed to enhance their motor skills. A study-suggest that a person can burn about 200 calories in 30 minutes from a quick-paced dance routine.
Besides being a workout for your kid, dancing can actually be a profession when honed properly. You can enrol your kids to dance classes which would not just improve their physical and motor skills but would also let them build the confidence they need in life.
Professional dancers are paid to convey artistry through movement. They usually have expertise in a particular type of dance, such as jazz, ballet, modern, ballroom, or tap. They may perform on stage, in movies, on television, in music videos, at theme parks, on a cruise, and many more others.
For those parents looking for a not-so-complicated activity around the house, scavenger hunting is a good idea. Think of Easter egg hunting when we were but it need not be Easter season.
For those who are not familiar, a scavenger hunt is a game in which organizers prepare a list defining specific things, which the participants seek to gather or complete all items on the list, usually without purchasing them.
This activity is one of the suggested physical activities for kids because it also lets the kids engage their minds in the game. It is not simply running around and looking for something but it also exercises the minds of the kinds in thinking about the clues.
You can even think of a theme that would get your kid interested. For example, children are fond of cartoons. Let them search for things related to their favourite TV shows.
An example of a list for the scavenger hunt is the following:
- something blue
- an animal
- a book
- a picture
- a race car
- something sticky
- a pillow
- laundry around the house
In contrast, treasure hunting tends to present a series of clues, each of which leads to a specific mystery location; a scavenger hunt tends to offer a laundry list of items that you need to go out and pick up.
Treasure hunting is a fun activity and a good physical activity for kids. Similar to scavenger hunting, it just not let them exercise their motor skills but also their minds as well. This is because, in a treasure hunt, clues may be tricky and may require getting through mind games.
Some treasure hunt ideas include:
With most of our kids having phones or tablets, each kid or participant has to snap a photo of the items on your list. Whoever completes the list first and reaches the end of the hunt wins.
City and nature hunt
This was possible before the pandemic. However, being stuck in our homes, our kids are limited to the confines of our house.
If you have a backyard, nature scavenger hunting could still be possible. Recreate a world of plants in your backyard and let the kids have an adventure by learning certain plant species.
Some clues can be the following. Try it if you can guess what the clue means:
- I can take you to places you’ve never seen, but first, type your password in on my screen.
- I’m loaded and unloaded, but I’m not a truck. Having a helper like me is a great piece of luck.
- I rain on you when you need a scrub. I’m very much like my friend the tub.
- I make it possible to have fresh food. Everyone agrees I’m one cool dude.
It is however important to make some ground rules in playing the game. This is to avoid any untoward incident. Some examples of rules are no running, no fighting, and most importantly, the lesson of sportsmanship.
One of the most well-known physical activities for kids is playing sports. Regardless of whether or not it is a pandemic, sports will always be a great exercise.
As parents, we need to introduce them to sports at an early age. Similar to other life skills, there are a lot of reasons why our kids should engage in sports. Besides its physical benefits, here are other reasons why your kid should get into sports.
Sport helps children develop character and to learn important social and brain skills such as problem-solving, resilience, perseverance, confidence, and teamwork.
Statistics show the share of children aged 6 to 12 who play sport at least once a year in the United States from 2011 to 2018. According to the source, 71.8 percent of kids participated in a sporting activity at least once in 2018.
Football, soccer, swimming, track and field, gymnastics, taekwondo, basketball, volleyball, tennis, and badminton are some of the most well-known sports in the country.
Some sport professionals in the United States began playing their sports even at the tender age of 4.
For example, Serena Williams started playing tennis at the age of four. Her father home-schooled Serena and her sister, Venus while he and subsequently her mother became their tennis coaches. She started professionally playing at the age of 14.
Who knows? Your kid could be the next Serena Williams. It is important for parents to present these opportunities for their kids to try.
Organized sport is a term that simply means any game or sport which is played by three or more persons who play and/or practice together regularly as a team in a league or association.
If you have children, this is actually a good idea to let them move around the house while practicing teamwork as well.
Some examples of this are Soccer, lacrosse, baseball, football. If you don’t know the mechanics of these sports, with the help of today’s search engines and video streaming platforms, you can simply look it up. They will surely have fun as they play in your own backyard.
To sum it all up, physical activities for kids are necessary for their everyday life. From walking, dancing, football, soccer, swimming, track and field, gymnastics, to basketball- These are just some great ideas for physical activities for kids.
As parents, we should not forget that the goal here is not just for a better physical appearance but overall good health. An active lifestyle is necessary especially since most of us are stuck at home due to the pandemic. So why not check out these physical activities for kids
- Aerobic activity
- Scavenger hunt
- Treasure hunt
- Organized sports
Being physically fit is also not limited to how kids workout. Being fit means being fit in mind and body through healthy habits. However, the most important thing to remember is that in doing physical activities for kids, the ultimate goal is always to have fun.