Written by Kristin Bowers
Physical activity is great for children and their health. At least 60 minutes of activity per day helps children grow strong, stay well and keep a healthy weight. There’s mounting evidence that moderate to vigorous physical activity also helps children’s critical thinking skills, grade point averages and standardized test scores. Get moving and help develop your own weight loss program for kids!
For healthy lifestyles, children need both free play and specific instruction on physical skills. The ideal place for physical education is as part of the school day – at least 30 minutes every day. Support sports programs at your school and ask your child about the type of activities they are taking part in. In addition to supporting daily PE in schools, take advantage of classes in your community, like swimming or dance lessons. The best physical education is age-appropriate and fun! Try your local YMCA or Girl Scouts!
Play helps children mentally, physically, socially and emotionally. All you have to do is turn off the television and put away the phones. Explore your yard, neighborhood, playground or park. Look up hiking trails in your area or find a group that goes hiking. Download a geocaching app on your phone to teach your child about navigation skills and explore places in your neighborhood you haven’t been to before. Go as a family!
Active play can be organized by adults or kids. There are active indoor games such as Simon Says or Twister and dozens of games to play outside: hopscotch, jump rope, dodge ball, Frisbee golf, badminton and volleyball. Depending on the season, organize trips to a local bowling alley, swimming pool or skating rink.
Different children excel at and enjoy different types of activities. Some children enjoy individual sports and others enjoy team sports. Experiment with team and individual sports and activities alike – from baseball and soccer to ice skating, martial arts, and rock climbing – to see which types of activity interest your child. Let your child join intermural athletics or an active after school program.
Make Fitness Part of Your Child’s Day
If your children can walk or bike to and from school, they will get all the physical and mental benefits of being active, while you save on gas fill-ups. Walk or bike with your kids when you can; organize a neighborhood walk, bike ride or swim for days when you are not able to go with them.
No matter what kind of activity your child gets, make sure they are doing 60 minutes per day. Turning off electronic devices and suggesting outdoor activities certainly helps. Healthy weight loss for kids can easily be jump started by simply moving more!
The Camp Shane Team