Exercising regularly as a family and encouraging your children to be active is a really important part of keeping them healthy. Coupled with a healthy diet, it is the best way to prevent your child becoming overweight and suffering its many associated health problems, including diabetes and heart disease.
But how much exercise do you think your child should be doing each day?
10 minutes? 30 minutes? An hour?
The NHS actually recommends that children aged 5 to 18 should be doing at least one hour of aerobic activity every day. That is physical activity which gets them breathing hard and fast and that has their heart rate up quite a bit. It can be broken down into segments throughout the day.
For children under five who can walk unaided they should be physically active for at least three hours a day. This can be spread throughout the day, indoors or out, and can be things like jumping, skipping, dancing and running.
As well as doing activity which raises their heart rate, it is good to include activities that will help strengthen their muscles and bones.
Swimming is a great example. It is fun to do and uses every muscle group, so is great for cardiovascular fitness.
Stuck for other ideas? Then how about these suggestions for active games and play sessions:
- Play a game of ‘tag’ or ‘Stuck in the mud’
- Jumping or hop scotch
- Building a den out of cardboard boxes
- Play musical statues
- Hula hooping
- Playing football
- Going for walks
- Cycling and bike rides
- Roller skating
Older children and teenagers
Joining local or school sports teams or clubs can be a great way for your children to keep fit whilst learning new skills and making new friends. If they’re not so keen on sport or other activities, why not try getting them involved with the household chores (perhaps incentivised by extra pocket money). This can be a good way to encourage them to be more active, and may also give you a helping hand. Try suggesting the following next time they’re looking for something to do:
- Washing the car
- Cutting the grass
- Walking the dog
- Painting the fence
- Hanging out the washing
- Chopping wood
- Cutting hedges
- Digging up weeds and gardening
Simon Parker is a Personal Trainer - www.live4fitness.co.uk
These opinions are those of the writer and not necessarily those of Computershare Voucher Services.