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Keep Your Kids Active All Year Round!

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With computers, phones and video games taking up larger parts of our entertainment, parents need to ensure that their kids are getting outside and enjoying plenty of physical activity each day.

Physical activity and exercise aren't just essential for good health! It's linked to some other surprisingly valuable benefits too. This article will explore the benefits of physical activity and some tips to encourage your little ones to develop a fit and healthy lifestyle.

 

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The importance of physical health for your kids

Kids who have good physical health can reduce the risk of diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease. Not only does it make your child more healthy, but studies have shown children to also have better mental health and overall well-being.

Children should be as active as possible, to facilitate growth, development and general health. Daily movement helps to develop a child's sensory and motor systems. Children and adults of all ages benefit from a range of physical activity, and our basic needs don't really change dramatically with age, as we have outlined below. So let's get active!

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, “On average, children and young people aged 5–17 years spent one and a half hours (91 minutes) per day on physical activity and over two hours a day (136 minutes) in screen-based activity with physical activity decreasing and screen-based activity increasing as age increased."

The Australian Health Survey conducted in April 2012 found that 25 percent of Australian children and teenagers, aged five to 17 years, are overweight or obese, which indicates that a more sports-minded culture that encourages children to be physically active needs to be developed. Plus, a 2009 survey and found that 14 percent of middle- and high-school aged children participated in the minimum recommended levels of physical activity.

We would love to encourage people of all ages to get outdoors, jump on the trampoline and take control of their health to avoid obesity and becoming unwell. After all, it's the adults in a household that act as role models for children, who will mirror those habits – the good (trampolining), the bad (putting your feet on the table), and the ugly (you know the one we're talking about!).

  

Benefits of having an active child

The benefits of having kids with an active lifestyle:

  • Healthier joints, bones, and muscles
  • Healthier bodies
  • Better sleep
  • Stronger interpersonal skills
  • Improved mental health
  • Increased self-esteem
  • Better concentration and focus
  • More exercise as an adult

Healthy joints, bones and muscles

Because kids are still in their early stages of development, they must consistently use their joints, bones, and muscles to grow and strengthen properly. Just as nutrition aids their development, so too does bouncing on a trampoline or hitting the beach with a soccer ball!

Healthier bodies

With childhood obesity a growing epidemic here in Australia, it’s important to encourage kids to lead a healthy lifestyle. Physical activity will assist in maintaining a healthy weight, leading to a much lower risk of health concerns, which can develop both early and later in life.

Better sleep

Forever struggled to sleep after a day of lazing around? A lack of physical activity will have the same effect on your kids – leading to problems in the classroom the next day. Wearing them out before bedtime will ensure that they sleep soundly and wake up refreshed.

Stronger interpersonal skills

Playing team sports is a brilliant way to develop kids’ interpersonal skills, which are essential for successful schooling and success later in life. Learning to support others, work hard for the sake of the team, and compromise will assist in creating a well-rounded individual who’s ready to take on the world.

Improved mental health

Physical activity is linked to lessened feelings of depression and moodiness and increased positivity. It's an essential ingredient not just for a healthy body, but also for a healthy mind. If your kids have been feeling flat, then some fresh air and exercise could be the right remedy.

Increased self-esteem

Kids who exercise regularly also have better self-esteem, a trait that every parent wants for their child. Those who feel good about themselves are more likely to succeed in other areas, too. Getting your young ones active early could be one of the best ways to set them up for a happy and healthy future.

Better concentration and focus

Who'd have thought that laughing and playing could actually help out in the classroom? If your kids engage in regular exercise, you may find that they concentrate more and don't lose focus – yet another reason to get them out and active.

More exercise as adults

When we start exercising at a younger age, we're more likely to continue to do so into adulthood, and we've established how powerful regular exercise is as a health-promoting, disease-preventing lifestyle choice!

Set your kids up for a life of good health by introducing them to exercise at a time when it's most likely to stick.

  

Physical activity for children aged 5-12 years old

The Australian Government suggests that primary school-aged children combine moderate and vigorous activities for at least 60 minutes each day, and preferably much more than that. This exercise can be broken up into shorter periods of time throughout the day and can be a mixture of play-based learning exercises and formal exercises.

It is recommended that children have a limited time of just two hours of screen time (that is non-educational) each day, which includes television, the computer, and hand-held gaming devices. So, that means that there are plenty of opportunities to get outside for a bounce on your trampoline or an outdoor game between siblings or neighbours.

Likewise, children shouldn't be inactive for prolonged periods of time, about an hour or so, to stop them from getting tired and run-down. Except when they're asleep, of course - then you'll be grateful for the peace and quiet. Plus, it's probably okay to be still then. As the Australian Government says in their Active Kids are Healthy Kids documentation, "Encouraging kids to be active when they are young also establishes a routine that could stay with them throughout their life."

  

Tips to get your kids moving

Kids can be stubborn when it comes to new routines. But the best way to get kids moving is leading by example. Get involved in your child’s physical activity or even make it a family activity.

Make sure you tell and show your kids how fun it can be. Find an activity that your kids will enjoy because the more they enjoy it, the more likely they’ll keep doing it.

Allocate time dedicated to physical activity as well as limiting screen time. This can help set a routine for kids to start living a more active lifestyle.

  

Hobbies that get the kids moving

Maybe straight forward physical exercises don’t appeal to your kids and are still finding it hard to get them moving if your kids aren’t naturally ‘sporty’. We’ve created a fun-tastic list of hobbies designed to keep little bodies from becoming sedentary bodies.

Hobbies include:

  • Gardening
  • Building
  • Gymnastics
  • Photography
  • Theatre

Gardening

Get those bodies busy around the garden! Not only is it fantastic for their health, but it'll also help shorten your own to-do list. Involving the kids in planting their own vegetable or herb patches, fruit trees and flowering shrubs will give them a constant source of wonder and activity. Plus, kids are much more likely to eat fruit and vegetables that they’ve grown themselves. Say hello to healthy school lunches and dinners!

Building

Building projects are a great way to keep your child’s body and mind active; they're invaluable for developing problem-solving and motor skills. Pinpoint a project that your child will enjoy. Anything to do with a favourite superhero, cartoon character or game that they can play with friends is usually the best choice. Get them involved in the preparation right through to the final lick of paint. The bonding time that you'll have is a special plus for you.

Gymnastics

There’s a reason that hoards of kids sign up for gymnastics and trampolining classes each year; it’s so much fun! They'll love to show off their new moves and tricks to awe-struck friends. Not only is gymnastics incredible for flexibility, but it's also a powerful strengthening tool and it's fantastic for fitness. Your kids will be engaging in a serious workout without even realising it.

Photography

A hit amongst kids of all ages – photography can become a seriously active hobby if you incorporate scenic day trips in the search for the perfect shot. Gather the kids up in the car and head to your closest forest, beach or cityscape, and get clicking! They’ll walk a surprising distance to find their ideal subject.

Theatre

Theatre classes don’t often spring to mind when people think of ‘active hobbies’, but actors will quickly tell you otherwise! A range of physical warm-ups, drills and exercises are an engaging element of most acting classes, which become even more intense where physical theatre is the speciality

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