Once upon a time, children spent their free time in the streets, playing hopscotch and hide-and-seek. Today, most children are glued to their phones and tablets with little to no interest to play outside. As a result, the risk of obesity, heart disease, high cholesterol, diabetes, and hypertension is high. Around 40% of children from 5 to 8 years old have the potential to develop one or more of these conditions.
Besides being good for the body, encouraging children to participate in physical activity can teach them to focus, improve their sleep, and control their energy levels. Keep an open mind and allow your child to choose the best physical activity that can improve their mental and physical health. Moreover, you can join them to make your relationship stronger and reap some of the benefits as well.
Be a running partner to your child
Running may seem boring to a child, so try to show them the best sides of it. Buy them running equipment, like good shoes and activewear. Choose a place that is not too crowded, especially if they’re insecure or ashamed about their body. Joining a running club is a great way to learn the basics and meet people with similar interests.
After a while, when feel-good hormones kick in, your child will feel more and more empowered to run, regardless of who is around. Weight management and musculoskeletal health are some of the benefits of running, as well as lessening anxiety and self-esteem issues.
Meeting nature through hiking
On average, kids spend 4–7 minutes outdoors daily and 7 hours inside looking at the screen. Based on the study from the University of Michigan, spending at least 20 minutes in nature reduces cortisol levels and lowers stress. Hiking is one of the best physical activities since it improves both the mental and physical health of your child.
Being exposed to greenery, sounds of birds, and far away from city noise can be beneficial to emotional health, source of vitamin D, and agility. Considering that your child will be surrounded by nature, it’s a chance to teach them about the care and preservation of the environment. However, introduce them to hiking by starting with small walks in the local nature sights. Once your children are feeling comfortable outside their comfort zone, plan a camping weekend in the nearby national park.
Family gardening for quality time
While it may be surprising, gardening can burn up to around 420 calories in 30–60 minutes. Tending to a garden can improve mobility, flexibility, and motor skills. Planting, digging, raking, and bending involve more musculature and can contribute to proper physical development.
Also, it’s a wonderful way to have quality family time and work on your relationship with your child. This can provide emotional stability and help you establish mutual trust through casual conversations. Spending time in the garden, exposed to sunlight, and doing something soothing like mulching, pruning, and watering can lower anxiety and stress levels. Giving a child their own area in the garden to plant and grow is a nice way to teach them about responsibility from an early age.
Rock climbing to build strength
As a full-body activity, rock climbing can build endurance and increase overall strength. It’s all about the eye, hand, and food coordination that can enhance problem-solving skills by trying to find the right route.
This is an activity that starts from small accomplishments and proceeds to reach more demanding goals. Children learn that they need to be dedicated and invest themselves in getting to the top of the rock, boosting their confidence. If your child is afraid of heights, this may be one of the ways to help them overcome that and conquer their fear.
Bicycle rides in the neighborhood
Cycling is a great physical activity for cardio, but also for children to learn to pay attention to their surroundings. The first step is to look for appropriate kids bikes based on your child’s proficiency and age. Encourage them to ride their bike with other children to improve their social skills and form relationships.
If your kids are small, put them on your bike and show them how great cycling can be before letting them ride alone. It’s also a good idea to go cycling with them sometimes to bond and create a shared experience. A tandem bicycle may also be a good idea to slowly ease up your child and help them build self-esteem for riding on their own.
Yoga moves for better child posture
Yoga may seem like it could be boring for children, but if you shorten it to up to 20 minutes, they may enjoy it. This is a perfect activity to promote good posture and burn calories while strengthening muscles and the mind. Moreover, it’s something they can do at home and even outside in the yard on a sunny day.
Practicing yoga is also about training the mind to relax and let go of stress. Children who are too energetic or have behavioral issues may learn how to calm down through breathing exercises. Meditation may be a great opportunity to teach your children patience and how to adopt positive thinking.
Jumping to burn calories
Jumping is an inexpensive, practical, and simple way to introduce more physical activity into your child’s life. Kids don’t see jumping as exercise, but fun so you can make even the reluctant individuals participate in this moderate physical activity. Better posture, a healthy heart, stronger muscles and bones, improved coordination, and weight loss are some of the benefits for physical health.
Not only is jumping fun and make your children smile, but it will give them self-confidence, courage, and a sense of accomplishment. Since you can get them a jumping castle, ropes, or trampoline, they can invite their friends and socialize more.
Dance classes for fun
Children love to dance — all they need is to play music and they will start twirling and bouncing around. There are many types of dances to choose from, so your child will have no problem finding the one that interests them the most. Physical health can harvest a wide range of benefits from dancing for the lungs, heart, coordination, balance, muscular strength, and many more.
If they choose to learn a dance that requires a partner, it can teach them about teamwork and sharing accomplishments with others. Increased confidence, self-esteem, and self-motivation also come with dancing, especially if they participate in contests and public performances. That is a wonderful way to teach them how to feel comfortable in the spotlight and overcome their fear of crowds.
Before you decide what physical activity is best for your children, ask them what they would like to do. Finding something that fits their personality and interests is encouraging and may help them reach better results. The best physical activities are those that enhance your child’s overall health by helping them manage weight, build strength, and increase motor skills. They provide self-esteem, calmness, creativity, and confidence that can follow them throughout their life and be a foundation for their future success.