It doesn’t take a lot of activity to get the brain fired up. Researchers have found moderate activity-like a brisk walk around the neighborhood-increases brain activity. This in turn, when your child goes to school, can translate into better test performance. Simply put, physical activity will help kids learn better. Take a look at this brain scan of a child sitting quietly for 20 minutes versus walking for 20 minutes. After the child walks for 20 minutes, his/her brain lights up with activity.
So if physical activity will help your child in the classroom, then as parents it is our job to find ways to get our kids active. The best way is to lead by example. We have come up with a list of active activities that you can do with the entire family.
Walk or ride your bike to school
- There is no better way to get active for class time then to walk or ride your bike to school. Walk or ride with your child if you are able to. This will give you time to talk with your kids and lead by example.
Make a weekend activity calendar
- Map out what kind of active activities you will do over the week and weekends. Display the calendar in a public area, like the kitchen or living room, and cross off the activities once they’re done. This will show the family what is coming up and what you have done.
Make family time active time
- Instead of watching TV after dinner, go for a bike ride or a walk around the neighborhood. Play a game of family basketball or other group sport.
Think outside the field
- Maybe your children don’t like traditional sports like football, basketball or soccer. Try alternative sports like rock climbing, hiking, swimming or martial arts. Find out what your children enjoy and stick with that.
Take advantage of your local parks
- Winter Park, Maitland and Eatonville have beautiful parks. Make a family trip to the park and take advantage of these free, fun activities.
Some kids are constantly out playing, running, jumping and generally always moving. For those kids, getting enough exercise is second nature because they are always active. However, for some kids, being active is a little harder. For these types of kids, we must find out what motivates them and lead by example. With help from WebMD, we have come up with a list of ways to help motivate your child to be more active. Comment below and tell us how you motivate your child to be more active.
Have your child connect personally
What anyone needs, as far as motivation, to get off the couch is personal and your kids are no different. What is their personal reason to get up and be active? This might be difficult at first and may require some additional conversations on what it means to be healthy. However, explaining the benefits as to why being healthy is important and how being unhealthy can lead to health problems, can be valuable for your kids to understand its importance. Let them try and come up with reasons that being active will positively help them.
Set realistic goals for being active
Experts agree that kids should be active for at least 60 minutes a day. You can aim for this, but if your child is completely inactive, start with a smaller goal. Try 30 minutes a day and work up to 60. Or pick an activity to do each day and then increase the activity time gradually. This can be as simple as going for a walk and then increasing your distance over time.
Do something your child enjoys
What do they like to do? Are they into basketball or bike riding? Maybe they don’t have a certain sport they like, but they enjoy the family dog. Go on extended dog walks together to be active. If they don’t show interest in a traditional sport or active activity, get creative with their interests and try to turn them into something active.
Plan to fit active time into their schedule
Typically, parents dictate a child’s schedule. Therefore, it is up to the parent to make sure the child has active time built into their daily routine. If they aren’t trying an organized sport, go on family walks, bike rides or other activities. Instead of watching TV together as a family after dinner, take that time and do something active.
Bounce back from setbacks
You are bound to have setbacks with your child when they first start being active. If you miss one day of doing something active, it isn’t the end of the world nor is it an excuse to stop being active all together. Try to instill in your child that they are someone who is active. By telling them they are an active person, it will become their identity. That way if there is a setback, bouncing back will be much easier.
It is important that your kids are getting their daily dose of exercise. Experts recommend that children get at least 60 minutes (1 hour) of exercise each day. That can be hard when kids are glued to video games, their phones and their computers. Healthy Kids Today has compiled a list of ways to get your kids motivated, off the couch and having fun outside. If you like one of our tips let us know on our Facebook or on Twitter at @HealthyKids2Day.
- Lead By Example – If you are sitting on your butt, so will your kids. They look to you as the example they should be following. If after dinner you normally watch TV, suggest a family bike ride, game of catch or take the entire family on a long dog walk.
- Let Your Kids Choose – Not everyone likes the same types of activities. If you have multiple children, let each choose an activity for the day. Your nature lover might choose a hike in a park, the adventurer might choose to go to a rock climbing gym or your sports enthusiast might choose a family soccer game. Letting your children choose what they want to do will make it easier for them to get excited about being active.
- Have Toys Handy – Children are more inclined to play outside if there are toys for them to play with. Keep a basketball, soccer ball, jump rope or Frisbee in the house. By having these items, you are enabling your children to have an activity to participate in, rather then just saying, “go play outside” with nothing for them to do.
- Limit Screen Time – Limit the amount of time your children are allowed to sit in front of a screen. Watching TV or playing video games on consoles, cell phones, computers or tablets are all sedentary activities. A lac of exercise from these sedentary activities can lead to health problems. By limiting the amount of time you allow your children to do these things and encouraging them to be active outside, you’ll ensure they stay healthy and fit.
Getting kids excited about exercising is important to making sure they develop long term healthy habits. In order to get kids excited about exercising, the Crosby YMCA donated kid friendly gym equipment to the students at Hungerford Elementary. The students were very grateful and wanted to say thank you! You can watch this video and all of our other videos on YouTube or Vimeo. If you would like to be featured in a video please contact Asher Levine at 407.644.2300 ext. 241 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The information provided on this healthykidstoday.org website, and in other data sources to which it refers, is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Such information is not a substitute for professional care. If you or someone you are caring for have or suspect you have a health problem, and/or wish to commence or modify any health care treatment, you should consult your own health care provider.
Did you know March is Florida’s Bicycle Month? The City of Winter Park is celebrating by joining the city’s Pedestrian & Bicycle Advisory Board to host the 5th Annual Bike from Park to Park on Friday, March 22, at 8 a.m.
Bike from Park to Park is a free scenic bike ride that begins at Central Park West Meadow located at the corner of Morse Boulevard and New York Avenue. The ride is approximately 3.5 miles, takes bicyclists through Martin Luther King Jr. Park to Mead Botanical Garden, by Azalea Lane Recreation Center, and back to Central Park West Meadow, where refreshments will be provided. Bike from Park to Park supports the mission to promote a viable and safe pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly infrastructure of Winter Park.
This is a great activity for the entire family. Bicycling is a fun activity that gets your family moving and staying fit. Remember to always wear a proper fitting helmet, adjust your bike to fit properly and watch for and avoid hazards on the road. Come out this Friday and enjoy a fun filled morning of bike riding. For more information on Bike from Park to Park click here.
Ricky Shaw, Hungerford Elementary Healthy School Team Leader and physical education teacher, recruited a health coach for a select group of his students to teach them about how to make healthy eating choices on March 6. This was part of an ongoing effort by the Healthy School Team to improve the health of Hungerford’s students and facility.
The program promoted, Stop Slow Go, explains the “Go” foods good to eat at most any time, the “slow” foods you should eat in moderation and the “stop” foods that should be avoided or limited. The differences are emphasized by using a stoplight with red, yellow and green lights. The students were shown pictures of food and asked which group they thought the item belonged to—Go, Slow or Stop. Students also learned about the different food groups and examples of healthy options in each.
After the health coach finished her presentation, the students took 30 minutes to exercise on YMCA-donated kid-sized exercise equipment . Each child got on a machine and exercised for a few minutes before rotating to the next one. The importance of the program was to show the students that healthy nutrition can be simple and delicious and that exercise can be fun. The program was an apparent success because at the end, all of the students said they liked exercising because it was fun.