Seven physical activities to help children stay active – even if they don’t like exercise
Regular physical activity is really important for children of all ages. National guidelines recommend that, from the age of 5 , kids should be on the go for at least an hour each day. Ideally, that means activity intense enough to get them warmer and breathing a bit faster.
For some kids, this will come completely naturally. But what should you do if your child simply doesn’t want to exercise? You might find them clinging to the sofa, refusing to come away from their favourite TV programme, video game or toy. If that’s the case, try gently suggesting some of the following activities. They’re excellent ways to introduce a bit of fitness into your child’s routine – and are fun enough that they may not even think of them as exercise!
1. Hit the dance floor
Dancing is a fantastic way for kids to move different parts of their body, and can help to strengthen their growing bones. You can dance away together in the living room, or join a group exercise class with other kids and parents.
2. Bounce into trampolining
Trampolining can be a surprisingly good aerobic exercise at any age, but kids in particular are likely to have a great time bouncing their way to fitness. Some places have trampoline parks, or you might be able to join a class at a local leisure centre. Another option might be to invest in a trampoline for your garden, if you have one.
3. Head to the playground
Playground equipment can be a great way to get some resistance exercise into your child’s routine. That means exercise that strengthens muscles and bones by working against a resistance – think swinging on the monkey bars!
4. Get the bikes out
Cycling can help to improve children’s balance, motor skills and confidence, and can also be really sociable. Cycling with friends around a garden or a park is a fun way to play as well as building up fitness.
5. Arrange an outdoor games tournament
In warmer weather, there’s almost no limit to fun games that can get kids moving outdoors. Skipping ropes, obstacle courses, tugs of war and water fights – all of these can have health benefits if they get children moving!
6. Take a trip to the swimming pool
Swimming can help improve heart, lung and muscle health for adults and children alike. It doesn’t always need to feel like an exercise session; even just playing around with inflatables can get children active.
7. Try ice or roller skating
Both ice and roller skating can have health benefits, and help balance and coordination. Why not try looking for a local roller disco for kids, or ice skating lessons at your nearest ice rink?