Get The Children Moving
Exercise for the whole family
Children having Fun
Children's Exercise begins at Home
It is fairly easy to find ways to get children actively participating in physical activities that will be fun and beneficial to maintaining a healthy weight. Whether it's indoors during the winter or outdoors during warmer weather, a family can find many ways to get the blood pumping and the heart racing. From interactive video games, such as the Nintendo Wii or running, walking, jumping rope, biking, skating, swimming, organized sports, such as baseball, soccer, football, basketball, hockey, tennis, badminton, skiing and snowboarding are just some of the many ways in which we can all break a sweat. By getting involved in some of these physical activities, you will be investing in the health and well being of you and your family.
Seasonal changes can impact our involvement in physical activity. The family can choose to participate in different activities depending on the season. While everyone tends to be outdoors and involved in some form of physical activities during the warmer months, we tend to hibernate during the winter. Many people complain that they put weight on during the winter. It does not have to be so. There are many physical activities that the family can participate in during winter. If you check out the calendar of activities at your local community centres, you will observe a wide range of physical activities that you and the young ones can participate in. Some of these physical activities are belly dancing,speed skating,swimming, indoor soccer, hockey and football are only a few of the ways in which families can get moving in the winter.
Community centres charge user fees to subsidize the maintenance of their facilities as well as for administrative costs and salaries. Some families may not be able to afford the fees that recreational centres may charge to use their facilities. The Canadian government provides a Children's Fitness Tax Credit, that allows parents of children age 16 and under to claim up to $500 per year for enrolling a child in a prescribed physical activity program such as hockey or basketball. Parents can therefore claim some of the fees paid for children's physical activities during the year. There are also some areas that can be used for free, such as public parks, pools, walking and biking trails, boardwalks, public beaches and some botanical gardens.
There are no excuses to get out and move. You can start with as simple of a walk around your neighbourhood. You'd be surprised to discover that you community have many walking and bike trails that take you through scenic landscape and allow you to reconnect with nature. My son and I have walked for hours through our neighbourhood during the warmer seasons and we always discover new and exciting things along the walk. We have also met some interesting people while on our walk through our community. This does not cost any money and the benefits are invaluable to our health and well being. We bond as parent and child while we get fit.
During the colder months we can find ways to get the family involved in physical activities. While some family have fully equipped gyms in their homes, most of us may have one or no exercise equipment. If you have one or more pieces of gym equipment at home, then you can make it fun for all members of the family to work out at least three times per week. I suggest that if you have the space that you make your workout area easily accessible so that you will use them. For instance place equipment in your family recreational room, so that you can work out while you watch your favourite television show. You can also make it a fun activity such as competition to see who can bike or run 1 kilometre in the shortest time. While most people do not like doing exercises, if we find ways to make it fun for the family, then exercise can become part of what is done together.
Another indoor activity that can be fun and allow all members of the family to break a sweat, is Wii Sports or Wii Fit. All members of the family can have fun exercising using this interactive video game. Imagine playing 9-hole golf game while it snows outside. If you do not feel like spending time at home, then you can find physical activities outside your home, such as swimming at the YMCA or indoor skating at one of your neighborhood recreational centre. Whatever you choose, it should be fun for all members of your family. You will be giving your children great examples of ways in which they can lead a healthy lifestyle as well as making them feel that they are validated and loved.