Get your family moving

19.01.17

As a parent, how can you find the time to help your child get the recommended 60 minutes of daily physical activity without it being boring for both of you? The first step is to rethink your idea of exercise.

Getting fit, especially for kids, doesn’t mean going to the gym or running around the block. Being healthy and active as a family is all about leading a physical lifestyle – and having fun spending quality time together. Here are some activities to do with your family that are both enjoyable and can be beneficial for your health.

Sneaky fitness sessions.

Exercise doesn’t have to be scheduled. The key is to fit it in whenever and wherever you can. Instead of taking an escalator, have a running race up the stairs. Don’t let your toddler ride in the trolley at the supermarket. Instead, give them the opportunity to push their own mini-trolley. Or try parking your car a couple of blocks away from school and walking the rest of the way.

Birthday work-outs.

Rather than celebrating every special occasion with a meal out, why not celebrate a birthday, anniversary or Mother’s/Father’s day with an active outing that will increase laughter and your heartrate? Bowling at AMF or Kingpin or a fun, and sometimes competitive game of M9 Laser Skirmish can be a great way to get your family moving.

Choose to go to a swimming pool (maybe one with a diving board for older kids) or to an indoor trampoline centre for some incidental exercise that is fun for the whole family. You’ll be surprised just how much energy it takes to bounce on a trampoline for an hour! Check your Garmin afterwards for a nice surprise.

Sleep. Sleep. Sleep.

Whilst this is not strictly getting your kids moving, it will give them the energy they need for an active day ahead. We all know how important it is that children get the sleep they need. These are the recommendations for different ages and stages:

  • Toddlers/preschoolers 10-14 hours (or more if they need it)
  • Children aged 3-5 years, 10-13 hours
  • Children aged 6-13 should have 9-11 hours of sleep
  • Teenagers 14-17 years, 8-10 hours per day.

Make bedtime a fun ritual for your younger kids, so they look forward to it rather than avoiding it. Sit down to read a book every night right before bed, and the routine will become ingrained while you get a bonus cuddle with your kids.

Try to keep exercise a regular part of your daily life rather than something that feels like a chore. If you start this from an early age, children may be more likely to make healthier life choices as they grow up.

More for Bupa Members: Happy holidays

Visit BupaPlus to see our great discounts on active holiday destinations as well as family outings like bowling at AMF or Kingpin and M9 Laser Skirmish.