The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted team sports and fitness centers, limiting many options for physical activity. Winter weather can also make it a challenge for children to get the recommended amount of daily exercise.
The beginning of a new year is a great time to focus on physical activity for the entire family. Regular physical activity has many benefits for overall health. Exercise can improve sleep, help with concentration, and reduce stress. Exercise has also been shown to lower the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and some types of cancers.
To stay healthy, children should be physically active for at least 60 minutes every day. Keep in mind that these minutes do not have to be completed all at once and can be broken down into smaller periods throughout the day.
There are many ways to incorporate exercise into your family’s daily routine:
- There is an ever-increasing amount of virtual exercise options available online. GoNoodle, Cosmic Kids Yoga, and Get Moving with Disney Family are all engaging ways to get kids excited about exercising. Both the YMCA and YouTube have free online workout videos. With so many choices, you’re sure to find something that interests everyone in your family.
- A daily walk (if the weather allows) is a great way to stay active and get out of the house while also practicing social distancing. In winter, snowball fights and sledding can be a fun way to get moving.
- At home, families can be active together by having a dance party or playing a game of tag. Yardwork and household chores can also count as physical activity.
The most important thing to remember is to be creative and have fun! If exercise is enjoyable, it will be much easier to make it a regular part of your family’s routine.
by Autumn Barbero, ARNP, Certified Primary Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner