With the right motivation, the beginning of a new year can be the perfect time for families to introduce good habits and have fun getting healthy. Even though the weather is cold and we’re all still staying home more than usual, it is easy to find creative ways to incorporate physical activity into your family’s day.
Taking just a few minutes to run down the block or do jumping-jacks in their bedroom can help your child in school, at home, with family, and in so many other areas of their life. As a parent, you make healthy movement fun by turning it into a game or creating a fun family challenge. Everyone can benefit from a little more movement!
Build Strong Bodies
Children have a natural desire to move, whether it’s crawling across the floor or climbing on the furniture. By making time for physical activity, you are giving your child a way to burn off their energy and move their bodies in a healthy way.
Physical activity builds strong bones and muscles, helps children maintain healthy weight, and reduces the risk of certain health conditions. Exercise also promotes better sleep habits, so children get the rest they need to be active and alert during the day.
Boost Your Brain
The body and brain are closely connected, and what’s good for one is good for the other. Healthy body movement throughout the day keeps the brain focused, so children are ready and able to learn.
Even in the middle of the busy school day, it’s important to give children time for a movement “brain break,” which can be as simple as doing jumping jacks at their desk or hopping on one foot in between classes. To further promote the brain-body connection, challenge your child to hold yoga poses while spelling vocab words, or to jump out the answers to simple addition problems (i.e. 3+3 = 6 jumps).
A Positive Outlook is a Positive Outcome
Reaching exercise goals, such as running a mile or completing 10 push-ups, can give your child a sense of accomplishment and pride that is good for their mental health. Praise their efforts along the way, and encourage them to be in control of their healthy movement goals.
Especially during this difficult time, children may experience more stress or anxiety than usual. Exercise is a healthy way to manage those emotions and build self-confidence to handle life’s difficulties.
Have Fun with Fitness
Healthy movement can take many different forms, and be a great way to get out and explore the world around you. Local parks offer families plenty of space for distanced outings to walk through nature and explore the outdoors.
For ideas closer to home, try drawing a hopscotch course on the sidewalk, playing a game of tag, or prompting children to move their bodies like their favorite animals. The more fun your child has, the more likely they’ll be to want to continue their healthy movement habits!
Thank you to our partner, RunningBrooke and their Move2Learn program, for providing this information.