Families that are active together are happy together
- Date: 21 March 2018
- Category: News
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Exercising as a family can be fun, but it’s also really important in setting kids up with healthy habits for life.
A report from the Australian Department of Health shows that 69% percent of children aged between 9 - 16 years get around an hour of moderate to vigorous physical activity a day, but this decreases with age. The Department of Health guidelines suggest children get an hour a day, and adults around five hours exercise per week. This is important for growing bodies to stay healthy and to build muscle and bone strength. If not all children are meeting this target, and activity decreases with age, that means it’s really important to encourage children to keep being active as they get older.
Parents’ activity levels play an important part in children’s too. A lot of lifelong habits are shaped in the early years so if children have active parents, they are much more likely to live active, healthy lives themselves. Getting out and about and exercising together allows parents to lead by example.
Research from the University of Cambridge looked at the connection between a mother’s activity level and her child. It showed that for every hour extra she spent active, her child would do 10% more activity. Encouraging your kids to go outside and play is great, but it would be even better if you as a parent are active too!
So how can you encourage your children to be active?
Some family activities to try:
A trip to the local pool (there’s probably a YMCA Aquatic & Recreation Centre in your area!) You can help your younger kids paddle around with a board and floaties, or watch as your older children play games and splash around in the water.
Go for a bike ride along a local trail. This can be a great way to get out and explore your neighbourhood, or perhaps you can drive a bit further from home to a naturally beautiful area.
Do a class together. Use Google to find out if there are any family friendly exercise classes in your area. You could do a casual dance class, yoga session or sign up to a term of karate together.
Play a team sport. Get outside in your backyard with a ball for a casual game of soccer, footy or basketball. It doesn’t have to be competitive, you can just take joy in teaching your little ones how to kick goals.
Take a frisbee or ball to a local park. Bring your dog to run around with if you have one!
Go for an evening stroll around the block to watch the sunset together.
YMCA is a proud partner of Premier’s Active April, because we believe that encouraging Victorians to get more exercise every day is a worthy goal. Sign up to Premier’s Active April to track your physical activity together as a family through the month of April. It’s free to sign up and there are lots of offers and prizes, including a 10 Visit Pass Card to use at your local YMCA centre.