As parents we would all like to see our children grow up to be as happy and healthy as they can possibly be. We want them to do well in school, have friends and grow up to be strong and confident individuals. One way we can do this is to encourage our children to do at least 20-30 minutes of exercise/physical activity every day. Getting involved in some of these activities with our children not only increases the bond we have with our children, but will also help them develop the habit of exercising as they get older.
There are many benefits associated with regular exercise for children. Children who exercise regularly will continue to exercise as adults. Regular exercise will also maintain strong muscles, bones and joints as well as helping to maintain a healthy body weight. Children who engage in regular activity do better in school, have better self esteem and have less instances of anxiety or depression. Also exercise can improve both the quality and quantity of your child’s sleep as well as helping to prevent or delay the development of many diseases such as Heart Disease, Diabetes and Obesity. Who wouldn’t want all of this for their children?
Exercise or physical activity can take on many different forms. It’s not all about going to the gym, lifting weights and running on treadmills. How many of us honestly have the time to do this? You can exercise with your children pretty much anywhere. It doesn’t mean that you have to sign your children up to gyms or sports clubs or buy expensive equipment. Walk briskly with them to the shop instead of taking the car. Go for a run around the block or organise some physical activity in the garden at home. The important thing is that you do it together, so that your child is getting the all the health benefits associated with exercise. You get to spend more quality time with your child and your child is learning healthy habits from you.
Children are never too young to start learning healthy habits from you. If you are going for a jog bring the baby with you in the stroller! Exercising at home? Include your child and get them to count your push ups or sits ups etc. Older children could be encouraged to participate in your activities with you. Take them on the cycle with you or if your cycle is too long, work it so that your child can either start or finish with you. The same can be said for walking, running and swimming. With a little bit of forward planning you can actively engage your child into your own exercise routine.
If you are looking to get more active with your family (or just on your own), the Limerick Sports Partnership offers a range of programmes and supports to help you get started.
Provided by Liam Cantwell “Limerick Sports Partnership” www.limerickcitysports.ie