[As appeared on The Christian Post] The days are getting longer and the weather is getting warmer. True signs that summer is almost here! For many of us that means the kids are almost with done with school. Whether they will be physically home from going to school or finished with their virtual learning, they will have more time on their hands. Kids (and adults) thrive with structure; here are some great tips to provide consistent fitness and fun for the whole family this summer.It can be hard to find time to exercise. Fortunately, exercise doesn’t have to be in a gym for hours. Exercise can be done with your family in your own home in as little as 10 to 15 minutes!
Give these ideas a try or brainstorm more with your family!
Here are our top 9 suggestions for family fitness fun:
1. Make it a game
2. Watch fitness videos
3. Have a dance party
4. Promote fitness through daily chores
5. Take a family walk, hike or bike ride
6. Kid friendly fitness apps
7. Wear a fitness tracker
8. Family fitness challenges
9. Family sports night
Fitting In Fitness
For many, doing exercise first thing in the morning is the only way to ensure it won’t get skipped later in the day. However, with busy mornings this may seem impossible. Start by establishing a morning routine. This starts with creating a bedtime routine to ensure kids (and parents) get enough sleep.
Prep for the morning the night before – lay out clothes for the next day and get up 10-15 minutes before your kids to sort out any last minute tasks. Create a chart for the morning routine to ensure kids stay on track and accomplish everything that needs to get done before starting the day. Include things like exercise, shower, brush teeth, get dressed and eat breakfast. A chart like this one can be especially helpful for keeping kids on track in the morning.
To make your weekday morning routine stick, it’s best to stick to it on the weekends, too. It’s tempting to sleep in as late as the kids will let you on a Saturday, but sleeping in on the weekend makes it more difficult for kids to get up during the week. The weekend routine can vary to include special things like having a more relaxed breakfast, but try to get up about the same time.
Many of us know we should exercise for our health, but why should we bother exercising with kids? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only 21.6% of 6- to 19-year-olds in the United States meet the recommended 60 minutes or more of moderate to vigorous physical activity on at least five days per week. This is unfortunate because just like in adults, there are many benefits of exercise for kids including:
- Stronger bones
- Stronger muscles
- Lower risk of obesity
- Improved emotional wellness and classroom behavior
- Improved blood pressure and blood cholesterol
- Lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes
- Improved cognitive function including memory and concentration
- Starting healthy habits at a young age provides benefits that last a lifetime
To reap these benefits, kids need 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity most days if not daily. It doesn’t have to be all at once, rather it can be in approximately 10-minute intervals that add up to 60 minutes by the end of the day. This is where a wearable activity tracker comes in handy, which automatically keeps track of all your active time during the day.
Not all workouts need to be long in duration. With kids, sometimes its best to think more of “Active lifestyle” than “workout”. Get creative with ways to stay active throughout the day. One way to increase the likelihood of achieving these exercise goals is to walk or ride bikes whenever possible. Replace short drives by walking or riding bikes with your kids. Walking and riding instead of driving helps us to be good stewards of God’s creation, caring for our bodies and the environment.
Rainy Day? Kids love stomping in puddles! Invest in rain boots and jackets so you can walk even when it’s raining. What better way to appreciate God’s creation than stopping to look up at rainbows He gives us?
Instilling healthy habits early in a child’s life helps them to live a long, fit life impacting the Kingdom and glorifying God.
Check out Christian Care Ministry's Wellness Library for free health and wellness tips!
Great fitness tools for kids
Go Noodle: https://www.gonoodle.com/
Cosmic Kids: https://www.cosmickids.com/category/watch/
Debbie Ryan is a Public Relations Specialist with CCM. In addition to being a wife and mom, Debbie is passionate about health and wellness, and encourages others in healthy living every chance she gets.