How to keep your children fit and active during lockdown

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, children are stuck at home but it’s still important that they stay active and fit during this time.

 Children need to walk, jump, run and move to be healthy, grow properly and use up the right amount of energy.

Schools have closed due to lockdown restrictions because of Covid-19 and it will be a while before PE lessons and school sports are back in action. Until then, parents should encourage regular exercise – in the form of cycling, running, walking, and home workouts for their children.

Why kids need to be active

Anca Wessels, a Momentum Multiply expert in Biokinetics and Sport Message Therapy, says that young people of all ages require daily physical activity to ensure their healthy growth and development.

“Physical activity is very important for all of us, but especially so for kids and young people. In addition to improving their cardiovascular fitness, strengthening their bones and muscles, and reducing the risk of heart disease; creating healthy habits around physical activity from a young age will stay with your kids throughout their lives, setting them up for a healthier future,” says Wessels.

Recommended daily activities

Wessels says that kids and teens between the ages of six and 17 should get a minimum of 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity daily. These activities should include a combination of aerobic movements, strengthening exercises, and stretches.

A variety of exercises is essential to ensure a variety of muscles being used.

These include:

  • Cardio exercises
  • Strength exercises
  • Stretches
  • Hopscotch
  • Squats
  • Skipping
  • Handstands
  • Jumping jacks
  • Push-ups/sit-ups
  • Forward bends
  • Dancing

Let your child’s imagination run free

Kids have amazing imaginations, so when creating a playful environment, Wessels says that anything goes.

“For younger children, make sure that you include different colours and shapes, prompting a variety of movements when setting up at-home workout routines. A great idea is to attach strings to different coloured socks or balloons and hang them at different levels from the ceiling or outside patio. Play a game of jumping or punching to touch all the different heights.”

How to encourage your teen to be more active

As kids get older, it can become more difficult to get them moving. For stubborn teens, a potential way around this is to incentivise them. Set up weekly goals for them to complete and they earn rewards such as cash or treats for being healthy, active, and safe.

“This works particularly well when you are part of a rewards programme – as it essentially does the work for you. Your kids’ physical activity can contribute to your rewards level for cashbacks or discounts at partner stores, thus earning them their latest gadgets. It can be an effective way to encourage teens to try and continue new activities,” adds Wessels.

“Another fun way is to find something that excites them, like creating mini soccer goals or encouraging them to learn a fast-paced popular dance routine on YouTube or TikTok that they can share with their friends.”

Safety measures to take into consideration during COVID-19

Kids are all about fun, so the best way to translate new information is by adding fun to it. Introduce songs that teach the kids how to keep their workout space clean and hygienic, and make washing hands a regular, fun habit.

Great free workout websites 

Take a look at these free exercise websites for some inspiration: