How much exercise do children really need on a daily basis and what are the benefits of being active? We take a look…

 There are plenty of fun and exciting ways children can get exercise.

As parents, how do we ensure our kids are getting enough exercise?

It’s all too easy to allow your kids to stay inside playing video games instead of riding their bike or playing outside. This is compounded by feeling like you need to constantly supervise your kids for their own safety. Still, children need exercise and it’s up to you to see they get it even if it means spending more time in the great outdoors with them.

How to get your child to be more active

Outdoor games provide a great deal of physical activity particularly if they involve running, jumping, and throwing or kicking a ball. Get involved in these games with your children and encourage them to include other kids of a similar age. This also promotes socialisation, which is important for emotional development.

Build your child’s social skills

Encourage your kids to be involved in sports. Sports encourage teamwork, promote physical activity and build your child’s social skills. Don’t put pressure on your child to always win and be the best. Encourage their efforts, and support them whether their team wins or loses. Be grateful for the health benefits that sports provide and encourage your child to work hard and have fun.

Spend family time outdoors

South Africa has some of the most pristine wilderness areas in the world. Take advantage of summer weather and take the family out on walks, hikes, or bike rides.

If you’re lucky enough to live near the ocean, enjoy some family outings to the beach for snorkelling and beach sports. The physical activity will be beneficial to the entire family.

Encourage your child to exercise with you

This is a great way to introduce regular fitness at an early age. Good habits that are formed when children are small will likely carry over into adulthood. While you don’t want your child to become obsessed with exercise, the benefits should be focused on at home.

Promote the positive use of energy

By not allowing your child to be sedentary, you are promoting the positive use of energy. There’s nothing like a little sunshine and fresh air to encourage running, jumping, and a whole host of other great physical activities. You may even find yourself getting more exercise as a result.

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