With all the advances in technology, it may not come as a surprise that our children are less physically active then we (or our parents, grandparents, etc.) were, but a new report has some scary findings: 93% of Canadian children are not getting enough exercise. Let’s break that down into a percentage – it means only 7% of Canadian children are getting the exercise they need. And if that doesn’t scare you, this will: 1 in 4 children aged 2 to 5 are overweight or obese.
The Many Benefits of Exercise
As we all know, exercise keeps our body’s healthy and our minds alert. In addition to building stronger muscles and bones and leaner bodies, active children are also less likely to become overweight which decreases their risk of developing type 2 diabetes. But that’s not all, children who are physically fit sleep better and are better able to handle physical and emotional challenges. As parents, it is our responsibility to provide our children with the proper amount of physical activities, even during the brutally cold winter months us Canadians know so well.
Getting your children active, come snow or shine:
So in true Canuk fashion, I have put together a list of sports and activities – many of which are free – that your children could benefit from this winter. My boys (almost 2 and 4) are actively engaged in sports and daily physical activities all year round and LOVE it – as I’m sure your children will too Just remember – your school age children need approximately 60 minutes of exercise a DAY, but your preschool child needs at least 2 hours – so whatever it is you are planning, be sure to make it fun and enjoyable for everyone involved! And one more tip: don’t forget you can break up your children’s exercise routine into smaller, more manageable blocks of time to keep things interesting – and on schedule!
Exercise Outdoors – bundle up and head outside:
- Go sledding or play outdoor tag!
- Go skating or skiing as a family!
- Go snow-shoeing, make snow-angels or play hockey!
- Shovel the driveway – and your neighbour’s driveway, too!
- Build a snowman – along with his whole family!
- Go on a winter scavenger hunt or visit an outdoor zoo!
Exercise Indoors – head inside for some fun:
- Participate in yoga or martial arts!
- Go swimming or climb an indoor rock wall!
- Take dance lessons – ballet, hip-hop, tap, whatever!
- Have a dance party or play a few games of hop-scotch!
- Go to gymnastics or create a tricky indoor obstacle course!
- Play a game of soccer or Simon Says!
- Play a game of tug-of-war or leap frog!
- For a fun family game night – play a Wii Fit game together!
Most children are not getting enough exercise. Are your children getting what they need?
Are you currently meeting the recommended guidelines for your children’s physical fitness? If so, we want to know what they’ve been up to! If not, share with us how you plan to keep your children physically active each day!