2020 has been quite a year so far. If you have children, it’s been an especially interesting and challenging time, to say the least. One thing that’s been on my mind is my children’s level of activity. It’s something I think about nearly every day!
Usually, when they’re in school, they go to PE every day for 45 minutes. They go to recess for another 20 minutes. In addition, my 2 younger boys play basketball at our local YMCA. In school they move throughout the day from their classroom, to the cafeteria, to the library, and so on. At home, during this time, it’s a different story. Their regular movement is much less throughout the day, and with sports at a standstill, playgrounds off limits and many other places such as museums and zoos closed, it is quite a challenge to get them moving and keep them active. Not to mention, the electronics!
A lot of us are feeling overwhelmed already having to try to work either from home or away, keeping them fed, attempting to keep some kind of “normal” in our lives, keeping the house organized…The list goes on and on. So, thinking of our kids’ fitness may sometimes seem as just one more thing to worry about.
“Is it that big a deal?” Some of us may ask ourselves. How much do they really need to move? How important is it?
Well, not to stress you out, but it really is quite important. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), children should participate in 60 minutes of physical activity throughout the day, including moderate to vigorous exercise. This is just a minimum! But there are benefits to it. Benefits that may actually help relieve stress for families at home during this time. So, while it may seem like one more thing we have to worry about, making it happen may actually make things easier on us.
Here is a list of benefits of physical activity for our kids:
Remember too, it doesn’t all have to be done at once. Quick short bouts of activity actually work better for kids. Especially if they’re younger. We all know how hard it is to keep younger kids’ attention on one activity.
So, if your kids may be spending a lot of time sitting watching tv or playing video games (as mine have done much more of during this time!), you can start small. Over time, you can increase time and frequency to help them get used to it in a way that doesn’t seem overwhelming. Before you know it, your kiddos will be moving, feeling better physically and mentally, and may even be asking for more!