With advancements in entertainment technology over the years, our kids (generally) spend a lot more time indoors than the children of past decades. With video games, the internet and television to compete with, levels of sedentary behaviours have risen, and this has led to almost one-third of Australian children being physically unfit.
Australia’s Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines recommend that all school-aged children should be physically active for at least 60 minutes per day (with even greater benefits experienced when they achieve up to 3 hours per day).
Benefits of Physical Activity for Better Health
Regular physical activity helps to improve cardiorespiratory fitness, build strong bones and muscles, control weight, reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, and reduce the risk of developing chronic health conditions.
Benefits of Physical Activity for Academic Achievement
Students who are physically active tend to have better grades, better school attendance (reduced sickness), better cognitive performance (memory and recall), as well as more cooperative and interactive classroom behaviours. They are also able to concentrate for longer than students who are less physically active.
Aim to limit device time and other sources of indoor activity, and point kids towards the backyard or take them to a local park. Encourage them to play outdoor games or play with the dog, or sign them up for swimming lessons, dance lessons, gymnastics or even golf lessons.
Even with COVID restrictions, there are still many options available, so try to find a sport that interests your child and encourages that spark. School and Club sports are a great way to boost fitness, as well as instil the importance of teamwork, responsibility, as well as the ability to win and lose gracefully.
Don’t forget…. Mums & Dads can benefit from improved fitness as well, so why not take up a sport as a family, such as playing soccer in the backyard or learning how to play tennis together. Go for bike rides and walks together at the park or in your local neighbourhood, and consider taking active holidays, such as camping or skiing!
Becoming (and being) fit can add so much fun to life!