April is National Move More Month, a monthly observance created by the American Heart Association to remind us all of the importance of being active. Over time, Americans have developed a more sedentary lifestyle, which has lead to a higher risk of obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, memory problems, and an overall shorter lifespan. Move More Month is a great reminder that physical activity is essential for living a long and happy life.
As the weather continues to get warmer, now is the perfect time to reevaluate activity schedules in order to ensure that we’re all hitting our fitness goals. The daily practices we create to motivate more movement in our kids, ensure that they develop healthy habits to live active lives.
So, let’s jump into some ways to incorporate more movement into our kids’ days.
1) Never underestimate the power of a good beat
For young kids traditional exercise may be boring. However, there are lots of fun, movement filled activities for kids to do. One great activity is dance. Turning on some upbeat music and having a “dance party” is a good way to get some aerobic movement that will make everyone feel better.
2) Get creative
Movement is not limited to organized sports and planned aerobic exercises. Why not consider going for a walk/hike, swimming, practicing yoga, jump roping, hula hooping, going for a bike ride, roller skating, or jumping on a trampoline?
3) Take a hike outside
Going outside is a great way to encourage movement. With so much to see and do, it’s hard for a young child to go outside and keep still. Whether collecting plants, foraging for treasure, or playing on the playground, there’s plenty outside to entice them to get up and move around.
4) Limit screen time
Snuggling up in front of the TV or settling down to play video games is fun and relaxing. However, setting limits on screen time can help create more active time. That said, if TV is a big motivator for your kids, you can also try a child workout video that encourages community activity and can get your kids moving.
5 Have a fun competition
Sometimes the magic words to use with kids are, “Let’s see who can do it the fastest!” Those magic words create excitement and are a huge motivator. Racing, pushup and sit-up competitions, tug of war, sports games and other challenges can be a lot of fun for kids of all ages and allows both adults and children to join in on the fun.
The goal of Move More Month is not to stress our kids out and make them anxious about getting exercise, rather to encourage the development of healthy habits. It’s recommended that children between the ages of 6-17 get at least one hour of physical activity each day. One hour isn’t much in the grand scheme of things, but without prior planning it can be overlooked as a priority. Children usually get their active time through the day at school/daycare as well as at home. The Childwatch daily journal is a great tool for tracking child activities like PE and recess, to know just how much activity your children are getting each day.
Moving is fun, but it’s also essential to keeping our kids strong and healthy. Additionally, physical activity can promote better sleep, mood, and grades leading to a happier child and happier adults as well. Whether it is playing a game of basketball or going for a nature walk, make sure you get up and move!