Research shows that exercise not only improves your child’s current health, but also sets them up for better health in adulthood. Here, the team from Bupa Global outlines a few easy ways to get the kids moving by exercising as a family.
How active should kids and adults be?
You might find there are days when your child doesn’t want to get off the sofa, or is glued to their favourite TV programme, video game or toy. And of course, that’s OK sometimes – and very normal! At the same time, they should ideally be doing a fair amount of physical activity most days too. Many experts recommend an hour a day for children over five, and three hours or more of active play a day for toddlers. You also need a good amount of physical activity as an adult – around two and a half hours of “moderate to intense” exercise spread across each week. That means exercise that gets you a bit sweaty or breathless and raises your heart rate.
Since everyone in your family will benefit from staying active, why not do it together? Here are five suggestions for how you could do just that.
5 Ways to Exercise as a Family
#1 Make it part of your routine
Being active comes easily if it’s part of your daily lives. Could you walk or cycle part of the school run together, for instance? Cycling helps to improve children’s balance, movement and confidence. It could also be about building exercise into your weekend routine. For example, maybe you could go swimming together every Saturday. Swimming helps improve heart, lung and muscle health for adults and children alike. And heading to the pool doesn’t always need to feel like an exercise session – even just playing around with inflatables can contribute.
#2 Take your child’s lead
See what your child enjoys and do it together. That could mean anything from walking the dog, having a scavenger hunt, hiking, playing with a ball in the park, flying a kite or trampolining to joining fun runs. Just like you, your children are more likely to want to keep up forms of activity that make them feel excited.
#3 Make the most of the seasons
Spring and autumn days or early summer can be the perfect time to visit outdoor pools or organise a sports day with friends in the nature area. When the heat gets too much, or when winter is really biting, there are plenty of indoor activities in Hong Kong to enjoy, from ice rinks to escape rooms, laser tag, mini golf, bowling and more.
#4 Try group activities
Does your child have the opportunity to swim with other kids at school or with a club? They might also enjoy a dance class or playing netball, hockey, badminton or football. While your kids are doing these group activities, you can use this time to do your own favourite exercise – perhaps you could join a group too.
#5 Focus on muscles and bones
Many traditional childhood games are great for building muscle and bone strength. It could be climbing a tree (with adult supervision), playing on swings, skipping or playing hopscotch. Gymnastics and dancing are good muscle and bone builders, as is touch football. As an adult, keeping your muscles and bones strong is also important as you age – so why not try these things together!
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