Debbie Gransbury has more than 20 years of experience as a District Manager for early childhood education La Petite Academy, which has won the 2017 Partnership for a Healthier America Partner of the Year Award for its work prioritizing health and wellness throughout all of its schools, including the locations in Hampton Roads.
Just as we know exercise is important for adults, children also greatly benefit from physical activity. Exercise is proven to prevent disease and obesity and improve a child’s well-being.
The American Heart Association recommends at least an hour of physical activity for kids every day, but sometimes it can be hard to fit 60 minutes of exercise into your child’s busy schedule. This list gives some fun and easy ways to get your kids moving throughout the day!
1. Stretching – 10 minutes
Whether in the morning or throughout the day, stretching is a great way to keep kids active and engaged. Stretching helps keep nutrients and oxygen flowing and increases flexibility. Think about simple stretches as well as easy yoga poses that your children can learn.
2. After-School Play – 30 minutes
After school, give your kids at least 30 minutes to get out their energy and wiggles. Try to find ways to play without the distractions of screens. Screens encourage sedentary activity and the goal is to get your kids moving. Make sure you have ideas for both indoor and outdoor activities, such as hide-and-go-seek, having a dance party, going to a nearby playground, or just running!
3. Homework Breaks – 10-15 minutes
Lots of school assignments nowadays are centered on computers and screens. Give your child periodic breaks from doing school work to get moving. Do some jumping jacks, take a dance break, or have them make up their own game to get up and active.
4. Sports or Dance Programs -10 minutes
Check with your child’s school or childcare center to see if they provide sports or other fitness programs during the day and after school. Enrolling your kids in a new sport or dance class helps them learn something new and keeps them active throughout the week. At home, let them teach you their fun new dance moves or sports tricks!
5. Family Walks – 15 minutes
Exercising alongside your child is another great way to promote healthy lifestyles at an early age. After dinner, go on a walk around your neighborhood or around the block. A pre-bedtime walk will help release the last of your kid’s energy and help prepare them for a good night’s sleep.