Now that kids are back in school (kind of), it’s important to talk about the implications of keeping kids active. Unfortunately, for most kids, gym/recess is the only exercise outlet that they get all day. With more and more schools going online for the remainder of 2020, it’s EXTREMELY important to plan active time with your kids as this affects their physical and mental health. Even if schools are not going virtual, chances are they won’t be playing dodgeball or running around playing tag.
According to the CDC, physical activity has been linked to higher academic achievement, elevated self-esteem, and reduced stress and anxiety. Thus, with organized sports, clubs, and gym class being put on hold or radically changed, we need to come up with other solutions to keep kids active during these times.
One key element to keep in mind is the social interaction that these types of activities have for kids. Therefore, it’s not as simple as asking your kid to go run around the block. Some creative strategies that can be implemented during these times are:
1) Try and find camps/clubs that are still up and running
2) Try virtual Zoom workouts (there are a bunch of free organizations doing these online)
3) Encourage friendly play outside with friends
4) Play in the pool if you, a friend, or family members have access to one
5) Buy at-home fitness equipment (encourage activity, but don’t force it on your child – lead by example)
6) Encourage general movement – taking the dog for a walk, going on a post-dinner family walk together, etc. You can even do family challenges of 10,000 steps a day to keep both them and you accountable
At the end of the day, we need to encourage kids to stay active in any way possible during this pandemic in order to support their immune function and improve their metabolic health.
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