Fitting in Physical Activity

family walking outside in the street

School-aged children spend much of their day focused on school between waking up early, spending all day at school, and doing homework when they get home. With the demands of school, it can be hard to fit in physical activity, especially when the whole family is tired from a long day. Physical activity can help us sleep better, reduce stress, and keep our brains working well.All of these benefits are especially important for children! To enjoy the benefits of physical activity, think of ways you can fit physical activity into you and your children’s day. Encourage children to do activities that they already enjoy and even try some new ones. When possible, participate in physical activity with your children to set a good example! Here are some other ideas to help your children fit in more activity–no matter what time of day or day of the week it is:

  • At Home: There are endless ways children can be active safely in the house, whether they’re playing a game, stretching or doing yoga, or exercising using a formal work-out routine. Even cleaning and other household chores can be a great way to exercise at home! Children can play games that require more space in the yard or another safe place in the neighborhood with family and neighbors, such as an outdoor basketball court. Try taking a walk around your neighborhood as a family after school. Toddlers can benefit from moving around instead of sitting in stationary bouncy seats–provide plenty of toys and activities inside that get them moving. Since preschoolers spend more time at home than school-aged children and love to be active, there are plenty of opportunities for preschoolers to play at home. Check out these tips for encouraging physical activity no matter what age your child is.
  • At School: Recess and physical education classes provide great opportunities for your children to be active at school and to take a break from regular classroom instruction. Encourage your children’s teachers to include activity in classroom instruction, such as these “energizers” for school. If you live close to your child’s school, you can walk with them to and from school. School-aged children old enough to play after-school sports may enjoy playing a sport that interests them, such as soccer, track & field, or basketball.
  • On the Weekend: Weekends are a great time to be active as a family! You can take your children on outings to a park, playground, walking trail, swimming pool, or other locations. Children old enough to play organized sports can join a team, and they may have games over the weekend. Keep a list of activities your children enjoy and let them take turns choosing what activities you’ll try together that weekend.

No matter what physical activity your children participate in, it’s always more fun with someone else! So whenever possible, make physical activity a family event!

How else can you fit more activity into your family’s day?


References

  1. https://medlineplus.gov/exerciseforchildren.html

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Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP)

North Carolina State University
Agricultural and Human Sciences Department

Cooperative Extension at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University
College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences (CAES)